"Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages" -Thomas A. Edison

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Violence Drives the Best and Brightest of Iraq Abroad

"There are almost no more qualified people in Basra," said Tamimi, who returned to
Iraq's second biggest city recently without his family for a short business trip. "Any successful engineer, doctor or businessman is now abroad. All this will have a negative impact on Iraq."

Unidentified "Official A" Leaker Confirmed as Rove
"Friday's indictment says "Official A" is a "senior official in the White House who advised Libby on July 10 or 11 of 2003" about a chat with Novak about his upcoming column in which Plame would be identified as a CIA employee.
Late Friday, three people close to the investigation, each asking to remain unidentified because of grand jury secrecy, identified Rove as Official A."

Bernanke and the Bubble by Paul Krugman
"O.K., seriously, many economists and investors feared that Mr. Bush would try to place a highly partisan figure in charge of the Fed. And even before the revelations surfaced about cronyism at FEMA and elsewhere, there was widespread concern that Mr. Bush would try to select a John Snow type - a businessman whose only qualification is loyalty - to run monetary policy. The naming of Mr. Bernanke was a sign of Mr. Bush's weakness, and it brought a collective sigh of relief. "

Republican House Votes to Cut $844 Million in Food Stamps! Any yet, they leave the windfall profits of oil companies untouched:

Exxon 3rd quarter profits up 75% to 9.9 Billion
Royal Dutch Shell profits up 68% to 9.2 Billion
British Petroleum profits up 27% to 5.3 Billion
Marathon Oil profits tripled

Friday, October 28, 2005

Interesting video of Bush introducing his wife as "Barbara."

Saddam Agreed to Retire Before US Invasion?

If true, this leads one to believe that W needed to fulfill some childhood fantasy of invasion and victory to satiate his need to trump his father's failures. Did W care more about 'symbolic' results, rather than, rational, diplomatic problem solving? Imagine our world today if Saddam's retirement had been accepted rather than rejected?

"General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, told Al Arabiya television last night that Saddam accepted Shaikh Zayed’s initiative, which intended to stop the American invasion."

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Finally, W concedes to constituent pressure. Could he have finally decided that he works for the citizens of the United States?

Bush Abandons the Meirs Nomination
"The White House said Miers had withdrawn because of senators' demands to see internal documents related to her role as counsel to the president. But politics played a larger role: ..." Basically a bald-faced Bush administration lie.

This is more plausible: "The tipping point came within the past several days. GOP Senators privately communicated to WH CoS Andy Card that unless they had access to hard evidence that Miers was conversant in constitutional issues, there was no way she would be confirmed. Her performance in private meetings was weak, at best, these senators told Card. "

Bush Reinstates the Davis-Bacon Act
"Bush announced today he would reverse the decision he made in September to remove wage protections for construction workers in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina."

What It's Like, by Paul Begalia

Interesting descripton life in an administration under pressure.

"Sure, all of what Eric Alterman dubbed "the punditocracy" has a severe case of indictus interruptus, but for President Bush and his White House staff, the worst is yet to come. To be sure, waiting on a decision to indict is an exquisite form of torture. But what lies ahead is worse....."

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Help Pakistan!!! brought this issue to my attention. The death toll in Pakistan is over 53,000 and some estimate it may rise to over 200,000. The UN is pleading for immediate assistance. Only one quarter of promised aid has arrived. More than 10,000 children face imminent death because they have no medical attention and shelter! This is a profound disaster that has been tragically been neglected by the media. Landslides covered miles and miles of villages, many of which would have survived had they not been deforested! Winter will be in full force, in 3 weeks, and 800,000 people are without shelter! Helicopters are need to reach people: England donated 2 and the U.S. had donated 8. After outcry, 25 more were just donated today, by General Abizaid.

Local, Pakistan Relief Information (in English)

Congnoscenti's "The Criminalization of Politics"

Great juxtaposition of the the Kenneth Starr harrassment of Clinton with the current investigations of Rove, Delay, et al. (i.e. no comparison)

Amazing, bizarre and downright creepy, how similar they appear (literally and figuratively)

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Scowcroft (Bush Sr's NSA) to lash out at W's Administration

"Scowcroft's criticisms will be taken seriously at the highest levels of the Bush administration because he is seen as a mentor by some of its senior figures, notably Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, whose political career began when she worked under Scowcroft as an adviser on Soviet affairs. "

Friday, October 21, 2005

Number of Pork Projects in Federal Spending Bills
2005 - 13,997
2004 - 10,656
2003 - 9,362
2002 - 8,341
2001 - 6,333
2000 - 4,326
1999 - 2,838
1998 - 2100
1997 - 1,596
1996 - 958
1995 - 1439

"Using 2005 numbers, by voting down the “Bridges” amendment, the Senate let the country know that it was unwilling to defund 2 out of 13,997 pork projects today. That’s 0.0142887762 percent."

David Gergen with Lou Dobbs on CNN: "Wheels are coming off the Bush Administration."

He goes on to point out that all of this creates uncertainty in the markets. "We're in a wait and see mode." Ronald Reagan was in a similar situation after the Iran Contra scandal broke. He recovered by doing massive housecleaning: i.e. replaced much of his cabinet.

From Juan Cole:

"The burning and desecration of Taliban bodies as a technique of intimidation in Afghanistan by US troops has backfired big time. Afghanistan clergymen are hopping mad at the US, and opposition to continued US troop presence in Afghanistan is growing."

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Today in Iraq:

10 Iraqi police killed
23 civilians killed
40 civilians injured (many children)
2 Iraqi Army officers killed
2 U.S. soldiers killed

1 Assassination
1 roadside bomb
1 suicide bomb
1 rocket hit a public school
and.......Insurgents Torch Iraq's Main Oil Pipline.

Senate Judiciary members find Harriet Meir's comments: "inadequate," "insufficient" and "insulting."

"Veteran senators and aides said they could not recall another occasion when the committee had sent back a nominee's answers to a questionnaire because they were incomplete. Former Senator Daniel R. Coats of Indiana, the administration's appointed guide for Ms. Miers on Capitol Hill, defended her answers in the Senate questionnaire as a work in progress. "

Arrogant? Too 'put out' to answer a questionnaire for all nominees? Too accustomed to special priviledge?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Another ex-insider rips the Bush Administration: "Cheney 'cabal' hijacked foriegn policy"

"The comments, made at the New America Foundation, a Washington think-tank, were the harshest attack on the administration by a former senior official since criticisms by Richard Clarke, former White House terrorism czar, and Paul O'Neill, former Treasury secretary, early last year.
Mr Wilkerson said his decision to go public had led to a personal falling out with Mr Powell, whom he served for 16 years at the Pentagon and the State Department.
“He's not happy with my speaking out because, and I admire this in him, he is the world's most loyal soldier."

Arrest Warrant Issued for Tom Delay

"DeLay, R-Texas, could be fingerprinted and photographed, although his lawyers had hoped to avoid this step. DeLay probably will surrender in his home county of Fort Bend, near Houston, but he could go to any law enforcement office in Texas. His court appearance will be in Austin."

Guilty by association? Loyal to a fault?

"An angry President Bush rebuked chief political guru Karl Rove two years ago for his role in the Valerie Plame affair, sources told the Daily News.
"He made his displeasure known to Karl," a presidential counselor told The News. "He made his life miserable about this."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

TIME: Rove's Contingency Plan
The President's advisor may step asside if indicted in the Valerie 'Flame', I mean 'Plame' case.

"A “source close to Rove” claims the reason for the resignation is to allow him “to fight aggressively ‘any bull– charges.’”

Cheney may be target of probe
"Scooter wouldn't be freelancing on this without Cheney's knowledge," a source told the Daily News. "It was probably some off-the-cuff thing: 'This guy [Wilson] could be a problem.'"
The News reported in July that Libby was "totally obsessed with Wilson."
Whether that obsession amounts to criminal misconduct will be decided by Fitzgerald - but if Libby is indicted or implicated in wrongdoing, Cheney's reputation will suffer as well. "

Monday, October 17, 2005

Really funny, excellent video

Air Strikes in Iraq: Civilian casualties

More horrors on the bloody hands of our leader. Is Jesus still his personal advisor?


"On Oct. 3, the day the Miers nomination was announced, Mr. Dobson and other religious conservatives held a conference call to discuss the nomination. One of the people on the call took extensive notes, which I have obtained. According to the notes, two of Ms. Miers's close friends--both sitting judges--said during the call that she would vote to overturn Roe."

Breaks my heart, but......, I'll bet the disorganized, spineless Dems vote her in.

Intesting Diary of an Iraqi's visit to Cairo

Also, really interesting pictures are posted. Finally,.....I know what 'Raed' looks like! He was the first blogger from Baghdad who documented his personal experience, sans MSM (mainstream media) influence. Amazing person.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Home Mortgage & Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Deductions on the Chopping Block

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. It seems as though this administration is determined to maintain its exploitation of the middle class. The President's Advisory Panel (comprised of cronies/none are tax experts) needs a way to 'pay' for the repeal of the 'unpopular' Alternative Minimum Tax. Hmmmmm? Well, lets cap deductions on home mortgages over $300,000! What a waste of time and money. Bottom line: this administration/government desperately needs the middle class/small businesses to remain their personal wage slaves. Real tax reform is just brouhaha. "He who makes the rules, keeps the gold."

"Last week the panel agreed to cap deductions for home mortgage interest and employer-provided health care plans to make up revenues lost from a repeal of the alternative minimum tax."

Lady Thatcher criticizes Tony Blair's decision to support Iraq invasion

"Yesterday's Washington Post reported that when asked whether she would have invaded Iraq given the intelligence at the time, Lady Thatcher replied: "I was a scientist before I was a politician. And as a scientist I know you need facts, evidence and proof - and then you check, recheck and check again."
She added: "The fact was that there were no facts, there was no evidence, and there was no proof. As a politician the most serious decision you can take is to commit your armed services to war from which they may not return."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Hoaxes Everywhere:

The wonderfully convenient subway hoax doesn't need much comment. If you want to read more, here is a link.

The U2, "Newsmax" story is a great example of spin. Check out the dissection at Daily Kos. I'm a newbie and now know that "Newsmax" is not to be trusted. The African advocacy group created by Bono issued the following today:

"WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following is a statement by Jamie Drummond, executive director of DATA (debt AIDS trade Africa), the Africa advocacy group co-founded by Bono:"Throughout the U2 tour, politicians from both sides have been organizing fundraisers at the venues or around specific shows. Neither DATA or Bono are involved in these and they cannot be controlled. The U2 concerts are categorically not fundraisers for any politician -- they are rock concerts for U2 fans."(c) DATA, 2005.

So......relieved. I love U2!!!!!!

Monday, October 10, 2005

I hope this isn't true: Bono, U2 in Fundraiser for Rick Santorum

"On Sunday, October 16, a truly unique political event will take place.
Teaming up with the legendary rock group U2 for a one-night only appearance will be Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.). "

This may be the deathknell for my relationship with this band. At this moment, I am disgusted that I have tickets to their closing show in Portland, Oregon! Please, please, say it ain't so!!

Some Santorum thoughts and quotes:

Santorum supports capping lawsuits for pain & suffering at $250,000. Yet his wife sued her chiropracter for pain & suffering in the amount of $500,000 (winning $350,000).

In his book It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good, Ricky opines that "The notion that college education is a cost-effective way to help poor, low skilled unmarried mothers with high school diplomas or GEDs move up the economic ladder is just wrong."

"I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created, it was created in Griswold — Griswold was the contraceptive case — and abortion. And now we're just extending it out."

On a brighter note: "Sen. Santorum's numbers in Pennsylvania have sunk to new lows in job approval, favorability and whether he deserves re-election. The Senator trails Bob Casey by 18 points statewide" Unfortunately....., we're still more than a year away from the 2006, Senate election.

Bill Moyers keynote address to the Society of Environmental Journalists convention.

"They say denial is not a river in Egypt. It is, however, the governing philosophy in Washington. The President's contempt for science - for evidence that mounts everyday - is mind boggling. Here is a man who was quick to launch a 'preventative war' against Iraq on faulty intelligence and premature judgment but who refuses to take preventive action against a truly global menace about which the scientific evidence is overwhelming. "

Economics Nobel Prize must have peeved the Bush administration:

"STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Israel's Robert Aumann and American Thomas Schelling won the 2005 Nobel economics prize on Monday for their "game-theory analysis", which can help resolve conflicts in trade and business -- and even avoid war."

Here is an interesting link/blog by an expert in the field who brought this to my attention.

More on the slave trade in Iraq: Poor Migrants Work in Iraqi Netherworld

"At least a third of the 255 contractors reported killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 came from Second or Third World countries, according to a Times analysis of data maintained by a website that tracks contractor deaths."

Thursday, October 06, 2005

On the Supreme's "Eminent Domain' ruling: Through the Volokh Conspiracy blog, here is an example of related political ramifications and corruption.

"Segal said he met with Cryan, who is head of the township's Democratic Party, and other local officials "scores of times" over the past five years to discuss the project. He claims the talks turned adversarial after he rejected proposals to work with various developers they proposed.
On May 24, the five-member township committee voted unanimously to authorize the municipality to seize Segal's land through eminent domain and name its own developer."

Using eminent domain to seize land to be used for exactly the same purpose because politicians want a personaly, 'generous' developer to be contracted? 'Todd,' of the Volokh Conspiracy ended his post on this issue with: "Move over Tony Soprano."

Rove to testify again and also...., warned that this doesn't change the possibility of indictment

"The U.S. attorney's manual requires prosecutors not to bring witnesses before a grand jury if there is a possibility of future criminal charges unless they are notified in advance that their grand jury testimony can be used against them in a later indictment."

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Blood, Sweat and Tears: Asia's Poor Building Iraq

"Soliman wouldn’t be making anything near the salaries-- starting $80,000 a year and often topping $100,000-- that Halliburton's engineering and construction unit, Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) pays to the truck drivers, construction workers, office workers, and other laborers it recruits from the United States. Instead, the 35-year-old father of two anticipated $615 a month – including overtime. For a 40-hour work week, that would be just over $3 an hour. But for the 12-hour day, seven-day week that Soliman says was standard for him and many contractor employees in Iraq, he actually earned $1.56 an hour."

Monday, October 03, 2005

Bush Nominates a Crony and Insider to Supreme Court: Harriet Miers

Even the Repubs are dismayed. Bill Kristol says he's "disappointed, depressed, and demoralized," because "her selection will unavoidably be judged as reflecting a combination of cronyism and capitulation on the part of the president."

One of her many special accomplishments was heading the law firm Locke, Liddell and Sapp. Here is a link that shows they contributed $2500.00 to Tom Delay's legal defense fund.

She has also been tied to TRMPAC, the Texas Lottery Scandal and cleaning up W's National Guard records.

David Frum wrote (then suspiciously retracted) "She rose to her present position by her absolute devotion to George Bush. I mentioned last week that she told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met. To flatter on such a scale a person must either be an unscrupulous dissembler, which Miers most certainly is not, or a natural follower. An natural followers do not belong on the Supreme Court of the United States." Here is a link to Air America where the blog note was saved and discussed.

But, on a brighter note, the republicans are squirming with frustration and angst. Check out this blog: Instapundit .

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Bush Threatens to Veto Defense Bill if amendments added to regulate care of prisoners and probe prisoner abuse scandals. This evil wacko will withold funding the troops in order continue abusing prisoners! Why can't the Dems take this and scream! We should encourage Congress to submitt the bill anyway. Bush is too much of a coward to not sign the bill. But, if he did as he says, the fallout would attract worldwide attention. So, it is a win, either way for our side.

"The White House on Friday threatened to veto a $440.2 billion defense spending bill in the Senate because it wasn't enough money for the Pentagon and also warned lawmakers not to add any amendments to regulate the treatment of detainees or set up a commission to probe abuse."