Monday, July 31, 2006

Plan B (reprise)

FDA has announced that it's moving to make the Plan B pill an over the counter drug available to women without a prescription.

Unless you're under 18. Then it's just tough luck. And if you get pregnant? Well Congress is doing its best to ensure that it will be illegal for your friends or even relatives to drive you across state lines for the purposes of letting you get an abortion. But don't worry, if you have to give that child up for adoption because you're too young or were raped by a family member, there are tons of social services available to help you and the child. Oh no, wait, hmmm, apparently there aren't. Ok, well, your tough luck, then.

And if you're 18 or older? Cross your fingers that your pharmacist will actually provide you with this legal medicine that you are entitled to. And that he/she isn't a psycho religious fanatic who thinks his/her personal belief system trumps your life.

Yes, indeed, at the dawn of the 21st century, isn't it just great to be a woman in America. In such wonderful full control of our lives and our bodies.

As long as we do as the administration says.

It's this sort of thing that always crosses my mind everytime somebody from the administration talks about fighting in Iraq & Afghanistan for women's rights. Like so many things, this is much easier to fight for it overseas than to deal with at home.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Being All He Could Be

Today's WaPo Outlook section has a truly disturbing interview conducted by Andrew Tilghman with Steven Green three weeks before he raped and killed an Iraqi girl. Tilghman says that the interview was nothing that struck him as out of the ordinary at the time, despite how disturbing it is to us. Tilghman notes that at the time, at that place, the cold-bloodedness and mentally disturbing language Green used seemed to Tilghman as "chiefly a rare example of honesty."

In addition to publishing the interview, which shows an incredibly unstable mental personality at work, Tilghman provided the interview (without revealing Green's name) to three mental health professionals for their analysis. Their analysis is all the more frightening to me when you look at Green's answers as Tilghman did at the time as a "rare example of honesty."

Did you know that one-sixth of the troops being accepted into the military today are brought in on wavers. That is three out of every 20 troops are men or women who would not ordinarily be considered for military service.

How many of those waved-through troops are mental time bombs?

Excerpts from Green's interview:

"I came over here because I wanted to kill people. . . . The truth is, it wasn't all I thought it was cracked up to be. I mean, I thought killing somebody would be this life-changing experience. And then I did it, and I was like, 'All right, whatever.' .

"I shot a guy who wouldn't stop when we were out at a traffic checkpoint and it was nothing. Over here, killing people is like squashing an ant. I mean you kill somebody and it's like, 'All right, let's go get some pizza.'"

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Finally! The Bush Admin Goes for Laws that Would Make Stalin Proud!

I just knew Bush had the ol' dictator in him begging to come out. He's been dancing around the bad end of dictator for most of his reign, oops, I mean term. But as an AP report notes, Bush and the Pentagon (AKA our old buddy Rumsfeld the Terrible) have drafted a proposal to authroize the Pentagon's tribunal system after it was tossed out by the Supreme Court a few weeks back.

The draft would allow Bush & Rummy to detain all "enemy combatants" until hostilities cease. Two interesting phrases here. "enemy combatants" and "hostilities cease." I'm betting that the definition of either of those is going to be hard for anyone to pin down outside the administration. The bill's definition of enemy combantants is those who are "engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners [and] who has committed an act that violates the law of war and this statute."

You can bet Bush's best legal minds will be at work trying to apply that definition to anyone they feel like picking up at the moment. Sitting at your computer writing a blog about a US soldier who has committed an atrocity in Iraq? Careful, have you just bound yourself to those who are engaged in hostilities against the US? Walking around with a "US Out of Iraq" t-shirt? Nah, they wouldn't dare . . . would they.

Well don't worry, if by some overreach of the government this bill actually becomes a law and they pick you up for that t-shirt and anti-war petitions you've signed, you've got more fun ahead of you. Once in their grasp under this law, you'll be freed of several legal rights provided to civilian and military courts. Hearsay evidence? Guaranteed speedy trials? Defendant access to evidence? Attending your own trial? Judges allowing coerced testimony into evidence? Yup! You bet! This law will strip you of just enough rights to ensure that you get to go away until they're willing to let you out.

Not that it would ever happen here.

Or to you.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Hey, Maybe Bush Has a Point Here

You know lately Bush has taken a lot of heat for people, including myself, for his use of "signing statements." You know, this administration's favorite way to get out of having to obey the law. Sure, they'll let a law go into action, if they don't like part of it, Bush just sends over a signed statement saying that he doesn't think part of the law is "constitutional" or appropriate for him, so he's going to ignore it.

Sure, I've blased to prez for trying to determine what is or isn't "constitutional" and sure, he's a constitutional scholar in the same way that I'm a Pat Robertson fan club member. But I've decided to step back from my criticism and look at the bigger picture.

Which is, of course, why don't I start using my own "signing statements" in life. Take my next tax payment in April. I'd say a good 30-40% of my taxes are going for things that are "unconstitutional" as I would interpret them, so along with my tax form, I think I'll send in a "signing statement" explaining why they're not getting as much of my money as usual.

And at work? Just THINK of the possibilities. Your boss gives you something to do and you don't want to do it -- just give him back your "signging statement" that states you believe that job is "unconsitutional" or inappropriate for your position and you're just not going to do it.

And the boss can't fire you because all you have to do is say, "hey, look, the President does it!"

Finally, an excuse we can all use!

Reform at Last, Reform at Last, Thank You Congress, Reform at Last

After Abramoff and Cunningham and Casinos, funneling money through wives and staffers and fake organizations, we knew Congress would ride to the rescue and hold their own feet to the fire. We knew they'd step up, be true to the nature of democracy and throw the weak rules controlling their ethical behavior out of the window.

We knew that because we were living in a fantasy world caused by heat stroke.

So what has Congress managed to do with all those cries for lobbying reform?

Well, unable to agree on a number of different provisions, what they're going to probably do is go home to try and get re-elected without having actually agreed on any legislation at all.

Interest groups and lobbyists have more than earned their keep this spring & summer. Stepping up to the plate and funneling promises into ears and funding into campaigns. What better way to derail lobbying reform than to lobby against it!

Of course, members can't go back to their district empty handed without some good talking points, like "The American people want meaningful change in the way in which Congress spends their money" or "House Republicans are committed to deliver this change."

So when your representative brings those lines home to your district instead of actual reform, will you say, "hey, sure I trust you, thanks and go back with my blessing to make it work?"

If you do, then you truly do deserve the leaders you elect. I just wish you'd stop inflicting them on the rest of us.


The House is battling over a minimum wage increase. Well not so much over it, but more over how they can slip out of being held accountable for not actually passing an increase by voters in November. While at the same time not actually passing one (hey, they need that money for the raises they voted on for themselves!)l

50 House Reps signed a letter to Boehner asking him to schedule a vote on the increase.

Of course, once the Republican House majority votes it down, they'll be able to return to their districts and talk about how much they really fought to get it passed, oh well, we tried.

I can feel their pain from here.

Condi vs. Cheney - Place Your Bets Ladies and Gentlemen

I'm no fan of Condi, but unlike Cheney, who is obviously channeling dark, satanic forces, I believe that Condi is merely criminally incompetent. But I do enjoy watching two right-wing psychos going pit bull on each other, and it's only more enjoyable when it's two folks in Bush's administration.

On one side we have the Cheney crew who agrees with me that Condi is incompetent, but they're angry with her for what they believe is her work to reverse the administration's national and foreign policy agendas. (Yes, I know, there's a serious flaw in this argument, for it to be true, that would mean the administration actually HAS a national or foreign policy agenda.)

So Gingrich, Richard Perle and Cheney buddies are asking Bush to pull the rug out from under Condi and send her the way of Clayton Powell. My favorite argument from one such Cheney buddie is that Rice has a "lack of understanding of the Middle East." I don't doubt that she has a serious lack of understanding of it. But come on guys, that's the one thing everyone in that administration has in common! If there's anybody over in that administration who has even an iota of understanding of the Middle East, they're keeping him or her buried somewhere safe so they don't have to listen to any actual helpful advice.

Gingrich has provided some much needed blustering testosterone (goodness knows the world has been quiet and peaceful for TOO LONG now) with his assessment of Condi's skills: "We are sending signals today that no matter how much you provoke us, no matter how viciously you describe things in public, no matter how many things you're doing with missiles and nuclear weapons, the most you'll get out of us is talk."

Damn! If only we had someone in this administration devoted to rushing troops into a situation without looking around first! Just think how much good we'd get done that way. Thanks Newt, now can you go back to whereever it is you've been hiding the past decade.

And as for Condi's work in the Israel/Lebanon crisis (what, you thought they hadn't done anything yet?) according to Stephen Clemons, director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation, "Rice attempted to increase pressure on Israel to stand down and to demonstrate restraint."

Restrait? Oh no! Not that!!!! How DARE someone in this administration advise restraint to anyone in the midst of a violent conflict.

It Can't be a Civil War if They Don't Have Blue or Grey Uniforms, Right?


The Dictionary:
n. A war between factions or regions of the same country

Q: Is the country closer to a civil war?

SEC. RUMSFELD: Oh, I don't know. You know, I thought about that last night, and just musing over the words, the phrase, and what constitutes it. If you think of our Civil War, this is really very different. If you think of civil wars in other countries, this is really quite different. There is - there is a good deal of violence in Baghdad and two or three other provinces, and yet in 14 other provinces there's very little violence or numbers of incidents. So it's a - it's a highly concentrated thing. It clearly is being stimulated by people who would like to have what could be characterized as a civil war and win it, but I'm not going to be the one to decide if, when or at all.

Well done Rummy

You're extending the toors of 3,500 US troops in Iraq for 120 days (I'm sure they were just as excited as all get out to hear that little bit of good news). AND you've picked four brigades for a total of 25,000 troops to be deployed into Iraq later this year. And you'll be maintaining the force at about 130,000 troops/year.

The only thing is here Rummy, your generals were telling you that they needed more troops to make this work BACK IN 2003 - you remember, when you & Bushie boy were accomplishing missions right and left in your own minds while we had too few of our folks actually going out there to help piece together what we'd ripped apart.

So forgive me if I'm glad to hear that you've finally listened to your generals, but have to tell you in all seriousness Rummy, IT'S TO LATE YOU MORON!

And to the 172nd Stryker Brigade from Alaska, sorry guys, I hear you'd already started rotating out of Iraq when word came. I'm sending my thoughts & good wishes to you all that you get home safe in spite of Rumsfeld.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

While Conflicts Rage Through the World

I know it's a comfort for those of us at home to know that our Congress has been busy to keep life going as close to normal as possible. To that end, the House in June passed a transportation bill that included $930 million in earmarks. Yup that's almost a billion dollars that US Representatives are trying to pilfer from the national economy to take back to their constituents before the next general election. There is no limit to the percentage of our tax dollars these people are willing to use to win reelection.

What bravery and devotion to the status quo these men and women display. What a marvelous and patriotic spirit they show.

And wouldn't it be too bad if they got their butts voted out of office in November by a populace a little less interested in being bought by the status quo and a little more interested in successfully managing a nation.

Hey George, if You're in the Mood to Veto, . . .

Sure it's easy enough to pick on the sick and ill by taking away the option of new research on stem cells, but how much fun is it to kick folks who are already down?

I say let's get that veto pen out and do some actual good with it. How about the

2005 Transportation Act? -- it was $2 billion over your "limit" and held a record 6,371 "earmark" or Congressional pet projects that added up to $24 billion of that final $284 billion cost.


the farm bill. I'm not a great Cato Institute fan, but it's hard to argue that if Congress & the Administration reallly wanted to care for farmers, they could guarantee every full-time farmer (sorry agribusiness) a minimum income of $32,652 for a family of for for only $4 billion/year. And it would cost 1/4th of what it does now to offer all those subsidies in the new bill.

And that's just the beginning and doesn't even touch the international costs you're racking up.

The Other Mid-East War

Remember Iraq? A group called Iraq Body Count put the number of civilian dead in Iraq at somewhere between 36,980 to 41,446 and police killed at 2,145. Their database shows the source of the information, and the date. It's an attempt to try and categorize the devastation of that country since we stepped in to "help." As of today, 80 pages of dates, times, locations, targets, and weapons show the progress of the war. When I checked it today, the most recent entry was two members of a Baquba family who were killed when bombs blew up outside their home on July 2.

As of today, 2,564 US military men and women have died in fighting in Iraq.

We now return you to the latest middle-east insanity in Israel & Lebanon.

For Those Who Haven't Been Paying Attention

to the Georgia primary, rejoice that there exists on the planet at least one spot where sense rules insanity. Ralph Reed, the poster boy for the psycho right and recent financial buddy to Jack Abramoff lost by 12% of the vote to GA state senator Casey Cagle in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor.

Reed was his characteristically insane self, rallying his hapless supporters with the cry that "our values will win in November."

For those who forget what those values are, apparently they include taking money from gambling sources to help defeat a state-wide lottery plan without letting your anti-gambling allies know where the money came from.

Would that be . . . lying, Ralph?

Voodoo Science

Remember Reagan's Voodoo Economics? Well with Bush, we seem to have a voodoo science that took over the White House when George & friends moved in. Not content to be mocked at for their enthusiastic embrace of "intelligent design" the crew is showing signs that the building has been emitting some sort of brain damaging fumes.

The latest victims? Karl Rove who defended the stem cell veto by stating that researchers have found that there is "far more promise from adult stem cells than from embryonic stem cells." Who are those mystery researchers? Well, apparently they're the worms living in Rove's brain.

Watching Chief of Staffer Bolton on Meet the Press this morning, it was sad to see him try and keep up with Tim R., who grilled him on Tony Snow's use of the word "murder" to represent Bush's belief of stem cell use. Bolton at one point tried to say that Bush & crew were merely representing the "ethics and morals of this society"

I guess Bolton hasn't checked the "ethics and morals" of American society lately.

Or ever.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Well Done Photo Op Bushie Boy

Announces his veto of the stem cell research bill while surrounding himself with children who were conceived from frozen embryos. (pssst, anyone going to ask him what happened to the extra cells that weren't needed by those families once they had a pregnancy that took? garbage can, Bushie Boy, garbage can.)

What say stem cell research supporters get up for a press conference and surround themselves with all those folks who are going to die in the next 10-15 years because the research isn't being done that could save them.

Monday, July 17, 2006

U.S.'s Helping Hands in Iraq

Yes, it's time for another installment of "How the US Continues to 'Help' Iraq and the Iraqi People." $30 billion of US taxpayer funds have been spent to "rebuild" in Iraq. How are we doing so far? Well only 30% of the Iraqui people even know there's a rebuilding effort, according to a recent poll. We've been leading teams of US and international graft masters through crappy work for which we're being overcharged (when the jobs are finished) since the mission was "accomplished". Baghdad residents had higher levels of electricity and drinking water during the Saddam era than they do today.

How are we accomplishing this magnificent record of incompetance? Well first of all the US only gives contracts to companies from countries "of the willing" -- you remember them don't you, the list of supportive nations that included less than a handfull of developed nations and a whole lots of places you've never been to, or even heard of. What? You don't think Estonian and Armenian construction firms are up to the level of those from somewhat more (if less willing) nations?

Apparently more than 1/2 of the international firms we could be working with to rebuild Iraq come from "unwilling" nations. Too bad. We've got a point to continue making and we're not going to let the needs of the Iraqi people get in the way! Not when we're trying to teach them how democracy works. (Apparently democracy works in this case by excluding those who disagree with us.)

So who's getting those contracts? (no, no, not even Halliburton can have them all!) Check out the Project on Government Oversite's web pages on these contracts. For instance, from that page, "Most of the Iraq reconstruction contracts have been awarded through a particular type of troubled contracting vehicle, the Orwellian-sounding "Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity" (IDIQ). IDIQs allow the government to award an unspecified amount of future work to approved contractors. Once companies get on this list of approved contractors, they do not have to compete for work, nor is that future work ever publicly announced. As a result, small businesses that would be able to perform many of the tasks authorized under an IDIQ are never given the opportunity to compete for that work. It is estimated that this system costs small businesses, which don't get a chance to compete, $13 billion annually. Furthermore, information about the specific work and the cost of that work is never made publicly available - not even to Members of Congress upon request. As a result of this lack of transparency or accountability, contractors don't have an incentive to keep costs as low as they would in a truly competitive and open marketplace."

Go on over to the page and learn more about these contracting proceedures. If you've ever had the "pleasure" of putting through a contract for your job, you'll love what these guys are allowed to get away with in return for those generous campaign contributions.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Ralphie Reed's Georgia Campaign

My favorite Ralph Reed quote on his role in the Abramoff scandal is the defense that he didn't know Abramoff was funneling him casino gambling money for his group's campaign against a state lottery. "Had I known then what I know now, I would not have undertaken the work." Except that according to e-mails found during the investigation, apparently not only did he know where Abramoff was getting the money, but Abramoff suggested Reed continue funneling the money through other groups to disguise its casino background.

Finding Their Spines

As the world flies into a major hissy fit (see post below), the U.S. Senate and Supreme Court decide to find their spine and actually stand up to Bush & Co.'s autocracy. Congrats to the Court for finally noticing that Bush's "military tribunals" were less than legal, even in our "new war." And amazingly enough, the Senate Republican leadership told Bush & Cheney that they'd gone too far when they bypassed Congress' secret court for their domestic wiretapping fun.

Bushies, however, having lived for so long as Kings without opposition may be bowing temporarily to the Court, but they're not showing any signs of listening to their fellow Repubs in Congress. It's hard being King, you know. At some point people seem to insist on taking back control over their lives. Even a spineless Congress can find some courage in an election year when Bush's popularity is in the toilet.

The Good Old Days

Remember those days as kids when we could hide in our beds, pull the covers up over our heads and know that this meant that nobody could see us? Given the events of the past week, I want to rush back into my bed and pull the covers up over my head and pretend that people aren't trying to kill each other all over this planet.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Grover Norquist's Amusing CSPAN interview

Grover was on CSPAN yesterday discussing life for his group "Americans for Tax Reform" and his life as a friend of Jack Abramoff. When Sen. McCain noted that Norquist's group had served as a conduit for funds from Abramoff clients into grass-roots lobbying campaigns, Norquist blasted McCain as a friend of higher taxes and that the Senator fears he can't become president while Norquist is out in the world working is low-tax magic. Later on one of McCain's aides responded by saying that "obviously Grover is not well. It would be cruel of us to respond in kind."

Grover took calls from fawning Republicans and bitter working class Democrats, at least two of whom dared Grover to try and make a living on minimum wage salaries in Bush world. The most amusing part of the interview, however, was when Norquist defended his work for one of Abramoff's Native American casino lobbies. Norquist helped funnel funds from the Mississippi Choctaw American Indian tribe to anti-gambling grassroots activists like Ralph Reed who would have been uncomfortable receiving money directly from gambling profits. Reed was working to defeat a state-sponsored lottery. Norquist said he was working with the Native American group the same lottery because they believed that the state has no roll in creating one. He waxed eloquently for minutes on the grand and glorious quest of his group and the Chactaw tribe to stop state government from overreaching.

Uh, I'm just spitballing here Grov ol' boy, but could it possibly have been instead something more like the casino lobby doesn't want competition?

Another Record for Bush & the Iraq War

Congratulations to the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld triumvirate. According to the Congressional Budget Office, their adventure in Iraq is probably going to cost more money then the Korea OR Vietnam war. The only war we've had that will have cost more money is WWII. And at least we won that one.

But money can't buy you wins the way they used to. Lil' Kim is tossing around his Typodong as North Korea continues to be a pain in the butt and we just flat out lost in Vietnam.

By 2010, the cost of the Iraq war will exceed $500 billion. So hold onto your pennies, because somebody's going to be needing all the spare change we've got to offer.

Trade Ya 2006 Bush for 2003 Bush

When faced with a challenge from one of his "axis of evil" nations, Bush responds with:

1) A neo-con crafted policy of "shock & awe" invasion with no planned follow-up;
2) Accusing that nation's leader of supporting terrorism and lone-rangering it into that nation without trying to get international support; or
3) Working for international support and asking for patience to allow diplomacy to find a peaceful solution.

If you are in the year 2003, the answer is of course #1 and 2.
If you answered this question in 2006, the answer seems to be #3.

Do you think we can get our scientists to build a time machine so we can trade the 2006 Bush with the 2003 version?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Finally, an explanation!!!

Wonder what keeps Bush going? The answer is here.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Personality Disorders

Steven Green was given an honorable discharge from the Army in mid-May after he was diagnosed with a personality disorder.

Personality disorder? Sounds like something that covers a lot of ground. On Friday, the New York Times ran a story about the Southern Poverty Law Center's estimate that thousands of soldiers in the US military are linked to racist hate groups. To quote the SPLC, ""large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists" are working to infiltrate the military.

The article goes on to quote a DOD official as saying that Aryan Nations graffiti has appeared in Baghdad.

Just who are some of the kids we're shipping off to Iraq? In the military's zeal to get as many "boots on the ground" as it can, how many men and women with "personality disorders" are getting through the door and being trained to kill? Even if you are Rumsfeldian in how little you care for what happens to the Iraqi civilian population, remember one thing. These "personality disorder" trained killers will be coming back to live in your neighborhoods.

It's a DOD gift that will just keep on giving.

"Stuff Happens," Donald Rumsfeld, 4/11/03

Four guys have now been charged along with Steven Green in the rape / murder / coverup in Mahmoudiya, Iraq. The four are still on duty (now there's a comforting thought) pending the investigation. A fifth man has been charged with dereliction of duty. The names of the five haven't been released, but they're all members of the 101st Airborne. The raped & murdered girl's name was Abeer Qassim Hamza. The killer(s) also murdered her parents, Qassim Hamza and Fikhriya Taha and her 5 year old sister, Hadeel Qassim Hamza.

The age of the girl,
(I can say girl, I'm in my 40s) Green raped is being listed by the BBC as between 14-20. The top side of that being the age of so many of these kids we send over to Iraq.

It's a long standing truth that old men create wars in which young men die. But as Iraq has moved from invasion war (remember Mission Accomplished) to police action war, we continue to send young men and women into the conflict who have little to no training in violent conflict resolution. It can't possibly be a surprise to anyone that US "collateral damage" is so high. The insurgents kill more Iraqi citizens than we do. But can anyone really defend the high numbers of the "30,000 more or less" innocent men, women and children we have killed in our quest to free them?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Are You Ignoring the War in Iraq?

In today's WaPost op-ed section, Air Force Captain F. John Duresky reminded us all that regardless of what happens here, the war churns on in Iraq, taking life after life for the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfled war machine. Capt. Duresky's piece, "Forgotten Sacrifice," is a call from Iraq for people to do something about this conflict.

"A few days ago, as I do every day in Iraq, I listened to the commander's battle update. The briefer calmly and professionally described the day's events. Somewhere in Iraq, on some forgotten, dusty road, an insurgent fighting an occupying army detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) under a Humvee, killing an American soldier. The briefer fielded a question from the general and moved to the next item in the update.

The day before that, in America, a 15-year-old's incredibly rich parents planned the biggest sweet 16 party ever. They will spend more than $200,000 on an opulent event marking a single year in an otherwise unremarkable life. The soon-to-be-16 girl doesn't know where Iraq is and doesn't care. That same day an American soldier died in Iraq.

Two days earlier, a 35-year-old man went shopping for home entertainment equipment. He had the toughest time selecting the correct plasma screen; he could afford the biggest and best of everything. In the end, he had it installed by a specialty store. He spent about $50,000 on the whole system. He has never met anybody serving in the military nor served himself, but thinks we should "turn the whole place into a parking lot." That day, another American soldier died in Iraq."

Follow the link above and read the rest of this thought provoking piece. And ask if you are able to answer his question, what can [we] do about this war.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Celebrate the Fourth of July

You can celebrate the day with a barbeque, vacation with the family, or however else you wish. One thing you may want to do is check out the core of the celebration, the Declaration of Independence itself. Take a virtual stroll through the National Archives' online exhibit of the document which includes a history of the document and a transcription. I can't think of a better time for all of us to look that document over one more time. We all know the first paragraphs pretty well. But how often do you read through the list of transgressions that were so vile the colonists rose up and threw off the crown? Maybe you should read through them now.

The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. . . .

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

Bush Financal Spies Protect U.S. from Nuns

Well the Bush Administration may be working overtime and outside every law they can find in their quest to see how much power one administration can grab, but folks rest easy at night knowing that at least they're finding the right people.

Not in this C-level student's administration, where sorta almost is close enough.

So it should be no surprise that this last November, administration lunkheads cast their financial spyware net over the Holy Name Monastery of Florida. The sisters there were baffled as checks started bouncing and their account wouldn't accept payments at their Wachovia bank branch. Wachovia declined any comments, but in their rush to throw our private information over to the Bushies, Wachovia screwed over the nuns. Why? Well, apparently one of the nuns, an 80-year-old sister, did not have her Social Security number and photo ID on file.

Apparently nobody in the bank or the administration took the time to find out whether or not the nuns were armed & dangerous.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

George Bush Says Anyone Who Reveals SWIFT Helps Terrorists

Unsurprisingly, to those of us who have watched George Bush reveal classified information and then lambasted folks for "revealing it" after him at least once before . . . Bush's administration beat everyone else to the punch in revealing that monitoring.

Bush has called it "disgraceful" that the NYT reported on the international financial monitoring program, SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Communication). Sen. Buning (Rep - KY) accused the times of treason. Sen. Roberts (Rep. KS) asked for an investigation. Rep. Peter King, chair of House Homeland Security Committee, asked Attorney General Gonzalez to pursue possible "criminal prosecution" of the NYT. All of this huffing and puffing is over the disclosure of a program that . . . wait a minute, a program that the Bush Administration already disclosed.

Follow us into the rabbit hole of the world of Bush.

Bush signed an executive order in September 2001 that describes how US would be seeking new tools to track terrorist financing that would include getting access to info on terrorist-linked wire transfer's and SWIFT-based transactions. It has popped up on documents posted BY the US government on the Internet, and in Congressional testimony (apparently on a day the outraged Republicans were probably taking one of their lobbyist-funded fact finding trips to Bermuda or Paris).

government documents posted on the Internet, congressional testimony, guidelines for bank examiners, and even an executive order President Bush signed in September 2001 -- describe how US authorities have openly sought new tools to track terrorist financing since 2001. That includes getting access to information about terrorist-linked wire transfers and other transactions, including those that travel through SWIFT.

Ok, well maybe you only get your news from UN Security Council reports. Where SWIFT and similar financial clearinghouses were noted as being "critical to processing international banking transactions and are rich with payment information. The United States has begun to apply new monitoring techniques to spot and verify suspicious transactions. The group recommends the adoption of similar mechanisms by other countries."

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