initially posted 2008-03-10 01:07:11 -0500. bumped by carol considering the latest by RBA
I normally find some pseudo-witty way to euphemize profanity, but for this piece I felt it was important to reflect the language of the source documents. Thanks for your indulgence.
Admiral William "Fox" Fallon is the first Navy four-star to be put in charge of U.S. Central Command, the Middle East sandbox traditionally assigned to an Army or Marine Corps general. According to a recent Esquire article by Thomas P.M. Barnett, Fallon may also be the only force in global politics keeping Dick Cheney from entangling America in an all out war with Iran.
If that's so, it's another indication of just how broken America's system of government has become under George W. Bush's dysfunctional stewardship. Make the jump»
Pakistan, it appears, has replaced Afghanistan as the world's top Bananastan.
You may remember "Afghanistan bananastan" from the 1972 film The Hot Rock, in which thief Robert Redford uses the phrase to put vault guards into a hypnotic trance. Today, a "Bananastan" is (largely by my decree) a South Asian equivalent of a South American Banana Republic. Don't confuse a Bananastan with a Bananaraq, which is a Southwest Asian Banana Republic, or with the Barbecue Republic, which is the United States.
Like a Banana Republic, Pakistan is rife with corruption and has been ruled of late by a puppet (albeit an often uncooperative puppet) of the Barbecue Republic who has run roughshod over his country's constitution and judicial system; which, come to think of it, makes the Bananastan a lot like the Barbecue Republic, too. In many ways, in fact, Pakistan objectifies all that has failed in American foreign policy, and in America itself, over the past seven years and change. Make the jump»
While most of us are focused on universal care, the Bush Administration has been incrementally shredding our existing public health safety net in ways that have yet to become apparent. The most recent assault on our public health care infrastructure is escaping the notice of mainstream media and citizen journalists alike, probably because it is not easily explained. I am referring to a proposed set of arcane regulation changes by the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) which, if enacted, will result in $15 billion dollars in cuts over five years to service providers. Make the jump»
Gee, breaking news from Kossack calipygian about Bush's bestest buddy, Saudi Prince Bandar and family:
...the British Government had launched an investigation into defense contractor BAE for paying bribes to Saudi officials, including Bush family BFF and former Saudi Ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar bin Sultan. As you probably already know,Prince Bandar knew about the Invasion of Iraq before our own State Department. As it turns out, while Prince Bandar was getting more access to our deepest secrets than our own State Department, he was also getting up to 120 million Pounds a year deposited into a Washington DC Riggs Bank account for facilitating the 43 billion pound Al-Yamanah arms deal between Saudi Arabia and BAE.
The investgation was quashed because Bandar threatened the UK if they didn't stop.
Why is that significant? Because Bandar's wife was paying some of the 9/11 hijackers:
Findings from an inquiry by the House-Senate Joint Intelligence Committee suggest evidence indicates money from the Saudi Arabian government could have made its way to the two hijackers through two Saudi students when they were in California.
There is some evidence that the students received a payment through the wife of the Saudi ambassador to the United States, according to the inquiry.
Do you get that? Money goes from BAE to bank accounts controlled by Prince Bandar bin Sultan to the 9/11 hijackers in California.
In addition to that, most Republicans probably want folks to overlook other Republican ties to terror. For example, while Reich-wing nuts cry out how liberals are "terrorist-lovers trying to destroy our nation," two Republicans have already been arrested for aiding Al Qaeda and terrorist organizations.1 The true nature of today's Republicans and Conservatives -- and the Beasties in the White House -- is coming to light; they can be easily found by the company they keep.
And that's not all... Make the jump»
The following message is reprinted with permission from Congressman Wexler's office.
Today, in hearings on Capitol Hill, I confronted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on her role in the lies, exaggerations, and misdirection that led us into the Iraq war.
During my questioning, Secretary Rice falsely stated that she never saw intelligence casting doubt on the Bush Administration claims that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction. This unbelievable statement is flatly contradicted by numerous government reports and CIA testimonials.
Sources such as the 2006 Senate Intelligence Report, a January 2004 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace report as well as former CIA agents (including Tyler Drumheller) have disclosed that there was contrary intelligence to the information provided to the Bush Administration in the lead up to the Iraq war.
See this video: Make the jump»
Gee, for a nation that doesn't torture, this shouldn't be happening:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The CIA director on Tuesday publicly named for the first time the three suspected al Qaeda detainees who were subjected to the harsh interrogation technique of waterboarding.
"It was used on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. It was used on Abu Zubayda, and it was used on [Abd al-Rahim] al-Nashiri," CIA Director Michael Hayden told a Senate hearing.
Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell, who also testified at the hearing, said waterboarding remains a technique in the CIA's arsenal, according to The Associated Press. He saidit would require the president's consent and legal approval from the attorney general, the AP reported.
History teaches us many things, inspiring hope and confidence, pride, honor and a sense of continuity. It also denotes and demarcs the failings and faults of humanity, the very depths of despair and depravity that evoke images and memories we shrink away from in a combination of fear, loathing and embarrassing denial that the blood of those caught up in such events might still flow through our veins and those of our children.
Recent history is as much a teacher as past, and sometimes the fresher the lesson the more we can glean from it, before the dust of centuries obscures it or the selfish whims and fancies of others alter our record in efforts to change it.
Recently, I came across remarks made during the Bill Clinton Presidency1 that stirred memories long forgotten by me -- or, perhaps not so much "forgotten" as misplaced and obscured by recent events. Nonetheless, the remarks were sobering -- not only did they evoke comparative images drawing analogies to the current place and time, and the actions of the current President and Congress, but these remarks also served to remind me of the blatant hypocrisy of the Republicans in Congress (those who, at the time of the Clinton actions in Kosovo, stood firmly against it yet now unfailingly support the actions in Iraq from inception thru completion).
And the remarks also served to dredge up questions as to the effectiveness of former President Clinton as a spokesman for his wife's candidacy, as well as the potential hypocrisy of all Presidential hopefuls with regard to the question of why aren't they leading us NOW and ending the criminal Iraq fiasco, the illegal wiretapping and putting the kibosh on the telco amnesty provisions?
I drew a complete blank attempting to answer those questions, so I therefore abdicate to you, the reader, to determine what the answers are or to get the candidates to answer them for me. Read on for the sections of the Millenium Evening remarks that particularly stirred my mind to question and compare, and share your thoughts in the comments.
Thank you. Make the jump»
An article in the Washington Post tonight caught my eye, almost simultaneous with the eye-catching (and popping) article from Norman Podhoretz that I'll get to in a minute. Army Off Target on Recruits, by Josh White, starts off with an interesting blurb:
The percentage of new recruits entering the Army with a high school diploma dropped to a new low in 2007, according to a study released yesterday, and Army officials confirmed that they have lowered their standards to meet high recruiting goals in the middle of two ongoing wars.
So, this means that as the Army fails to get the numbers of fresh bodies it needs going into the Iraq meatgrinder, it lowers the standards in order to expand the net and capture more folks -- folks who would not have formerly qualified. Make the jump»
Via PrgrsvArchitect on a comment over in a DailyKos Open Thread, here:
Just out from the Center for Public Integrity
President George W. Bush and seven of his administration's top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Nearly five years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, an exhaustive examination of the record shows that the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.
On at least 532 separate occasions (in speeches, briefings, interviews, testimony, and the like), Bush and these three key officials, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan, stated unequivocally that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (or was trying to produce or obtain them), links to Al Qaeda, or both. This concerted effort was the underpinning of the Bush administration's case for war.
President Bush, for example, made 231 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and another 28 false statements about Iraq's links to Al Qaeda. Secretary of State Powell had the second-highest total in the two-year period, with 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq's links to Al Qaeda. Rumsfeld and Fleischer each made 109 false statements, followed by Wolfowitz (with 85), Rice (with 56), Cheney (with 48), and McClellan (with 14).
The massive database at the heart of this project juxtaposes what President Bush and these seven top officials were saying for public consumption against what was known, or should have been known, on a day-to-day basis. This fully searchable database includes the public statements, drawn from both primary sources (such as official transcripts) and secondary sources (chiefly major news organizations) over the two years beginning on September 11, 2001. It also interlaces relevant information from more than 25 government reports, books, articles, speeches, and interviews.
Heh. Right from the horses
ass mouth primary oratory orifice.
Just a brief blurb from a Reuters news article by Deborah Zabarenko from Monday, January 7:
WASHINGTON, Jan 7 (Reuters) - The United States delayed a decision on whether global warming threatens polar bears, saying on Monday new data and public comment required more time. Environmentalists vowed to sue for quicker action.
Apparently, while denying that the potential reason for the exception was that "substantial scientific uncertainty" existed with regard to the threat to the bears, no really adequate answer was provided, and the head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it would take "as much as a month" to analyze all the pertinent details.
The blog just2hands provides some additional information about the initial decision to consider listing the bears under the Endangered Species Act:
well, a few weeks ago, the dept. of interior finally pulled its head out and put out a proposal to list polar bears as a threatened under the endangered species act ... gee, i wonder what convinced them? was it the reports of polar bear drownings or was it the cannibalism?
You can check the link to the blog for three action sites where you can either sign a pre-written letter or add one of your own.
Important Update: A guest post by Alisha Fowler via WattHead on DailyKos draws attention to some additional -- and more sinister -- reasons behind the delay. Check it out:
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was due to make a decision about its "threatened" status by this Wednesday. The Service has, however, delayed the listing for up to one month!
This leaves the bear and its habitat unprotected. Coincidentally, one of the largest oil and gas lease sales is set to occur on February 6, in the Chukchi Sea off of the northwest coast of Alaska –
Does anyone smell a
rat burning Bush in the room? Make the jump»
The Hague, Netherlands - The war crimes trial of Charles Taylor, Liberia's former president, heard its first testimony Monday and saw video of victims telling of being sexually assaulted or dismembered by rebels who plundered West African diamond fields.
That one sentence got me thinking, particularly when I saw the term sexually assaulted.
Not to play down the other horrors like amputation that the victims underwent, but -- sexual assaults mentioned in the same sentence as "war crimes trial" caught my attention. Make the jump»
The story of the incident between U.S. and Iranian naval forces in the Strait of Hormuz Monday morning may tell us more about the nature of today's news reporting than about the prospects for war and peace in the Middle East.
Veteran military reporter Robert Burns's account of the incident for the Associated Press opened with a bang:
An Iranian fleet of boats charged at and threatened to blow up a three-ship U.S. Navy convoy passing near Iranian waters and then fled as American commanders were preparing to open fire.
The lead paragraph by Andrew Grey of Reuters sounded eerily similar:
Iranian boats aggressively approached three U.S. Naval ships in the Strait of Hormuz, a main shipping route for Gulf oil, at the weekend and threatened that the ships would explode, U.S. officials said on Monday.
Even more alarming was the top of the article in The Australian:
A Pentagon official said that US forces were "literally" on the verge of firing on the Iranian boats as they passed through the strategic Strait of Hormuz, and had moved to man their guns when the Iranians turned and sped away.
It's now January of the year 2008. In approximately two weeks, George W. Bush will address the nation and lie to us all. Still. Not again, but still. He's been lying to us since the day he first took office, along with his gang of neoconservative warmongers. They were off to a running start then, and they've run rampant throughout the nation with nary a challenge from Congress.
In the first four years, that was almost unavoidable -- the Republican majority played hard and played dirty, abdicating the duties of Congress in favor of party loyalty over the needs of the country.
The next two years saw that majority begin to crumble, until -- in the 2006 election cycle -- the Democrats broke the Republican majority.
We, the People, expected change.
The World expected change.
For whatever the reason, change never came. Make the jump»
This just in, via Reuters:
Five Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats harassed and provoked three U.S. Navy ships in the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route off the Iranian coast, during the weekend, Pentagon officials said on Monday.
According to the officials, the radio transmission from one of the Iranian ships said: "I am coming at you. You will explode in a couple of minutes."
The officials said it was not unusual for Iranian boats to get close to U.S. ships in the strait but the radio transmission was unusual.
It appears to be a direct attempt at provocation, doesn't it? Make the jump»
Just a reminder:
About two weeks before deciding to invade Iraq, President Bush was told by CIA Director George Tenet there was a "slam dunk case" that dictator Saddam Hussein had unconventional weapons, according to a new book by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward.
-- From CNN
Now back to the present, where we find this:
ISRAELI security officials are to brief President George W Bush on their latest intelligence about Iran’s nuclear programme - and how it could be destroyed - when he begins a tour of the Middle East in Jerusalem this week.
Israeli intelligence is understood to agree that the project was halted around the time of America’s invasion of Iraq, but has “rock solid” information that it has since started up again.
-- From Times Online
"Rock Solid" must be the Israeli term for "Slam Dunk" this year. Make the jump»