Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Hey! Wait a Minuteman!

I got a heads-up email earlier today, saying there was something amiss with an extension course up at Western Washington University in Bellingham.

I read the email and then checked it out in the Academy for Lifelong Learning (A.L.L.) Spring Semester 2007 Course Catalog. Sure enough, there the "class" was, between "Classical Music of Northern India" and "The Spice Trade Through the Ages":
Citizens on the Border
COST: $27 A.L.L. members, $34 non-members
LOCATION: Bellingham Yacht Club, 2625 Harbor Loop Dr.
Three sessions: Wednesdays, March 7-21
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
Registration deadline: February 28

This course is a history of Americans protesting what they be-
lieve is the failure of the government to fulfill its Constitutional
responsibilities. What is the purpose of the Minutemen? Who
are they? Where do they come from? Why are they needed?
Are their methods controversial? Are they a threat to anyone?

Tom Williams is the founder and the First Commander of the
Washington State Minuteman Detachment. ...
I was shocked! Nay, I was stunned!

I fired off and email to the Director of Extended Education asking what the heck was going on:
It has come to my attention that this Spring Western is offering a course titled "Citizens on the Border", taught by Tom Williams of the Washington Minuteman Detachment.

I am utterly baffled by this. Since when does Western sponsor recruitment for, to say the least, controversial political groups? Mr. Williams "teaching" a class about his own group hardly meets any possible criteria for academic objectivity. As it stands this is simply an opportunity for Mr. Williams to propagandize for his group using Westerns academic respectability as cover.

The Washington State Human Rights Commission was concerned enough to convene a hearing, in Bellingham, about the activities of the Washington Minutemen Detachment. (Hearing Minutes)
The connections between the Minutemen movement and White Supremacists is well documented.

I suggest you read: Shell Games: The "Minutemen" and Vigilante Anti-Immigrant Politics
- and -
David Neiwert's series:
The March of the Minutemen
Intro: Parts 1,2,3,4,5, and 6.

As a citizen of Washington State, a resident of Whatcom County and a former Western student, I urge you to reconsider offering this course.

Thank you for your careful consideration of this matter,
And the Director replied very quickly:
Thank you for your message. When the full background about this course was brought to our attention, we withdrew our invitation to Dr. Williams to present in A.L.L. The course has been cancelled. We appreciate your concerns and time in communicating with us.
Dr. Barbara Audley
Executive Director
Extended Education and Summer Programs
Western Washington University
Bellingham, WA 98225
Obviously I was far from the first to voice concern about a Minutemen propaganda class and once the University was clued in they cancelled the course without hesitation. But, ya gotta wonder how it got there in the first place.

Friday, January 26, 2007

greed as usual

Kennedy kicks ass and takes names......how much is enough for christssake?????? these rethugs have taken greed to a new level....oh and what happened to all the "up or down" vote crap....jez!! thanks Ed Schultz for turning me on to this beeaauutiful rant!

Ted Kennedy on Republicans and Minimum wage....see video here

Thursday, January 25, 2007

What the FCC isn't telling about Local News

TPMmuckraker points to misconduct by the Republican controlled FCC.
AP: FCC Hid Data on Media Ownership

At the Federal Communications Commission reports were altered, and studies were blocked from release that showed local ownership was beneficial for local news coverage. The panel is still withholding hundreds of pages on media ownership research from release to the public. So says the Associated Press: ...

So they've tried to cover up the fact that local ownership means better local news coverage. It might be coincidence that this story came out at the same time that Clear Channel decided to kill off the already downsized News operation at KVOS channel-12 in Bellingham.

KVOS drops News View
Station cites lack of ad support
By pulling the plug on News View, KVOS left Whatcom County without a local television newscast for the first time in decades. The station began broadcasting in 1953. ...
And course, Clear Channel says it was a decision made by local management. But you just have to wonder if the rules laid down by the headquarters in San Antonio weren't designed to assure that news programming would get the axe.

FDR still the Greatest

A Zogby International poll finds Americans think FDR and JFK are the greatest Presidents. And if you sort the data a little differently, 'Tricky Dick' Nixon (57%) and George W. Bush (50%) are the Biggest Failures.

Polling Data

How would you rate these presidents? - Great or near great, average, or below average or a failure?




Franklin D. Roosevelt




John F. Kennedy




Ronald Reagan




Harry Truman




Dwight Eisenhower




Bill Clinton




Gerald Ford




Jimmy Carter




George H. Bush




George W. Bush




Lyndon Johnson




Richard Nixon




Source: Zogby International
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 843 likely American voters, conducted from Jan. 5 to Jan. 9, 2007. Margin of error is 3.2 per cent.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

SOTU snark

Nancy beats George at arm wrestling!

Another Local News Outlet Bites the Dust

Bellinghams only TV station has dumped the News.
BELLINGHAM - KVOS television has announced the cancellation of its morning "News View" program, effective immediately. ...

...Ward's statement said the station, owned by Clear Channel Communications, will cut back to a Sunday morning news program on community issues, and the change "impacts our news division staffing." ...

...Station managers did not respond to requests for an interview. (full article)
Clear Channel axed evening News programming a long time ago; "News" on Bellingham's channel 12 had been relegated to the early hours of the morning. Now regional vice president Cambra Ward says the "News" doesn't pay it's own way, so it goes.

Well of course, showing reruns of "Scrubs" at 6 PM and reruns of "Blind Date" at 11 PM is more profitable than producing a local news program. And Gee Whiz, why would 'Clear Channel Communication' want to sacrifice any profits... I mean, just because they're using our airwaves to make their money, why would they feel any obligation to give anything back to the community... after all, 'Clear Channel' doesn't live here, why would they care about our local news!

Bush's SOTU - Un-impressive, Un-Truthful

Bush did his State of the Union address before Congress... And Washingtonians weren't very impressed.
SurveyUSA News Poll
Geography Surveyed: State of Washington
Data Collected: 01/23/2007
Release Date: 01/23/2007 10:40 PM ET
Sponsor: KING-TV Seattle
Asked of 532 who watched state of union
Margin of Sampling Error for this question = ± 4.3%

Is the president in touch? Or out of touch with the average American?
42% In Touch
54% Out Of Touch
4% Not Sure

Will this state of the union speech bring Americans together? Or divide Americans further?

40% Bring Americans Together
41% Divide Americans Further
19% Not Sure

Is the president telling Americans the whole truth about how things are going in Iraq, both good and bad? Is the president shading the truth, to make things in Iraq sound better than they actually are? Or, is the president intentionally misleading the American people about how things are going in Iraq?

35% Telling The Whole Truth
37% Shading The Truth
25% Intentionally Misleading
3% Not Sure
Bush just re-hashed the same old themes. It's clear that he has no interest in what the American people think or what they want.

The Democratic response by Senator James Webb was far more interesting. He called for a new, intelligent approach to ending the occupation of Iraq. He also spoke about our economy, with a new and refreshing economic populist tone.
... When one looks at the health of our economy, it's almost as if we are living in two different countries. Some say that things have never been better. The stock market is at an all-time high, and so are corporate profits. But these benefits are not being fairly shared. When I graduated from college, the average corporate CEO made 20 times what the average worker did; today, it's nearly 400 times. In other words, it takes the average worker more than a year to make the money that his or her boss makes in one day.

Wages and salaries for our workers are at all-time lows as a percentage of national wealth, even though the productivity of American workers is the highest in the world. Medical costs have skyrocketed. College tuition rates are off the charts. Our manufacturing base is being dismantled and sent overseas. Good American jobs are being sent along with them.

In short, the middle class of this country, our historic backbone and our best hope for a strong society in the future, is losing its place at the table. Our workers know this, through painful experience. Our white-collar professionals are beginning to understand it, as their jobs start disappearing also. And they expect, rightly, that in this age of globalization, their government has a duty to insist that their concerns be dealt with fairly in the international marketplace. ...

And to add insult to injury; Bush's former base, the archconservatives, aren't happy with him either:

Richard Viguerie Blasts Bush

Conservative pioneer Richard Viguerie has a burr in his saddle after watching the president's speech. Remember, though, that. Mr. Viguerie is on the record as stating that President Reagan wasn't sufficiently conservative. Viguerie is the press's to-go guy when there's a need to quote a conservative who thinks some other conservative isn't conservative enough.

"The underlying message in this State of the Union Address was directed toward the Democrats: In effect, we can work together--let's make a deal. The underlying message directed toward the conservatives was: You have no place else to go. ...
( From: Hotline On Call: more)

Monday, January 22, 2007

When Republicers Attack

While reading an article about the origins of our Independent Judiciary, I immediately thought about Republican attacks on our courts. Particularly Alberto Gonzales recent claim that our courts aren't qualified to rule on cases involving national security policy. The article showed me that the Right-wingers made-up arguments about the supposed limits of judicial review are conveniently leap-frogging backwards over the real ideas of the Founding Fathers to the less evolved writings of Montesquieu.
... John Adams was the American Founding’s most sophisticated political theorist and when he modified Montesquieu’s conception of the separation of powers by developing what can be fairly termed the political architecture of an independent judiciary, he articulated an idea that helped make judicial review possible. In fact, Adams’s contribution to political theory is arguably as significant as that of the French baron whose work inspired him and the other American Founders.

It is well known that Montesquieu’s seminal contribution to the history of ideas is that political power should be divided among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government so as to ensure the people’s liberty. What is largely overlooked, however, is that Montesquieu’s characterization of the judicial power differs dramatically from the American view: the preferred scheme of checks and balances Montesquieu describes in The Spirit of the Laws is not the three famous powers but the established English scheme of king, lords, and commons. “Among the three powers of which we have spoken,” he writes, “that of judging is in some fashion, null.” He maintains that “only two” powers truly matter—the legislative and the executive—and that the “part of the legislative body composed of the nobles is quite appropriate” for checking legislative abuse.

Likewise overlooked is that Montesquieu associates the judicial power with petit juries, rather than with a judge in a robe. “In England,” Montesquieu proclaims in a much-neglected passage, “the jury decides whether the accused is guilty or not of the deed brought before it; and, if he is declared guilty, the judge pronounces the penalty imposed by law for this deed; and he needs only his eyes for that.”

It would be left to John Adams to suggest that judges, and not simply temporary juries, need to be independent from the executive and legislative branches of government. Adams had been writing about the need for an independent judiciary since at least January and February of 1773, when he engaged in a series of exchanges on the matter in the Boston press with William Brattle. Brattle, a Tory, insisted that the proposed payment of judicial salaries by the Crown should not concern the people of Massachusetts Bay, as the judges of the colony’s superior court, like their brethren in England, enjoyed life tenure so long as they behaved well. Adams, after conducting an extensive historical review of the subject, countered that Brattle was wrong to claim that judges in England, let alone in America, held their offices during good behavior. Consequently, the proposed control by the Crown over judicial salaries was perceived by Adams as an additional threat to the independence of the Massachusetts judiciary.

Adams revisited the matter of an independent judiciary in Thoughts on Government, published in 1776. The pamphlet—a clarion call for the separation of powers written in response to Thomas Paine’s recommendation in Common Sense that all government power be vested in a unicameral legislature—explains in no uncertain terms how important an independent judiciary is to any form of government dedicated to the preservation of liberty. Adams writes,

The dignity and stability of government in all its branches, the morals of the people, and every blessing of society depend so much upon an upright and skillful administration of justice, that the judicial power ought to be distinct from both the legislative and executive, and independent upon both, that so it may be a check upon both, as both should be checks upon that.

Adams argues in his pamphlet for more than merely making the judiciary a separate branch of government. He also calls for stable judicial compensation and tenure so long as judges maintain good behavior: “they should hold estates for life in their offices; or, in other words, their commissions should be during good behavior, and their salaries ascertained and established by law.” Judges who misuse their offices should be impeached by the “house of representatives . . . before the governor and council” and, “if convicted, should be removed.”

The Federal Constitution of 1787 excluded the executive from participating in the impeachment process, but otherwise contained principles identical to Adams’s proposal. As David McCullough put it in his biography of Adams, “[l]ittle that Adams ever wrote had such effect as his Thoughts on Government.”

Judicial review fits into the political theory of an independent judiciary in at least two ways. First, judicial review is a core component of the Constitution’s system of checks and balances, a system in which each branch of the federal government is endowed with, in the words of The Federalist No. 48, “a constitutional control over the others.” The President has, among other checks, a veto over congressional bills and the power to nominate federal judges. Congress has, among other checks, the power to override presidential vetoes and to control the size and jurisdiction of the federal courts, as well as the power to impeach all federal officials. Without the power of judicial review, what check—what “constitutional control”—would the federal judiciary have on the President or Congress? The answer is none. As a consequence, judicial review is an inevitable component of the Constitution’s commitment to checks and balances.

Judicial review also fits into the political theory of an independent judiciary in another, equally straightforward, fashion: judicial review is the ultimate expression of judicial independence, because without judicial independence no court could safely void an act of a coordinate political branch. Bluntly stated, the risk to a judge who exercises judicial review when he or she is not independent of the executive and the legislature is either removal from the bench or a reduction in salary. John Adams knew this, and so did the Framers who met in Philadelphia during the summer of 1787 when they wrote Adams’s theory of judicial independence into Article III of the Constitution. .... (source)

Unhappiest Day Of The Year?

It's Blue Monday: The Unhappiest Day Of The Year

(CBS4) LONDON If you find yourself feeling a little depressed and down this Monday, chances are you're not alone.

British psychologist Cliff Arnall has designated January 22, 2007 as Blue Monday – the most miserable day of the year.

Arnall used a mathematical equation to determine that Jan. 22 is the gloomiest and most depressing day of the year.
Tuesday Bush will speak to the Congress and for him it can't be a happy day. His advisers and speech-writers have advertised that they've whittled down what he'll have to say. Yes siree! It's the same old Bush formula of reducing expectations.
Bush Speech to Showcase Domestic Agenda -
Bush includes domestic themes in State of the Union to appeal to mainstream America
WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2007
By BEN FELLER Associated Press Writer

(AP) President Bush will tell Americans Tuesday night he has important plans for health care, education and other kitchen table topics that have little to do with Iraq. Yet if the state of the union is strong, so is the nation's skepticism that he can deliver.

For the first time, Bush will give his State of the Union address with Democrats in power and looking over his shoulder _ literally, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seated right behind him. Most people have no confidence that Bush and a Democratic Congress can solve problems together, a troubling sentiment that has only deepened since the November election, an Associated Press-AOL News poll finds. ...

... Meanwhile, bitter feelings over the war stand in the way of the principal goal of the speech _ a bipartisan agenda. ...
(full article)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

What They Won't Say Out Loud In Kansas

Oh my goodness, even Republicans in Kansas are beginning to see that the occupation of Iraq is a disaster. Most of them aren't quite ready to say it out loud, but they've lost faith in George Bush.
Opposition to Iraq war simmers in America's heartland
By Steven Thomma
McClatchy Newspapers

TOPEKA, Kan. - President Bush is losing the heartland.

Conservative Kansas - home to the Army's Fort Riley, the U.S. Cavalry Museum, Republican icons Dwight Eisenhower and Bob Dole, and the place that gave Bush back to back landslide majorities - is turning against the Iraq war.

Kansas Democrats are quicker to oppose Bush, but growing numbers of Kansas Republicans also are rejecting his plan to send more troops to Iraq and the war itself. That threatens Bush's hope to maintain a solid base of support for his war policies and undermines White House efforts to portray war opposition as partisan Democratic politics.

"The president's war ideas are not very popular here," said Tim Shallenburger, the chairman of the Kansas Republican Party. "Even good Republicans are getting frustrated and believe the president is being stubborn. ... Seven out of 10 good conservative Republicans may not want to say it, but they oppose the war." ...(full article)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Larsen Calls for Partial Withdrawal from Iraq

Congressman Rick Larsen - D (WA-02) has issued a statement calling for a Partial Withdrawal from Iraq. On the face of it, that might sound wishy-washy but he has very clearly spelled out what he thinks the U.S. should and shouldn't be doing.

Read his full statement:

January 18, 2007

Larsen Calls for Partial Withdrawal from Iraq

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) today released the following statement on the current situation in Iraq:

"As recently as two months ago, I stated that the United States should remain in Iraq until our military had completed the training of Iraqi military forces. I no longer believe this approach will best help the United States take actions to keep us safe. As a result, I recently called for the unconditional partial withdrawal of U.S. military from Iraq. No longer should this partial withdrawal be conditioned upon the completion of Iraqi military training."

"This decision is difficult for me, but as a member of the Armed Services Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, I have to consider how this administration's actions impact national security. The president's announcement to add 21,500 U.S. troops to Iraq is a step in the wrong direction. The American public does not want an escalation of the Iraq war, especially without an explanation of what we are trying to achieve. The president promised a new approach. More troops does not equal a new way forward."

"I have concluded that the United States has a choice: we can keep a lid on Iraq's civil war or we can devote enough time and attention to fighting terrorists wherever they are and save Afghanistan from slipping back to the bad days of Taliban rule. I choose the latter."

"In Iraq, we need to provide our military a strategy that is worthy of their individual actions and sacrifice. I propose the following:

1. The U.S. should complete training and equipping Iraqi military forces to fight a counterinsurgency campaign against the Iraqi-based insurgency.

2. The U.S. should embed available trainers and special operations personnel with Iraqi military forces to fight Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).

3. The U.S. should provide personnel to secure Iraq's borders to cut the flow of foreign fighters and weapons into Iraq.

4. The U.S. should immediately withdraw troops from Iraq not necessary for these missions for redeployment to other areas of need or send them home.

5. The U.S. should invest in a diplomatic surge in the Middle East engaging all countries, including Syria and Iran, and convene an international peace conference to end the civil war in Iraq.

6. The U.S. should loosen its visa policies for Iraqis seeking to come to the U.S."
"I have lost confidence in the Iraqi government to fulfill its commitments to the United States. I want the Bush administration to understand the frustration expressed in the last election. I want our women and men in the military to know we have a strategy that is worthy of their individual actions and sacrifice and that they will have the resources necessary to do their jobs. Most of all, I fear that the president's decisions have led us away from our greatest national security threat--fighting terrorists who will do us harm."

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hey George, Are You Listening?

Citizens don't think escalation is a good idea.
Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg Poll. Jan. 13-16, 2007. N=1,344 adults nationwide. MoE ? 3. RV = registered voters

"Do you approve or disapprove of George W. Bush's plan to send almost an additional twenty-two thousand U.S. troops into Iraq?"

Approve 36%
Disapprove 60%
Unsure 4%

"Who do you think can do a better job of handling the situation in Iraq: President Bush or the Democrats in Congress?"

President Bush 34%
Democrats In Congress 43%
Both Equally (vol.) 3%
Neither (vol.) 11%
Unsure 9%

Congress doesn't think escalation is a good idea.
ThinkProgress is keeping track of where every member of Congress stands on escalation


Totals (excludes non-voting members)

Ds Rs Indep Total
Oppose 210 31 1 242
Lean Oppose 23 19 0 42
Lean Support 0 24 0 24
Support 2 104 1 107
Refuse to Answer 5 33 0 38
Unknown 42 40 0 82
Total 282 251 2 535
Veterans and active-duty Guard and reserve members don't think escalation is a good idea.
Three anti-escalation stories from today's Marine Corps Times
  • Retired generals bash Bush on surge plan
    President Bush says his plan to stabilize Iraq is the best plan out there. But even one of the men who helped think it up says it has a fundamental flaw.
    Posted Thursday Jan 18, 2007 22:02:48 EST
  • Vet group protests surge on Capitol Hill
    Just days after a group of active-duty service members pressed Congress to end the war in Iraq, another group of veterans of that conflict is calling on lawmakers to oppose President Bush’s...
    Posted Thursday Jan 18, 2007 18:26:04 EST
  • End Iraq war, service members tell Congress
    A letter from about 1,000 active-duty, Guard and reserve members calling for Congress to end the war in Iraq was delivered to Capitol Hill on Tuesday.
    Posted Thursday Jan 18, 2007 17:57:24 EST

Doug Ericksen R-Ferndale, Gunning for Trouble?

- hat-tip to Stilwell at nwprogressive.org for catching this one from Adam Wilsons Blog at the Olympian .

It seems the House Republican Leaders could only round up one reporter and three conservative bloggers for a conference call. Their plan? To put conservative bloggers to work?

After warm up chit chat in which Deputy Leader Rep. Doug Ericksen of Ferndale told a blogger: ""I think everybody aught to access to those automatic weapons," said Ericksen, explaining he didn't think they are any more dangerous than a semi-auto." They moved on to the real topic; the House Republicans lack of fire power.
... If the Republicans thought the professional press, or the paid reporters, weren't going to give their minority any ink, they appeared to be about right. So they're talking to people who will listen.

We'll see how well that works, but its potential showed through when Ericksen talked about the chances of peeling off enough Democrats to pass a Republican bill. He said most of the new Democrats won in swing districts with pledges to be business friendly.

'We're still trying to feel them out, too. Trying to see who is feeling the heat back home," he said. "That's where you (bloggers) come in with your ability to communicate directly with the people on these issues."

Well yeah; using conservative bloggers to attack Democrats might be a step up from sending out fake sex-offender postcards.

Ericksen might be busy making conference calls down in Olympia, but he sure doesn't communicate with 'the people' 'round here. I'm Ferndale's 'liberal' blogger and I wasn't one of the liberal bloggers (supposedly) invited to his shindig. My not being invited might not be too surprising, but from what I can tell neither was Ferndale's 'Conservative Christian Republican' blogger Wally. It just doesn't seem like Doug's all that interested in his District. Has all that time down in Olympia made Ericksen too 'citified' to talk to us 'hicks' up here in Whatcom County?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Larsen Doesn't Buy Bush Lies - Snowjob Backfires

The first week of January, Congressman Rick Larsen (WA-02) was invited to the Whitehouse for a special briefing on Bush's 'new' plan for Iraq. What the Whitehouse told Larsen about who's idea the "surge" was didn't jive with what they'd told Congressmen Smith and Dicks in a later meeting. Smith and Dicks were handed the same line that Bush used in his speech, that the Iraqi government wanted more U.S. troops. But during Larsens briefing, the Iraqis weren't mentioned. And what's more, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has denied responsibility for the plan. (source:)

So yet another case of Bush and Company lying to America has been uncovered.

Larsen has now called for immediately beginning the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

WHAT HAPPENED: U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, called for a partial withdrawal of American forces from Iraq.
WHY NOW? Larsen believes the Iraqi government is using the American military for its own purposes and now is the time to focus on fighting terrorism outside of Iraq or bolstering the war in Afghanistan.
I was very glad to read in the article: ""More troops do not equal a new way forward in Iraq," Larsen said after his announcement. "The president does not understand the meaning of the election in 2006."" I'd say it also shows that Rick gets what the '06 election meant.

Doubtless the article about Larsens announcement will cause our local right-wing loonies to send lots of angry emails to the Herald's Government reporter Sam Taylor. They agree with Steven Colbert's conclusion that "reality has a well-known liberal bias".

Take for instance, a recent letter-to-the-editor that began: "Contrary to most recent headlines, many people such as me are still pleased and confident with President Bush." He may still trust Bush, but he refuses to see that he's in an ever shrinking minority. A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll found that only 12% of Americans favored sending more troops to Iraq.

Although it didn't have the result Bush's speechwriters intended, his speech on escalation surge enhancement of troops in Iraq certainly did have an effect, :
49% said it is "unlikely" the U.S. will win or "certain" it will not, vs. 46% who said that before Bush's speech.

Bush's overall "approval rating" stood at 34%, vs. 37% before the speech.

The percentage who said they disapprove of Bush's performance as president was 63%, vs. 59% before the speech.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

bush's oily war.......

as we are bombarded with more lies and slick f__k us group tested phrases like "the surge" or "new way forward" i think it's really important to think about the people who are really asked to make the sacrifices, especially those who are hosting the war. for almost 4 years now they have endured this nightmare. i know i have said this before but NO sacrifice has been asked of most of us.....we are told to shop more and put magnets on our SUV's. the bill will go on our grandchildren and great grandchildren's tab. the people of Iraq will pay the highest price. wake up America!!!!!

if you haven't seen Jackson Browne's song Lives in the balance with video added this really says it.
or here

another version
The Invasion of Iraq - Episode IV - Lives in the Balance

Bush Lied, humans Keep Dying.
3,020 U.S. Military Fatalities in Iraq (thru 14-Jan-07)
357 U.S. Military Fatalities in Afghanistan (thru 14-Jan-07)
22,834 U.S. Military Maimed in Iraq (DoD Update: 14-Jan-07)
59,189 Iraqis Reported Killed (thru 14-Jan-07; source: Iraq Body Count) 655,000 Iraqis Reported Killed (source: The Lancet)

and now i think we finally know what the big prize is......Randi Rhodes called it when she called it the "profit stealing aggreements"..........

Blood and oil: How the West will profit from Iraq's most precious commodity
The IndependentJanuary 7, 2007

The 'IoS' today reveals a draft for a new law that would give Western oil companies a massive share in the third largest reserves in the world. To the victors, the oil? That is how some experts view this unprecedented arrangement with a major Middle East oil producer that guarantees investors huge profits for the next 30 years.
So was this what the Iraq war was fought for, after all? As the number of US soldiers killed since the invasion rises past the 3,000 mark, and President George Bush gambles on sending in up to 30,000 more troops, The Independent on Sunday has learnt that the Iraqi government is about to push through a law giving Western oil companies the right to exploit the country's massive oil reserves.

And Iraq's oil reserves, the third largest in the world, with an estimated 115 billion barrels waiting to be extracted, are a prize worth having. As Vice-President Dick Cheney noted in 1999, when he was still running Halliburton, an oil services company, the Middle East is the key to preventing the world running out of oil.

Now, unnoticed by most amid the furore over civil war in Iraq and the hanging of
Saddam Hussein, the new oil law has quietly been going through several drafts,
and is now on the point of being presented to the cabinet and then the parliament in Baghdad. Its provisions are a radical departure from the norm for developing countries: under a system known as "production-sharing agreements", or PSAs, oil majors such as BP and Shell in Britain, and Exxon and Chevron in the US, would be able to sign deals of up to 30 years to extract Iraq's oil.
full article

Disney to Blogger; 'Shut Up Or Else'

Right-wingers are the Red Rash on Americas Backside!
Orcinus has the story of what happens when just-plain citizen bloggers get in the way of right-wing hatemongers and their corporate backers:
link - 1.
link - 2.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

WA-02 Larsen says "Bush's plan... is a terrible mistake."

Congressman Rick Larsen (member of the House Armed Services Committee) has made clear his view of Bush's Iraq escalation plan.
In a WaPo story published in the Everett Herald:
... "More troops does not equal a new approach in Iraq," said Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash.

The Everett resident said the results of the November election showed that the American people did not expect an escalation of American troops in Iraq.

The 132,000 troops there now are "keeping a lid on a civil war. The American people don't expect our troops to be fighting a civil war," Larsen said. "It's fundamentally unfair to ask our men and women in the military to solve that problem. They should be fighting terrorists." ...
And more extensively in a Seattle Times story:
... Rep. Rick Larsen, of Lake Stevens, said Bush's plan to added 21,500 U.S. troops is a terrible mistake. "The president ought to be telling the American people that we reached a plateau and are going to work our way down," he said.

Moreover, he said, "We are letting the Iraqis call the shots."

Washington's congressional Democrats unanimously expressed skepticism about Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, and his willingness and ability to control the sectarian violence waged by Shiites and their leader, Muqtada al-Sadr.

"This is a prime minister who can't control anything," Larsen said. "If 7,500 Iraqi troops are supposed to show up in one area, we'll be lucky to see 6,000."

Several members of the delegation also questioned whether the plan really originated with al-Maliki in November, as Bush has said.

"Whose plan is this?" Dicks asked, after hearing reports that al-Maliki himself was denying he had proposed the addition of U.S. troops.

"It sounds like they got so much push-back in earlier meetings with members of Congress last week that some clever adviser said, 'Let's make it Maliki's idea,' " Larsen said.

The distinction matters because Bush said the plan will give American forces "a green light" to go into neighborhoods that are home to those fueling the sectarian violence. However, al-Maliki himself has stopped U.S. troops from crushing insurgents in his own Shiite area.

"He functionally kicked us out of his Shiite area in Baghdad" a few months ago, said Larsen, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. ...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Democrats To Push For Net-Neutrality

It's The People vs. the Greedy Bastard;. Freedom of Speech vs. Corporate Monopoly.
National Journal's Insider Update: Technology Daily

Sens. Dorgan, Snowe Revive 'Network Neutrality' Push

By David Hatch

(Revised Wednesday, January 10) Sens. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, Tuesday reintroduced legislation designed to ensure that the Internet remains open and accessible to all consumers and competitors.

The so-called network neutrality bill is expected to trigger a fresh round of fierce lobbying over Internet regulation, extending last year's telecommunications debate into 2007. ...

... On the other side of Capitol Hill, House Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell, D-Mich., told reporters Wednesday that passing network neutrality legislation would be a "high priority" this year. ... (full article)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

attn: Gov. Gregoire - Here's a Thought

Iowa Governor Vilsack has asked his States Legislature to 'just say no' to escalation in Iraq. As Governor he is also Commander-in-Chief of the States National Guard, so his request carrys moral weight.
IowaPolitics.com: Vilsack Calls on Legislators to Oppose 'Escalation' of War In Iraq

By Chris Dorsey

DES MOINES -- Gov. Tom Vilsack wants the Iowa Legislature to send a strong message to President George W. Bush and Congress opposing the sending of more troops to Iraq.

"Escalation will further erode our nation's ability to adequately fund needs here at home," Vilsack said in his final Condition of the State address. "As governor and as the commander-in-chief, I have an obligation to speak out and to urge the president and Congress not to put more Iowans and Americans in harm's way in Iraq."

The two-term Democratic governor, who's in the midst of a run for president, urged lawmakers to pass a resolution calling for no additional troops to be sent to the war-torn region.
...(full article)
Since Washington State National Guards men and women are also deployed to Iraq, Governor Gregiore should consider making a similar appeal the our State Legislature. Let's all write and tell her so.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Bush - Chaos At Any Cost

CBS News Poll. Jan. 1-3, 2007. N=993 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3

"Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling the situation with Iraq?"

Approve 23%
Disapprove 72%
Unsure 5%
We in the U.S. aren't the only one's who don't approve.
Iraqis Say They Were Better Off Under Hussein

Polling Data

Do you feel the situation in the country is better today or better before the U.S.-led invasion?

Better today


Better before


Not sure


Source: Iraq Centre for Research and Strategic Studies / Gulf Research Center
Methodology: Face-to-face interviews with 2,000 Iraqi adults in Baghdad, Anbar and Najaf, conducted in late November 2006. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.

So, with an Iraqi population who sees U.S. troops as occupiers (not liberators) and the American people's demand that our troops be withdrawn...

Bush purges Iraq command to prepare military escalation

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Riverbend on the lynching.....

once again she expresses it exactly....hmmm.....wonder if that's because this bloody horror is going down in her country......anybody with room temp IQ should have seen how ridiculous a "trial" in an occupied country was.....followed oh so quickly by the lynching......man they sure don't want that "kicked to the curb" dictator talking!!! i bet the stories(his) of when he was our guy would make fascinating reading!!! of course i'm not making the case for saddam as "good guy". i just think real justice should be what we stand for. (ie; the Hague, Nuremburg)at the very least we should have accurate news reporting......
America should be sooo ashamed.


Sunday, December 31, 2006
A Lynching...
It's official. Maliki and his people are psychopaths. This really is a new low. It's outrageous- an execution during Eid. Muslims all over the world (with the exception of Iran) are outraged. Eid is a time of peace, of putting aside quarrels and anger- at least for the duration of Eid.This does not bode well for the coming year. No one imagined the madmen would actually do it during a religious holiday. It is religiously unacceptable and before, it was constitutionally illegal. We thought we'd at least get a few days of peace and some time to enjoy the Eid holiday, which coincides with the New Year this year. We've spent the first two days of a holy holiday watching bits and pieces of a sordid lynching.
America the savior… After nearly four years and Bush's biggest achievement
in Iraq has been a lynching. Bravo Americans.

.......So, no, CNN, his last words were not "Muqtada Al Sadr" in a mocking
tone- just thought someone should clear that up. (Really people, six of you
contributed to that article!)
full post

saddam...."our guy".......

Shaking Hands: Iraqi President Saddam Hussein
greets Donald Rumsfeld, then special envoy of President Ronald Reagan, in Baghdad on December 20, 1983.

..............Soon thereafter, Donald Rumsfeld
(who had served in various positions in the Nixon and Ford administrations,
including as President Ford's defense secretary, and at this time headed the
multinational pharmaceutical company G.D. Searle & Co.) was dispatched to the Middle East as a presidential envoy. His December 1983 tour of regional capitals included Baghdad, where he was to establish "direct contact between an envoy of President Reagan and President Saddam Hussein," while emphasizing "his close relationship" with the president. Rumsfeld met with Saddam, and the two discussed regional issues of mutual interest, shared enmity toward Iran and Syria, and the U.S.'s efforts to find alternative routes to transport Iraq's oil; its facilities in the Persian Gulf had been shut down by Iran, and Iran's ally, Syria, had cut off a pipeline that transported Iraqi oil through its territory. Rumsfeld made no reference to chemical weapons, according to detailed notes on the meeting.

Monday, January 01, 2007

privatize this.......

thanks to Rachel Maddow on her special new year's day show for connecting these dots and giving privatizing our government the kind of scrutiny that's needed.
when you keep getting rewarded for failing, makes ya kind of wonder what failing has to do with success?????? is failing the desired goal??? hmmmm.....i am a tin foil hat kinda gal so where i go with this is to intent. when all our money is gone and everything is broken, then what???

How the IRS failed to stop $200M in bogus refunds
Posted 12/4/2006 11:23 PM ET

By Kevin McCoy, USA TODAY
At least two months before the IRS mistakenly began paying an estimated $200 million in fraudulent or erroneous 2006 tax refunds, the agency was warned about potentially "catastrophic" problems in a new computer being developed to avert such a blunder.

........The IRS decided to upgrade the then-6-year-old computer in 2001
to keep pace with new refund fraud schemes and to enable investigators to use
the system via the Internet. Nine companies bid on the upgrade, the IRS said.
DynCorp, a computer firm based in Reston, Va., won. In 2003, California-headquartered Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) acquired DynCorp, and
became the main contractor.
full article

U.S.-trained Afghan police force is failing, report says
By James Glanz and David Rohde / The New York Times
Published: December 4, 2006

Five years after the fall of the Taliban, a joint report by the U.S. Defense Department and the U.S. State Department has found that the American-trained police force in Afghanistan is incapable of carrying out routine law enforcement work. The report has also concluded that managers of the $1.1 billion training program cannot say how many officers are actually on duty or where thousands of trucks and other pieces of equipment issued to police units have gone.

.......Those experts also questioned why the principal contractor in Afghanistan, the American company DynCorp International, escaped direct criticism in the report, which focused on U.S. government managers.

full article

and now after all that failure comes the next reward.......wheeeeeeeeeee........ i bet the Iraqi people are looking forward to another round of failure and war profiteering at their expense.

The Associated Press December 18, 2006, 10:18AM EST
DynCorp wins $4.65B linguist contract

DynCorp International said Monday it received a five-year, $4.65 billion contract from the U.S. Army to provide translation and interpretation services in support of the Iraq War. DynCorp beat out L-3 Communications Holdings Inc., which inherited the contract when it bought Titan Corp. in 2005. L-3 had expected to win the extension and cut its fiscal 2007 financial guidance to reflect the loss of anticipated revenue. DynCorp will handle the contract through a joint venture formed with McNeil Technologies called Global Linguistic Solutions LLC. DynCorp owns 51 percent of GLS.
DynCorp shares surged $2.31, or 17 percent, to $16.22 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Investors punished L-3 for the loss of the contract and lower guidance, taking $5.18, or 6.2 percent, off its shares on the Big Board, to $78.54.
full article