Wednesday, May 31, 2006

It Just Keeps Getting Worse

U.S. Troops Kill Pregnant Woman in Iraq

:(
A young boy riding a bicycle looks across at a newly-erected warning sign put up Wednesday, May 31, 2006 on a road around 100 metres from the maternity hospital which Nabiha Nisaif Jassim, 35, a pregnant woman and her 57-year-old cousin Saliha Mohammed Hassan, were driving to for Jassim to give birth when they were killed in Samarra, Iraq Tuesday, May 30, 2006. U.S. forces apparently shot to death two Iraqi women, one of them pregnant, when they fired at a vehicle that failed to stop at an observation post in the town, Iraqi officials and relatives said. (AP Photo/Hameed Rasheed) [emphasis mine]
Why did they put up a new sign AFTER the shooting? Also, commenter over at Americablog, cadejo4, points out that the sign they put up "is not a highway checkpoint sign. It is a sign that would be found outside a coalition military base. The blacked-out portion may be the name of the base from which it was yanked. The checkpoint signs look like this:"

Now I don't know for certain that's the case with the signs, but it sounds about as SNAFU as the rest of this botched preventive war. From what I see, this shooting was unfortunate and more than likely avoidable, especially if the checkpoint was so poorly identified that they tried to play musical signs the next day to try and cover that fact up.

Again, I don't claim to be any kind of expert about these things, but it just seems common sense that if you're going to put a checkpoint in front of a hospital you would want to go overboard to let people know you are there. To not take into account that someone might be speeding up to a hospital and might not notice your signs sounds like yet another failure of leadership.

It reminds me of another horrible incident in Tal Afar last year. It also reminds me of the shooting of Sgrena.

:(

Monday, May 29, 2006

I Hope You Are Enjoying This Memorial Day

Let me leave you with this to help remind us what this day is all about, and to put it in context with the realities we as a nation face today. ...

Sons & Daughters Video
by Chun Pan

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Gonzales Threatens To Quit?

This just sounds like bullshit to me.
Gonzales Said He Would Quit in Raid Dispute

NYT: Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, and senior officials and career prosecutors at the Justice Department told associates this week that they were prepared to quit if the White House directed them to relinquish evidence seized in a bitterly disputed search of a House member's office, government officials said Friday.

Mr. Gonzales was joined in raising the possibility of resignation by the deputy attorney general, Paul J. McNulty, the officials said. Mr. Gonzales and Mr. McNulty told associates that they had an obligation to protect evidence in a criminal case and would be unwilling to carry out any White House order to return the material to Congress.

The potential showdown was averted Thursday when President Bush ordered the evidence to be sealed for 45 days to give Congress and the Justice Department a chance to work out a deal.

The evidence was seized by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents last Saturday night in a search of the office of Representative William J. Jefferson, Democrat of Louisiana. The search set off an uproar of protest by House leaders in both parties, who said the intrusion by an executive branch agency into a Congressional office violated the Constitution's separation of powers doctrine. They demanded that the Justice Department return the evidence. ...(more)
Now, I don't like the damage this scandal is obviously doing to the Dems chances come Nov. But no other member of Congress in either party has been asked to quit or step aside from a committee that their alleged dirty dealings had no bearing on before they were even charged with anything. Also, I have some serious doubts as to whether he's even really guilty of a crime.

First, The setup where they caught Jefferson on tape taking money from an undercover agent and the search of his home where the money was found in his freezer happened almost a year ago, before Katrina. If they have what sure sounds like slam dunk evidence against him, why a year later no charges, when Cunningham has been thrown in jail in less time? Why would they even really need to search for more evidence?

Second, the simple fact that it was an undercover agent giving him the cash stinks of entrapment. They cannot dangle money in front of people to see if they will take it. That's entrapment. It surewouldn't be the first time the FBI overreached in a sting.

Remember John DeLorean?
... On October 26, 1982, DeLorean was arrested for putting up $1.8 million to bring 100 kilos of cocaine into the United States. DeLorean stood to make $24 million from the deal, and he told a confidential informant (CI) for the FBI that he intended using the proceeds to salvage his dream, the DeLorean Motor Company, which faced ruin. (...)

In 1984, DeLorean was acquitted of all charges after a federal judge ruled that the FBI operation had been a clear case of entrapment. ...(more)
I really think chimpyco might have gotten the FBI to entrap Jefferson because they saw all of the repuke scandals coming down the pike, and they wanted a dirty Dem to give them some cover. I think it's possible Jefferson may have even had evidence of his entrapment, and DOJ just came in and stole it.

I'm not just wildly speculating here. That's been Rove's history...

Election-year Investigations
Karl Rove and the FBI
Rove, as all the world knows, has been a longtime Republican political operative in Texas prior to heading to Washington with Bush. During that time, Texas Democrats noticed a pattern that they eventually became somewhat paranoid about: In election years, there always seemed to be an FBI investigation of some sitting Democrat either announced or leaked to the press. ...(more)
This seems important to this dicussion, don't you think?

Also, NONE of these people had to step down from anything before they were charged with a crime...

The GOP List of Shame
The ever-expanding list of Republicans mired in scandal, just in the past year.

Involving the Abramoff scandal
Rep. Tom Delay (R-TX),
Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-OH),
Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA),
Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH),
Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT),
Rep. Dana Rohrabaker (R-CA),
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX),
Rep. Don Young (R-AK),
Rep. Richard W. Pombo (R-CA),
Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ)
Rep. Steven LaTourette, (R-OH)
Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-IL)

Scandals besides Jack Abramoff,
Sen Bill Frist (R-TN)
Sen Conrad Burns (R-MT)
Sen Rick Santorum (R-PA)
Sen John Thune (R-SD)
Sen George Voinovich (R-OH)
Gov Taft (R) and Ohio Coingate
Ky. Gov Ernie Fletcher (R)
MS. Gov. Haley Barbour (R)
MO Gov. Matt Blunt (R)
Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)
Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI)
Rep Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA)
Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA)
Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA)
Rep Michael G. Oxley (R-OH)
Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA)
Rep. Richard W. Pombo (R-CA)
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH)
Rep. Charles Taylor (R-NC)
Rep. Katherine Harris ’06 Sen candidate (R-Fla)
Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA)
Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY)
Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY)
Brian Bilbray House Candidate (R-CA)
Ralph Reed ’06 Lt Gov Candidate (R-GA)
ex-IL Gov. George Ryan Sr (R)
Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to Vice President I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Jr
HUD Secretary Alfonso Jackson
ex-Interior Secretary Gale Norton
Whitehouse OMB Official David Safavian
Whitehouse chief Domestic-policy Adviser Claude Allen
Ex-F.D.A. Comissioner Lester M. Crawford
DHS Chief Financial Officer Nominee David Norquist

Now, if the FBI were to lobby every member of Congress with an illegal quid pro quo that would net them $100K, how many would take it? Given all of the other scandals out there just this year alone, it's a safe bet more than just Jefferson would. Unfortunately our politicians have to spend more time chasing after the money they need to stay in office than they do actually performing the job we elected them to do. We need public campaign financing to fix this problem.

If Congress cannot order searches of the Whitehouse, the Whitehouse cannot order searches of Congress. It's called co-equal branches, because neither branch can be allowed to trump the other. I know this is probably more of an implied principle since this is not decided law yet, but it is very important. Every administrative position at DOJ/FBI serves at the pleasure of the President. The FBI is a tool of the executive branch.

Now, when Hoover ran the FBI, he kept everybody in check because he illegally spied on them. Even Presidents were afraid to mess with Hoover. Hoover was Director of the FBI for almost 50 years.

I think Chimpy is a lot like Hoover. that's why the search of Jefferson's office is so troubling to me.

OK, enough trying to defend Jefferson. If he's guilty, and I don't mean when a court finds him guilty, he knows damn well if he's guilty or not, and if so he needs to step aside now. I don't mean just from the House Ways and Means Committee, I mean, if he knows he's guilty, he needs to quit Congress altogether and get the hell out of my Party.

Nuff said.

We don't know half this story yet. Unfortunately I suspect not only Jefferson, but the whole Democratic Party is going to get the shaft out of this deal when all is said and done.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Hastert Makes the List

Think Progress:
Speaker Hastert Under Investigation By the FBI Over Abramoff Ties



ABC News reports:

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert, is under investigation by the FBI, which is seeking to determine his role in an ongoing public corruption probe into members of Congress. ...(more)
Hastert now officially added to the list...

GOP Culture of Corruption Indeed: The GOP List of Shame

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

World to Bush: FU!

It's hard to fathom just how bad Bush has fucked up our country. It's waaaay past time we turn this ship of fools around.

An Anti-Bush Alliance
The GLOBE: COUNTRIES large and small are rejecting President Bush's foreign policy by intimidation, and are banding together to counter the US superpower. The next example may come from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional grouping that is considering adding Iran to its membership.

The Bush administration pretended to ignore last year's organization summit, at which the members -- China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan -- called for the United States to withdraw the troops it had stationed in Central Asia for the war that toppled the Taliban in Afghanistan. But the organization's foreign ministers meeting in Shanghai last week discussed a plan to accept four new members: India, Pakistan, Mongolia, and Iran. After that meeting, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov announced that Iran's belligerent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would be attending a summit meeting on June 15 in Shanghai, along with the leaders of China, Russia, and the four Central Asian member states. That should get the Bush administration's attention. ...(more)
WWIII?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Kos Makes Appearance on New Lamont Ads

Remember the Kiss? Never forget the kiss.

See Lieberman jump for joy at Bush SOTU.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Bush: Oh Hell No!

I'm too dam old to hafta be lurnin english.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

GOP Culture of Corruption Indeed [Updated]

Book'em Danno! [BUMP] This list has seen many new additions since I first posted it 4-26. Please steal this list. Email it. Post it. Let it be known.

The ever-expanding list of Republicans mired in scandal, just in the past year or so.

The GOP List of Shame

Abramoff and Rep. Tom Delay (R-TX)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/30/AR2005123001480_pf.html
http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/000182.php

Abramoff and Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA)
http://www.auburnjournal.com/articles/2005/12/26/news/top_stories/01doolittle.txt
http://tpmmuckraker.com/doolittle.php

Abramoff and Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/28/AR2006042801879_pf.html
http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/news/14263285.htm
http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/cats/bob_ney/

Abramoff and Sen Conrad Burns (R-MT)
http://www.greatfallstribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060426/NEWS01/604260303/1002
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12227763/site/newsweek/
http://tpmmuckraker.com/burns.php

Abramoff and Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL)
http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/14605795.htm

Abramoff and Rep. Dana Rohrabaker (R-CA)
http://thinkprogress.org/2006/01/10/rohrabacher-abramoff/
http://www.eritreadaily.net/News0306/article0306261.htm

Abramoff and Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)
http://www.citizensforethics.org/press/newsrelease.php?view=116

Abramoff and Rep. Don Young, (R-AK)
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-02-10-abramoff_x.htm
http://tpmmuckraker.com/young.php

Abramoff and Rep. Richard W. Pombo (R-CA)
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/29/washington/29pombo.html?ex=1303963200&en=e1f05b7b09e0f3d2&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss
http://www.californiachronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=8078

Abramoff and Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ)
http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/1223hayworth23.html
http://www.jackinthehouse.org/characters/details.php?view=19
http://www.dccc.org/news/20050628_hayworth/

Abramoff and Rep. Steven LaTourette, (R-OH)
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-02-10-abramoff_x.htm

Abramoff and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, (R-WV)
http://www.dailymail.com/news/News/2006060118/
http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/000824.php

Abramoff and DeLay, Doolittle, Ney, Rohrabacher
http://www.hillnews.com/thehill/export/TheHill/Comment/JoshMarshall/081705.html

Sen Bill Frist (R-TN)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/23/AR2005092301811.html
http://thinkprogress.org/frist-stock-timeline/

Sen Conrad Burns (R-MT)
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13191097/
http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2006/04/23/news/state/25-post.txt
http://tpmmuckraker.com/burns.php

Sen Rick Santorum (R-PA)
http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewPrint&articleId=11174
http://www.citizensforethics.org/press/pressclip.php?view=1827

Sen John Thune (R-SD)
http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2005/07/08/news/local/news04.txt
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=John_Thune

Sen George Voinovich (R-OH)
http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050403/NEWS24/504030349
http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_bob_fitr_050731_dramatic_new_charges.htm

Gov Taft (R) and Ohio Coingate
http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_bob_fitr_050731_dramatic_new_charges.htm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-5746148,00.html

Ky. Gov Ernie Fletcher (R)
http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/14556190.htm
http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050831/EDIT01/508310315/1020/EDIT
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/kentuckydocket.php#fletcher

FL Governor Jeb Bush (R)
http://www.sunlightfoundation.com/node/878
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/politics/content/state/epaper/2006/06/29/a8a_jeb_0629.html

MS. Gov. Haley Barbour (R)
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/04/28/ap/politics/mainD8H8SGRG0.shtml
http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/000496.php

MO Gov. Matt Blunt (R)
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/14455281.htm
http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/stlouiscitycounty/story/C285106A642E7FD28625718C0018139C?OpenDocument

Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12141276/
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/28/AR2005092800270.html

Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-IL)
http://www.sunlightfoundation.com/node/793
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0606150161jun15,1,5615560,print.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true
http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2006/05/federal_officia.html
http://thinkprogress.org/2006/05/24/hastert-being-investigated-by-the-fbi/

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA)
http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-calvert15may15,0,6997713,full.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI)
http://www.citizensforethics.org/press/newsrelease.php?view=131

Rep Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA)
http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20050702/news_1n2duke.html
http://tpmmuckraker.com/cunningham.php

Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA)
http://loper.org/~george/archives/2006/Mar/972.html
http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/007125.php

Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/11/AR2006051101881.html
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/politics/20051223-9999-lz1n23lewis.html
http://pogoblog.typepad.com/pogo/2006/05/wilkes_and_the_.html
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-lewis11may11,0,2817251.story?coll=la-home-headlines
http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/cats/jerry_lewis/

Rep Michael G. Oxley (R-OH)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/18/AR2006041800987.html?nav=rss_politics

Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/10/AR2006071001164.html
http://tpmmuckraker.com/doolittle.php

Rep. Richard W. Pombo (R-CA)
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/29/washington/29pombo.html?ex=1303963200&en=e1f05b7b09e0f3d2&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss
http://www.beyonddelay.org/summaries/pombo.php
http://www.dccc.org/pombo/

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20051204-9999-1n4adcs.html

Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH)
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/politics/14275670.htm
http://www.swingstateproject.com/2005/07/oh-2_jean_schmi.php

Rep. Charles Taylor (R-NC)
http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/cats/charles_taylor/

Rep. Katherine Harris ’06 Sen candidate (R-Fla)
http://www.sptimes.com/State/82598/Harris_backed_bill_ai.html
http://www.tbo.com/news/metro/MGBM27UOPME.html
http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/cats/katherine_harris/

Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA)
http://www.harpers.org/sb-curt-weldon-kim-employment.html

Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY)
http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/000158.php

Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/22/AR2006042200995.html?nav=rss_politics

Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA)
http://pogoblog.typepad.com/pogo/energy_environment/index.html
http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/000355.php
http://www.dccc.org/stakeholder/archives/004612.html

Ralph Reed ’06 Lt Gov Candidate (R-GA)
http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB114548590969830492-KX98zvSUWRHqye46SjeFOdagWUQ_20070419.html?mod=blogs
http://tpmmuckraker.com/reed.php

ex-IL Gov. George Ryan Sr (R)
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-0604180306apr18,1,6246344.story?coll=chi-news-hed

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Jr
Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to Vice President
http://www.slate.com/id/2128530/
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=I._Lewis_Scooter_Libby

HUD Secretary Alfonso Jackson
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/09/AR2006050901593.html
http://thinkprogress.org/2006/05/10/jackson-unethical/

Interior Secretary Gale Norton
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/17/AR2005111701682.html
http://denverpostbloghouse.com/washington/?p=367

Whitehouse OMB Official David Safavian
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/19/AR2005091901859.html
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-10-05-official-indicted_x.htm
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/20/AR2006062001626.html

Whitehouse Chief Domestic-Policy Adviser Claude Allen
http://www.slate.com/id/2138116/fr/nl/
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/24/AR2006042401825.html

Ex-F.D.A. Comissioner Lester M. Crawford
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/29/washington/29fda.html?ex=1303963200&en=9c06cfc1730afb55&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

DHS Chief Financial Officer Nominee David Norquist
http://public.cq.com/public/20060508_homeland.html
http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/000619.php

Whitehouse Prostitute/Shill Jeff Gannon/Jim Guckart (lol)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A27730-2005Feb15.html
http://americablog.blogspot.com/2005/02/man-called-jeff.html

& I know Jeffylube is over a year old now but how could I leave him out of the mix? ;p

http://www.bugmenot.com/ can help you get around many of the Reg Req sites.

Please steal this list. Email it. Post it. Let it be known.

Did I miss anyone? Any new developments? Also, please leave me a comment to let me know if any of the links are dead. (Look for this list to be updated frequently. I've added 3 more names within 2 hours of first posting it)

I have been trying to keep up with it all, and as you can see it's been no small task, and this list only includes those Governors, Federal and Executive Branch officials mired in scandals that I can put a name to. It doesn't (yet?) include anyone connected to the NH Phone-Jamming election tampering, Misuse of intel to lead us to war (SSCI phase II), failures of Katrina, illegal domestic spying/wiretapping scandals, or the rest of the players in the CIA leak case.

Clearly the entire Republican party is morally bankrupt. It's no wonder the GOP-led Congress refuses to do any oversight on the Executive branch. They are all up to their waists in deep shit themselves. Those members not already mired in scandal are just as guilty by their complacency in not ever standing up and asking for hearings and oversight on those that are.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Not Good News

This was first reported almost 2 months ago in foreign media.
Why?  :(BBC NEWSNIGHT REPORT - BROADCAST 03/22/06

Today, Murtha confirms it was true. :(

Lawmaker: Marines killed Iraqis ‘in cold blood’
NBC News: Navy conducting war crimes probe into November violence in Haditha

A Pentagon probe into the death of Iraqi civilians last November in the Iraqi city of Haditha will show that U.S. Marines "killed innocent civilians in cold blood," a U.S. lawmaker said Wednesday.

From the beginning, Iraqis in the town of Haditha said U.S. Marines deliberately killed 15 unarmed Iraqi civilians, including seven women and three children.

One young Iraqi girl said the Marines killed six members of her family, including her parents. “The Americans came into the room where my father was praying,” she said, “and shot him.” (...)

On Wednesday, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said the accounts are true.

Military officials told NBC News that the Marine Corps' own evidence appears to show Murtha is right. ...(more)

(Related Post)
Did Marines Kill Innocent Iraqis in Revenge "Rampage"?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

NSA's Narus Knows and Sees All

Ok, it's been confusing to try and follow the USA Today story that the "National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth." As USA Today has it, only Qwest denied the NSA access to the records, but now Verizon and BellSouth have issued denials, or perhaps they're better described as non-denial denials.

The thing is, from what is already known about the NSA wiretapping we can see that the telcos don't need to turn over their records. According to the whistleblower lawsuit against AT&T, which the government is trying to put a stop to altogether, AT&T has allowed the NSA to hardwire into the system to collect the data themselves, and they are able to comb through not only every telephone call, but also every web-browsing session, every email, the works. Do follow me on the few articles (H/T to Hornet)...
Administration cites state secrets in bid to derail spy lawsuit
... The government is taking that position in seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit filed in federal court here against AT&T Inc. over its alleged involvement in the surveillance program adopted after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

The federal government is invoking the "state secrets privilege" in arguing that the lawsuit must be thrown out because it threatens to divulge information that is deemed critical to national security. ...

Wiretap Whistle-Blower's Account

Former AT&T technician Mark Klein has come forward to support the EFF's lawsuit against AT&T for its alleged complicity in the NSA's electronic surveillance. Here, Wired News publishes Klein's public statement
... While doing my job, I learned that fiber optic cables from the secret room were tapping into the Worldnet circuits by splitting off a portion of the light signal. I saw this in a design document available to me, entitled "Study Group 3, LGX/Splitter Wiring, San Francisco" dated Dec. 10, 2002. I also saw design documents dated Jan. 13, 2004 and Jan. 24, 2003, which instructed technicians on connecting some of the already in-service circuits to the "splitter" cabinet, which diverts some of the light signal to the secret room. The circuits listed were the Peering Links, which connect Worldnet with other networks and hence the whole country, as well as the rest of the world.

One of the documents listed the equipment installed in the secret room, and this list included a Narus STA 6400, which is a "Semantic Traffic Analyzer". The Narus STA technology is known to be used particularly by government intelligence agencies because of its ability to sift through large amounts of data looking for preprogrammed targets. The company's advertising boasts that its technology "captures comprehensive customer usage data ... and transforms it into actionable information.... (It) provides complete visibility for all internet applications."

My job required me to connect new circuits to the "splitter" cabinet and get them up and running. While working on a particularly difficult one with a technician back East, I learned that other such "splitter" cabinets were being installed in other cities, including Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego.

What is the significance and why is it important to bring these facts to light?
Based on my understanding of the connections and equipment at issue, it appears the NSA is capable of conducting what amounts to vacuum-cleaner surveillance of all the data crossing the internet -- whether that be peoples' e-mail, web surfing or any other data. ...(more)
What is a Narus? Take a look at what Forbes had to say about Narus in 1999...
Narus knows what you are doing on the network
Forbes: For example, if someone in San Francisco makes a video conference call to New York and London, the probe captures the exact length of the call and then sends a log file, also known as a call data record (CDR) back to the database, which is housed on Narus' servers. The CDR is then used for billing purposes.

Want to know what Narus software can do? It can find out how much time you spent on the network, how many E-mails you sent, how long you played online video games, how many files you uploaded or downloaded and what web sites you accessed. "The idea is that a guy who sends only E-mails shouldn't be billed as much as the guy who is streaming video off the Internet," asks Stone.

Narus' software has the ability to capture thousands of such CDRs simultaneously. Soon it will be able to capture millions of these CDRs in real time, making it ideal for the super-fast fiber optic networks being built by companies like Qwest Communications qwst (nasdaq: qwst) and Level One levl (nasdaq: levl). ...(more)
If the AT&T whistleblower is correct, and it's a pretty safe bet he is because this administration is trying its damnedest to have the whole case thrown out on national security state secrets grounds, then the NSA is capable of monitoring everything we do online and over the phone. That would explain the telco's statements that they have not provided any records to the NSA, they've just opened the entire network & let the NSA gather its own records.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Don't Fall For The Telco Propaganda

Telcos Seek to Deceive Bloggers with Cartoon

This Ad Is Bullshit!
It's posted on many blogs right now. It's a scam ad, paid for by big Telecommunications Companies like ATT and BellSouth, and it's against net neutrality. Don't let it confuse you.
MyDD: "There is a blogad buy from the Telecom companies on their new negative attack piece on net neutrality. I encourage bloggers who received the ad to link this to this blog post...." (more)
Why Net Neutrality Matters !!

Watch the video,
then sign the petition.
How would the gutting of Network Neutrality affect you?

Google users—Another search engine could pay dominant Internet providers like AT&T to guarantee the competing search engine opens faster than Google on your computer.

Innovators with the "next big idea"—Startups and entrepreneurs will be muscled out of the marketplace by big corporations that pay Internet providers for dominant placing on the Web. The little guy will be left in the "slow lane" with inferior Internet service, unable to compete.

Ipod listeners—A company like Comcast could slow access to iTunes, steering you to a higher-priced music service that it owned.

Political groups—Political organizing could be slowed by a handful of dominant Internet providers who ask advocacy groups to pay "protection money" for their websites and online features to work correctly.

Bloggers—Costs will skyrocket to post and share video and audio clips—silencing citizen journalists and putting more power in the hands of a few corporate-owned media outlets. ...(more)
Save The Internet!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

''Simply Put, Rice is a Liar''

Professor Steve Almond Rocks!

Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I quit
Open Letter in Boston Globe:

I am writing to resign my post as an adjunct professor of English at Boston College.

I am doing so -- after five years at BC, and with tremendous regret -- as a direct result of your decision to invite Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to be the commencement speaker at this year's graduation.

Many members of the faculty and student body already have voiced their objection to the invitation, arguing that Rice's actions as secretary of state are inconsistent with the broader humanistic values of the university and the Catholic and Jesuit traditions from which those values derive.

But I am not writing this letter simply because of an objection to the war against Iraq. My concern is more fundamental. Simply put, Rice is a liar.

She has lied to the American people knowingly, repeatedly, often extravagantly over the past five years, in an effort to justify a pathologically misguided foreign policy.

The public record of her deceits is extensive. During the ramp-up to the Iraq war, she made 29 false or misleading public statements concerning Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and links to Al Qaeda, according to a congressional investigation by the House Committee on Government Reform. ...(more)
Thank you, Prof. Steve Almond.
That's how to do the right thing.

H/T Chris at Americablog

Jeb Bush '08



Are you ready to extend the Bush legacy?


Great campaign.
I love it.

lol

Friday, May 12, 2006

Leopold: Rove Informs White House He Will Be Indicted

Within the last week, Karl Rove told President Bush and Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, as well as a few other high level administration officials, that he will be indicted in the CIA leak case and will immediately resign his White House job when the special counsel publicly announces the charges against him, according to sources.

Details of Rove's discussions with the president and Bolten have spread through the corridors of the White House where low-level staffers and senior officials were trying to determine how the indictment would impact an administration that has been mired in a number of high-profile political scandals for nearly a year, said a half-dozen White House aides and two senior officials who work at the Republican National Committee. (...)

Sources close to the case said there is a strong chance Rove will also face an additional charge of obstruction of justice, adding that Fitzgerald has been working meticulously over the past few months to build an obstruction case against Rove because it "carries more weight" in a jury trial and is considered a more serious crime.

Some White House staffers said it's the uncertainty of Rove's status in the leak case that has made it difficult for the administration's domestic policy agenda and the announcement of an indictment and Rove's subsequent resignation, while serious, would allow the administration to move forward on a wide range of issues.

"We need to start fresh and we can't do that with the uncertainty of Karl's case hanging over our heads," said one White House aide. "There's no doubt that it will be front page news if and when (an indictment) happens. But eventually it will become old news quickly. The key issue here is that the president or Mr. Bolten respond to the charges immediately, make a statement and then move on to other important policy issues and keep that as the main focus going forward." ...(more)
That's certainly been their response to the USA Today NSA datamining story, and CNN/MSNBC has been shilling hard for them too. They keep talking about how the administration has boldly met with the issue head-on, refuting all of the rumors about it being illegal. 9-11 9-11 Terrorist Terrorist,Yadda Yadda... Moving on now he's going to have a speech on immigration.

WTF?

I can't frickin wait to see Turdblossom frogmarched out of the Whitehouse. They can try and spin that all they want.

Brad: On Electronic Voting

Brad Friedman's latest at Huffington Post:
On Electronic Voting: We Were Always Right, They Were Always Wrong...

The Corporate Media Finally Begins to Notice

On November 20, 2004, in an article about those of us concerned about what happened in the Presidential Election, the New York Times wrote that such concerns were little more than "the conspiracy theories of leftwing bloggers."

What a difference a year and a half makes.

In this morning's NY Times we find this (actually, understated) headline, "New Fears of Security Risks in Electronic Voting Systems".

The "fears," of course, aren't "new" at all. But if that's what the NYTimes needs to do to save face, we're happy to look the other direction and applaud them for finally jumping in to cover what they should have been covering for the last two years. Every damned day.

The article covers the latest -- and most stunning -- security breach yet discovered in electronic voting machines. This time, it's a "feature" that Diebold has implemented on every touch-screen voting machine in the country. A "feature" to make it easier for them (and apparently every fraudster and/or partisan and/or terrorist in the world) to change the operating software in about one minute's time with nobody noticing and with no password necessary.

And there are no simple ways to correct the problem. ...(lots more)

NYT & WSJ Editorials Take on E-Voting Machines

H/T BradBlog:

New Fears of Security Risks in Electronic Voting Systems
NYT: With primary election dates fast approaching in many states, officials in Pennsylvania and California issued urgent directives in recent days about a potential security risk in their Diebold Election Systems touch-screen voting machines, while other states with similar equipment hurried to assess the seriousness of the problem.

"It's the most severe security flaw ever discovered in a voting system," said Michael I. Shamos, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University who is an examiner of electronic voting systems for Pennsylvania, where the primary is to take place on Tuesday. (...)

The wave of high-tech voting machines was prompted by the 2000 election in Florida, which spotlighted the problems of old-fashioned punch card ballots. But the machines that soon followed have spurred division. Here in Chicago, where voters used both touch-screen and optical-scan systems in a March primary, it took officials a week to tally all the votes because of technical problems and human errors, touching off a flurry of criticism over the Sequoia Voting Systems equipment.

In Maryland this spring, the State House of Delegates passed a bill that would have scrapped touch-screen machines, but the Senate last month took no action on the bill, effectively killing the idea. (...)

The new concerns about Diebold's equipment were discovered by Harri Hursti, a Finnish computer expert who was working at the request of Black Box Voting Inc., a nonprofit group that has been critical of electronic voting in the past. The group issued a report on the findings on Thursday.

Computer scientists who have studied the vulnerability say the flaw might allow someone with brief access to a voting machine and with knowledge of computer code to tamper with the machine's software, and even, potentially, to spread malicious code to other parts of the voting system.

As word of Mr. Hursti's findings spread, Diebold issued a warning to recipients of thousands of its machines, saying that it had found a "theoretical security vulnerability" that "could potentially allow unauthorized software to be loaded onto the system." ...(more)
Reversing Course on Electronic Voting
WSJ: Some advocates of a 2002 law mandating upgrades of the nation's voting machinery now worry the overhaul is making things worse.

With the 2006 midterm elections approaching, proponents of the Help America Vote Act are filing lawsuits to block some state and election officials' efforts to comply with the act.

The Help America Vote Act called for upgrading election equipment to guard against another contested outcome such as the 2000 presidential vote. Among the flaws in balloting almost six years ago were antiquated hand-operated voting machines and punch-card ballots that were difficult to read. To redress that, members of Congress pushed for modernization, which could include touch-screen voting machines, on which ballots are cast and recorded solely electronically. At the time, the electronic voting machines were seen as a reliable contrast to the older technology.

The lawsuits -- nine so far -- coincide with a stampede by state and county officials to spend $3 billion allocated by Congress to help pay for upgrades. To comply with the Help America Vote Act, a number of states and dozens of counties purchased touch-screen voting machines. The deadline for spending the money is tied to each state's 2006 primary dates.

Arizona was sued this week over such purchases and Colorado election officials are likely to be sued next week. ...(more)
An otherwise good article, I must take issue with the WSJ editorial where towards the end it says "Despite common charges that the machines lack adequate security, no cases have emerged proving that a hacker or an insider has or could electronically manipulate the vote." That's Bullshit! They have either done no investigating the issue at all before making such a claim, or they are being purposefully deceptive.

I guess I should just be grateful that the Wall Street Journal even mentioned the issue at all.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Youth Sir! No Sir! Movement

Not Your Soldier!

The Counter Recruitment Campaign to Starve the Beast

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Above the Law

Security Issue Kills Domestic Spying Inquiry
NSA won’t grant Justice Department lawyers required security clearance
AP: The government has abruptly ended an inquiry into the warrantless eavesdropping program because the National Security Agency refused to grant Justice Department lawyers the necessary security clearance to probe the matter.

The inquiry headed by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, or OPR, sent a fax to Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., on Wednesday saying they were closing their inquiry because without clearance their lawyers cannot examine Justice lawyers’ role in the program.

“We have been unable to make any meaningful progress in our investigation because OPR has been denied security clearances for access to information about the NSA program,” OPR counsel H. Marshall Jarrett wrote to Hinchey. Hinchey’s office shared the letter with The Associated Press. ...(more)
There's more...

NSA Has Massive Database of Americans' Phone Calls
USA Today: The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.
The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans — most of whom aren't suspected of any crime. ...(more)
Sorry Bastards!

White House Refuses to Obey Court Order

So they finally released the logs of Abramoff visits to the White House, NOT!. This should have been good news, after all it was just reported earlier this month ...
AP: Abramoff was a $100,000 fundraiser for Bush and lobbying records obtained by the AP show his lobbying team logged nearly 200 meetings with the administration during its first 10 months in office on behalf of one of his clients, the Northern Mariana Islands. ...
Now. sure not all of those meetings had to have taken place in the White House, but we can be pretty damn sure it was a lot more than the TWO times they admitted to today, especially when those don't even include at least THREE other times they have admitted to previously. TIME even published a picture of him at one of the events.

This is bullshit. They were court ordered to release the records. It really is going to take the Dems to win back at least one house for there to be any oversight of this administration. McClellen sure wasn't kidding when he said "I wouldn't look at it as a complete historical record of things -- of events here at the White House." I have to expect we'll see them back in court over this. Also worth keeping an eye on is news that the Dems are suing for Ralph Reeds records too...
Democrats seek details on Reed's White House visits
Abramoff's ties targeted in lawsuit
The Democratic National Committee went to federal court Monday to obtain White House logs that show the comings and goings of prominent Republicans with ties to former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, including political strategist Ralph Reed. ...

GOP Culture of Corruption Indeed

Book'em Danno! [BUMP] This list has seen many new additions since I first posted it 4-26.

The ever-expanding list of Republicans mired in scandal, just in the past year.

If the Democratic party did this much crap over a 10 year period it would be another 10 years before I'd even consider voting for anyone in the party again...

The GOP List of Shame

Abramoff and Rep. Tom Delay (R-TX)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/30/AR2005123001480_pf.html
http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/000182.php

Abramoff and Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA)
http://www.auburnjournal.com/articles/2005/12/26/news/top_stories/01doolittle.txt
http://tpmmuckraker.com/doolittle.php

Abramoff and Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/28/AR2006042801879_pf.html
http://tpmmuckraker.com/ney.php
http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/news/14263285.htm

Abramoff and Sen Conrad Burns (R-MT)
http://www.greatfallstribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060426/NEWS01/604260303/1002
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12227763/site/newsweek/
http://tpmmuckraker.com/burns.php

Abramoff and Rep. Dana Rohrabaker (R-CA)
http://thinkprogress.org/2006/01/10/rohrabacher-abramoff/
http://www.eritreadaily.net/News0306/article0306261.htm

Abramoff and Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)
http://www.citizensforethics.org/press/newsrelease.php?view=116

Abramoff and Rep. Don Young, (R-AK)
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-02-10-abramoff_x.htm
http://tpmmuckraker.com/young.php

Abramoff and Rep. Richard W. Pombo (R-CA)
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/29/washington/29pombo.html?ex=1303963200&en=e1f05b7b09e0f3d2&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss
http://www.californiachronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=8078

Abramoff and Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ)
http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/1223hayworth23.html
http://www.jackinthehouse.org/characters/details.php?view=19
http://www.dccc.org/news/20050628_hayworth/

Abramoff and Rep. Steven LaTourette, (R-OH)
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-02-10-abramoff_x.htm

Abramoff and DeLay, Doolittle, Ney, Rohrabacher
http://www.hillnews.com/thehill/export/TheHill/Comment/JoshMarshall/081705.html

Sen Bill Frist (R-TN)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/23/AR2005092301811.html
http://thinkprogress.org/frist-stock-timeline/

Sen Conrad Burns (R-MT)
http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2006/04/23/news/state/25-post.txt
http://tpmmuckraker.com/burns.php

Sen Rick Santorum (R-PA)
http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewPrint&articleId=11174
http://www.citizensforethics.org/press/pressclip.php?view=1827

Sen John Thune (R-SD)
http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2005/07/08/news/local/news04.txt
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=John_Thune

Sen George Voinovich (R-OH)
http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050403/NEWS24/504030349
http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_bob_fitr_050731_dramatic_new_charges.htm

Gov Taft (R) and Ohio Coingate
http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_bob_fitr_050731_dramatic_new_charges.htm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-5746148,00.html

Ky. Gov Ernie Fletcher (R)
http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/14556190.htm
http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050831/EDIT01/508310315/1020/EDIT
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/kentuckydocket.php#fletcher

MS. Gov. Haley Barbour (R)
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/04/28/ap/politics/mainD8H8SGRG0.shtml
http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/000496.php

MO Gov. Matt Blunt (R)
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/14455281.htm

Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12141276/
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/28/AR2005092800270.html

Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI)
http://www.channel3000.com/politics/9176616/detail.html
http://www.citizensforethics.org/press/newsrelease.php?view=131

Rep Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA)
http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20050702/news_1n2duke.html
http://tpmmuckraker.com/cunningham.php

Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA)
http://loper.org/~george/archives/2006/Mar/972.html
http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/007125.php

Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA)
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/politics/20051223-9999-lz1n23lewis.html
http://pogoblog.typepad.com/pogo/2006/05/wilkes_and_the_.html
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-lewis11may11,0,2817251.story?coll=la-home-headlines
http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/008418.php

Rep Michael G. Oxley (R-OH)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/18/AR2006041800987.html?nav=rss_politics

Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA)
http://tpmmuckraker.com/doolittle.php

Rep. Richard W. Pombo (R-CA)
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/29/washington/29pombo.html?ex=1303963200&en=e1f05b7b09e0f3d2&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss
http://www.beyonddelay.org/summaries/pombo.php
http://www.dccc.org/pombo/

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20051204-9999-1n4adcs.html

Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH)
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/politics/14275670.htm
http://www.swingstateproject.com/2005/07/oh-2_jean_schmi.php

Rep. Charles Taylor (R-NC)
http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/cats/charles_taylor/

Rep. Katherine Harris ’06 Sen candidate (R-Fla)
http://www.sptimes.com/State/82598/Harris_backed_bill_ai.html
http://www.tbo.com/news/metro/MGBM27UOPME.html
http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/cats/katherine_harris/

Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA)
http://www.harpers.org/sb-curt-weldon-kim-employment.html

Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY)
http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/000158.php

Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/22/AR2006042200995.html?nav=rss_politics

Brian Bilbray House Candidate (R-CA)
http://pogoblog.typepad.com/pogo/energy_environment/index.html
http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/000355.php
http://www.dccc.org/stakeholder/archives/004612.html

Ralph Reed ’06 Lt Gov Candidate (R-GA)
http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB114548590969830492-KX98zvSUWRHqye46SjeFOdagWUQ_20070419.html?mod=blogs
http://tpmmuckraker.com/reed.php

ex-IL Gov. George Ryan Sr (R)
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-0604180306apr18,1,6246344.story?coll=chi-news-hed

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Jr
Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to Vice President
http://www.slate.com/id/2128530/
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=I._Lewis_Scooter_Libby

HUD Secretary Alfonso Jackson
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/09/AR2006050901593.html
http://thinkprogress.org/2006/05/10/jackson-unethical/

Interior Secretary Gale Norton
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/17/AR2005111701682.html
http://denverpostbloghouse.com/washington/?p=367

Whitehouse OMB Official David Safavian
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/19/AR2005091901859.html
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-10-05-official-indicted_x.htm

Whitehouse Chief Domestic-Policy Adviser Claude Allen
http://www.slate.com/id/2138116/fr/nl/
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/24/AR2006042401825.html

Ex-F.D.A. Comissioner Lester M. Crawford
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/29/washington/29fda.html?ex=1303963200&en=9c06cfc1730afb55&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

Whitehouse Prostitute/Shill Jeff Gannon/Jim Guckart (lol)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A27730-2005Feb15.html
http://americablog.blogspot.com/2005/02/man-called-jeff.html

(Karl Rove Coming soon?)
& I know Jeffylube is over a year old now but how could I leave him out of the mix? ;p

http://www.bugmenot.com/ can help you get around many of the Reg Req sites.

Please steal this list. Email it. Post it. Let it be known.

Did I miss anyone? Any new developments? Also, please leave me a comment to let me know if any of the links are dead. (Look for this list to be updated frequently. I've added 3 more names within 2 hours of first posting it)

I have been trying to keep up with it all, and as you can see it's been no small task, and this list only includes those Governors, Federal and Executive Branch officials mired in scandals that I can put a name to. It doesn't (yet?) include anyone connected to the NH Phone-Jamming election tampering, Misuse of intel to lead us to war (SSCI phase II), failures of Katrina, illegal domestic spying/wiretapping scandals, or the rest of the players in the CIA leak case.

Clearly the entire Republican party is morally bankrupt. It's no wonder the GOP-led Congress refuses to do any oversight on the Executive branch. They are all up to their waists in deep shit themselves. Those members not already mired in scandal are just as guilty by their complacency in not ever standing up and asking for hearings and oversight on those that are.

I can't even imagine how mentally or ethically challenged someone would have to be to actually vote for any Republican this November, unless they are just so uninformed that they have no business voting in the first place.

It's just so confusing trying to keep up with one scandal after another. I hope this list will bring some clarity, remind everyone just how bad things really are, and help keep any of these from slipping through the cracks.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Frist Favors Vaccine-Makers Over Public Safety

Frist and Hastert couldn't even trust to debate in Congress whether the need is greater to the protect the public from vaccine-maker's negligence, or to protect the vaccine-makers from being sued by the public for their negligence. So they surreptitiously slipped a blanket exemption written by the vaccine-makers into the "defense spending bill in December without debate and in violation of usual Senate practice."

Let's be clear what this is all about. Next time you or your kid gets a shot, just know that if the shot has any adverse effects, Frist and Hastert have made sure you can't do shit about it. It's a direct response to this...
Deadly Immunity
June 16, 2005- When a study revealed that mercury in childhood vaccines may have caused autism in thousands of kids, the government rushed to conceal the data -- and to prevent parents from suing drug companies for their role in the epidemic. ...(more)
Since that story ran, the government and the vaccine companies have flooded the spectrum with countering evidence disputing the relationship between vaccines and autism, not unlike the campaign of mis-information disputing global warming. Seriously, if there is indeed no link, then why did they feel they needed to covertly slip this by us?

Vaccine makers helped write Frist-backed shield law
E-mails reveal private meetings

Vaccine industry officials helped shape legislation behind the scenes that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist secretly amended into a bill to shield them from lawsuits, according to e-mails obtained by a public advocacy group.

E-mails and documents written by a trade group for the vaccine-makers show the organization met privately with Frist's staff and the White House about measures that would give the industry protection from lawsuits filed by people hurt by the vaccines.

The communications were made public in a report released this week by the group Public Citizen. Its study follows a February story in The Tennessean that Frist, along with House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., ordered the vaccine liability language inserted in a defense spending bill in December without debate and in violation of usual Senate practice. ...(more)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Will the Tomatoes Have an 'Irradiated by Depleted Uranium' Sticker?

The USDA on Iraq: Everything's Coming Up Rosy
Career appointees at the Department of Agriculture were stunned last week to receive e-mailed instructions that include Bush administration "talking points" -- saying things such as "President Bush has a clear strategy for victory in Iraq" -- in every speech they give for the department.

"The President has requested that all members of his cabinet and sub-cabinet incorporate message points on the Global War on Terror into speeches, including specific examples of what each agency is doing to aid the reconstruction of Iraq," the May 2 e-mail from USDA speechwriter Heather Vaughn began.

The e-mail [was] sent to about 60 undersecretaries, assistant secretaries and other political appointees (...)

Another attachment "contains specific examples of GWOT messages within agriculture speeches. Please use these message points as often as possible and send Harry Phillips , USDA's director of speechwriting, a weekly email summarizing the event, date and location of each speech incorporating the attached language. Your responses will be included in a weekly account sent to the White House."

This scoreboard, of course, will ensure you give it your best shot.

Now, you might still be scratching your heads, trying to figure out how this is going to work when people expect a talk about agriculture issues. Not to worry. The attachments -- which can be viewed at http://www.washingtonpost.com/fedpage -- show how easy it is to work a little Iraq happy talk into just about anything.

There's a sample introduction: "Several topics I'd like to talk about today -- Farm Bill, trade with Japan, WTO, avian flu . . . but before I do, let me touch on a subject people always ask about . . . progress in Iraq." See? Smooth as silk.

So then you talk about how "we are helping the Iraqi people build a lasting democracy that is peaceful and prosperous." If it looks like the audience is with you, try to slip in the old Iraq/al-Qaeda/terrorism link and say Americans are helping build a country "that will never again be a safe haven for terrorists."

Loop suggestion: With the polls showing that only about 40 percent of those surveyed actually still buy the linkage thing, you may want to use some discretion here lest you lose the audience.

The e-mail shows how to weave in a comment that times are tough for Iraqi farmers. "But revitalization is underway. President Bush has a clear strategy for victory in Iraq structured on three tracks -- political, economic and security."

Be crop-specific. "The Iraqis have also discussed specific products, like tomatoes, which they are anxious to export into the world community," the e-mail notes. ...(more)
H/T: Idea for title from Pete:
New!
Improved!!!
So DU enriched that pesticides are no longer necessary!
Iraqi Tomatoes® even double as fashionable night lights!