Saturday, August 14, 2004

Setting the record straight department. Kerry Strongly Supports Increased Intelligence Funding
Kerry, a former member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has strongly supported recent increases in Intelligence funding for the CIA, FBI, NSA & Other Intel Agencies. In the wake of 9/11, he has supported the bipartisan call for an even larger increase in intelligence funding. According to a report issued by the Center for Defense Information entitled "Intelligence Funding and the War on Terror" John Kerry has supported approximately $250 billion in Intelligence funding over the past eight years alone. The report concludes that Kerry has supported a 50% increase in intelligence funding since 1996. [Senate Intelligence Authorization Funding voice votes 9/25/02, 12/13/01, 12/6/00, 11/19/1999, 10/8/98 & 9/25/96; 1997, Senate Roll Call vote # 109; Jewish News Bulletin of Northern California, 4/5/02]

One Thousand Reasons to Vote Against George Bush
Attitude: Bush uses "faith-based" intelligence to support preconceived notions
20. Greg Thielmann, who worked until last fall as a proliferation expert in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, explains, This administration has had a faith-based intelligence Attitude: 'We know the answers, give us the intelligence to support those answers. Counter Punch 2003-07-26

Iraq Reconstruction: How Not To Do It
On Monday, The New York Times spoke out, saying, "Things have gone so obviously wrong with America's approach to rebuilding Iraq." The list of failures runs long. Of the $18.4 billion allocated for reconstruction last fall, only $600 million has been put to use. (At the time of the handover, authorities had spent a paltry $366 million.) Meanwhile, many projects remain stalled, stifled by both the unstable security conditions and the incompetence of the occupation authorities.

The right keeps saying the left should say something positive about Iraq. OK, fine. There soldiers are working very hard to rebuild the roads, schools, and hospitals that Bush had bombed. To those soldiers our deepest gratitude for your hard work under the harshest conditions.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that most of the 2,300 projects then underway would involve foreign laborers, rather than Iraqis. Only about 15,000 Iraqis had been hired for reconstruction projects; this in a country of 22 million facing an unemployment rate perhaps as high as 70 percent. The Post later discovered that American contractors have hired tens of thousands of workers from countries such as India to come work in Iraq for rock-bottom wages. Dharmapalan Ajayakumar, a kitchen worker for Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc., claimed that he was "tricked" into coming to Iraq by a recruiting agent, and earned less than $7 a day. The cheap labor, of course, continues to offer an incentive for firms not to hire Iraqis.

Friday, August 13, 2004

by way of Wampum
I was amused this morning by a piece in the IHT by someone from the Kennedy School at Harvard on Iran and Nukes and Nukes and Iran and the usual argle-bargle. Then this flops over the transom: Pakistan is cooperating with the IAEA and Pakistan isn't going to allow IAEA inspectors onto Pakistani soil. The cite is the Daily Star which represents the IHT in all the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, Lebanon , Syria , Jordan , Egypt , Yemen and Iraq. Just to add to the irony.

Didn't Bush invade a country that let inspectors in, but didn't think they were cooperating? Tommorrow's headlines, " Operation Pakistan Freedom", sorry I have to rush out and buy some Halliburton stock, I see another no bid contract coming. Blood money has become the new american currency; I wonder if there'll be a movement to put Cheney on the hundred dollar bill.


What do ya know, BushCo rewards big money with even more money. Will our children grow up thinking that it really doesn't pay to work? ......The Big Squeeze by David Sirota
.... under the Bush administration, big business is both the player and the referee, having finally won its decades-long campaign to eliminate the boundary between executive suite and public office. No longer does the private-profit motive compete in the legislative process with public good; profit now owns the process, and the middle class is left to the vultures.

Another day in Bushworld squeezed between nuclear hypocrisy and the democritizing of the legislative branch.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

When did absurd become the status quo?
Chalabi's US lawyers
.....go on the offensive, against the Jordanian bank fraud charges against him, while Chalabi reportedly returns from Iran to Iraq, and promptly goes missing. Knight Ridder reports the Us-filed lawsuit accuses Jordanian authorities not only of framing Chalabi for embezzlement back in 1989, but of colluding with the CIA on the more recent allegations Chalabi spied for Tehran:

This was the guy originally chosen by Bush and the un-elected Policy Defence Board to run Iraq.
The Senate report fails to answer critical questions about intelligence failures prior to the invasion of Iraq. The Committee's report fails to discuss the politicization of intelligence by the administration and its allies; the role of administration officials outside the CIA in producing phony intelligence; or the use of favored Iraqi exiles like Ahmed Chalabi. It fails to mention the Office of Special Plans in the Pentagon, Under Secretary of Defense Doug Feith's tightly controlled intelligence unit which had a direct pipeline to Vice President Cheney. Nor does it examine the administration's claims of links between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein which have already been rebuked by the 9/11 commission.

Embraced by the Administration.
Chalabi was once the darling of the Administration, hailed in some conservative circles as the "George Washington of Iraq." His ties to top Bush administration officials Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Douglas Feith are well documented. Two years ago, Chalabi was President Bush's special guest at the State of the Union, given a seat directly behind First Lady Laura Bush. While the President is trying to distance himself from Chalabi, saying he may have shaken his hand "in a rope line," Bush had a 30-minute "good talk" with Chalabi and three others last November. And in February, Bush said he was confident about the future of Iraq because "right here in the Oval Office I sat down with Mr. Pachachi and Chalabi and al-Hakim, people from different parts of the country that have made the firm commitment."

Neo-fascists anti-american Fox pundit Sean Hannity is engaged in a Reichmarshall Hermann Goering type propaganda campaign, even to the point of doctoring audio tapes to make himself look good. Hermann would be pround.
The Doctored Clip Sean Hannity Doesn't Want You to Know About
JDP: I never called you a liar. I said you get distant from the facts.

[7 MINUTES, 10 SECONDS OF AUDIO CUT]

DEAN: The most interesting theory that I've heard so far...

[4 SECONDS OF AUDIO FROM MIDDLE OF DEAN SENTENCE CUT]

...is that he was warned ahead of time by the Saudis. Now who knows what the real situation is.

[50 SECONDS OF AUDIO CUT]

HANNITY: He advanced the theory. Why would he say it if he wasn't advancing it?

JDP: Get him on the air and ask him that.

[8 SECONDS OF AUDIO CUT]

Read all the edits and what Sean (Hermann Jr) edited out at the link. Yet again, so much for values from the right.

It's Not Just the Jobs Lost, but the Pay in the New Ones
"Since employment peaked, we've lost many more higher-paying jobs than lower-paying jobs,'' said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Economy.com. "In recovery, we've created more lower-paying jobs than higher-paying jobs."

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War

Should future President John Kerry sue the Not Too Swiftboat veterans? Frontal Assault
Of course, the last thing we need in our political discourse is a chilling of free speech, and I believe deeply that the SBVT or any other organization can call Kerry a big tree-hugging peacenik or claim that he is dishonorable or unfit to be president. Those are opinions--and no matter how inflammatory they may sound or how off-base they may be--they deserve to be heard and debated.

But lies are different, and those that tell them with the intent to distort our politics should be held accountable. In a perfect world, the media would do the job, and the political establishment of both parties would draw some lines. Since President Bush refuses to condemn the SBVT ad and call off these attacks, Kerry may have to take the battle directly to his foes. The risks are huge, but as Kerry discovered more than three decades ago, sometimes the only way to survive an attack is to steer straight into enemy fire

There something to be said for a lawsuit. While there would be backlash, it would make those that love the smear pile-on think a minute before they go off half cocked. Between right-wing publications and certainly the internet, unfounded accusations and rumors are easier then ever to get started.

"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." -James Madison

Not Scared Yet? Try Connecting These Dots

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

THE CONSERVATIVE CASE AGAINST GEORGE W. BUSH
All this stems from Bush's foreign policy of preemptive war, which encourages war for such vague humanitarian ends as "human rights," or because the United States believes another country may pose a threat to it. Its champions seem to almost joyously anticipate a succession of wars without visible end, with the invasion of Iraq merely its first fruit: former Bush appointee Richard Perle, from his writings on foreign policy, would have us war against nearly every nation that he defines as a rogue. The ironic consequence of this policy to stabilize the world is greater instability.

Isn't that what people like James Woolsey and Michael Ledeen want, perpetual war.
Quotes from Ledeen's works reveal a peculiar set of beliefs about American attitudes toward violence. "Change -- above all violent change -- is the essence of human history," he proclaims in his book, "Machiavelli on Modern Leadership: Why Machiavelli's Iron Rules Are as Timely and Important Today as Five Centuries Ago." In an influential essay in the National Review Online he asserts, "Creative destruction is our middle name. We do it automatically ... it is time once again to export the democratic revolution."

Ledeen, the neocons, and their subsequence apologists like Victor David No-clue Hansen may be exporting something, but its not democracy. The current government in Iraq is made of exiles picked by Bush.

from the comment section at MaxSpeak
I'm still trying to figure out how they manage to get around this. If Kerry was wrongly awarded medals by the military, isn't the military as much at fault as Kerry? And if they gave Kerry medals unjustly, how many other recipients might not have deserved their own? In the future, when we hear someone described as a recipient of a Silver Star or Purple Heart, should we be skeptical--after all, we know of at least one example where the award wasn't merited! Or do they want us to believe that out of the thousands of recipients of medals in Vietnam, exactly ONE received medals he didn't deserve?

Has it occurred to Wolf or Judy or Aaron to ask any of these questions?

The media doesn't ask questions like this because it would stop this and similar smear campaigns in their tracks, then they'd have to go out and actually do some real reporting.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Looks like things are heating up in the Grand Jury investigation into the Valerie Plame leak by Robert Novak.
Reporter Held in Contempt Over C.I.A. Leak
While the subpoena battle is only one aspect of a politically charged grand jury investigation that has repeatedly reached into the White House, it nevertheless represents the most significant clash between federal prosecutors and the press since the 1970's.

Tim Russert is going to testify, but Matthew Cooper of Time magazine recieved a subpoena and refused to testify.
Looks like Fitzgerald is serious about getting to the bottom of this. Maybe we will see someone "frog walked" out of the Whitehouse or the State Department.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Iran, Iraq, North Korea and holding Bush to his word. Diplomacy Fails to Slow Advance of Nuclear Arms
- American intelligence officials and outside nuclear experts have concluded that the Bush administration's diplomatic efforts with European and Asian allies have barely slowed the nuclear weapons programs in Iran and North Korea over the past year, and that both have made significant progress.

Taken together, the intelligence conclusions pose both security and political challenges for President Bush, who is visiting here this weekend to attend a wedding and visit his parents at their seaside estate. Mr. Bush has said he will not “tolerate” either country becoming a nuclear power, ignoring, at least publicly, the near certainty that North Korea has already reached that status. But he has never defined that term, or set deadlines. He is already under attack by the Democratic presidential candidate, Senator John Kerry, for allowing both countries to move forward in their programs while the White House concentrated on the one member of what Mr. Bush has called the “axis of evil,” Iraq, that turned out to have virtually no evidence of a continuing nuclear program.

George Bush- President's Remarks in Springfield, Missouri, "You see, it's not enough to advocate reform -- you have to be able to get it done." and "When it comes to better securing our homeland and fighting the forces of terror, results matter. And when it comes to choosing a President, results matter."

Let's take Shrub at his word, that results matter. That having acheived no significant results by his own definition, he doesn't deserve to be president. "You see, it's not enough to advocate reform -- you have to be able to get it done." Well he got nothing done in his first four years, was that just a practice run for the second four years in which he will finally take a vacation from his vacation and do some real work in exchange for the quarter million dollars a year he's collecting as a public servant. Didn't we all know someone like this in high school, that were constantly promising they would do better next year. This ain't high school, the Supreme Court gave Bush a chance he didn't earn and he blew it, no next year BS, they're taking applications at McDonalds I suggest he do his country a great service and pick one up..