Friday, April 01, 2005


Friday Funnies

Trust me - check out What if the Right is Right


No Joking: $5/gallon gas this summer?

Reuters reports crude oil prices may double by this summer:
Oil Soars Over $56 on Spike Alert
Fri Apr 1, 2005 11:52 AM ET
LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices surged to more than $56 a barrel on Friday, powered higher by a forecast the market could spike to $105 a barrel and concerns U.S. gasoline supplies might fall short of peak summer demand.

Prices have climbed around 30 percent this year after signs rapid demand growth in Asia's emerging economies and the United States would strain world supply ignited heavy buying by big-money speculative funds.
Source: Reuters April 1, 2005

So much for my summer travel plans. On the silver lining side, this should cut down on off-road vehicle damage to US wilderness areas - and may even affect HumVee sales.


History Repeating Itself

From an earlier time:

They were evil: we were good. They told lies: we spoke the truth. Our cause was just, our purposes noble, and in victory we were magnanimous. What a wonderful country we were! I loved it so.

But now having descended down the torturous, lying, brutalizing years of this bloody war. I have come to the dank and lightless bottom of the well: I have come to root against the country that once I blindly loved.
Source: Art Hoppe To Root Against Your Country San Francisco Chronicle March 1, 1971

When Republicans use "rooting against your country" as a talking point, it might be well to remember how the Republican's dishonorable actions force patriots to feel this way.

Thursday, March 31, 2005


World Bank to be Neo-Conned

Looks like Wolfowitz set for World Bank post:

Paul Wolfowitz is set to be confirmed as the new head of the World Bank on Thursday after winning crucial European support on Wednesday.
But the proposal of Mr Wolfowitz by the White House was seen in some quarters as an attempt to bend a multilateral body to US demands.

"I understand that I'm to put it mildly a controversial figure," (Wolfowitz) said.

"But I hope as people get to know me that they will understand that I really do believe deeply in the mission of the Bank."

He promised to seek a "truly multinational" management team - but would not give Europe an unequivocal promise on the deputy's post.
Source: BBC (Emphasis in original)

My guess is that Wolfowitz has either already found a European neocon for the deputy's post or that the "multinational" management team will include Bush loyalists from both "red" and "blue" states. Either way, this looks to be bad news for the developing world.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Truth, Justice - No Longer the American Way?

What would Superman say about:
Kidnapping people and torturing them for information they may or may not possess?
Yemeni Held in Guantánamo Was Seized in Cairo, Group Says (New York Times)
Suit by Detainee on Transfer to Syria Finds Support in Jet's Log (New York Times)
Suspect Can Be Examined for Signs of Torture (Reuters / Washington Post)
Imprisoning innocent people?
Panel Ignored Evidence on Detainee (Washington Post, March 27, 2005)
Prosecuting U.S. enlisted personnel for following illegal orders while protecting those giving the illegal orders?
Harsh Tactics Were Allowed, General Told Jailers in Iraq (New York Times)
Blows that led to detainee's death were common practice, reservist says
(Knight-Ridder News Service March 25, 2005)
The ever-increasing number of "overzealous" Republicans suppressing free speech at public events without being held responsible:
Bush critics blocked from presidential events (Washington Post, March 30, 2005)
Fighting for the American Way rather than Truth and Justice just doesn't have the same ring...


Reality vs. Bush: Global Warming

Reality's position:
In a report to be released Wednesday, a team of international experts concluded that the world is at risk on a variety of fronts, including a skyrocketing runoff of nutrient-rich farm waste that's killing swaths of the world's oceans, a massive wave of animal and plant extinctions and a planet that's growing warmer.

But it's not hopeless, they said.

The five-year study, commissioned by the United Nations and a number of businesses and independent groups, arrived at a mixed prognosis for planet Earth: Its deteriorating environmental health is still treatable, but only with aggressive and expensive corrective measures.
Source: Knight Ridder News: Scientists warn of Earth's declining environmental health March 29, 2005
Bush's Position - withdraw from Kyoto treaty, keep studying the issue:
At the national level, the U.S. Global Change Research Program Exit EPA coordinates the world's most extensive research effort on climate change. In addition, EPA and other federal agencies are actively engaging the private sector, states, and localities in partnerships based on a win-win philosophy and aimed at addressing the challenge of global warming while, at the same time, strengthening the economy. For more information, see the US Climate Action Report (U.S. Department of State, May 2002).
Source: US Environmental Protection Agency

Those stupid scientists - don't they realize the Rapture will occur before these problems become severe enough to affect us?

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Crazy Cheney's Idiot Energy Policies

Molly Ivins explains:
Ponder this: Next year, the administration will phase out the $2,000 tax credit for buying a hybrid vehicle, which gets over 50 miles per gallon, but will leave in place the $25,000 tax write-off for a Hummer, which gets 10-12 mpg. That's truly crazy, and that's truly what the whole Cheney energy policy is.

The oil companies need to get a fair profit back from their political donations to President Bush...


Destruction Via Nominee?

Ronald Reagan was a master of the One-Two Nominee punch. First, he'd nominate a completely incompetent boob to draw fire. When everyone pointed out the obvious, Reagan would "compromise" by withdrawing the completely incompetent boob (cough, cough Robert Bork) and then nominating the ideologically correct stooge Reagan actually intended for the position. Time after time, the Democrats wore themselves fighting against the decoy and were criticized for "partisan abuses." They then confirmed the "compromise" candidate with little discussion.

President Bush, however, seems to be nominating completely incompetent idiots under the theory that an incompetent President should help other incompetents' careers. Case in point: bi-partisan criticism of John Bolton for UN Ambassador:
Fifty-nine former US diplomats have written to the chairman of a key Senate committee in protest at the nomination of John Bolton as ambassador to the UN.
...(T)he former diplomats insist (Bolton's) hard-line views on states such as Cuba and Syria, as well as previous paid employment for the government of Taiwan, make him an unsuitable candidate.

"Given these past actions and statements, John R Bolton cannot be an effective promoter of the US national interest at the UN," they wrote.

"We urge you to oppose his nomination."
Source: BBC News Ex-US diplomats round on Bolton March 29, 2005 (Emphasis in original.)
It'll be interesting to see whether the Democrats are smart enough to oppose John Bolton on a straight party-line vote. It'll be more interesting to see whether enough Republicans place the country's interests ahead of their own short-term interests and join them in rejecting this idiot's policies (and his idiot nominees, too.)

Sunday, March 27, 2005


Bush's "Culture of Life" - Afghanistan Version

Yes, Mr. Bush is deeply concerned with preserving life - that's why he supports torturing people to death:
Blows that led to detainee's death were common practice, reservist says
By Elise Ackerman
Knight Ridder Newspapers

FORT BLISS, Texas - An Army reservist accused of killing a detainee in Afghanistan told investigators that the blows that caused the man's death were commonly used to deal with uncooperative prisoners and that his superiors approved of the technique.

Other soldiers testified at a hearing here that they were taught to administer the so-called "compliance blows" in an Army course covering non-lethal tactics and that the blows became an accepted way of dealing with detainees who were considered "combative."

The statement from Pfc. Willie Brand and the testimony from his fellow soldiers provide new evidence that prisoner abuse in Afghanistan and Iraq may have been the result of interrogation and detention practices adopted for the war on terrorism.
But investigators have identified 26 other military police officers and interrogators who they say committed offenses ranging from assault to maltreatment in the case, including a military intelligence officer who later served at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq when abuses took place there.

Army investigators have recommended that the officer, Capt. Carolyn Wood, who was in charge of the Bagram Collection Point when Dilawar and Habibullah died, be charged with maltreatment, conspiracy and making a false official statement in connection with their deaths.

An Army investigation of abuse at Abu Ghraib also criticized Wood, who served with the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion, for failing "to implement the necessary checks and balances to prevent detainee abuse" there.

Medical examiner Lt. Col. Kathleen Ingwersen said the forced immobility might have contributed to the blood clot that caused the 30-year-old Habibullah's heart to stop. According to an Army investigation, Habibullah was so badly hurt by repeated knee strikes that "even if he survived, both legs would have had to be amputated."

Lt. Col. Elizabeth Rouse, the pathologist who examined Dilawar, 35, testified via telephone that the severe beating might have aggravated a pre-existing heart condition. She said the tissue in Dilawar's legs had been so damaged by repeated blows that "it was essentially crumbling and falling apart."

If you think this fact pattern sounds familiar, that's because it has been dragging on since 2002:
This month, the U.S. military announced that it had begun a criminal investigation into the handling of two prisoners who died in U.S. custody at the Bagram base. A base spokesman said autopsies found one of the detainees died of a pulmonary embolism, the other of a heart attack.
Source: Washington Post U.S. Decries Abuse but Defends Interrogations
For the past few years, Mr. Bush was apparently too immersed in his "culture of life" to change the policies leading to these two deaths (and who knows how many more?) Instead, we are treated to Bush League "Justice" Time: round up a few low-rankers, make media examples of them, outsource the crimes via making "extraordinary" renditions commonplace, on to the next "right-to-life" passion play.

And let's not hear any "it's OK because these are 'known terrorists'" garbage, either. An unknown number of Gitmo detainees and folks "disappeared" via rendition are almost certainly innocent:
Panel Ignored Evidence on Detainee
Military Intelligence, German Authorities Found No Ties to Terrorists
By Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 27, 2005; Page A01

A military tribunal determined last fall that Murat Kurnaz, a German national seized in Pakistan in 2001, was a member of al Qaeda and an enemy combatant whom the government could detain indefinitely at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
In fact, that evidence, recently declassified and obtained by The Washington Post, shows that U.S. military intelligence and German law enforcement authorities had largely concluded there was no information that linked Kurnaz to al Qaeda, any other terrorist organization or terrorist activities.

In recently declassified portions of a January ruling, a federal judge criticized the military panel for ignoring the exculpatory information that dominates Kurnaz's file and for relying instead on a brief, unsupported memo filed shortly before Kurnaz's hearing by an unidentified government official.
Source: Washington Post (Emphasis added)
More evidence that Bush's "Culture of Life" can join "the check's in the mail" as one of the obvious lies of our times.
Report: U.S. Weighs Changes in Handling Terror Suspects
However, Dick "Evil One" Cheney opposes any changes:
Some White House supporters of the changes have changed jobs, the Times said, leaving a small group of officials led by Vice President Cheney, who oppose switching to the commission rules, unless forced to do so by the courts.

"There are a number of folks who would like to make changes," the Times quoted one Pentagon official as saying about the rules governing the military commissions. But, the official added, "Cheney is still driving a lot of this."
Source: Reuters Report: U.S. Weighs Changes in Handling Terror Suspects March 27, 2005 (Emphasis added)

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