Saturday, May 21, 2005


Bad Apple Zero Re-Discovered by Media

Although W and the Bush League couldn't figure out how those few "bad apples" were spread out from Afghanistan to Abu Ghraib, the news has been out for quite some time now, for those willing to see. Here's today's story:
While senior military intelligence officers at Bagram quickly heard reports of abuse by several interrogators, documents show they also failed to file reports that are mandatory when any intelligence personnel are suspected of misconduct, including mistreatment of detainees. Those reports would have alerted military intelligence officials in the United States to a problem in the unit, military officials said.

Those interrogators and others from Bagram were later sent to Iraq and were assigned to Abu Ghraib prison. A high-level military inquiry last year found that the captain who led interrogation operations at Bagram, Capt. Carolyn A. Wood, applied many of the same harsh methods in Iraq that she had overseen in Afghanistan.
Source: New York Times Abuse Inquiry Bogged Down in Afghanistan, May 22, 2005 [Emphasis added])
Far from being disciplined for teaching her subordinates to routinely torture detainees, this story from last August notes Captain Wood was apparently awarded two Bronze Stars for her actions:
WASHINGTON - Army investigators believe that some of the military interrogators who were implicated in the abuse scandal at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq were involved in earlier deaths and abuses of detainees held by U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Yet even as investigators were uncovering troubling evidence of prisoner abuse in Afghanistan, orders were cut to transfer the military intelligence company involved to Iraq and to Abu Ghraib. And within weeks of the deaths of two Afghan detainees, the officer in charge at the Bagram Collection Center, where the men died and where others are thought to be mistreated, was awarded her first of two Bronze Stars for "exceptionally meritorious service."
Critics say the Army's handling of the Afghan investigation amounts to a cover-up. And they say the fact that no one has been held accountable for the deaths and other abuse at the facility in Afghanistan suggests that high-ranking officers didn't consider mistreatment of detainees to be a serious offense until the graphic pictures of Abu Ghraib prisoners were broadcast around the world.
(Source: Knight Ridder News Service Afghanistan probe implicated Abu Ghraib interrogators, August 20, 2004 [Emphasis added])
I suppose being awarded a medal for her actions is proof she was guilty of incompetence or worse, like George "Slam Dunk" Tenet, Gen. Tommy "Enough Troops" Franks, and L. Paul "Disband Iraq's Army and Police" Bremer. (Bush Gives Medal of Freedom to 'Pivotal' Iraq Figures) Besides, Captain Wood couldn't be at fault for anything - she didn't work for Newsweek.

Of course, it could also be that Ms. Wood has the goods on more senior officers, and so they can't bring her to account until after the mid-term elections next year...

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Reality vs. The Bush League: Newsweek Causes Iraq Insurgency!

In the wake of the Newsweek article "irresponsibly" reminding the Muslim world of old charges of Koran desecration at the otherwise-popular Guantanamo Club Fed Resort, American generals reported a stunning reversal of our highly successful Iraq policy:
In interviews and briefings this week, some of the generals pulled back from recent suggestions, some by the same officers, that positive trends in Iraq could allow a major drawdown in the 138,000 American troops late this year or early in 2006. One officer suggested Wednesday that American military involvement could last "many years."
(Source: New York Times Generals Offer a Sober Outlook on Iraqi War, May 19, 2005
Obviously, the reason we can no longer withdraw those troops in time for the 2006 elections after successfully "turning the corner on the insurgency" is those careless liberal media fiends at Newsweek. So sayeth W and his Bush League henchmen about this particular report, anyway. As Hoffmania notes, The Bush League wasn't so critical of inaccurate reports from anonymous sources supporting Bush Administration policies...

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


None Dare Call it Corruption

The Republicans are so deeply intertwined with industry lobbyists that the House Majority Whip can order the lobbyists around:
House Majority Whip Exerts Influence by Way of K Street

By Thomas B. Edsall
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 17, 2005; Page A19

House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the man one step behind Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) in the Republican leadership, has built a political machine of his own that extends from Missouri deep into Washington's K Street lobbying community.

...Blunt has maximized the organization's influence by delegating authority to Washington business and trade association lobbyists to help negotiate deals with individual House members to produce majorities on important issues.


Business and trade association lobbyists representing a broad range of corporate interests have used their leverage in lawmakers' districts to persuade them to cast difficult votes for Republican budgets and against politically popular Democratic amendments.

These lobbyists are "willing to work with leadership, in a broad generic way . . . [and] we have a commitment from them to whip the vote on the outside," said Gregg Hartley, who ran the operation for Blunt until going to K Street himself.
(Emphasis added)
Lobbyists write the legislation and then help Republican leaders shove it down our Congresscritters' throats. And Republicans dare talk about Democrats being influenced by "special interests."

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


What is the Sound of One Bubble Bursting?

Sounds like the housing market is getting ready for the domino effect:
U.S. Warns Lenders To Elevate Standards
Agencies Cite Risks In Home Equity Loans

By Kirstin Downey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 17, 2005; Page A01

Federal banking regulators yesterday warned banks and other lenders to be more selective about who can get home equity loans and lines of credit because rising interest rates may make it harder for people to repay their loans.
(Emphasis added.)
As interest rates rise, the income required to qualify for a home loan goes up and folks on adjustable rate mortgages (ARM) have to pay more. Some of those folks will find themselves overextended, and try to sell. Buyers won't be able to qualify, so the bank will foreclose and sell for a loss. This pushes housing prices down further, meaning more houses will have mortgages exceeding their resale value. More overextended homeowners will try to sell, forcing prices still lower.

Meanwhile, the price of gas will probably go back up as the summer driving season gets underway - lowering home prices in outlying areas. It's going to be an interesting summer.

Monday, May 16, 2005


Retirement for the Rest of Us

Tom Meyer shows why retirement planning is like a three-legged stool

Sunday, May 15, 2005


Truth and Consequences

The problem with getting a reputation for leaving unpleasant truths out of reports is that nobody believes your reports after a while.

Consider Newsweek's report and then retraction that an upcoming government report would confirm allegations the Koran had been desecrated by Gitmo interrogators:
...The source told Isikoff that the report would include new details that were not in the FBI e-mails, including mention of flushing the Qur'an down a toilet. A SouthCom spokesman contacted by Isikoff declined to comment on an ongoing investigation, but NEWSWEEK National Security Correspondent John Barry, realizing the sensitivity of the story, provided a draft of the NEWSWEEK PERISCOPE item to a senior Defense official, asking, "Is this accurate or not?" The official challenged one aspect of the story: the suggestion that Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, sent to Gitmo by the Pentagon in 2001 to oversee prisoner interrogation, might be held accountable for the abuses. Not true, said the official (the PERISCOPE draft was corrected to reflect that). But he was silent about the rest of the item. The official had not meant to mislead, but lacked detailed knowledge of the SouthCom report.
Source: Evan Thomas, Newsweek How a Fire Broke Out, May 23, 2005 issue
W and the Bush League eliminated inconvenient statements regarding global warming from an EPA report (Source: BBC News US 'censored' green report, June 20, 2003.) Who can now say whether early drafts of the SouthCom report included these allegations, but subsequent editing removed them - or whether the allegations are in fact false?

Our CEO President learned all about distorting reports to hide unpleasant truths at Harvard Business School.

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