Saturday, November 26, 2005


Timeless Lessons

Which world government is this referring to?
...the government's lies and attempts to cover up the disaster - and the angry public reaction to them - have underscored how brittle government credibility is...



Click here for the answer.

Friday, November 25, 2005


Winning Hearts and Minds

Why do they hate America? Here's the news from Bahrain:
But although Mr Al Nuaimi knew he was being released, he said his ordeal in captivity did not end until the moment he stepped off the plane that brought him to Bahrain.

He claimed he was denied a shower on his last day in captivity, was not allowed to use the toilet in private on the plane, had his ankles and wrists shackled with handcuffs chained to his waist during the journey and made to wear goggles to block his vision and hearing.
"On the night before coming home, I needed a bath because I couldn't pray before I bathed," he said.

"But when I asked the guard, they refused to let me have a shower. They said 'today is not the day for showers'.

"I said: 'Are you trying to fight my religion? You're stopping me from praying because you're stopping me from showering'.

"All human beings need showers every day. There's no such thing as 'this is not a shower day'.

"So I had to take a shower in my cell, getting everything wet."
Mr Al Nuaimi said he did not eat or drink throughout the flight because he could not use the toilet, which he said detainees were being forced to do in front of cameras and under observation.

After asking, Mr Al Nuaimi said he was taken to the toilet by guards, but claimed he was being photographed and watched.

He said he could see flashes of light reflected off the lenses of his goggles coming from the side of the plane where he had previously seen people sitting.

"I felt like my bladder was going to explode," he said.

"The people were in front of me and they wanted me to go to the toilet in front of everyone.

"I yelled: 'Do you think that we are animals?'
In addition, he claimed that detainees were assaulted during the flight.

"Throughout the whole journey, every five or 10 minutes, soldiers would come up and jump on us with their full weight, pulling the shackles on our legs and checking our hands," he said.

"They claimed they wanted to be sure we were not going to escape and that we were secured."

When he asked for tissue to wipe his eyes when they started watering, he said he was at first allowed, but later refused for "security reasons".

In addition, he said that the guards were unable to take off the detainees' handcuffs when they got here because there was a problem with the keys.

"They are professionals at putting people in cages, but don't know how to let them out," he said.
(Source: Gulf Daily News I was sad to leave my friends behind, Nov 26, 2005.)
How many recruits did al Qaida pick up from that one article?


Rove's Anonymous Phone Calls?

Yeah, and the Richard Nixon Used Car Emporium is having a sale this weekend...
Iraqi Official Says He Received Call From Resistance Leader
Published: November 25, 2005

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Nov. 25 - A senior aide to Iraq's president said today that some insurgent groups had contacted him to discuss joining in the American-backed political process.
Because of the sketchy details provided by the general, it was difficult to assess the significance of the calls. In the last year, some politicians have announced that they were in touch with various insurgent groups, only to have serious doubts later raised about the importance and legitimacy of those contacts.

One notable example involved Aiham al-Samarraie, the former electricity minister, who asserted months ago that he was talking to several insurgent groups. The groups he named then posted statements on Web sites calling Mr. Samarraie a liar and demanding that he be killed. Mr. Samarraie, who is running for Parliament in the Dec. 15 elections, still says he has ties to certain factions in the insurgency.
I'll believe it when the insurgents contact al Jazeera, and not before. (Much like I'd immediately believe Bill O'Reilly if he announced he had proof that Bush wanted to bomb al Jazeera's offices in Qatar.)


Reality vs. The Bush League: The Chalabi Diaries

Here's an interesting quote:
Cheney poked his finger in Powell's chest outside a principals meeting in the White House, according to a senior administration official, and yelled: "It's all YOUR fault. If you had let us put Chalabi in charge none of this would have happened."
(Source: Joseph Galloway Knight Ridder Washington Bureau `Dishonest and reprehensible' words from Dick Cheney, Nov. 23, 2005.
Bringing "democracy" to the Middle East by installing yet another CIA-created puppet?
Working under this extraordinary transfer of secret authority, Rendon assembled a group of anti-Saddam militants, personally gave them their name -- the Iraqi National Congress -- and served as their media guru and "senior adviser" as they set out to engineer an uprising against Saddam. It was as if President John F. Kennedy had outsourced the Bay of Pigs operation to the advertising and public-relations firm of J. Walter Thompson.
(Source: Rolling Stone The Man Who Sold the War - Meet John Rendon, Bush's general in the propaganda war [emphasis added.])
Maybe the reason why democracy hasn't taken off in the Middle East is because W and his Bush League minions think "democracy" means "US-installed puppet dictatorship." This used to work in the 1950s - and it would have kept working, too if it weren't for those darned 1960s student activists.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Reality vs. The Bush League: Mars Delusions

Remember George Bush's plan to destroy NASA oops, I mean "Vision for Space?" The one where we cut funding of the Hubble Space Telescope in favor of visions for expensive and purposeless manned missions? The one requiring billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars at a time where Mr. Bush was trying to "drown the beast" with tax cuts? Now that the Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina maxed out the credit cards, guess which agency's funding is getting cut?
Bush's Space Plan in Danger
Shuttle Program's Deficit May Mean Far Fewer Flights

By Guy Gugliotta
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 24, 2005; Page A01

A large deficit in NASA's troubled shuttle program threatens to seriously delay and possibly cripple President Bush's space exploration initiative unless the number of planned flights is cut virtually in half or the White House agrees to add billions of dollars to the human spaceflight budget.

Sources familiar with ongoing negotiations between NASA and the White House say the administration has no intention of spending extra money to deal with a shortfall that some space experts say could exceed $6 billion from 2006 to 2010, when NASA plans to retire the shuttle for good.
Initially, Congress expressed suspicion that the initiative was either a grandiose but empty gesture or a risky project that would cannibalize established NASA programs to raise the needed funding. Last year, it took an eleventh-hour arm-twist by then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) to win passage of NASA's $16.1 billion budget, but this year lawmakers easily passed the 2006 budget -- for the full $16.5 billion the White House requested.
Now, Congress' worst fears have come true: Mr. Bush's "Let's cut the Hubble Telescope so we can go to Mars" program is now shown to be a trojan horse aimed at destroying NASA. Bush's true plan was clear: first use the development costs as an excuse to gut NASA's useful and popular programs; second, claim the Mars trip was too expensive and cut that as well; and third, close down NASA completely and shift the civilian work to "private enterprise" while handing off military satellite launches to the US Air Force.

For those not paying attention, part 2 just started. I believe part 3 is scheduled for just after the 2006 elections - probably timed for the first deficit reports in 2007.

People claim Mr. Bush is stupid because he promises one thing and then immediately does things designed to make the original promise unachieveable. If one instead assumes Mr. Bush intends the obvious consequences of his actions and has no qualms about lying to achieve them, it is much easier to see where we're actually going.

This fits in well with appointing John Bolton to the UN. The only rational excuse for this appointment was to create an excuse for the US to pull out of the UN. Mr. Bolton has set about creating just such an excuse:
The assembly's decisions on budgets are taken by consensus and allow the United States, which pays 22 percent of the budget, to block them. Privately, EU members, who collectively pay some 35 percent of the budget, fear the Bolton plan might backfire, with developing nations rejecting all reform plans.

In interviews and comments to reporters in the past two weeks, Bolton has warned the United States might bypass the United Nations if it does not undergo radical changes.
(Source: Reuters EU rejects US tactics on UN reform, Nov. 23, 2005 [emphasis added.])
Classic Bush League MO: set an obvious course directly for your goal while telling blatant lies (a.k.a: "spinning") about your intentions.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Do As We Say, Not As We Do

Ambassador John Bolton generates sound bites for the US public:
Bolton said the General Assembly has "essentially not made progress" since President Bush and other world leaders convened a U.N. summit in September to endorse a platform of changes, including proposals to increase scrutiny of spending practices and to create a human rights council that would exclude rights abusers. He said that continued resistance to change in the organization would drive the American public away from the United Nations.
(Source: Washington Post Bolton Admonishes U.N., Nov. 23, 2005 [emphasis added.])
Maybe the UN could model their spending practices on the highly successful US Coalition Provisional Authority model:
U.S. Accuses Pair of Rigging Iraq Contracts

By Charles R. Babcock and Renae Merle
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, November 18, 2005; Page A01

A U.S. official working in Iraq accepted $546,000 in illegal payments for steering more than $13 million in contracts last year to an American businessman, the Justice Department alleged in the first criminal corruption case arising from Iraq reconstruction.

...federal auditors have found that the CPA was lax in overseeing billions of dollars in Iraqi funds from the sale of oil and cash transferred from the United Nations.

"There's more to come" in the way of criminal charges, Ginger Cruz, the deputy special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, said in an interview yesterday. Stein and Bloom have not been indicted by a grand jury, and Cruz said the investigation is continuing. She said her office is looking into 50 other potential criminal cases on the spending of U.S. and Iraqi funds in the war zone.
If anyone is qualified to criticize fraudulent contracts, it is the Bush Administration:
Halliburton Allegations Are Sent to Justice Dept.
No-Bid Contracts In Iraq Are at Issue

By Renae Merle
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 19, 2005; Page A15

An investigative arm of the Pentagon has sent an Army Corps of Engineers whistle-blower's allegations of wrongdoing against Halliburton Co. to the Justice Department.

Bunnatine H. Greenhouse was removed from her position as the Corps of Engineers' top procurement official in August after raising concerns over the volume of Iraq-related work given to the Houston-based oil-services giant without competition.
If these matters had been investigated with the Bush Administration's cooperation and in a timely manner, the US could raise these charges and be taken seriously. Instead, John Bolton's lecture sounds more like a demand for the UN to send more business to Halliburton and other Bush cronies.

Were I at the UN, I would respond by accepting Mr. Bolton's demand to "create a human rights council that would exclude rights abusers" by excluding the US from any such human rights counsel based upon Guantanamo Bay prisoner abuse, torture advocacy, kidnapping suspects for torture without trial, and the CIA's secret prison system.

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