Saturday, December 24, 2005


Merry Christmas, Endangered Species!

Few people deserve time in Club Fed more than this guy:
Probe of lobbyist ties Pombo to web of Indian money
Lawmaker allegedly helped Abramoff's clients on key issue

Richard A. Serrano, Judy Pasternak, Los Angeles Times

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Mashpee, Mass. -- Everybody got something.

The Mashpee Wampanoags, famed for greeting the Pilgrims at Plymouth, will probably be named a nationally recognized tribe -- a designation they've sought for 30 years to benefit from federal aid programs.

Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist embroiled in a Washington corruption scandal, and his firm championed the Indians' cause and pocketed tens of thousands of dollars in tribal money.

And Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, chairman of the influential House Resources Committee, landed a lucrative source of political donations: the small group of American Indians whose ancestral lands are about as far from his Northern California district as one can get in the United States.

The trifecta of money, politics and power that quietly came together over the last several years has attracted the attention of a federal law enforcement task force investigating the burgeoning Abramoff scandal.

Friday, December 23, 2005


Cheerful Non-Demoninational Gift Day!

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Another Bush League Pawn Threatened

Bad enough to be sent to Iraq in the first place with inadequate armor and a murky mission - then this happens:
US says case closed in shooting of Italian agent
Thu Dec 22, 2005 4:22 PM ET

ROME (Reuters) - Italian magistrates have placed a U.S. marine under official investigation for murder over the killing of an Italian agent in Iraq earlier this year, judicial sources said on Thursday.

But the United States immediately said it considered the issue closed after a joint Italian-U.S. investigation, even though the two governments disagreed on the conclusion of that probe.
The Marine may have gotten spooked and fired outside protocol - but it should be George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld in the dock, not yet another low-level fall guy.


Turn the Corner, Find Brick Wall

Well, the Iraqi elections turned out about as expected for a government run with advice from Republicans:
Iraq parties unite to reject poll

Sunni Arab and secular parties in Iraq have united to reject the results of last week's parliamentary elections, saying there was widespread fraud.

Representatives from 35 parties issued a statement threatening to boycott the new parliament if their complaints were not properly investigated.

Iraq's election commission says it has received complaints, but does not think the overall results will be affected.

The final results are expected to be announced at the beginning of January.
(Source: BBC News)
At best it sounds like we've successfully replaced a secular dictatorship that hated the US oppressed its people with a Theocracy that hates the US and will oppress its people. Not a great deal to show for $300 billion and 30,000 - 100,000+ dead.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Our Corrupt MBA President

Interesting backdrop to today's pyrotechnics: it looks like the professionals are reasserting themselves:
The military's struggle with detainee abuses highlighted the clash between the JAGs and the civilian lawyers over the past two years; the military lawyers had strongly cautioned that approving extreme interrogation tactics could cause confusion in the field and could lead to abuses and public relations problems. Their concerns were shelved by civilian lawyers, who advocated the Bush administration's position that interrogators should have more flexibility in questioning suspected terrorists.

Memos the JAGs wrote explaining their concerns became public after prison abuses were reported last year, and Senate Armed Services Committee members expressed frustration that the military lawyers -- who accurately predicted the problems that would arise -- had been largely shoved aside.
(Source: Washington Post Pentagon Studies Raising Military Lawyers' Rank, Dec. 21, 2005 [emphasis added.])
And this:
Revolt of the Professionals

By David Ignatius

Wednesday, December 21, 2005; Page A31

The national security structure that the Bush administration created after Sept. 11, 2001, began to crumble this month because of a bipartisan revolt on Capitol Hill. Newly emboldened legislators forced the administration to accept new rules for the interrogation of prisoners, delayed renewal of the Patriot Act and demanded an investigation of warrantless wiretapping by the National Security Agency.

President Bush has bristled at these challenges to his authority over what has amounted to an undeclared national state of emergency. But the intelligence professionals who have daily responsibility for waging the war against terrorism don't seem particularly surprised or unhappy to see the emergency structure in trouble. They want clear rules and public support that will allow them to do their jobs effectively over the long haul, without getting second-guessed or jerked around by politicians. Basically, they don't want to be left holding the bag -- which this nation has too often done with its professional military and intelligence officers.
W and his Bush League minions may claim to be "grownups" - but so were Enron's Ken Lay and Adelphia's John Rigas. We need to replace the current Corrupt CEO President with real professionals...


Name the Location

Here's an interesting quote:
"This election is completely false. It insults democracy everywhere. Everything was based on fraud, cheating, frightening people and using religion to frighten the people," he said. "It is terrorism more than democracy."
Was the speaker from:
a) Florida
b) Ohio
c) Iraq
d) Somewhere with Diebold voting machines,
e) other


C: Iraq

Sunni, Secular Groups Demand New Vote
Claims That Iraqi Ballot Was Rigged Threaten to Derail Government, Boost Insurgency

By Doug Struck
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, December 21, 2005; Page A23

BAGHDAD, Dec. 20 -- Sunni and secular political groups angrily claimed Tuesday that last week's Iraqi national election was rigged, demanded a new vote and threatened to leave a shambles the delicate plan to bring the country's wary factions together in a new government.
And Saleh Mutlak, who headed an independent Sunni slate, said: "I don't think there is any practical point for us for being in this National Assembly if things stay like this.

"This election is completely false. It insults democracy everywhere. Everything was based on fraud, cheating, frightening people and using religion to frighten the people," he said. "It is terrorism more than democracy."

Mutlak said he had expected his slate to capture 70 parliament seats, but he said it seemed likely to win fewer than 20, according to the preliminary results.
Sounds like the Republican party's vision of democracy is indeed taking hold in Iraq.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Political Investigations?

Here's an interesting exercise called "Connecting the Dots."

Dot #1:
Three Were Told to Leave Bush Town Meeting

By Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 30, 2005; Page A04

Three Denver residents yesterday charged that they were forcibly removed from one of President Bush's town meetings on Social Security because they displayed a bumper sticker on their car condemning the administration's Middle East policies.

The three, all self-described progressives who oppose Bush's Social Security plan, said an unidentified official at an event in Denver last week forced them to leave before the president started to speak, even though they had done nothing disruptive, said their attorney, Dan Recht.
Dot #2:
FBI Papers Show Terror Inquiries Into PETA; Other Groups Tracked

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 20, 2005; Page A11

FBI counterterrorism investigators are monitoring domestic U.S. advocacy groups engaged in antiwar, environmental, civil rights and other causes, the American Civil Liberties Union charged yesterday as it released new FBI records that it said detail the extent of the activity.
I wonder whether the three people opposing the Bush Social Security Destruction Plan spoke or sent e-mails about going to Bush's speech? Was the NSA listening without a warrant? Did the FBI grab their e-mail correspondence using a "business records" warrant on their ISP? Sure would be interesting to find out - assuming the ACLU is still around come 2006...


Liberal Press Covers for Bush During Election

The New York Times apparently knew W and his Bush League minions were violating federal law before the 2004 elections, and covered it up for as long as they could:
The initial Times statements did not say that the paper's internal debate began before the Nov. 2, 2004, presidential election — in which Iraq and national security questions loomed large — or make any reference to Risen's book, due out Jan. 16.

But two journalists, who declined to be identified, said that editors at the paper were actively considering running the story about the wiretaps before Bush's November showdown with Democratic Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts.

Top editors at the paper eventually decided to hold the story. But the discussion was renewed after the election, with Risen and coauthor of the story, reporter Eric Lichtblau, joining some of the paper's editors in pushing for publication, according to the sources, who said they did not want to be identified because the Times had designated only Keller and a spokeswoman to address the matter.

"When they realized that it was going to appear in the book anyway, that is when they went ahead and agreed to publish the story," said one of the journalists. "That's not to say that was their entire consideration, but it was a very important one of them."
(Source [via Atrios/Eschaton]: LA Times Critics Question Timing of Surveillance Story, Dec. 20, 2005 [emphasis added.])
So, those evil liberal media elitists at the New York Times kept the story a deep, dark secret until they found out it was going to come out anyway? I wonder whether they planned for the story to come out just after the so-called "Patriot" Act's renewal vote? Or maybe releasing the story when they did was more to distract us from their failure to publish it before Mr. Bush's "accountability moment" last November.


Bush League's Political Tactics Inspire Shi'ites

It's always dangerous for a slim majority to cram its controversial policies down a minority's throat:
Later on Tuesday, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani called for a new government that includes all ethnic, religious and political groups.

He said Iraq could not "be governed by a majority that ignores the minority".
(Source: BBC News Sunni bloc rejects Baghdad vote, Dec 20, 2005 [emphasis added.])
Just another example of US-style politics overseas:
WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 - With tensions rising in the Capitol, Senate Democrats threatened on Monday to derail a $453 billion military spending bill over an Arctic oil drilling dispute, just hours after the House approved the measure in an all-night session that also included passage of a $40 billion budget-cutting bill.
(Source: Washington Post Democrats Threaten to Derail Budget Bill, Dec 20, 2005.)
Why are the Republicans so intent upon destroying this country?

Monday, December 19, 2005


George Bush Has Gone Plumb Loco

How else to explain his belief that "we have a strong ally" and also his belief that withdrawing US troops would "hand Iraq over to enemies." The BBC reports:
US President George W Bush has told Americans that Iraq is now a strong ally against terror and a force for democracy in the Middle East.

He went prime-time TV to defend the continuing US role in Iraq, rejecting the view that the war there was "not worth another dime or another day".

A US military pullout now, he said, would "hand Iraq over to enemies".
(Source: BBC News Bush hails Iraqi anti-terror role, Dec 18, 2005 [emphasis added.])
Interestingly, a US military pullout is likely to be one of the first things a democratically-elected Iraqi government will demand:
But Saleh al-Mutlak, a Sunni Arab nationalist who stood in the parliamentary election and has spoken up for insurgent views, said Americans were not welcome in Iraq and should leave.

His comments echoed those of outspoken Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who accused the Americans on Saturday of peddling their own agenda and disregarding Iraqis.
(Source: Reuters Cheney visits Iraq amid calls for US pullout, Dec 18, 2005)
If the Shiite and Sunni extremists agree that the US troops must go (undoubtedly so their respective militias can fight it out for supremacy) it is going to be very difficult to put together a government that will ask the US to stay...

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