Saturday, June 09, 2007

Blackwater Sues Slain Employees Families 

By way of The Agonist and KOS;
AlterNet: War on Iraq: Blackwater Heavies Sue Families of Slain Employees for $10 Million in Brutal Attempt to Suppress Their Story

After filing its suit against the dead men's estates, Blackwater demanded that its claim and the families' existing lawsuit be handled in a private arbitration. By suing the families in arbitration, Blackwater has attempted to move the examination of their wrongful conduct outside of the eye of the public and away from a jury. This comes at the same time when Congress is investigating Blackwater.
There is only one reason to move these proceedings outside of the public eye, they are doing illegal activities. If you've done nothing wrong, there is nothing to hide. Yet, they are doing everything in the power to hide.

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Mullet! Mullet! Mullet! 

Ladies and Gentlemen (if I have any that stop by) I give you MulletMadness | A tribute to great hairstyle.

The world is coming to an end.

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Sign The Petition 

By way of C&L, People For The American Way has a petition to sign demanding Alberto Gonzales's resignation or removal from office.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Habeas Restoration Bill Sent To Floor 

By way of Hullabaloo some good news:
And this is actually “breaking news,” not CNN-style “breaking news,” where the story broke a week ago. The Senate Judiciary Committee just voted for the Specter/Leahy habeas restoration bill. The committee sent it to the floor with no amendments, no debate and on almost a party line vote (with the GOP sponsor, Senator Arlen Specter from Pennsylvania voting in favor).

Kudos to all the Democratic senators who showed up and waited for a quorum (critical mass for a vote); Senator Feinstein came in just under the buzzer.

Senators voting aye: Leahy (D-Vt.), Specter (R-Pa.), Kennedy (D-Ma.), Biden (D-Del.), Kohl (D-Wis.), Feinstein (D-Cal.), Feingold (D-Wis.), Schumer (D-N.Y.), Durbin (D-Ill.), Cardin (D-Md.), Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

Senators voting nay: all the other Republicans (Hatch, Grassley, Kyl, Sessions, Graham, Cornyn, Brownback, Coburn).
It's nice to see the congress start to move back towards protecting the rights of individuals. Too long has BushCo™ been running rough shod over the average citizens of the world.

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Paris Sent Home 

Gee, that didn't take long.
Paris Hilton ‘reassigned’ to home detention - Celebrity News - MSNBC.com
LOS ANGELES - Paris Hilton was released from a Los Angeles County jail early Thursday because of an unspecified medical problem and will fulfill the remainder of her sentence in home confinement, a sheriff’s spokesman said. The 26-year-old hotel heiress was sent home shortly after 2 a.m. fitted with an electronic monitoring bracelet. She had spent five days at the Century Regional Detention Facility in suburban Los Angeles for violating probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case. “I can’t specifically talk about the medical situation other than to say that, yes, it played a part in this,” said sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore.
Honestly, though, it's not an out of the ordinary occurence. Many non-rich, non-famous people with the same or similar legal issues also do home confinement. I don't think this is all that big of a deal.
Of course, you all are more than welcome to disagree. It's just that I've actually had many clients over the years with even worse criminal convictions do home detention. But, hey! it's your right to complain all you want. I just ain't going to listen.

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Go Ahead, Pardon Him! I Dare You. 

When Pardons Turn Political - New York Times

A pardon for Mr. Libby would attract more painful attention to a case from which Mr. Bush had managed to keep his distance for more than three years, a case inextricably linked to the flawed intelligence used to justify the Iraq war and an administration effort to discredit a critic that ultimately exposed a C.I.A. officer. The Democrats who control Congress would be none too pleased, either.
Presidential pardons are given to those whom are guilty. By pardoning Libby, President Bush acknowledges his guilt, there by acknowledging the outing of Valerie Plame.

Go ahead, pResident, pardon the man.

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End Secret Detentins 

Why the hell is this even possible?
Rights Groups Call for End to Secret Detentions - New York Times

WASHINGTON, June 6 — Six human rights groups on Wednesday released a list of 39 people they believe have been secretly imprisoned by the United States and whose whereabouts are unknown, calling on the Bush administration to abandon such detentions.
There was a time when our country would be calling for the release of secretly imprisoned people in, say, Russia or China. But now, our government has become that which we had striven against.

Fuck euphemisms -- this is bullshit.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Goodling Email Sent Outside The System. 

Oh, hell. One more post. This was found by way of that evil bastard Atrios....err Duncan Black... or whoever the hell he is. Seriously, the blogsphere has some schizophrenic bloggers. Anyway
Think Progress » Goodling In Private Email: ‘Send Directly Up To Me, Outside The System’

New Justice Department communications released tonight include an email from Monica Goodling, former counsel to Alberto Gonzales, directing another official to draw up a directive giving her unprecedented authority to hire and fire political staffers. Goodling tells the official, assistant attorney general Paul Corts, to “send [it] directly up to me, outside the system.”
And we won't have to send the emails away to some lab for DNA testing. Still, wouldn't it have been nice if she had used blue text in her emails?

Ya, I agree.

Shiny, man. Way shiny.

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Mendacity Idol! 

Okay, just one more quick post. Digby has a post up noting that Giuliani is apparently trying to beat Cheney in the mendacity competition.
And during the debate the other night, the Democrats seemed to be back in the 1990s. They don't seem to have gotten beyond the Cold War. Iran is a threat, a nuclear threat, not just because they can deliver a nuclear warhead with missiles. They're a nuclear threat because they are the biggest state sponsor of terrorism and they can hand nuclear materials to terrorists.{emphasis added}

Even Bush didn't lie this blatantly about Iraq and Al Qaeda. (Cheney did, but then that's who Giuliani is apparently trying to top with his lunacy.) Bush and Rice and Rummy all used much more clever language to imply that Iraq and Al Qaeda were in cahoots on 9/11, (which was a tip-off that they knew exactly what they were doing.) I'm not sure about Rudy.
Damn, I am going to have to stock up on pitchforks and shovels. And for crying out loud, that's basically the same damn line used by BushCo™ prior to the Iraq Invasion. Only, it was drones back then. Now, it's missiles.

Oh, and just so you know, I only used the word mendacity because it was in Digby's post. You really think I use $10 dollar words like that on a regular basis?

Ah!?!?! Fine.

Go Vice President yourself.

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Cheney Blocked Promotion 

Can you be anymore childish and petty?
Cheney Blocked Justice Official's Promotion After Eavesdropping Furor - washingtonpost.com

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Vice President Dick Cheney blocked the promotion of a Justice Department official involved in a bedside standoff over President Bush's eavesdropping program, a Senate committee learned Wednesday.

In a written account, former Deputy Attorney General James Comey said Cheney warned Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that he would oppose the promotion of a department official who once threatened to resign over the program.
I am so glad the grown ups are in charge.

If you can't tell, that was sarcasm.

Oh, really? Well, go Cheney yourself.

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Fascism At It's Worst 

By way of Shakesville:
Reporter Arrested on Orders of Giuliani Press Secretary

Manchester, NH - Freelance reporter Matt Lepacek, reporting for Infowars.com, was arrested for asking a question to one of Giuliani's staff members in a press conference. The press secretary identified the New York based reporter as having previously asked Giuliani about his prior knowledge of WTC building collapses and ordered New Hampshire state police to arrest him.
In case anyone is wonder, this is pure bullshit.

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NTodd Hates The Blogsphere It's Freedom 

NTodd has allowed them to win.

Why does NTodd hate the Blogsphere it's freedom?

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Consolidating Soldier Memorials 

By way of Jo Fish over at Democratic Veteran:

Ft. Lewis to consolidate soldier memorials | KOMO-TV - Seattle, Washington | News

FORT LEWIS, Wash. - So many Fort Lewis soldiers are being killed in Iraq the Army base will no longer hold individual memorial services.

Starting next month Fort Lewis says it will hold one memorial a month for all the dead soldiers.

Nineteen Fort Lewis soldiers have been killed this month -- the most of the war, so far.

Fort Lewis acting commander Brigadier General William Troy told staff last week that the number of soldiers in harm's way will preclude individual services.

About 10,000 Fort Lewis troops, including two Stryker brigades, are now in Iraq, the most since the 2003 invasion.

Some other Army posts have already consolidated services.

I am not sure what to make of this. My first response was "This is bullshit." But then I thought about WWII. How were the memorials from the various bases handled back then. No doubt the number of dead per base, per month, far exceeded the death toll of the Iraq Invasion.

However, all things considered, that bases are now consolidating services is just another sign of the deteriorating situation in Iraq.

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Solar Powered Vatican? Very Shiny! 

Kind of like NTodd said, this is wicked shiny:

Vatican plans to tap solar energy - Yahoo! News

ROME - Some Holy See buildings will start using solar energy, reflecting Pope Benedict XVI's concern about conserving the Earth's resources, a Vatican engineer said Tuesday. The roof of the Paul VI auditorium will be redone next year, with its cement panels replaced with photovoltaic cells to convert sunlight into electricity, engineer Pier Carlo Cuscianna said.

Very, very shiny.

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House Moves Against Jefferson 

House Moves Against Embattled Jefferson - washingtonpost.com

For Republicans, Jefferson's indictment on 16 counts of corruption, racketeering and bribery marked an opportunity to shift attention from their own ethics issues, which have nearly half a dozen GOP lawmakers under federal investigation and forced three members to resign. But their moves also leave them exposed to countercharges of hypocrisy. GOP leaders made no moves to expel Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio) from the House after their indictments last year, going out of their way to try to preserve a path for DeLay's return to the leadership and saying Ney would have to decide whether to resign.

Imagine that! The Washington Post notes the hypocrisy of the Republican representatives. How the hell did that happen? I mean, really. Next thing you know, they will have a detailed story on how Libby took the fall for Rove.

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Intelligent Taxi Driver Picks Up Progressive Blogger 

Jebus, I never knew taxi drivers could be so damn intelligent. And don't get me started on the shear luck of a progressive blogger getting into this man's taxi. Seriously, I want Jeff Fecke's luck.

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Libby Gets 30 Months 

Libby Given 30 Months for Lying in C.I.A. Leak Case - New York Times

WASHINGTON, June 5 — I. Lewis Libby Jr., the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney and one of the principal architects of President Bush’s foreign policy, was sentenced Tuesday to 30 months in prison for lying during a C.I.A. leak investigation that became part of a fierce debate over the war in Iraq.

For just one second, I thought I felt a tear of sympathy. Just for one second, mind you. Then I realized it was a small piece of lint in my eye.

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Iraq Votes Not To Extend UN Mandate 

AlterNet: War on Iraq: Exclusive: Iraqi Lawmakers Pass Resolution That May Force End to Occupation

While most observers are focused on the U.S. Congress as it continues to issue new rubber stamps to legitimize Bush's permanent designs on Iraq, nationalists in the Iraqi parliament -- now representing a majority of the body -- continue to make progress toward bringing an end to their country's occupation.

The parliament today passed a binding resolution that will guarantee lawmakers an opportunity to block the extension of the U.N. mandate under which coalition troops now remain in Iraq when it comes up for renewal in December. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose cabinet is dominated by Iraqi separatists, may veto the measure.

The law requires the parliament's approval of any future extensions of the mandate, which have previously been made by Iraq's prime minister. It is an enormous development; lawmakers reached in Baghdad today said that they do in fact plan on blocking the extension of the coalition's mandate when it comes up for renewal six months from now.

Nouri al-Maliki is in a rough spot. If he veto's the measure, he comes across as a puppet of the Bush administration. Yet, if he signs it, then he weakens the Prime Minister position.

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Putin Threatens A Return To The Cold War 

By way of Prometheus 6:

globeandmail.com: Exclusive: Putin threatens to target Europe with missiles

In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to target Europe with missiles, including potentially nuclear weapons, in a dramatic escalation of his Cold War-style showdown with the United States. Mr. Putin, in an interview at his country residence outside Moscow, said he considers U.S. plans to build an eastern European anti-missile site to shoot down Iranian missiles a provocation aimed at Russia. Asked what he might do to retaliate, he said he would return Russia to the Cold War status where missiles were aimed at European targets.

Do you think maybe old Puty is making all this noise because he sees us bogged down militarily in Iraq? Oh, come on! Of course he is. Now that our military is stretched thin in Afghanistan and Iraq, and with the Europeans not exactly thrilled with Bush, Putin can make all the noise he wants. What are we going to do? Invade Russia?

Wait and see, next thing you know, the Neo-cons will claim the Iraqi WMD are in Russia.

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I should note: Cross-Posted at Rook's Rant.

Time For Another Ethics Panel? 

I smell a blogsphere cat fight developing.

Glenn Greenwald - Salon

Kevin Drum passive-aggressively mounted the same defense of Klein in response to my criticism (Drum did so without acknowledging that he was responding to my post, let alone linking to it, opting instead for the "some argue" formulation that "some" people use as a way of criticizing an argument without having their readers see the argument being criticized). According to Drum: Klein "doesn't really deserve any abuse for reporting" the Anbar improvements or the Sunni efforts against Al-Qaeda because "both of these things have been widely reported elsewhere."

The responses from McLeary and Drum to my criticism of Klein are complete non-sequiturs. I didn't contest in any way that violence in Anbar has ebbed. I didn't suggest that anything Klein reported about Anbar was inaccurate. Whether it was or was not had absolutely nothing to do with my criticism of Klein's journalism.

My argument was confined exclusively to the journalistic methods Klein used to report this item. The notion that a journalist's methods of reporting ought to be immune from criticism as long as the ultimate conclusion turns out to be accurate -- which quite clearly is the claim McLeary and Drum are advancing -- is really rather bizarre.

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Mark Twain Would Be Impressed. 

The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.

Castro on TV for first time in months - Focus on Cuba - MSNBC.com
HAVANA - Fidel Castro appeared more vigorous on Sunday in the first images of the Cuban leader to be broadcast on state television in four months, backing up reports that he has put his health crisis behind him. Castro appeared talking animatedly, standing in a track suit during a meeting on Saturday afternoon with Vietnamese Communist Party chief Nong Duc Manh.

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I'm Shocked, Shocked I Tell You! 

Hehe, hehe, hehe. He said gestalt.

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Old Posts 

I mentioned a while back that I'd finally managed to get my old posts imported back onto my blog. I spent some time today going through those old posts and editing the corrupt text and formatting (damn Republicans get into everything, don't they) that occurred due to the conversion necessary to get them imported. It will take much time, as I've got close to 1000 posts to go through.

Anyway, I stumbled across a lot of old rants about Bush, the invasion of Iraq, and the general disarray of our media culture. I also came across the fact that I supported going into Iraq. I'd forgotten about that little fact.

Since then, I've come to a different conclusion. We are allowed to grow, learn from our mistakes, and become better people. At least, that is what I tell my clients. So, yes, it also applies to me as a blogger.

I now no longer believe that going into Iraq is a good idea. True, 20/20 hindsight is nice. But I'd like to think it's more then just hindsight. I've come to the conclusion that I was quick to opinion without the necessary understanding of the cultures, races and ideologies that make up Iraq. I also see that I based my opinion on what was being said around the tables at break time, and such. In other words, opinions of others being presented as fact.

What can I say? My nose was plugged from chronic sinus congestion; I couldn't smell it for the bullshit it was.

Gore Number One! 

Look who graces the starting spot on the Hardcover Nonfiction Best Sellers list?

Hardcover Nonfiction - New York Times

1 THE ASSAULT ON REASON, by Al Gore. (Penguin Press, $25.95.) How the Bush administration has degraded the political environment through secrecy, fear and the rejection of fact-based reasoning.

Damn, ain't that just the prettiest thing you ever did see?

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