Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Ground Zero Grassy Knoll

In New York magazine, Mark Jacobson has written a wonderful and personal survey of the 9/11 naysayers, that is, those who refuse to accept the 9/11 Commission Report's conclusions.

"They keep telling us 9/11 changed everything. But even in this Photoshopped age of unreliable narrators, much remains the same. The assassination of President John Kennedy, the Crime of the Last Century, occurred in plain sight, in front of thousands—yet exactly what happened remains in dispute. The Warren Commission found that Lee Harvey Oswald, fellow traveler of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, shot Kennedy with a cheap Mannlicher-Carcano rifle from a sixth-floor window of the Texas School Book Depository. The commission found that Oswald, who two days later would be murdered by nightclub owner Jack Ruby, acted alone.

"Yet, as with so many such events, there is the sanctioned history and the secret history—players hidden from view. In the Kennedy murder, the involvement of shadowy organizations like the Mafia and the CIA came into question. This way of thinking came to challenge the official narrative put forth by the Warren Commission. It is not exactly clear when the grassy knoll supplanted the sixth-floor window in the popular mind-set. But now, four decades after Dallas, it is difficult to find anyone who believes Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman.

"But if Oswald didn’t kill the president, who did? So 11/22 remains an open case, an open wound.

"Now here we are again, contemplating the seemingly unthinkable events of September 11. An official explanation has been offered up: The nation was attacked by the forces of radical Islam led by Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda jihadists. Again, this narrative has been accepted by many.

"But not all."

The rest is here or here.

Postscript:

The Plane Truth
A list of 9/11 conspiracy theories, from nuts to soup.

Friday, March 24, 2006

I must be prescient

From the Associated Press, Today:

HOUSTON — Former first lady Barbara Bush gave relief money to a hurricane relief fund on the condition that it be spent to buy educational software from her son Neil's company.

The chief of staff of former President George H.W. Bush would not disclose the amount earmarked for purchases from Ignite Learning.

Since Barbara Bush's gift, the Ignite Learning program has been given to eight public schools with high numbers of Hurricane Katrina evacuees, the Houston Chronicle reported.

"Mrs. Bush wanted to do something specifically for education and specifically for the thousands of students flooding into the Houston schools," Jean Becker said Thursday.

The money was donated to the Bush-Clinton Houston Hurricane Relief Fund, said Steve Maislin, president of the Greater Houston Community Foundation, which administers the fund. That fund has no connection to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, he said.

Barbara Bush chose to promote Ignite because she supports her son and has genuine enthusiasm for his company's program, Becker said.

Two years ago, the Houston school district board wrestled with conflict of interest concerns over the Ignite program. Neil Bush had helped raise $115,000 for the district's philanthropic fund from donors who insisted the money be spent on his company's software.

The district accepted the donations and used them to pay half the costs of new Ignite software, about $10,000 per school.

Currently, Houston public schools use 15 Ignite programs and the Houston area has 40 programs, said company president Ken Leonard.

Neil Bush founded the Austin-based company in 1999.

Yesterday's post.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Quote of the week

MSNBC's Keith Olberman on the President's claim of never having linked 9/11 and Saddam Hussein:

"... who does the President think he's F'n kidding?"

I love this guy! Almost makes me wish I had cable.

The other Bush brothers

It's not just George W. and Jeb who who have parlayed the Bush name and history of patronage to global corporate interests for personal gain. The other Bush brothers remain in the background, because, frankly, they have a few too many skeletons in their closets to pass muster with the brain dead religious right wing whom the Prez and the Guv annoint as their base.

Some of their history is well, great fodder for conspiracy theorists. The more research I did on Los Hermanos Bush, the more I got creeped out. The Bush dynasty just gets curiouser and curiouser. So, let's meet the other brothers Bush.

The Neil Bush Chronicles
Item 1. Dubai funds Neil Bush's company
© 2006 WorldNetDaily.com
Investors from the United Arab Emirates helped fund the $23 million Neil Bush raised for Ignite!, the learning systems company that holds lucrative No Child Left Behind Act contracts in Florida and Texas. The "Cow" is an Ignite! portable computer designed to work in a classroom, providing interactive instruction aimed at improving students' scores on standardized tests. If you loved Billy Carter and "Billy Beer," you're certain to love Neil Bush and the "Ignite! Cow."
Neil Bush's frequent travels to Dubai are documented by Datamatix, a Dubai-based information technology company that has featured Neil Bush as a speaker.
The Datamatix website features several prominent photographs of Neil Bush addressing a Dubai conference, identifying Neil Bush as "the brother of U.S. President George Bush."

Item 2. November 25, 2003.
Shady business and sexcapades (from cnn.com)
Neil Bush, younger brother of President Bush, detailed lucrative business deals and admitted to engaging in sex romps with women in Asia in a deposition taken in March as part of his divorce from now ex-wife Sharon Bush.

According to legal documents disclosed Tuesday, Sharon Bush's lawyers questioned Neil Bush closely about the deals, especially a contract with Grace Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp., a firm backed by Jiang Mianheng, the son of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, that would pay him $2 million in stock over five years.

Marshall Davis Brown, lawyer for Sharon Bush, expressed bewilderment at why Grace would want Bush and at such a high price since he knew little about the semiconductor business.
"You have absolutely no educational background in semiconductors do you?" asked Brown.
"That's correct," Bush, 48, responded in the March 4 deposition, a transcript of which was read by Reuters after the Houston Chronicle first reported on the documents.
"And you have absolutely over the last 10, 15, 20 years not a lot of demonstrable business experience that would bring about a company investing $2 million in you?"
"I personally would object to the assumption that they're investing $2 million in me," said Bush.


Item 3. The collapse of Silivarado during the S & L scandals of the late '80's.
In 1990, federal regulators filed a $200-million lawsuit against Neil Bush and other officers of the Silverado Banking, accusing them of “gross negligence” contributing to its $1 billion collapse. “Our conclusion is that Silverado was the victim of sophisticated schemes and abuses by insiders and of gross negligence by its directors and outside professionals,” FDIC Senior Deputy General Counsel Douglas H. Jones said in a statement. From TRUST OR HUSTLE: The Bush Record by David Scheim at CampaignWatch.org. Some fun facts in this article about Dad and Brother Jeb, too.

Item 4. B'rer Neil and the Moonies. From Alternet.org.
"Those who stray from the heavenly way," the owner of the flagship Republican newspaper the Washington Times admonished an audience in Taipei on Friday, "will be punished." This "heavenly way," the Rev. Sun Myung Moon explained, demands a 51-mile underwater highway spanning Alaska and Russia. Sitting in the front row: Neil Bush, the brother of the president of the United States.

It's good to be the king. Or, rather, the king's brother. Jeb, Marvin & Neil - 3 Profiteering Bush Brothers.

So, what about Marvin? (And is this guy camera shy - try finding his photo on the 'net).

Item 1. Marvin Bush employee's mysterious death. From www.FromtheWilderness.com
October 10 , 2003, 1200 PDT, (FTW) -- WASHINGTON, At around 9 PM on September 29, Fairfax County, Virginia police responded to a 911 call describing an accident. However, they soon discovered they were not dealing with a routine emergency but the mysterious death of an employee of the 47-year old brother of President George W. Bush, venture capitalist Marvin Bush. Sixty-two year old Bertha Champagne, described as a long time "baby sitter" for Marvin and Margaret Bush's two children, son Walker, 13, and daughter Marshall, 17, was found crushed to death by her own vehicle in a driveway in front of the Bush family home in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County. Champagne reportedly lived at the Bush family home.

Champagne had left the residence to retrieve something from her car, which police say had somehow been left in gear. According to the police report, the car rolled forward and pinned the woman between it and a small building next to the driveway (possibly a checkpoint built by the Secret Service when Marvin's father, George H. W. Bush, was president). The car crossed Edgehill Drive, a small street in front of the Bush compound. The vehicle then crossed a busy two-lane street, Fort Hunt Road, finally coming to rest in a wooded area across the street that adjoins the prestigious Belle Haven Country Club. No explanations have been offered as to why the vehicle did not move until Champagne was in a position to be crushed.

Champagne was pronounced dead on arrival at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital. Courtney Young, a spokesperson for the Fairfax County police was surprised when asked about the circumstances surrounding Champagne's death. She indicated the media was primarily focused on another Fairfax County story, the kidnapping and holdup of the wife of New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg on October 7. More mystifying is the fact that the Washington Post waited almost an entire week to publish the story about the baby sitter's death. The incident occurred on September 29, but the Post did not report it until October 5 and buried it on page 3 of the Metro section. Nevertheless, the Washington Post was the only media outlet to cover the story at all. Young said police still did not know the exact cause of Champagne's death.

Hit the link and read the rest of this story, and see if you don't get the heebie jeebies.

Item 2. Security, Secrecy and a Bush Brother. By Margie Burns, from the Progessive Populist.
A company that provided security at the World Trade Center, Washington D.C.'s Dulles International Airport and United Airlines between 1995 and 2001 was backed by a private Kuwaiti-American investment firm whose records were not open to full public disclosure, with ties to the Bush family.

Marvin P. Bush, a younger brother of George W. Bush, was a principal in the company from 1993 to 2000, when most of the work on the big projects was done. But White House responses to 9/11 have not publicly disclosed the company's part in providing security to any of the named facilities.

Public records indicate that the firm, formerly named Securacom, had Bush on its board of directors. He was also listed as a significant shareholder. The firm, which is now named Stratesec, Inc., is located in Sterling, Va., a D.C. suburb, and emphasizes federal clients. Bush is no longer on the board.

Bush has not responded to repeated telephoned and emailed requests for comment.

The American Stock Exchange delisted Stratesec's stock in October 2002. (Securacom also had a contract to provide security at Los Alamos National Laboratories, notorious for its security breach.)

According to its present CEO, Barry McDaniel, the company had an ongoing contract to handle security at the World Trade Center "up to the day the buildings fell down." Yet instead of being investigated, the company and companies involved with it have benefited from legislation pushed by the Bush White House and rubber-stamped by Congressional Republicans. Stratesec, its backer KuwAm, and their corporate officers stand to benefit from limitations on liability and national-security protections from investigation provided in bills since 9/11.

Item 2.5. The Best Unregulated Families. By Margie Burns. From the Progressive Populist.
In spring 1999, Marvin Pierce Bush, youngest brother of George W. Bush, was a nominee for the boards of directors of two companies, both with a significant interest in security at the World Trade Center. One was HCC Insurance, formerly Houston Casualty Company, a giant holding company and major insurance carrier for the center. The other was a security company named Stratesec, one of the center's numerous security contractors.

Bush, however, did not list his directorship at Stratesec on the proxy statement for HCC, and did not list his connections with HCC on the proxy statement for Stratesec.

According to officials at the Securities and Exchange Commission and other experts, listing other directorships is required, in proxy statements, for directors and officers of public companies.

Stratesec was eventually excused from the World Trade Center project. HCC sustained significant losses when the Center collapsed after the attacks of 9/11, withdrawing from workers compensation as a result.

Stratesec, formerly called Securacom but forced to change its name after some bad-blood litigation with another security company, filed its SEC proxy statement on April 23, 1999. The shareholders met on May 25, 1999, in a Watergate office suite, leased by the Saudi Arabian government, to elect seven members including Bush, who had been on the board since 1993. Bush was also on the company's audit and compensation committees. A principal in the company, Wirt D. Walker III, is also a Bush relative.

Oh, by the way. Isn't it ... uh, interesting that an intimately Bush-connected firm was running security at the Twin Towers up to and including 9/11?

Item 3. Secrecy surrounds a Bush brother's role in 9/11 sceurity. By Margie Burns. From the American Reporter.
Washington, D.C. WASHINGTON, Jan 19, 2003 -- A company that provided security at New York City's World Trade Center, Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., and to United Airlines between 1995 and 2001, was backed by a private Kuwaiti-American investment firm with ties to a brother of President Bush and the Bush family, according to records obtained by the American Reporter.

Two planes hijacked on Sept. 11, 2001 were United Airlines planes, and another took off from Dulles International Airport; two, of course, slammed into the World Trade Center. But the Bush Administration has never disclosed the ties of a presidential brother and the Bush family with the firm that intersected the weapons and targets on a day of national tragedy.

Marvin P. Bush, a younger brother of George W. Bush, was a principal in the company from 1993 to 2000, when most of the work on the big projects was done. But White House responses to 9/11 have not publicly disclosed the company's part in providing security to any of the named facilities, and many of the public records revealing the relationships are not public.

Nonetheless, public records reveal that the firm, formerly named Securacom, listed Bush on its board of directors and as a significant shareholder. The firm, now named Stratesec, Inc., is located in Sterling, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C., and emphasizes federal clients. Bush is no longer on the board.

Marvin Bush has not responded to repeated telephoned and emailed requests for comment on this story.

Now I understand why Mike Malloy calls them the "Bush Crime Family."

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The contempt of the corporate fascists

Does anyone remember what was the original name of "Operation Iraqi Freedom," the oh-so-noble title for invading a sovereign state - albeit a dictatorial one (afterall, we are choosy about the dictators that we tolerate, and for how long we tolerate them) - that posed no threat to the security of the United States?

OPERATION
IRAQI
LIBERATION

Get it? This must have been triple-chinned Karl Rove's idea of a good joke. But do you really see what it tells us? Namely, how, in their arrogance, the Bushites would deign to put the truth right in front of our faces even while they lied through both sides of their mouths, assured that the acronym would never infiltrate our consumption-addled attention spans.


Maybe they were right.

Operation Iraqi Liberation:The Name that Didn't Make the Cut

Senator Jim Bunning, Kentucky's pearl, actually used it in this column

Washington Post (scroll down past Kerry pizza fluff piece)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Support the Troops Postscript: VA Data Show Significant Increase in Medical Needs of Returning Veterans

From the Veterans Affairs Democratic Office:

"One in three [returning Iraqi vets] receive an initial mental health diagnosis.

"Washington, D.C. – New data from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are 'strong proof' that the Administration’s budget is insufficient to meet the mental health care needs of veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is the conclusion of Illinois Rep. Lane Evans, Ranking Democratic Member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and Maine Rep. Michael Michaud, Ranking Democratic Member of the Committee’s Subcommittee on Health.

"Evans and Michaud had requested the data, which showed that in the first three months of FY 2006, VA saw a 21% increase in the number of veterans from Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) who have sought care at the VA. The department has seen 144,424 returning veterans through the first quarter of FY 2006, 33,858 more than the Administration had estimated in its budget proposal for the entire year.

"According to information VA provided to the congressmen, nearly one in three of the veterans seen have had a VA hospitalization or outpatient visit due to an initial diagnosis of a mental health disorder. VA’s numbers are consistent with a recent Army study that found that one in three soldiers and Marines who have served in Iraq sought mental health care services.

“'VA’s data show a 30% increase in the number of OIF/OEF veterans who have an initial diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder from the end of FY 2005. I applaud the courage of these veterans who have sought help, but the Administration refuses to acknowledge fully the demand and need for mental health services,' said Rep. Michaud. 'The Administration projects it will treat approximately 18,000 OIF/OEF veterans for PTSD in the current fiscal year, but VA data show it is already treating 20,638 OIF/OEF veterans for PTSD as of the first three months.'

“'VA’s own experts on PTSD have repeatedly questioned whether VA has the resources to meet the needs of veterans of past wars and the needs of new combat veterans. The new data should serve as a wake up call; VA needs additional resources and staff to meet the mental health care needs of veterans,' said Evans."

Leaving Iraq? Why, we just got there!

The invasion of Iraq was never about weapons of mass destruction, 9/11, "liberation" or any of the other reasons of mass deception with which the Neocon death cult attempts to bamboozle the American people. It is everything about establishing a beachhead in the Persian Gulf, and ultimately American hegemony over whatever oil is left under those sands.

Why do I say that? Because of the most under-reported story in our gelded media: the construction of permanent military bases in Iraq.

Educate yourself, please:

Elaborate U.S. bases raise long-term questions

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Counterpunch

Mother Jones

Associated Press

Christian Science Monitor

TomDispatch

Salon

Alternet

Now, can you guess who holds the construction contracts?

Monday, March 20, 2006

And the children continue to die

"Turning our backs on postwar Iraq today would be the modern equivalent of handing postwar Germany back to the Nazis."
-- Seceretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, The Washington Post, March 19, 2005.

Or perhaps ending the Holocaust?

Iraqi police say U.S. troops executed 11, including baby
-- Matthew Scofield, Knight Ridder Newspapers.

[WARNING: THE FOLLOWING LINKS CONTAIN GRAPHIC PHOTOGRAPHS OF "COLLATERAL DAMAGE"].

"What goes through George Bush’s mind when he sees the dead bodies of Iraqi women and children loaded on the back of a pickup truck like garbage? Is there ever a flicker of remorse; a split-second when he fully grasps the magnitude of the horror he has created?"
-- Mike Whitney, Information Clearing House

"What happened in the village of Isahaqi, north of Baghdad, on Ides of March?"
-- Chris Floyd

Retired Army Major General writes "For his failures, Rumsfeld must go"

From the NY Times, March 20, 2006:

"During World War II, American soldiers en route to Britain before D-Day were given a pamphlet on how to behave while awaiting the invasion. The most important quote was: 'It is impolite to criticize your host; it is militarily stupid to criticize your allies.'

"By that rule, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is not competent to lead America's armed forces. First, his failure to build coalitions with U.S. allies from what he dismissively called "old Europe" has imposed far greater demands and risks on American soldiers in Iraq than necessary. Second, he alienated his allies in the U.S. military, ignoring the advice of seasoned officers and denying subordinates any chance for input.


"In sum, he has shown himself incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically and is far more than anyone else responsible for what has happened to America's mission in Iraq. Rumsfeld must step down."


-- Paul D. Eaton, a retired U.S. Army major general, was in charge of training the Iraqi military from 2003 to 2004. Full article here.

It's not lies, it's a different reality

"First, just if I might correct a misperception, I don't think we ever said -- at least I know I didn't say that there was a direct connection between September the 11th and Saddam Hussein."
-- President George W. Bush, March 20, 2006

"The use of armed forces against Iraq is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001."
-- President George W. Bush, Letter to Congress, March 21, 2003

"The level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."
-- Vice President Dick Cheney, May 2005

Interview with Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation, March 19, 2005:

SCHIEFFER: Mr. Vice President, all along the government has been very optimistic. You remain optimistic. But I remember when you were saying we’d be greeted as liberators, you played down the insurgency ten months ago. You said it was in its last throes. Do you believe that these optimistic statements may be one of the reasons that people seem to be more skeptical in this country about whether we ought to be in Iraq?
CHENEY: No, I think it has less to do with the statements we’ve made, which I think were basically accurate and reflect reality, than it does the fact that there is a constant sort of perception if you will that’s created because what is newsworthy is the carbomb in Baghdad, it’s not all the work that went on that day in 15 other provinces in terms of making progress in rebuilding Iraq.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Got war? Never-ending war?

Paul Craig Roberts asks the questions: "Is Another 9/11 in the Works?"

A reminder to the less paranoid among you. This from the Neoconservative bible, "Project for the New American Century," p. 51 of "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century":

"... the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor."

Support the troops?

Believe it or not, there are still people in this country who support the Bush administration and its policy of preemptive warfare under the guise of the "war on terrorism." While we could debate endlessly on how such a (ever-decreasing) slice of the populace could continue to be hoodwinked by the hapless doublespeak of the likes of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, I think the best talking point is to expose the Bush presidency's and the Republican congress' true contempt for the men and women in uniform. Remember, please, that aside from Rumsfeld, none of the civilian architects of the Iraq miasma have ever served in the military (sorry - I don't count Dubya's country club admission into and subsequent AWOL from the Air National Guard as service to anyone but himself). And remember as well, that Cheney's excuse for holding 5 deferements during that famous other blunder (the Vietnam War) was that he had "better things to do."

So, what do our battle-scarred troops face upon their return? It's like this:

Republicans Seek To Slash VA Budget!

What Bush and the GOP REALLY think of our veterans!

Pentagon Says Veterans' Benefits "Hurtful" to National Security

This isn't just today's news, ladies and gentlemen. It's been going on since this war started:

2003

So, all of you weekend warriors, have that printed on your magnetic ribbons.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Patriot of the Month

Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin,

a true defender of democracy.




















Boldly going where other Dems refuse to tread.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Loose Change


Until I watched this film by Dylan Avery, I dimissed all 9/11 conspiracy theorists as crackpot paranoids, even though my consciousness was infected by some of the odds and ends of that horrific day that didn't add up. Now, I am no longer so smug. If what this film purports is indeed the truth, then we are in far more serious trouble than any of us would ever have guessed.

Here is a link that will allow you to watch the film via Google video: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5137581991288263801&q=loose+change

Here's another one: http://informationclearinghouse.info/article12233.htm

Here is the "official site" where you can purchase it on DVD: http://www.loosechange911.com/

I understand that you can download it via BitTorrent as well.

While I am not yet a "true believer," the methodical thoroughness of this film's arguments has left me unsettled. And I already know just how far the unbridled arrogance of the neoconservative ideologues can extend. I challenge you to watch this film, and if you too are shaken to the bone about what it has to say, send the link to 10 friends of your own, with either this or your own personal comments.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The new gag rules

The following editorial by Donald Kennedy, editor-in-chief of SCIENCE, the most prestigious peer-reviewed general science journal in the USA, amply illustrates what is wrong with the hyper-clandestine Bush administration. Plain and simple, you either march to the party line, or you face the consequences. The truth, alas, is a mere inconvenience.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are among the most popular and scientifically sophisticated agencies in the U.S. government. Not only do they do good science, they do dramatic, risky, and even romantic things—capturing comet dust, sending surveyors to Mars, flying airplanes into hurricanes, and providing images of impending weather events. They are full of productive, respected scientists.

We have published papers from groups at both agencies and have been proud to do so. But these days, we’re trying to figure out what is happening to serious science at NOAA and NASA. In this space a month ago, I described some of the research that supports a relationship between hurricane intensity and increased water temperatures. Two empirical studies, one published in Science and one in Nature, show that hurricane intensity has increased with oceanic surface temperatures over the past 30 years. The physics of hurricane intensity growth, worked out by Kerry Emanuel at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has clarified and explained the thermodynamic basis for these observations.

Yet a NOAA Web site denies any relationship between global climate change and hurricane strength. It attributes the latter instead to “tropical multidecadal signals” affecting climate variability. Emanuel has tested this relationship and presented convincing evidence against it in recent seminars. As for the many NOAA scientists who may agree with Emanuel, the U.S. Department of Commerce (the executive agency that NOAA is part of) has ordered them not to speak to reporters or present papers at meetings without departmental review and approval.

That’s bad enough, but it turns out that things are even worse at NASA, where a striking front-page story by Andy Revkin in the New York Times (28 January 2006) details the agency’s efforts to put a gag on James Hansen, director of the agency’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, after a talk he gave at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco in December 2005. His sin was that he pointed out that the climate change signal is now so strong, 2005 having been the warmest year in the past century, that the voluntary measures proposed by the administration are likely to be inadequate.

Hansen was told that there would be “dire consequences” if such statements continued. The Times story identifies two NASA public affairs officials, Dean Acosta and George Deutsch, as responsible for delivering this news and insisting that Hansen’s “supervisors” would have to stand in for him at public appearances. Those will presumably take place in approvable venues and certainly not on National Public Radio (NPR). Deutsch is reported to have rejected a Hansen interview requested by NPR on the grounds that it was “the most liberal news outlet in the country.”

For at least two reasons, this event may establish a new high-water mark for bureaucratic stupidity. First, Hansen’s views on this general subject have long been widely available; he thinks climate change is due to anthropogenic sources, and he’s discouraged that we’re not doing more about it. For NASA to lock the stable door when this horse has been out on the range for years is just silly. Second, Hansen’s history shows that he just won’t be intimidated, and he has predictably told the Times that he will ignore the restrictions. The efforts by Acosta and Deutsch are reminiscent of the slapstick antics of Curley and Moe: a couple of guys stumbling off to gag someone who the audience knows will rip the gag right off.

These two incidents are part of a troublesome pattern to which the Bush administration has become addicted: Ignore evidence if it doesn’t favor the preferred policy outcome. Above all, don’t let the public get an idea that scientists inside government disagree with the party line. The new gag rules support the new Bush mantra, an interesting inversion of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield’s view on war: “You don’t make policy with the science you have. You make policy with the science you WANT.” But the late-breaking good news is that NASA Administrator Griffin has said that there will be no more of this nonsense, and Deutsch, the 24-year-old Bush appointee sent to muzzle Hansen, has left the agency abruptly after his résumé turned out to be falsified. A change of heart? Stay tuned.

-- Donald Kennedy, Editor-in-chief, SCIENCE

Better hope the repo man don't come



Since everything else is up for grabs, how about this?


Oh... right... he's already been bought.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Sweetheart deals and government links swept under the rug

Media Treadmill Blackout On Key Issues Of Port Story

The right wing love skipping over the real details of this escapade, accusing opponents of "racism" (last I looked, Arabian people were considered Caucasian). No, I don't think so. Its about the blatant cronyism and criminal pig trough-feeding frenzy of current and former members of the Bush administration. They just believe that, with the complicity of a gelded media, most Americans are too stupid to figure it out. Let's show them just how wrong they are in 2006, 2008 and beyond.

"The mainstream media treadmill has re-employed its familiar tactic of moving attention away from the cornerstone smoking guns that make the port story important and those that would implicate former administration officials and the White House itself in criminal activities.

"We are now learning that it is not 6, 12, 18 or 21, it is more than 21 port complexes that in American and 10 to 15 in Canada that are going to be handed over to Dubai Ports World. The majority of the major port systems in the United States and North America will be sold off. "

Alex Jones & Paul Joseph Watson/Prison Planet.com February 28 2006

Full article here.

No comment necessary

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Outsourcing


From an anonymous source:

Congress today announced that the office of President of the United States of America will be out-sourced to India as of July 1, 2006.

The move is being made to save the President's $400,000 yearly salary, and also a record $521 billion in deficit expenditures and related overhead the office has incurred during the last 5 years.

"We believe this is a wise move financially. The cost savings should be significant," stated Congressman Thomas Reynolds (R-WA). Reynolds, with the aid of the Government Accounting Office, has studied out-sourcing of American jobs extensively. "We cannot expect to remain competitive on the world stage with the current level of cash outlay," Reynolds noted.

Mr. Bush was informed by email this morning of his termination. Preparations for the job move have been underway for sometime.

Gurvinder Singh of Indus Teleservices, Mumbai, India, will be assuming the office of President as of July 1, 2006. Mr. Singh was born in the United States while his Indian parents were vacationing at Niagara Falls, thus making him eligible for the position. He will receive a salary of $320 (USD) a month but with
no health coverage or other benefits.

It is believed that Mr. Singh will be able to handle his job responsibilities without a support staff. Due to the time difference between the US and India, he will be working primarily at night, when few offices of the US Government will be open. "Working nights will allow me to keep my day job at the American Express call center," stated Mr. Singh in an exclusive interview. "I am excited about this position. I always hoped I would be President someday."

A Congressional spokesperson noted that while Mr. Singh may not be fully aware of all the issues involved in the office of President, this should not be a problem because Bush was not familiar with the issues either. Mr. Singh will rely upon a script tree that will enable him to respond effectively to most topics of concern. Using these canned responses, he can address common concerns without having to understand the underlying issues at all.

"We know these scripting tools work," stated the spokesperson. "President Bush has used them successfully for years." Mr. Singh may have problems with the Texas drawl, but lately Bush has abandoned the "down home" persona in his effort to appear intelligent and on top of the Katrina situation.

Bush will receive health coverage, expenses, and salary until his final day of employment. Following a two week waiting period, he will be eligible for $240 a week unemployment for 13 weeks. Unfortunately, he will not be eligible for Medicaid, as his unemployment benefits will exceed the allowed limit.

Mr. Bush has been provided the out-placement services of Manpower, Inc. to help him write a resume and prepare for his upcoming job transition. According to Manpower, Mr. Bush may have difficulties in securing a new position due to limited practical work experience. A Greeter position at Wal-Mart was suggested due to Bush's extensive experience shaking hands and phony smile.

Another possibility is Bush's re-enlistment in the Texas Air National Guard. His prior records are conspicuously vague but should he choose this option, he would likely be stationed in Waco, TX for a month, before being sent to Iraq, a country he has visited. "I've been there, I know all about Iraq," stated Mr. Bush, who gained invaluable knowledge of the country in a visit to the Baghdad Airport's terminal and gift shop. Sources in Baghdad and Falluja say Mr. Bush would receive a warm reception from local Iraqis. They have asked to be provided with details of his arrival so that they might arrange an appropriate welcome.

The Monolith Crumbles: Reality and Revisionism in Iran

I still remember the incredibly moving sight of a million Iranians in the streets of Tehran participating in a candleight vigil for our citizens killed on 9/11. Yet a sizable fraction of the American people swallow the broad strokes by which the Bush administration paints Iran as solely a nation of American haters bent on nuclear terrorism.

Chris Floyd explores this issue in a recent post on his blog:

"It is a well-known fact – except among the American media, the American government, and about 98.7 percent of the American people – that Iran is not a monolithic state where sheep-like masses bray with a single voice in chorus with their demented leaders, but is, on the contrary, a complex society where many conflicting opinions on matters political, religious, social, historical, etc., contend with each other in open debate. True, it does have a government dominated by repressive clerics, who exercise the kind of veto power over secular law that George W. Bush's vaunted "base" dreams of seeing established in the United States; but Iran is far more open than, say, Saudi Arabia or China, just to name two countries where the Bush Family and friends have long engorged their bellies through insider connections with the ruling cliques.

"Therefore it must have come as a great shock to the system for Americans this week to hear Iran's former president, Mohammad Khatami, rail against the ignorant Holocaust revisionism mouthed by his successor, the hardline flibbertigibbet Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (Excerpts after the jump below.) Or rather, it would have come as a shock to the American system to hear Khatami's words – if Americans had actually been told about them. But it serves no interests among America's own ruling cliques to dilute the current line of the day: that Iran is a hellhole of unremitting evil, a new Nazi Germany led by a new Hitler. So Khatami's remarks, reported widely elsewhere in the world, were not allowed to disturb the lie-drugged slumber of the American consciousness."

Full article here.

Is the fix already in for 2008?

"Two weeks ago, an obscure, unelected, Republican-appointed official in California decided the future of the world. That future – at least for the next several years – will be an accelerating nightmare of war, corruption, repression, breakdown, atrocity and terror. That's because the loyal apparatchik has, with the stroke of a pen, guaranteed the perpetuation of the militarist Bush Faction in power in 2008 and beyond.

"One of the few certainties in modern American politics is that no Democrat can hope to win the presidency without carrying California. Thanks to the infantilizing Electoral College system set up by the Founding Oligarchs to keep the low-born rabble from voting directly for president, the big haul of California's electoral votes is crucial for Democrats to offset the multitude of small, sparsely-populated states that reliably vote Republican. Bagging California doesn't guarantee Democratic victory, obviously; but without it, the cliff-hanger electoral counts in the goosed elections of 2000 and 2004 wouldn't even have been close.

"Thus the sudden, hugger-mugger decision by California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson to override the objections of his own experts and certify the eminently hackable voting machines of the politically partisan private firm, Diebold, for use throughout the state means, quite simply, that the fix is in for the 2008 race. It doesn't matter who the Democrats run – Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, George Clooney, or Jesus H. Christ in an Uncle Sam suit – it won't make a bit of difference. California is lost, the presidency is lost, the Bushists are in – already. It's over."
-- Chris Floyd, Empire Burlesque and The Moscow Times. Full article here
.

Friday, March 03, 2006

More on the Ohio vote debacle

Did 308,000 canceled Ohio voter registrations put Bush back in the White House?

While life goes on during the Bush2 nightmare, so does the research on what really happened in Ohio in 2004 to give George W. Bush a second term.


"Pundits throughout the state and nation -- many of them alleged Democrats -- continue to tell those of us who question Bush's second coming that we should 'get over it,' that the election is old news.

"But things get curiouser and curiouser.

"In our 2005 compendium 'How the GOP Stole America's 2004 Election & Is Rigging 2008,' we list more than a hundred different ways the Republican Party denied the democratic process in the Buckeye State. For a book of documents to be published Sept. 11 by the New Press entitled 'What Happened in Ohio,' we are continuing to dig."
--
By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, AlterNet. Posted March 3, 2006

Gobble, gobble

I don't know who this comic is, but the imitation is dead on. Laugh until it hurts.


As seen on Wimp.com

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Carlyle Group

Here is a 48 minute Dutch-produced Real Media video about the Carlyle Group (courtesy Information Clearing House), the hugely successful defense industry "buy-out" corporation with strong ties to the Bush family. The video starts out in Dutch but segues into English after about 2 minutes.

In the huge stench that encircles the Bush Presidency like a wreath, follow the money -- to Halliburtin and its subsidiaries, to the United Arab Emirates, and to the Carlyle group.

More links to Carlyle info:
Meet the Carlyle Group
The Ex-Presidents Club
from Source Watch
CarlyleGroup.net
from the Baltimore Chronicle
And just to be fair, their official site. "Global private equity." It sounds so genteel.


How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track your Every Move with Radio Frequency Identification

Imagine a world of no more privacy.

"Where your every purchase is monitored and recorded in a database, and your every belonging is numbered. Where someone many states away or perhaps in another country has a record of everything you have ever bought, of everything you have ever owned, of every item of clothing in your closet -- every pair of shoes. What's more, these items can even be tracked remotely.

"Once your every possession is recorded in a database and can be tracked, you can also be tracked and monitored remotely through the things you wear, carry and interact with every day.

"We may be standing on the brink of that terrifying world if global corporations and government agencies have their way. It's the world that Wal-Mart, Target, Gillette, Procter & Gamble, Kraft, IBM, and even the United States Postal Service want to usher in within the next ten years.

"It's the world of radio frequency identification.

"Radio frequency identification, RFID for short, is a technology that uses tiny computer chips -- some smaller than a grain of sand -- to track items at distance. If the master planners have their way, every object -- from shoes to cars -- will carry one of these tiny computer chips that can be used to spy on you without your knowledge or consent."

Those are the opening words of the book, "Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track your Every Move with RFID" by Liz McIntyre, a consumer privacy expert. She serves as the Communications Director for CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering), a grass-roots organization that has been tackling consumer privacy issues since 1999. She also writes about consumer issues as the MoneyMom, a syndicated family money writer and columnist. Website: Spychips.com

Listen or watch an interview with Liz McIntyre:

Listen to Segment || Download Show mp3
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-- From Democracy Now!