Saturday, June 30, 2007

"Gitmo" and Canuck . . . .

From Reuters this morning:

Guantanamo judge rejects charges for Canadian
Sat Jun 30, 2007 11:27AM EDT

MIAMI (Reuters) - A U.S. military judge for the Guantanamo war crimes tribunals has refused to reinstate the charges against a Canadian prisoner accused of killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan.

The ruling in the case of Canadian captive Omar Khadr was released late on Friday, hours after the U.S. Supreme Court said it would hear a challenge of the law that established the war crimes tribunals and stripped Guantanamo prisoners of their right to court review of their indefinite confinement.

Khadr, 21, is accused of killing one U.S. soldier with a grenade and wounding another during a firefight at a suspected al Qaeda compound in Afghanistan in 2002.

A tribunal judge, Army Col. Peter Brownback, dismissed the murder and conspiracy charges against Khadr on June 4. He said he lacked jurisdiction to try him because Khadr had not been designated an "unlawful enemy combatant," as required under the 2006 law that authorized military tribunals for foreign terrorism suspects.

So, I'm guessing this is because of peter and "condescending"'s tireless efforts on Khadr's behalf.

Right . . . .

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Michael Moore on Wall Street . . . .

He's actually on Wall Street, as the NYSE wouldn't let him in. Go figure.

Good plugs for the Canadian health care system vs. the US.

Imagine that . . . .

Monday, June 25, 2007

"Aflac"!!!! - I Mean "Al Flak" . . . .

Thank you, Reuters:

Attorney general wins "sitting duck award"

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales won American newspaper columnists' annual "Sitting Duck Award" for being an easy target.

Gonzales was widely ridiculed for his appearance before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in April to answer questions about the firing of eight U.S. attorneys amid accusations they had been dismissed for political reasons.

Asked to explain his role in the firings, Gonzales said, "I don't recall" or "I have no recollection" 64 times, inviting criticism from even Republican senators, one of whom, Tom Coburn, called for his resignation.

Based on all of the potential "targets" in the bushco administration, this decision must have been difficult for the columnists. I mean, how can you narrow it down to just one ? ? ? ?

Waterloo . . . .

'Ya gotta love ABBA . . . .

Saturday, June 23, 2007

george and dick Run Roughshod Over the Constitution . . . .

From the LA Times today:

Bush claims oversight exemption too

The White House says the president's own order on classified data does not apply to his office or the vice president's.

By Josh Meyer - Times Staff Writer - June 23, 2007

— The White House said Friday that, like Vice President Dick Cheney's office, President Bush's office is not allowing an independent federal watchdog to oversee its handling of classified national security information.

An executive order that Bush issued in March 2003 — amending an existing order — requires all government agencies that are part of the executive branch to submit to oversight. Although it doesn't specifically say so, Bush's order was not meant to apply to the vice president's office or the president's office, a White House spokesman said.

"Our democratic principles require that the American people be informed of the activities of their government," the executive order said.
But from the start, Bush considered his office and Cheney's exempt from the reporting requirements, White House spokesman Tony Fratto said in an interview Friday.

Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles) and J. William Leonard, director of the Information Security Oversight Office, have argued that the order clearly applies to all executive branch agencies, including the offices of the vice president and the president.

The White House disagrees, Fratto said.

"We don't dispute that the ISOO has a different opinion. But let's be very clear: This executive order was issued by the president, and he knows what his intentions were," Fratto said. "He is in compliance with his executive order."

Waxman, chairman of the powerful House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, wrote an eight-page letter to Cheney on Thursday in which he complained that the vice president had refused to adhere to the executive order. Waxman, citing the criminal investigation of Cheney's office related to the leak of a CIA agent's identity, suggested that the vice president's office was a national security risk.

Let's see . . . . These clowns have a little over 576 days left in office as of this posting.

How many more rights, laws, liberties, principles, and ethics can they totally destroy in that period of time?

I have a feeling we may just get an opportunity to find out . . . .

Friday, June 22, 2007

Mikey's Secrets . . . .

From Reuters this morning:

CIA to release details on decades of secrets

Fri Jun 22, 2007 6:16AM EDT

- The Central Intelligence Agency is declassifying hundreds of pages of documents on secret operations from over three decades ago, CIA Director Michael Hayden said.

The so-called "Family Jewels" document overseas assassination attempts, domestic spying, kidnapping and infiltration of leftist groups from the 1950s to the 1970s, according to a summary posted on the Web site of the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

The CIA chief said the documents provide a glimpse of "a very different time and a very different agency."

If you believe that last line, I've still got that land in Florida I'll sell ya'.

Wonder if there will be details of how they were involved in overthrowing legitimate governments in Iran, South Vietnam, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Chile, etc., etc., etc.?

Doubt it . . . .

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Meds Done, bush in Alabama, Summer Solstice . . .

Today was the journey to Alabama for both "drf" and I, and as it turns out, george and laura bush. For different reasons, of course. "drf" and I were there to have our medical exams done to continue our process towards Canadian Permanent Residency. george and laura were there to dedicate a nuclear power plant and a fund raiser for one of Alabama's repuglican Senators. I found it quite fitting that the person who played a major role in our decision to leave the US was in relative proximity to us on one of the "jump through the hoops" days. Thanks for solidifying our decision, george!

The exam itself was pretty perfunctory
considering the steep fee charged: $442 US. We are a bit anxious that the paperwork will be completed correctly as the person who normally does this was out on medical leave. (Please send out positive vibes to the Universe for us!) No major issues at this point, so it's just sit back and wait. Hopefully there will not be a recall for anything as it is a three hour drive each way from our home in Florida.

A brief chat with the doctor - as the place was swamped and our 9:00 appointment began at 9:45 - indicated that most of his immigration exams were done for people moving to Canada or Australia. Are we seeing a trend here??? We were quite surprised by this, as one could not refer to southern Alabama as a hotbed of enlightenment. The doctor was himself an Hispanic immigrant but he sees only about 5 people per year who are attempting "legal" US immigration.

Happy First Day of Summer, Summer Solstice, Longest Day of the Year, etc. Celebrate as you see fit . . . .

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Richard Dawkins Discusses bush, religion & Fairy Tales . . . .

Thanks to a post by Alison of Creekside I discovered the CBC show On the Map with Avi Lewis. The few archived episodes I have perused have been excellent. Wish they had video podcasts of the series, but it looks like only individual topics are available on their website at this time.

One of the topics aired last evening was an interview by Avi with Richard Dawkins, renowned atheist.
You can check out the video here.

I especially enjoyed Dawkins' analysis of bush, which no doubt you will as well . . . .

Driving Commandments by pope bennie . . . .

The Vatican has issued The Ten Commandments of Driving.

Can't these Fathers in Frocks keep their noses out of anything?

I have a suggestion for the first commandment:

"Thou shalt not drive with an altar boy or acolyte in your lap."

Unfriggingbelievable . . . .

Guess this guy didn't get the memo.

Priest Crashes Into Restaurant, Arrested For DWI

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Dump "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" . . . .

Go here to contact your elected representatives.

george Plays By His Own Rules . . . .

From the Washington Post:

'Signing Statements' Study Finds Administration Has Ignored Laws
By Jonathan Weisman -
Washington Post Staff Writer - Tuesday, June 19, 2007

President Bush has asserted that he is not necessarily bound by the bills he signs into law, and yesterday a congressional study found multiple examples in which the administration has not complied with the requirements of the new statutes.

Bush has been criticized for his use of "signing statements," in which he invokes presidential authority to challenge provisions of legislation passed by Congress. The president has challenged a federal ban on torture, a request for data on the administration of the USA Patriot Act and numerous other assertions of congressional power. As recently as December, Bush asserted the authority to open U.S. mail without judicial warrants in a signing statement attached to a postal reform bill.

For the first time, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office -- Congress's investigative arm -- tried to ascertain whether the administration has made good on such declarations of presidential power. In appropriations acts for fiscal 2006, GAO investigators found 160 separate provisions that Bush had objected to in signing statements. They then chose 19 to follow.

Of those 19 provisions, six -- nearly a third -- were not carried out according to law.

More on this topic here from Alternet.

Gee, what a surprise: bushco has the impression that they are "above the law" and won't play unless they get to make the rules.

"Yeah, I'll sign your silly bill for the photo op, but you don't expect me to actually abide by it, do you?"

Now the question is can and will the Congress do anything to reassert their role in the legislative process?

Ladies and gentlemen, place your bets . . . .

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Bill Moyers on Pardoning scooter . . . .

Bill Moyers is one of the few remaining
real journalists around today.

His take on a potential pardon of scooter libby is right on the money.

Any bets on how bush handles this ? ? ? ?

Friday, June 15, 2007

War Corporatism . . . .

Money, Money, Money.

Greed and Profits.

What makes the world go 'round . . . .

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Score One For Our Side . . . .

Equality wins.
Gay Marriage Backers in Massachusetts Beat Amendment Proposal
By Michael McDonald

June 14 (Bloomberg) -- Supporters of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts prevailed in a battle over a proposed constitutional amendment banning the practice, convincing enough state lawmakers to vote against it.

Bigotry loses.
Lawmakers in a special session today voted 151-45 against the ballot measure seeking to define marriage in the state as the union between one man and one woman. The Legislature has considered amendments on gay marriage more than a dozen times since the state's top court permitted the practice in 2003, making Massachusetts the only U.S. state where it is legal.

``This is huge,'' said Arline Isaacson, co-chair of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus. ``We've kept it off 2004 and 2006 and now the 2008 ballot. They can't keep this up. It becomes increasingly pointless.''

Woo Hoo ! ! ! !

al and the Truth - Diametrically Opposed ? ? ? ?

From the Washington Post today:

Justice Dept. Investigates if Gonzales Tried to Influence Aide's Testimony

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 14, 2007; 1:08 PM

The Justice Department is investigating whether Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales sought to influence the testimony of a departing senior aide during a March meeting in Gonzales's office, according to correspondence released today.

"This is to confirm that the scope of our investigation does include this matter," wrote Glenn A. Fine, the inspector general, and H. Marshall Jarrett, counsel of the Office of Professional Responsibility.

The disclosure could represent a serious legal threat to the embattled attorney general. Fine's office is empowered to refer matters for criminal prosecution if warranted.

Gonzales has said in a statement that he "never attempted to influence or shape the testimony or public statements of any witness," including Goodling, and that his comments "were intended only to comfort her in a very difficult period of her life."

Oh right, al. This is your idea of "compassionate conservatism", no doubt.

The thought that you might be able to save your ass never entered your mind, did it?

The term
bullshit disingenuous appears to be appropriate here . . . .

Take Action against Hate Crimes

Go here to sign the petition to your Senators.

Thanks . . . .

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The More Things Change, . . . .

From Gareth Porter at IPS:

Cheney's Iran-Arms-to-Taliban Gambit Rebuffed

WASHINGTON, Jun 11 (IPS) - A media campaign portraying Iran as supplying arms to the Taliban guerrillas fighting U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, orchestrated by advocates of a more confrontational stance toward Iran in the George W. Bush administration, appears to have backfired last week when Defence Secretary Robert Gates and the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Dan McNeil, issued unusually strong denials.

The allegation that Iran has reversed a decade-long policy and is now supporting the Taliban, conveyed in a series of press articles quoting "senior officials" in recent weeks, is related to a broader effort by officials aligned with Vice President Dick Cheney to portray Iran as supporting Sunni insurgents, including al Qaeda, to defeat the United States in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

That article and subsequent reports on CNN May 30, in the Washington Post Jun. 3 and on ABC news Jun. 6 all included an assertion by an unnamed U.S. official or a "senior coalition official" that Iran is following a deliberate policy of supplying the Taliban's campaign against U.S., British and other NATO forces.

In the most dramatic version of the story, ABC reported "NATO officials" as saying they had "caught Iran red-handed, shipping heavy arms, C4 explosives and advanced roadside bombs to the Taliban for use against NATO forces."

Both Gates and McNeill denied flatly last week that there is any evidence linking Iranian authorities to those arms. Gates told a press conference on Jun. 4, "We do not have any information about whether the government of Iran is supporting this, is behind it, or whether it's smuggling, or exactly what is behind it." Gates said that "some" of the arms in question might be going to Afghan drug smugglers.

I think it's great that cheney and his group have been proven to be wrong in their assertions.

The problem is, the dis-information campaign has already been successful, as the MSM reported it widely. NO ONE in the MSM reported the retraction by Gates, et al. (As I'm composing this, CNN is reporting another charge similar to this erroneous one.)

Rather like the lead-up to the Iraq situation, is it not???

The more things change, "_____________" (fill in the blank)

Don't Ask, Don't Bomb . . . .

This is (almost) unbelievable.

Now that I think of it, there's not too much that is unbelievable in today's militaristic world.

Pentagon Confirms It Sought To Build A 'Gay Bomb'
Jun 8, 2007 9:03 pm US/Pacific

A Berkeley watchdog organization that tracks military spending said it uncovered a strange U.S. military proposal to create a hormone bomb that could purportedly turn enemy soldiers into homosexuals and make them more interested in sex than fighting.

Pentagon officials on Friday confirmed to CBS 5 that military leaders had considered, and then subsquently rejected, building the so-called "Gay Bomb."

"The notion was that a chemical that would probably be pleasant in the human body in low quantities could be identified, and by virtue of either breathing or having their skin exposed to this chemical, the notion was that soliders would become gay," explained Edward Hammond, of Berkeley's Sunshine Project.

Questions arise:

#1) What would be the results of "bombing" the female soldiers, if any?

#2) This proposal was being considered in 1994. The Clinton/Pentagon instituted "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in July of 1993. Coincidence or coordinated?

Inquiring minds want to know . . . .

UPDATE: Video link here

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bill Maher on Religion in Politics

Being a big Craig Ferguson and Bill Maher fan, and not a fan of organized religion, this video is classic . . . .

Dissension in the Ranks ? ? ? ?

This news is just devastating too bad, isn't it?

From CTV today:

Accord dispute creates dissent in Harper cabinet

Updated Mon. Jun. 11 2007 10:10 PM ET - News Staff

CTV News has learned a weekend letter on the Atlantic Accord dispute has left Prime Minister Stephen Harper facing a major cabinet split.

Sources say that Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay feels blindsided by the letter to the editor published Saturday that inflamed matters.

Insiders say that Sandra Buckler, the prime minister's communications director, instructed MacKay to sign the letter, which rejected any side deals with Nova Scotia.

MacKay, a Nova Scotia MP and the senior minister for Atlantic Canada, refused, say sources. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty signed the letter.

And later in the article this scenario:

Liberal senators, who hold a majority, say they might even take up MacDonald's call to defeat the budget.

"If Mr. Harper wants this budget, Mr. Harper is going to have to change this budget," said Liberal Sen. Terry Mercer of Nova Scotia.

Having the Senate vote down the budget would be a vote of non-confidence in the government and an election could result.

"It would be totally irresponsible and it would be unprecedented for the unelected Senate to defeat a budget bill," said Conservative Sen. Marjory LeBreton, the party's house leader.

As we're not experts on the Canadian political process, does this possibility have any validity?

If so, what an intriguing idea . . . .

Monday, June 11, 2007

How 'Bout Helen for Prez ? ? ? ?

She'd get my vote . . . .

Money Well Spent ? ? ? ?

From Reuters today:

Global military spending hits $1.2 trillion

Mon Jun 11, 2007 12:12PM EDT
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Global military spending rose 3.5 percent last year to $1.2 trillion as U.S. costs for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan mounted, a European research body said on Monday in an annual study.

The United States spent $529 billion, slightly less than the entire GDP of the Netherlands, on military operations in 2006, up 5 percent over the previous year, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in its latest year book.

"Taking both immediate and long-term factors into account, the overall past and future costs until year 2016 to the USA for the war in Iraq have been estimated at $2,267 billion," it said.

Feel safer now ? ? ? ?

Friday, June 08, 2007

They'll Have Their Work Cut Out For Them . . . .

From McClatchy Newspapers today:

Bush hires lawyers to fight legal battles with Congress
By Ron Hutcheson - McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON - President Bush is signing up legal help as he girds for battle with the Democratic-led Congress.

Faced with a flurry of document requests and expanding congressional investigations, the White House announced Friday that Bush had hired nine lawyers, including five who'll fill new jobs in the president's legal office. The recruits have solid experience in white-collar crime, government investigations and constitutional law.

I hope this group doesn't mind working long hours.

They're going to have their hands full . . . .

Gays In the Military? repuglican Views . . . .

I'm sure no one in our portion of blog-land will be surprised by the repuglican take on gays in the US military.

The silence at the end of the clip is deafening . . . .

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Surprise, Surprise. The More Things Change . . . .

From Bloomberg News:

G-8 Vows Greenhouse Gas Curbs;
U.S. Escapes Targets

By James G. Neuger June 7 (Bloomberg)

Leaders of the Group of Eight main industrial nations vowed a renewed global push to fight rising temperatures, while agreeing not to force the U.S. and Russia to set targets now for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The European Union, Japan and Canada pledged at the G-8 summit on the German seaside to cut carbon emissions in half by 2050. The U.S. and Russia promised to take part in talks on a new international treaty to combat global warming.

Why am I not surprised that what the MSM last week was calling bush's newfound outlook on global warming is not, in fact, quite the case.

If anyone thinks there will be any substantive change in this administration's environmental activities I've got some swampland in Florida I'd be glad to sell you.

No, seriously, I do . . . .

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Alternative Debate Dialogue . . . .

For an amusing accurate analysis on both the Democratic and Republican debates check out these links.

Democratic Debate

Republican Debate

Be forewarned: Some of the terminology could be offensive and you may want to read it in private as loud guffaws are inevitable. (I especially enjoyed repuglican tancredo's Canadian references.)

Enjoy ! ! ! !

H/T Liberal Catnip

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Racing to Religion . . . .

This is just friggin' great.

From today's Washington Post:

Clinton, Edwards and Obama Discuss Their Faith at Forum
All Say Religion Informs Politics, Personal Lives

Not only are the repuglicans in bed with the judeo/christians in the US, but now the democrats have to join in the practice of sucking up to them in order to get votes.

What is with this country, anyway?

Get us OUT OF HERE ! ! ! !

Monday, June 04, 2007

Dems Debate . . . .

So, after watching the whole thing, Dennis Kucinich is still the one that most accurately represents our values. Too bad he's got a snowball's chance in hell of getting the nomination. Number two is Mike Gravel, who does a good job of pointing out the crap the "mainstream" candidates and the political process have provided us over the years, but doesn't articulate what he'd do to correct the situation.

Biden came across as the pragmatic, thoughtful one.

The three "front-runners" were all playing it safe and were generally not very inspiring.
I really hope future debates do not attempt to cut out the minor candidates as they are the only voice for real change in the system.

Looks like the bottom line is: The dems will screw us a bit less than the repugs . . . . . Is that enough of a reason to give them power?

Ah, for a proportional representation system in the US . . . .

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Shopping Spree, stevie ? ? ? ?

I'm guessing stevie won't be doing any wardrobe shopping at Harry Rosen's in BC anytime soon . . . .