Sunday, May 28, 2006

Bush Expresses Deep Remorse Over Iraq Errors, Deaths....

Thank You!

Onion Does the Happy Roll

Just a quick note to those of you who showed your support for A Liberal Dose by buying our fantastic original liberal art t-shirts, mugs, bumper stickers and buttons. It's the only source of income for this site and is most sincerely appreciated. My cats thank you from the bottom of their little pot bellies.

:-)

Saturday, May 27, 2006

For the Record...

To double-check the quote in our previous post we did a little online searching, to find that, sadly, seven-Time Mr. Olympian Ronnie Coleman



and Mr. Olympia finalist Gunter Schlierkamp



--can also leg press 2,000 pounds.



Thus Pat Robertson is, sadly, not QUITE the strongest man in human history. His meteoric rise as a new contender for the title, however, means lean mean smitin' machine Pat "Hurricane" Robertson (seen here preloading on carbs) must surely have the former champions looking nervously over their shoulders.

Kind of like the rest of us every time this dementia-befuddled old gasbag starts flapping his gums. And lest you think I'm a heartless bastard for picking on a pathetic old man, you would do well to find out a little more about why he's so richly deserving of scorn and hatred. Do have a looky-loo here.

Quote of the Moment:
"The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A death. What's that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you're too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, and you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating... you finish off as an orgasm."
--George Carlin, "Dark Humor"

Not to mention a generous heap of powdered mescaline

Pat squeezes out another fat one for the faithful

Crazy Pat.

At it again.

But I'm finally starting to get his routine. Lord knows, he's always been generous in providing hilarity for the non-insane in America and abroad, from claims that Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Methodists are a secret Antichrist cult to being able to magically control the weather.

And while his routine occasionally lapses into bad taste, such as illegally passing voter lists to a convicted smuggler of WMD to Iran, praising China for forcing abortion on some of its citizens and repeatedly calling for the assassination of Chavez (all in the righteous name of Jay-zus, of course), in truth he's really just another, folksy, down-home billionaire party boy, getting richer than the average small Caribbean nation for the greater glory of God.

But Pat's latest schtick, the Strongest Man in Human History, is no laughing matter. Despite appearances, it's no ham-fisted homage to the late Andy Kaufman; it's 110% pure true fact. Sure he has his doubters, such as journalist Clay Travis of CBS Sportsline:

There is no way on earth Robertson leg presses 2,000 pounds. That would mean a 76-year-old man broke the all-time Florida State University leg press record by 665 pounds over Dan Kendra. 665 pounds. Further, when he set the record, they had to modify the leg press machine to fit 1,335 pounds of weight. Plus, Kendra's capillaries in his eyes burst. Burst. Where in the world did Robertson even find a machine that could hold 2,000 pounds at one time? And how does he still have vision?....
But Crazy Pat has a secret: the Godly magical power of powdered bean juice and rotten apples.

Doubting Thomas Clay is unconvinced:

"I would like to interview Pat Robertson about his leg-press workout and protein shake. If possible, I would like to accompany Pat on his workout where I could help him stack on the 44 different 45-pound plates he would need to attach to leg press 2,000 pounds. By my calculations, his leg press of 2,000 pounds requires 22 forty-fives and one ten-pounder on each side.
But why the Hell should we believe Clay? Can HE protect coastal Virginia from the righteous hurricane-borne fury of God?

I think not.

You may be surprised to learn that Crazy Pat's magic potion is available for purchase. Or maybe you won't be, at that.

Quotes of the Day:
"Our father high in heaven; smile down upon your son
who's busy with his money games, his women and his gun.
And the unsung Western Hero killed an indian or three
and made his name in Hollywood to set the white man free.
If Jesus saves, well he'd better save himself
from the gory glory seekers who use his name in death."
--Ian Anderson/Jethro Tull, "Hymn 43"


"When I was young, they packed me off to school
and taught me how not to play the game.
I didn't mind if they groomed me for success,
or if they said that I was just a fool.
So I left there in the morning with their God tucked underneath my arm
their half-assed smiles and the book of rules.
So I asked this God a question and by way of firm reply,
He said I'm not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays.
So to my old headmaster (and to anyone who cares);
before I'm through I'd like to say my prayers:
'I don't believe you: you got the whole damn thing all wrong
He's not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays.'"
--Ian Anderson/Jethro Tull, "Wind Up"

"If they arrest the Energizer Bunny, would they charge it with battery?"
--Anonymous

Friday, May 26, 2006

Ah, But Will it Play in Peoria?

Sweet.

And if You Act Now, They'll Throw in a $75 Rebate

As Republicants once again pay politically expedient lip-service to giving a shit about what the useless eater class thinks, the White House is pinning all its hopes of escaping repercussions for its apocalyptic bumbling upon finally becoming transparent to the public.

In one of those heartwarming candid camera moments, Bush gleefully smirks while conferring over how best to bury the bodies with that remarkably persuasive argument for abstinence-only values, human-toad hybrid Dennis Hastert.

Meanwhile the POP looks to be quietly assembling its offensive linemen to run a little interference come November.

Of course, they'll be too conveniently busy nabbing jaywalkers while stormtroopers of the Fourth Reich once again perpetrate their all-too-incredibly audacious heist in plain view.

Now, while I can't swear to the veracity of it, an engineer once told me one of these will instantly launch one of these into sweet catatonia. Not that I'd ever advocate such behavior, of course. As I've always emphatically maintained, the first duty of citizenship is to remember to be humbly obedient to our masters.

Quote of the Day:
"Kick against the pricks as hard as you can."
--David Ledden of Hedwig and the Angry Inch fame

Yeah, What He Said....

Firedoglake firebrand Jane Hamsher really cut a stripe into me after I questioned their running the fake "Free the Internet" telco ad (God aren't ass-kickin' women such a turnon?).

But as the master himself once bawled -- like some lovestricken, masochistic teen, I keep slinking back in the night for more righteous, beautiful bitchery because

1) we're on the same side after all

2) their commentary kicks such serious ass

3) they've got a hell of a lot of insight into the Plame outing trial

Thus, in the spirit of laudatory humility, I offer a link to the following wonderful post, wherein contributor T. Rex points out that, horrific, belief-beggaring moral paralysis and historically unprecedented, insatiable greed aside, the solitary reason the Repugnicant dons may well spontaneously combust in a spectacularly repulsive cloud of atomized, fried pork flesh is that their jaw-dropping greed is only surpassed by their near-somnambulant stupidity. Case in point:

THEY JUST DON'T GET THAT COLBERT IS INCESSANTLY BOOTING THEM IN THE NUTS AND LAUGHING IN THEIR FACES.

Which is why, of course, they made the colossal tactical error of inviting him to host the White House correspondents dinner. Hah motherfucking hah you soulless bastards.

Oh, and a big, wet smoochy kiss to Hamsher. (>blink< >blink< insolent grin). Love ya, babe.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Nonprofit Unveils $100 laptop, Worldwide Education Initiative

The world's first true $100 laptop has just been unveiled, and it looks to be a spectacular innovation.

Delaware nonprofit One Laptop Per Child, initiated by CAD pioneer Nicholas Negroponte and run by MIT's Media Lab faculty, designed the laptops to be sufficiently inexpensive to be given to every child in the world. They are poised for distribution as digital textbooks in China, India, Brazil, Argentina, Egypt, Nigeria, Thailand and elsewhere.

Each laptop contains a 500MHz processor, 128MB of dynamic RAM, and 500 MB of Flash memory in place of a hard disk, with four USB ports and wireless broadband that allows it to "talk to" its nearest neighbor, in an ad hoc local area "mesh" network.

Costs are significantly cut by using the open source Linux operating system and the same LCD displays found in inexpensive DVD players, which support full color or sunlight-readable high-resolution black and white.

According to Negroponte, the OLPC laptop can do everything a $1000 laptop can at one tenth the cost. The only difference is its permanent data storage capacity is limited to that of a high-end PC from the early 1980s. But what makes these digital textbooks an incredibly powerful global education resource is that they require no outside electricity; they're run by hand cranks. Explains Negroponte:

"Our laptops will run on human power. [They] will come with at least two means of charging: with your arms and your feet (one each, as a minimum)....

Human power is not dependent on the number of hours, but the ratio of human movement to subsequent run time. I mean that, simply in the worst case, one minute of cranking means 10 minutes of operation. If you use your legs, like a bicycle pump, it skyrockets, perhaps as much as 25 minutes."
Founder and chairman Negroponte is also co-founder, director and professor at the MIT Media Laboratory and a CAD (computer-aided design) pioneer. His bestseller, Being Digital, has been translated into over 40 languages. He also sits on the board of directors of Motorola, Inc. and has provided start-up funding for dozens of companies, including Wired magazine.

OLPC's partner founding corporations are Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Brightstar, Google, News Corporation, Nortel, and Red Hat.

Says Negroponte:

"Recent work with schools in Maine has shown the huge value of using a laptop across all of one's studies, as well as for play. Bringing the laptop home engages the family. In one Cambodian village where we have been working, there is no electricity, thus the laptop is, among other things, the brightest light source in the home."

[These are] ...tools to think with, sufficiently inexpensive to be used for work and play, drawing, writing, and mathematics. A computer can be the same, but far more powerful. Furthermore, there are many reasons it is important for a child to own something - like a football, doll, or book - not the least of which being that these belongings will be well-maintained through love and care."
If you buy one at triple the price ($300), OLPC will donate two to poor children. Sounds win-win to me.

More pictures are available here.

Quote of the Day:
"He who opens a school door, closes a prison."
--Victor Hugo

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Someone to fight for you in Congress....

In addiction therapy, those who allow addicts to continue their destructive behaviors are called "enablers".

It's time we had an alternative to the enablers.

And if he succeeds, it'll send a very loud, very clear message to the rest of them.

Here's where to donate.

Here's where to volunteer.

See you at the polls.

Quote of the Day:

"The big question is -- what will the US do about Iran? There are the hints of the possibility of bombings, etc. While I hate the Iranian government, the people don't deserve the chaos and damage of air strikes and war. I don't really worry about that though, because if you live in Iraq- you know America's hands are tied. Just as soon as Washington makes a move against Tehran, American troops inside Iraq will come under attack. It's that simple -- Washington has big guns and planes... But Iran has 150,000 American hostages."

--"Riverbend", anonymous blogger in occupied Iraq

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

On Official Hiatus

In two days, I'll be launching my new company, so must concentrate on such matters for the time being.

Thank you, dear reader, for stopping by.

-Eric

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Canadian Rockers Send Message to Recording Industry

A group of Canada's top-selling musicians have created their own copyright coalition, issuing a press release in opposition to the RIAA and file-sharing lawsuits.

Members include: Barenaked Ladies, Avril Lavigne (pictured at left), Sarah McLachlan, Chantal Kreviazuk, Sum 41, Stars, Raine Maida (Our Lady Peace), Dave Bidini (Rheostatics), Billy Talent, John K. Samson (Weakerthans), Broken Social Scene, Sloan, Andrew Cash and Bob Wiseman.

The Canadian Music Creators Coalition (CMCC) demands record labels stop pretending to represent their views, adding:

1. Suing Our Fans is Destructive and Hypocritical
Artists do not want to sue music fans. The labels have been suing our fans against our will, and laws enabling these suits cannot be justified in our names. We oppose any copyright reforms that would make it easier for record companies to do this. The government should repeal provisions of the Copyright Act that allow labels to unfairly punish fans who share music for non-commercial purposes with statutory damages of $500 to $20,000 per song.

2. Digital Locks are Risky and Counterproductive
Artists do not support using digital locks to increase the labels’ control over the distribution, use and enjoyment of music or laws that prohibit circumvention of such technological measures. The government should not blindly implement decade-old treaties designed to give control to major labels and take choices away from artists and consumers. Laws should protect artists and consumers, not restrictive technologies. Consumers should be able to transfer the music they buy to other formats under a right of fair use, without having to pay twice.

3. Cultural Policy Should Support Actual Canadian Artists
The vast majority of new Canadian music is not promoted by major labels, which focus mostly on foreign artists. The government should use other policy tools to support actual Canadian artists and a thriving musical and cultural scene. The government should make a long-term commitment to grow support mechanisms like the Canada Music Fund and FACTOR, invest in music training and education, create limited tax shelters for copyright royalties, protect artists from inequalities in bargaining power and make collecting societies more transparent.
Apparently the official line that online music trading hurts sales has been refuted by the CRIA's own study.

In fact, in France, uploading and downloading on P2P networks has been legalized.

Strike up the band.

<Quote of the Day:

"The music industry is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side"

-- Hunter S. Thompson

Friday, May 19, 2006

Miller Fesses Up (Again)... Moussaoui to Get New Cellmates?

The ever-contrite Judith Miller is once again inconsolably sobbing out regret at her complicity in the unnecessary deaths of thousands.

Yes, as Sept. 11 co-conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui headed to federal prison to begin serving his life sentence we hear (again) he wasn't the only one with inside information about the September 11 attacks who kept it from the American public:

(excerpted from Attytood)

Miller: "...the source was impeccable. I had also confirmed from a second source that such a conversation had taken place -- that there was such an intercept -- though my second source did not seem to know as much about the content of the intercept as the first source did. But that was enough for me to know that there was a good story there.

just now, some 56 months after the fact, we are learning that both Judy Miller and her editors at the New York Times had information that foretold the 9/11 terror attacks and elected not to publish it. Reading the new story carefully, it does seem that a decision to publish the article in the summer of 2001 was not a "slam dunk,' that there were legitimate questions whether Miller's tip was enough to hang a story on. But the episode does raise a couple of other serious questions -- surely about the pre-attack ineptitude of the Bush White House, but also over the Times' handling of this explosive info both before and after 9/11....

Ultimately, Miller never wrote that story either....

"But I did manage to have a conversation with a source that weekend. The person told me that there was some concern about an intercept that had been picked up. The incident that had gotten everyone's attention was a conversation between two members of Al Qaida. And they had been talking to one another, supposedly expressing disappointment that the United States had not chosen to retaliate more seriously against what had happened to the Cole. And one Al Qaida operative was overheard saying to the other, 'Don't worry; we're planning something so big now that the U.S. will have to respond.'

"And I was obviously floored by that information. I thought it was a very good story: (1) the source was impeccable; (2) the information was specific, tying Al Qaida operatives to, at least, knowledge of the attack on the Cole; and (3) they were warning that something big was coming, to which the United States would have to respond. This struck me as a major page one-potential story.

Three points here, one about Bush and two about journalism:

1) This has been said so many time before, so we won't belabor the point, but how much more evidence do people need that the Bush White House had plenty of information about the pending 9/11 attacks, and failed to take the threat seriously? The relatively high marks that Bush gets on terrorism issues, even today, just aren't supported by the facts.

2) As for the New York Times, the decision not to publish pre-9/11 is a toss-up. But why, in God's name, was this information not published in any clear and meaningful way immediately after 9/11, on the pages of the Times itself. Doesn't anyone think that information of advance warnings of the attack in the
highest levels of Washington is something that the public needed to know in those early days after the attacks?

Instead, from what we can gather, the information has dribbled out... some of it in a 2005 article in Columbia Journalism Review, and some of it today in a story on an alternative, progressive Web site. Who exactly was the Times protecting in not writing this article in September 2001, immediately after the attack, and why?

3) Another stunner from the new article: One reason that Miller wasn't able to do the additional reporting that might have added enough meat to get the al-Qaeda story in the paper pre-9/11 was because she, Engelberg, and another reporter were all busy trying to finish a book:

"At the time I also had had a book coming out. Steve, Bill Broad and I were co-authors of a book about biological terrorism. So we were working flat out on that book trying to meet our deadline. I was desperately trying to get my arms around this series that we were trying to do on Al Qaida. I was having a lot of trouble because the information was very hard to come by. There was a lot going on. I was also doing biological weapons stories and homeland security stories. And in Washington, if you don't have a sense of immediacy about something, and if you sense that there is bureaucratic resistance to a story, you tend to focus on areas of less resistance.

So this is now the third time that the timing and flow of a news article with major impact on the electorate and the American political debate was affected by journalists working on a book, and the conflict that posed with their responsibility to newspaper readers. The others are Bob Woodward's withholding of information about the CIA-Valerie Plame case he uncovered during his book research, and James Risen's warrantless wiretapping scoop, which was finally published in the Times after he finished writing a book on the same subject.

There's got to be a better system here. In theory, we think that newspaper reporters writing books is a good thing, certainly for the career of the reporter and usually for the reading public. But must the public's right-to-know be a casualty, time and time again?
Ah, sweet commerce. What better reason for letting innocents die?

WTC attack survivor Daithí Mac Lochlainn is none too happy about Miller's opportunistic silence.

But in case you had any doubt whatsoever that the Chimp and his royal wipers also had (very specific) foreknowledge of the September 11th attacks, do read the following. Prior to starting this blog, in the leadup to the 2004 >cough!< "election", I compiled (and spammed to over a million media outlets) the following illuminating list:

1. NY Times: Bush Warned bin Laden Would Hijack Planes
"The White House said tonight that President Bush had been warned by American intelligence agencies in early August that Osama bin Laden was seeking to hijack aircraft..."

2. CNN: Bush briefed on hijacking threat before 9-11
"President Bush's daily intelligence briefings in the weeks leading up to the September 11 terror attacks included a warning of the possibility that Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network would attempt to hijack a U.S.-based airliner, senior administration officials said Wednesday."

3. UK Guardian: Bush knew terrorists would hijack planes
"George Bush received specific warnings in the weeks before 11 September that an attack inside the United States was being planned by Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, US government sources said yesterday?. The memo received by Bush on 6 August contained unconfirmed information passed on by British intelligence in 1998 revealing that al-Qaeda operatives had discussed hijacking a plane to negotiate the release of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the Muslim cleric imprisoned in America for his part in a plot to blow up the World Trade Centre in 1993."

4. Sunday Herald: Britain warned Bush to expect 9-11 al-Qaeda hijackings
"Britain gave President Bush a categorical warning to expect multiple airline hijackings by the al-Qaeda network a month before the September 11 attacks which killed nearly 3000 people and triggered the international war against terrorism."

5. Village Voice: Officials Warned of Plans to Attack DC, NY with Planes
"The U.S. government had received repeated warnings of impending attacks?and attacks using planes directed at New York and Washington?for several years. The government never told us about what it knew was coming."

6. AP: 9/11 report, Rice conflict; Bush got specific data on threats
"...the briefing given to the president a month before the suicide hijackings included recent intelligence that al-Qaida was planning to send operatives to the United States to carry out an attack using high explosives."

7. MSNBC: White House Briefed on Imminent bin Laden Attack
"One such CIA briefing, in July 2001, was particularly chilling and prophetic. It predicted that Osama bin Laden was about to launch a terrorist strike 'in the coming weeks,' the congressional investigators found. The intelligence briefing went on to say: 'The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties against U.S. facilities or interests. Attack preparations have been made. Attack will occur with little or no warning.'"

8. MSN: Condoleezza Rice's False Statement
A: "The overwhelming bulk of the evidence was that this was an attack that was likely to take place overseas."
- White House National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, in a May 16 news briefing.
B: "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S."
- Title of the CIA's Aug. 6 briefing memo to President Bush . . .

9. Newsweek: Day before 9-11, Pentagon Generals Cancelled Flights  (link dead)
"On Sept. 10, NEWSWEEK has learned, a group of top Pentagon officials suddenly canceled travel plans for the next morning, apparently because of security concerns."

10. SF Gate: Mayor got 8-hour warning Before 9-11 Attacks ? September 12, 2001
For Mayor Willie Brown, the first signs that something was amiss came late Monday when he got a call from what he described as his airport security - - a full eight hours before yesterday's string of terrorist attacks -- advising him that Americans should be cautious about their air travel.

11. Florida State: Jeb Bush Declares Martial Law 9-7-01
"Based on the potential massive damage to life and property that may result from an act of terrorism at a Florida port, the necessity to protect life and property from such acts of terrorism..."

12. CBS News: Ashcroft Avoided Commercial Travel Prior to 9-11
"In response to inquiries from CBS News over why Ashcroft was traveling exclusively by leased jet aircraft instead of commercial airlines, the Justice Department cited what it called a "threat assessment" by the FBI, and said Ashcroft has been advised to travel only by private jet for the remainder of his term."

13. UK Independent: Taliban Mole Warning Ignored
"Weeks before the terrorist attacks on 11 September, the United States and the United Nations ignored warnings from a secret Taliban emissary that Osama bin Laden was planning a huge attack on American soil."

14. NY Times: "President Mubarek Warned US of Al Qaeda Plot
"Egyptian intelligence warned American officials about a week before Sept. 11 that Osama bin Laden's network was in the advance stages of executing a significant operation against an American target, President Hosni Mubarak said in an interview on Sunday."

15. Village Voice: US Ignored France Warnings
"A key point in unraveling why the FBI failed to follow up leads on Al Qaeda terrorism now centers on the Bureau's contemptuously brushing aside warnings from French intelligence a few days before 9-11."

16. Intl. Herald Tribune: White House Ignored Arab Warnings
"When the hubbub about what the White House did or didn't know before Sept. 11 dies down, Congressional or other investigators should consider the specific warnings that friendly Arab intelligence services sent to Washington in the summer of 2001."

17. UK News-Telegraph: Israel issued urgent warning of large-scale terror attacks
Israeli intelligence officials say that they warned their counterparts in the United States last month that large-scale terrorist attacks on highly visible targets on the American mainland were imminent."

18. NY Post: FBI Warned D.C. It Was A Target
"A Minnesota FBI agent investigating Zacarias Moussaoui testified yesterday that he notified the Secret Service weeks before Sept. 11 that a terror team might hijack a plane and 'hit the nation's capital.'"

19. Yahoo News: FBI Warnings Ignored
"An FBI supervisor, sounding a prophetic pre-Sept. 11 alarm, warned FBI headquarters that student pilot Zacarias Moussaoui was so dangerous he might 'take control of a plane and fly it into the World Trade Center,' a congressional investigator said in a report Tuesday."

20. Independent: America had 12 warnings of aircraft attack
"American intelligence received many more clues before the 11 September attacks than previously disclosed, that terrorists might hijack planes and turn them into weapons, a joint congressional committee was told yesterday."

21. Washington Post: 9/11 Probe Says Agencies Failed to Heed Attack Signs
"U.S. intelligence agencies received many more indications than previously disclosed that Osama bin Laden's terrorist network was planning imminent "spectacular" attacks in the summer of 2001 aimed at inflicting mass casualties."

22. Yahoo News: Spy Agencies Had Pre-9/11 Threats on U.S. Soil
"U.S. intelligence agencies picked up threats of attacks inside the United States and of using airplanes as weapons during the spring and summer before last year's Sept. 11 attacks, but were more focused on the possibility of an assault overseas, a congressional source said on Tuesday."

23. Vanity Fair: Bin Laden Relatives Secretly Evacuated From NY
"Patrick Tyler of the New York Times is reporting from Washington: 'In the first days after the attacks on Sept. 11, the Saudi Arabian ambasador to Washington, Prince Bandar ibn Sultan, supervised the urgent evacuation of 24 members of Osama bin Laden's extended family from the United States fearing they might be subjected to violence.'"

24. Sydney Morning Herald: Administration Told US agents "Back off bin Ladens
"US special agents were told to back off the bin Laden family and the Saudi royals soon after George Bush became president, although that has all changed since September 11, it was reported today."

25. Ha'aretz Daily: CEO Says Workers Warned Hours Before World Trade Center Hit -- FBI Investigating
"Odigo, the instant messaging service, says that two of its workers received messages two hours before the Twin Towers attack on September 11 predicting the attack would happen, and the company has been cooperating with Israeli and American law enforcement, including the FBI, in trying to find the original sender of the message predicting the attack."

26. NY Times: White House Approved Secret Evacuation of Bin Ladens After 9-11
"Richard Clarke, who ran White House crisis team after Sept 11 terror attacks, says top White House officials personally approved evacuation of dozens of influential Saudis, including relatives of Osama bin Laden, from United States in days after Sept 11, when most flights were grounded."

27. Tampa Tribune: Bodyguards tell of Secret Bin Laden Flight
"The hastily arranged flight out of Raytheon Airport Services, a private hangar on the outskirts of Tampa International Airport, was anything but ordinary. It lifted off the tarmac at a time when every private plane in the nation was grounded due to safety concerns after the Sept. 11 attacks. " 

28. UK Minister: "Bush had Foreknowledge of 9-11 attacks"
"...it is not surprising that some have seen the US failure to avert the 9/11 attacks as creating an invaluable pretext for attacking Afghanistan in a war that had clearly already been well planned in advance."


Ironclad sources, all.

Little did I realize this was only a SMALL, relatively MINOR portion of the story of the Bush "Administration's" (258 instances of) foreknowledge of the Al Qaeda attacks. A few highlights:

NY Times : Bush, Cheney Receive Numerous al-Qaeda Warnings (April-May 2001)
President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and national security aides are given briefing papers headlined, “Bin Laden Planning Multiple Operations,” “Bin Laden Public Profile May Presage Attack,” and “Bin Laden Network’s Plans Advancing.” The exact contents of these briefings remain classified, but apparently, none specifically mentions a domestic US attack.

NT Times: Nearly Half of FAA’s Daily Intelligence Summaries Mention bin Laden or Al-Qaeda; No Action is Taken (April 1, 2001-September 10, 2001)

US Congress/Washington Post: Bin Laden Associates Head West, Prepare for Martyrdom (May 2001)
The Defense Department gains and shares information indicating that seven people associated with bin Laden have departed from various locations for Canada, Britain, and the US. The next month, the CIA learns that key operatives in al-Qaeda are disappearing while others are preparing for martyrdom.

Fok Snooze: Iranian Tells of Plot to Attack WTC (May 2001)
An Iranian in custody in New York City tells local police of a plot to attack the World Trade Center. No more details are known.

Indianapolis Star: Clinton Impeachment Lawyer Learns About al-Qaeda Manhattan Attack Warning (May 2001)
David Schippers, the House Judiciary Committee’s chief investigator in the Clinton impeachment trial, was hired to represent FBI agent Robert Wright in September 1999 (see August 3, 1999). After 9/11, Schippers will claim that he began privately informing congresspeople about Wright’s investigation into terrorism financing in the US in early 2001, but found little interest (see February-March 2001).
He will claim that “FBI agents in Chicago and Minnesota” tell him “there [is] going to be an attack on lower Manhattan.” Schippers will later claim that he will attempt to contact Attorney General John Ashcroft and other politicians about this warning in coming months, but that they will show little interest (see July-Late August 2001).

911 Commision: Terrorist Threat Reports Surge, Frustration with White House Grows (June-July 2001)
Terrorist threat reports, already high in the preceding months, surge even higher. President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and national security aides are given briefing papers with headlines such as “Bin Laden Threats Are Real” and “Bin Laden Planning High Profile Attacks.” The exact contents of these briefings remain classified, but according to the 9/11 Commission they consistently predict upcoming attacks that will occur “on a catastrophic level, indicating that they would cause the world to be in turmoil, consisting of possible multiple—but not necessarily simultaneous—attacks.” CIA Director Tenet later will recall that by late July the warnings coming in could not get any worse. He feels that President Bush and other officials grasp the urgency of what they are being told. [9/11 Commission, 5/13/2004] But Deputy CIA Director John McLaughlin later states that he feels a great tension, peaking these months, between the Bush administration’s apparent misunderstanding of terrorism issues and his sense of great urgency. McLaughlin and others are frustrated when inexperienced Bush officials question the validity of certain intelligence findings. Two unnamed, veteran Counter Terrorism Center officers deeply involved in bin Laden issues are so worried about an impending disaster that they consider resigning and going public with their concerns. [9/11 Commission, 4/24/2004] Dale Watson, head of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, wishes he had “500 analysts looking at Osama bin Laden threat information instead of two.”

USA Today: Al-Qaeda Plot Described as Upcoming ‘Hiroshima’ on US Soil (Summer 2001)
After 9/11, Secretary of State Colin Powell will claim that the Bush administration received a “lot of signs” throughout the summer of 2001 that terrorists were plotting US attacks. These include al-Qaeda mentions of an impending ’Hiroshima’ on US soil.

Miami Herald, LA Times: Illegal Afghans Overheard Discussing New York City Hijacking Attack (June 4, 2001) (also here, here and here).
At some point in 2000, three men claiming to be Afghans but using Pakistani passports entered the Cayman Islands, possibly illegally. In late 2000, Cayman and British investigators began a yearlong probe of these men, which will last until 9/11. They are overheard discussing hijacking attacks in New York City during this period. On this day, they are taken into custody, questioned, and released some time later. This information is forwarded to US intelligence. In late August, a letter to a Cayman radio station will allege these same men are agents of bin Laden “organizing a major terrorist act against the US via an airline or airlines.”

Washington Post/US Congress: Tenet Warns of Imminent al-Qaeda Attack (June 28, 2001)
CIA Director Tenet writes an intelligence summary for National Security Adviser Rice: “It is highly likely that a significant al-Qaeda attack is in the near future, within several weeks.” A highly classified analysis at this time adds, “Most of the al-Qaeda network is anticipating an attack. Al-Qaeda’s overt publicity has also raised expectations among its rank and file, and its donors.” Apparently, the same analysis also adds, “Based on a review of all source reporting over the last five months, we believe that [bin Laden] will launch a significant terrorist attack against US and/or Israeli interests in the coming weeks. The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties against US facilities or interests. Attack preparations have been made. Attack will occur with little or no warning.” This warning is shared with “senior Bush administration officials” in early July. Apparently, these warnings are largely based on a warning given by al-Qaeda leaders to a reporter a few days earlier (see June 21, 2001). Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke also later asserts that Tenet tells him around this time, “It’s my sixth sense, but I feel it coming. This is going to be the big one.”

Christian Science Monitor, International Herald Tribune: Jordan Warns US That Aircraft Will Be Used in Major Attack Inside the US (Late Summer 2001)
Jordanian intelligence (the GID) makes a communications intercept deemed so important that King Abdullah’s men relay it to Washington, probably through the CIA station in Amman. To make doubly sure the message gets through it is passed through an Arab intermediary to a German intelligence agent. The message states that a major attack, code named “The Big Wedding,” is planned inside the US and that aircraft will be used. “When it became clear that the information was embarrassing to Bush administration officials and congressmen who at first denied that there had been any such warnings before September 11, senior Jordanian officials backed away from their earlier confirmations.” The Christian Science Monitor will call the story “confidently authenticated” even though Jordan has backed away from it.

NY Times: Clarke Tells Rice to Prepare for 3 to 5 Simultaneous Attacks; No Apparent Response (July 6, 2001)
Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke sends National Security Advisor Rice an e-mail message “outlining a number of steps agreed on” at the Counterterrorism and Security Group meeting the day before, “including efforts to examine the threat of weapons of mass destruction and possible attacks in Latin America. One senior administration official [says] Mr. Clarke [writes] that several agencies, including the FBI, the CIA, and the Pentagon, [have] been directed to develop what the official [says are] ‘detailed response plans in the event of three to five simultaneous attacks.’” However, no response or follow-up action has been pointed out.

Agence France-Presse/International Herald Tribune/London Times: Moroccan Informant Warns US of Large Scale, Imminent Attack in New York (August 2001)
In 1999, a Moroccan named Hassan Dabou infiltrated al-Qaeda for the Moroccan intelligence agency. He was sent to Afghanistan, posing as an Islamic radical on the run from the Moroccan government. While there, he was able to grow close to bin Laden. He heard bin Laden repeatedly vent his anger at the failure of the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 (see February 26, 1993). Bin Laden was “very disappointed” that the towers did not fall. Dabou heard that bin Laden had planned “something spectacular” involving “large scale operations in New York in the summer or fall of 2001.” Moroccan intelligence passed this information to US. Around this time, US intelligence is so interested that they call Dabou to Washington to report on this information in person. Dabout makes the trip in secret, but apparently his cover is blown and he is unable to go back and gather more intelligence. Dabou is still in Washington cooperating with US intelligence agents when 9/11 occurs. After 9/11 he will remain in Washington, get a new identity, and continue to work with US intelligence.

Agence France-Presse: Putin Warns US of Suicide Pilots (August 2001)
Russian President Vladimir Putin warns the US that suicide pilots are training for attacks on US targets. The head of Russian intelligence also later states, “We had clearly warned them” on several occasions, but they “did not pay the necessary attention.”

Sunday Herald (Glasgow): Britain Warns US Again; Specifies Multiple Airplane Hijackings (Early August 2001)
Britain gives the US another warning about an al-Qaeda attack. The previous British warning on July 16, 2001, was vague as to method, but this warning specified multiple airplane hijackingsand is said to have reached President Bush.

Newsweek/ Ny Times: White House: Bush Briefing Titled ‘Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US’ (August 6, 2001)
President Bush receives a classified intelligence briefing at his Crawford, Texas ranch indicating that bin Laden might be planning to hijack commercial airliners. The memo provided to him is titled “bin Laden Determined to Strike in US” The entire memo focuses on the possibility of terrorist attacks inside the US. New York Times, 6/15/2002] Incredibly, the New York Times later reports that Bush “[breaks] off from work early and [spends] most of the day fishing.” [New York Times, 6/25/2002] The existence of this memo is kept secret, until it is leaked in May 2002, causing a storm of controversy.

ABC News: NSA Intercepts Phone Calls from bin Laden’s Chief of Operations to the US (Early September 2001)
The NSA intercepts “multiple phone calls from Abu Zubaida, bin Laden’s chief of operations, to the United States.” The timing and information contained in these intercepted phone calls has not been disclosed.

Ottawa Citizen, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, etc,: Iranian Inmate in Germany Warns of Imminent Attack on WTC (Early September 2001)
An Iranian man known as Ali S. in a German jail awaiting deportation repeatedly phones US law enforcement to warn of an imminent attack on the WTC in early September. He calls it “an attack that will change the world.” After a month of badgering his prison guards, he is finally able to call the White House 14 times in the days before the attack. He then tries to send a fax to President Bush, but is denied permission hours before the 9/11 attacks. German police later confirm the calls. Prosecutors later will say Ali had no foreknowledge and his forebodings were just a strange coincidence. They will say he is mentally unstable. Similar warnings also come from a Moroccan man being held in a Brazilian jail.

Newsweek: US Generals Warned Not to Fly on Morning of 9/11 (September 10, 2001)
According to a Newsweek report on September 13, “[t]he state of alert had been high during the past two weeks, and a particularly urgent warning may have been received the night before the attacks, causing some top Pentagon brass to cancel a trip. Why that same information was not available to the 266 people who died aboard the four hijacked commercial aircraft may become a hot topic on the Hill.” Far from becoming a hot topic, the only additional media mention of this story will be in the next issue of Newsweek: “a group of top Pentagon officials suddenly canceled travel plans for the next morning, apparently because of security concerns.”


Quote of the Day:
“Had I known that the enemy was going to use airplanes to kill on that fateful morning, I would have done everything in my power to protect the American people.”
--George W. Bush.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

GOP Prisonwatch: Vote Subversion Conspiracy "Theory" Now Indisputable

Well, the right wing asshole set can no longer lie and pretend the vote hasn't been rigged. We now have proof of one major instance, although, lord knows there's an overwhelming preponderence of evidence elsewhere:

Former Bush campaign official sentenced to prison By Jason Szep

CONCORD, New Hampshire (Reuters) - A senior official in U.S.President George W. Bush's re-election campaign was sentenced to 10 months in prison on Wednesday for his role in suppressing votes in a key U.S. Senate race, a scandal that Democrats charge may involve the White House.

James Tobin, 45, one of three Republican campaign operatives convicted in a phone-jamming scheme designed to keep New Hampshire Democrats from voting in a 2002 election, was convicted in December of two telephone harassment charges.

Prosecutors had asked for a two-year sentence.

U.S. District Judge Steven McAuliffe described the crime as "extremely serious" and a threat to the U.S. political tradition of free and fair elections.

"People in your position need to know they cannot do these things and if they do the consequences are very, very serious," he said in handing down a sentence harsher than the six months home detention and community service sought by Tobin's lawyer.

Democrats want an investigation into 22 telephone calls made by Tobin and New Hampshire Republican Party officials to the White House on November 5 and 6, 2002, and say they believe national Republican officials may be involved in the scheme.

"I don't consider this sentencing to be the end of the matter. I consider this to be one more step in the process of uncovering exactly who knew about this," said Kathleen Sullivan, the New Hampshire Democratic Party chair.

"There are still unanswered questions," she said.

The national Republican Party, which has paid more than $2.5 million in legal fees to defend Tobin, has said the calls to the White House were routine during a tight state Senate race and had nothing to do with the phone-jamming.

800 HANG-UP CALLS

Get-out-the-vote hot lines set up by state Democrats and a firefighter's association to urge residents to vote were jammed by more than 800 hang-up calls. State Republican officials say they tried to stop it once they learned of the scheme.

Republican John Sununu beat then-Gov. Jeanne Shaheen in the election and state Republicans swept a number of close polls.

"This is going to continue to be an issue for a while," said Dean Spiliotes, director of research at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics.

He said it remained unclear why the national Republican Party spent millions of dollars defending Tobin.

"At first it seemed like he was a free agent working on his own with maybe one or two people. But then pretty quickly we saw that the Republican National Committee was spending millions to help with his legal defense. That shot us some pretty large red flags among people in the state," he said.

"Ever since then it's kind of grown slowly but surely. It hasn't gone away and I don't think it has peaked yet either."

Republican Party officials say they financed Tobin's defense because he had occupied a senior position in the national Republican Party when he was charged and because he had maintained his innocence.

Tobin, the former New England regional director of the Republican National Committee, stepped down as New England chairman of Bush's 2004 re-election campaign when he became subject of a federal criminal investigation.

The former executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party, Chuck McGee, was also convicted after testifying that he had come up with the idea for the scheme.

Allen Raymond, former president of a Republican consulting firm in Virginia, was jailed after admitting to arranging for telemarketing company to make the calls.

"We need to find out how high this goes in the Republican Party," said Paul Twomey, an attorney for the Democratic Party who is leading a separate civil lawsuit that alleges Republican voter fraud and seeks monetary damages.

Tobin was denied bail and also fined $10,000 and given two years of probation. He plans to appeal, his lawyers said.
Quote of the Day:

"It's all over but the counting. And we'll take care of the counting."

-- Rep. Pete King, on the eve of the 2004 election (video clip here)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

New Kid on the Blog....

Some quality wordslinging coming from others in the blogosphere (note the links along the right margin). Of particular note, we have Star A. Decise's "Enigmatic Paradox", which has an interesting take on the latest Red House Peeping Tom debacle.

Do stop by for a visit.

You've Been Had... Part 2,335

As Bush is shuffled before the cameras for the ever-alarmingly convincing repeat performance of the obtuse rube, John Stewart skewers the Red House over its latest Peeping Tom gig.

Meanwhile, the AP serves up a freshly sun-baked cowpie describing Chavez's >cough< "power grab".

And there's more on the right's constant, incremental fight to marginalize American women into the legal status of permanent walking birth canals.

Oh, and, no matter what they may say publicly, fingers are still poised above buttons, awaiting only the official cheep of his simian majesty to roll out a little rapture.

God help us all.

Quote of the Day:

"O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended through wastes of their desolated land in rags & hunger & thirst, sport of the sun-flames of summer & the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave & denied it -- for our sakes, who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask of one who is the Spirit of love & who is the ever-faithful refuge & friend of all that are sore beset, & seek His aid with humble & contrite hearts. Grant our prayer, O Lord & Thine shall be the praise & honor & glory now & ever, Amen."

--Mark Twain, The War Prayer

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Telcos Tricking You Into Backing Their Internet Takeover



If you see this cute little cartoony Flash ad on one of several prominent progressive websites, you might never guess who's sponsoring it -- and what their agenda might be.

But have a look at some of the "concerned citizens" paying to collect your signature as proof that the public supports their campaign -- to implement a "pay to play" system:



How positively... Rovian of them.

MyLeftWing was the first to spot it and have a look at how they've handled it (scroll down the left side)
http://www.myleftwing.com/frontPage.do

Thus far, I've spotted it on Democrats.com, MyDD, Brad Blog, Raw Story, Jesus' General, Political Wire, Boorman Tribune, Eschaton, Rude Pundit and FireDogLake. I've contacted them, urging them to dump the ad; you might want to add some encouragement as well:

TheBradBlog@cville.com; jcchristian@charter.net; admin@boomantribune.com; janehamsher@firedoglake.com; reddhedd@firedoglake.com; Pachacutec01@gmail.com; editor@rawstory.com; rudepundit@yahoo.com; tips@politicalwire.com

The Blogads site is here: they could also stand to hear from you on this.

More on the story here.

I'm no lawyer, but perhaps there's potential for a lawsuit here?

Update:
From Buzzflash, here's a video and an e-letter you can send to Congress. Two minutes of your time.

Quote of the Day:

Harmlessly passing your time in the grassland away
Only dimly aware of a certain unease in the air
You better watch out
There may be dogs about
I've looked over Jordan and I have seen
Things are not what they seem.

What do you get for pretending the danger's not real
Meek and obedient you follow the leader
Down well trodden corridors into the valley of steel
What a surprise!
A look of terminal shock in your eyes
Now things are really what they seem
No, this is no bad dream.

--Roger Waters, "Sheep"

Monday, May 15, 2006

Natalie Maines on 60 Minutes



With a name like the "Dixie Chicks", you've gotta figure they're pretty harmless, right?

And, whether you like country or not, if you listen, these women have some amazing pipes.

So why have they become enemy number one (well, maybe number two after Michael Moore) for the trailer trash set?

For being anti-death, uppity women.

Pearl Jam, Neil Young, Pink, the Indigo Girls, Madonna, the Stones, John Cougar, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Stipe, Green Day, Jackson Browne....

To name a few. But these ladies had it a bit rougher than the rest:

Three years ago, the Dixie Chicks were the most popular female group in history. They had the No. 1 country single and were about to embark on a sold out worldwide tour, when lead singer Natalie Maines made an off-the-cuff remark in London. On the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, she said she was ashamed that President Bush was from her home state of Texas. Not since Jane Fonda's trip to Hanoi had an entertainer enraged so many people with a political statement.

The uproar in the conservative country music clan drove their songs off the charts, their music off the radio and the Dixie Chicks into self-imposed exile. You haven't heard much about them, but that is about to change. Later this month they will release their first album in nearly three years - and as one of the songs says, they're not ready to make nice. As correspondent Steve Kroft found out, Natalie Maines and the Dixie Chicks have plenty to say about country music, the London incident, and, yes, even President Bush....

Their new CD, called "Taking the Long Way" chronicles all the things that have happened to them, but if you were expecting something just soft and maternal, guess again. One song in particular, a single released six weeks ago, sums up their current state of mind. It's called "Not Ready to Make Nice."

The song is powerful and unrepentant. The anger isn't directed at the war or the president - or at their many fans who deserted them. It's about the hatred, and narrow-minded intolerance they encountered for expressing an opinion....

Billboard Magazine called the single "beautifully layered, melodically crafty and refreshingly impetuous." But you won't hear it being played on a lot of country radio stations, because people call up and say they don't want to hear it.

The song fizzled on the charts - yet it's one of most downloaded country songs on the Internet.

"Well, how do you explain the fact that it's No. 37 on the charts and No. 1 in downloads? on iTunes," Kroft asked Maines.

"I think... that when you're in the corporate world, and when that's your livelihood, and when 100 people e-mail you that they'll never listen to your station again, you get scared of losing your job. And why did they need to stand up for us? They're not our friend. They're not our family. And they cave," she explained.

It's no surprise that the backlash is still there, given the demographics of country music - generally speaking, country's core audience resides in states where support for President Bush and the war is the strongest. So why risk insulting an audience that gave you fame and fortune in the first place?

"I think I know where your question's leading and it just goes back to the answer that we don't make decisions based on that. We don't go, 'OK, our fans are in the red states.' So I'm gonna play a red, white and blue guitar and put on my I Love Bush T-shirt and... we're not like that because we're not politicians. We're musicians," says Maines....


"There was one specific death threat on Natalie. [It] had a time, had a place, had a weapon. I mean, everything," banjo player Emily Robison recalls. "This was at our show in Dallas. 'You will be shot dead at your show in Dallas' on whatever the date was," she says.

"It was definitely scary 'cause it seemed so, it wasn't just somebody wantin' to write a hate letter. It was somebody who obviously thought they had a plan," says Maines....

Maines says the police, the FBI and the Texas Rangers knew about the threat. "We flew in on a jet. We got ready in San Antonio and then flew in on a jet and we went straight from the police cars to the stage - and straight from the stage back to the police cars and back to the plane. So, you know, it was all surreal. But at that stage, everything was surreal," she remembers.

Seems like their courage is worth buying a CD in support, I'd warrant.

Quotes of the Day:

"The question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam worth? And the answer is not very damned many."

--DICK Cheney, Secretary of Defense, 1992


"They hate us for our freedoms"

--George W. Bush

UPDATE: William Rivers Pitt Confirms Rove Indictment....


I just got off the phone with Jason Leopold who clarified something for me that is pretty damned important. In his article, he said:

"During the course of that meeting, Fitzgerald served attorneys for former Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove with an indictment charging the embattled White House official with perjury and lying to investigators related to his role in the CIA leak case, and instructed one of the attorneys to tell Rove that he has 24 hours to get his affairs in order, high level sources with direct knowledge of the meeting said Saturday morning."

In point of fact, those 24 hours are "business hours," i.e. starting on Monday.

"Jeez, Jason," I said, "we might want to put that into the essay. Half the planet thought 24 hours was 24 hours. They thought the deal would go down today."

To be fair, a dozen eyes looked at that article yesterday before we published it, mine included, and none of us caught that. The word "business" has been inserted into the story after "hours" where it belongs:

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/051306W.shtml

So. Monday at the very earliest, but more like Tuesday or Wednesday.

I'm going to go take a nap and then go get drunk with some friends tonight. Dan's brother Ken, the airline pilot and all-around wild-man, is in town for the weekend. Gonna be the Linwood Cafe, and their Mojo from the nitrogen tap, and then around again to our usual gathering spot.

I'd repeat everything I've said about Jason's multiple independent sources, about how the MSMs failure to pick this up sounds more like more of the same old shit than anything ominous, about how no hard paper or announcements or anything will come until, at a minimum, the government re-opens for business on Monday...but I've written it all already.

The truth will out. It always does.

Later, gators.


William Rivers Pitt is a superb writer and former editorial director of Truthout.org. He is now editorial manager of the Progressive Democrats of America and is an internationally best-selling author of War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know and The Greatest Sedition Is Silence.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

GOP Prisonwatch: BAM! Rove Indicted!

It's Sunday and we're happy to report that pasty-faced fat white boy will likely soon be on the menu at Morgantown Federal Correctional Institution.

Karl Rove Indicted on Charges of Perjury, Lying to Investigators
By Jason Leopold, truthout.org

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald spent more than half a day Friday at the offices of Patton Boggs, the law firm representing Karl Rove.

During the course of that meeting, Fitzgerald served attorneys for former Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove with an indictment charging the embattled White House official with perjury and lying to investigators related to his role in the CIA leak case, and instructed one of the attorneys to tell Rove that he has 24 hours to get his affairs in order, high level sources with direct knowledge of the meeting said Saturday morning.

Robert Luskin, Rove's attorney, did not return a call for comment. Sources said Fitzgerald was in Washington, DC, Friday and met with Luskin for about 15 hours to go over the charges against Rove, which include perjury and lying to investigators about how and when Rove discovered that Valerie Plame Wilson was a covert CIA operative and whether he shared that information with reporters, sources with direct knowledge of the meeting said.

It was still unknown Saturday whether Fitzgerald charged Rove with a more serious obstruction of justice charge. Sources close to the case said Friday that it appeared very likely that an obstruction charge against Rove would be included with charges of perjury and lying to investigators.

An announcement by Fitzgerald is expected to come this week, sources close to the case said. However, the day and time is unknown. Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the special prosecutor was unavailable for comment. In the past, Samborn said he could not comment on the case.

The grand jury hearing evidence in the Plame Wilson case met Friday on other matters while Fitzgerald spent the entire day at Luskin's office. The meeting was a closely guarded secret and seems to have taken place without the knowledge of the media.

As TruthOut reported Friday evening, Rove told President Bush and Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, as well as a few other high level administration officials, that he will be indicted in the CIA leak case and will
immediately resign his White House job when the special counsel publicly announces the charges against him, according to sources.

Details of Rove's discussions with the president and Bolten have spread through the corridors of the White House, where low-level staffers and senior officials were trying to determine how the indictment would impact an administration that has been mired in a number of high-profile political scandals for nearly a year, said a half-dozen White House aides and two senior officials who work at the Republican National Committee....


Read the rest of the good news at Truthout.

Quote of the Moment:

"There'll be laughing, singing and music swinging
And dancing in the street
It doesn't matter what you wear
Just as long as you are there
C'mon every guy, grab a girl
Everywhere around the world
And there'll be dancing
Dancing in the street"
--Ivy Jo Hunter, William Stevenson, Marvin Gaye

Brokebank Mountebanks



Feel like the pokes you're payin' ain't mindin' the farm?

Well, the townsfolk agree.

So there may be madness to the method, but one way or another, it's time to saddle up the posse and run the hornswogglers out.

Quote of the Day:

"If you're ridin' ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it's still there with ya."

-- Traditional Cowboy Proverb

Saturday, May 13, 2006

What Do YOU Think?

Okay... here goes. Credibility on the line.

While I post the occasional story deriding the crazies amongst our homegrown Taliban, I can't help but feel the occasional small twinge of guilt and thus want to clear my conscience in this regard.

I don't claim to be religious -- I've led one of the most hedonistic (and fun!) lives of anyone I've ever met -- and in fact evaluate everything in a logical manner. However, I can't discount everything the religious folks say either.

Yes, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a brilliant way to point out the ridiculous CERTAINTY, rigidity and self-righteousness of the gasbag set, but on the other hand....

Okay, you're probably going to think it's stupid, but, being a huge fan of horror movies I saw the Exorcism of Emily Rose for the first time and, say what you will about some of the... inconsistencies in the script, it spooked me satisfactorily and got me thinking.

As a kid, I was sent by guardians to a rather strict church, and steeped in various rituals and things that scared the bejeebus out of me from the age of about seven to 11, when I grew to look at such matters with rather large doses of skepticism.

So logically, I tried at a very young age to work it out, and came to the general assessment that:

a) it's a 50-50 shot; either you croak and that's all she wrote thankyaverymuch, or

b) consciousness continues in some form or another.

And so I thought about it and came to the conclusion that if -- as Fritjof Capra (The Tao of Physics) and countless others throughout history have LOGICALLY argued -- there is a counterpart to the physical universe, it would likely follow some sort of order.

Enter The First Law of Thermodynamics, the Law of Conservation of Energy, which asserts neither energy nor matter are created or destroyed, but merely change form. Thus, if there is a logical counterpart to the physical world, it quite likely could conform to similar principles. Thus, energy -- SPIRITUAL ENERGY, for lack of a better word -- would be "recycled" in much the same manner as it is in the world we know.

Here's an illustrative model: Somewhere in the murky depths of prehistory, a protoworm burrows through soil. The soil's constituents are digested, some of which are absorbed by our protoworm. He, in turn, is unlucky enough to be snatched up and eaten by a protofish, and both Adam the Worm and the minerals and nutrients he has absorbed from the soil are in turn transformed and partially absorbed by Adam the Fish. Poor Adam Fish is stranded in the shallows, to be eaten in turn by Adam the Lizard, who eventually dies and returns to the soil; HIS body in turn, as it decomposes, feeds microorganisms and the parts converted into soil provide nutrients for a plant, whose seeds are eaten by a protobird, and so on and so on in an infinite cycle. And it extends even father: as astronomer Carl Sagan noted in Cosmos, some of our molecular makeup is the very fabric of stars that were born and died a billion years ago and are now in a galaxy so distant its light is only now reaching us. Ray Bradbury illustrates this interconnectedness -- the "Butterfly effect" -- in the spectacular short story "A Sound of Thunder".

At any rate, digressions aside, if what Capra and many other respected physicists assert is true, that there is at least one (or more) forms of energy that conform to human notions of "spiritual energy", it seems logical that this energy would conform to the same principles that govern the forms of matter and energy we currently understand.

And so, while an "afterlife" and/or "reincarnation" per se wouldn't seem the logical result of such a model, what WOULD seem to be is one that coincides with the teachings of the Brahmans, that there is a universe-permeating energy infusing everything; living creatures are a cohesive product of TANGIBLE matter and energy, as well as this universal energy. And, following the principles of entropy, when we die, as our constituent matter disperses into the world around us, so our constituent UNIVERSAL ENERGY disperses.

This doesn't speak well for the likelihood of an afterlife of any sort, but it doesn't discount it completely either. Rather than entire, coherent consciousnesses ("souls" if you will) returning to the living world, just as in the natural universe, parts would likely be recycled from some great "well" of spiritual energy.

The overriding question at the end of it all is of course -- IS there an INTELLIGENCE beyond ours -- an entity comprised of perhaps even the complete network of all the "universe energy" itself?

I personally believe there is. H.L. Mencken would have argued this is only the human ego, vanity, the desire and need to believe one's precious consciousness continues, and all that we see is all that there is.

He could be right.

He could be wrong.

Now, all that said, I'll bet almost every one of you has experienced something very, very... odd at least once, maybe several times in your life. Not things that can be explained as mere coincidences, like dreaming about a friend you haven't seen in ten years and having them call the next day. No, I'm talking about events on the order of "Oh my God, what the fuck did I just see?" Things that asolutely defy a rational explanation. Things you would not tell your coworkers during an office get-together for fear of being written off as either a nut or a liar.

But things that nonetheless you know beyond a shadow of a doubt happened, maybe even in the company of witnesses.

Although I won't relay specific details to complete strangers, I can personally recount five... unnatural... experiences that are completely inexplicable in terms of logic. Three took place in the company of one or more witnesses; two happened when I was alone. And there is no question that the events occurred and were absolutely real.

This from a pragmatist and rationalist. Go figure.

As for Emily Rose? Read the real story.

peace.
-Eric

Quote of the Day:

I cannot say upon which luminous evening
I shall go out beyond the stars,
To windless spaces and unmarked time,
Turning nights to days and days to nights.

This is the place where I live.
I planted this tree.
I watched it grow.
The leaves fall and I scuff them with my feet.
This is the street on which I walk.
I have walked it many times.
Sometimes it seems there are echoes of my
walking--

In the mornings, in the nights,
In those long evenings of silence and stars

--the unmarked stars.

--Sam Ragan, NC Poet Laureate, "The Marked and Unmarked" from TO THE WATER'S EDGE

Friday, May 12, 2006

GOP Prisonwatch

It's Friday, and to quote Dick Clark, "the hits just keep coming". This time we're looking at the smoking hole where the Kentucky governor's office used to stand:




Kentucky Apocalypse

In a massive, unprecedented collapse, over a dozen executive members of Kentucky's state government have been indicted on charges ranging from conspiracy to perjury, in a pit of criminal quicksand that has finally pulled down even the governor.

Events culminated in today's grand jury indictment of Governor Ernie Fletcher on three counts of conspiracy, official misconduct and political discrimination. While all three charges are classified as misdemeanors, the maximum punishment for official misconduct is up to 12 months in jail and a $500 fine.

The other two charges carry a maximum punishment of six months in jail, forfeiture of state office, and a ban on holding any state job for five years.

Although the governor's office has been maneuvering to portray the yearlong investigation as a partisan witch hunt, because the indictments were handed down by a grand jury, such tactics are unlikely to garner much voter sympathy.

The jury found sufficient grounds to charge that Fletcher

"...ordered, directed and otherwise approved the development and implementation" of what became known as the governor's personnel initiative. In the second indictment for official misconduct, Fletcher is accused along with other "co-conspirators" of ordering or approving "the appointment, promotion, demotion, transfer or dismissal" of rank-and-file state workers who are supposed to be judged on their qualifications, not political affiliations. The third count charges Fletcher with violating the prohibition against political discrimination because he "willfully ordered, directed or approved" the firing of Michael Duncan, an investigator in the Transportation Cabinet's Office of Inspector General.
In addition to the governor, 13 Republican administration officials have been indicted with 48 misdemeanor and 22 felony charges, including conspiracy, perjury, attempting to influence witnesses, and shredding and altering evidence. Among the list are the Republican state chairman and treasurer, and 14 additional sealed indictments are pending.

The names of the other indictees is a virtual roll call of the Republican state cabinet: Republican State Chairman Darrell Brock, Republican State Treasurer Dave Disponett, Republican party official J. Marshall Hughes, chief of staff Daniel Groves, deputy chief of staff Dick Murgatroyd, state personnel adviser Basil Turbyfill, outreach office member Vine Fields, transportation executive director Cory Meadows, transportation secretary Bill Nighbert, transportation cabinet commissioner Dan Druen, and transportation cabinet official Sam Beverage.

The charges are the fruition of a yearlong investigation by state attorney general Greg Stumbo, acting on a complaint filed by former assistant transportation personnel director Douglas W. Doerting. Deorting produced emails and other unspecified evidence that the governor and 12 of his associates had conspired to hire, fire, promote and demote state employees based upon personal friendships and Republican party loyalty in violation of merit-based state employment laws. Stumbo's office described the Governor's Personnel Initiative program as a "corrupt political machine" designed to fill state jobs with Republican associates.

Governor Fletcher derided the investigation, likening the charges to "noodling," a slang term for hand-fishing, and added, "Some of the indictments are the equivalent of conspiring to commit noodling out of season. And the one person charged with felony indictments is accused of the legal equivalent of covering up noodling out of season."

However, attorney general Stumbo has said the evidence of wrongdoing is "overwhelming." He further added the FBI is involved and additional federal charges may also be pending.

Former Transportation Cabinet deputy inspector general Mike Duncan, who claims to have been fired for supporting Fletcher's opponent in the 2003 governor race, added, "People have lost their jobs and been demoted. To make light of that is horrible. These charges are serious."

The grand jury is due to expire next week, but the attorney general plans to request an extension, claiming the governor's office has refused to provide subpoenaed evidence, including the governor's personal BlackBerry digital assistant.

Governor Fletcher admitted using the device for text messaging after his office stopped using email services. Fletcher's attorney has refused to turn over the BlackBerry, contending it's Republican Party property.

According to the attorney general's office, this is just one example of an ongoing campaign to impede the investigation: "This administration is failing to turn over evidence at every turn."

Last year, for example, the state Executive Branch Ethics Commission tried to evade a subpoena seeking evidence of hampering the grand jury investigation. The ethics commission unsuccessfully claimed providing its internal documents would jeopardize state confidentially; its motion was denied.

Then in July, Governor Fletcher sent a memo asking the attorney general to dissolve the grand jury, not to issue a report of the evidence it had reviewed, and to ensure no future grand jury would resume the investigation. Stumbo's office dismissed the requests as "hogwash".

The night before his scheduled court appearance, Fletcher issued blanket criminal pardons for all those indicted in the investigation, as well as any that might be charged in the future.

"His administration cannot afford to allow the evidence to come out in court," Stumbo said. "In pardoning these criminal defendants, the governor has slammed the door on the public's right to know what wrongs his administration has committed. He has ensured that the people of Kentucky will never know the truth."
The day after issuing mass pardons for his codefendants, Fletcher invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refused to testify in court.

A month later, he fired nine employees, including four of the nine he had just pardoned. He even called for the head of Republican Party chair Darrell Brock, Jr. for his role in the conspiracy, but the state Republican Party voted to keep Brock as party leader.

In October, Fletcher asked presiding Judge William Graham to order a halt to indictments for offenses prior to his August 29 blanket pardon, and to bar the grand jury from writing a final report on any findings. The judge denied Fletcher's motion.

The governor went on to appeal in the Kentucky Supreme Court, and when two Supreme Court judges recused themselves from the case, Fletcher appointed temporary replacements. An ethics complaint was filed, requesting the Judicial Conduct Commission to recuse the replacement judges because of their political contributions and ties to Fletcher and his staff.

Unsurprisingly, Governor Fletcher's office has been concurrently plagued by mass resignations: in June, Personnel Cabinet secretary Erwin Roberts was the sixth administration official to resign since Fletcher was sworn in as governor in 2003. Others included Commerce Secretary Jim Host, Health Secretary James Holsinger, former chief of staff, Daniel Groves, Mine Safety and Licensing chief Paris Charles, and former executive assistant Ralph Hacker. In addition, five communications directors have come and gone during Fletcher's tenure.

References:
AP
NY Times
Kentucky.com
courierpress.com
frontier.cincinnati.com
courier-journal.com
courier-journal.com
courier-journal.com
courier-journal.com
kentucky.com
kentucky.com
wikipedia

Correction: Please note that earlier we had erroneously listed the potential punishment for misdemeanor conspiracy as five years; in fact, as the Courier Journal points out, the maximum penalty is imprisonment for up to a year; the other two counts carry a maximum sentence of six months each respectively.