Thursday, June 30, 2005

New Iranian President a terrorist?

Bush helped elect this guy by shooting his mouth off. Now people are asking who he is. Some former hostages held by Iran after the overthrow of the Shaw are now saying that he is one of the men that held them hostage. Iran says, predictibly, he is not.

I certainly don't know if he is, but I'm sure that this will be used in the drumbeat for the invasion of Iran.

If it turns out that he is, here are a few questions that need to be asked.

Was he one of the criminals that Reagan allies talked to to keep the hostages until after Reagan won the election?

Was he involved in the Iran Contra dealings?

Did he ever hang out with (traiter) Ollie North?

If the answers to any of these are yes, we need to ask why former Reagan/Bush collaberators (Noriega, Saddam, Osama) keep showing up, in the worst of ways.

From Bush, I'm sure the comment will be, "Quack." Some call them chickenhawks. Bush is special, however.

Bush walks like a duck (lame), quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, but flexes the US's military muscle like a hawk.

Thus, I would call him a Warducken. (after turducken)

by Robster @ 6/30/2005 10:32:00 AM PERMALink
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Ted Rall is brilliant

Frickin Brilliant. America was founded as a Zoroastrian Culture! High-sterical.

by Robster @ 6/30/2005 08:43:00 AM PERMALink
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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

This one is for Kate.

On the Red Couch, where I talk politics with my friends and coworkers, Kate said that maybe the Siegfried and Roy tiger that attacked Roy did it because it was a tiger, which happens to be a predator.

Pam's House Blend
has a very similar analysis, complete with her trademark stupid freeper quotes.

by Robster @ 6/29/2005 08:15:00 PM PERMALink
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Eric Alterman takes down Rove

The Nation has a great article by Alterman on how and why Rove was wrong to claim that Liberals wanted to respond weakly to 9/11. He also neatly destroys RNC's weasel that it was directed at just MoveOn.org.

by Robster @ 6/29/2005 08:09:00 PM PERMALink
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One repub that didn't get the memo.

Some time ago, the republicans must have circulated a memo.

"Don't say that 9/11 and Saddam are linked. They aren't and we never had any proof of it."

Well, one schmuck didn't get the memo. Via Blah3, CNN reports this,

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A Republican congressman from North Carolina told CNN on Wednesday that the "evidence is clear" that Iraq was involved in the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001.

"Saddam Hussein and people like him were very much involved in 9/11," Rep. Robin Hayes said.

Told no investigation had ever found evidence to link Saddam and 9/11, Hayes responded, "I'm sorry, but you must have looked in the wrong places."

Hayes, the vice chairman of the House subcommittee on terrorism, said legislators have access to evidence others do not.

Does anyone actually think that this "evidence" wouldn't already be on everyTV and newspaper in the country, with a repub jumping up and down shouting "told ya so!" in a childlike manner?

Hayes is full of shit. I bet he gets a promotion to chairman.

If you really want some fun, you can watch Representative "Asshat" Hayes over at Crooks and Liars.

What an oxygen thief. From the same CNN article, Sen. McCain had this to say,

"I haven't seen compelling evidence of that," McCain, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told CNN.

But what would McCain know? He doesn't get to hang out with the cool kids.

by Robster @ 6/29/2005 07:52:00 PM PERMALink
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Onion humor

A couple good laughs for you from The Onion,

First, New dad thinks baby might be gay.

Then check out what area men and women think of John Bolton.

Finally, somewhere to send the kids for the summer.

by Robster @ 6/29/2005 02:30:00 PM PERMALink
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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Bush speech

Even the applause was faked...

Believe nothing this lame duck says.

Me? I ate Chinese instead of listenning to President Bunnypants. They don't make enough xanax for me to watch him speak, unless it is at the Hague.
--Update--
Think Progress has some excellent posts on the Bush speech. Too many to name, so go and read the whole site, and don't come back until you are done.

by Robster @ 6/28/2005 07:51:00 PM PERMALink
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Monday, June 27, 2005

Will Bush announce war on Iran?

From News Hounds, Fox is pushing propoganda for invading Iran.

Timmerman said that a "showdown is "absolutely" more likely after the election of Admadinejad, and that Admadinejad's "first statement was that he was going to go toward a nuclear showdown." Loftus said he "has almost no popular support but that "in the long run it would be safer" to have "an uprising." He said the "Japanese are telling us now that Iran is sending advanced cruise missiles to North Korea that can be used to attack Japan," and that "the more time you give Admadinejad the more danger to the US and our allies."

Advocating for an invasion himself, Cavuto said, "I just don't know gentlemen what you do here short of a military invasion or quarantine or any of that stuff."

Timmerman said the Pentagon is spending $3 million on "pilot programs," but "we should be spending 100 times that amount."
...

Loftus, in what sounded like pre-Iraq rhetoric, implied that any action we took would be easy, and over in six months: We have a six month oil supply, "so we can outlast an Iranian regime." If we "shut the oil off, the regime might collapse in an unemployment riot."

Timmerman said "there are going to be massive protests" and we need to be "ready to assist the pro-democracy" forces.

Cavuto pointed out that Ahmadinejad "got a lot of votes," but, Timmerman interjected (for a second I thought he was talking about our recent presidential elections): "You better watch who is counting those votes. We don't know how those ballot boxes were stuffed." He said some people were forced to vote, and that he "would not count on major support for this man."

Cavuto wondered whether the US could stand "higher oil prices if it means pushing this guy out of office." Timmerman said yes, but not definitely and Loftus again implied it would be a cakewalk: we can last six months but "we've gotta drop a lotta money on the revolution."

Deja vu?

So why would the US invade Iran and Iraq?

I posted this on the News Hounds commentary boards (I got the idea from a Randi Rhodes listener).

The oil market couldn't possibly be freaking out that the Bush Crime family is about to invade another oil rich nation. Could it?

Iraq's oil weath converted to US dollars
==========
115 billion barrels of proven oil reserves
45 to 214 billion barrels aditional estimate
$60 a barrel

9.6 to 19.74 Trillion dollars worth of oil
==========
110 trillion cubic feet of natural gas
150 trillion cubic feet aditional estimate
$7.36/mmbtu
1000 cubic feet = 1.026 MMBtu

1.963 Trillion dollars worth of natural gas
++++++++++
Iran's Oil wealth in US dollars
==========
132 billion barrels of proven oil reserves

7.92 Trillion Dollars in proven reserves alone
==========
940 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in proven natural gas reserves

7.098 Trillion Dollars of proven Natural Gas reserves

If you were an oil businessman with an army, how much would it take someone to bribe you to invade another country? Would it take more than this.

They say everyone has a price...

by Robster @ 6/27/2005 10:14:00 PM PERMALink
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Ky courthouses must drop 10 commandment displays

From Raw Story, a 5 to 4 Supreme Court decision against 2 Kentucky courthouse displays of the decalogue. From Yahoo,
Court Splits on Ten Commandments Displays By HOPE YEN, Associated Press Writer


A sharply divided Supreme Court on Monday upheld the constitutionality of displaying the Ten Commandments on government land, but drew the line on displays inside courthouses, saying they violated the doctrine of separation of church and state.

Sending dual signals in closely-watched cases, the high court said displays of the Ten Commandments — like their own courtroom frieze — are not inherently unconstitutional. But each exhibit demands scrutiny to determine whether it goes too far in amounting to a governmental promotin of religion, the court said in a case involving Kentucky courthouse exhibits.

In that 5-4 ruling and another ruling, involving the positioning of a 6-foot granite monument of the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Texas capitol, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was the swing vote. The second ruling, likewise, was 5-4. In a stinging dissent to the ruling involving Kentucky's courthouse exhibits, Justice Antonin Scalia declared: "What distinguishes the rule of law from the dictatorship of a shifting Supreme Court majority is the absolutely indispensable requirement that judicial opinions be grounded in consistently applied principle."

The justices voting on the prevailing side in the Kentucky case left themselves legal wiggle room, saying that some displays inside courthouses — like their own courtroom frieze — would be permissible if they're portrayed neutrally in order to honor the nation's legal history.

But framed copies in two Kentucky courthouses went too far in endorsing religion, the court held. Those courthouse displays are unconstitutional, the justices said, because their religious content is overemphasized.

In contrast, a 6-foot-granite monument on the grounds of the Texas Capitol — one of 17 historical displays on the 22-acre lot — was determined to be a legitimate tribute to the nation's legal and religious history.

"Of course, the Ten Commandments are religious — they were so viewed at their inception and so remain. The monument therefore has religious significance," Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote for the majority in the case involving the display outside the state capitol of Texas.

"Simply having religious content or promoting a message consistent with a religious doctrine does not run afoul of the Establishment clause," he said.

This is a very good ruling. It delineates between a historical display (such as the Supreme Court's, where the number 10 is used in some instances, or Moses is displayed beside other lawgivers. Also, the only commandments where text is given for the decalogue are those without religious connotation, thou shalt not kill...) and those where supporting a single religion is the goal of the display. This follows previous rulings, and does not make new law, which would have been the outcome of upholding the lower court's ruling.

Antonin Scalia's "dictatorship" comment will be eaten up by those who despise a judiciary that does not rule in its favor EVERY SINGLE TIME!

This ruling will be especially painful to the rapture right, which believes that God believes as they do, and any ruling against them is sinful in the extreme.

Hopefully, Scalia's venom will convince chief Justice Rehnquist to stay on another year or two, so that Bush cannot name another justice. Rehnquist probably does not want Bush to replace him, or he would have retired a few years ago.

by Robster @ 6/27/2005 10:23:00 AM PERMALink
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Sunday, June 26, 2005

Iraq campaign could last 12 years, says Rummy

Props to anisha, NewsHound reader.

Rumsfeld discusses how the last throes of the insurgency in Iraq will last as long as another decade. with video
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Sunday he anticipates even more violence in Iraq and acknowledged that the insurgency “could go on for any number of years.”

Defeating the insurgency may take as long as 12 years, he said, with Iraqi security forces, not U.S. and foreign troops, taking the lead and finishing the job.

I hope this means we will actually see an increase in training Iraqis, and not just inflated numbers.
++++
Update, here is what Rummy and Cheney said about how long the Iraq war and occupation would take.

by Robster @ 6/26/2005 11:17:00 PM PERMALink
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More Bush for Life nightmare news

Via Raw Story, more on the attempt to repeal the 22nd amendment. You know, the one that limits a president to two terms? More bad news. Proponents (including a democrat) are pushing FDR as a reason to remove the term limit. Tying a bad idea to an exceptional circumstance and an honorable man won't help this get past committee.

There is one glimmer of hope, but I'm sure that a republican Supreme Court will make this little issue go away, and Bush will be King of America.

The 22nd Amendment repeal, if it passes and is approved by the states, would not go into effect until after the Bush presidency, making him ineligible for multiple consecutive terms.

Berman, a lifelong Democrat, made a point of noting that fact when discussing his support for the amendment's repeal. But he also said even the possibility of another third Bush term would not have caused him to back off the resolution.

As if the constitution has gotten in the way of Bush yet. But that's not all!
Meanwhile, bills by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Long Beach, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and others that would allow Schwarzenegger to one day ascend to the presidency by amending the Constitution to allow non-natural-born U.S. citizens to become president have not seen much political traction this year.
Ahnold for presiduhnt. Repubs are going for the celebrity CEO approach, something that the business world is thankfully leaving behind. And the way Ahnold is doing right now in Cali, he won't even need a bucket to carry his electoral votes.

by Robster @ 6/26/2005 09:56:00 PM PERMALink
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Friday, June 24, 2005

US admits that we torture!

From the catblogging thread at Eschaton, Jake brought this to the attention of Atriots everywhere.

Forbes has this story.
GENEVA (AFX) - Washington has, for the first time, acknowledged to the United Nations that prisoners have been tortured at US detention centres in Guantanamo Bay, as well as Afghanistan and Iraq, a UN source said.

The acknowledgement was made in a report submitted to the UN Committee against Torture, said a member of the ten-person panel, speaking on on condition of anonymity.

'They are no longer trying to duck this and have respected their obligation to inform the UN,' the Committee member said.

'They they will have to explain themselves (to the Committee). Nothing should be kept in the dark,' he said.

UN sources said this is the first time the world body has received such a frank statement on torture from US authorities.

The Committee, which monitors respect for the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, is gathering information from the US ahead of hearings in May 2006.

Signatories of the convention are expected to submit to scrutiny of their implementation of the 1984 convention and to provide information to the Committee.

The document from Washington will not be formally made public until the hearings.
I'll be expecting a personal apology from the Bush administration ASAP.

by Robster @ 6/24/2005 07:37:00 PM PERMALink
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Cleo hunting the elusive pikachu in a throw blanket.  Posted by Hello

by Robster @ 6/24/2005 09:06:00 AM PERMALink
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June preparing to do her Slinky TM impression. Posted by Hello

by Robster @ 6/24/2005 09:04:00 AM PERMALink
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Bobbie is a good girl when she is sleeping. :) Posted by Hello

by Robster @ 6/24/2005 09:03:00 AM PERMALink
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Peace Ribbon by Robster. Available at http://www.cafepress.com/peaceribbon Posted by Hello

by Robster @ 6/24/2005 09:02:00 AM PERMALink
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Thursday, June 23, 2005

3 must reads

From Raw Story
Kerry blasts Rove for 9/11 exploitation.

Tennesee to investigate ex-gay prison day camp.

Republican candidate leaves party, compares actions of party to Nazis.

by Robster @ 6/23/2005 05:06:00 PM PERMALink
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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

1000 visits!

Wonkabout has had 1000 visits!

Woohoo!

by Robster @ 6/22/2005 11:46:00 PM PERMALink
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No posts unless there is big news

I have lots of work to do and an anniversery to celebrate, so I'll be off the posting for a couple days.

In the mean time, check out my links.

Free Doolin!

by Robster @ 6/22/2005 09:08:00 AM PERMALink
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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Op Yellow Elephant

I've been slow to jump on the Operation Yellow Elephant, but this is just too funny.

by Robster @ 6/21/2005 09:42:00 AM PERMALink
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Hey Andy! Your military are pooftas!

Gotta put in a jab at my Canadian friends. :)

From Pam's House Blend,
A conservative military watchdog says there's a huge difference between the American and the Canadian militaries -- and that is why she doesn't think the U.S. is close to seeing what occurred at a base in Nova Scotia last month: the first same-sex "wedding" performed by the Canadian military. Two men exchanged vows in a small ceremony at the base chapel. Associated Press reports that Canada's military chaplains are under orders to treat a same-sex couple the same as a man and a woman who wish to marry. Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness says Canada is more concerned with social experimentation than it is with fighting wars.
Anyway, those Canadians are just as willing to pick fights as Americans... Americans, however, are always willing to throw the first punch.

by Robster @ 6/21/2005 09:36:00 AM PERMALink
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Frist claims he didn't get any requests for voice vote.

Frist is saying (via Buzzflash) that he never got a request from anybody for a voice vote on the anti-lynching resolution.

Really?

Bob Stevenson, Frist's chief spokesman, said Tuesday evening the procedure the majority leader established was "requested by the sponsors."

The chief sponsors of the resolution, Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and George Allen (R-Va.), disputed that assertion.

Landrieu said Monday before the resolution was adopted she would have preferred a roll call vote but had to accept the conditions set by Senate leaders.

What a wanker.

by Robster @ 6/21/2005 09:30:00 AM PERMALink
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Another reason Boltons should be blocked.

Think a strong arm like Bolton makes the world safer, and that the UN will be better with him representing the US?

Think again. (WaPo via Buzzflash)

For years, a key U.S. program intended to keep Russian nuclear fuel out of terrorist hands has been frozen by an arcane legal dispute. As undersecretary of state, John R. Bolton was charged with fixing the problem, but critics complained he was the roadblock.

Now with Bolton no longer in the job, U.S. negotiators report a breakthrough with the Russians and predict a resolution will be sealed by President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin at an international summit in Scotland next month, clearing the way to eliminate enough plutonium to fuel 8,000 nuclear bombs.

Bolton has made the US less safe. He helped wreck our negotiations with North Korea (Corea), helped silence critics of the US invasion of Iraq, and tried to cook up a theory that Cuba was making WMDs.

by Robster @ 6/21/2005 09:22:00 AM PERMALink
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Hey Drudge! I can use photoshop too! Captions? Posted by Hello

by Robster @ 6/21/2005 09:22:00 AM PERMALink
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Monday, June 20, 2005

Monday night madness

I got in four miles inline skating, over the rolling hills of KY, and boy do I ache. But it was worth it. I really have to write a review of my K2 V02 max skates sometime.

I have become obsessed with Newshounds. And such, you should go read everything there. NOW!

OK, so you're back. Did you see how Fox doesn't consider high gas prices to be a problem?

Or that Bush is flippity flop fliping over Geneva rights for Gitmo detainees? Now we just have to get him to quit rendering prisoners to countries where they get tortured. And quit hiding prisoners from the red cross.
------
AmericaBlog has some apologies, what with Cheney demanding an apology from Dick Durbin for reading a report from the FBI aloud.
------
Via AmericaBlog and DKos, Raw Story tells us how a Marine who was going to Iraq had to get his family to buy him body armor and a camelbak canteen. Way to support the troops BushCo.
Marine Pfc. Jeremy Tod, 19, called home with news that his superiors were urging him and fellow Marines to buy special military equipment, including flak jackets with armor plating, to enhance the prospects of their survival. The message was that such purchases were to be made by Marines with their own money.
...
Besides the essential flak jacket with steel "trauma" plates, the shopping list for the 5-foot-5 155-pound Marine included a Camelbak (water pouch) special ballistic goggles, knee and elbow pads, a "drop pouch" to hold ammunition magazines and a load-bearing vest.
-------
Think Progress sends us to the Guardian, where we see that Bush's WMD claims were bogus.
A key Foreign Office diplomat responsible for liaising with UN inspectors says today that claims the government made about Iraq's weapons programme were "totally implausible".

He tells the Guardian: "I'd read the intelligence on WMD for four and a half years, and there's no way that it could sustain the case that the government was presenting. All of my colleagues knew that, too".

-------
By way of Atrios, the Christo-Fascists are at it again.

NJDC: "Enough is Enough; The GOP's Religion-Bating Must Stop"

Washington, DC: During a debate today surrounding an amendment by Rep. David Obey (D-WI) to fully examine allegations of proselytizing and religious intolerance at the United States Air Force Academy, six-term Republican Rep. John Hostettler (IN) rose to assert that "Democrats can't help denigrating and demonizing Christians." [Rush transcript.] Rep. Obey, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, interrupted Hostettler's deeply disturbing remarks and demanded that they be formally retracted; Hostettler ultimately agreed to retract one sentence from his diatribe.

This wingnut is angry that Christians aren't allowed to harass Jews and others at the USAF acadamy. Aparently, freedom of religion only means that forced conversions are free of charge.
------
A boy in India is menstruating, perhaps because of an uncommon medical abnormality that could prove fatal.
------
Also from Raw Story, the gay tennesee teen who was sent to an ex gay day prison camp has made it through his first two weeks, and his family sent him back for another six.

Isn't there some way to make this family quit abusing their son?
------
Finally, Tom Paine (one of my favorite Revolutionary War heroes) has a great post on why Bush really went to war.

by Robster @ 6/20/2005 09:57:00 PM PERMALink
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Drudge is a ritz cracker rat bastard

Update,

I still stand by the color change to BW, and possibly the cropping, but the rest of the picture was not altered. The picture was taken at a Kerry campaign rally, and a kiss on the cheek was given to Clinton by a woman in the crowd.

Big whoop.

Does it change my opinion of Drudge? not at all.

He has faked so many pictures before, he has lost all credibility. He should just hang up has hat and retire.
--------
Via Rawstory, Crooks and Liars has the latest photoshopped Drudge attack on Clinton. What a schmuck.

This time, he put it black and white (to make it journalisticy) and zoomed in to get rid of visual clues to his photoshopping. Then he put Clinton and a woman's faces together (quite convincingly) in order to make it seem that they were in a passionate embrace.

When there is no news, make it up.

And the sad part is, the freepi will eat this up and believe it. All you have to do to get instant cred with a freepi is attack Clinton.

Nothing could be easier.

by Robster @ 6/20/2005 10:15:00 AM PERMALink
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Sunday, June 19, 2005

Really stupid news

Biden to run for president. Possible campaign slogans...
If you like what Bush has done for credit card companies, you'll love Biden!
Like Bush, but with two sylables!
Hates gays, pregnant women, and civil rights as much as you!
Because the left has corporate shills too.
====
Bush is still linking 9/11 to Iraq.
====
Condi says that we will always be at war with Iraq, and the administration never said anything differently. Now when I snap my fingers....

by Robster @ 6/19/2005 09:49:00 PM PERMALink
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Happy Fathers day!

Happy fathers day to all! and to all a good night.

by Robster @ 6/19/2005 09:33:00 PM PERMALink
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Dean sets eyes on Texas

Dean will be putting money towards winning elections in Texas. I bet he can do it too. Dean rocks! Maybe he'll send us KY dems some money and we can take this state back from the nuts we have now.

by Robster @ 6/19/2005 07:54:00 PM PERMALink
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Sunday sermon.

Did Jesus turn over the tables of the money changers because they were taking up valuable real estate, or because they were profitting by selling trinkets that showed how pious you were.

If Jesus were here today, what would he turn over?

WWJD bracelets are out of style, but little yellow magnetic ribbons with cutout crosses on them would fit the bill.

Icthus fish plaques would certainly get the shaft.

What about the little fish plaques eating a Darwin fish?

Christianity (like any religion) isn't just a bumper sticker or trinket. It's living a certain way. You don't do it by hating others. You make yourself better, and in the process, you hope to help others along the way.

But that doesn't mean I can't have some fun along the way.

by Robster @ 6/19/2005 09:10:00 AM PERMALink
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Memos, we get memos. Lots and lots of memos!

Another memo for you from the Sunday London Times (via AmericaBlog).

A SHARP increase in British and American bombing raids on Iraq in the run-up to war “to put pressure on the regime” was illegal under international law, according to leaked Foreign Office legal advice.

The advice was first provided to senior ministers in March 2002. Two months later RAF and USAF jets began “spikes of activity” designed to goad Saddam Hussein into retaliating and giving the allies a pretext for war.

The Foreign Office advice shows military action to pressurise the regime was “not consistent with” UN law, despite American claims that it was


Oops. Guess we got some more splainin to do.

Does anybody else think that its childish to goad another country into war so you have an excuse for invasion?

by Robster @ 6/19/2005 09:02:00 AM PERMALink
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Saturday, June 18, 2005

The importance of being [name redacted]

Some other bloggers I respect and why it is important that some of us can choose to be named or unnamed.
First, Echidne of the Snakes on why some choose anonymity.
Pseudonyms have been used in writing for a very long time, much before blogging was invented. Think of the Federalist Papers, think of Currer Bell and George Eliot. The reasons for writing anonymously are many and some are better than others. The Bronte sisters chose to write under male names because the literary markets of the era discriminated against women. The anonymous writers of the Federalist Papers didn't want their identities contaminate the message, perhaps. More recently, Carolyn Heilbrun chose Amanda Cross as the name to use when she wrote detective fiction, because she was an academic and the academic circles looked down on the detective novel genre.

The reasons for choosing anonymity vary, clearly, from protection of ones career or reputation to defenses against unfair markets to concerns with the purity of the message. In countries with authoritarian regimes anonymity may be the shield which stops a writer from being killed or his or her family from being hunted down.

Then Atrios on how a blogger lost his anonymity because someone couldn't deal with his lack of a name.
Apparently the owner of Knoxville's Metro Pulse alt-weekly is the thinnest skinned man in the universe, responding to mild criticism on South Knox Bubba's blog by writing this rather intimidating (and illuminating) email to him, leading SKB to out himself.

Anonymity allows people the freedom to speak without fear of reprisals in other elements of your life. On the internet, where every little comment can potentially hang around forever, it allows people to communicate views without worrying about what current/future employers or customers may think of them. People do get fired/not hired for this kind of stuff. Without anonymity many people would not be able to talk politics on the internets. It allows people to separate their personal political/religious/whatever views from their personal/professional lives otherwise. It's truly a gift.
...
The accusation here is that SKB "abused" his anonymity. Anonymity can be abused if it's being used as a cover for illegal activities or actionable speech (libel). In both cases anonymity provides little cover - one subpoena to your ISP or web hosting company and it's all over. Anonymity could also be abused by posing as an "outsider" of some sort when you're actually an insider, or if you use it to mask some sort of hidden personal agenda or financial interest. To the extent that anonymity prevents knowing if those apply it can be criticized.
...
But, this situation isn't about the right or expectations of anonymity, it's about a power imbalance between the owner of a local newspaper and some guy with a blog, and that newspaper owner using anonymity as means of intimidation. What a fucking wanker.

I couldn't agree more. What a wanker.

My blog has a handful of return readers, for which I am thankful. Some agree with me, others don't. For me, protecting my ID is important to my career. Blogging is a hobby, and I don't see myself making enough money to let Wonkabout replace my scientific pursuits. For that reason, I remain Robster. If you think my commentary is good, my real name shouldn't matter to you.

by Robster @ 6/18/2005 06:15:00 PM PERMALink
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Something I have, something I want

I just got the headblade. I usually have so much trouble shaving my head that I just get my wife to do it, and it takes a long time, too. This changes everything. Now, keeping a smooth look is gonna be very easy for me. And the shaving cream that they make, whoa. I may juat be switching brands entirely.

On to something I want.

The env motorcycle. I live about 4 miles from work. Too far to walk (and with too many pedestrian unfriendly roads). No safe bike trails, which also means no inline skating. I could get a Vespa, but just can't convince myself that I would want to ride it around town. I don't like filling my Buick Regal up every 10 days with $2 a gallon gas (and rising) for high wear and tear city driving.

Enter the env.
env is lightweight, streamlined and aerodynamic. It boasts a performance that outreaches any existing electrical bike. In an urban or off-road environment, it can reach speeds of 50 mph.

It is also virtually silent (with noise equivalent to an everyday home computer) and its emissions are almost completely clean.

On a full tank, the env bike could be used continually for up to four hours without any need for re-fuelling. The bike can also be used by riders of any skill level with simple controls, via a throttle directly linked to the applied power. The bike has no gears and is strictly defined as a motorbike, although it feels to riders more like a very quick and responsive mountain bike. ‘env is light, fast and fun’, commented Seymourpowell director Nick Talbot. ‘It has good ground clearance, great off-road suspension travel and a very carefully considered power to weight ratio. I have ridden motorbikes for years’, he added, ‘ and, in the process of designing the bike, I have become a convert to fuel cell technology. The bike is usable, useful and great-looking. It was important on this project to demonstrate that new technologies don’t have to be wrapped up in a dull product – engaging public imagination and enthusiasm is key.’
A silent, no gears, hydrogen powered bike? It doesn't have great acceleration or speed stats, but for in city use, where roads don't get above 45 anyway, I could go for it. And it is just a prototype anyway. The production model should be better. Some people are freaked out that a silent motorbike will end up making pedestrians squishier than before. They actually want the bike to have a noisemaker built in so that it lets people know you are coming. Sort of like the horseless wagon rules at the turn of the century.

The cost? handmade prototype, 15k. The production line should be in the range of 5k or less. Of course, you would need a hydrogen fuel supply, but Intelligent Energy will probably also sell an H2 generator. Pour in a few gallons of water, hook up to the household current, come back later, fill up the tank.

My wife even said I could get one if she could have one too. But hers has to be pink. I'm sure I can find someone to do a nice powdercoat on hers. Hell, I'll even pitch in the gold leaf.

If only it wasn't a crotch rocket. Probably has to do with frame weight. I can put up with that though.

by Robster @ 6/18/2005 11:22:00 AM PERMALink
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Flags as clothing

Via Raw Story, this article from the St. Petersburg Times,

BROOKSVILLE - Students in Hernando County who want to show their patriotic pride may be limited to the stars and stripes.

The School Board is considering a proposal that would forbid them from wearing apparel that displays any flag other than the American flag.

I'd just like to point out that wearing the US flag as part of apparel for anybody except for uniformed soldiers, emergency workers, or groups similar to the boy and girl scouts (or other patriotic groups) is improper. This includes sports teams, which are specificly prohibited from using flag patches.

Section 8d of the Flag Code,

The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. ...
Section 8j of the Flag Code,

No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. ...
Does General Myers know this?

by Robster @ 6/18/2005 11:12:00 AM PERMALink
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Friday, June 17, 2005

If you missed the DSM hearing, see the highlights here (just 30min)

By way of AmericaBlog, Crooks and Liars has a "distilled" version of the DSM hearing. I doubt that most people have C-SPAN3, so unless you got to watch it online (several hours) you can see the shorter version here.

by Robster @ 6/17/2005 09:33:00 PM PERMALink
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Some fun friday bits

Do you believe in ESP? (via Majikthise, who found it at NTodd)
A recent Gallup survey shows that just about three in four Americans hold some paranormal belief -- in at least one of the following: extra sensory perception (ESP), haunted houses, ghosts, mental telepathy, clairvoyance, astrology, communicating with the dead, witches, reincarnation, and channeling. There are no significant differences in belief by age, gender, education, or region of the country.
Want to know more about ESP? Your wish is my command... (skeptics dictionary)
Much of the belief in ESP is based upon apparently unusual events that seem inexplicable. However, we should not assume that every event in the universe can be explained. Nor should we assume that what is inexplicable requires a paranormal (or supernatural) explanation. Maybe an event can't be explained because there is nothing to explain.
ESP? Its about as real as the Easter Bunny. Think you really have it? Take the challenge. And just so you know, I'll be betting against you.
=====
Heinrich at Coeruleus has some great science news today, too. highlights follow,
White House fixing Iraq intel? They also fixed reports on global warming!
Adult neurons have been lab cultured.
Iranian scientists are barred from publishing in the aeronautics field. I would think that keeping people out of legit science would push people to government weaponsmithing.

by Robster @ 6/17/2005 08:58:00 PM PERMALink
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Jeb Bush continues to stalk Michael Schiavo

One of the big stories in the blogosphere is how Florida governor Jeb Bush just won't let Mrs. Terri Schiavo die. He wants to keep harrassing Michael Schiavo. This time, its about one of the items that the rapture right used to attack Michael during the circus of death.

Jeb wants to investigate a period of time from over a decade ago. The rapture right claims that Michael waited over an hour to call 911 when he found that his wife had collapsed. This is a claim that her parents put forward at some point to stoke the public's hate of their son in law. Her parents have yet to be right on anything yet. She was in a PVS, she was blind, and she hadn't been abused.

Their evidence... (Atrios)
Michael Schiavo has said he called 911 immediately after finding his wife collapsed on the floor of their home on Feb. 25, 1990. Though medical records indicate he called 911 about 5:40 a.m. that day, he told the Medical Examiner's Office recently that he found his wife about 4:30 a.m.
...

Felos said it's impossible that 70 minutes elapsed before Michael Schiavo called 911.

"She would have been dead before they (paramedics) got there," he said.
A coworker of mine showed he his birth certificate once to show how bad record keeping can be. His name was spelled wrong and his race was qhite instead of white.

Reasonable doubt anybody?

Never mind that Jeb is grasping for straws to keep his support from the rapture rightists.

by Robster @ 6/17/2005 08:14:00 PM PERMALink
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Should bloggers be allowed to be anonymous?

Atrios started out anonymous because of his position in academia. I don't compare myself to him in any way other than I am a liberal blogger and am currently in the (very weak) academic position of grad student.

Majikthise (via Atrios) has an excelent post on why some people should be allowed to remain anonymous.

What do you think?

by Robster @ 6/17/2005 08:03:00 PM PERMALink
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The religious right wants to pick the president. Don't bother voting

If you are a republican who doesn't like the christo-fascist pandering of the religious right, you should really be bothered by this.

by Robster @ 6/17/2005 08:50:00 AM PERMALink
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Bobbie and her favorite toy in the world. A dowel rod. Why do they even bother making cat toys? Posted by Hello

by Robster @ 6/17/2005 08:49:00 AM PERMALink
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June enjoying a roll on the carpet. Posted by Hello

by Robster @ 6/17/2005 08:48:00 AM PERMALink
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Cleo. A Study in Black and White. (artsy fartsy name for playing around in photoshop) Posted by Hello

by Robster @ 6/17/2005 08:47:00 AM PERMALink
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Thursday, June 16, 2005

OpTruth's Vet of the week

Every Thursday, Operation Truth has a feature in which a vet's story is told. I think it is important for our troops to have a human face. We need to know who we are relying on to keep us safe, so that we can in turn, keep them safe.

This week's vet is Cpl. Brendon Smith.

Thank you, Brendon, for your service.

by Robster @ 6/16/2005 03:49:00 PM PERMALink
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20 minutes till the DSM hearing

Tune in to C-SPAN3 if you have it, if not, go to the C-SPAN website and stream it.

See if you still have time to sign the John Conyers letter, if you haven't already.

by Robster @ 6/16/2005 01:10:00 PM PERMALink
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A quick post for you

Ted Rall. Easily one of the best editorial cartoonists ever.
---
Via Buzzflash, ABC news tells us that the Pentagon thought it might be breaking US torture laws at Guantanamo Bay. They got overuled.
---
Straight from the bastard's mouth, quotes from the American Taliban. Know your enemy. Think they aren't your enemy? They claim you as their enemy.
---
From Majikthise, parasite from cats can make you a better person (probably makes you more tolerent of cats, too).

by Robster @ 6/16/2005 09:52:00 AM PERMALink
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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

More propoganda for invasion of Iran

Iran has its own Curveball. You remember the guy that the US relied upon for so much of its unreliable intel?

Fox (by way of Newshounds) is pushing a writer that claims to be in contact with a defector who is the source for this,
He brought me information a few months ago, eyewitness information with corroborating evidence, material evidence, of a meeting, last November in Iran between Osama Bin Laden and top regime officials from the Iranian government including generals from the Revolutionary Guards. And, they were sitting in a room, with a map in front of them, plotting new attacks on the U.S. and U.S. allies.
Anybody for another invasion based on crap?

by Robster @ 6/15/2005 09:15:00 PM PERMALink
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The real Schiavo issue

By now, you have heard that the autopsy on Terri Schiavo has come in. That she had not been abused, that she was blind, that the cause of her collapse could not be determined, that her condition was irreversible, that she couldn't have gotten better.

You have read all this.

This was never about Mrs. Schiavo.

This was about a takeover of the judicial system.

This was about a complete lack of ethics.

Frist never cared about Mrs. Schiavo. He only wanted to USE HER! He only wanted to push an extremist agenda on the United States. He should lose his medical license for performing a diagnosis by video tape.

I was unaware that another doctor in congress had committed a breach of medical ethics in regard to this case, but Dave Weldon (R-FL) should also lose his license. As should the charlatans who told the family that they could magicly heal a woman who was beyond all possible repair.

Sean Hannity, Bill O'Rielly, Scarborough, and any other hack that exploited this family for political and ratings related reasons should apologize to the family. Then they should resign.

Dan Rather stepped down for airing a true story backed up with a suspect document. These lying bastards should step down too. In disgrace.

Now we have judges who think that a 40 hour work week is unconstitutional.

A judge who did what he could to see that the law was followed was expelled from his church.

A family was torn apart so that a handful of right wing extremists could make political hay.

A man had to bear accusations of having abused his wife, a woman he had devoted his life to making better. When it became clear that she wasn't going to get better, and he decided to carry out her wishes of death with dignity, he was called a murderer. He had started a new family only because he knew that the woman he had fallen in love with was nothing but a shell. For being human, instead of being the tragic hero in a bodice ripping romance novel, he was demonized.

A woman was denied the right to pass in peace.

Several families were denied the right to spend time with dying family members because of an insane circus made up of flagellants and media leeches.

Shame on the media. Shame on the Republicans. Shame on the wingnut activists that manipulated Mrs. Schiavo's parents.

Now do something about it.

Contact the Tennesee medical board to complain about Frist.

Contact the Florida medical board to complain about Weldon.

Write or call your representative and senators to let them know how you feel about what they did regarding "Terri's Law." (you should be able to find out about how they voted here for the House, the Senate passed this law by voice vote, so you will need to contact their staff to find out how they claim to have voted.)

Give money or support of some kind to Hospice to make up for the foul things that we as a nation did to slander their name.

Write a living will (differs from state to state, so google your own state's rules).

Oh, and sign the Conyers letter already.

by Robster @ 6/15/2005 03:35:00 PM PERMALink
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UPDATE on DSM hearing

The hearing will be on CSPAN and will be held in the Captitol Building!

We won this one! Will Sensenbrenner allow the hearing to be run in a reasonable manner?

Will he embarass the RNC again?

Stay tuned.

Now back to your non-news news.

by Robster @ 6/15/2005 10:36:00 AM PERMALink
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Frist behind voice vote for lynching resolution

Via Americablog, who found it on Raw Story, the Atlanta Journal Constitution prints an article that ties Sen. Frist to preventing a roll call vote on the anti-lynching resolution.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) refused repeated requests for a roll call vote that would have put senators on the record on a resolution apologizing for past failures to pass anti-lynching laws, officials involved in the negotiations said Tuesday.

And there was disagreement Tuesday over whether Saxby Chambliss, one of Georgia's two Republican senators, had supported the measure when it was approved Monday night.
...

The resolution was adopted under what is called "unanimous consent," whereby it is adopted as long as no senator expresses opposition.

But the group that was the driving force behind the resolution had asked Frist for a formal procedure that would have required all 100 senators to vote. And the group had asked that the debate take place during "business hours" during the week, instead of Monday evening, when most senators were traveling back to the capital.

Frist declined both requests, the group's chief counsel, Mark Planning, said Tuesday evening.

"It was very disappointing" that Frist handled the matter the way he did, Planning said. "Other groups have gotten roll call votes, so there was nothing new to this, nothing different that we were asking for."

Bob Stevenson, Frist's chief spokesman, said Tuesday evening the procedure the majority leader established was "requested by the sponsors."

The chief sponsors of the resolution, Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and George Allen (R-Va.), disputed that assertion.

Landrieu said Monday before the resolution was adopted she would have preferred a roll call vote but had to accept the conditions set by Senate leaders.

I guess Frist won't be counting on any black voters when he runs for preznit (unless Bush can run for a third term). Oh, thats right, Republicans DO only represent whites.

I guess he is going for the southern conservative Fristian vote.

by Robster @ 6/15/2005 08:31:00 AM PERMALink
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Wonkabout Store is up and running!

Check out the new wonkabout store!

Tell me what you think.

by Robster @ 6/15/2005 12:21:00 AM PERMALink
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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Iran being set up for our next war

Newshounds reports on the gathering storm of "Lets invade Iran Hype!"
If you're like me, you think that watching Fox News can be like watching a sneak preview of what the Bush administration has in store for us. That's why I found the the first segment today (June 14, 2005) on Fox's premiere "business news" program, Your World w/Neil Cavuto, pretty darn terrifying. It featured two guests who said they had "unequivocal proof" that Osama bin Laden is in Iran, that Iran is "killing Americans every day in Iraq," that "al-Zarqawi is an Iranian government agent," and that we "can't tolerate this any longer." Fasten your seat belts and get ready for the next war everybody.
Read more...

PS sign the Conyers letter on the DSM already!

by Robster @ 6/14/2005 10:49:00 PM PERMALink
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Bush for a third term? God help us.

From BlondeSense, a link to Indymedia,
Republicans have officially started the the campaign to amend the Constitution by repealing the 22nd Amendment - the one that confines the President to two terms. If the Republicans hold their current strength, or increase it, in the 2006 Congressional elections, expect this measure to pass allowing Bush to remain President... Republicans have officially started the the campaign to amend the Constitution by repealing the 22nd Amendment - the one that confines the President to two terms. If the Republicans hold their current strength, or increase it, in the 2006 Congressional elections, expect this measure to pass allowing Bush to remain President...

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the 22nd amendment to the Constitution. (Introduced in House)
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:H.J.RES.24.IH: (Notice this is on the Library of Congress server, where the current Congressional record is maintained)

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the 22nd amendment to the Constitution. (Introduced in House)

HJ 24 IH
109th CONGRESS
1st Session

H. J. RES. 24
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the 22nd amendment to the Constitution.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

February 17, 2005

Mr. HOYER (for himself, Mr. BERMAN, Mr. SENSENBRENNER, Mr. SABO, and Mr. PALLONE) introduced the following joint resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


JOINT RESOLUTION
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the 22nd amendment to the Constitution.


Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:

`Article --

`The twenty-second article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is repealed.'.

Dear God, save us from this unbridled grab for power.

Can you spell fascism?

F-A-S-C-I-S-M

Good. I knew you could.

by Robster @ 6/14/2005 10:31:00 PM PERMALink
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With fiends like these!

AmericaBlog and ThinkProgress both have rundowns of who our allies in the war on terror are. During the Cold War, we cuddled up next to all kinds of repressive regimes, as long as they would let us have bases on their land, or suppress any dissent that might be problematic for us. Some of these nations came out of their US induced or aided dark age. Some didn't.

The US is even occupying two of the nations we gave a "hand" in the Cold War.

Some highlights...
Uzbekistan: “Defense officials from Russia and the United States last week helped block a new demand for an international probe into the Uzbekistan government’s shooting of hundreds of protesters last month, according to U.S. and diplomatic officials.”
They also boil people there (very disturbing images. And the White House blamed Newsweek for riots. Bastards).
Saudi Arabia: A recent State Department report states, “Saudi Arabia is a destination for men and women from South and East Asia and East Africa trafficked for the purpose of labor exploitation, and for children from Yemen, Afghanistan, and Africa trafficking for forced begging…some fall into conditions of involuntary servitude, suffering from physical and sexual abuse, non-payment or delayed payment of wages, the withholding of travel documents, restrictions on their freedom of movement and non-consensual contract alterations.“
Saudi Arabia. Where have I heard that name? Oh yeah, Bin Laden's homeland, as well as that of 15 of the 9/11 hijackers. Oh, and of Wahabi Islam, which trains kids to hate America.

Does anybody actually need to ask why "they" hate us?

by Robster @ 6/14/2005 10:09:00 PM PERMALink
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Update on Senate lynching resolution.

The lists on who actually didn't co-sponsor the ammendment are a little confused.

One list is of the six I posted yesterday.

Majikthise lists 20 repeated from DKos (including Jim Bunning (R-Ky)). Nice title to her post too. "Oh, that white christianist party." DKos updates the list saying that Kent Conrad has added his name to the resolution, making the only ones not cosigning Republicans. Here is AmericaBlog's final list.

Apparently, you can add your name as a cosponsor after a vote in the Senate. This means nobody has a reason to not be a cosponsor.

Unless they are a racist bigot or are threatened by this precursor to hate crimes legislation.

Just sayin.

by Robster @ 6/14/2005 09:37:00 PM PERMALink
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Downing Street Memo meeting

By now you know that Democrats will be holding a hearing on the DSM Thursday. Sensenbrenner, making sure that nobody can say that he believes in free speech, bipartisanship, House rules, decency, dissent or the democratic process. Nope, F. James Sensenbrenner is an authoritarian through and through. What did he do this time?

He denied (actually his chief of staff did) Dems a room to hold the DSM hearing, or any other hearings ever.

The DSM hearing will occur at the DNC HQ in DC. Reps are welcome, though.

Booman Tribune is asking you to call CSPAN to demand that they carry the hearing. Sounds like a good idea to me.

Echidne has an emotional (as in filled with emotion, not hysterical) post on the DSMs, and what they mean to her.

Time is running out. Sign the letter. Don't miss your chance to truly support the troops.

by Robster @ 6/14/2005 09:01:00 PM PERMALink
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Some senators won't take a stand against lynching. Both Kentucky Senators signed on.

KY is on this list from BlondeSense of with 100 or more Lynchings from 1882-1967. 205 to be specific. It is sad that McConnell and Bunning, both KY-R, only signed on to the resolution on Monday (link also has list of 6 who have not signed on, currently Richard Shelby (R-Ala.); Thad Cochran (R-Miss.); Trent Lott (R-Miss.) surprise surprise; Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.); John Cornyn (R-Tx.); Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tx.)). McConnel probably was late because he doesn't count many blacks among GOP donors, and cash is what moves his world. Bunning only does what McConnell tells him to.

More on the story from Pam's House Blend. Always amazing. I'm embarassed that I hadn't added her to my links before now. AmericaBlog (and AmericaBlog update) and DKos as well.

A list of the resolution's sponsors.

by Robster @ 6/14/2005 09:30:00 AM PERMALink
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Monday, June 13, 2005

All the news that isn't

You all know that MJ was found not guilty. I'm surprised that the jury didn't find him guilty on a couple lesser counts, and not guilty on the more severe. That was my bet.

My promise to you, no MJ news from here on out. The King of Pop will not be discussed here except as a means by which the corporate media hides the abuses of the Bush Administration, and distracts us from the Downing Street Memo. Oh, have you signed the letter?
===
Andy points out the non-story that Destiny's Child is splitting up. For me this is one of those "I thought they were dead moments." I thought the group had split up a couple years ago. But, since I never gave a rat's ass, I shouldn't be surprised.

On the other hand, this band from the UK should get more gigs as a cover band. I just hope that smoking kttens don't tempt kids to pick up the cancer sticks. Oh yeah. Andy says to sign the Conyers letter too.

by Robster @ 6/13/2005 11:24:00 PM PERMALink
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Good news around the world

Via Buzzflash, I am so jealous of Winsconsin Democrats. Calling for Bush and Cheney impeachment. That is impressive.
===
Dean calls on Republicans to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act (via lead in at Blah3). Until they do that, quit acting like they are concerned about black voters.
===
Tell Congressional Democrats that Dean speaks for you! Or don't. Its up to you...
===
Blondesense's 6 reasons to not give up on the DSM.
===
From Crooks and Liars, Rachel Maddow news on her new MSNBC gig, also Don Imus smacks Tucker Carlson's bitch up.
===
Bad news you won't hear about because of Jacko. From Blah3, a 7.9 magnitude eathquake in Chile. As charity donation sites become available, I will link to them.

by Robster @ 6/13/2005 11:04:00 PM PERMALink
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As the Blogosphere turns

There are a couple big stories moving about the web tonight.

First, southern Senators, afraid of making their KKK supporters angry, have convinced the Senate to have the lynching apology resolution voted on by voice. This means they won't have to put their names to something that says that lynching black people is bad.

Some blogs discussing this story:
  • AmericaBlog

  • Crooks and Liars

  • Eschaton

  • The South shall rise again. Shit floats.
    =====
    Story two, christian fundamentalist hate groups suggests (then denies they suggested) warning labels for homosexuals. Hitler made gays wear pink triangles...

  • AmericaBlog

  • AmericaBlog on Dobson's group's support for this hate group

  • AmericaBlog on group's whining that they have been described as a hate group by Southern Poverty Law Center

  • Blah3

  • Pam's House Blend

  • 365Gay

  • Don't you know? Gay is the new Black.

    by Robster @ 6/13/2005 10:40:00 PM PERMALink
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    The Freeper Blues

    One of the techniques I use in the lab requires that I travel into a black whole of freepdom. No information survives entry, no enlightenment gets out. This is the realm of Captain Tightpants (named for wearing pants way too small for a grown man (was actually named this by another freeper)). This guy actually believes that Hannity is an honest and responsible radio and TV host.

    The standard discussions occur as the computer takes a very low light image.

    Stupid statement of the day. Duh. What is a progressive tax? Some people (this phrase is a definite sign of Fox poisoning) would say a flat tax is progressive. Do you want to penalize hard work?
    - of course, my response was that people who do hard work don't get paid that much, and even well paid high skilled people who make more than they need to live should be taxed more. People that work with their hands should be taxed less than those who grow rich off the labor of others. That IS capitalism! It IS in The Wealth of Nations! Does Paris Hilton do any hard work? Ha!
    -Never mind that a flat tax (one of the most regressive taxes in existence) has never occured in a democracy. When democracies moved to flat taxes, they became oligarchies.

    Hasn't read the DSM, but says that it doesn't matter. Why? Because it came out 8 months before we invaded. WTF? It says we were fixing the facts! That is why it is important! BUSH LIED!

    He of course trotted out the old claim that we should have attacked Russia after we defeated Germany in WW2. Utter Bullshit. You can find my thoughts on this here (read the comments for the full story as well as a respectful discussion with a conservative regarding this topic. Some conservatives I can talk to without getting mad. Others just piss me off with their repitition of the lies and slander that kept Bush in power. Captain Tightpants is one of the latter.)

    Believes the media was pro-Kerry. Had nothing to cite other than the number of pro Kerry editorial endorsements. More bullshit. I don't really need to go into how the corporate media wipes lil' W after he craps all over the nation, do I? Or the constant attention to Bush campaign speeches (rigged town halls were never mentioned) and very little attention to Kerry?

    Claims Kerry may have been dishonorably discharged. Defends the Swift Boat Liars for Perjury. How stupid can someone be?

    Claimed that nothing bad has happened at Gitmo. Didn't care if Qu'rans were flushed. Believes that all Gitmo detainees are terrorists. Gotta love blind followers.

    Believes that the Newsweek was responsible for the riots in Afghanistan, even though he had read Gen. Myers remarks to the opposite.

    He didn't even know that we sold Iraq most of its WMDs and some of the WMD delivery systems in the first place!

    I did manage to get one piece through his thick skull. Even those who believe whatever they are told that is pro-bush can sometimes learn something. When he asked how many WMDs had been found, and I replied zero, he said no. We found 23 artillery shells. My response? 23 old shells. We exchanged 23 shells for 1700 american lives. Real good trade Bush. His sister is in country. This actually hit home. Their lives were not worth the 23 old artilery shells with degraded agents in them.

    Sorry. I needed to rant. You may return to your regular blogging...

    by Robster @ 6/13/2005 06:18:00 PM PERMALink
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    comic blogging

    Here are a couple good comics for you.
    1. If insects blogged. (Dr. Fun)
    2. Where being polite gets you in politics. (Ted Rall)

    by Robster @ 6/13/2005 01:04:00 PM PERMALink
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    It's June, Time to attack Iran!

    Bin Laden claimed to be visiting Iran on a regular basis. CIA used to deny this, but now don't deny it. Cue buildup for raids into Iran to destroy nuclear plants.

    by Robster @ 6/13/2005 09:02:00 AM PERMALink
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    memos, get your memos here!

    Six memos, available for download in pdf form at Think Progress. Want to guess what they might be about? Paris Hilton and Burgers? No! Iraq! More Iraq memos!

    Have you signed the letter?

    by Robster @ 6/13/2005 08:58:00 AM PERMALink
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    Sunday, June 12, 2005

    Interesting post on Christianaphobia.

    I'm certainly not afraid of Christians. Fundamentalists, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, whatever. They do scare me. BlondeSense has a good post on just this topic.

    by Robster @ 6/12/2005 08:50:00 PM PERMALink
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    But I'm a Cheerleader camp in Memphis

    Update: Pandagon has a good point. The person in this situation is a minor, and it is unethical to print any identifying information. Therefore, the link to his blog has been removed. I know that this won't actually prevent anybody from finding out who he is if they really want to, but it is the ethical thing to do.

    An "ex-gay" brainwash/reprogramming day camp (Love in Action) in Memphis has gotten into the blogosphere because a young blogger came out to his family. His parents had a royal fit and as soon as school was over, they sent him to the camp. There has been little word as to his status after entering the camp. A couple of the links to their rules in this post will let you know how stifling this prison-day camp is.

    While I don't believe that such a thing as brainwashing exists (sure, some people give in to pressure just to make harrassment end, but an actual event of reporgramming?), this will be a traumatic time for this young man. The bastards that run this place actually say this (via Pam's House Blend),
    "I would rather you commit suicide than have you leave Love In Action wanting to return to the gay lifestyle. In a physical death you could still have a spiritual resurrection; whereas, returning to homosexuality you are yielding yourself to a spiritual death from which there is no recovery."
    This is pretty damn close to abuse, and will probably tear the family apart. The young man will certainly never trust his parents again. This story truly bothers me.

    If you want, here are some links that will tell you more about this tragedy, with more eloquence than I ever could muster.
    ---
    Pandagon (saw it here first).
    Pam's House Blend (some of the best commentary of the lot) and her follow up piece.
    TalkLeft.
    Republic of T and followup post w/links on DKos.
    Majikthise.
    Crooks and Liars w/link to video from local news on a protest there.
    ---
    Jesus General manages to put some fun in this otherwise depressing incident.
    ---
    Oh, and if you want to know what the title of this post is a reference to, check out this movie sometime.

    by Robster @ 6/12/2005 04:18:00 PM PERMALink
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    President Lincoln on preemptive war.

    Great Booman article on what a great Republican president would think about preemption.

    Here is a hint. He didn't like it.

    by Robster @ 6/12/2005 02:09:00 PM PERMALink
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    Sexed up, fixed to, made legal

    Three easy steps to justify a war.

    The Dodgy Dossier. Remember that? Will the UK government be forced to apologize to the BBC for sexing up intel on the march to Iraq?
    Mr Cook, repeated that the government had scored a "spectacular own goal" in publishing its dossier about Saddam Hussein. Asked if intelligence had been "sexed up" to back the decision to go to war, Mr Cook said: "I think there was a selection of evidence to support the conclusion."
    When the evidence is flimsy, make the facts change...
    C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.
    If it isn't legal, find a way to make it legal.
    The briefing paper, for participants at a meeting of Blair’s inner circle on July 23, 2002, said that since regime change was illegal it was “necessary to create the conditions” which would make it legal.
    Three easy steps. Bushco duped us all.

    by Robster @ 6/12/2005 01:05:00 PM PERMALink
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    Highlights of the DSM#2

    Here are some particularly important parts of the second DSM (I'm sure it will get a sexier name in a few hours).
    The US Government's military planning for action against Iraq is proceeding apace. But, as yet, it lacks a political framework. In particular, little thought has been given to creating the political conditions for military action, or the aftermath and how to shape it.
    20/20 wonksight- We now know that the "political" reasons were haphazardly thrown together with single source information (some of which was already determined to be false of fraudulent).
    We need now to reinforce this message and to encourage the US Government to place its military planning within a political framework, partly to forestall the risk that military action is precipitated in an unplanned way by, for example, an incident in the No Fly Zones. This is particularly important for the UK because it is necessary to create the conditions in which we could legally support military action.
    Was the US already on the path to war, with no change possible? The UK at least was knew that it needed to meet certain conditions before it went to war. It is rather disconcerting to read that it was "
    necessary to create the conditions." Creating conditions to go to war shows the old attitude of a former empire, and no compassion for those who would actually fight the war of these politicians.
    Aside from the existence of a viable military plan we consider the following conditions necessary for military action and UK participation: justification/legal base; an international coalition; a quiescent Israel/Palestine; a positive risk/benefit assessment; and the preparation of domestic opinion.
    Do you remember how the US administration discussed the flavor of the week reason for war? What about Coalition of the Willing, with the member nations that refused to be named, the ones that joined to get on the good graces of the US, or the ones that were tiny nations (often islands) with no army, which sent their moral support? How about how Bush finally paid attention to the Israel/Palestine situation, claiming that Palestine would be calmer without Saddam? Do you remember the claims that our soldiers would be met with flowers and candies? I'm sure you don't need to be reminded about the propoganda put out by the White House and never questioned by the cowed press.
    US views of international law vary from that of the UK and the international community. Regime change per se is not a proper basis for military action under international law. But regime change could result from action that is otherwise lawful. We would regard the use of force against Iraq, or any other state, as lawful if exercised in the right of individual or collective self-defence, if carried out to avert an overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe, or authorised by the UN Security Council.
    US views of international law differ from the international community? Really? Like we are above the law? But that the UK considerred it OK to set up a situation that would lead to war is also disturbing.
    This leaves the route under the UNSC resolutions on weapons inspectors. Kofi Annan has held three rounds of meetings with Iraq in an attempt to persuade them to admit the UN weapons inspectors. These have made no substantive progress; the Iraqis are deliberately obfuscating. Annan has downgraded the dialogue but more pointless talks are possible. We need to persuade the UN and the international community that this situation cannot be allowed to continue ad infinitum. We need to set a deadline, leading to an ultimatum.
    We got our ultimatum. We got a resolution that let the inspectors in. Bush then claimed that the inspectors were being kept out of Iraq, while inspectors were destroying missiles and rockets that might have had an illegal range. Then, when it became increasingly obvious that there were no WMD, Bush told the inspectors to leave so that we could attack. We constantly claimed clear breaches of the resolution for the slightest infraction or disagreement.
    It is just possible that an ultimatum could be cast in terms which Saddam would reject (because he is unwilling to accept unfettered access) and which would not be regarded as unreasonable by the international community. However, failing that (or an Iraqi attack) we would be most unlikely to achieve a legal base for military action by January 2003.
    While the inspectors were on the ground, the Bush administration was attempting to direct them into investigating certain computer networks in order to get Saddam to say no. This would have been a breach of the resolution. The UN inspectors chose to follow their own plan in order to find out if Iraq had WMD. When single parts of WMD related equipment were found, whether they be an old empty artillery shell or a centifuge part buried under a rosebush, the finding was trumped by the adminsitration as a cause for war.
    A post-war occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise. As already made clear, the US military plans are virtually silent on this point.
    And little US preparation would be performed after this memo was written.
    Time will be required to prepare public opinion in the UK that it is necessary to take military action against Saddam Hussein.
    Really? Maybe they needed more time, or a more agreeable press.
    There would also need to be a substantial effort to secure the support of Parliament. An information campaign will be needed which has to be closely related to an overseas information campaign designed to influence Saddam Hussein, the Islamic World and the wider international community.
    They didn't do a very good job here either.
    This will need to give full coverage to the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, including his WMD, and the legal justification for action.
    If only they had spent more time searching for WMDs instead of attempting to justify their invasion.

    by Robster @ 6/12/2005 11:05:00 AM PERMALink
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    Saturday, June 11, 2005

    still at it

    Downing Street Memo is on the front page of Washington Post! It is finally penetrating the bubble!
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    Wal Mart sells porn in China. Censors everything in the US, sex or language wise.
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    KKK member accused of making pipe bombs. Is he a terrorist? Or is that reserved for brown people, liberals, or peace groups? Just asking.
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    What else has Sensenbrenner done? Lots.

    by Robster @ 6/11/2005 11:34:00 PM PERMALink
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    Smoking gun, meet smoking cannon

    UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE
    Sunday 6/12/05 (noon EST)
    Here is the memo. Read it for yourself!


    (Buzzflash gets props for inspiring the title) Can you believe it? It just keeps getting better and better. If by better you mean worse...

    A new article from the Times threatens to blow the Downing Street Memo scandal wide open!

    Here are some highlights (but do yourself a favor and read the whole thing),

    Ministers were told of need for Gulf war "‘excuse"


    MINISTERS were warned in July 2002 that Britain was committed to taking part in an American-led invasion of Iraq and they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal.

    The warning, in a leaked Cabinet Office briefing paper, said Tony Blair had already agreed to back military action to get rid of Saddam Hussein at a summit at the Texas ranch of President George W Bush three months earlier.


    NI_MPU('middle');
    The briefing paper, for participants at a meeting of Blair'’s inner circle on July 23, 2002, said that since regime change was illegal it was "“necessary to create the conditions"” which would make it legal.

    [So if it wasn't legal to start the war, does that make it a war crime? Seriously, I don't know. - Robster]
    ...

    The document said the only way the allies could justify military action was to place Saddam Hussein in a position where he ignored or rejected a United Nations ultimatum ordering him to co-operate with the weapons inspectors. But it warned this would be difficult.

    "“It is just possible that an ultimatum could be cast in terms which Saddam would reject,"” the document says. But if he accepted it and did not attack the allies, they would be "“most unlikely"” to obtain the legal justification they needed.

    The suggestions that the allies use the UN to justify war contradicts claims by Blair and Bush, repeated during their Washington summit last week, that they turned to the UN in order to avoid having to go to war. The attack on Iraq finally began in March 2003.

    If you think that this is going to be bad for Bush, the story goes on,

    The White House has declined to respond to a letter from 89 Democratic congressmen asking if it was true -— as Dearlove told the July meeting -— that "“the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy"” in Washington.
    Yeah, thats the letter I have linked to. Have you signed it?

    Conyers promised to deliver it to Bush once it reached 250,000 signatures. By Friday morning it already had more than 500,000 with as many as 1m expected to have been obtained when he delivers it to the White House on Thursday.
    The signitures will be hand delivered Thursday by Rep. John Conyers (D-OH) to the White House.

    So what are you waiting for? Sign the memo already!!! If the site is down, try back later. The massive interest in DSM has meant that Rep. Conyer's site has crashed a few times.

    For some context, you should read this as well, as it details increasing the bombing performed on Iraq to try to get Saddam to retaliate, making a perfect excuse for war. As soon as the text of the new memo becomes available I will post it.

    by Robster @ 6/11/2005 09:44:00 PM PERMALink
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    A little saturday fun

    Rush picks a stupid thing to lie about. Proves he is full of shit. According to Media Matters, he actually claimed that Americans invented the flush toilet. Rush, please. If you are going to lie about something, pick something hard to fact check.
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    From AmericaBlog, proof that the Republican party is a white Christian party. Not only are most GOP voters white Christians, but there are almost no minorities in elected positions. Sure there are minorities in appointed positions, but what does a lack of elected minorities mean? That the party won't support a minority candidate, either financially or with votes.
    But a new book about America's political divisions notes that the 99 percent of all Republican legislators across the country and in Congress are white. The national Republican Party, whose base is in the South, the Plains and the Mountain states, looks to white men as its power base and source of leadership. Even when Republican states have significant minority populations, the elected Republican representatives rarely are drawn from those communities.
    ...
    Of 3,643 Republicans serving in the state legislatures, only 44 are minorities, or 1.2 percent. In the Congress, with 274 of the 535 elected senators and representatives Republican, only five are minorities - three Cuban Americans from Florida, a Mexican American from Texas and a Native American senator originally elected as a Democrat. [NOTE FROM JOHN: That means the GOP has elected ZERO blacks to Congress.]

    'President Bush's home state leads the way. Texas, with a minority population of 47 percent, has 106 Republicans in the state legislature, but there are 0 blacks and 0 Hispanics among them,' Sperling writes. 'No major corporation doing business with the government could be so white without being subject to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) action!'
    To really drive the point home, AmericaBlog also shows us a portrait of the black Republicans in Congress.

    by Robster @ 6/11/2005 04:53:00 PM PERMALink
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    When a conservative says... #1

    This post, which will be a periodically recurring feature of Wonkabout, will point out resources for you to use when a conservative repeats one of the bumper sticker slogans of the wingnut right.

    This one is one of my favorites. It has everything. Nationalism, imperialism, and marvelously poor logic.

    "We are fighting them there instead of fighting them here."

    If only that were true. In reality, we aren't fighting them in the nations where they operate with the approval or blind eye of the government. Iraq is now a training ground, according to this piece from Think Progress. Islamists travel to Iraq, learn strategy, tactics, bomb making and other combat skills. After they have learned enough, they travel back home, and take their fight to their own government.

    Of course, this leads to the claim

    "We haven't been attacked again, so Bush must be winning the war on terror."

    A single event ruins this claim, making it a useless concept. But what is the real failing of this argument?

    Simple. There have been years between the attacks that have taken place in the US. Between February 1993 and September 2001, there were no successful attacks on the US on our soil. There were other attacks, some against US embasies or soldiers, which are not cogent to this discussion. 9/11 was only four years ago. While two data points isn't enough to determine a trend, it is still important to note that the next Qaeda attack may still be a year or so off.

    Also, extending the war on terror to Iraq (based on lies) further extended the economic damage of 9/11. This continued the market instability, worsened oil prices (helping to drive inflation) and continued to worsen our deficit (which will lead to greatly increased interest rates in the future). Damaging the US economy was one of Qaeda's goals in attacking the US. Bush has only ensured that Bin Laden's goals were furthered. Making the US unable to express it's will abroad by making it economically impossible will work as well as causing the actual downfall of the US.

    by Robster @ 6/11/2005 03:54:00 PM PERMALink
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    Friday, June 10, 2005

    a couple great cat links

    Cats starting fires with fax machine and urine.
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    From the Dept of putting things on top of other things.

    Got these from the Friday catblogging thread at Eschaton's.

    by Robster @ 6/10/2005 09:27:00 PM PERMALink
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    FASCISM TODAY

    It couldn't happen here? Bullshit. It happened today. In the US House.

    This morning, House Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI) unilaterally and arbitrarily shut down committee hearings on the reauthorization of the Patriot Act without comment or issuing a statement. Sensenbrenner gaveled the committee hearings in the middle of witnesses testifying about human and civil rights abuses at Guantanamo Bay, racial profiling of individuals of Middle Eastern descent, prolonged detentions of Americans after September 11th and other abuses.

    The suppression of free speech and testimony in the congressional committee in charge of protecting our civil liberties shows the Republican'’s power grab has no limits and no decency. The irony was not lost on anyone.
    ...

    Democracies do not fail overnight. They slowly erode and descend by denying rights to the minority, the takeover of an independent judiciary, suppressing speech and assembly, and the rise of secrecy and repressive police powers in the executive branch.

    Sensenbrenner'’s belligerent act to shut down dissent and gag witnesses warning about the broad police powers given to the administration should give Americans pause as the Republican Party inches closer and closer to turning American into a one-party state.

    The witnesses to the Bushevik violations of our Constitution, civil liberties, and individual rights valiantly continued to speak after Sensenbrenner formally shut down the hearing (probably as a result of a phone call from the White House). But their voices were hardly heard, which was the objective of the Busheviks.

    What makes the barbarians in the White House shudder most is a bright light of truth reaching the American public.

    They have been unusually successful in intimidating the media into enabling their lies. Now, they are just preemptively breaking laws and the rules of Congress to suppress the truth.


    It can happen here, and it is.
    Want more info? Via Crooks and Liars, Blondsense has more info.

    If you were watching c-pan a bit ago you might have witnessed a little bit of history. The House Judiciary Committee was meeting to discuss the Patriot Act and Civil Liberties. Sensenbrenner chaired the committee. You could tell from the beginning that neither he nor the other Republicans wanted anything to do with this meeting. They didn'’t want to see or hear anyone on the panel who had anything to say that didn'’t praise everything the US has been doing. I'’m so sorry I can'’t list all the panel members. I know there was one from Amnesty International. The others were from similar organizations. Had I known what was about to transpire, I would have taken notes on the panel members.

    First of all Sensenbrenner determined he would conduct the activities right by the clock. If a panel member was in mid sentence when the time expired, that person was not allowed to finish his or her sentence. If a member of the committee used his or her five minutes asking a question and the time expired, the panel members were not allowed time to answer. I personally had never seen anything like this. When all the members had had their turn, Sensenbrenner made his own statement and gaveled the meeting closed. He left the room. Here's where the history may come in. The Democratic committee members stayed in their chairs and continued to talk to the panel and those in attendance. Basically they continued without the chairman and after the meeting had officially ended. They defied the chairman and asked if any members of the press were interested in what they had to say. The press stayed and C-span'’s cameras kept rolling.

    Blondesense also has these links to the video. Watch as the Republican party moves us toward the fall of democracy and closer to a fascist regime.
    UPDATE: The link to the video is now online at CSpan.org .
    Click on the video under Recent Programs which says: House Hearing on Patriot Act Reauthorization (06/10/2005)
    It's also available at Dem Bloggers
    We cannot stand for this. We will not stand for this.
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    BTW, Randi Rhodes just mentioned that this is the House committee that starts impeachment hearings.

    by Robster @ 6/10/2005 03:56:00 PM PERMALink
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