Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Bush and Co. silence Walter Reed patients

The dictator has spoken....Bush and Co. will no longer allow the free flow of information on the treatment of our soldiers, sailors and airmen at Walter Reed. This is wrong, wrong, wrong. Just think, if the press had not covered this, our military personnel would still be left in the stinking hell hole of Bldg 18. The Bush criminals just want to keep hiding everything they can, at the expense of those who have sacrificed so much. What a bunch of assholes.

Here is the article from Army Times

Walter Reed patients told to keep quiet

By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Feb 28, 2007 10:42:37 EST
Soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Medical Hold Unit say they have been told they will wake up at 6 a.m. every morning and have their rooms ready for inspection at 7 a.m., and that they must not speak to the media.

“Some soldiers believe this is a form of punishment for the trouble soldiers caused by talking to the media,” one Medical Hold Unit soldier said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

It is unusual for soldiers to have daily inspections after Basic Training.

Soldiers say their sergeant major gathered troops at 6 p.m. Monday to tell them they must follow their chain of command when asking for help with their medical evaluation paperwork, or when they spot mold, mice or other problems in their quarters.

They were also told they would be moving out of Building 18 to Building 14 within the next couple of weeks. Building 14 is a barracks that houses the administrative offices for the Medical Hold Unit and was renovated in 2006. It’s also located on the Walter Reed Campus, where reporters must be escorted by public affairs personnel. Building 18 is located just off campus and is easy to access.

The soldiers said they were also told their first sergeant has been relieved of duty, and that all of their platoon sergeants have been moved to other positions at Walter Reed. And 120 permanent-duty soldiers are expected to arrive by mid-March to take control of the Medical Hold Unit, the soldiers said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Army public affairs did not respond to a request sent Sunday evening to verify the personnel changes.

The Pentagon also clamped down on media coverage of any and all Defense Department medical facilities, to include suspending planned projects by CNN and the Discovery Channel, saying in an e-mail to spokespeople: “It will be in most cases not appropriate to engage the media while this review takes place,” referring to an investigation of the problems at Walter Reed.

Monday, February 26, 2007

US funds being secretly funneled....

Hersh: U.S. Funds Being Secretly Funneled To Violent Al Qaeda-Linked Groups
"New Yorker columnist Sy Hersh says the “single most explosive” element of his latest article involves an effort by the Bush administration to stem the growth of Shiite influence in the Middle East (specifically the Iranian government and Hezbollah in Lebanon) by funding violent Sunni groups.

Hersh says the U.S. has been “pumping money, a great deal of money, without congressional authority, without any congressional oversight” for covert operations in the Middle East where it wants to “stop the Shiite spread or the Shiite influence.” Hersh says these funds have ended up in the hands of “three Sunni jihadist groups” who are “connected to al Qaeda” but “want to take on Hezbollah.”

Hersh summed up his scoop in stark terms: “We are simply in a situation where this president is really taking his notion of executive privilege to the absolute limit here, running covert operations, using money that was not authorized by Congress, supporting groups indirectly that are involved with the same people that did 9/11."

So, our dictator agains ignores the constitution. Our nation is going to hell.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Amazing Grace

One of the songs that has always been one of my favorites, is Amazing Grace. Until now, I did not know the story behind the song. It's amazing.

From Consortium news:
The story really begins in Britain, where an unlikely Member of Parliament, William Wilberforce, courageously took up the cause of human emancipation, despite virtually universal opposition.

The son of a wealthy merchant, young Wilberforce led the hedonistic lifestyle of a college student at Cambridge. Bored with his father’s business, he entered Parliament at age 21 and made friends easily.

Five years later, he had a conversion experience leading him to devote his life to freeing those in bondage. In 1791, his bill to abolish the slave trade failed by a wide margin but he persisted. In 1807, Wilberforce released A Letter on the Abolition of the Slave Trade on the eve of Parliament’s overwhelming vote to end the trade in human beings—a remarkable change in fifteen years.

In 1823, “God’s politician” began a ten-year campaign to end slavery entirely, releasing his Appeal to the Religion, Justice and Humanity of the Inhabitants of the British Empire in Behalf of the Negro Slaves in the West Indies, in which he claimed that total and unqualified emancipation was a moral and ethical “duty before God."

Wilberforce died in 1833 just as Parliament abolished slavery...Slavery, of course, never fully disappeared. Sadly, millions remain enslaved in Africa, Asia, and elsewhere.

Inspired by Wilberforce’s example, the producers of "Amazing Grace" hope to stir public opinion against the slave trade through a web site,, which sponsors “The Amazing Change” to launch “a campaign to abolish modern day slavery and allow children and adults around the world to live in freedom.”

Find a theater near you, and watch this movie. I know I'll be watching this one.

Two articles caught my attention today

From Alternet, on Why the Mad Rush to the '08 Elections?
It's a long article, but worth reading. Posted below, is a portion of the article:
"Perhaps the better question, then, is: Will the presidential election of 2008 turn out to be a turning-point election of historic proportions. The greatest unknown is whether or not the status quo is headed for a breakdown crisis severe enough to clear the ground for such a transformative moment.

Signs certainly point in that direction. The convergence of imperial defeat, economic insecurity, and rampant corporate malfeasance might be enough all by themselves. But the sudden change in the political status of global warming -- once the dim, background hum of some far distant disturbance, now more like the heart-stopping premonitory theme music from the soundtrack of Jaws -- magnifies the crisis of the whole global order, at home and abroad. Anatole Lieven has called it global capitalism's "existential challenge." Life as we've known it may be beginning to end. Congress is already holding hearings about the natural apocalypse to come, and all but the most ostrich-like politicians acknowledge global warming as an urgent reality; a fact-on-the-ground, so to speak, no longer a debatable theory.

The Bush administration -- and so the old order -- has staked a lot on Iraq, not just its geopolitical and global economic ambitions. Its already severely diminished status as a moral exemplar of democracy and civil liberties won't survive this latest plunge into military mayhem.

Moreover, the President's "surge" plan is a mortal threat to the secret source of the regime's strength at home. The politics of fear and imperial bravado, which once won it legions of followers, may, in the aftermath of the surge, reach its own turning point as those voters abandon ship as fast as they once climbed aboard. Can the administration or the old order survive a fiasco of such proportions?

Iraq is also the equivalent of a budgetary bunker-busting nuclear device. It exacerbates an already aggravated economic dilemma. Despite a Noah's flood of statistics that seem to support a Pollyana-ish view that we live today in the best of economic good times, millions of Americans experience the opposite -- a yawning gulf of insecurity affecting their health, retirement, and employment prospects. They share a gloomy sense of moving backwards, of decline.

Once upon a time, poverty was associated with the super-exploitation of those who toiled for meager reward. Then, in mid-twentieth century America, poverty came to be associated with the lack of work, with those so marginalized they were shut-out of the main avenues of modern commerce and industry. Nowadays, we are rushing back to the nineteenth century. Today, 30 million people in the United States work long and hard and still live in poverty.

Insecurity even more pervasive than this once supplied the energy responsible for supplanting laissez-faire capitalism with the New Deal. Might we be approaching something of that scale and scope today? Though there can be no definitive answer to this, there also can be no question that a general crisis of economic insecurity confronts the old order. All of its self-serving and adventitious rhetoric about the heroics of risk fall on increasingly deaf ears.

Not incidentally, since we live in the age of the global sweatshop, that older order is now global in scope; and the international financial mechanisms that so far have kept the global system humming for the U.S. are themselves under great and increasing strain. The system is, at present, being kept aloft by the needs of China, Japan, and other major economic powers. One day soon they may find the burden of swallowing gargantuan amounts of U.S. debt insupportable.

Are we heading toward a breakdown like the one which, in the early 1970s, forced the Nixon administration to scrap the Bretton Woods financial system, the defining economic institution of the post-war Pax Americana? Together with defeat in Vietnam, the devaluation of the dollar, and the end of fixed exchange rates for international currencies exacerbated the general impasse in which the New Deal order then found itself.

When it comes to the social reputation of our corporate elite, is it necessary to say anything more than Enron? The litany of shameless profiteering, felonious behavior, cronyism, and corruption at the apex of the private economy has arguably called into question the "right to rule" of those presiding over the country's key economic institutions. Even at the regime's hubristic height following Bush's presidential victory in 2004, he discovered he'd crossed a bridge too far in his attempt to turn over the Social Security System to Wall Street. Trust in the corporate elite has only grown frailer since then. Cynicism mixed with rage is a potentially explosive brew that fuels the economic populism even someone as "establishment" as James Webb articulated in his alternate State of the Union Address.

What may make these converging dilemmas over-ripe for change is the response of the old order itself. One sign that some decisive crisis has arrived is the growing incapacity of those in charge to adapt -- as if the dire nature of what's happening dries up the springs of their political imaginations, forcing them to fall back on brittle orthodoxies. Andrew Mellon's notion of liquidating everything in sight as a way out of the Great Depression was one case of mental paralysis, a retreat to what had once "worked"; after all, the periodic busts endemic to the laissez-faire capitalist life-cycle had, in the past, always cured themselves, even if the "cure" included a great deal of what we would today call "collateral damage." The Bush administration is similarly falling back on its own orthodoxies, each move only betraying just how out of touch its top officials are with the new political and social realities forming around them.

Take its reaction to the stunning electoral defeat it suffered last November. The President's new "surge" plan, the self-destructive decision to forge ahead in Iraq without a scintilla of reasonable hope of success, even from the standpoint of the most cynical imperialist, is such a reaction: instinctive, unreflective, inflexible, and probably deeply believed in. In other words, there is a resort to the ideological fixations which have long-driven this regime -- and the larger political order from which it rose - but which only become ever more rigidified as reality bites back.

So, for another example, the administration's response to the crisis of economic insecurity has amounted to an ideological provocation shoved right in the teeth of its own electoral repudiation. Bush proposed a massive cut in Medicare and Medicaid and, even more in-your-face than that, a tax on the health insurance of those dwindling remnants of the New Deal order who still enjoy some decent level of employer-funded health care.

Everything the old regime can imagine to defend itself ends up making things worse. With some poetic license, one is reminded of an inversion of that old Marxist axiom in which the capitalists, not the proletariat, become the gravediggers of capitalism.

The open door

Of course, that is a gross exaggeration. The question of the moment is not: Will 2008 be a turning-point election, but rather can it be one? Here, everything depends not on what the old order does on its own behalf, no matter how bone-headed, but on how the gathering forces of opposition respond to the system's crisis. Is there a willingness to build a clear, programmatic alternative inside the Democratic Party? It is, after all, an institution deeply infected with free market/free trade ideology and most of the imperial presumptions of the conservative counter-revolution.

Is there a readiness to mobilize around non-market solutions to the general crisis: To fight openly for the re-regulation of the economy and its planned re-industrialization; for its re-unionization; for redistributive policies to supplant the idée fixe of economic growth; for the dismantling of the petro-industrial complex and its replacement by a new, non-fossil-fuel system of energy production; for a global assault on the global sweatshop?

Will there be a new era of polarization rather than centrism, partisanship rather than bi-partisanship, a head-on confrontation with the Democratic Leadership Council, like the guerilla wars once waged against the John Jacob Raskob and Al Smith elite of the pre-New Deal Democratic Party or the one waged by the Goldwater legions against the silk-stocking Rockefeller Republicans? Once upon a time, someone as mild-mannered as Franklin Delano Roosevelt found it within himself to "welcome the hatred" of those he labeled "economic royalists." Might there be someone equally unafraid waiting in the wings today?

Is there a new order being born, ready to challenge the old one where it is both weakest and also strongest: namely, in the imperial arena? Not only has global aggression proved deadly to all, depraved in its moral consequences, and life-threatening to basic democratic principles and institutions at home, but it has also been the most fruitful, life-giving incubator of the conservative cultural populism which the old order has relied on for a generation. Anti-World War I intellectual Randolph Bourne's prophetic aperçu -- "War is the health of the State" -- needs to be made even more embracing: War has become the health of a whole political culture, not to mention the vast, hard-wired military-industrial apparatus with which it lives in symbiotic bliss. Is there a will to take on that system of cherished phobias, delusional consolations, and implacable interests?

Finally, there is the X factor, most unknowable of all, but also most critical in converting a mere election into something more transformative. Might a social movement or movements emerge from outside the boundaries of conventional politics, catalytic enough to fundamentally alter the prevailing metabolism of political life? Might the mass demonstrations of immigrants portend something of that kind? Might the anti-war movement soon enter a period of more sustained and varied opposition in the face of this administration's barbaric obtuseness? Straws in the wind as we race toward 2008."

Second, is an article in GQ magazine,The People V. Richard Cheney. This article is very thorough, and well written. IMHO, this should also apply to the President.


In his conduct of the office of the vice president of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, contrary to his oath to faithfully execute the office of vice president of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws of this nation be upheld, has deliberately obstructed the nation’s intelligence-gathering capacity...
Using the powers of the office of the vice president of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, contrary to his oath to faithfully execute the office of vice president of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws of this nation be upheld, has personally deceived the American people...
In his conduct of the office of the vice president of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, contrary to his oath to faithfully execute the office of vice president of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws of this nation be upheld, has deliberately embraced and sheltered a known criminal, to the great detriment of American policy.."

The GQ piece explains their reasoning and gives evidence for each article of impeachment. There are a total of 6 articles of impeachment. Again, I suggest you take the time to read this.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Initiative to require married couples to have kids

This is either the stupidist initiative ever seen, or you can consider it anti-woman and anti-gay. Ever read Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale? Right wing religion rears its ugly head......

Wash. initiative would require married couples to have kids ^ | 12:59 PM PST on Tuesday, February 6, 2007 | Staff and Associated Press

Posted on 02/06/2007 2:25:42 PM PST by RoadTest

OLYMPIA, Wash. - An initiative filed by proponents of same-sex marriage would require heterosexual couples to have kids within three years or else have their marriage annulled.

Initiative 957 was filed by the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance. That group was formed last summer after the state Supreme Court upheld Washington's ban on same-sex marriage.

Under the initiative, marriage would be limited to men and women who are able to have children. Couples would be required to prove they can have children in order to get a marriage license, and if they did not have children within three years, their marriage would be subject to annulment.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Was it volcanic ash, was it a meteor? No it was T Rex farts

Climate looniness
Category: Planet Earth
Posted on: February 9, 2007 11:17 AM, by Josh Rosenau

The House Science Committee held a historic hearing on the IPCC report and the status of climate change (link to RealPlayer video of the hearing). It was especially historic because Speaker Pelosi made it the first committee she testified before as Speaker. She expressed her concerns about climate change, and the concerns she's heard from many others.

The hearing continued for over three hours, with a panel of experts occupying most of the time. The panel consisted of climate scientists who had contributed and edited portions of the IPCC report and the Summary for Policy Makers recently released. Chris Mooney covered the hearing for Seed magazine.

But what I want to talk about is not the excellent testimony offered, but the concluding remarks by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher. He had aggressively questioned on witness, pushing a fairly irrelevant question about what fraction of carbon dioxide in the air comes from natural sources, then ignoring the answers he got. In his concluding remarks, he observed that carbon dioxide levels have fluctuated throughout the Earth's history.

"We don't know what those other cycles were caused by in the past," Representative Rohrabacher speculated, "it could be dinosaur flatulence."

No one laughed. Rohrabacher was unable to bring any witnesses who could defend that claim, or indeed any climate change deniers at all.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

From BBC World News

Israeli missile test 'successful'

The Arrow missile was first developed to counter Iraqi scuds
Israel has carried out a successful test of its Arrow missile, the defence ministry has said.
One of the missiles was fired at night and destroyed what Israeli media said was a target similar to Iran's long-range Shahab-3 missile.

Ok, this bit of news tells me everything I need to know. The Bush admin is trooping out their "proof" that Iran is giving arms and exposives to Iraq, including serial numbers, just like prior to the invasion of Iraq. Bogus proof. I mean, where do they get the information from the serial numbers? You think it might be because they are from weapons we SOLD Iran during the Iran Contra affair? Could be, but if we can't track weapons in this country what makes you think we can track them in Iran?

Yep, my crimethought...believe nothing the Bush administration says. I just don't buy it all all. And, again, I ask, why did we ship Patriot missle batteries over there...location not actually determined. 2 aircraft carrier groups in the gulf...remember folks that GROUPS..that is all the ships that support an aircraft carrier and that's alot. Add to that the support personnel, etc, etc.

And the Israelis are just "conveniently" testing a long range missle? B.S. We are going to be taken for a ride of more lies, and sadly, more of our military will be maimed and killed for oil. It just makes me ill.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Texans for Peace Chocolate Party

The speaker was Charlie Jones. The theme was chocolate, for Valentines day...everything chocolate, and very divine chocolate at that.
Charlie spoke of Iraq and some of the Iraq projects, as well as a planned trip to meet with Iraqi women, who are currently living in Jordan. All in all there were so many folks there that have been and continue to be active in the community, including John and Zada Courage, Judy Hall, Jamie Lewis, Sarwat Hussein, and the list goes on. I could not do it justice without a sign in sheet.
Suffice it say, it was well worth attending for the conversation and the chocolate of course!
horrible photo, sorry

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Bushspeak machine
Something fun from the Last Chance Democracy Cafe.

This is very scary news

I hope this does not come to pass. Is Bush totally out of his mind?

Norquist: Bush’s Advisers Telling Him ‘Invade Iran. Then Everyone Will See How Smart We Are’
In this month’s issue of Vanity Fair, Craig Unger writes that the same neoconservative advisers who advocated for the Iraq war are now recycling the same tactics to push for the bombing of Iran. Unger reports that not all of Bush’s key conservative allies are pleased with the administration’s course on Iran:

“Everything the advocates of war said would happen hasn’t happened,” says the president of Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist, an influential conservative who backed the Iraq invasion. “And all the things the critics said would happen have happened. [The president’s neoconservative advisers] are effectively saying, ‘Invade Iran. Then everyone will see how smart we are.’ But after you’ve lost x number of times at the roulette wheel, do you double-down?”

For example, Richard Perle, a former Bush administration official, has said, “I have very little doubt” that Bush would order “necessary military action” against Iran. “Make no mistake, President Bush will need to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities before leaving office,” wrote American Enterprise Institute analyst Joshua Muravchik.

Two other important points from the Unger article:

1) Retired Defense Intelligence official Patrick Lang told Unger that Bush has ordered StratCom — the military command responsible for “nuclear weapons, missile defense and protection against weapons of mass destruction” — to draw up plans for a “massive strike against Iran.” Lang noted that the shift away from Central Command “to StratCom indicates they are talking about a really punishing air-force and naval air attack [on Iran].”

2) Former CIA officer Philip Giraldi said, “I’ve heard from sources at the Pentagon that their impression is that the White House has made a decision that war is going to happen.”

Monday, February 05, 2007

Molly Ivins Memorial Service Sunday, Feb. 4th.

Molly's friend Linda Lewis : "The next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please, pay attention." The audience responded with great laughter, hooting, hollering, thunderous applause, and a standing ovation. There were many wonderful stories told by family and friends. It was a wonderful, joyful service, celebrating the life of a marvelous woman.

Music included several beautiful gospel songs, including one of my favorites, Amazing Grace, performed by a local Gospel group. Eliza Gilkyson sang, and Austin blues musician Marcia Ball performed several songs, including the final song, "Great Balls of Fire."

Following the service many attended the reception at Scholz's Garden, to hoist a brew in Molly's memory.

Honky Tonk Angel

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Punch my card for Gitmo

"A citizen, no less than an alien, can be an enemy combatant,” administration lawyer David B. Salmons told a federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, on Feb. 1, adding that on such issues, the courts cannot interfere with the President’s wartime judgments.

Salmons did pledge that the Executive Branch will use care in deciding who is designated an “enemy combatant.” In response to one judge’s question about the President applying the tag to an activist from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Salmons joked, “the representative of PETA can sleep well at night.”

Nevertheless, Salmons argued that the judgment on who is deemed an “enemy combatant” is solely the discretion of President Bush. [NYT, Feb. 2, 2007

Yep, punch my card for Gitmo. Our "fearless leader" can deem anyone that disagrees with him as an eneny combatant. And, we live in a free country? What about the constitution? Oh, I guess the "fearless leader" and his cronies believe the constitution is just a quaint old document. Never mind the fact that they pledged to protect and defend the constitution. Dissidents will be disappeared? Wait and see, comrades.

Friday, February 02, 2007