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Archive for February 9th, 2007

Bush unites world against the US

Posted by Charles II on February 9, 2007

Juxtapose two news stories.

Amir Oren in Haaretz:  

Here, in southern Spain, the defense ministers of the NATO member-states met with their Russian counterpart, Sergei Ivanov, against a backdrop of U.S. administration determination to confront Iran. The circumstances have changed and the roles have been reversed: [Contrary to the situation in the 1950s,] The Iranians have become the rivals [of the US] and the Russians partners [of the Europeans], albeit only up to a point, not least because of anxiety in Europe about ensuring the continent’s sources of energy.

 and

Vladimir Simonov in the Russian News and Information Agency Novosti:

We need the full range of military capabilities,” including ground combat forces to battle large armies and nimble special operations troops to scout out terrorist threats, Gates told the House Armed Services Committee. “We don’t know what’s going to develop in places like Russia and China, in North Korea, in Iran and elsewhere,” he said.

Did Gates add Russia to the “axis of evil” by mistake? I don’t think so, as he said some time later that in addition to waging a war on global terror, the Untied States needed to confront threats created by the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea, and unclear positions of such countries as Russia and China, which are also building up their armaments.

It is not unreasonable to conclude that the Bush Administration is deliberately exacerbating relations with the Russians, and that the Russians increasingly see an opportunity to expand their influence into a region that historically was favorable to them, probably through supplying arms. The Europeans, seeing nothing of benefit from Washington and realizing that their future oil supplies will be from Russia and Iran, are inclined to support those nations against the US.

It is absolutely incredible that Bush could have destroyed our influence so thoroughly.
 
 

Posted in Bush, BushCo malfeasance, eedjits, GOP bullying, Iran, madness of King George, Oil, Russia | Comments Off on Bush unites world against the US

Screen names: the sociology of junk mail

Posted by Charles II on February 9, 2007

Jon Ronson, The Guardian: 

April 2006. The postman has just been and I’m doing the usual thing of throwing the credit card junk mail in the bin. There was one today, from Capital One. British households receive 3.4 billion unsolicited letters – mainly credit card junk – each year. That works out at nine to 15 letters per household per week (not to mention the 1,300-plus junk emails we averagely receive annually). So I get less than most people.

 I wonder: how do they know I exist? Am I randomly blasted, or is there a method? Do the junk mailers pinpoint particular personality types? …

And then I have a brainwave. I’ll devise an experiment. I’ll create a number of personas. Their surnames will all be Ronson, and they’ll all live at my address, but they’ll have different first names. Each will be poles apart, personality-wise. Each will have a unique set of hopes, desires, predilections, vices and spending habits, reflected in the various mailing lists they’ll sign up to – from Porsche down to hardcore pornography. The one thing that will unite them is that they won’t be interested in credit cards. They will not seek loans or any financial services as they wander around, filling out lifestyle surveys, entering competitions and buying things by mail order. Whenever they’re invited to tick a box forbidding whichever company from passing their details to other companies, they’ll neglect to tick the box.

Which, if any, of my personas will end up getting sent junk mail? Which personality type will be most attractive to the credit card companies?

It’s hilarious. Read the rest here.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Bush’s legacy: endless war

Posted by Charles II on February 9, 2007

From Ewen MacAskill, one of the best foreign analysts in the business.

US preparations for an air strike against Iran are at an advanced stage, in spite of repeated public denials by the Bush administration, according to informed sources in Washington.

The present military build-up in the Gulf would allow the US to mount an attack by the spring. But the sources said that if there was an attack, it was more likely next year, just before Mr Bush leaves office.

…Vincent Cannistraro, a Washington-based intelligence analyst, shared the sources’ assessment that Pentagon planning was well under way. “Planning is going on, in spite of public disavowals by Gates. Targets have been selected. For a bombing campaign against nuclear sites, it is quite advanced. The military assets to carry this out are being put in place.”

He added: “We are planning for war. It is incredibly dangerous.”

…Afshin Molavi, a fellow of the New America Foundation, said: “To argue diplomacy has not worked is false because it has not been tried….”

The Coward in Chief wants to start a regional war and leave it for his successor to end. “Despicable” barely scratches the surface of this.

Posted in Iran, madness of King George | 3 Comments »

Haiti: nothing to see here, says AP

Posted by Charles II on February 9, 2007

Massive demonstrations in seven Haitian cities

 As censored by the Associated Press (but reported by that Haiti Information Project):

 Challenging recent assertions made by the United Nations that the Lavalas movement is dead, crowds estimated at well over 100,000 took to the streets of seven major cities throughout Haiti on February 7 to demand an end to the UN occupation, freedom for political prisoners and the return of exiled president Aristide. Lavalas is the political movement of Haiti’s desperately poor majority and the political party of president Jean-Bertrand Aristide who was ousted on February 29, 2004 in a coup reportedly backed by the United States, France and Canada.

Although the largest demonstrations took place in the capital of Port-au-Prince and Haiti’s second largest city Cap Haitien, thousands were reported to have joined similar actions in Port de Paix, Hinche, La Kay, St. Marc and Miragoane. Smaller actions were also reported in the towns of Jacmel, Leogane and Gonaives.

…”Down with the UN!” was the common chant as the demonstration passed by without incident.

Posted in beat the press, BushCo malfeasance, GOP/Media Complex, Haiti | 4 Comments »

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on February 9, 2007

Alex says hi.

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

It’s official. Pentagon IG report slams Bushco.

Posted by Charles II on February 9, 2007

This is to follow up on MEC’s post below.

Titled Review of Pre-Iraqi War Activities by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, the Inspector General of the Department of Defense has exposed a number of the lies that undergird the Republican myths on Iraq.

It says that Douglas Feith “developed, produced and then disseminated alternative intelligence assessments on the Iraq and al-Qaida relationship that included some assessments that were inconsistent with the consensus of the Intelligence Community,” which it called “inappropriate.”   

Sen. Carl Levin released the Executive Summary, and provided one example:

…the Feith office promoted the view that a meeting allegedly took place in Prague in April of 2001 – 5 months before 9/11 – between the lead 9/11 hijacker, Mohammed Atta, and an Iraqi intelligence officer. The Feith office took the position that this alleged meeting was “key” evidence of Iraqi involvement in the 9/11 attacks – despite the fact that the Intelligence Community was skeptical that the meeting ever happened….

I wish that our elected officials could be a lot more blunt. This is, however, one more crack in the facade of our militarized state. 

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

In Your Face, Thugs!

Posted by MEC on February 9, 2007

The Republicans in Congress and in the blogosphere and on Fox News are trying to make a big scandal out of the security requirement that the Speaker of the House travel in a military plane, now that the Speaker is a Democrat.

We could counter their attacks by explaining that (a) it wasn’t Nancy Pelosi who decided to requisition a military plane instead of flying commercial, and (b) the “secure” plane on which she travels has to have the fuel capacity to make it all the way from D.C. to California.

But you know how much effect facts and reason have on those people. So let’s just show them what we think of their attempts to undermine Speaker Pelosi’s authority and integrity — and remind them of inconvenient truths.

The clever folks in Salon‘s Table Talk forum suggest we refer to the military plane in which Speaker Pelosi travels as “Air Force Three.”

Posted in GOP bullying, Pelosi, Table Talk | 3 Comments »

The Party of Morality Strikes Again

Posted by MEC on February 9, 2007

The party that claims to be guardian of traditional values and morality needs to pick its leaders more carefully, eh?

State GOP youth leader charged with rape in Ohio

A Cuyahoga County grand jury returned a 17-count indictment Wednesday against Michael A. Flory, 32, including charges of rape, kidnapping, aggravated burglary, gross sexual imposition and witness intimidation.

Flory, who lives in the East Lansing area, is chairman of the Michigan Federation of Young Republicans, an organization for Republicans from age 18 to 40. He attended the convention of the National Federation of Young Republicans last summer.
[…]
Assistant County Prosecutor Carol Skutnik said the case is based largely on the victim’s statement but that there is other possible evidence. She would not elaborate.

A 17-count indictment? Burglary? Witness intimidation? That “other possible evidence” must be pretty serious.

“Mike Flory is truly one of the rising stars of GOP politics in America.”

Posted in Republicans | 2 Comments »

Bill Donohue Boasts Of Breaking The Law

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 9, 2007

Bill “Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It‘s not a secret, OK?” Donohue, in his latest attack on John Edwards, made a slight “oopsie”. See if you can spot it here (if you’d rather not give his site any clicks, go here):

“Edwards said today that ‘We’re beginning a great debate about the future of our country, and we can’t let it be hijacked.’ I have news for him—the Catholic League—not Edwards—will decide what the debate will be about, and it won’t be about the nation.

Hmmm. Here’s what Jeffrey Feldman pointed out the other day:

DONOHUE MAY HAVE BROKEN LAW PROHIBITING INTERVENTION IN POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS

According to United States law governing the behavior of 501(c)(3) organizations, it seems highly likely that William Donohue–President of the Catholic League, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization–may have broken the law by attempting to intervene in a political campaign.

Hey, Nedra Pickler! Over HERE! Lookit!

UPDATE: From PFAW by way of Atrios, here’s another example:

I’m going to try to do my job to intimidate the Senate Judiciary Committee so they do their job more carefully.

Remember, as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, the Catholic League shouldn’t be doing this. Donohue is breaking the law.

UPDATE 2: Looks like we could work to get the IRS to take away his tax-exempt status — or we could get the New York State Attorney General’s office to shut him down completely. (The complaint form for this is found here.) I say we try to do both.

UPDATE 3: More evidence, from his appearance on Tucker Carlson’s MSNBC show, that Donohue, speaking in his capacity as head of a 501(c)(3), has repeatedly broken the law by trying to force the firings of staffers in various other Democratic campaigns:(h/t to DDay)

TUCKER: Heading up the campaign to get the women fired from the Edwards campaign is Bill Donohue. He‘s president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, and he joins us now.

…..

DONOHUE: I‘m getting reports all day that the Edwards campaign is in a state of disarray. There‘s an unconfirmed report that they were fired. I can tell you this much, it doesn‘t surprise me Tucker. If these were veteran people, they would have taken the fall for the big guy. They would have done the right thing, but these are two little brats, who obviously have been getting away with this for a long time.

…..
DONOHUE: Well, (INAUDIBLE{actually it was Mara Vanderslice}) in 2004 worked for the Kerry/Edwards campaign. I found about her background and they had to silence her. Then they got Brenda Bartel Peterson (ph) to quit or be fired because of her background.

Posted in beat the press, blogger ethics, blogs and blogging, distractions, GOP bullying, John Edwards, William Donohue | 4 Comments »

Oh, Here’s a Surprise

Posted by MEC on February 9, 2007

From The Guardian:
Pentagon report to condemn ‘inappropriate’ Iraq intelligence

The Pentagon’s inspector general was expected to criticise Douglas Feith, the third most senior official in the US defence department from July 2001 to August 2005, for “inappropriate”, but not illegal, intelligence activities.

[…]

Mr Feith, who resigned in 2005, was a major cheerleader for invading Iraq, to the irritation of some of the Pentagon’s generals. General Tommy Franks, the military commander of the 2003 war in Iraq, once referred to Mr Feith as “the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth”.

Leaked excerpts from a summary of the report said Mr Feith’s office drew on “both reliable and unreliable” intelligence reports in 2002 to produce a link between al-Qaida and Iraq “that was much stronger than that assessed by the IC [intelligence community] and more in accord with the policy views of senior officials in the administration”.

The Pentagon inspector general stated that the office of special plans produced intelligence assessments “inconsistent” with, and far more conclusive than the US intelligence consensus.

Shorter version: “The facts were fixed around the policy”.

Posted in anti-truth, Doug Feith, government malfeasance, Iraq war, Pentagon | 2 Comments »

 
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