Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A "Must Watch" Video

I was blown away when I sat down in front of the computer last night and watched the British documentary "Iraq, The Hidden War".

The film looks at the difference between the war coverage shown in the US and the much more complete (and graphic) coverage shown to the rest of the world. In examining this subject the film also gives us the first realistic picture that I have seen in years of the current conditions inside Iraq, both for the fighters, the news crews and the ordinary Iraqis.

Watch it. It runs about 50 minutes, but you can pause it and come back to it as you need/want.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

No S--t, Sherlock

I just saw this headline over at Raw Story: "Snow: Fox not official channel at WH". Well, duh. Of course it isn't. This is, obviously.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Time To Pay The Piper

In George Orwell's "Animal Farm", all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

In the world of Howard Dean, and many of our other "friends", All people are equal but some are more equal than others, and that's how it is supposed to be, apparently.

I am tired of being manipulated. I am sick of having fear shoved at me as a motivator.

No, Mr. Bush. I am not going to silently stand by and watch the constitution being torn to shreds because "The smoking gun may turn out to be a mushroom cloud." That's fear mongering and Homie don't play that game.

And no, Mr. Dean. I am not going to be satisfied with being kinda equal. I am not going to give up my principles because you tell me that standing up for my self and my community may doom the Democratic Party and allow the Republicans to stay in power. Can't have that, you say, because the GOP doesn't believe in gay equality.

Well, that's fear mongering too, my friend. I ain't gonna play that game for you, either.

Let's see just what kind of equality the Democrats would have us believe we should accept.

The kind of equality where we don't get to decide who to marry and spend the rest of our life with?

The kind of equality where we aren't equal enough to don a uniform and lay down our life for our country?

The kind of equality where we aren't equal enough to be mentioned in the history books or even worthy enough to have our very existance acknowledged in most schools?

The kind of equality where a dying police officer had to crawl out of her death bed to plead with the city council to award her death benefits to her wife? (oooh, don't use the "W" word, you say, it freaks the straights out - Fuck you!)

We are not stupid, Mr. Dean. We have watched the Bush administration pass law after law allowing big business to screw the ordinary citizen. But we have also noticed, in an awful lot of those cases, that a bunch of Democrats voted with the Republicans. Frankly you guys aren't all that better.

I want a Democratic Party that stands up for the regular folks, not the rich. A party that will protect me from the avarice and greed of multi-billion dollar corporations.

I want a party that believes in the sanctity of the ballot box, and will do every thing in its power to see that every vote counts. (and that there is a way to verify it).

I want a party that believes in true equality for every citizen of this great country, no matter skin color, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, age or economic status.

I want a party that finds the practice of throwing the mentally ill, the infirm, the aged and the poor into the streets and forcing them to eat out of garbage cans as abhorant as I do.

I want a party that will stand up to the insanity of "intelligent design", the insanity of agreeing that creationism and other kooky ideas are equal to scientific fact.

I want a party that will stand up, with no equivication, for a woman's right to decide.

I want a party of principle. A party that will state what it believes, and then stand up for those beliefs. Appeasment and bending your stance to follow the polls quite frankly sucks or blows or whatever the current word is.

If you can't be that, why the hell should I support you?

You know, I hear that the religious right is giving the same message to the GOP right about now.

I guess the time has come to pay the piper.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I Could Tell You, But Then I Would Have To Kill You



Judge dismissed prisoner's lawsuit on national security grounds

ROCKVILLE, Md. A federal judge in Maryland says a prisoner's private interests have to "give way to the national interest in preserving state secrets."

U-S District Judge T.S. Ellis is dismissing a lawsuit by a German man who said he was illegally detained and tortured in overseas prisons run by the C-I-A.Ellis says a secret written briefing from the director of central intelligence convinced him that letting Khaled al-Masri (kha-LED' ahl MAHZ'-ree) sue the C-I-A would harm national security.The ruling makes no determination on the validity of al-Masri's case. Al-Masri claims he was kidnapped, brutally beaten and drugged over five months before he was dumped on an abandoned road in Albania.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed by order of The Department Of Homeland Security. Violation of this order may result in fines or imprisonment and torture in secret overseas prisons.


Undermining Security Over There So That We Won't Have To Undermine It At Home

"Siga El Dinero" (Deepthroat)

Bush solicita $1.9B para alentar las fronteras - Por SUZANNE GAMBOA, Escritor Asociado Jueves, De Mayo El 18 De 2006 De la Prensa (05-18) 09:08 PDT WASHINGTON, (AP) -- Presidente Bush envió congreso $1.9 mil millones una petición jueves de aumentar seguridad de la frontera como partidarios del control reafirmado arrebatador de la legislación de inmigración en el discusión del senado. La casa blanca dijo que el dinero pagaría los "primeros 1.000 de 6.000 agentes nuevos de la patrulla de frontera que serán desplegados en los dos años próximos," así como el despliegue temporal de hasta 6.000 tropas del protector nacional a los estados a lo largo de la frontera mexicana. La petición incluye los fondos para las nuevas barreras que cercan y otras así como dos aviones sin tripulación nuevos de la vigilancia y cinco helicópteros para contener la inmigración ilegal. La casa blanca envió la petición al congreso mientras que el presidente viajó a Yuma, Ariz. dramatizar su comisión para confinar control y el senado trabajó sobre el reacondicionamiento más arrebatador de la ley de la inmigración en dos décadas. Después de votar estrecho y en gran parte a lo largo de las líneas de partido noche de miércoles para barrar a trabajadores de huésped de solicitar en sus el propios para la personalidad jurídica, el senado reconsideró. En un voto de dos partidos políticos de 56-43, la prohibición fue diluida para decir que los trabajadores de huésped puede buscar generalmente personalidad jurídica en sus el propios si el gobierno no determina a ningún trabajador americano está disponible para llenar el trabajo. Sensor. Juan Cornyn, R-Tejas, dijo que la oferta que despejó el la noche de miércoles fue diseñado proteger a trabajadores americanos, y el reemplazo los "trabajadores americanos puestos en el asiento trasero y los trabajadores extranjeros... en el asiento delantero." Sensor. El espectro de Arlen, R-Pa., presidente del comité judicial, dicho, "pienso que hay un valor más alto en no tener el inmigrante conforme al control del patrón donde allí puede ser coerción y ejercer presión sobre..." Los líderes del senado han dicho que esperan el paso de la legislación polémica por la semana próxima. Incluye medidas de apretar control sobre las fronteras, de crear un nuevo programa del trabajador de huésped y de ofrecer una trayectoria a la ciudadanía para millones de inmigrantes ilegales ya en el país. Las perspectivas del paso del congreso final este año son altamente inciertas, dado la oposición fuerte entre republicanos a las ofertas de Bush referentes a ciudadanía. La petición de financiamiento de Bush vino con un compromiso que no conduciría a un aumento a corto plazo en el déficit. La casa blanca dijo que compensaría el gasto por "ciertos esfuerzos militares menos-urgentes delaying de la consecución" a las cuentas futuras del gasto. Los progresos vinieron un día después de que una serie de choques que hicieron que el discusión nacional sobre la inmigración se parece como una pelea de la familia, estilo republicano. "sin importar lo que dice el presidente, qué él está proponiendo es amnistía," dijo a Representante James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., el legislador que conduciría a negociadores de la casa en cualquier tentativa de bosquejar una cuenta de la inmigración del compromiso más adelante este año. Es amnistía, "porque permite a gente que ha roto la ley para permanecer en el país," Sensenbrenner dicho de las posiciones Bush estacado hacia fuera en su discurso anterior en la semana. Bush estaba parada su tierra. "el partido republicano necesita conducir en la aplicación la inmigración," él dijo a audiencia de los donantes de GOP, "... América puede ser una sociedad legal y una sociedad que da la bienvenida y nosotros no tenemos que elegir entre los dos." Contenga la legislación que la oposición democrática vigorosa el año pasado excesiva pasada haría a todos los inmigrantes ilegales conforme al procesamiento como criminales. En una llamada de conferencia con los reporteros, Sensenbrenner dijo que Bush tenía "básicamente dio vuelta el suyo trasero" en una cuenta resistente de la seguridad de la frontera después de solicitar que ciertas provisiones sean incluidas antes de paso de la casa el año pasado. El miércoles, el senado siguió el plomo de la casa y votó 83-16 para construir 370 millas de la cerca en las áreas "usadas lo más a menudo posible por los contrabandistas y los extranjeros ilegales" según lo determinado por los funcionarios federales. La casa aprobó dos veces tanto cercar en su cuenta. El senado también aprobó 500 millas de barreras del vehículo. Los partidarios dijeron que el cercar y las barreras podrían ayudar a mejorar economías en las comunidades donde se localizan y a reducir crimen. Pero los opositores dijeron que las barreras cambiarían de puesto tráfico ilegal del inmigrante y del contrabando a las áreas de la frontera sin cercar. La cuenta subyacente del senado preve una cerca "virtual" a lo largo de la frontera usando las cámaras fotográficas, los sensores y la otra tecnología para supervisar la frontera. Sensor. Las sesiones de Jeff, R-Ala., estimaban el coste en áspero $3.2 millones por milla, más de $900 millones para 300 millas. Él dijo que la cerca enviaría "una señal que los días de la abrir-frontera encima." Pero Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., dijo el coste sería mucho más alto, mientras que Sen. Dick Durbin, eneldo, predijo que el cercar sería una "señal" en una cerca que estira la longitud de la frontera. Todos los republicanos y más que la mitad de los demócratas del senado apoyaron la oferta. ___ La cuenta es S. 2611. ___ En la red: Senado: www.senate.gov URL: Prensa Asociada ©2006 De http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2006/05/18/national/w090834D07.DTL

Monday, May 15, 2006

And How's Your Day?

It's a good thing that President Bush doesn't read newspapers. If he did he wouldn't be in a good mood today.

From The Daytona Beach News-Journal:

"U.S. lawbreaker-in-chief - President Bush stokes constitutional crisis"
The NSA continues to spy on Americans. The president continues to lie to Americans about the extent of the spying, or its purpose, since tens of millions of Americans couldn't possibly be terrorist suspects or "bad guys," and call patterns can be analyzed as much for their connections to whistle-blowers and reporters who reveal what an out-of-control operation the Bush administration has become as to connections to fanatics in Kandahar. How does the president get away with it?

How else: By breaking the very laws he signs through the same kind of self-serving legalese that he's used to justify arbitrary imprisonment, torture, secret prisons, domestic spying and who knows what else?
[...]
To Bush, it's a matter of interpreting presidential authority. To anyone else with a middle-school understanding of the Constitution and the balance of powers, it's lawbreaking.


----------


From The New York Times

Conservative Christians Warn Republicans Against Inaction

Some of President Bush's most influential conservative Christian allies are becoming openly critical of the White House and Republicans in Congress, warning that they will withhold their support in the midterm elections unless Congress does more to oppose same-sex marriage, obscenity and abortion.

"There is a growing feeling among conservatives that the only way to cure the problem is for Republicans to lose the Congressional elections this fall," said Richard Viguerie, a conservative direct-mail pioneer.
[...]
"I can't tell you how much anger there is at the Republican leadership," Mr. Viguerie said. "I have never seen anything like it."

----------

From The Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Bad judgment in the wilderness of mirrors
By Joseph Galloway
Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON - It was entirely predictable that the Bush administration's attempts to reform U.S. intelligence in the middle of a war and an endless series of political firestorms would come to no good end.
[...]
At this juncture in our history, it would be better if the president had the best intelligence that money and knowledge and experience in the ways of infiltrating hard target states and bad guy groups can buy. But he doesn't, and he won't for months or even years -- in part because his administration and especially his vice president value political loyalty more than competence.

All of it is reminiscent of that famous line in the cartoon strip Pogo in which the possum declares: "We has met the enemy, and it is us."

Friday, May 12, 2006

It's Baaack!

"TIA may have died on paper, But it got parceled out to various other agencies, including the NSA."



The San Francisco Chronicle is offering a good argument that the phone call data that the NSA is gathering almost surely is being used for "Data Mining" as originally envisioned by the now supposedly defunct Total Information Awareness program

Government interest in data mining increased sharply after the Sept. 11 attacks. Unlike the private sector, intelligence officials began exploring ways to use the technique to identify and track individuals suspected of terrorist links. In 2002, the Department of Defense, through the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) launched the "Total Information Awareness" project -- later changed to "Terrorism Information Awareness" (TIA) to counter the impression that the program would spy on U.S. citizens.

The goal of TIA, its now defunct Web site explained, was to link certain transactions -- applications for passports, visas, work permits, driver's licenses, automotive rentals, airline ticket purchases, receipts for chemical purchases -- to arrests or suspicious activities.

The program, the brainchild of President Ronald Reagan's national security adviser John Poindexter, collapsed under public and political criticism in 2003. But the idea lived on, said Forno, who lectured on information warfare at the National Defense University from 2001 to 2003 and participated in the 2000 White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Information Security Education Research Project.

"TIA may have died on paper," he said. "But it got parceled out to various other agencies, including the NSA."


A January 2006 report (pdf) prepared by the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress pointed out that funding for the TIA was prohibited by Congress in 2003. However unspecified parts of the TIA inititive were allowed to be "funded as part of DOD's classified budget, subject to the provisions of the National Foreign Intelligence Program, which restricts the processing and analysis of Information on US citizens."

Thursday, May 11, 2006

What The Fuck, Fox?

We learned today that every telephone call made by the vast majority of Americans for the past four and a half years (Quest customers are the lucky exceptions) has been logged into government computers. The government now knows who we called or were called by, when we called and how long we talked. If we talked on a cell phone they probably have a record of our travels as we talked.

We are told that the call tracking doesn't really impact our privacy because our names aren't in the records only our phone numbers are. As if matching a phone number to a name isn't child's play in this Googlized world.

Civil libertarians, constitutional scholars and many others are in meltdown over this revelation.

Newspapers across the land are predicting that the nomination of General Hayden, who headed the NSA as this program was implimented and who gave what turned out to be extremely inaccurate testimony to Congress on the subject earlier, could very well be upset by this latest disclosure.

So imagine my suprise when I found that Fox News was bucking the trend

(From Fox News)

Hayden Nomination Unlikely to Be Sidelined by NSA Reports

According to Fox, the whole thing is being blown out of proportion. They say that it is just a bunch of computer geeks doing some outrageous far out thing with phone numbers that none of us regular people would be able to make heads or tails from.

(A) key congressional aide familiar with algorithmic programming told FOX News that the NSA program sounds like a lot of mathematical analyses.

"It's your number-crunching geeks that put this together," the aide said.

While the aide said he had no knowledge of this particular NSA program, based on the reporting, the NSA plan allows phone number groups to be connected to other phone number groups to create a web of numbers.

Over top of that web, analysts can lay known information on Al Qaeda and other terror organizations and quickly find relationships among number groups.

Law enforcement agencies use similar types of activities, he said, adding that something similar to the NSA program is currently being used to ferret out conspiracies in the drug trade.

The aide pointed out that based on the reports, it is not a data-mining program because no content comes out of the phone numbers. He added that phone numbers are not inherently private.

"There's no constitutional protection to your phone number," he said.

Yes, But there are laws protecting the privacy of our phone records.

Fox claims that even key Democrats aren't upset:

As one lawmaker who has previously been briefed on the various NSA programs, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she the program does not sound intrusive.

"I think it's fair to say that what was in the newspaper this morning is not content collection," she said.


That sounded pretty lame, coming from DiFi, so I checked Google News to see what she really had said:

"Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat and member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, had praised Hayden earlier in the week. But she said Thursday that the new disclosures of a more expansive NSA role under his command could harm his nomination.

"I believe we are on our way to a major constitutional confrontation on Fourth Amendment guarantees of unreasonable search and seizure," Feinstein said. "I think this is also going to present a growing impediment to the confirmation of General Hayden. And that is very regretted."

More Good News Being Ignored By Liberal MSM!

Yes, once again the liberal mainstream media is ignoring good news in the War On Terror.

We ARE being greeted with flowers, just as our great leaders said we would be!

The Danger Is On The OTHER Border!

I just read about a bunch of anti-illegal immigration hotshots who are surrounding and threatening drivers who attempt to pick up day laborers in a Vista, CA. parking lot. Gotta give 'em a pat on the back. These guys are so tough that they refuse to affiliate with that wussey Minuteman group.
"The Minutemen are so squeaky clean," he said. "Some of us choose to be (only) loosely affiliated with the Minutemen, so that maybe we have the option of not being that squeaky clean if we so desire."


The problem, of course, is that like most Americans they are worried about the wrong border. Now I have to admit that I snickered at the lone Minuteman, featured on Tuesday's edition of The Daily Show, sitting on his lawn chair protecting America's border with Canada. But by God, today I have to admit that he is right.

You see, we are being threatened by a hitherto unknown species of, hold on to your seats, a new species of bear.

And do you what the really scary part is? That hybrid bear was discovered to be carrying a piece of paper with Stephen Colbert's home address. (The strange thing is, the handwriting on the paper looks a lot like that of President Bush.)