Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Gore Vidal's State of the Union

Today, the 31st of January, in the hallowed year, election year, of ’06, could be a memorable day if we all do our part, which is simply to concentrate, among other things, and do perhaps what a couple of groups have decided would be useful for the President, I guess his State of the Union. We might give him some idea of our state, which is one of great dissatisfaction with him and his regime. And there's talk of perhaps demonstrating in front of the Capitol or here or there around the country to show that the union is occupied by people who happen to be patriots. And patriots do not like this government.

This is an unpatriotic government. This is a government that deals openly in illegalities, whether it is attacking a country which has done us no harm, two countries -- Iraq and Afghanistan -- because we now believe, not in declaring war through Congress as the Constitution requires, but through the President. ‘Well, I think there are some terrorists over there, and I think we got to bomb them, huh? We'll bomb them.’ Now, we’ve had idiots as presidents before. He's not unique. But he's certainly the most active idiot that we have ever had.

And now here we are planning new wars, ongoing wars in the Middle East. And so as he comes with his State of the Union, which he is going to justify eavesdropping without judicial warrants on anybody in the United States that he wants to listen in on. This is what we call dictatorship. Dictatorship. Dictatorship. And it is time that we objected. Don't say wait ‘til the next election and do it through that. We can't trust the elections, thanks to Diebold and S&S and all the electronic devices which are being flogged across the country to make sure that elections can be so rigged that the villains will stay in power.

Read the whole speech.

Swept under the rug, how the US is responsible for a nuclear (peaceful or not) Iran

Lost in Bush’s current obsession with Iran’s nuclear intentions is the fact that the United States—from the Eisenhower administration through the Carter years—played a major role in the development of Iran’s nuclear program. In 1957, Washington and Teheran signed their first civil nuclear cooperation agreement. Over the next two decades, the United States provided Iran not only with technical assistance but with its first experimental nuclear reactor, complete with enriched uranium and plutonium with fissile isotopes. Despite the refusal of the shah to rule out the possibility of Iran developing nuclear weapons, the Ford administration approved the sale to Iran of up to eight nuclear reactors (with fuel) and later cleared the sale of lasers believed to be capable of enriching uranium. Surpassing any danger from the mullahs now in power, the shah's megalomania led arms control advocates to fear a diversion of the technology for military purposes.

The Washington Post reported that an initially hesitant President Ford was assured by his advisers that Iran was only interested in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy despite the country’s enormous reserves of oil and natural gas. Ironically, Ford’s secretary of defense was Donald Rumsfeld, his chief of staff was Dick Cheney, and his head of nonproliferation efforts at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency was Paul Wolfowitz, all of whom—as officials in the current administration—have insisted that Iran’s nuclear program must be assumed to have military applications.

Having already successfully fooled most of Congress and the American public into believing that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had an active nuclear weapons program, the Bush administration and congressional leaders of both parties are now claiming that it is Iran that has an active nuclear weapons program. As with Iraq, the administration does not look too kindly on those who question its assumptions.… When the IAEA published a detailed report in November 2004 concluding that its extensive inspections had revealed no evidence of Iran pursuing a nuclear weapons program, the Bush administration responded by attempting to oust the IAEA director.


1/31/2006 AP article: U.N. Says Iran Holds Illicit Nuke Document

1/5/2006 The Guardian: The book, State of War by James Risen, the New York Times reporter who exposed the Bush administration's controversial domestic spying operation, claims the CIA give the Iranians blueprints to build a bomb, but the plans contained fatal flaws designed to derail Tehran's nuclear drive.

These are the same documents...both stories are out of Vienna, and they both refer to either hemispherical forms or firing sets...all parts of a nuclear weapon's core.

The CIA claims that all nuclear technology that Iran has acquired came from A.Q. Khan. This is not true in any material fashion. Unidentified "foreign intermediaries" suppled Iran with centrifuge components in the mid-1980s. [see pg. 6]

Monday, January 30, 2006

In the Mideast, the gap between U.S. rhetoric and reality

From Anatol Lieven of the International Herald Tribune:

The victory of Hamas in the Palestinian elections ought to lead to a fundamental rethinking of U.S. strategy in the Middle East, especially since it follows electoral successes for Islamist parties in Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

The most important lesson of the elections is that the United States cannot afford to use the rhetoric of spreading democracy as an excuse for avoiding dealing with pressing national grievances and wishes. If the United States pursues or supports policies that are detested by a majority of ordinary people, then these people will react accordingly if they are given a chance to vote.

The Bush administration's combination of preaching human rights with torture, of preaching democracy to Muslims with contempt for the views of those same Muslims, has not helped either the spread of democracy or U.S. interests but badly damaged both.

In fact, the distance between Bush administration rhetoric and observable reality in some areas is beginning to look almost reminiscent of Soviet Communism. And as in the Soviet Union, this gap is also becoming more and more apparent to the rest of the world.

Go get 'em tiger...

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Iran Oil Bourse: Everyone, except Americans, knows this is the reason the US/Israel will attack

There lies the wisdom of the month of March. This danger hides behind the hullabaloo that Iran will conduct a nuclear experiment in March. An Iranian petroleum market that is indexed on the Euro is more dangerous for the USA than any nuclear weapon.

The USA, which is working on controlling global petroleum markets under the label of “fighting terrorism” is actually fighting an economic war. However, as it becomes more and more aggressive, it is sinking deeper and deeper...

From Free Market News:

Jeff Vail explains why the Fed will discontinue to publish the M3 Money Supply numbers around the same time that Iran will open its bourse. HINT: It's to hide the move away from the dollar...

Great overview of the Iran/Petrodollar Issue by Soj

November 9th post:
The Real Reason the US will Attack Iran: EUROS

January 12th post:
The American Economy's Future: From people who know

Bush's Spies, Lies and Wiretaps

From an excellent article on the reasons Bush is doing what he's doing, and why it's illegal:

A bit over a week ago, President Bush and his men promised to provide the legal, constitutional and moral justifications for the sort of warrantless spying on Americans that has been illegal for nearly 30 years. Instead, we got the familiar mix of political spin, clumsy historical misinformation, contemptuous dismissals of civil liberties concerns, cynical attempts to paint dissents as anti-American and pro-terrorist, and a couple of big, dangerous lies.

Related story about what happens when you challenge the legality of what Bush's administration is doing.

No, really, we don't negotiate with terrorists...

American officials in Iraq are in face-to-face talks with high-level Iraqi Sunni insurgents, NEWSWEEK has learned. Americans are sitting down with "senior members of the leadership" of the Iraqi insurgency, according to Americans and Iraqis with knowledge of the talks (who did not want to be identified when discussing a sensitive and ongoing matter). The talks are taking place at U.S. military bases in Anbar province, as well as in Jordan and Syria.

Russia and USA compete over the influence on post-Soviet space

With the upcoming Ukrainian parliamentary election on March 26, it will be interesting to see how the US and Russia jockey their horses. The current, US-backed president Viktor Yushchenko is lagging in the polls behind the challenger, Viktor Yanukovch who in 2004 actually won the initial election, but questions arose and after another two rounds of voting his victory was overturned. Yushchenko was poisoned during the election season.

The inability of both Mr. Yushchenko and his former ally Mrs. Tymoshenko to strengthen the success of the orange revolution was the most amazing event of the last year," says The Financial Times in its editorial published on January 16.

Related Pravda article: Export of freedom and democracy brings only crisis to former Soviet States

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Russia to Have Permanent Moonbase by 2020

Russia is planning to mine a rare fuel on the Moon by 2020, with a permanent base and a heavy cargo transport link, a Russian space official an-nounced Wednesday. If these plans come to fruition, they will put Russia ahead of the U.S. in colonizing and developing the Moon.

Russia's Energia aerospace corporation is currently doing research on a project to mine Helium-3, a potential fuel for future nuclear reactors, on the Moon and bring it to the Earth. The study should be ready before 2010, Energia President Nikolai Sevastyanov said .

Israeli MP calls for assassinating all newly elected Hamas deputies

This from
Efi Eitam who in interviews was quoted as saying "I have a dream to lead the entire Israeli people. I think it is my destiny".

Eitam was quoted by Hebrew media as calling on the Israeli government to liquidate all Hamas representatives in the PLC. He said,
"they should all be added to the intelligence hit list."

Email Efi Eitam, and let him know that killing elected officials is not the answer. You may want to remind him that he was elected too.

Bush's Folly

Bush admonishes Americans to stay the course. But staying the course has no inherent virtue as a strategy. Napoleon stayed the course during his invasion of Russia - and his splendid army perished in the Russian winter. Union general Ambrose Burnside stayed the course during the American civil war - sending wave after wave of troops charging up the bluff against Confederate guns at Fredericksburg, with predictable results. Many investors in Enron and Worldcom stayed the course - and rode those stocks all the way to bankruptcy.

Sometimes, staying the course is simply an act of folly. The American people need to at least consider the possibility that the current mission in Iraq may be one of those occasions.

George Washington: As pertinent today as in 1796

Excerpts from Washington's 1796, farewell address:

The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, 'till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole People, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the People to establish Government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established Government.

All obstructions to the execution of the Laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force - to put in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party; often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common councils, and modified by mutual interests. However combinations or associations of the above descriptions may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the Power of the People, and to usurp for themselves the reins of Government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissention, which in different ages and countries, has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an Individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.

It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those intrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres; avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories, and constituting each the Guardian of the Public Weal against invasion by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the People, the distribution or modification of the Constitutional Powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any particular or transient benefit which the use can at any time yield.

As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is, to use it as sparingly as possible: avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it - avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of Peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear.

In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression, I could wish, that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our Nation from running the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of Nations. But if I may even flatter myself, that they may be productive of some partial benefit; some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism, this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.

NOTE: George Washington was a president who truly understood war and why it should, or should not, be fought. Remember that he declined to involve the United States in the First Coalition to contain France. Bush has much to learn if he wishes to be considered even a good president...

FISA speedy enough in 2002, why not today

Jan. 24th post by Glenn Greenwald:

In light of
Gen. Hayden's new claim yesterday that the reason the Bush Administration decided to eavesdrop outside of FISA is because the "probable cause" standard for obtaining a FISA warrant was too onerous (and prevented them from obtaining warrants they needed to eavesdrop), there is a fact which I have not seen discussed anywhere but which now appears extremely significant, at least to me.In June, 2002, Republican Sen. Michael DeWine of Ohio introduced legislation (S. 2659) which would have eliminated the exact barrier to FISA which Gen. Hayden yesterday said is what necessitated the Administration bypassing FISA.

So, in June, 2002, the Administration refused to support elimination of the very barrier ("probable cause") which Gen. Hayden claimed yesterday necessitated the circumvention of FISA. In doing so, the Administration identified two independent reasons for opposing this amendment.

One reason was that the Justice Department was not aware of any problems which the Administration was having in getting the warrants it needed under FISA.

The second concern the Administration expressed with DeWine's amendment was that it was quite possibly unconstitutional.

Two other points to note about this failed DeWine Amendment that are extremely important:

(1) Congress refused to enact the DeWine Amendment and thus refused to lower the FISA standard from "probable cause" to "reasonable suspicion." It is the height of absurdity for the Administration to now suggest that Congress actually approved of this change and gave it authorization to do just that -- when Congress obviously had no idea it was being done and refused to pass that change into law when it had the chance.

(2) DeWine's amendment would have lowered the standard for obtaining a FISA warrant only for non-U.S. persons -- whereas for "U.S. persons," the standard would have continued to be "probable cause." And, DeWine's amendment would not have eliminated judicial oversight, since the Administration still would have needed approval of the FISA court for these warrants.

Bush (again) removes lead prosecutor in Abramoff investigation

In 2002, it was a demotion. In 2006, it is a nomination to a federal judgeship.
The chief prosecutor in the Jack Abramoff investigation will step down because he has been nominated to a federal judgeship by President Bush, the Justice Department said. The prosecutor, Noel L. Hillman, is chief of the department's Office of Public Integrity. His departure creates a vacancy at the top of the investigation.

This vacancy is going to be temporarily filled by
Andrew Lourie who was a Litigation Associate for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, New York, New York, the same law firm that was one of those that represented George W. Bush in Bush v. Gore.

Considering that
Bush removed the lead prosecutor [Frederick A. Black] in the original Abramoff investigation [connected to the corrupt Guam Governor Carl Gutierrez] in 2002, it would follow reason to find this recent nomination to effectually achieve the same end and give Bush more time to distance himself from Abramoff.

I can't wait to see what Bush crony ends up in Hillman's old position...thanks for the gobsmack.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Iran v. US/Israel

More evidence that the government's hiding something about TWA 800

From WorldNetDaily [
read the whole article here]:

More than five years ago, retired United Airline Capt. Ray Lahr began his FOIA (Freedom Of Information Act) petition to discover why TWA Flight 800 blew up on the night of July 17, 1996, off the coast of Long Island.

The powers that be at the Central Intelligence Agency may have thought they could stall Lahr until he just gave up or died trying. If so, they didn't know the man. Capt. Lahr is as fixed on the truth as Capt. Ahab was fixed on his whale.

Last week, Lahr and his attorney, John Clarke of Washington, D.C., filed an amended complaint in a U.S. District Court in California against the CIA, the National Transportation Safety Board, and now the much-in-the-news National Security Agency. In so doing, Lahr has left his adversaries increasingly little room to maneuver, and Lahr's is but one of three, active TWA Flight 800 suits making its way through the federal courts.

From the beginning, Lahr has focused his attack on the most vulnerable point of the government defense – what he calls "the zoom-climb scenario." The FBI first publicly advanced this scenario in November 1997, 16 months after the crash. To negate the stubborn testimony of some 270 FBI eyewitnesses who had sworn they saw a flaming, smoke-trailing, zigzagging object ascend, arc over and destroy TWA Flight 800 off the coast of Long Island, the FBI showed a video prepared by the CIA.

The video contended that what the witnesses saw was "a Boeing 747 in various stages of crippled flight." Its producers wanted the audience to come away with one understanding. And this was underlined, literally, on screen: "The Eyewitnesses Did Not See a Missile."
The video climaxed with an animation purporting to show what the eyewitnesses did see. As seen in the CIA video, the nose of the aircraft blew off from an internal explosion.
TWA Flight 800 then allegedly "pitched up abruptly and climbed several thousand feet from its last recorded altitude of about 13,800 feet to a maximum altitude of about 17,000 feet." The CIA video claimed that this was what the eyewitnesses had seen – not missiles, but a rocketing, noseless 747 trailing fire.

The amended suit addresses two startling new discoveries. One is that the CIA generated its zoom-climb calculations after it produced and showed its notorious video. The second is that the NSA originated, and now withholds under FOIA exemptions, a flight-path simulation, apparently the one that was the basis of the CIA's zoom-climb conclusion.

Lahr and Clarke hope to wrestle this information from the exceedingly reluctant clutches of the nation's foremost surveillance agencies. The nation's mainstream media, with their watchdog enthusiasms lately aroused, might wish to help Lahr pry this information loose. If interested, they could begin their inquiries with the two pilots of an Eastwind Flight airborne the night of July 17, 1996, First Officer Vincent Fuschetti and Capt. David McCLaine.

Lahr's website.

Flight 800 Independent Researchers Organization (FIRO)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Bush's Human Pesticide Testing Plan

As mentioned in an earlier post [11/17/05], the EPA under Bush is planning on allowing the banned practice of testing pesticides on pregnant women and children.

From the truthout.org article:

"This is yet another example of the Bush Administration choosing to ignore the letter of the law and going its own way. Congress passed legislation to curb the practice of unethical pesticide testing on humans, but with this rule the Bush Administration is authorizing systematic testing of pesticides on humans which not only fails to meet its congressional mandate but which will increase the number of unethical studies," said Congresswoman Solis. "Americans should be concerned about just how far the Bush Administration will go to allow pesticide testing on pregnant women and children and, the ease at which it chooses to ignore the law. The Bush Administration must revise this rule to meet its Congressional mandate and give Americans a policy which is moral, ethical, and safe."

Related: BBC News story from 2002 on Indian children in pesticide controversy.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Congress considering a revision to the FISA law to allow Bush legal warrantless spying capability

Sad. We are giving this administration too much control. This country is in the hands of weak people who only think of padding their bank accounts and maintaining their power.

Take all of the belongings you have in safe deposit boxes out now before your bank tells you they are off-limits. [Sign #3]

Self-healing spacecraft, Still a few years off, but not science fiction anymore

A material that could enable spacecraft to automatically "heal" punctures and leaks is being tested in simulated space conditions on Earth.

The self-healing spacecraft skin is being developed by Ian Bond and Richard Trask from the University of Bristol, UK, as part of a European Space Agency (ESA) project.

How the stuff works.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

What they don't want you to know about the coming oil crisis

By Jeremy Leggett [read full article here]

Of the current global demand for oil, America consumes a quarter. Because domestic oil production has been falling steadily for 35 years, with demand rising equally steadily, America's relative share is set to grow, and with it her imports of oil. Of America's current daily consumption of 20 million barrels, 5 million are imported from the Middle East, where almost two-thirds of the world's oil reserves lie in a region of especially intense and long-lived conflicts. Every day, 15 million barrels pass in tankers through the narrow Straits of Hormuz, in the troubled waters between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The US government could wipe out the need for all their 5 million barrels, and staunch the flow of much blood in the process, by requiring its domestic automobile industry to increase the fuel efficiency of autos and light trucks by a mere 2.7 miles per gallon. But instead it allows General Motors and the rest to build ever more oil-profligate vehicles. Some sports utility vehicles (SUVs) average just four miles per gallon. The SUV market share in the US was 2 per cent in 1975. By 2003 it was 24 per cent. In consequence, average US vehicle fuel efficiency fell between 1987 and 2001, from 26.2 to 24.4 miles per gallon. This at a time when other countries were producing cars capable of up to 60 miles per gallon.

Most US presidents since the Second World War have ordered military action of some sort in the Middle East. American leaders may prefer to dress their military entanglements east of Suez in the rhetoric of democracy-building, but the long-running strategic theme is obvious. It was stated most clearly, paradoxically, by the most liberal of them. In 1980 Jimmy Carter declared access to the Persian Gulf a national interest to be protected "by any means necessary, including military force". This the US has been doing ever since, clocking up a bill measured in the hundreds of billions of dollars, and counting. With such a strategy comes a disquieting descent into moral ambiguity, at least in the minds of something approaching half the country. The nation that gave the world such landmarks in the annals of democracy as the Marshall Plan is forced by deepening oil dependency into a foreign-policy maze that involves arming some despotic regimes, bombing others, and scrabbling for reasons to make the whole construct hang together.

Of the 11 countries in the Middle East, only five are significant oil producers: Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, known sometimes as the Middle East Five. They produce around 20 million barrels a day today, a quarter of the global total. If global demand rises at the average rate of the past 30 years, 1.5 per cent per year, these five countries will have to meet around two-thirds of the demand, oil-industry analyst Michael Smith calculates.

Let us assume they can do what they say they can, no more, no less. Where does that leave us? Saudi Arabia says it can lift production from 9.5 million barrels per day today to 12 million by 2016 and 15 million beyond that. This despite 50 per cent of the oil coming from the Ghawar field, where a water cut is already reported. Smith sums all the reported capacities in the Middle East Five and finds that if the rate of demand growth continues at 1.5 per cent they will fail to meet global demand by as soon as 2011. If it rises to 2.5 per cent the demand gap appears in 2008. If it is 3.5 per cent - the rates in China and the US of late - the gap is already here.


Note: None of this even considers the current situation with Iran. If they were to be sanctioned they would most likely shut down the Straight of Hormuz, and/or halt their oil production, gas prices would, without any doubt, skyrocket well over $100/barrel. Corroborating article.

1997 - 2005 Light Crude Historical Prices on NYMEX

Friday, January 20, 2006

Iran & Nuclear Weapons: The Reality

The latest we've all heard about Iran and their nuclear ambitions is that they are
"months away" from developing a weapon. The Iranians continue to maintain that their intentions are for the peaceful production of nuclear energy. Even Dr. ElBaradei, of the International Atomic Energy Agency, refuses to state that Iran is developing weapons capabilities.

With this in mind, please read the article linked below and educate yourself as to the realities of the situation, not the political spin.

Very informative and studied first article of a three part series from Dr. Jeffery G. Lewis [resume] who blogs at armscontrolwonk.com.

Unbelieveably, the US sent tainted beef to Japan, beef ban back in place

Utterly stunning. No need to elaborate. Read the
article, then read the previous post. No wonder the rest of the world thinks of us as "stupid Americans". . .well, that and our children are no longer intellectually competitive.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Team Bush lies about its connection to Jack Abramoff

At least that's what Doug Thompson and his sources say...

Although White House spokesliar Scott McClellan claims lobbyist/crook du jour Jack Abramoff only met with administration staff two or three times, the scandal ridden buyer of influence enjoyed frequent private meetings with President George W. Bush, who referred to Abramoff as “one of this administration’s greatest friends.”

A former DeLay staffer who is cooperating with the investigation into both Abramoff and the disgraced GOP leader’s activities, has told investigators that Abramoff and DeLay visited Bush at his ranch on at least four occasions in 2003 and 2004.


Jack Abramoff on Wikipedia.

Record of Abramoff money.

Remember that
Team Bush ran around collecting all Abramoff "paraphernalia" once they realized allowing any connection to be made between Bush and Abramoff would most likely prove to kill him politically.

Most importantly:
Remember that a US grand jury in Guam opened an investigation of Jack Abramoff more than two years ago, but President Bush removed the supervising federal prosecutor, and the probe ended soon after.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

GAO releases report on anti-terrorism funding data, who knows where the money went?

In the just-released January 2006, GAO report: COMBATING TERRORISM - Determining and Reporting Federal Funding Data, the conclusion seems to be that:

"Although OMB’s analysis of homeland security funding in the Analytical Perspectives of the President’s budget satisfies the current legal requirements under the Homeland Security Act of 2002, it does not provide a complete accounting of all funds allocated to combating terrorism activities."

Apparently, there are more holes seeping money that need to be plugged. OMB actually objected to the GAO including information on overseas combating terrorism funding data based on the "unreliability" of the data. The reason? Because OMB has not reviewed agency submissions of overseas combating terrorism data since fiscal year 2003.

Note that for FY2006 the Administration is budgeting $0.00 for:
1. FBI's Foreign terrorist tracking task force. [pg. 47 of the report]
2. DOJ's Community oriented policing services & State and local law enforcement assistance. [pg. 48]

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Associated Press misquotes Al Gore

AP's Larry Margasak:

Speaking on Martin Luther King Jr.'s national holiday, the man who lost the 2000 presidential election to Bush was interrupted repeatedly by applause as he called the anti-terrorism program "a threat to the very structure of our government."

Reuters' Tabassum Zakaria got it right:

"A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government."


The problem is that most US news organizations use the AP wire services and will mistakenly imply that Al Gore is pro-terrorism, or at least against anti-terrorism (if you can distinguish the two). Unbiased media? Right.

Transcript of the speech at Rawstory.

Video highlights from CrooksandLiars.com

Larry Margasak and tell him to correct his story.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Water: Beginnings of a New Understanding

Russian Scientists postulate: water has memory and understands human emotions and words

Dr. Masaru Emoto photographs "affected" ice crystals: popularized by the movie What the Bleep Do We Know?!

Ignat Ignatov:
"Memory" of Water and Origin of Living Matter

"Do you remember how electrical currents and 'unseen waves' were laughed at? The knowledge about man is still in its infancy." - Albert Einstein

Friday, January 13, 2006

Former Nixon-era White House Counsel on the use of Presidential Signing Statements

Excerpt from John W. Kean's Jan. 13, 2006, article: The Problem with Presidential Signing Statements: Their Use and Misuse by the Bush Administration

The immediate impact of signing statements, of course, is felt within the Executive Branch: As I noted, Bush's statements will likely have a direct influence on how that branch's agencies and departments interpret and enforce the law.

It is remarkable that Bush believes he can ignore a law, and protect himself, through a signing statement. Despite the McCain Amendment's clear anti-torture stance, the military may feel free to use torture anyway, based on the President's attempt to use a signing statement to wholly undercut the bill.

This kind of expansive use of a signing statement presents not only Presentment Clause problems, but also clashes with the Constitutional implication that a veto is the President's only and exclusive avenue to prevent a bill's becoming law. The powers of foot-dragging and resistance-by-signing-statement, are not mentioned in the Constitution alongside the veto, after all. Congress wanted to impeach Nixon for impounding money he thought should not be spent. Telling Congress its laws do not apply makes Nixon's impounding look like cooperation with Congress, by comparison.

Earlier post on the topic of Signing Statements.

NSA began domestic surveillance just after Bush took office in 2001, not after 9/11 as he has claimed

article by Jason Leopold from truthout.org on this topic.

Excerpts from the NSA's recently declassified December 2000, document Transition 2001:

Pg. 32
"...because of the [21st Century] communications environment, availability of foreign intelligence information will mean gaining access in new places and in new ways..."

"The Information Age will...cause us to rethink and reapply the procedures, policies and authorities born in an earlier electronic surveillance environment."

"Make no mistake, NSA can and will perform its missions consistent with the Fourth Amendment and all applicable laws. But senior leadership must understand that today's and tomorrow's mission will demand a powerful, permanent presence on a global telecommunications network that will host the 'protected' communications of Americans as well as the targeted communications of adversaries." [Note that the word "protected" is in quotation marks in the original. What does that imply?]

In June the Supreme Court will determine if the 4th Amendment is worth keeping

Jan. 11, 2006, OneWorld article:

Forget the ongoing privacy debate over U.S. government spying on telephone conversations--soon you may not have the right to tell cops to wait until you open your door.

In a case involving a private citizen and police authorities of the Midwestern state of Michigan, a team of civil rights lawyers appeared before the Supreme Court this week to challenge the police practice of storming into homes to look for whatever they want as evidence of a crime.

The case was brought before the Court last year by Booker Hudson, a resident of the industrial city of Detroit. Hudson says he was arrested by several police officers after they broke into his home without any warning. Hudson was found guilty of possession of a small quantity of cocaine (found in the pocket of trousers), which led him to serve 18 months of probation, as sentenced by a judge at a local court.


The question posed in the brief [
pdf] is as follows:

Does the inevitable discovery doctrine create a per se
exception to the
exclusionary rule for evidence seized after a
Fourth Amendment “knock and announce” violation, as the
Seventh Circuit and the Michigan Supreme Court have held,
or is evidence subject to suppression after such violations, as
the Sixth and Eighth Circuits, the Arkansas Supreme Court,
and the Maryland Court of Appeals have held?
Powers continue to consolidate...

Why don't we give the president the authority to shutdown our cellular networks?

The Federal Register informs today that the
National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC), set up by a Reagan Executive Order 12382, has a meeting scheduled for January 31st. The first 45 minutes of the hour-long meeting will be open to the public via teleconference, but the last 15 minutes will be closed. During the closed portion of the meeting they are to discuss and vote on the NSTAC Cellular Shutdown paper [which I am unable to find a copy of...if you can find one, please forward one to me] which outlines the process to follow after an order has been issued for shutting down cellular service.


I can understand the need to isolate a particular cell phone that is being used as a means to detonate a bomb remotely, but to shut down networks or portions thereof is just too much control. I know Israel has done this for years after a bombing, but what has it achieved?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The American Economy's Future: From people who know

No disrespect, Mr. President, but your
lavish praise for how "strong" our economy is will prove to be either misdirected or just another misinformed, incompetent statement.

Read an excellent article from The Economist. Danger time for America: the economy that Alan Greenspan is about to hand over is in a much less healthy state than is popularly assumed

The chart at left represents the change of the exchange rate for the stated conversion from the beginning of Bush's presidency until today. It shows a 21.1% drop in the value of the dollar compared to the Euro for that time period.

We have had a 20.1% drop in the value of the dollar compared to the Swiss franc for that time period.

We have had a 14.9% drop in the value of the dollar compared to the British pound for that time period.

China is planning on moving considerable sums away from the US dollar, and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the US has fallen off remarkably since 2000. [see chart below]

None of this even considers the recent bond yield curve inversion (when long-term rates are below short-term rates) that has investors spooked. When the return on 10-year Treasury notes slid lower than that of a two-year note in the past, it often was a precursor to a recession and a signal of an economic cycle peak. Basically, what this says is that people don't have faith in the long-term operations of bond issuers, usually federal, state and local governments.

Greenspan and his fellows are now saying that this might not hold true because bonds may have lost their predictive power. How, you ask, could they have lost their power?? Ask Alan. Only he knows.

Need I even mention that we have record trade and current account [NOTE: Federal Reserve Bank of New York President Timothy Geithner said TODAY that "It would be hard for anyone looking at the size of the US current account deficit to not be worried."] deficits, and an embarassing national debt.

All while fighting an absolutely unnecessary conflict that will most likely cost your children more than the recently speculated $2 trillion. [Read the Stiglitz/Bilmes study: The Economic Costs of the Iraq War]

God bless Amerika.

Columbus (who was actually Colon) was not the first to reach the new world. It wasn't Vespucci either.

The brave seamen whose great voyages of exploration opened up the world are iconic figures in European history. Columbus found the New World in 1492; Dias discovered the Cape of Good Hope in 1488; and Magellan set off to circumnavigate the world in 1519. However, there is one difficulty with this confident assertion of European mastery: it may not be true.

It seems more likely that the world and all its continents were discovered by a Chinese admiral named Zheng He, whose fleets roamed the oceans between 1405 and 1435. His exploits, which are well documented in Chinese historical records, were written about in a book which appeared in China around 1418 called “The Marvellous Visions of the Star Raft”.

Next week, in Beijing and London, fresh and dramatic evidence is to be revealed to bolster Zheng He's case. It is a copy, made in 1763, of a map, dated 1418, which contains notes that substantially match the descriptions in the book. “It will revolutionise our thinking about 15th-century world history,” says Gunnar Thompson, a student of ancient maps and early explorers.

The REAL Clayton Bigsby?

Ron Stallworth is a black man. Keep that in mind as you read the following

About 25 years ago,
Ron Stallworth was asked to lead the Ku Klux Klan chapter in Colorado Springs. Problem was, the outgoing Klan leader didn't know that Stallworth is black. "He asked me to take over the lead because I was a good, loyal Klansman," said Stallworth, who had been in constant phone contact with the Klan leader while leading a yearlong Colorado Springs police investigation into the Klan.

Ron Stallworth carries his KKK membership card as a memento.

Info on Clayton Bigsby in case you haven't a clue.

No question: US utilitzed secret prisons in Europe and lied about it

Swiss military intelligence has intercepted a top-secret fax from Cairo to the Egyptian embassy in London that seems to confirm the existence of CIA prisons in eastern Europe, according to the Swiss newspaper SonntagsBlick, which published the fax on Sunday. In the fax, reports the paper, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abu Gheit discusses 23 Iraqi and Afghan prisoners who were interrogated at Mihail Kogalniceanu, a Romanian air base on the Black Sea coast.Similar interrogations mentioned in the fax took place in Ukraine, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Bulgaria, according to SonntagsBlick.

Origianl SonntagsBlick article [German]
Translated SonntagsBlick article [English]

Bush extends National Emergency with respect to Cuba

On January 10th, George W. Bush extended the 45 year old embargo/blockade against Cuba. This action was taken with the consideration that the UN General Assembly, in the last few months of 2005, released a summation of the member state's votes on the matter [click on your language to view the report].

As of 2005, 182 countries approve a removal of the blockade, four are against (USA, Israel, Palau and Marshall Islands), and one country abstained (Micronesia) from voting.

This was the 14th consecutive year in which the UN General Assembly sided with Cuba in regards to the removal of the blockade.

The blockade only hurts the people of Cuba. If anything, opening up trade with the island would benefit Bush's corporate pals.

The defiant stance the US is taking with respect to the General Assembly's obvious wish to lift the embargo is further hampering the US's ability to sustain international support for other missions.

It should be noted that the US used the UN vote to "legally" invade Iraq. Whatever serves your purpose...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Vladimir Arutyunian sentenced to life in prison for his grenade attack on George W. Bush

Arutyunian, whose trial began last month, has acknowledged that he threw a grenade in the direction of the stage and said he would try again to kill Bush if he had the chance.

At least they spared his life.

Previous post on Arutyunian.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

How does the US get NATO member countries to join their coalitions?

Scottie McClellan: ||*...DOES NOT COMPUTE...*||

"It's irresponsible to say we don't have an exit strategy in Iraq" -White House Press Secretary, January 10, 2006

Wouldn't you say that it was irresponsible going into Iraq without an exit strategy, then scrambling to announce such a strategy two years after-the-fact because people were saying that it was irresponsible going into Iraq without an exit strategy?

Bushy must have been so hard thinking about killing Saddam it must have slipped his mind...eh? EH?!

GM foods: They are bad for you! First Evidence

From The Independent:

Women who eat GM foods while pregnant risk endangering their unborn babies, startling new research suggests.

The study - carried out by a leading scientist at the Russian Academy of Sciences - found that more than half of the offspring of rats fed on modified soya died in the first three weeks of life, six times as many as those born to mothers with normal diets. Six times as many were also severely underweight.

The research - which is being prepared for publication - is just one of a clutch of recent studies that are reviving fears that GM food damages human health. Italian research has found that modified soya affected the liver and pancreas of mice. Australia had to abandon a decade-long attempt to develop modified peas when an official study found they caused lung damage.
And last May this newspaper revealed a secret report by the biotech giant Monsanto, which showed that rats fed a diet rich in GM corn had smaller kidneys and higher blood cell counts, suggesting possible damage to their immune systems, than those that ate a similar conventional one.

The United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organisation held a workshop on the safety of genetically modified foods at its Rome headquarters late last year. The workshop was addressed by scientists whose research had raised concerns about health dangers. But the World Trade Organisation is expected next month to support a bid by the Bush administration to force European countries to accept GM foods.


Surprised that Bushy is a GM food supporter?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Weather Anomalies/Modification -- Emily, Katrina & Rita: Unusually High Levels of Lightning Activity, Nasa can't Explain Why

The boom of thunder and crackle of lightning generally mean one thing: a storm is coming. Curiously, though, the biggest storms of all, hurricanes, are notoriously lacking in lightning. Hurricanes blow, they rain, they flood, but seldom do they crackle.

Surprise: During the record-setting hurricane season of 2005 three of the most powerful storms--Rita, Katrina, and Emily--did have lightning, lots of it.
And researchers would like to know why.

It's tempting to think that, because Emily, Rita and Katrina were all exceptionally powerful, their sheer violence somehow explains their lightning. But Blakeslee says that this explanation is too simple. "Other storms have been equally intense and did not produce much lightning," he
says. "There must be something else at work."

Maybe this is due to the fact that the US military is screwing around with just these weather systems???

As defined by YOUR government in the Weather Modification Research and Technology Transfer Authorization Act of 2005 [
Sentate Bill 517]: WEATHER MODIFICATION- The term `weather modification' means the purposeful or inadvertent changing or controlling, or attempting to change or control, by artificial methods, the natural development of atmospheric cloud forms or precipitation forms which occur in the troposphere. [NOTE: This goes back all the way to 1976...when the NATIONAL WEATHER MODIFICATION POLICY ACT OF 1976 {Public Law 94-490} was passed!]

Weather Modification a Long-Established, Though Secretive, Reality by Mary-Sue Haliburton, Pure Energy Systems News

Owning the Weather: A report to the Air Force

Ben Livingston, Former Naval Physicist, says Government Can Control Hurricanes

New Orleans radar showed a "hurricane" over the city on August 17, 2005 and more unbelieveable radar imagery.

Cool/Scary Photos

Others are engaging even in an eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves... So, there are many ingenious minds out there that are at work finding ways in which they can wreak terror upon other nations... It's real, and that's the reason why we have to intensify our efforts."
- Secretary of Defense, William Cohen, at an April 1997 counterterrorism conference sponsored by former Senator Sam Nunn. University of Georgia, Athens, April 28, 1997

George W. Bush and Veto Power

George hasn't vetoed anything the Congress has pushed his way in the enitre five years he's been in office. Why, you ask? Well, there is a procedure by which he can avoid a veto, pass a bill into law, and ignore portions of that law that he doesn't like. That procedure is called a bill-signing statement.

The use of this statement reaches as far back as President Monroe, but Bush has used it over 500 times!

Here is an example from the
Statement on Signing the Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003, signed December 2, 2002:

"A number of provisions of the Act establish
new requirements for the executive branch
to furnish sensitive information to the Congress
on various subjects, including sections
221, 1043, 1065 (enacting 10 U.S.C.
127b(f)(2)(C)(ii) and (iii)), 1205, 1206, 1207,
and 1209 (enacting section 722 of Public Law
104–293). The executive branch shall construe
such provisions in a manner consistent
with the President’s constitutional authority
to withhold information the disclosure of
which could impair foreign relations, the national
security, the deliberative processes of
the Executive, or the performance of the Executive’s
constitutional duties."

The sections that are mentioned in the president's statement refer to the following reports:









These are issues that the Congress should be given as much information as is available. What the president is saying, in effect, is: I won't give you this information. So I can do whatever the hell I want.

Christopher S. Kelley's 2003, Miami University-Ohio, dissertation "The Unitary Executive and the Presidential Signing Statement" the first sytematic study of the presidential signing statement. It's rather long, but enlightening.

Daily Kos post on the topic.

Jan. 6th, 2006 article on Bush's bill-signing statements.

US Nuclear Regulatory Commission & the recent DU petition

In April of 2005, James Salsman sent a petition to the US NRC that stated, in part:

I request that all licenses allowing the possession, transport, storage, or use of pyrophoric uranium munitions be modified to impose enforceable conditions on all such licensees in order to rectify their misconduct as described below, and anyother corrective action as deemed proper. The basis for this request is the gross negligence on the part ofthe licensees...

The US NRC's Director's Response states:

Several of the licenses (US Army) give authority to test-fire DU munitions, but only in an enclosed environment (i.e., a building where the munition impacts its target in an environmentally closed system). Firing the DU munitions in an enclosed environment minimizes the impact of pyrophoric characteristics, radiologic hazard, and chemical toxicity to personnel and the environment.

The US government constantly denies any ill-effect of the use of DU munitions. The above sounds like an admission that DU is a threat to the health and well-being of humans. Why, then, are we using the munitions like we are lobbing popsicles at a fire?

Better yet, the Uranium Medical Research Centre has admitted that "there is a distinct possibility of health hazards due to the considerable level of DU in the lungs at time zero". This is in reference to a study that was done on Gulf War I veterans. Read it.

Iraqi, Dr. Jawad Al-Ali, takes a look at the effects of DU on portions of the Iraqi population since 1991.

Melissa Sterry of New Haven, CT is a Gulf War I vet and is sick. She want to know why in 2000, Congress passed legislation authorizing medical compensation for families of sick or dead nuclear munitions workers, many with cancer, who were exposed on the job, but The Department of Defense, meanwhile, insists there is no reliable evidence that soldiers inhaling and ingesting that same anti-tank munitions dust are falling ill because of it.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Globalresearch.ca seems to think that Iran will be hit in 2006...with nukes

Read the article.

Then read foreign newspapers on the topic of Iran, Russia, Syria, Israel and the US.

Here is a starter set:





















North Korean:





Saudi Arabian:

South African:

South Korean: