Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Coretta Scott King Dies at Age 78


(1927-2006)
The world has lost yet another hero and veteran of the civil rights movement.
Coretta Scott King is the widow of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Let us take this moment to recommit to keep the King legacy and civil rights work going well
into the future.

---Let Peace Ring on Earth---

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Debate on Climate Shifts to Issue of Irreparable Change


By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 29, 2006; Page A01

Now that most scientists agree human activity is causing Earth to warm, the central debate has shifted to whether climate change is progressing so rapidly that, within decades, humans may be helpless to slow or reverse the trend.

This "tipping point" scenario has begun to consume many prominent researchers in the United States and abroad, because the answer could determine how drastically countries need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years. While scientists remain uncertain when such a point might occur,
many say it is urgent that policymakers cut global carbon dioxide emissions in half over the next 50 years or risk the triggering of changes that would be irreversible.

[...]

The debate has been intensifying because Earth is warming much faster than some researchers had predicted. James E. Hansen, who directs NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies, last week confirmed that 2005 was the warmest year on record, surpassing 1998. Earth's average temperature has risen nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit over the past 30 years, he noted, and another increase of about 4 degrees over the next century would "imply changes that constitute practically a different planet."

"It's not something you can adapt to," Hansen said in an interview. "We can't let it go on another 10 years like this. We've got to do something."

Princeton University geosciences and international affairs professor Michael Oppenheimer, who also advises the advocacy group Environmental Defense, said one of the greatest dangers lies in the disintegration of the Greenland or West Antarctic ice sheets, which together hold about 20 percent of the fresh water on the planet. If either of the two sheets disintegrates, sea level could rise nearly 20 feet in the course of a couple of centuries, swamping the southern third of Florida and Manhattan up to the middle of Greenwich Village.

While both the Greenland and the Antarctic ice sheets as a whole are gaining some mass in their cold interiors because of increasing snowfall, they are losing ice along their peripheries. That indicates that scientists may have underestimated the rate of disintegration they face in the future, Oppenheimer said. Greenland's current net ice loss is equivalent to an annual 0.008 inch sea level rise.

The effects of the collapse of either ice sheet would be "huge," Oppenheimer said. "Once you lost one of these ice sheets, there's really no putting it back for thousands of years, if ever."

[...]

When Hansen posted data on the Internet in the fall suggesting that 2005 could be the warmest year on record, NASA officials ordered Hansen to withdraw the information because he had not had it screened by the administration in advance, according to a Goddard scientist who spoke on the condition of anonymity. More recently, NASA officials tried to discourage a reporter from interviewing Hansen for this article and later insisted he could speak on the record only if an agency spokeswoman listened in on the conversation.

"They're trying to control what's getting out to the public," Hansen said, adding that many of his colleagues are afraid to talk about the issue. "They're not willing to say much, because they've been pressured and they're afraid they'll get into trouble."

GOI: Nothing like good old fashioned censorcism and intimidation from "handlers" to prevent evidence from coming to light.

[...]

John R. Christy, director of the Earth Science System Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, said it is possible increased warming will be offset by other factors, such as increased cloudiness that would reflect more sunlight. "Whatever happens, we will adapt to it," Christy said.

GOI: Oh yeah!! Let's just adapt to things after they've gone beyond the tipping point! Smart thinking there.

[...]

Scientists who read the history of Earth's climate in ancient sediments, ice cores and fossils find clear signs that it has shifted abruptly in the past on a scale that could prove disastrous for modern society. Peter B. deMenocal, an associate professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, said that about 8,200 years ago, a very sudden cooling shut down the Atlantic conveyor belt. As a result, the land temperature in Greenland dropped more than 9 degrees Fahrenheit within a decade or two.

"It's not this abstract notion that happens over millions of years," deMenocal said. "The magnitude of what we're talking about greatly, greatly exceeds anything we've withstood in human history."

[...]

David Warrilow, who heads science policy on climate change for Britain's Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said that while the science remains unsettled, his government has decided to take a precautionary approach. He compared consuming massive amounts of fossil fuels to the strategy of the Titanic's crew, who were unable to avoid an iceberg because they were speeding across the Atlantic in hopes of breaking a record.

"We know there are icebergs out there, but at the moment we're accelerating toward the tipping point," Warrilow said in an interview. "This is silly. We should be doing the opposite, slowing down whilst we build up our knowledge base."

GOI: So let's just take the chance that this won't happen (or isn't happening) like the opponents of global warming want us to do. Yeah, that's a great gamble. On one hand we on conservative with the environment and take the pre-cautions on the other hand we take a "wait and see" approach.

So for the proponents of the last option I want to ask, "Then what happens if global warming IS true like most of the science data shows and we pass the 'tipping point'?" I guess then all we say is, "Oops sorry about that one???" I think the possible destruction of our Earth's atmosphere is a big enough issue to be pro-active so that we don't have to take such a drastict and deadly gamble.

What's the worst that could happen if we reduce green house gas emissions? Oh, we spent some more for a better planet?? Oh how terrible. Yeah, I think taking some actions to help our planet is a good thing. Just in case. "God" forbid we do something to take a pre-emptive stance on our environment. It's apparently "o.k." with invading outher countries but not o.k. to protect the planet on which we all live on?? It's time to pull our heads out of the asses of the oil, gas and other destructive industries.

---End of Transmission---

North Korea Threatens Nuclear War


SEOUL, South Korea - North Korea warned of nuclear war Saturday and vowed to strengthen its deterrent forces as it demanded that Washington show evidence backing its allegation that the communist regime is counterfeiting U.S. money.

"Dark clouds of a nuclear war are hanging low over the Korean Peninsula," the North's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a commentary carried by state-run Korean Central News Agency.

"The ever-more frantic moves of the U.S. to ignite a new war against (North Korea) would only compel it ... to bolster its deterrent for self-defense in every way."
The North repeatedly has accused the United States of planning to attack. Washington has denied any such intention.

The North's comments Saturday follow a South Korea U.S. agreement this month giving American troops more flexibility in the South.

The North said the pact was aimed at preparing for war.

GOI: More posturing from North Korea and Iran and yet our troops waste and bleed away in Iraq. Our military and economy is not prepared for a war with North Korea and that blame rests squarely with the Bush administration who pushed for this draining mistake of a war in Iraq.

---End of Transmission---

Friday, January 27, 2006

Bolivian Leader Cuts Salary in Half


LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) -- New President Evo Morales cut his salary by more than half and ordered that no Cabinet minister collect a higher wage than his own, with the savings earmarked for hiring more public school teachers.

In one of the first decrees of his five-day-old administration, the leftist former street activist said his monthly salary would be 15,000 bolivianos, or the equivalent of about $1,700.

"I ask for (the ministers') understanding and efforts to try meet this demand, not for Evo but for the people," Morales said after a Thursday meeting with his Cabinet.

"We need 6,000 new teachers and there is only money for 2,200."

GOI: Wow, this would pretty much NEVER happen here in the United States where our politicians make obscene amounts of money. They never vote for pay cuts but rather always vote themselves pay raises. How refreshing would it be if we had a President who actually sacrificed along with his/her people like Evo Morales in Bolivia?

I also like the fact that Morales doesn't wear expensive suits and ties but instead chooses to simply where a sweater. Here's a leader who knows that the people are his bosses and chooses to live as they do. American politicians might gain the public support again if they choose to adopt these same sacrifices. At the very least it would go a long way in reaching out to the average American and show that our leaders feel our pain and understand our struggles.

---Viva Morales!!!---

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Senator Brownback Lies About the Unitary Executive Doctrine

GOI: Senator Sam Brownback was on Hardball with Chris Matthews the other day and was lying about the definition of a "unitary executive." He stated that it was simply a statement that we should only have one President at a time.

Hmmm. Wow, if that's all it is then how come all those senators spent all that time during the confirmation hearings of Alito asking him about the unitary executive. Why didn't they just have a quick, live vote that we should have one President at a time? I guess everyone is just supposed to trust the Senator. The sad thing is that many people don't bother to do their own research and just suppose that since their Senator said it to be so then it must be so.

What a lying sack of crap.

In truth, the doctrine of "unitary executive" is a doctrine that favors nearly unlimited executive power.

And this from SSRN:

Several scholars have recently rearticulated the "unitary executive theory" of Article II, arguing that Article II vests the power to execute federal law solely in the President of the United States. Unitarians do not maintain that the President must personally execute all laws; Congress may establish an administrative bureaucracy and identify particular officials to assist the President in carrying out legislatively prescribed tasks. But, unitarians argue, such officials must always remain subject to the President's direction. On the surface, this unitary executive theory appears to be implicated when Congress conscripts or even authorizes state officials to implement federal programs. Unless these state officials are subject to presidential supervision, Congress violates Article II by cutting the President out of the execution loop.

GOI: So basically Unitarians believe that no one has the right to check executive priviledge and power. This means that Congress (and even perhaps the Supreme Court) would be subject to the President's direction which effectively tips the balance of power between the three branches of government to the executive.

Either this Senator Brownback is that stupid or he is lying through his teeth and if he is lying then one has to wonder why he felt the need to lie about such a controversial and important issue, eh?

Kansas, you're freaking me out with the Senator you put into office.

---End of Transmission---

Innocent Man Freed After 24 Years in Prison


A US man who spent 24 years behind bars was freed today after DNA testing and other evidence convinced prosecutors he was not involved in the robbery and rapes that led to his 130-year sentence.

Alan Crotzer, 45, was freed more than three years after he wrote to the Innocence Project in New York, a legal clinic that works to exonerate inmates through DNA testing.

[...]

"It's been a long time coming," Crotzer said. "Thank God for this day."

Members of Crotzer's family and other courtroom spectators clapped and cheered as a bailiff removed the shackles from his wrists and ankles after Circuit Judge J Rogers Padgett said to Crotzer during the brief hearing: "Motion granted - you're a free man."

Prosecutor Mike Sinacore congratulated him. "Trying to fix an error in the system is just as important as trying to convict someone who is guilty," Sinacore said.

DNA has been used to clear at least 172 people wrongly convicted of crimes in 31 states since 1989, according to the Innocence Project.

[...]

Crotzer, who has never held a paying job, said he will go live with a sister in St Petersburg, Florida and try to find work. His lawyers said they will seek compensation from the state for him.

GOI: He should seek compensation and it should be granted. Can you begin to imagine being locked up in a federal prison for 24 terrible years knowing you were innocent??? I would probably go totally insane.

This is yet another example why we need to abolish the death penalty since there is always a possibility that an innocent person might be put to death.

---End of Transmission---

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Bush "Unitary Executive"



Elizabeth de la Vega
The Nation.

Only recently has the world received notice that President Bush's "I can do anything I want" approach to governance has a name: the unitary executive theory of the presidency. Not having heard of this concept, and thinking perhaps that I had missed something in Constitutional Law, I decided to survey a random sampling of attorneys about it. The group included civil practitioners, prosecutors, a federal judge, a former federal prosecutor who has a PhD as well as a JD, defense attorneys and a US magistrate. The precise question was: "When did you first hear about the unitary executive theory of the presidency?" Most said, "The past few weeks." But my favorite was, "A few seconds ago, when you asked about it." All agreed that the term does not appear in the US Constitution and that, the last time they checked, we still had three branches of government.

Discussion of this "theory" has been prompted, of course, by President Bush's recent confession to a crime: repeatedly authorizing the National Security Agency (NSA) to intercept domestic electronic communications for foreign intelligence purposes without a court order, in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. FISA contains no exception for the President, but Bush claims his action is legal because: (1) Congress endorsed it in its September 18, 2001, authorization to use military force in response to Al Qaeda's September 11 attacks, and (2) he has inherent power as Chief Executive to act as he deems necessary in wartime. Many scholars, including Georgetown University's David Cole and former New York State Congressional Representative Elizabeth Holtzman, have thoroughly debunked these arguments.

You don't have to be a constitutional scholar to know that Bush's legal justifications are weak. You merely have to consider the Administration's duplicitous conduct. The Bush team has deliberately concealed this program, not only from the public and Congress but, most damning of all, from the very agency that is responsible for executing the laws of this country: the Justice Department. It has been widely reported that even Bush appointees, such as former Assistant Attorney General James Comey, and possibly former Attorney General John Ashcroft, objected to the NSA's wide-ranging warrantless spying. After twenty years as a federal prosecutor, I am absolutely certain that the vast majority of career attorneys at the Justice Department and criminal prosecutors from US Attorneys' offices around the country, as well as federal law enforcement agents, would have refused to participate knowingly in this program. Bush and his coterie knew that their legal arguments were weak and intellectually dishonest, if not ludicrous, so rather than making their case honestly, even to their own people, they avoided dissent by acting in secret and affirmatively misleading the entire country. Using a tragically familiar modus operandi, Bush has carried out his unlawful spying scheme by acting not as a unitary executive (whatever that is) but as a solitary executive--as if the President Knows Best.

Find the rest of this article HERE.

GOI: This President is out of control. His arguement for these illegal actions bascially come down to, "just trust me." And given his record in the past of truthfulness (WMD's will be found in Iraq, citing that Saddam was seeking Uranium in Niger and "Mission Accomplished" to name a few) you'll forgive me if I don't trust him.

He is using this amorphous term "war on terror" to over-reach the powers granted him by the Constitution, further his web of lies and continue his (and the Republican led Congress) culture of corruption. In regards to this NSA spying scandal and in regards to other issues, the Bush administration seems to be going off of it's own, "shadow Constitution" which obviously does NOT take into consideration the 4th Amendment to the REAL Constitution.

In my opinion, Alito's nomination (as well as Roberts) is an appauling action of packing the court to protect Bush his over-reach and abuse of the Executive branch.

---End of Transmission---

Report: U.S. Army Being Stretched Too Thin


By ROBERT BURNS
AP Military Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Stretched by frequent troop rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army has become a "thin green line" that could snap unless relief comes soon, according to a study for the Pentagon.

Andrew Krepinevich, a retired Army officer who wrote the report under a Pentagon contract, concluded that the Army cannot sustain the pace of troop deployments to Iraq long enough to break the back of the insurgency. He also suggested that the Pentagon's decision, announced in December, to begin reducing the force in Iraq this year was driven in part by a realization that the Army was overextended.

As evidence, Krepinevich points to the Army's 2005 recruiting slump - missing its recruiting goal for the first time since 1999 - and its decision to offer much bigger enlistment bonuses and other incentives.

"You really begin to wonder just how much stress and strain there is on the Army, how much longer it can continue," he said in an interview.

GOI: The universe help us if we have to fight on a third front with say: Iran, Syria or North Korea. I suspect we'd see the draft come back.

---End of Transmission---

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Investigator: U.S. 'Outsourced' Torture


By JAN SLIVA
Associated Press Writer

STRASBOURG, France (AP) -- The head of a European investigation into alleged CIA secret prisons in Europe said Tuesday that evidence pointed to the existence of a system of "outsourcing" of torture by the United States, and that it was highly likely European governments were aware of it.

But Swiss Sen. Dick Marty said there was no tangible proof so far of the existence of clandestine centers in Romania or Poland as alleged by the New York-based Human Rights Watch, and complained of a lack of cooperation by EU governments.

His interim report, based partly on results of national investigations and recent press reports, did not break new ground and largely repeated his previous claims that U.S. policies in the war on terror contravene international law on human rights. Allegations that the CIA hid and interrogated key al-Qaida suspects at Soviet-era compounds in Eastern Europe were first reported Nov. 2 in The Washington Post.

"There is a great deal of coherent, convergent evidence pointing to the existence of a system of "relocation" or "outsourcing" of torture," Marty said in the report to the Council of Europe, the human rights watchdog on whose behalf he is investigating.

"Acts of torture or severe violation of detainees' dignity through the administration of inhuman or degrading treatment are carried outside national territory and beyond the authority of national intelligence services," Marty said. He added that more than 100 suspects may have been transferred to countries where they faced torture or ill treatment in recent years.

"The entire continent is involved," Marty told the Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly, a body comprising several hundred national lawmakers. "It is highly unlikely that European governments, or at least their intelligence services, were unaware."

[...]

Citing an American lawyer, Marty also said six Bosnians were abducted by U.S. agents on Bosnian soil and taken to Guantanamo Bay, despite a Bosnian court ruling ordering their release.

Last week, Italy's justice minister formally asked the United States to allow Italian prosecutors to question 22 purported CIA operatives they accuse of kidnapping the Egyptian cleric, Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, in 2003 from a Milan street.

Nasr, believed to belong to an Islamic terror group, was seized Feb. 17, 2003. Prosecutors claim the cleric, who is also known as Abu Omar, was taken by the CIA to a joint U.S.-Italian air base, flown to Germany and then to Egypt, where he says he was tortured.

[...]

Human Rights Watch identified Romania and Poland as possible sites of secret U.S.-run detention facilities. Both countries have denied involvement. Clandestine detention centers would violate European human rights treaties.

Marty said there was no irrefutable evidence of the existence of secret CIA prisons in Romania, Poland or any other country.

"On the other hand, it has been proved that individuals have been abducted, deprived of their liberty and all rights and transported to different destinations in Europe, to be handed over to countries in which they have suffered degrading treatment and torture," he said. If eventually uncovered, the detention centers would likely be small cells that could be easily hidden, he added.

GOI: Interesting developments. GOI will be following this closely.

---End of Transmission---

Monday, January 23, 2006

McCain Crushes Clinton in Early Poll


January 23, 2006

WASHINGTON: Republicans are warming to John McCain as the politician most likely to beat Hillary Clinton to the White House in 2008 and to clear the party of the taint of sleaze.

A poll last week showed Senator McCain could trounce Senator Clinton, the Democrat favourite, by 52 to 36. The 16-point lead revealed that he has a decisive advantage among independents and swing voters.

"The more scandal and corruption in Washington, the better it is for McCain. He is at a high point right now," said Chuck Todd, editor-in-chief of National Journal's Hotline news service, which commissioned the poll.

[...]

However, Senator McCain went on to stake out an independent position on the war in Iraq, which he considers to have been botched, and he led a successful campaign in Congress to ban the use of torture and the cruel and degrading treatment of detainees.

GOI: I have said this for awhile now but I honestly believe that if McCain runs in '08 then the Presidency is his to win. I like his Independent streak, he's a Vietnam vet who probably has the best chance of any candidate to wrap up this war in Iraq and I might (emphasis on might) just vote for the guy!

However, I need to see his over-all platform before I'll give him my vote.

My favorite candidate though would be John Edwards.

---End of Transmission---

Iran Threatens Full Uranium Enrichment


By GEORGE JAHN
Associated Press Writer

VIENNA, Austria (AP) -- Iran will immediately retaliate if referred to the U.N. Security Council next week by forging ahead with developing a full-scale uranium enrichment program, a senior envoy said Monday.

The comments by Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh, a senior envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, reflected Iran's defiance in the face of growing international pressure over its nuclear program. Enrichment can be used in electricity production but it also is needed in making uranium-based nuclear weapons.

[...]

Iran on Sunday said Israel would be making a "fatal mistake" should it resort to military action against Tehran's nuclear program and dismissed veiled threats from the Jewish state as a "childish game."

---End of Tranmission---

Three U.S. Servicemen, Three Iraqis Killed


By SINAN SALAHEDDIN
Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- A suicide car bomber killed at least three Iraqis Monday near the Green Zone housing the U.S. Embassy and Iraqi government, and the U.S. military said three American servicemen died in a roadside bombings.

[...]

A roadside bomb killed a U.S. soldier Monday during a patrol in southwestern Baghdad, the military said in a statement. The soldier was attached to the Multi-National Division-Baghdad.
Two U.S. airmen were killed and a third was wounded in an attack on a convoy Sunday near Taji, where a U.S. air base is located 12 miles north of Baghdad, the military said.

The deaths brought the number of U.S. military personnel killed since the war in Iraq began in March 2003 to at least 2,227, according to an Associated Press count.

---End of Transmission---

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Google Porn Non-Sense


By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: January 19, 2006


The Bush administration, seeking to revive an online pornography law struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, has subpoenaed Google Inc. for details on what its users have been looking for through its popular search engine.

Google has refused to comply with the subpoena, issued last year, for a broad range of material from its databases, including a request for 1 million random Web addresses and records of all Google searches from any one-week period, lawyers for the U.S. Justice Department said in papers filed Wednesday in federal court in San Jose.

[...]

The government contends it needs the data to determine how often pornography shows up in online searches as part of an effort to revive an Internet child protection law that was struck down two years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court on free-speech grounds.

GOI: O.k, not only are they going to possibely spy on all of us but now they are going to haul off and toss people in jail for looking at porn??? You'd have to throw three quarters of America behind bars! And most of the politicians in this country as well!!

They claim it's just for finding pedophiles but then why don't they just say to google that they just want searches into child porn? Instead they say they want RANDOM searches. When will this invasion into our privacy stop?!!! Where are all the privacy advocate Conservatives? And the Libertarians? I thought privacy was a big Conservative Republican issue?

Besides, who hasn't looked at porn?

Great they are probably going to do one of these random searches and see the words, "child" and "porn" and come lookin' for me.

Oh well, I'll have a lot of room in prison with everyone else being thrown in jail for being against their policies or for having ever looked at porn -- God for bid!!

Just for the feds let me state, "I HATE CHILD PORN AND PEDOPHILIACS!!!!!!!!!!!!! THEY ARE SICK IN THE HEAD AND NEED HELP!!! GET THAT??? I AM ANTI-CHILD PORN AND ANY FORM OF CHILD EXPLOITATION!!!

There.

Besides, there are other things the government can do with your google searches. They can find out what you're reading, what worries you, what your religious and political beliefs are and on and on. And now with Alito the Presidency is going to have even MORE power!! The Executive already reaches WAY too much into people's lives.

Now leave me the fuck alone and let me have my American right to look at LEGAL PORN done by consenting adults.

MAY GOOD OLD LEGAL AMERICAN PORN LIVE FOREVER!!!!!!

---End of Transmission---

Remember This Guy?


By LEE KEATH Associated Press Writer

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- Al-Jazeera on Thursday broadcast portions of an audiotape purportedly from Osama bin Laden, saying al-Qaida is making preparations for attacks in the United States but offering a possible truce to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan.

The voice on the tape said heightened security in the United States is not the reason there have been no attacks there since the Sept. 11, 2001, suicide hijackings.

Instead, the reason is "because there are operations that need preparations," he said.

GOI: You remember Osama bin Forgotten, right? You know, the guy who attacked us on September the 11th and the original reason for the "War on Terror?" I guess Bush and his gang still don't pay him much attention. I'm sure that between giving more tax cuts to their rich buddies, outting CIA operatives and taking money from corrupt lobbyists they just don't have enough time to spend on the pesky bin Laden.

---End of Transmission---

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

2002 Memo Doubted Uranium Sale Claim



By ERIC LICHTBLAU
Published: January 18, 2006

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 - A high-level intelligence assessment by the Bush administration concluded in early 2002 that the sale of uranium from Niger to Iraq was "unlikely" because of a host of economic, diplomatic and logistical obstacles, according to a secret memo that was recently declassified by the State Department.

Among other problems that made such a sale improbable, the assessment by the State Department's intelligence analysts concluded, was that it would have required Niger to send "25 hard-to-conceal 10-ton tractor-trailers" filled with uranium across 1,000 miles and at least one international border.

The analysts' doubts were registered nearly a year before President Bush, in what became known as the infamous "16 words" in his 2003 State of the Union address, said that Saddam Hussein had sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

The White House later acknowledged that the charge, which played a part in the decision to invade Iraq in the belief that Baghdad was reconstituting its nuclear program, relied on faulty intelligence and should not have been included in the speech. Two months ago, Italian intelligence officials concluded that a set of documents at the center of the supposed Iraq-Niger link had been forged by an occasional Italian spy.

[...]

The public release of the State Department assessment, with some sections blacked out, adds another level of detail to an episode that was central not only to the debate over the invasion of Iraq, but also in the perjury indictment of I. Lewis Libby Jr., the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.

[...]

A four-star general, Carlton W. Fulford Jr., was also sent to Niger to investigate the claims of a uranium purchase. He, too, came away with doubts about the reliability of the report and believed Niger's yellowcake supply to be secure. But the State Department's review, which looked at the political, economic and logistical factors in such a purchase, seems to have produced wider-ranging doubts than other reviews about the likelihood that Niger would try to sell uranium to Baghdad.

The review concluded that Niger was "probably not planning to sell uranium to Iraq," in part because France controlled the uranium industry in the country and could block such a sale. It also cast doubt on an intelligence report indicating that Niger's president, Mamadou Tandja, might have negotiated a sales agreement with Iraq in 2000. Mr. Tandja and his government were reluctant to do anything to endanger their foreign aid from the United States and other allies, the review concluded. The State Department review also cast doubt on the logistics of Niger being able to deliver 500 tons of uranium even if the sale were attempted. "Moving such a quantity secretly over such a distance would be very difficult, particularly because the French would be indisposed to approve or cloak this arrangement," the review said.

The memo, dated March 4, 2002, was distributed at senior levels by the office of Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and by the Defense Intelligence Agency.

GOI: Hmmm, looks like "someone" didn't get the memo? This is all quite interesting given that the State Department memo went out to all senior officials a year before the President's "16 words" address. So how come the intelligence agencies later said they had passed on "faulty intelligence" (allegedly without their knowledge that it was faulty) when this memo went out to all senior officials a FULL YEAR before those 16 words ended up "mysteriously" in the President's address? Surely "senior officials" included the former director of the CIA George Tenet wouldn't you think??

This whole thing still stinks like a big pile of shit.

---End of Transmission---

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

New Orleans Mayor Nagin Comments Borderline Racist


NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- Mayor Ray Nagin on Monday called for the rebuilding of a "chocolate New Orleans" that maintains the city's black majority, saying, "You can't have New Orleans no other way."

"I don't care what people are saying Uptown or wherever they are. This city will be chocolate at the end of the day," Nagin said in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day speech. "This city will be a majority African-American city. It's the way God wants it to be."

Uptown is a reference to a mostly white part of the city.

Pressed later to explain his comments, Nagin, who is black, told CNN affiliate WDSU-TV that he was referring to creation of a racially diverse city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, insisting that his remarks were not divisive.

"How do you make chocolate? You take dark chocolate, you mix it with white milk, and it becomes a delicious drink. That is the chocolate I am talking about," he said.

"New Orleans was a chocolate city before Katrina. It is going to be a chocolate city after. How is that divisive? It is white and black working together, coming together and making something special."

GOI: He should have used the milk and chocolate analogy in the first place. His original comments were straight out racist if you ask me and to brand these comments as from "God" is getting into Pat Robertson's territory. I guess, however, Nagin regrets saying the "God" comment.

Especially bothersome to me though is that Nagin used Martin Luther King Jr. Day to put out these comments.

---End of Transmission---

Oregon Suicide Law Upheld


Updated: 1:01 p.m. ET
Jan. 17, 2006

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court upheld Oregon’s one-of-a-kind physician-assisted suicide law Tuesday, rejecting a Bush administration attempt to punish doctors who help terminally ill patients die.

Justices, on a 6-3 vote, said the 1997 Oregon law used to end the lives of more than 200 seriously ill people trumped federal authority to regulate doctors. New Chief Justice John Roberts backed the Bush administration, dissenting with the majority for the first time.

GOI: This is absolutely the right decision in my opinion. Each terminally ill person should have the right to decide their end of life issues. It doesn't make sense that we "put animals out of their pain and misery" and yet allow humans to suffer endlessly as they slowly slip away.

In a related poll on MSNBC:

77% of the people polled whole heartedly agreed with the SCOTUS decision.
9% of the people polled said it sounds right. Let the states decide for themselves.

So far 17,313 people have taken this poll.

---End of Transmission---

Monday, January 16, 2006

Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)



Long live the immortality of the Great Peaceful KING!!!!

Here is some insight into the man and the legend:

Black Americans needed a Martin Luther King, but above all America needed him. The significant qualities of this special man cannot be underestimated nor taken for granted. Within a span of 13 years from 1955 to his death in 1968 he was able to expound, expose, and extricate America from many wrongs. His tactics of protest involved non-violent passive resistance to racial injustice. It was the right prescription for our country, and it was right on time. Hope in America was waning on the part of many Black Americans, but Martin Luther King, Jr. provided a candle along with a light. He also provided this nation with a road map so that all people could locate and share together in the abundance of this great democracy.

We honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. because he showed us the way to mend those broken fences and to move on in building this land rather than destroying it. He led campaign after campaign in the streets of America and on to the governor's mansion - even to the White House - in an effort to secure change. Today Black Americans have federal legislation which provides access and legal protection in the areas of public accommodations, housing, voting rights, schools, and transportation. These rights were not easily won, nor readily accepted, but the good will and conscience of an enormous spectrum of our society both Black and White said "Move On."

James: Thank you Dr. King, thank-you. You are truly and always will be one of my heroes.

May your legacy live forever.

I hope that we will all take a moment to reflect on the equality and true freedom for all which MLK jr. laid his life down for. Being a historian I believe that King will be forever seen as one of America's (and world's) greatest and most influential leaders. His leadership and angelic example inspired the great African leader Nelson Mandela to fight for equality in South Africa during the dreadful years of apartheid.

I wish to say more but words fail me in trying to convey my respect and admiration for this great man.

---May we all work to keep MLK jr's legacy alive---

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Socialist Bachelet Wins Chilean Presidency


By EDUARDO GALLARDO
Associated Press Writer

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) -- A socialist doctor and former political prisoner was elected Sunday as the country's first female president, with her conservative multimillionaire opponent conceding defeat in a race that reflected Latin America's increasingly leftward tilt.

The victory of Michelle Bachelet - a political prisoner during the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet and defense minister in the current administration - extends the rule of the market-friendly center left coalition that has governed since the end of Pinochet's 1973-90 rule.

Her political success has baffled many Chileans who thought a left-leaning single mother jailed during Pinochet's dictatorship stood little chance in this socially conservative country.

GOI: What a great day for leftists to see a left-leaning, single mother, ex-political prisoner win this Presidency.

Bachelet had expected resistance from Chile's conservative military establishment when appointed defense minister. "I was a woman, separated, a socialist, an agnostic ... all possible sins together," said Bachelet, who nonetheless became a popular figure among the admirals and generals.

Bachelet, 54, will be only the third woman directly elected president of a Latin American country, following Violeta Chamorro, who governed Nicaragua from 1990 to 1997, and Mireya Moscoso, president of Panama from 1999 to 2004.

However, Bachelet, unlike those two women, did not follow a politically prominent husband into power.

Bachelet's father was an air force general who was arrested and tortured for opposing the 1973 coup that brought Pinochet to power. Alberto Bachelet died in prison of a heart attack, probably caused by the torture, Bachelet says.

A 22-year-old medical student at the time, Bachelet was also arrested along with her mother and later forced into five years of exile, first in Australia, then in communist East Germany. She married a fellow Chilean exile while in East Germany. Back in Chile, they separated, and she had a third child from a new relationship.

Lagos, the mentor she is following into power, has deftly balanced his socialist ideology with market-oriented economics and enjoys an approval rate above 70 percent. Lagos is constitutionally prohibited from seeking immediate re-election, but as he voted, his backers chanted "2010," referring to the next election.

In spite of their different political backgrounds and ideologies, both Bachelet and Pinera outlined similar goals, promising to continue the two-decade-long free-market policies that have made Chile's economy one of the healthiest in the region.

[...]

They two said they would fight to lower the 8 percent unemployment rate, improve public health, housing and education services and curb rising urban crime. They also promise to reform Chile's 25-year-old private social security systems to ensure better pensions for retirees, though neither has given details of how.

Bachelet said she would stress efforts to reduce inequities among the rich and the poor.

Bachelet indicated she would work with all the region's leaders. "We shouldn't take Latin America back to the Cold War. Chavez, Morales, they are presidents elected by their peoples. Chile must have relationships with all of them."

GOI: Go-go gadget Democratic Socialism!! This just shows that more and more the hybrid political system of Democratic Socialism (as kicked off in Europe) is the government of the future.

---End of Transmission---

Pakistanis Rail Against Deadly Strike


By RIAZ KHAN Associated Press Writer

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) -- Thousands of Pakistanis took to the streets Sunday to rage for a second day against a purported U.S. attack on a border village, chanting "Death to America" and demanding U.S. troops leave neighboring Afghanistan, as more details emerged about the airstrike.

Pakistani intelligence officials said the reported target, al-Qaida No. 2 leader Ayman al-Zawahri, had been invited to the attacked village for a dinner marking a Muslim festival on the night of the missile strike but he failed to show up.

With the government's alliance in the U.S.-led war on international terror groups already unpopular in this Muslim country, the deaths of at least 17 people in Friday's attack have stoked widespread anger.

Some 10,000 people demonstrated in Karachi, Pakistan's biggest city, chanting "Death to America" and "Stop bombing against innocent people." Hundreds also rallied in Islamabad, Lahore, Multan and Peshawar, burning U.S. flags.

Protesters demanded an end to the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, where loyalists of the ousted Taliban regime and other militants are battling an Afghan government supported by American and other foreign troops. Many insurgents are believed to use Pakistan's border region as a haven.

[...]

But Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and other American lawmakers defended the airstrike.

[...]

In a sign of tensions over the attack, two top Pakistani officials - one from the military, the other from the civilian administration - said privately that the government was only informed of the strike after it happened.

However, U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh, a Democratic member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he had "every reason to believe" high-ranking officials in the Pakistani government knew in advance.

[...]

Bayh said the problem is the Pakistani government does not control the border region where Osama bin Laden, al-Zawahri and other militants are believed to have been hiding since the U.S.-led military ouster of Afghanistan's hard-line Taliban regime for hosting al-Qaida.

"It's a regrettable situation, but what else are we supposed to do?" Bayh told CNN. "The Pakistani border is a real problem."

[...]

But the high-level civilian Pakistani official said the government had been investigating reports that al-Zawahri had visited Bajur in recent months - a tip gleaned from the interrogation of Abu Farraj al-Libbi, a senior al-Qaida figure arrested in Pakistan in May.

GOI: Was the airstrike a wrong move or was it right? Personally I feel it was the right move to make. Going after Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida No. 2 leader Ayman al-Zawahri and Taliban leader Mullah Omar should be our number one priority in retaliation against the master minds behind the September 11th attacks. It is what we should have been focused on instead of our invasion of Iraq. If we have a chance to take them out then we have to go for it.

---End of Transmission---

Friday, January 13, 2006

Democrats in House and Senate Want to Ban All Lobbyist Gifts


Democrats in the House and Senate are floating a plan that would essentially ban all gifts from lobbyists - including event tickets, meals, flights and other commonplace gifts - according to Thursday's edition of Roll Call.

Aides to Democratic leaders Harry Reid (D-NV) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) report that the two are considering both an outright ban on all gifts, and a partial ban with strict reporting provisions.

Pelosi, at a press conference Wednesday, gave her full support to a complete prohibition of all gifts. While endorsing a ban on all travel paid for by non-government sources, Pelosi signaled her intent to push for the complete gift ban, saying of the travel restrictions, "that’s only the beginning."

A handful of Senate aides said that Reid is also on board with an outright ban on gifts, but noted that no final decisions had been made and that Senators were still being briefed on the proposals and their input was still being sought.
...
The emerging Democratic proposal would, so far, create the most dramatic change in day-to-day life for lobbyists and staff, who have been operating in a world where the current $50 limit on gifts is used as the predicate for a night of NBA games or fine dining that often far exceeds $50 in total value.

Some Democratic aides were pushing to ban sports and entertainment tickets, while allowing for other gifts including meals, but requiring disclosure of such gifts on lobbying disclosure forms. However, the tide is running in favor of a much more politically explainable, total prohibition of all gifts, according to top aides.

GOI: It's about damn time. We average Americans can not hope to take our country back until we ban all money, gifts, favors, etc. from politics.

---End of Transmission---

Iran Threatens to Block U.N. Inspections



By ALI AKBAR DAREINI
Associated Press Writer

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran threatened on Friday to block inspections of its nuclear sites if confronted by the U.N. Security Council over its atomic activities. The hard-line president reaffirmed his country's intention to produce nuclear energy.

The move came a day after France, Britain and Germany - backed by the United States - said that nuclear talks with Iran had reached a dead end after more than two years of acrimonious negotiations and the issue should be referred to the Security Council.

With the support of Russia and China uncertain, however, they refrained from calling on the 15-nation council to impose sanctions and said they remained open to more talks.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp., said Friday: "Obviously if Iran failed to comply, the Security Council would then consider sanctions."

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said a "strong message" had to be sent to Tehran but said she was not ready to talk about what action should be taken to curtail Iran's nuclear ambitions.

The White House declined to predict the stance of Russia and China on referring Iran to the Security Council. Spokesman Scott McClellan said he wouldn't speak for other countries, but said it's clear that the international community is speaking with one voice not to allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

[...]

Straw said he had "strong suspicion" that Iran wanted to build a nuclear bomb but stressed that there was no categorical evidence to prove that.

He added that while Iran could face Security Council sanctions for resuming its nuclear activities, military action is not being considered.

"To quote the White House `Iran is not Iraq'," Straw told the BBC.

[...]

China urged restraint and called on Iran to do more to build mutual trust and promote the resumption of talks.

GOI: This is all very, very interesting and GOI will be following this developing story closely.

---End of Transmission---

Thursday, January 12, 2006

345 Killed in Mecca Stampede


MSNBC News Services
Updated: 11:49 a.m. ET Jan. 12, 2006

MECCA, Saudi Arabia - Thousands of Muslim pilgrims rushing to complete a symbolic stoning ritual during the hajj tripped over luggage Thursday, causing a crush in which at least 345 people were killed, the Interior Ministry said.

[...]

Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki said 345 people were killed. Dr. Abbasi, a Red Crescent doctor at the scene, put the number of injured at 1,000.

GOI: Dear me. It seems as though every year the hajj to Mecca results in a massive stampede which kills hundreds. They need to figure out a way for these pilgrims to complete their pilgrimage without this risk of being trampled.

---End of Transmission---

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Israel Gives the Finger to Pat Robertson and It's About Damn Time


By Greg Myre
Published: January 11, 2006

JERUSALEM, Jan. 11 - Israel said today it was breaking off negotiations on a tourism project with the evangelical leader, Pat Robertson, in response to his remarks suggesting that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine retribution.

We cannot accept these statements, and we will not sign any contracts with Mr. Robertson," a spokesman for Israel's Tourism Ministry, Ido Hartuv, said.

Israel had been negotiating with a group of American evangelicals, including by Mr. Robertson, on a large Christian pilgrimage and tourism center in the hills near the Sea of Galilee, where the Bible says Jesus lived and preached.

Under the proposal, Israel planned to provide at least 35 acres for the Christian Heritage Center and the American evangelicals intended to raise about $50 million for its construction. A theme park, an auditorium and an outdoor theater were part of the plan, reports said.

GOI: Their are reports that Robertson is now backing off his comments in regards to the decision by the Israeli tourism ministry to cancel his project. To which Keith Olbermann from MSNBC's "Countown" said that Pat claimed to apparently see and hear all kinds of things but certainly he can see the flow of money being cut off by Israel.

Hallejuah and AMEN!!

---End of Transmission---

Samual Alito Freaks Me Out


I don't exactly agree with his politics but I like Chief Justice John Roberts and his demeanor.

This Alito guy, however, scares me.

However, I digress.

I've been watching much of the hearings and this guy comes across as arrogant, flippant and disrepectful of the court and position that he was applying for. He cocks his head and appears to be staring down the Senators with his beady little eyes.

The reason that I say these things is that It seemed to me as if he thought his approval vote was a given. I want to see him act a little more humbled by this nomination instead of coming off so cold and arrogant.

I especially do not like Alito's views on seeming to want to increase the power of the Executive. I believe that the Executive has enough power as it is.

Alito has also said that he would "keep an open mind" about roe v. wade but that doesn't give me much comfort that he would uphold the settled law of Roe. Anyone can say that they would have an "open mind" about ANYTHING but that doesn't mean that they will uphold settled law and that terrifies me.

He wouldn't, however, say that Roe was settled law nor would he say that the Constitution guarantees a woman's right to choose an abortion even though the Constitution guarantees the right to privacy. Nor does the Constitution allow for someone to force their religious and moral beliefs upon another person. Some might say, "Well pro-choice folks then too don't have the right to force abortion upon me!" To which I say, "For one, Roe has been settled law for 30 some years and if you don't like abortion then don't have one!!

Anyway, Alito's reasoning behind this was because it might come before the court. However, he would say how he would rule on other issues such as those regarding the commerce clause.

Hmmmm.

All of this knowing that he said he was "particularly proud" of his earlier work for the [justice] department in arguing that "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion." Senator Schumer brought up a great point in asking why he seemingly doesn't agree that there are any mitigating circumstances for allowing abortion such as rape, incest, health of the mother, etc.

His answers were not answers at all. He just filibustered around until he exhausted Schumer.

I want a judge that will fill the role of the moderate conservative Judge Sandra Day O'Connor and I do not feel that Alito as moderate as O'Connor in the least.

I got the feeling that I am listening to Tony Soprano's lead legal council.

---End of Transmission---

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Black Hawk Down Killing 12, Another 5 U.S. Marines Dead in Seperate Attack


By SAMEER N. YACOUB
Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- A U.S. Black Hawk helicopter crashed in northern Iraq, killing all 12 Americans believed to be aboard, while five U.S. Marines were slain in separate weekend attacks, the military said Sunday.

[...]

The UH-60 Black Hawk crashed just before midnight Saturday about seven miles east of the insurgent stronghold of Tal Afar, a northern city near the Syrian border, the officials said. The military also did not say what caused the crash.

Three Marines were killed Sunday by small arms attacks in Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, the military said.

[...]

On Saturday, two Marines were killed by roadside bombs in separate incidents, the military said. One blast occurred about 50 miles west of Baghdad, while the other happened about 35 miles north of the capital.

In other violence Sunday:

- Gunmen assassinated a member of former Prime Minster Ayad Allawi's secular Shiite Iraqi National List in Baghdad, police 1st Lt. Mohammed Kheyoun said.

- A gunman was killed when clashes broke out between militants and Iraqi police, Maj. Musa Abdul Karim said.

- Militants opened fire on a vehicle in Baghdad, killing the driver, police Capt. Qasim Hussein said.

- Gunmen killed a policeman in western Baghdad, Capt. Qassim Hussein said.

---End of Transmission---

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Yep, Pat Robertson is Still a Lunatic

"Ladies and Gentlemen I said last year that Israel was entering into the most dangerous periods of its entire existence as a nation. That is intensifying this year with the loss of Sharon. Sharon was personally a very likeable person and I am sad to see him in this condition, but I think we need to look at the Bible and the Book of Joel. The prophet Joel makes it very clear that God has enmity against those who 'divide my land.' God considers this land to be His. You read the Bible and He says 'this is my land' and for any Prime Minister of Israel who decides he is going to carve it up and give it away, God says 'no, this is mine.' I had a wonderful meeting with Yitzhak Rabin in 1974. He was tragically assassinated, it was a terrible thing that happened but nevertheless he was dead. And now Ariel Sharon who again was a very likeable person, a delightful person to be with, I prayed with him personally, but here he's at the point of death. He was dividing God's land and I would say woe unto any Prime Minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the EU, the United Nations, or the United States of America. God says 'this land belongs to me. You'd better leave it alone.'"









---End of Transmission---

130 People Killed in Iraq. Including 5 American Soldiers


By SAMEER N. YACOUB
Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Suicide bombers targeted Shiite pilgrims in the south and police recruits in central Iraq, and a roadside bomb killed five U.S. soldiers, bringing Thursday's death toll to at least 130 people in a series of attacks as politicians tried to form a coalition government.

The two-day toll from insurgent attacks rose to 183, reflecting a dramatic upsurge in bloodshed following the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections. Some leading Sunni politicians accuse the Shiite-led government of condoning fraud in the voting.

GOI: Well, 2006 in Iraq is starting off to look just like 2004 and 2005.

---End of Transmission---

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Sago Mine in West Virginia Non-Union


(CNN) -- Federal reports show the number of safety violations at the Sago Mine rose rapidly over the past two years, and in 2005 inspectors called 96 of them "serious and substantial."

WJACTV--The Sago Mine in West Virginia was sited for 46 alleged violations by federal inspectors during the holidays. Among those were violations for safeguarding against roof falls and the mine's plan to control methane. According to federal officials, the safety problems at the mine escalated over the past few years.

GOI: Back to CNN:

Add reports of 11 roof collapses in the past six months, and a former top federal official for mine safety says any mine operator should see a red flag.

"That's a signal to you that says, 'You better do something at this workplace, before something bad happens,' " Davitt McAteer said

Davitt McAteer says it is too early to know who, if anyone, should bear responsibility in this accident. But he has a word of caution about the booming coal trade in general, and any company that might seek too much gold too fast from the black rock.

"We've seen historically, the mine companies that operate on the margins and try to push all the costs down and the (profit) margins up in the short run tend to have tremendous safety problems."

GOI: And this is why deregulation is bad. Deregulation often creates work environments that are dangerous or otherwise unacceptable as there is not much independent, federal over-sight.

From Reuters:

The United Mine Workers of America said the Sago miners were not union members.

GOI: And this accident shows why unions are so important to worker safety and productivity.

---End of Transmission---

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Abramoff Cuts Deal in Congressional Investigations


WASHINGTON - Lobbyist Jack Abramoff will plead guilty to federal charges in Washington and Miami, clearing the way for him to cooperate in a massive government investigation of influence peddling involving members of Congress, his lawyer and the Justice Department said Tuesday.

Abramoff, 46, had become one of the best known lobbyists on the Hill, employing people who had worked for lawmakers and creating close ties to the former House majority leader, Rep. Tom Delay, R-Texas.

As part of the deal, prosecutors were filing conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion charges against the embattled lobbyist, a Justice Department official said.

GOI: Now maybe we will make some head-way into investigating the shady practices of certain Congress members.