Tuesday, February 28, 2006

U.S. Troops Want to Pull Out of Iraq in One Year or Less


An overwhelming majority of 72% of American troops serving in Iraq think the U.S. should exit the country within the next year, and nearly one in four say the troops should leave immediately, a new Le Moyne College/Zogby International survey shows.

Different branches had quite different sentiments on the question, the poll shows. While 89% of reserves and 82% of those in the National Guard said the U.S. should leave Iraq within a year, 58% of Marines think so. Seven in ten of those in the regular Army thought the U.S. should leave Iraq in the next year. Moreover, about three-quarters of those in National Guard and Reserve units favor withdrawal within six months, just 15% of Marines felt that way. About half of those in the regular Army favored withdrawal from Iraq in the next six months.

GOI: Our troops should be the ones that we listen too on whether we stay in Iraq or not rather then these chicken hawk politicians willing to send others to die for their mistakes. These numbers show how much our military is stretched, broken and exhausted. This flies right in the face of the Neo-con jobbers propaganda that the military is fully behind this failed mission. The average soldier obviously can not get the ear of their generals who seem to be willing to shoot their men and women in the foot rather then stand up to this President.

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1,300 Iraqi's Dead in Past Few Days. 56 Today.



BAGHDAD, Feb. 27 - Grisly attacks and other sectarian violence unleashed by last week's bombing of a Shiite shrine have killed more than 1,300 Iraqis, making the past few days the deadliest of the war outside of major U.S. offensives, according to Baghdad's main morgue. The toll was more than three times higher than the figure previously reported by the U.S. military and the news media.

Then today:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- A series of suicide attacks, car bombs and mortar barrages rocked Baghad on Tuesday, killing at least 56 people and wounding scores as Iraq teetered on the brink of sectarian civil war. President Bush decried the violence and said Iraqis must choose between "chaos or unity."

GOI: How can ANYONE still sit there and say that Iraq is not spiraling further and further into civil war! The majority of the killed and wounded are Iraqi's killed by fellow Iraqi's!! And yet you hear these moron "generals" and neo-cons still say that things aren't as bad as they seem.

Everyone else can see that there is a huge, raging bull rampaging through the living room and yet you have the "Hear no evil, Speak no evil and See no evil" crowd pretending that the truth is other then that the country of Iraq is ripping apart at the seams. I think that we all know that the future of Iraq is going to be increasing upon increasing violence. Violence that will eventually lead to the establishment of 3 seperate states but only after many more are killed and wounded after a long and bitter civil war.

Bush went on to say today:

"Obviously there are some who are trying to sow the seeds of sectarian violence," Bush said. "And now, the people of Iraq and their leaders must make a choice. The choice is chaos or unity, the choice is a free society, or a society dictated by evil people who would kill innocents."

GOI: Hey Dubya. Wake up and smell the bomb dust!!! The Iraqi's have already chosen chaos!! They've been living in it for the last 4 years from your "gift" to them! Maybe if you spent more time in the oval office instead of farting around on your ranch or crashing on your bike you might see the reality. Then again, I don't expect much from you anymore. You are indeed the Emperor with no clothes on. Maybe you should send Cheney over there since he seems to be such a "dead shot."

Our patience and those of the Iraqi's is spent and heading well into debt.

Also one U.S soldier was killed today by small arms fire bringing the total of dead to 2,292.

In other news Georgie boys approval rating dipped to an all time low of 34%. I am still flabbergasted though that it is even as high as 34%!!!

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Monday, February 27, 2006

U.S. Coast Guard Concerns Over UAE Deal



Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Coast Guard said questions about foreign influence, employees and operations made it impossible to assess the threat posed by a state-owned Dubai company's purchase of a firm that manages some terminal operations at six U.S. seaports.

``There are many intelligence gaps concerning the potential'' for assets owned by DP World or London-based Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co. ``to support terrorist operations,'' says a December intelligence assessment by the Coast Guard that was released at a hearing today of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

The document wasn't given to an administration panel assessing the national security risks of the acquisition, but its concerns ``were addressed and resolved,'' Clay Lowery, an assistant secretary at the Treasury Department, said.

Committee Chairwoman Susan Collins (GOI: A Republican) was skeptical. ``This report suggests there were significant and troubling intelligence gaps,'' she told Lowery and Admiral Thomas Gilmour, an assistant commandant with the Coast Guard. ``I don't see how you were able to close those gaps so quickly,'' she said. The administration panel approved the deal in January.

GOI: I was watching Real Time with Bill Maher this past friday night and he said something about this UAE port deal controversy that I found hilarious and spot on. He said that basically if the Bush wants to outsource our port security to a questionable country then he should also be willing to outsource his secret security detail to the UAE. If our security is safe in the hands of the UAE then so should his security!!

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Sunday, February 26, 2006

S. Dakota Bans Most Abortions


PIERRE, S.D. - South Dakota lawmakers approved a ban on nearly all abortions Friday, setting up a deliberate frontal assault on Roe v. Wade at a time when some activists see the U.S. Supreme Court as more willing than ever to overturn the 33-year-old decision.

[...]

The measure would make no exception in cases of rape or incest.

GOI: See, my view of abortion is that it should be safe, legal an rare. However, making it illegal is just not realistic and not even allowing it in cases of rape and incest is draconian, injust and dangerous. So much for all these people saying that roe v. wade wouldn't be attacked with these two new judges joining SCOTUS. Obviously S.D. is pushing for this now in the hope that the Supreme Court will over-turn roe as this case will most assuredly be appealed up to the High Court.

How ironic that these S.D. law makers are o.k. with abortion when the life of the mother is in danger. But making abortion illegal and forcing women into having unsafe abortions puts that woman's very life which they want to protect in danger!

These anti-choice folks are completely ignorant. Abortion is not something we promote but it is better then the alternative. That alternative being a huge increase in the numbers of unwanted children who will clog the welfare system and that very welfare system is something that most of these anti-choice people are against as well!

It is such a narrow-minded view. These unwanted kids will end up in foster homes knowing that they were abandoned by their parents and given up for adoption which would likely increase life-long pyschological trauma. Many of these kids grow up in the system and the older they become the less likely they will be adopted into a permanent home. Other likely scenarios include: Increased chances of being neglected, abused and eventually run away from home, become addicted to drugs or choose a life of crime. If these anti-choice people are really for ending abortions then I think they should be required to step-up and adopt all the unwanted kids that will be born. Then we will see if their rhetoric actually meets their actions.

On one hand you abort a fetus that is unware of itself and in doing so you ensure that an unwanted child does not come into this world. On the other hand you bring an unwanted child into the world and risk the child running into many, many social and societal problems. Not to mention young parents whose lives are shattered as maybe they are forced into an unwanted marriage with an unwanted child because of an accident. These anti-choice people really seem to love the fetus but hate the child.

No one is pro-abortion. No one wants to see more abortions but it is a necessary "evil." These religious right fanatics don't seem realize that the world is full of nuance and grey areas. I just want to say to these anti-choice advocates that if they are so against abortion then don't have one! However, how dare anyone in a democracy say that they have the right to decide for someone else what they can not do with their own body!

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

130 Killed in Continued Sectarian Violence While 7 U.S. Soldiers Killed in Iraq

MSNBC News Services
Updated: 11:05 a.m. ET Feb. 23, 2006

BAGHDAD, Iraq - More than 130 people, including dozens who joined a demonstration against sectarian violence, were killed in bloodshed across Iraq despite calls for calm on Thursday from leaders, including President Bush, fearful of civil war.

A day after a suspected al-Qaida bomb destroyed a major Shiite shrine, Iraq cancelled all leave for the police and army and minority Sunni political leaders pulled out of U.S.-backed talks on forming a national unity government, accusing the ruling Shiites of fomenting dozens of attacks on Sunni mosques.

Washington, which wants stability in Iraq to help it extract around 130,000 U.S. troops, has also called for restraint, reflecting international fears that the oil-exporting country of 27 million may be slipping closer to all-out sectarian war.

GOI: Despite the horrible violence I think the biggest problem is the Sunni pull-out of the U.S. backed talks to form a unity government. If such a government can not be formed then a broader civil war would most likely occur as most Sunni would probably see the political course non-prouductive and biased toward the Shiite population. This could then easily push more moderate Sunni into the streets to take up violence as their only way to put forth their demands and voice their opposition.

We would most likely then see more and more militias growing an forming in both the Shia and Sunni populations. Thus increasing the chance of an already low-level civil war turning into a full blown civil war. Things are sliding into the abyss rapidly over there an there is nothing that our military can really do about it without creating more problems then solutions.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Disturbing UAE Information

GOI: How many times have we heard from President Bush that "freedom is on the march" and that his desire is to bring "Democracy" to the Middle East. Well in that vein I looked up some information on the United Arab Emirates. The following is from the U.S. State Department:

The UAE is not a Democracy rather it is an Islamic federation of emirates. An Emir is a prince of an Islamic territory. The UAE has no political parties and does not allow women to vote. They have a form of executive, legislative and judicial branches:

Executive: 7-member Supreme Council of Rulers, which elects president and vice president (in other words the people have no say in who their President and VP might be).

Legislative: 40-member Federal National Council (consultative only).

Judicial: Judicial--Islamic and secular courts (Prison system is horrible). Administrative subdivisions: Seven largely self-governing city-states.

In 2004, the U.A.E.’s first and only president, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, died. His eldest son Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan succeeded him as Ruler of Abu Dhabi. In accordance with the Constitution, the U.A.E.’s Supreme Council of Rulers elected Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan as U.A.E. Federal President. Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan succeeded Khalifa as Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. In January 2006, Sheikh Maktum bin Rashid Al Maktum, U.A.E. Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, passed away and was replaced by his brother, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Minister of Defense.

[...]

In 2004: The [UAE] Government restricted freedom of speech and of the press. The Government restricted free assembly and association, and it restricted religious freedom by banning proselytizing of Muslims. The Government restricted the rights of workers, many of whom were not protected by labor laws. There are no labor unions. There were poor working conditions for some laborers, failure to pay wages, and abuse of foreign domestic servants in an economy in which 98 percent of the private sector workforce is foreign. There were no independent human rights organizations. Trafficking in women as prostitutes and very young foreign boys as camel jockeys continue to be serious problems, despite government pledges to end these practices.

[...]

The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary; however, its decisions were subject to review by the political leadership.

[...]

The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press; however, the Government restricted these rights in practice. The law prohibits, under penalty of imprisonment, criticism of the Government, ruling families, and friendly governments, as well as other statements that threaten social stability; however, the law was rarely enforced because journalists practiced self-censorship.

[...]

Custom dictates that a husband can bar his wife, minor children, and adult unmarried daughters from leaving the country.

GOI: So we are basically just supposed to "trust" this President's "judgement" on this UAE port controversy. What a joke. He hasn't given us any reason to trust anything he does. He doesn't spend much time thinking about Osama bin Laden. That is good judgement. He rushed us into war with his "good judgement" that there were WMD's in Iraq. He asked us to "trust" him that the war in Iraq would be over quickly and we would be greeted as liberators. He also asked us to "trust him" when he said, "mission accomplished" in Iraq and yet thousands of American soldiers have died since. He asked us to trust him when he said that "Brownie" was doing a "heck of a job" in dealing with the Katrina disaster. We are supposed to "trust him" on the Valerie Plame scandal and on and on.

So now we are supposed to trust his judgement to give the UAE the keys to the front door?? Does this sound like a country we want to be doing business with and supporting? I don't think so. I thought we were living in a "post-9/11 world???" This just shows that Bush really isn't about a push for Democracy as long as the non-democratic country is willing to do business with his administration.

His kind of "good judgement" has gotten us nothing but trouble.

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Iraqi Civil War Deepens

Wednesday 22 February 2006,
21:37 Makka Time, 18:37 GMT

A large explosion has heavily damaged the golden dome of one of Iraq's most famous Shia religious shrines, sending protesters pouring into the streets.

The explosion at the Golden Mosque in the northern city of Samarra was the third major attack against Shia targets in Iraq in three days.

There were no confirmed reports of casualties from the blast early on Wednesday.

The shrine contains the tombs of two revered Shia imams, both descendants of the Prophet Muhammad.Jalal Talabani, the president and an ethnic Kurd, accused the attackers of trying to derail negotiations on a national unity coalition: "We must ... work together against ... the danger of civil war," he said in a televised address to the nation.

GOI: Unfortunately a low-level civil war has already been under way for awhile now.

The Shias' reclusive and ageing senior cleric, Grand Ayat Allah Ali al-Sistani made a rare, if silent, television appearance that underlined the gravity of the crisis; he appealed in a statement for protests but restraint as protesters outside his office in Najaf chanted: "Rise up Shias! Take revenge!"

A police officer, who declined to give his name, said armed men, with at least one wearing a uniform, broke inside the shrine before sunrise and seized the five policemen responsible for guarding the site.

[...]

A Sunni cleric was killed, police said, at one of 17 Sunni mosques in Baghdad fired on by unknown gunmen.
One mosque was damaged by fire, though most damage appeared minor, Reuters reports.

Another report by AFP, quoting a security official, says six Sunnis were killed and 27 Sunni mosques were attacked in Baghdad on Wednesday in the wake of the shrine bombing.

Thousands of demonstrators gathered near the shrine, waving Iraqi flags, Shia religious banners and copies of the Quran.

Armed Mahdi Army militiamen loyal to Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr took up positions on streets in Baghdad and Shia cities in the south, clashing in Basra and elsewhere with Sunnis.

An al-Sadr aide said: "If the Iraqi government does not do its job to defend the Iraqi people, we are ready to do so."

[...]

Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the powerful SCIRI Shia party, accused US ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad of encouraging Sunni fighters with comments on Monday insisting that the new cabinet must include Sunnis and others.

GOI: Is true unity ever going to be achieved in the "new Iraq?" I have deep doubts.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

GWB Aides Have Business Ties to UAE Port Company


WASHINGTON - The Dubai firm that won Bush administration backing to run six U.S. ports has at least two ties to the White House.

One is Treasury Secretary John Snow, whose agency heads the federal panel that signed off on the $6.8 billion sale of an English company to government-owned Dubai Ports World - giving it control of Manhattan's cruise ship terminal and Newark's container port.

Snow was chairman of the CSX rail firm that sold its own international port operations to DP World for $1.15 billion in 2004, the year after Snow left for President Bush's cabinet.

The other connection is David Sanborn, who runs DP World's European and Latin American operations and was tapped by Bush last month to head the U.S. Maritime Administration.

The ties raised more concerns about the decision to give port control to a company owned by a nation linked to the 9/11 hijackers.

GOI: However, the UAE port controversy doesn't end there:

A major part of the story, however, has been mostly overlooked. The company, Dubai Ports World, would also control the movement of military equipment on behalf of the U.S. Army through two other ports.

From today’s edition of the British paper Lloyd’s List:

[P&O] has just renewed a contract with the United States Surface Deployment and Distribution Command to provide stevedoring [loading and unloading] of military equipment at the Texan ports of Beaumont and Corpus Christi through 2010.

According to the journal Army Logistician “Almost 40 percent of the Army cargo deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom flows through these two ports.”

Thus, the sale would give a country that has been “a key transfer point for illegal shipments of nuclear components to Iran, North Korea and Lybia” direct control over substantial quantities U.S. military equipment.

GOI: Ahhhh the pieces are all coming together. Wow, what a surprise that there are cronyist, business connections between important members of the Bush White House and DP World. What won't the Bushies sell out? I guess next we will be seeing the stars on the American flag changed to logos of businesses that donate money to Bush Republicans. A lot of the little flags that you can buy are already made in China so why not take it that one step further?

EVERTHING MUST GO!!!!! SUNDAY!!! SUNDAY!!! SUNDAY!!!

Not like the Bushies haven't done anything like this before. (Coughs) Cheney allowing oil and gas companies to shape energy policy, Halliburton getting no bid contracts to supply our troops and handle the rebuilding in Iraq (coughs, ahem). Sorry had some vomit back-up into my throat. I wonder why that happened? Hmm??

Oh yeah one more thing. The UAE doesn't even recognize Israel's right to exist and yet we are to believe that they are an ally in the War on Terror??? Israel is one of our main allies in the Middle East and yet here we are poised to allow an enemy of Israel to run some of our major ports?!!

UPDATE: Bush says he will veto any legislation meant to block UAE port deal.

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Sen. Frist Calls for Halt to UAE Port Deal


Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist called Tuesday for the Bush administration to stop a deal permitting a United Arab Emirates company to take over six major U.S. seaports, upping the ante on a fight that several congressmen, governors and mayors are waging with the White House.

GOI: O.k., this is probably one of the first and last times that I agree with Bill Frist. There is now some major bi-partisan support to block this take-over and the pressure is mounting against the White House.

Apparently many in the Arab world are saying that this concern is racist and Islamaphobia. However, this is not a normal deal. This UAE company already trades with Iran and Saudi Arabia which in and of itself is disturbing enough. This is also not an issue of the UAE company record of "adequate security." This is an issue of maintaining American controls on our ports of entry. A huge amount of our imports aren't inspected enough as it is and turning over that responsibility to a foreign company which has done business with Iran in the past is just asking for trouble.

The decision to finalize this deal should be put on hold until the administration conducts a more extensive review of this matter," said Frist. "If the administration cannot delay this process, I plan on introducing legislation to ensure that the deal is placed on hold until this decision gets a more thorough review."

In the uneasy climate after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Bush administration decision to allow the transaction is threatening to develop a major political headache for the White House.

GOI: This is just another example of the incompetance of the Bush administration. They are cleary out of touch with the American people but now they are showing that they are even out of touch with major members of their own party!

Frist, R-Tenn., spoke as other lawmakers, including Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said they would offer emergency legislation next week to block the deal ahead of a planned March 2 takeover.

Frist's move comes a day after two Republican governors, New York's George Pataki and Maryland's Robert Ehrlich, voiced doubts about the acquisition of a British company that has been running six U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World, a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates.

[...]

Both governors indicated they may try to cancel lease arrangements at ports in their states because of the DP World takeover.

"Ensuring the security of New York's port operations is paramount and I am very concerned with the purchase of Peninsular & Oriental Steam by Dubai Ports World," Pataki said in a statement. "I have directed the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to explore all legal options that may be available to them."

Ehrlich, concerned about security at the Port of Baltimore, said Monday he was "very troubled" that Maryland officials got no advance notice before the Bush administration approved the Arab company's takeover of the operations at the six ports.

"We needed to know before this was a done deal, given the state of where we are concerning security," Ehrlich told reporters in the State House rotunda in Annapolis.

GOI: Trade is important, true. However, commerce shouldn't trump national security. We haven't talked about the huge holes in our port security and this is finally bringing some much needed light to this issue. We don't turn over security of our airports so why do we turn over port security to foreign firms?

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Monday, February 20, 2006

2 GOP Gov's Add Their Voices to the Chorus of Leaders Concerned Over UAE Port Deal

By DEVLIN BARRETT
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Two Republican governors on Monday questioned a Bush administration decision allowing an Arab-owned company to operate six major U. S. ports, saying they may try to cancel lease arrangements at ports in their states.

New York Gov. George Pataki and Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich voiced doubts about the acquisition of a British company that has been running the U.S. ports by Dubai Ports World, a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates.

The British company, Peninsular and Oriental, runs major commercial operations at ports in Baltimore, Miami, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York and Philadelphia.

"Ensuring the security of New York's port operations is paramount and I am very concerned with the purchase of Peninsular & Oriental Steam by Dubai Ports World," Pataki said in a news release.

"I have directed the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to explore all legal options that may be available to them in regards to this transaction," said the New York governor, who is still in the hospital recovering from an appendectomy.

Ehrlich, concerned about security at the Port of Baltimore, said Monday he is "very troubled" that Maryland officials got no advance notice before the Bush administration approved an Arab company's takeover of the operations at the six ports.

"We needed to know before this was a done deal, given the state of where we are concerning security," Ehrlich told reporters in the State House rotunda in Annapolis.

[...]

Democratic New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez joined the chorus of complaints on Monday.
"We wouldn't turn over our customs service or our border patrol to a foreign government," Menendez said during a Monday news conference in Newark. "We shouldn't turn over the ports of the United States, either."


Menendez said he and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., will introduce legislation prohibiting the sale of port operations to foreign governments.
Bush administration officials


GOI: Well, that makes it official the Bush admin. is the worst administration E V E R!!! They are so into money that they are willing to sell away port operations to a questionable country over national security.

[...]

But critics have cited the UAE's history as an operational and financial base for the hijackers who carried out the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In addition, they contend the UAE was an important transfer point for shipments of smuggled nuclear components sent to Iran, North Korea and Libya by a Pakistani scientist.

GOI: O.k., if the UAE "missed" nuke components slip through their own ports then how are they supposed to protect OUR vast ports??? One of these ports just happens to be New Orleans. So I guess the reason the Bush govt has been stalling in their federal help to the Katrina rebuilding is because they were too busy brokering a deal to give port authority in New Orleans to a shady govt. in the Middle East.

See, this is what happens when you believe a secretive and duplicitive administration. A government who shows you through their actions that they sorely need over-sight but instead simply just says to "trust us." The Bushies are giving the keys to the car to other countries and we are just supposed to go along and pretend this is all for our own good?? I don't f**king think so!! He talks a good game in claiming that he represents the party of "national security" but here his actions speak louder then his words.

We have heard through many sources over and over that our ports are our weakest links in the chain in our fight against terrorism. So in response we sell them over to a foreign state??? And to one who has a shakey history with terrorist issues? What's next? Selling our nuke op's to N. Korea? I don't even care if we sold them over to Great Britian. We need to keep control of our countries "soft spots" in the hands of Americans! Is that really so hard for King George and his feudal lords to understand? Oh wait, they understand it very well. They understand money.

We are a country of fools when we keep giving power to people that screw us and our country over again and again. These neo-cons con the American people to vote against their own best interests on wedge issues such as gay marriage and abortion which are not real "bread and butter" issues. They are not as important as say, oh I don't know, um: a massive trade deficit, a massive national debt, weakening of the dollar, out-sourcing of jobs, laxing of labor laws and ending the tax cuts for the rich. Not to mention the foreign affairs disasters with the Iraq War. Who cares what people do in their own bedrooms and with their own bodies! As a country we have MUCH more important issues to deal with!!

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Bush Admin. Want to Sell Out Our Ports



By WILL LESTER
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff on Sunday defended the government's security review of an Arab company given permission to take over operations at six major U.S. ports.

"We make sure there are assurances in place, in general, sufficient to satisfy us that the deal is appropriate from a national security standpoint," Chertoff said on ABC's "This Week."

London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., was bought last week by Dubai Ports World, a state-owned business from the United Arab Emirates. Peninsular and Oriental runs major commercial operations in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia.

U.S. lawmakers from both parties are questioning the sale, approved by the Bush administration, as a possible risk to national security.

"It's unbelievably tone deaf politically at this point in our history," Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C. said on "Fox News Sunday."

"Most Americans are scratching their heads, wondering why this company from this region now," Graham said.

Sen. Robert Menendez, who is working on legislation to prohibit companies owned or controlled by foreign governments from running port operation in the U.S., said Chertoff's comments showed him that the administration "just does not get it."

GOI: And yet this administration (and it's Republican party) claims to be the party of homeland security! Yet here's another example of them saying one thing and doing another. This administration seems to have no rhyme or reason to what it does.

[...]

In a statement, the New Jersey Democrat said, "No matter what steps the administration claims it has secretly taken, it is an unacceptable risk to turn control of our ports over to a foreign government, particularly one with a troubling history. We cannot depend on promises a foreign government has given the administration in secret to secure our ports."

Added Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind.: "I think we've got to look into this company. We've got to ensure ... the American people that their national security interests are going to be protected."

GOI: Oh but I thought that Dem's are "soft on security" and yet here is a strong, moderate Dem. standing up for security over a Republican administration. What a pain in the side of the Republican propaganda.

[...]

Critics have cited the UAE's history as an operational and financial base for the hijackers who carried out the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In addition, they contend the UAE was an important transfer point for shipments of smuggled nuclear components sent to Iran, North Korea and Libya by a Pakistani scientist.

---End of Transmission---

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Italian Minister's T-Shirt Fuels Cartoon Fire

Roberto Calderoli, a minister belonging to Italy's anti-immigrant Northern League party stoked protests in Libya after displaying on TV a T-shirt with the cartoon satire on Prophet Muhammad, worn beneath his suit. His action came soon after a threat to sport the controversial cartoon printed in the Danish weekly that had instigated angry protests across the world.

Hours after Calderoli wore the questionable T-shirt, the embarrassed Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi advised the minister of institutional reform to resign. Earlier, Mr. Calderoli had voiced in an interview the need to "put an end to this story” through a “dialogue with these people". On Thursday, Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini requested Calderoli not to do anything that would provoke the Muslims. Fini said later, “It was predictable that Calderoli's display would trigger reactions in the Arab world”.

Also in Libya, an erstwhile colony of Italy, Calderoli's threat was widely known even though disapproved by the Italy's ruling center-right. Libyans protested on Friday evening after Calderoli carried out his threat and targeted the Italian consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi.

Late on Friday, the Libyan police had to resort to firing teargas and bullets to disperse the group of protestors surrounding the Italian consulate. It is understood that the group broke away from a bigger group holding a peaceful demonstration in downtown Benghazi. In the ensuing clashes between police and protestors, atleast ten people were believed to have died, while many more injured. The consulate precincts were trespassed and a building set on fire by the group, before the police could successfully arrest their progress.

Libyan TV telecasted a photo grab of cars alight and firefighters working to quell the flames. It also showed the capital with ambulances rushing casualties to the hospital. While Libya's government conveyed its regrets over the violent attack, Mr. Berlusconi went live on radio to say that the Italian government respected Islam and their sentiments on the raging issue. Earlier, he had returned mid-way from his campaign trail to Rome in order to quell the uproar over Calderoni's action.

GOI: Pardon my French but what an A$$hat.

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Friday, February 17, 2006

Top Republican: "Democracy Push Risky"


GOI: Republican Congressman admitted today that the push for democracy in the world might backfire. This is something that was quite obvious to millions of people loooong ago. Hell, even I as a grad student at the time of the Iraq war knew this but it's nice to see that finally
some Republicans are seeing the light. Even though this is a classic case of shooting first and asking questions later. Literally. However, it appears that things might be too late to undo since it appears we have stirred up a hornets nest in the middle-east where the Iraqi war might be the opening salvoe of a regional war.:

By WARREN P. STROBEL
Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON- A leading House Republican warned Thursday that President Bush’s promotion of democracy worldwide could backfire, producing chaos rather than stability.

“There is no evidence that we or anyone can guide from afar revolutions we have set in motion,” said Rep. Henry Hyde of Illinois, chairman of the House International Relations Committee.

Rather than a quick fix to America’s problems overseas, pushing democracy in places that have no history of it “may, in fact, constitute an uncontrollable experiment with an outcome akin to that faced by the Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” Hyde said.

His remarks at a hearing with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reflected a growing unease on Capitol Hill over the direction of U.S. foreign policy after January’s Palestinian parliamentary elections, won by the radical Islamic group Hamas.

The statement by Hyde, 81, who is retiring at the end of this year, did not mention Bush or Rice, and aides said it was meant as a caution, not an attack on the White House.

Nonetheless, the remarks were the most stinging critique to date of Bush’s central foreign policy initiative by a ranking member of his party.

GOI: It's just like raising a kid. You can not force anything on them no matter how good it might be for them. They have to come to it on their own and especially when it comes to how they want to run their own government. That doesn't mean that we should retreat into isolationism.

We can still be a strong force in the world without having to stick our nose into everyone's business which only puts us uncomfortably in the middle to be criticized and attacked by both sides of a civil conflict.

---End of Transmission---

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

New Abu Ghraib Photos Released

Rome, 15 Feb. (AKI)- Previously unpublished images showing physical abuse of Iraqi prisoners at the US-run Abu Ghraib jail have been aired by Australian television channel SBS. The current affairs show, Dateline, said the images were taken around the same time as previous photos of US soldiers abusing prisoners, which sparked international outrage in 2001. The new images show "homicide, torture and sexual humiliation", SBS said. The network says it is confident of the authenticity of the material, much of which was too graphic to broadcast.

Some of the video footage apparently shows one prisoner abusing himself by bashing his own head against a wall, while other photographs appear to show corpses, said executive producer Mike Carey, who did not reveal where the station had received the pictures from.

The programme alleged that some prisoners at Abu Ghraib had been killed when U.S. soldiers trying to quell a riot ran out of rubber bullets and resorted to using live rounds.

The graphic images are expected to exacerbate anger in the Muslim world where recent Danish cartoons showing the Prophet Mohammed have provoked violent protests causing at least 18 deaths.

GOI: They should have just released everything at the same time instead of this drip, drip, drip of photos and videos. Now it appears I'm sure to some in the Muslim world that these are new photos.

Go HERE to see some of the new photos. WARNING: THEY ARE GRAPHIC!! Although apparently they do not show the worst of the series.

---End of Transmission---

Valerie Plame Wilson Was Working on Iran

[...]

According to current and former intelligence officials, Plame Wilson, who worked on the clandestine side of the CIA in the Directorate of Operations as a non-official cover (NOC) officer, was part of an operation tracking distribution and acquisition of weapons of mass destruction technology to and from Iran.

Speaking under strict confidentiality, intelligence officials revealed heretofore unreported elements of Plame's work. Their accounts suggest that Plame's outing was more serious than has previously been reported and carries grave implications for U.S. national security and its ability to monitor Iran's burgeoning nuclear program.

While many have speculated that Plame was involved in monitoring the nuclear proliferation black market, specifically the proliferation activities of Pakistan's nuclear "father," A.Q. Khan, intelligence sources say that her team provided only minimal support in that area, focusing almost entirely on Iran.

[...]

Several intelligence officials described the damage in terms of how long it would take for the agency to recover. According to their own assessment, the CIA would be impaired for up to "ten years" in its capacity to adequately monitor nuclear proliferation on the level of efficiency and accuracy it had prior to the White House leak of Plame Wilson's identity.

GOI: Ten years, huh? Well, then. Iran should have a nuke by then I would imagine. And somehow we are still supposed to believe that the Republicans can protects us??? Well, I for one am not resting easy that's for sure. Not only was the law broken with this leak but our very national security has been weakened and compromised for years. The Bush admin. blew it with Iraq and now has blown it with Iran; the real WMD threat. The incompetence of this administration is just breath-taking. They screw over one of their top CIA agents working on Iran which is one of the main "axis of evil" countries. Way to shoot America in the foot with bird shot guys before we really even got started with looking into Iran. I swear we have a bunch of monkeys in the White House. No wonder Bush looks like a chimp.

---End of Transmission---

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Man Cheney Shot Suffers Heart Attack

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - The 78-year-old lawyer who was shot by Vice President Dick Cheney in a hunting accident has some birdshot in or touching his heart and he had “a silent heart attack” Tuesday morning, hospital officials said.

The victim, Harry Whittington, was immediately moved back to the intensive care unit for further treatment, said Peter Banko, the administrator at Christus Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-Memorial in Texas.

GOI: Man, this whole thing sounds sooo fishy. Now I'm hearing that apparently the Sheriff arrived an hour after the incident and were turned away!

Now I just heard on Hardball that the White House press secretary was told not to give out the information on the heart-attack of the victim! What the F**K is going on here??? They are totally clueless that they are accountable to the American people. In blowing off the press they are also blowing off the American public. This shit storm isn't going to go away until Cheney comes clean to the press.

Something is wrong with this story when the story took so long to get out of the media. They can't just do whatever they like. They are ELECTED officials. Well, maybe not elected but SELECTED by the SCOTUS in 2000 and by supressing the vote in 2004. So maybe that goes a long way as to why this admin. feels that they can do whatever and act however they like.

This is just another fishy story in a loooooooong line of misinformation, questions, half-truths, severe incompetence and stench that has come out of this White House since DAY ONE. 9/11, WMD's, Iraq, Katrina and now Cheney. They seem to have a clinical problem with their information dissimation. We always get delayed information with severe gaps in it only after the suspicious actions have taken place! This White House just automatically covers things up. It's their knee-jerk reaction because they are flat out nefarious!! How can anyone doubt that anymore???

---End of Transmission---

Monday, February 13, 2006

Cheney Shoots Friend in Hunting Accident

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) — A 78-year-old hunting companion of Vice President Cheney was recovering in stable condition Monday after Cheney accidentally shot him during a weekend quail hunting trip, a hospital official said.

Ranch owner Katharine Armstrong said each hunter was wearing a bright orange vest, and Parks and Wildlife Department spokesman Steve Lightfoot said Cheney had a valid hunting license obtained in November.

Armstrong told The Associated Press the vice president was using a 28-gauge shotgun, and Whittington was about 30 yards away.

GOI: How in the HELL do you shoot a guy 30 feet away who is wearing a bright orange vest in the middle of a brown environment?!! Maybe if Cheney hadn't dodged out of the draft on 5 deferments he might have learned to shoot a gun.

I'd stear clear of any politician with a gun but especially a draft dodging, old geezer warmonger such as Cheney.

---End of Transmission---

British Soldiers Abuse Iraqi Youth


LONDON, Feb. 12 — The British government said Sunday that it was investigating allegations that British soldiers viciously kicked, butted and beat Iraqi teenagers in custody at an army compound in Basra in 2004.

[...]

The News of the World said the videotape showed eight British soldiers breaking up a violent disturbance by Iraqis on the street outside a military compound and then dragging four Iraqi teenagers inside.

The videotape then shows scenes in which the soldiers kick the youths, striking one in the genitals, as well as butting, punching and beating them with their fists and batons for a total of 42 blows in 60 seconds of tape, the newspaper reported. It said one soldier could also be seen kicking a dead Iraqi.

The man described as the corporal behind the camera could be heard laughing and egging his colleagues on, shouting: "Oh yes! Oh yes! You're going to get it. Yes, naughty little boys," The News of the World reported. It said that for security reasons, it would not disclose the soldiers' unit or regiment.

According to the paper, the person who leaked the videotape said the youths appeared to be in their early teens. "These Iraqis were just kids," he was quoted as saying. "Most haven't even got shoes on." He added that the eight British soldiers involved in the attack "were pumped up and out of control."

Speaking at a news conference in South Africa, where he is attending a summit meeting of leaders of center-left governments, Prime Minister Tony Blair said, "We take seriously any allegations of mistreatment, and those will be investigated very fully indeed."

But, he added, the "overwhelming majority" of British troops in Iraq behave properly, doing "a great job for our country and the wider world." Mr. Blair said the troops' presence was necessary for "helping Iraq to become the democracy they want to be."

[...]

The News of the World said that the videotape had been shown for entertainment at a British military base in Europe, and that it was "absolutely genuine."

GOI: This is disgusting and is only going to fuel the fire of the cartoon outrage in the greater Muslim world. The Brits are taking the exact, appropriate response but the damages has already been done.

---End of Transmission---

Saturday, February 11, 2006

3 Other Republican Officials Named By Abramoff

[...]

The filings in U.S. District Court do not allege any wrongdoing by the elected officials but list them in documents portraying David Safavian, a former GSA chief of staff, as an active adviser to Abramoff, giving the lobbyists tips on how to use members of Congress to navigate the agency's bureaucracy.

[...]

Two of the elected officials referred to in Friday's filings have been identified in published reports as Reps. Steven LaTourette, R-Ohio, and Don Young, R-Alaska. According to Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, the two representatives wrote to the GSA in September 2002, urging the agency to give preferential treatment to groups such as Indian tribes when evaluating development proposals for the Old Post Office.

LaTourette maintains he did nothing improper by advocating special opportunities for certain small businesses in areas known as HUBzones, or Historically Underutilized Business zones. His spokeswoman, Deborah Setliff, said that the letter was reviewed by Young's chief of staff and counsel and that it did not advocate any particular business over another.

A spokesman for Young did not return telephone calls.

Friday's filings by prosecutors refer to a third member of Congress, Rep. Shelly Moore Capito, R-W.Va. Her name appears in e-mails that suggest she was trying to help Abramoff secure a GSA lease for land in Silver Spring for a religious school.

Capito claims to know nothing about the effort. "The action taken by her former chief of staff was done without her knowledge, approval or consent," said her spokesman, Joel Brubaker. "She was not aware of any contact with GSA of any type on this matter."

GOI: What do you expect them to say? Admit to wrong-doing? However, the very fact that they are linked to Abramoff (uber-corrupt, super lobbyist) puts smoking coming out of their camp. And you know the saying, "Where there is smoke there is fire."

Safavian used his personal e-mail during business hours to communicate with Abramoff several times, according to prosecutors. He also edited the draft of a letter that was probably sent under LaTourette and Young's names.

And Safavian advised Abramoff to tell his wife to use her maiden name during a meeting with GSA officials so she wouldn't draw attention to her politically connected husband's involvement in the project.

GOI: More corruption trouble for the Republicans. We shall see, however, if the Democrats can capitalize on their culture of corruption.

---End of Transmission---

Friday, February 10, 2006

Libby: "Superiors" Told Me to Leak Information


By Carol D. Leonnig

Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 10, 2006; Page A08

Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff testified that his bosses instructed him to leak information to reporters from a high-level intelligence report that suggested Iraq was trying to obtain weapons of mass destruction, according to court records in the CIA leak case.

Cheney was one of the "superiors" I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby said had authorized him to make the disclosures, according to sources familiar with the investigation into Libby's discussions with reporters about CIA operative Valerie Plame.

[...]

In a letter written in January and released in court papers filed by Libby's defense Monday, Fitzgerald wrote that Libby testified that his "superiors" authorized him to disclose information from the National Intelligence Estimate to reporters in the summer of 2003.

The National Journal first reported on its Web site yesterday that Cheney had provided the authorization.

Larry Johnson, a former intelligence officer and colleague of Plame's who has been critical of the administration's campaign against Wilson, said the Libby testimony helps prove that top executive branch officials were working to discredit an administration critic.

"This was not some rogue operation, but was directed at the highest levels, and specifically by Dick Cheney," Johnson said. "Libby was definitely a man with a mission, but a man who was given a mission."

GOI: This is damaging stuff. It appears that Libby is talking a blue streak now that the full weight of federal prosecution is pushing down on him. Yet another rat jumping off the U.S.S Bush Administration. Cheney should be forced to resign if this proves to be credible information from Libby.

---End of Transmission---

White House Knew of Levee Failure on Night of Storm



WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 — In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Bush administration officials said they had been caught by surprise when they were told on Tuesday, Aug. 30, that a levee had broken, allowing floodwaters to engulf New Orleans.

But Congressional investigators have now learned that an eyewitness account of the flooding from a federal emergency official reached the Homeland Security Department's headquarters starting at 9:27 p.m. the day before, and the White House itself at midnight.

[...]

But the alert did not seem to register. Even the next morning, President Bush was feeling relieved that New Orleans had "dodged the bullet," he later recalled. Mr. Chertoff, similarly confident, flew Tuesday to Atlanta for a briefing on avian flu. With power out from the high winds and movement limited, even news reporters in New Orleans remained unaware of the full extent of the levee breaches until Tuesday.

The federal government let out a sigh of relief when in fact it should have been sounding an "all hands on deck" alarm, the investigators have found.

[...]

Investigators now have the documentation to pinpoint some of the fundamental errors and oversights that combined to produce what is universally agreed to be a flawed government response to the worst natural disaster in modern American history.

On Friday, Mr. Brown, the former FEMA director, is scheduled to testify before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. He is expected to confirm that he notified the White House on that Monday, the day the hurricane hit, that the levee had given way, the city was flooding and his crews were overwhelmed.

"There is no question in my mind that at the highest levels of the White House they understood how grave the situation was," Mr. Brown said in the interview.

[...]

Among the findings that emerge in the mass of documents and testimony were these:

¶Federal officials knew long before the storm showed up on the radar that 100,000 people in New Orleans had no way to escape a major hurricane on their own and that the city had finished only 10 percent of a plan for how to evacuate its largely poor, African-American population.

[...]

GOI: Mr. Brown also said that perhaps the White House was more worried about terrorism then homeland issues. He hinted that if the levees had been hit by terrorists then the federal response would have been immediate. He went on to say that what the [White House] is saying now that they didn't know ahead of time is bolonga. Looks like the rats are starting to jump off the U.S.S Bush.

---End of Transmission---

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Kerry bill to target legislators convicted of misconduct


By Rick Klein

WASHINGTON -- Senator John F. Kerry said he plans to file a bill today that would strip government pensions from lawmakers who are convicted of official misconduct, adding a new element to congressional efforts to overhaul ethics and lobbying laws.

Kerry's bill would halt pensions for senators and House members who are found guilty of bribery, perjury, or conspiracy to defraud the government. Kerry is nicknaming the bill the ''Duke Cunningham Act," after the Republican House member from California who resigned his seat last year after pleading guilty to accepting bribes.

Cunningham is entitled to a pension of about $40,000 a year under current law, which denies pensions only to former lawmakers who are convicted of crimes against the United States, such as treason and espionage.

''It's disgusting that hard-working taxpayers fund the retirement of criminals like Duke Cunningham," said Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat. ''We have to restore the public trust in the country. People don't believe in Washington. They think it's broken."

Kerry's bill -- which so far has one cosponsor, Senator Ken Salazar, Democrat of Colorado -- is being filed as Capitol Hill turns its attention to lobbying changes and ethics rules in the wake of Cunningham's plea, as well as the guilty plea of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

GOI: I'm proud that my Senator Salazar is co-sponsoring this common sense bill. I don't know how anyone can disagree with this bill. This is a great idea and yet we still hear the old, tired attack from the Repub's that Dem's have no ideas. This bill gives me some new-found respect for Kerry but it is still too early for me to decide whether or not I want to back him in '08. However, this bill goes a long way in helping his candidacy. I think Republican corruption is a the main platform for the Democrats in the november mid-terms and possibly in 2008. The only crap we are still hearing from the Republicans is more fear propaganda.

As Mrs. Clinton said today:

"Two weeks ago, [White House political director] Karl Rove ... was telling the National Republican Committee 'Here's your game plan, folks, here's how you're gonna win - we're gonna win by getting everybody scared again,'" Clinton said. "This crowd (Republicans) [say] 'All we've got is fear and we are going to keep playing the fear card.'"

---End of Transmission---

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

House (R) Splits w/ Bush on Spying Program

WASHINGTON: A House Republican whose subcommittee oversees the National Security Agency has broken ranks with the White House and called for a full congressional inquiry into the Bush administration's domestic eavesdropping program.

The lawmaker, Representative Heather Wilson of New Mexico, chairwoman of the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Technical and Tactical Intelligence, said in an interview Tuesday that she had "serious concerns" about the surveillance program.

By withholding information about its operations from many lawmakers, she said, the administration has deepened her apprehension about whom the agency is monitoring and why.

Wilson, who was a National Security Council aide in the administration of the senior George Bush, is the first Republican on either the House or Senate intelligence committee to call for a full congressional investigation into the program. The security agency has been eavesdropping without warrants on the international communications of people inside the United States believed to have links with terrorists.

The congresswoman's discomfort with the operation appears to reflect deepening fissures among Republicans over the program's legal basis and political liabilities.

Many Republicans have strongly backed President George W. Bush's power to use every tool at his disposal to fight terrorism, but four of the 10 Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee voiced concerns about the program at a hearing where Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testified on Monday.

A growing number of Republicans have called in recent days for Congress to consider amending federal wiretap law to address the constitutional issues raised by the eavesdropping operation.

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, for one, said he considered some of the administration's legal justifications for the program "dangerous" in their implications. He told Gonzales that he wanted to work on new legislation that would help those tracking terrorism "know what they can and can't do."

Wilson, who has not been included in the briefings, said in the interview Tuesday that she considered the limited congressional briefings to be "increasingly untenable" because most lawmakers know little about the program.

[...]

She said the House Intelligence Committee needed to conduct a "painstaking" review, including not only classified briefings but also access to internal documents and staff interviews with National Security Agency aides and other intelligence officials.

Scott Shane contributed reporting for this article.


---End of Transmission---

Boehner Not So Squeeky Clean


WASHINGTON - House Majority Leader John Boehner rents a basement apartment from a lobbyist whose clients had an interest in legislation overseen or sponsored by Boehner, according to lobbying records.

Boehner, R-Ohio, pays $1,600 a month rent for the apartment owned by lobbyist John Milne and his wife, Debra Anderson, Boehner spokesman Don Seymour Jr. said.

“It is conceivable that John Milne may have lobbied Boehner on a few occasions over the years, but we are not aware of any specific instances of it, and we are certain no lobbying has taken place during the time in which John Boehner has been renting the property,” Seymour said.

GOI: It shouldn't matter whether or not Milne has or has not lobbied Boehner during the time in which Boehner has been renting the property! It's like Pete Rose renting an apartment from his bookie, an olympic athlete renting a room from one of the judges or the fox watching the hen house. This just doesn't look right and smells fishy folks. Call me paranoid but for some reason (Tom Delay, Bob Ney, Duke Cunningham, Scooter Libby and the President himself) I don't trust Republicans.

[...]

Milne did not respond to a request for comment.

Lobbying records show that he represented Buca di Beppo and Parasole Restaurant Holdings Inc. — both restaurant companies — to lobby on the minimum wage, an issue handled by the Education and the Workforce Committee chaired by Boehner. The restaurant industry has opposed increases in the minimum wage, which has not risen since 1997.

Milne also represented the parent company, Buca Inc., to lobby for the Small Business Tax Fairness Act, which had provisions to quicken tax breaks for restaurant buildings. While the measure did not go through Boehner’s committee, he was among the sponsors. The proposed speedup in depreciation is a major objective for the restaurant industry.

GOI: Besides, aren't public officials supposed to avoid even the appearance of impropriety?

---End of Transmission--

Iraqi Police Force Still Struggling

By ROBERT H. REID
Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- U.S. forces are accelerating efforts to build a strong, professional police force in Iraq but it will take time to instill democratic values in the ranks, the top American general here said Wednesday.

Gen. George Casey Jr., said the command has declared 2006 as the "year of the police," a tacit acknowledgment that the more than 80,000-strong Iraqi force has been hobbled by incompetence, corruption, sectarianism and low morale.

GOI: Year? What year? Let's be honest and just call it the decade of the police! No wonder they have low morale when they have to drive around in used, unarmoured pick-up trucks. They barely even have weapons that shoot straight! No wonder they aren't too happy to take the lead.

[...]

To improve police skills, up to 3,000 U.S. and international personnel are being assigned to Iraqi police units throughout the country. In some of the more peaceful parts of Iraq, plans call for police rather than the Iraqi army to assume the lead role in ensuring security later this year.

That's no small task in a country where for decades the police were widely seen as brutal instruments of Saddam Hussein's tyranny.

Building a professional police force, which in Iraq is controlled by the Shiite-run Interior Ministry, has dogged the U.S. mission since the early months of the occupation in 2003.

GOI: Well, I know we have to try but if we haven't had much success ending corruption, low morale, incomptence an sectarianism since 2003 then what makes us believe that we will fix things in a year! Especially if these problems have been entrenched in their culture for DECADES!! Oh man I guess one can hope though.

Efforts to rush as many Iraqi police as possible into the streets, an early goal of occupation authorities, produced a force lacking in discipline and cohesion. Insurgents have found the poorly armed police a much easier target for attacks than the better-equipped Iraqi army or coalition troops.

Furthermore, police special commandoes, who are at the forefront of the fight against Sunni insurgents, have been accused by Sunni Arabs of kidnapping, torturing and killing Sunni Arab civilians in counterinsurgency operations, worsening sectarian tensions.

[...]

The Shiites have insisted that they retain control to protect their community from attacks by Sunni religious extremists, such as al-Qaida in Iraq led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

GOI: Well, this isn't going to help heal the sectarian tensions.

"But I think it's fair to say some of the aspects are historical, and it's going to take a while until we can build this into the Iraqi military and police forces," Casey said. "Our guys are out there with them every day and they're working very hard with them every day to instill the values of a military and police force in a democratic society."

GOI: Well, this statement pretty much seals the deal that we are going to be there for at LEAST a decade.

---End of Transmission---

Monday, February 06, 2006

Gonzales Grilled by Republicans and Democrats

By William Branigin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 6, 2006; 5:09 PM

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales told a Senate committee today that a controversial surveillance program is "lawful in all respects" and that President Bush launched it under authority from both the Constitution and U.S. law.

[...]

But he said he could not give the panel "absolute assurance" that no one other than people linked to terrorists are being spied upon.

GOI: Oh that's comforting.

[...]

Gonzales cautioned against congressional efforts to deal with the controversy through legislation, warning that this could inhibit the president's ability to protect the country and result in leaks of confidential information.

GOI: The terrorists aren't THAT stupid! I'm sure that they know that we would love to tap into their conversations. The difference is that there is a legal way to tap their convo's and an illegal way. Bush Co. decided to go the illegal way and blaze their own trail burning right through the Constitution.

Some Republicans on the committee expressed doubts about Gonzales's assertions of presidential authority to order the secret surveillance program.

The committee chairman, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), told Gonzales he was "skeptical" of the claim that Congress authorized the eavesdropping program when it approved a resolution on the use of force against the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said it was "very dangerous" to make such claims, which he argued could make it more difficult for presidents in the future to obtain use-of-force resolutions from Congress.

The committee's top Democrat, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), told Gonzales, "We all agree that if you have al Qaeda terrorists calling, we should be wiretapping them." However, he added, "instead of doing what the president has the authority to do legally, he decided to do it illegally without safeguards."

Leahy also noted that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), passed in 1978 to regulate eavesdropping on foreign agents in the United States, has been amended five times since the Sept. 11 attacks "to give it more flexibility."

The hearing got off to a rocky start when Specter said he was allowing Gonzales to testify without taking an oath. Democrats objected, and the GOP majority on the panel voted to uphold the chairman's decision.

GOI: O.k., WTF!

Why the HELL wasn't Gonzales sworn in? I think taking an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth would be in order. Especially given the contraversial nature of this issue that has implications of whether or not a President of the United States of America broke the law and is continueing to break the law!

[...]

He [Gonzales] cited presidents Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt and noted that Gen. George Washington authorized the interception of letters during the Revolutionary War.

GOI: Um, Alberto. Gen. George Washington didn't even have a Constitution to abide by when he authorized the interception of letters during the Revolutionary War. Scary over-sight of history by our countries main lawyer! YIKES!!

[...]

Sen. Graham told the attorney general, "This statutory force resolution argument that you're making is very dangerous in terms of its application for the future." He added, "When I voted for it, I never envisioned that I was giving to this president or any other president the ability to go around FISA carte blanche."

Graham said that "it would be harder for the next president to get a force resolution if we take this too far. And the exceptions may be a mile long."

---End of Transmission---

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Cheney and Rumsfeld Pushed for Warrantless Wiretaps in Ford Administration Too

WASHINGTON - An intense debate erupted during the Ford administration over the president's powers to eavesdrop without warrants to gather foreign intelligence, according to newly disclosed government documents. George H.W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and
Dick Cheney are cited in the documents.


The roughly 200 pages of historic records obtained by The Associated Press reflect a remarkably similar dispute between the White House and Congress fully three decades before President Bush's acknowledgment he authorized wiretaps without warrants of some Americans in terrorism investigations.

"Yogi Bera was right: It's deja vu all over again," said Tom Blanton, executive director for the National Security Archives, a private research group that compiles collections of sensitive government documents. "It's the same debate."

[...]

Some experts weren't surprised the cast of characters in this national debate remained largely unchanged over 30 years.

"People don't change their stripes," said Kenneth C. Bass a former senior Justice Department lawyer who oversaw such wiretap requests during the Carter administration.

GOI: Wow, what a shock. I'm soooo surprised (gasp). That's a bit of sarcasm for those who can't tell. Ya think that anyone in the mainstream so called "liberal" media will report on this? I highly doubt it.

---End of Transmission---

Rumsfeld the Two-Headed Beast


GOI: Rumsfeld actually said something worth while and intelligent:

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld urged the world Saturday to find a diplomatic solution to halt Iran's nuclear program...

GOI: However, then he had to ruin it of course by once again being a heartless bastard:

"It's always easier for all of us to use our scarce tax dollars to meet some of the desires and appetites we have at home," Rumsfeld said. "But unless we invest in our defense and security, our homelands will be at risk."

GOI: So I guess universal healthcare, food stamps, student loans and such are just "desires" and "appetites." I'm all for a strong defense but I don't think we have to sacrifice domestic issues for a good military. However, the way things are going with out-sourcing of jobs it appears that our war machine might be all we have left. Great.

---End of Transmission---

Iran Defiant After Being Reported by IAEA


By GEORGE JAHN
Associated Press Writer

VIENNA, Austria (AP) -- The International Atomic Energy Agency reported Iran to the U.N. Security Council on Saturday over fears it wants to produce nuclear arms, raising the stakes in the diplomatic confrontation and prompting Tehran to threaten immediate retaliation.

[...]

Still, the near consensus came at a price for Washington. Long an advocate of firm Security Council action against Iran, including possible political and economic sanctions, the Americans had to settle for what is essentially symbolic referral, for now.

After years of opposition, Russia and China backed the referral last week, bringing support from other nations - including India - that had been waiting for their lead. But in return, Moscow and Beijing demanded that the Americans - and France and Britain, the two other veto-wielding Security Council members - agree to let the Iran issue rest until at least March.

[...]

"As of Sunday, the voluntary implementation of the additional protocol and other cooperation beyond the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty has to be suspended under the law," Ahmadinejad said in a letter to Vice President Gholamreza Aghazadeh, who also is the head of the nation's nuclear agency.

[...]

Chief British IAEA delegate Peter Jenkins urged Iran to heed the resolution before March, warning: "Should Iran fail to comply ... it will fall to the Security Council to bring additional pressure to bear."

His American counterpart, Gregory L. Schulte, indirectly acknowledged that the Security Council's hands were tied until March, saying: "We're not talking about sanctions at this stage."

But Straw said that if Iran failed to use the March window of opportunity, Security Council action would be "almost inevitable."

GOI: It appears more and more that this Iran issue is going to come to a head soon. The good thing is that it seems that most of the world is behind this policy of squeezing Iran. The problem is that an animal is most dangerous when it is backed into a corner. I wouldn't doubt it though if any day Israel takes action on it's own and bombs the Iranian nuclear plant into dust.

---End of Transmission---

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Bush Wants His Privacy but Wants to Take Yours Away


GOI: So now apparently it's legal for the federal government to spy on Americans without getting a warrant and to tap into our google searches to find out what porn we like. However, Bush doesn't want HIS privacy violated. Ohhh no. He's above the law. He's King George after all.

Remember this gem??:

story.news.yahoo.com
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush said on Thursday he does not send e-mail, not even to his twin daughters, because he fears "my personal stuff" would be made public.

"There has got to be a certain sense of privacy," he told the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

"I don't want you reading my personal stuff," he told the editors.

"There has got to be a certain sense of privacy. You know, you're entitled to how I make decisions. And you're entitled to ask questions, which I answer. I don't think you're entitled to be able to read my mail between my daughters and me," he said.

Sean Moulton, a spokesman at OMB Watch, a group that tracks decisions by the White House Office of Management and Budget and other government agencies, said: "This is a government that is getting worse by the day in terms of permitting the public access to information and documents that they have paid for."

GOI: And in conclusion, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that they aren't out to get ya! What? Why are you looking at me that way???

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The State of Emergency Address 2006

Well, last night's "State of the Union" address fell pretty flat on a public that strongly disapproves of this President and the direction in which he is taking the country. However, I will say that the Democrat response was LAME!!!

Here are a few points from the speech that I had a problem with:

-He wants to lead the world in science research yet he opposes stem cell research and this idea of human-animal hybrids? How the HELL do you jump from human stem cell research to human-hybrids??

-Bush called for civility but turned around and punched the Democrats in the stomach by saying that opposition to his foreign policy is "defeatism" and acknowlegement of "failure."

-Again he talked about fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here which is very narrow-minded. It is a black and white view which doesn't take into account the nuanced reality that terrorists can still hit us here whether we fight them "over there" or not.

-He compares himself to Lincoln and MLK Jr. -- not even close dubya.

-Even Bay Buchanan (a big conservative) said he failed in his address.

-He wants permanent tax cuts for his wealthy friends (By the way, when did you last get a decent tax cut? My wife and I are poor as church mise and we only got a $300 check which was years ago and haven't seen anything since. Wooohooo).

-There wasn't (yet again) a clear plan for victory in Iraq. Although he said we would eventually draw down troops he simply restated that he will leave it up to the commanders on the ground.

These are the same commanders (by the way) who are saying constantly that the Iraqi soldiers are still not ready to fight on their own for the most part. So, it looks like we are in for many more years to come of occupation. As an aside, the John Murtha plan needs to be debated on capital hill.

-Hearing that we have an "abuse of oil" from an oil man is an insult to the intelligence of the average American. It was also insulting given it came within a day of Exxon-Mobil posted record profits.

-"One out of every five factory jobs in America is related to global trade, and we want people everywhere to buy American. With open markets and a level playing field, no one can out-produce or out-compete the American worker." Um, what about job exportation George?

-None of his suggestions for cutting back on illegal immigration addressed going after employers who hire illegals.

-He said one short sentence about the culture of corruption surrounding the federal government which is dominated by Republicans.

-He ends with (as do most Presidents) "Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless America."
I don't mind God blessing you, me and America but why don't these Presidents also and and God bless the world?

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Hysteria Over Gay Actor


Feb. 6, 2006 issue - Chad Allen: former drug-using teen heartthrob, lapsed Roman Catholic, gay activist and ... Christian missionary. The choice of the openly gay Allen as the lead actor in "End of the Spear," a new Christian-made movie about the real-life story of a son who makes peace with an Amazon tribe that killed his missionary father, has created a dilemma for moviegoers who want to support the movie's message, but not its messenger. "This story is perhaps one of the most precious, well-known mission stories of the last century," says Jason Janz, an assistant pastor in Colorado who brought attention to the issue on his fundamentalist blog, SharperIron.org. "I believe it was bad judgment to cast one of Hollywood's foremost gay activists in the leading role." But, at the same time, other religious leaders—including Jerry Falwell, who has publicly preached against homosexuals—are encouraging their congregations to see the movie.

GOI: Wow, look at Jerry Falwell!! I think this is the only time and the last time that I agree with him.

The schizophrenic response from the Christian community is a blow to the movie's producers, who were hoping for a unified "Passion of the Christ"-type turnout. "It's disappointing," says Jim Hanon, the film's director and co-writer. "Especiatlly because the message of the story is that you should reach out in love to people you disagree with."

GOI: Terrible misuse of the phrase schizophrenic by the way. However, I like the irony that the directer and co-writer spoke about the films message that we should reach out in love to people you disagree with!

The man who the movie is based on had a great perspective:

[...]

Ultimately, the decision to leave Allen in the role was left up to the man the movie is based on, Steve Saint, since Allen was set to play Steve—and his slain father—in the film. "My dad was my hero, and the thought of someone playing him that advocates that lifestyle made me very uncomfortable," says Saint. "But I realized it wasn't for me to condone or to condemn what Chad does or doesn't do. That is God's prerogative. And I feel that God had his hand in setting up this complex scenario for Chad to play this part."

GOI: I can't help but look at the movie "Brokeback Mountain" in comparison here. Heath Ledger isn't gay, however, you don't see the homosexual community up in arms over such a trivial issue as to what the actor does or does not do in his/her personal life. All criticism and/or acclaim should be based on the merits of the movie alone.

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