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» Friday, March 31, 2006

Democrats Real Security Plan

Finally a Plan ! From The Mahablog comes this paraphrased version of the Democrats 'Real Security' Plan.   The actual wording of the plan is provided by The Raw Story in pdf format at the bottom of the quote.   Maha sums it up pretty well.   I especially like the following which Maha added to the comments section ::

As Ron Brownstein said yesterday in the Los Angeles Times, this plan lacks specifics. However, consider what "specifics" the Bushies ever churn out, e.g., "as they stand up we'll stand down." I would argue that the Dems can't do much more than provide an outline until they get some power in Congress. What's the Bush excuse?

Democrats' "Real Security" Plan

I. Ensure Military Strength
  • A.   Rebuild the military; invest in equipment and manpower. This includes strengthening the National Guard.
  • B.   GI Bill for the 21st Century - provide enhanced health and other benefits for active, reserve and retired military.
II. Defeat Terrorism
  • A.   Eliminate Osama bin Laden, destroy terrorist networks, finish the job in Afghanistan.
  • B.   Double size of special forces; enhance intelligence capabilities.
  • C.   Combat economic social, and political conditions that encourage the growth of terrorism.
  • D.   Contain nuclear materials; discourage nuclear weapons development in Iran and North Korea.
III. Homeland Security
  • A.   Implement recommendations of 9/11 Commission.
  • B.   Screen 100 percent of containers and cargo bound for the U.S.
  • C.   Safeguard chemical and nuclear plants, protect food and water supplies.
  • D.   Prevent outsourcing of national security infrastructure.
  • E.   Support first responders such as firefighters and emergency medical workers with training, staffing, equipment, technology.
  • F.   Protect America from pandemics by investing in public health infrastructure.
IV. Iraq
  • A.   Transition to full Iraqi sovereignty asap.
  • B.   Insist that Iraqis get their governmental act together.
  • C.   Engage in a "responsible redeployment" of U.S. troops.
  • D.   "Hold the Bush Administration accountable for its manipulated pre-war intelligence, poor planning and contracting abuses that have placed our troops at greater risk and wasted billions of taxpayer dollars."
V. Energy Independence
  • A.   Achieve energy independence by 2020. This means no more oil from the Middle East and "unstable regions."
  • B.   Develop alternate energy sources.
pdf file of plan

» Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Phone Records Act

Prevention of Fraudulent Access ! This issue should be one of importance to all Americans, regardless of party or political preference.   If it is of concern to you, please join me in contacting your elected lawmakers.   - fc

Help Keep Your Cell Phone Records Private!

Think your cell phone records are private?   Think again!   Stalkers, identity thieves, and data-brokers can easily access your detailed cell phone records—who you called, their number, how long you talked, and when. How? They call your cell phone carrier and pretend to be you. And cell phone companies aren’t doing enough to keep your information safe.

Consumers Union wants Congress to take a hard stance against this practice. Congress should make it illegal for anyone use unscrupulous means to buy or sell your phone records. And Congress should require phone companies to do more to safeguard your private information and prohibit them from sharing it with other companies without your express permission. A House of Representatives committee recently approved the Prevention of Fraudulent Access to Phone Records Act, strong legislation that would do just that!

Unfortunately, the Senate Commerce Committee will soon consider a bill that would actually weaken privacy protections. It not only fails to require phone companies to safeguard your detailed records, it also prevents your state from imposing stronger privacy protection requirements on those companies a dangerous step backward!

Tell Congress to pass the Prevention of Fraudulent Access to Phone Records Act and reject the dangerously weak Senate bill.

Support H.R. 4943, Reject S. 2389

I am rightfully concerned that stalkers, identity thieves, and data-brokers can access my private phone records that I entrusted to my telephone company. I urge you to protect my privacy by supporting H.R. 4943, the Prevention of Fraudulent Access to Phone Records Act. Further, you should reject S. 2389, a Senate bill that would actually weaken consumer phone record privacy protections.

It is simply not enough for Congress to prohibit fraudulent practices used to access my private calling records. There will always be those who will flout the law. Congress must make sure that phone companies have safeguards in place that prevent fraudsters from accessing my private information in the first place! In addition, Congress should prohibit my phone company from sharing my private, detailed phone records with their business partners and other companies unless I give them my express permission to do so. The more widely my records are shared, the more vulnerable they are.

The House Commerce Committee recently approved H.R. 4943, which takes all of these steps: it prohibits fraudulent access to my phone records; requires phone companies to implement strict, new security safeguards; and requires my carrier to get my express permission before it hands out my detailed phone records to other companies.

Unfortunately, S. 2389, about to be considered by the Senate Commerce Committee, doesn't require phone companies to do anything more to protect the privacy of my phone records. And at the same time, it prevents my state from enforcing stricter protections on the use and sharing of my private calling records. As a result, the Senate legislation is a dangerous step backward for consumers and should be rejected.

Please support H.R. 4943, the Prevention of Fraudulent Access to Phone Records Act, and reject S. 2389, the dangerously weak Senate proposal.

Thank you for protecting my personal privacy!
Sign Now


GOP Rubber Stamp

They Never Say NO ! This may be a little too late to get in on the citizen action but I thought it is worthwhile just to see the response it gets from Washington.   If you are not a regular reader of FireDogLake, this is an excellant time to start.   They are one of the best blogs on the internets...   - fc
GOP Rubber Stamp Congress Citizen Action Steps: Phase Two
By Christy Hardin Smith
Tuesday, March 28th, 2006
FireDogLake :: link

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee has a hearing scheduled on the illegal NSA domestic spying without a warrant. Friday is the hearing scheduled on Sen. Feingold's censure resolution - so every bit of pressure is helpful on this.

But wait, there's more. We're asking you to take the next step in citizen action with us. And it is a doozy: we're asking you to purchase a rubber stamp and send it to a specified address - which we plan on delivering to a member of Congress. (Since this will be a surprise for them, we're not revealing to whom just yet.) A huge thank you to Matt Stoller of MyDD for agreeing to be our patriot delivery person.

The stamp will say "Rubber Stamp Republican Congress."

Yep, that's right. We're taking the citizen action to the next level. Sean-Paul found a stamp manufacturer that will drop ship to our designated address - at Politics TV. Once we have received a "critical mass" amount of rubber stamps, we'll make the delivery. And report back to everyone on how it went.

We thought it was time to shake things up a bit in Washington, D.C. - and this seemed like a good place to start.

DCCC :: Info on this Rubber Stamp Congress


» Monday, March 27, 2006

Does Bush Really Care?

Money and Power - Yes ! This essay by Jane Smiley should be made available to all who have wondered "why" the little cowboy has done the things he has.   It is fairly long but a must read, especially for those who are just now seeing the error of their ways in supporting Bush.   - fc
Notes for Converts
by Jane Smiley
Huffington Post :: link

Bruce Bartlett, The Cato Institute, Andrew Sullivan, George Packer, William F. Buckley, Sandra Day O'Connor, Republican voters in Indiana and all the rest of you newly-minted dissenters from Bush's faith-based reality seem, right now, to be glorying in your outrage, which is always a pleasure and feels, at the time, as if it is having an effect, but those of us who have been anti-Bush from day 1 (defined as the day after the stolen 2000 election) have a few pointers for you that should make your transition more realistic.

1. Bush doesn't know you disagree with him. Nothing about you makes you of interest to George W. Bush once you no longer agree with and support him. No degree of relationship (father, mother, etc.), no longstanding friendly intercourse (Jack Abramoff), no degree of expertise (Brent Scowcroft), no essential importance (Tony Blair, American voters) makes any difference. There is nothing you have to offer that makes Bush want to know you once you have come to disagree with him. Your opinions and feelings now exist in a world entirely external to the mind of George W. Bush. You are now just one of those "polls" that he pays no attention to. When you were on his side, you thought that showed "integrity" on his part. It doesn't. It shows an absolute inability to learn from experience.

2. Bush doesn't care whether you disagree with him. As a man who has dispensed with the reality-based world, and is entirely protected by his handlers from feeling the effects of that world, he is indifferent to what you now think is real. Is the Iraq war a failure and a quagmire? Bush doesn't care. Is global warming beginning to affect us right now? So what. Have all of his policies with regard to Iran been misguided and counter-productive? He never thinks about it. You know that Katrina tape in which Bush never asked a question? It doesn't matter how much you know or how passionately you feel or, most importantly, what degree of disintegration you see around you, he's not going to ask you a question. You and your ideas are dead to him. You cannot change his mind. Nine percent of polled Americans would agree with attacking Iran right now. To George Bush, that will be a mandate, if and when he feels like doing it, because...

3. Bush does what he feels like doing and he deeply resents being told, even politely, that he ought to do anything else. This is called a "sense of entitlement". Bush is a man who has never been anywhere and never done anything, and yet he has been flattered and cajoled into being president of the United States through his connections, all of whom thought they could use him for their own purposes. He has a surface charm that appeals to a certain type of American man, and he has used that charm to claim all sorts of perks, and then to fail at everything he has ever done. He did not complete his flight training, he failed at oil investing, he was a front man and a glad-hander as a baseball owner. As the Governor of Texas, he originated one educational program that turned out to be a debacle; as the President of the US, his policies have constituted one screw-up after another. You have stuck with him through all of this, made excuses for him, bailed him out. From his point of view, he is perfectly entitled by his own experience to a sense of entitlement. Why would he ever feel the need to reciprocate? He's never had to before this.

4. President Bush is your creation. When the US Supreme Court humiliated itself in 2000 by handing the presidency to Bush even though two of the justices (Scalia and Thomas) had open conflicts of interest, you did not object. When the Bush administration adopted an "Anything but Clinton" policy that resulted in ignoring and dismissing all warnings of possible terrorist attacks on US soil, you went along with and made excuses for Bush. When the Bush administration allowed the corrupt Enron corporation to swindle California ratepayers and taxpayers in a last ditch effort to balance their books in 2001, you laughed at the Californians and ignored the links between Enron and the administration. When it was evident that the evidence for the war in Iraq was cooked and that State Department experts on the Middle East were not behind the war and so it was going to be run as an exercise in incompetence, you continued to attack those who were against the war in vicious terms and to defend policies that simply could not work. On intelligent design, global warming, doctoring of scientific results to reflect ideology, corporate tax giveaways, the K Street project, the illegal redistricting of Texas, torture at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib, the Terry Schiavo fiasco, and the cronyism that led to the destruction of New Orleans you have failed to speak out with integrity or honesty, preferring power to truth at every turn. Bush does what he wants because you have let him.

5. Tyranny is your creation. What we have today is the natural and inevitable outcome of ideas and policies you have promoted for the last generation. I once knew a guy who was still a Marxist in 1980. Whenever I asked him why Communism had failed in Russia and China, he said "Mistakes were made". He could not believe that Marxism itself was at fault, just as you cannot believe that the ideology of the unregulated free market has created the world we live in today. You are tempted to say: "Mistakes have been made", but in fact, psychologically and sociologically, no mistakes have been made. The unregulated free market has operated to produce a government in its own image. In an unregulated free market, for example, cheating is merely another sort of advantage that, supposedly, market forces might eventually "shake out" of the system. Of course, anyone with common sense understands that cheaters do damage that sometimes cannot be repaired before they are "shaken out", but according to the principles of the unregulated free market, the victims of that sort of damage are just out of luck and the damage that happens to them is just a sort of "culling". It is no accident that our government is full of cheaters--they learned how to profit from cheating when they were working in corporations that were using bribes, perks, and secret connections to cheat their customers of good products, their neighbors of healthy environmental conditions, their workers of workplace safety and decent paychecks. It was only when the corporations began cheating their shareholders that any of you squealed, but you should know from your own experience that the unregulated free market as a "level playing field" was the biggest laugh of the 20th century. No successful company in the history of capitalism has ever favored open competition. When you folks pretended, in the eighties, that you weren't using the ideology of the free market to cover your own manipulations of the playing field to your own advantage, you may have suckered yourselves, and even lots of American workers, but observers of capitalism since Adam Smith could have told you it wasn't going to work.

And then there was the way you used racism and religious intolerance to gain and hold onto power. Nixon was cynical about it--taking the party of Lincoln and reaching out to disaffected southern racists, drumming up a backlash against the Civil Rights movement for the sake of votes, but none of you has been any less vicious. Racism might have died an unlamented death in this country, but you kept it alive with phrases like "welfare queen" and your resistance to affirmative action and taxation for programs to help people in our country with nothing, or very little. You opted not to take the moral high ground and recognize that the whole nation would be better off without racism, but rather to increase class divisions and racial divisions for the sake of your own comfort, pleasure, and profit. You have used religion in exactly the same way. Instead of strongly defending the constitutional separation of church and state, you have encouraged radical fundamentalist sects to believe that they can take power in the US and mold our secular government to their own image, and get rich doing it. The US could have become a moderating force in what seems now to be an inevitable battle among the three monotheistic Abrahamic religions, but you have made that impossible by flattering and empowering our own violent and intolerant Christian right.

You have created an imperium, heedless of the most basic wisdom of the Founding Fathers--that at the very least, no man is competent enough or far-seeing enough to rule imperially. Checks and balances were instituted by Madison, Jefferson, Franklin, and the rest of them not because of some abstract distrust of power, but because they had witnessed the screw-ups and idiocies of unchecked power. You yourselves have demonstrated the failures of unchecked power--in an effort to achieve it, you have repeatedly contravened the expressed wishes of most Americans, who favor a moderate foreign policy, reasonable domestic programs, a goverrnment that works, environmental preservation, women's rights to contraception, abortion, and a level playing field. Somehow you thought you could mold the imperium to reflect your wishes, but guess what--that's what an imperium is--one man rule. If you fear the madness of King George, you have no recourse if you've given up the checks and balances that you inherited and that were meant to protect you.

Your ideas and your policies have promoted selfishness, greed, short-term solutions, bullying, and pain for others. You have looked in the faces of children and denied the existence of a "common good". You have disdained and denied the idea of "altruism". At one time, our bureaucracy was full of people who had gone into government service or scientific research for altruistic reasons--I knew, because I knew some of them. You have driven them out and replaced them with vindictive ignoramuses. You have lied over and over about your motives, for example, making laws that hurt people and calling it "originalist interpretations of the Constitution" (conveniently ignoring the Ninth Amendment). You have increased the powers of corporations at the expense of every other sector in the nation and actively defied any sort of regulation that would require these corporations to treat our world with care and respect. You have made economic growth your deity, and in doing so, you have accelerated the power of the corporations to destroy the atmosphere, the oceans, the ice caps, the rainforests, and the climate. You have produced CEOs in charge of lots of resources and lots of people who have no more sense of reciprocity or connection or responsibility than George W. Bush.

Now you are fleeing him, but it's only because he's got the earmarks of a loser. Your problem is that you don't know why he's losing. You think he's made mistakes. But no. He's losing because the ideas that you taught him and demonstrated for him are bad ideas, self-destructive ideas, and even suicidal ideas. And they are immoral ideas. You should be ashamed of yourselves because not only have your ideas not worked to make the world a better place, they were inhumane and cruel to begin with, and they have served to cultivate and excuse the inhumane and cruel character traits of those who profess them.

6. As Bad as Bush is, Cheney is Worse.


» Sunday, March 26, 2006

Careful for What You Wish

It's a Democracy, Stupid ! I have heard it all the time: The NeoCons want to spread Democracy throughout the Middle East.   It seems that Bush ran out of other excuses for his illegal war of terror for oil in Iraq and had to fall back on installing Democracy.   Well, they are getting exactly what they wished for.   With a twist.   That twist is called Islamic Law.

An outrage according to the wingnuts is playing right now on a TV near you.   A Christian converted from Islam is in danger of loosing his life in Afghanistan according to their sharia law.   Their base is very easy to rally and their holy ones are just as convinced that they are right, regardless of human rights issues.

Bush just loves to preach at these fake town hall meetings, thereby energising his base.   Right now they are preaching back.   Condi and Karzai are jumping thru hoops trying to save this Christian even tho the law says he must die.   Somehow the Afghan Constitution is just another piece of paper (as Ours is) when Bush decides he is above Our law or when the Afghans throw a Christian to the Lions!

The little cowboy and the wingnuts should be more careful about what they wish for.   They may get slapped in the face with the reality of injecting our values where they have never been accepted before.   When you think about it tho, they do not accept that the war for oil has failed and will be just as hard headed about Islam trumping Democracy.


» Thursday, March 23, 2006

Bush's Bluff

At an End! After 3 years of war and 6 years of the little cowboy's reign of terror, let's take a look at where we are at.   Terror, Torture, Lies, Corruption and Incompetence pretty well covers it.

The immediate aftermath of 9-11 was a gray area for most of us.   A few days anyway.   The passage of the Patriot Act was an early warning alarm that should have rang loud and clear with the majority of people, but it didn't.   Only us lefties were alarmed.   Now people have awakened to what the little cowboy has gotten us into.

Bush has run his bluff until people are now calling him on it.   His credibility (and ours in the world) has been so undermined that other nations are now standing up to him with impunity.

Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. converting some of their petrodollars into petroeuros is just one small warning shot across the bow.   One would assume that PortGate had something to do with it but two members of OPEC choosing to convert to the euro is bound to have been something in the works for a while.   The timing may have been infuenced but not the decision.   The amount (10%) may seem small but when you are talking billions, it is no small matter.

Russia brokering a deal to build nuclear reactors for China is another example.   Our sale of Westinghouse to Toshiba pounded a nail in the coffin for Westinghouse to get in on the Chinese move to nuclear power production.   China professed disdain at allowing Japan (Toshiba) to control any part of their infrastructure.

Of even more concern than these points is the situation in Iraq.   We have bitten of more than we can chew.   Bush's bluff has strengthened the terrorists and helped them prove to the world that even a superpower can not win a guerilla war.   As if this hasn't been proven in the past by way of Vietnam and Russo-Afghan wars.

Bush's ineptness in following thru in his illegal and failed NeoCon Dream of Conquest of the Middle East has cost us much.   This quote from Digby sums up where we are at...
The mantra on the right remains that everything changed after 9/11. (Dick Cheney said it again today.) Let's assume that's correct. If so, then undertaking this war was a recklessly dangerous experiment in psychological warfare that failed and left this country much weaker than it was before 9/11. All this money spent, all this fighting, all this messianic freedom rhetoric has actually made this country weaker than it has been at any time since the end of WWII. We have proven that we are a befuddled, undisciplined giant that allowed a radical political faction with half-baked delusions of grandeur to hijack the country. Either we make a precipitous course correction pretty soon, or the rest of the world will start banding together to get us under control.
I think they are already well on their way...   - fc


» Monday, March 20, 2006

Iraq :: 3 Years Later

Marked for the Innocents! For three years the rivers in the valley of mesopotamia have ran red with the blood of innocents.   Over 2300 of our military dead and thousands wounded.   30,000 to 150,000 Iraqi's dead and countless wounded.   We did not have the ability or concern to accurately count the Iraqi casualties for after all they were collateral damage and could not be avoided in Bush's insane quest for power and oil.   His words in 2003 ring loudly of lies yet only a few of us saw what was about to happen.   Truely George W. Bush will have a memorable legacy as he has spoken of several times, written with the blood of innocents.   - fc

March 18, 2003

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

Consistent with section 3(b) of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), and based on information available to me, including that in the enclosed document, I determine that:

(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither (A) adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq nor (B) likely lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and

(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.



Presidential Letter     •     Public Law 107-243

Timeline of Iraq War :: Think Progress

» Saturday, March 18, 2006

Sponsors of Bush Censure

List of Feingold's Cosponsors!
I thought it would be constructive to document this list.   As you can see from the list below, there were many Democrats who thought the Censure of Clinton was necessary.   It will be interesting to see how many think that Bush's illegal wiretaps are important enough to merit a censure.   - fc

CoSponsors of Censure of George W. Bush
Feingold (D-WI) Harkin (D-IA) Boxer (D-CA)
Red Denotes Votes for Clinton Censure
Akaka (D-HI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN)
Biden (D-DE)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Carper (D-DE)
Clinton (D-NY)
Conrad (D-ND)
Corzine (D-NJ)
Dayton (D-MN)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)

Jeffords (I-VT)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-HI)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kohl (D-WI)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Obama (D-IL)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Salazar (D-CO)
Sarbanes (D-MD)
Schumer (D-NY)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Wyden (D-OR)
List To Support Censure-
Note :: All names hotlinked to their websites.   Use their contact forms to let them know how you feel about this crucial issue. - fc

» Thursday, March 16, 2006

Censure Bush

Support Feingold!
It is time to stand up for America and help support Feingold's Censure To The President.   The rule of law must be held as the top priority for all Americans.   Bush is not above the law no matter what spin and rhetoric they force feed to the press.   Even tho this Censure will not be effective because of the Republican Corrupt Congress, it is still important to stand behind Senator Feingold and have it on the record at this time.   No, we will not win but it is a fight worth fighting, for the principal of it.   - fc
President Bush Must be Censured for Breaking the Law

"Congress must censure President Bush for breaking the law to wiretap American citizens without a warrant."
President Bush should be censured for breaking the law by illegally wiretapping American citizens.

When the president misleads the public and the Congress and willfully and repeatedly breaks the law, there need to be some consequences --that's how the law works for everybody else. Censuring the president is a reasonable first step in condemning his actions.

Sign Now

» Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Cheney's War With Iran

pull the nukular trigger - My friend Cromwell at Political pointed out this article about the Cheney War with Iran.   It is dated but it contains valuable references to all out perverted endless wars for the NeoCon World of Tomorrow.   With the facts on the ground in Iraq putting a hold on bloodletting in Iran temporarily, the war drums are slowly beating once more.   Iranian rhetoric is falling right into place with Cheney-Speak.   Where the madness stops, I don't think anyone really has a clue.   - fc

Petrodollar Warfare: Dollars, Euros and the Upcoming Iranian Oil Bourse
by William Clark
Published on 3 Aug 2005

Indeed, there are good reasons for U.S. military commanders to be 'horrified' at the prospects of attacking Iran. In the December 2004 issue of the Atlantic Monthly, James Fallows reported that numerous high-level war-gaming sessions had recently been completed by Sam Gardiner, a retired Air Force colonel who has run war games at the National War College for the past two decades.[9] Col. Gardiner summarized the outcome of these war games with this statement, "After all this effort, I am left with two simple sentences for policymakers: You have no military solution for the issues of Iran. And you have to make diplomacy work." Despite Col. Gardiner's warnings, yet another story appeared in early 2005 that reiterated this administration's intentions towards Iran. Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh's article in The New Yorker included interviews with various high-level U.S. intelligence sources. Hersh wrote:

In my interviews [with former high-level intelligence officials], I was repeatedly told that the next strategic target was Iran. Everyone is saying, 'You can't be serious about targeting Iran. Look at Iraq,' the former [CIA] intelligence official told me. But the [Bush administration officials] say, 'We've got some lessons learned - not militarily, but how we did it politically. We're not going to rely on agency pissants.' No loose ends, and that's why the C.I.A. is out of there.[10]

The most recent, and by far the most troubling, was an article in The American Conservative by intelligence analyst Philip Giraldi. His article, "In Case of Emergency, Nuke Iran," suggested the resurrection of active U.S. military planning against Iran - but with the shocking disclosure that in the event of another 9/11-type terrorist attack on U.S. soil, Vice President Dick Cheney's office wants the Pentagon to be prepared to launch a potential tactical nuclear attack on Iran - even if the Iranian government was not involved with any such terrorist attack against the U.S.:

The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing - that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack - but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.[11]

Read Complete Article...
Read Complete Article...

Note ::   Newer article on this subject
The Proposed Iranian Oil Bourse
- I. Economics of Empires - by Krassimir Petrov - 01.18.06


» Monday, March 13, 2006

Censure vs Impeachment

Definitions - After Russ Feingold announced he was presenting notice of Censure To The President, I did a little hunting until I found the information below.   It seems their are issues with Censure and Impeachment many of us may not be familiar with.   With the approaching elections and the possibilities of a Democratic Party Majority being returned to the House of Representatives, it pays for us to know a little about the impending Censure and Impeachment of George W. Bush.   - fc

Background and History of Impeachment
Background and History of Impeachment

Testimony of Father Robert F. Drinan, S.J.
Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center

House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution
Hearing on the Background and History of Impeachment
November 9, 1998

The framers of the United States Constitution knew that every president would have many political enemies. The authors of the Constitution consequently made the president virtually immune from legal action. They knew furthermore that America was inventing not a system of parliamentary democracy but a system in which the majority of the members of the Congress could not call or win a vote of no confidence.

But the founding fathers knew that in an extreme case there would be a need to remove a president before the time of his re-election. This was especially true since the writers of the Constitution feared (long before the time when a president was limited to eight years in office) that a president could aggregate power to himself and stay in office as if he were a member of a royal family.


The history and definition of impeachment do not yield all of the clarity which everyone might wish. But the intention of the founding fathers as found in the ways in which Congress for over 200 years has reacted to the impeachment process demonstrates a consensus that is clear and remarkably consistent. Impeachment is a unique and extraordinary weapon which should be considered only in extreme cases when impeachment is the only remedy available to oust a president even though the majority of the nation's voters elected him.

On the contrary the idea of a Congressional "censure" for the President has no legal or Constitutional history. It needs to be considered only because the majority of citizens in this country state in polls at this time that they oppose impeachment but desire some form of Congressional "sanction" as a way of expressing their disapproval of the President's conduct. They propose a "censure" as a compromise or a plea bargain. But there has never been a definition of "censure." Is it an admonition, a rebuke or a reprimand? Presumably it has no legal consequences.

The only occasion when a Congressional censure was enacted was in the 1830's when President Andrew Jackson received a censure from the Senate. Not surprisingly it was initiated by Senator Henry Clay whom Jackson had defeated in the presidential race. The censure was subsequently expunged.

Read Complete Document...

» Sunday, March 12, 2006

Islam In The West

We demand respect! - Some powerful words.   Worth a visit to follow some of the documenting links.   - fc

Opinionated Voice
Islam in the West

"In the West they underestimate how deep Muhammad is in the heart of every Muslim," al-Suweidan said. "We demand respect, like you have given the Jews respect. ... Be fair, that is all we're asking."

This was the essence of the statements brought forward at a recent conference hosted in Denmark aimed at improving ties with the Muslim world, after the uproar over cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad.

The importance of reconciliation between the West and the Muslim world was stressed, to build bridges and stop the "clash and conflict". The double standards must cease, and not just regarding 'freedom of speech' but also in the many areas of policy in which Western nations hold themselves to one standard and Muslim countries to another. For example, the EU threatens to cut Palestinian aid because Hamas refuses to recognise Israel, while it ignores that Israeli building in occupied Palestinian territories violated international law as far back as 1967. Regardless of this, the British government helped Israel build the atom bomb! USA can use nuclear warfare in destroying Hiroshima, invading Vietnam and devastating Iraq, while Iran cannot have nuclear energy. We were told of the 'need' to enact regime change in the 'land of oil' (Iraq), while Sudan was left to the slaughter. Furthermore, reports of Islamic extremism and oppression must be correlated with reports on positive issues to inform both Muslims and non-Muslims that Islam is a religion of peace, and that any transgression of this is evidently un-Islamic.

Some say a dialogue between East and West is counter-productive due to a lack of common-ground, while others call for deconstruction of the opposition between the West and Islam. The reality is that there is NO clear boundary between the West and Islam, but there IS the common-ground of humanity. The pace of change in the last 50 years has put constant pressure on traditional beliefs, habits and cultures to adapt as the central structural systems of society are diluted by the increasing number of sub-systems and the decreasing number of boundaries. Production, trade finance and even religion can now be organised and affected at a global level, which has subsequently widened ecological damage, political repression, overpopulation, civil unrest and nuclear and biochemical disaster.

In response to the advocates of fundamentalism, Islam should not be used or considered as a response to globalisation, but as a stabilising force to combat the negative effects. But this can only be successfully achieved if we strive to represent Islam as in its true light, enjoining the good and condemning the bad. The solution is with deconstruction of the negative opposition held by/between BOTH East and West by/between Muslims and non-Muslims, so that through discourse we can ALL become objective champions of freedom and justice and seek to build a more peaceful and culturally/racially/religiously interactive world. Until this can be achieved we must be impervious to the actions of those;

"In both the western and the Islamic worlds, who, for their own nefarious reasons, want the tension to escalate; we should not allow ourselves to play into their hands."

Read Essay and Comments...

» Saturday, March 11, 2006

Stop the Hypocrisy!

Tell the Religious Right: Stop the Hypocrisy! The leaders of the Religious Right have been swept up in the Abramoff Scandal yet no mention of it in the M$M.   When they need airtime for bashing gays or trying to wash away 200 years of Seperation of Church and State, they get plenty.   Their hypocrisy is so transparent...   Their flock of sheeple are so gullable...   - fc
Tell the Religious Right: Stop the Hypocrisy
Tell the Religious Right:
Stop the Hypocrisy

The leaders of the religious right have long preached against the moral evils of gambling. But now James Dobson, Lou Sheldon and Ralph Reed have been exposed as base hypocrites, knee-deep in the muck of the Jack Abramoff scandal -- they took millions of dollars of Abramoff's gambling money to lobby against his clients' competitors.

• Former Christian Coalition Director Ralph Reed made millions from Indian gambling interests, rallying religious conservatives to oppose competing casinos.
• James Dobson of Focus on the Family recorded anti-gambling ads that a casino-operating Indian tribe paid to air.
• Lou Sheldon's Traditional Values Coalition was paid $25,000 by online gambling outfit eLottery to lobby congress on its behalf.

It's time for the hypocrisy to end. Millions of Americans have taken their moral cues from these men, only to find out now that they are in bed with the very interests they've earned their living condemning. These so-called leaders need to stop telling others how to act, and start practicing what they preach.

Tell Ralph Reed, Louis Sheldon and James Dobson to stop the hypocrisy -- and donate all their Abramoff money to Gamblers Anonymous.
To : Ralph Reed, Louis Sheldon and James Dobson

For years, you've attacked the freedom of women to control their own bodies, waged war on gay marriage, and fought to erode one of the most central tenets of our Constitution: the separation between church and state.

You've always claimed the moral high ground, asserting the right to tell people how to live and condemning millions of Americans for actions you deemed immoral. But your high ground is washed away. After years of condemning gambling as a social ill, you're caught knee-deep in pro-gambling campaigns hatched by convicted felon Jack Abramoff.

It's time to stop telling others how to act, and start practicing what you preach.

End your hypocrisy, and donate all the money you received from Jack Abramoff and his clients to Gamblers Anonymous.

Sign Now

» Friday, March 10, 2006

NeoCons Tell Bush : NO

An Ominous Sign! The last thing you would expect to see...   NeoCons abandoning Fearless Leader...   It is a shock.   Even more of a shock than Repubs that are up for re-election this year bailing out on the little cowboy.   Will wonders never cease...
Hat Tip to fishface at Political   - fc
NeoCon allies desert Bush over Iraq

These are the right-wing intellectuals who demanded George Bush invade Iraq. Now they admit they got it wrong. Are you listening, Mr President?
Published: 09 March 2006

William Buckley Jnr   (influential conservative columnist and tv pundit)

'One can't doubt the objective in Iraq has failed ... Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an army of 130,000 Americans. Different plans have to be made. And the kernel here is the acknowledgement of defeat.'

Francis Fukuyama   (author and long-term advocate of toppling saddam)

'By invading Iraq, the Bush administration created a self-fulfilling prophecy: Iraq has now replaced Afghanistan as a magnet, a training ground and an operational base for jihadists, with plenty of American targets to shoot at.'

Richard Perle   (arch-warmonger and pivotal republican hawk)

'The military campaign and its political aftermath were both passionately debated within the Bush administration. It got the war right and the aftermath wrong We should have understood that we needed Iraqi partners.'

Andrew Sullivan   (prominent commentator and influential blogger)

'The world has learnt a tough lesson, and it has been a lot tougher for those tens of thousands of dead, innocent Iraqis ... than for a few humiliated pundits. The correct response is not more spin but a sense of shame and sorrow.'

George Will   (right-wing columnist on 'the washington post' and tv pundit)

'Almost three years after the invasion, it is still not certain whether, or in what sense, Iraq is a nation. And after two elections and a referendum on the constitution, Iraq barely has a government.'


» Thursday, March 09, 2006

GOP : No To Bush

In Fear For Their Jobs! It's about time...   The GOP killed the PortGate deal, telling the little cowboy in the White House, NO...   There is nothing like facing an unemployment line to help you get your shit together.   - fc
Say it loud and often...

» Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Channel Choice Now

A La Carte Option! Current news has it that AT&T and SBC are possibly being transmuted back into a megacorp mini-monopoly under the Bush Administration.   No big surprise there, for sure...   The push for channel choice from providers becomes an even more inportant issue for all of us.   We need to push congress on the 'a la carte' option...   - fc
Hear Us You may be able to save as much as 13% on your cable bills, according to a new FCC report (PDF file). Real cable and satellite choice would allow you to pick and pay for only those channels you want.

If you had the option to choose channels individually (known as a la carte) instead of having to buy cable and satellite packages like you do today you could lower your monthly bills and gain more control over the programs your family watches. This a la carte system could also allow for more independent and diverse programming because it would break the hold that cable and satellite operators currently have when deciding what packages to market.

It is time to tell Congress that consumers want more channel choice! Real cable and satellite choice can bring consumers lower prices, and more diverse programming.

Send Message
Give me more control over my channels!

I am writing to let you know that I am angry that cable and satellite rates are continuing to rise and I want more control over my cable and satellite TV bills. The Federal Communications Commission has said that allowing consumers to choose and pay for only those channels they want to watch will save consumers money. Cable and satellite companies should adopt this "a la carte" system immediately, and give me more control over what programs come into my home.

Consumers should have more flexibility when it comes to the cable and satellite programming that we pay for. Today, the cable and satellite companies, not consumers, decide what packages of channels we have to buy. Because of this system, they're able to favor the channels they own. Giving me more choice--either to choose a package or select my own channels--would help break the choke hold cable and satellite companies have on programming, and could allow more independent programming to get aired. This "a la carte" system would let me save money and allow me to decide what programming I want to keep out of my home.

Over the past ten years, the average price of expanded basic cable service has increased from just over $20 to well over $40 nearly three times the rate of inflation. Today, 98% of consumers can choose from only one cable company and not everyone can get satellite. This lack of competition has hurt consumers and encouraged the industry to lock us into the large packages of channels we don't watch.

I understand the technology already exists to make a cable and satellite a la carte system work. While the cable and satellite industry is fighting this idea, giving consumers choices is the way most markets work. Imagine Time Warner telling consumers that to buy Time magazine, they also had to buy Time Warner-owned Field & Stream. In the competitive publishing market they couldn't get away with that, but in TV, they make more money by controlling how consumers get cable and satellite programming. Bundling lets them squeeze consumers and control content. They may have no incentive to quit unless policymakers step in and get involved.

Please support giving me more control over my bill.

» Sunday, March 05, 2006

Bush's Police State

Closer To A Reality! Is it a stretch to think this...?   I don't think so...   From the loss of freedoms in the Patriot Act to the recent revelations that over 5000 cases in federal courts have been hidden from public view (More Details at bottom of this post).   Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt was driven home to the American People by the Bush Administration 24/7.   We gave up a little bit of freedom for an even smaller amount of security (as reflected in the awareness that has commanded).   Bush has alienated our friends around the world... wait a minute... We don't have any friends around the world anymore.   They all look at Bush's Corruption, Warmongering and Incomptence and wonder as half of this country's electorate do --- How did this all get so out of control?   Those of us in the reality based community have been wondering that for 6 years now.   Some of us are trying to take steps to correct it.   Are you...???

John Murtha gives us a glimpse of the real world that is unfolding around us... The Comment by 'Background Noise' is even more of an eye opener...   - fc
Murtha: The 'Only People Who Want Us in Iraq' are Iran, al Qaeda, and China

Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) today on CBS's Face the Nation:
Let me tell you, the only people who want us in Iraq is Iran and al-Qaeda. I've talked to a top-level commander the other day, it was about two weeks ago, and he said China wants us there also. Why? Because we're depleting our resources - our troop resources and our fiscal resources.
Murtha's concerns are grounded in fact. The war in Iraq has allowed a historic expansion of Iranian influence westward, created a new haven and terrorist training ground for al Qaeda, and strained our military into a "'thin green line' that could snap unless relief comes soon."

UPDATE: Crooks & Liars has the video.

From the Comments to this post ::
Let me introduce you to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

When you visit the site, take a moment to really look at the splash page before you click on the "english" button. Take a look at the map of the world in the background. Now compare that to their logo. Notice how much landmass is covered in their logo? I make the point because Americans generally learn geography based on who we are bombing. This time it would be wise to learn it up front.

Current members include Russia, China, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazahkstan, Kyrgystan and Tajikistan. Now most folks in the US is probably laughing "who cares about these pissant countries!" This will wipe the smile off your face: Member countries represent 1/4 of the world's population. Two of the countries are nuclear powers. One is a major oil producer. Think they don't have clout? Here is a story from last November that didn't get much play:
Uzbekistan Ends U.S. Use of Airbase Aiding Afghanistan Mission
You probably don't know much about Uzbekistan. Don't be surprised. It is a small impoverished country with a GDP approx. equal to Bill Gates' personal fortune. ($47B USD) If it was a state, West Virginia would be giving it assistance.

You think given Uzbekistan's strategic location we would leave willingly? You really believe the Bush administration chose to put "human rights" as a higher priority than a forward base in Central Asia as a launch pad for counterterrorism operations?

Now ask yourself... when was the last time some pissant little country forced the US to close down one of its bases? When was the last time ANY country forced the US to get out?

Obviously Uzbekistan has something West Virginia doesn't. It belongs to SCO. Belonging to SCO allows them to align themselves with Russia AND China. But wait... there's more: Iran, India, Pakistan and Mongolia are all petitioning for membership in the SCO. When that happens, you will have 4 nuclear powers representing 1/2 the world's population! Consider the President's recent itineraries and you will notice something interesting. He has recently been to Mongolia (first time for any president), and India (first time for him), Pakistan (first time for him). Hell of a coincidence for a guy who doesn't travel much.

Right now the SCO is primarily dedicated to making sure that all these countries can settle regional issues without a shooting war in Central Asia (where they all share borders). But that will quickly change with the addition of India, Iran, Pakistan and Mongolia. Then it will be a alliance that can counter any threat in the world. Basically the countries in the SCO will cover a landmass from Europe to Central and South Asia to Asia. From the Baltic and Black Seas to the Pacific. From the Arctic to the Indian Ocean.

Look at the map and you will realize the only country missing from that grand coalition is Afghanistan. If you think about it for a minute or two, it should be obvious that power bloc would have significant geographic, military, economic, and natural resource clout. Here's why The overwhelming assessment by Asian officials, diplomats and analysts is that the U.S. military simply cannot defeat China. And China is not alone.

Comment by Background Noise - March 5, 2006

AP: More Than 5,000 Secret Federal Trials In Last Three Years

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Despite the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of public trials, nearly all records are being kept secret for more than 5,000 defendants who completed their journey through the federal courts over the last three years

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

It's Not Just The Law, It's The Constitution
mohave daily news (txt)
AP: Many defendants' cases kept secret - by Michael J. Sniffen and John Solomon

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