July 4, 2004
10:36 PM CST
Some interesting details regarding rebuilding in Iraq. Notably, of the $18.4 billion Congress has provided for urgent reconstruction, a whopping $366 million had been spent as of June 22. But it's not as if money isn't being spent: 95% of a $20 billion fund taken from Iraqi oil receipts has been spent. My guess is that this will raise the eyebrows of both Congress and the Iraqi people.
In celebration of the 4th of July, here are links to:
THE U.S. CONSTITUTION
THE BILL OF RIGHTS
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS (#11-27)
THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
And why not exercise your rights?
Contact your Senators
Contact your Representative
Contact The White House
Let them know what you think! After all, it is your government...
July 3, 2004
5:57 PM CST
There's yet another investigation into abuse allegations, this one in Afghanistan. "The U.S.-based right group Human Rights Watch has called abuse of detainees in Afghanistan 'systemic,' and criticized the U.S. decision not to grant suspected militants prisoner-of-war status that would give them rights under the Geneva Conventions"
Meanwhile, The Pentagon announced it will recall about 5,600 discharged soldiers to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Any time the military calls on its reservists for wartime duty, political implications arise because of the disruption to civilian lives and businesses. In this case, it may reinforce the perception among some that Iraq is stretching the Army too far."
Finally, a GOP consultant entered a plea of guilty to charges that he jammed Democratic party phone lines (and a Firefighters' Union's phone lines) during the 2002 election in New Hampshire. And what was so important during the 2002 election that someone would break the law to tamper with it? Only a closely watched U.S. Senate race between outgoing Gov. Jeanne Shaheen and then Congressman John Sununu. Guess who won? And doesn't that name Sununu sound vaguely familiar? Like father, like son, I suppose...
July 3, 2004
1:39 PM CST
FOUND IT! Here's a .pdf file (120KB) of the wonderful "Section 5...Duties" portion of Bush-Cheney's evangelical efforts. A must-read. "Doin' God's work since 2000..."
July 2, 2004
10:51 PM CST
An update to yesterday's Reuters story about BushCo being in bed with the Religious Right:
In a move sharply criticized both by religious leaders and civil libertarians, the Bush-Cheney campaign has issued a guide listing about two-dozen "duties" and a series of deadlines for organizing support among conservative church congregations.
This puts the F-9/11 "they're political ads!" flap into total context. Mark my words, unless these reports are false, this doesn't bode well for Team Bush. Last I checked, most voters staunchly support the constitutional separation of church and state.
Flashpoint: New Mexico
Lots of political TV dollars being spent in New Mexico, over an argument on an issue that looms large in the US Presidential election: terrorism. Sadly, both ads sound stupid and meaningless. Hmmm...must be an election year.
Personally, I think I pay more attention to spending an afternoon in a rented studio at $25/hr (a rare event) than either campaign is spending on this mega-million dollar ad blitz. On the plus side, those who own or work at television stations in NM are flourishing, in spite of the economy. That's the up-side of being in a battleground state.
Of course, the down side is the saturation bombing of the ads themselves. Possibly part of the reason that Bill Richardson declined to be part of The Veepstakes. Not that he was likely near the top of the list to begin with (his Clinton ties and the Wen Ho Lee incident come to mind). Whoever Kerry picks, I hope it's someone who can deliver net electoral college votes...
July 1, 2004
11:19 PM CST
Lengthy but fascinating: Deibold Memos/FLA 2K E-Voting Fraud. From Scoop, 10/24/03.
It astonished me that I got blank looks from three people at work today when I mentioned that White House Press Briefings were all published online. Well, they are. And they frequently get quite interesting in their own tortured way. OOOPS! Sorry, didn't mean to use the "T" word...
July 1, 2004
10:32 PM CST
The Bush campaign must have decided they'd been neglecting a constituency that put them close enough to the 2000 election in Florida to make it stick. So they decided to piss off Cuban-Americans. That's the best reason I could come up with for it, anyway. If anyone knows what these guys are thinking, please let me know. It's a mystery to me, but it's further evidence that they're still clinging to a Cold War mentality. Which is, at a minimum, annoyingly stupid.
And there seems to be further evidence of the Bush campaign courting disaster by seeking support from tax exempt religious organizations. The same Reuters article points out that the campaign has spent $150,000,000 to date, yet finds itself in a virtual tie at this point--in spite of the advantages of incumbency.
All of this makes the reasoning behind John Kerry's recently rare appearances in the mainstream news cycle fairly obvious. Why expend effort and money while increasing risk, when the opposition is spending vast amounts of cash only to dig themselves a deeper hole?
Kerry seems to be content sitting near the sidelines until the convention, seeing just how much BushCo can bloody themselves until then. Good move, in my estimation. If they're smart, though, they're doing some serious prep work right now for post-convention strategy while Team Bush tends to damage control on a daily basis. Much like the administration/campaign did during the Democratic primary season, except for the "strategy" part on any level...
June 30, 2004
9:06 PM CST
To revisit something that I don't think is getting enough attention, I'm amazed at the notion that the Bush administration never saw the Supreme Court cases ever going any way but their way. According to this Reuters article, "Administration officials told the Times they were unprepared for the ruling. 'It's astounding to me that these cases have been pending for so long and nobody came up with a contingency plan,' a senior Defense Department official was quoted as saying."
These blatant offenses are something that have been on my mind for some time now. There's even a Sediments song dating back to '02 that directly addresses the topic, so I don't see how this is fresh on anybody's radar, much less the administration's:
GoodnightAfghanistan.mp3 (download only).
Wow. Are these guys off their game, or what?
I also find it interesting that the shell of a man who insisted in the 2000 debates that he detested "Nation Building" has become the biggest Nation Builder this country has seen since the last world war. Now they want to rip up to 6,500 American citizens away from their lives to serve in Afghanistan and Iraq (again, from Reuters). "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED", indeed.
How can they get away with it? Simple: those being called up a week from today are being punished for having already served. And this is on top of countless members of the Reserves who were shipped out for twelve months, had their tour extended, and then extended again. This time, at least, couldn't the neo-cons come up with 6,500 of their own kids to throw at this noblest of battles?
BTW, I've gotten my first piece of email regarding my new little blog. Evidently, I'm anti-American. But a certain famous ex-pill-popping radio talk show host who has extreme difficulty remaining married recently told me as much on his show that's syndicated nationally by an arm of The Disney Nation. So I already knew that I was somehow anti-American, though I can't quite follow the logic...
June 29, 2004
9:47 PM CST
It turns out the opening weekend estimates for "Fahrenheit 9/11" were off. Instead of $21.8M, it actually raked in $23.9M...
June 29, 2004
9:27 PM CST
It appears the Bush Administration was caught with their pants down on the twin Supreme Court rulings. You know, the ones that stated that they must abide by The Constitution. These guys evidently never learn. But I guess you can't learn from mistakes if you never think you make them in the first place.
At any rate, guess who the lone constitutionally ignorant holdout was in the 8-1 decision against suspending habeas corpus rights for U.S. Citizens on a neo-con whim. Yep, you guessed it:
"Only Justice Clarence Thomas agreed with the administration's view that the president can order the arrest and the indefinite detention of Americans who he believes to be terrorists or enemy fighters."
An interesting discussion with Elisa Massimino, director of the Human Rights First Washington, D.C. office on this topic can be found here.
Amazingly, it's taken us well over two years to arrive at this decision. All I have to add at this point is "what the hell took so long?" This is something that should have been decided by public opinion in about five seconds. It's something that should have gotten more attention all the way around, including in the mainstream media. It's not something that should have been back-burnered until it meandered its way over to The Supremes before being roundly rejected.
Sad. Very sad.
June 28, 2004
9:35 PM CST
Team Bush appears to be in total disarray. It's something that has been gathering steam ever since Richard Clarke blew the whistle. It might finally be reaching critical mass, and the stress is starting to show. Witness the little exchange between VP Dick Cheney and Sen. Patrick Leahy. "Go fuck yourself". On the Senate Floor, no less. Hmmmm...maybe the orders for what happened at Abu Ghraib DID come from the top!
Face it, BushCo is hauling around some serious baggage: Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Ashcroft, and Dick "F.Y." Cheney, to name just a few. The beautiful thing about it is, it's unlikely any of the higher-ups will get the boot. Because to kick them out would be to admit a mistake, and if there's one thing the Bush Administration hates to do, it's admit a mistake. So keep on plugging, guys. Keep going negative and getting the facts wrong. In the run-up to the election, people will pay more attention to this sort of thing.
I guess it comes as no surprise that Cheney would say "Fuck yourself" to a senior member of the U.S. Senate. After all, he's been saying it to the entire nation--and the world--for ages.
Meanwhile, over on the "Puppet Stage", Dad handed over the keys to the Iraqi interim government. And, GOSH, DAD, two days early...THANKS!!! If this doesn't put the insurgents off their game for months to come, I don't know what will.
While posting only occasionally lately, I'll bet Baghdad resident Riverbend will have something to say about this in the coming days, once she has a few minutes while the power's on and everything important is taken care of...
June 28, 2004
1:07 AM CST
I've been thinking about doing this for a while, so here it is: the first entry in my very own Blog. Nothing fancy, just a few pages hosted up from the SediWeb site.
It should come as no surprise that my primary objective until November is seeing to it that Bush is soundly thrashed and sent back to Crawford, TX.
We may be well on the way. "Fahrenheit 9/11" opened nation-wide on Friday, and was the #1 movie in the U.S. during its opening weekend. Nearly $22M on only 868 screens. Box Office Mojo has a nice article from a "How'd it do at the Box Office" perspective...
Can you pronounce "Abu Ghraib"? Evidently Bush can't.
It's interesting just who BushCo has pissed off and how it's coming back to haunt them. I found this L.A. Times op-ed piece about Howard Stern quite amusing. Better still, Stern is so mad that his webmasters have compiled an excellent list of anti-Bush resources. Even if you dislike Howard Stern, I urge you to visit this page--it contains nothing but links.
I think Colin Powell's kid fucked up. (Oh, shit, can I say that???)