Monthly Archives: October 2007

Fess Up

Your Dog, As Richard Dean Anderson.

Who here dresses their pets up in Halloween costumes?

A.

The Fugitive

Justice nearly catches up withDon Rumsfeld.

Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld fled France today fearing arrest over charges of “ordering and authorizing” torture of detainees at both the American-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the US military’s detainment facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, unconfirmed reports coming from Paris suggest.

US embassy officials whisked Rumsfeld away yesterday from a breakfast meeting in Paris organized by the Foreign Policy magazine after human rights groups filed a criminal complaint against the man who spearheaded President George W. Bush’s “war on terror” for six years.

Under international law, authorities in France are obliged to open an investigation when a complaint is made while the alleged torturer is on French soil.

According to activists in France, who greeted Rumsfeld shouting “murderer” and “war criminal” at the breakfast meeting venue, US embassy officials remained tight-lipped about the former defense secretary’s whereabouts citing “security reasons”.

Anti-torture protesters in France believe that the defense secretary fled over the open border to Germany, where a war crimes case against Rumsfeld was dismissed by a federal court. But activist point out that under the Schengen agreement that ended border checkpoints across a large part of the European Union, French law enforcement agents are allowed to cross the border into Germany in pursuit of a fleeing fugitive.

“Rumsfeld must be feeling how Saddam Hussein felt when US forces were hunting him down,” activist Tanguy Richard said. “He may never end up being hanged like his old friend, but he must learn that in the civilized world, war crime doesn’t pay.”

Today On Holden’s Obsession With The Gaggle

Dana Peroxide’s Habitually Proclaimed Ignorance Pisses Helen Off

Q Dana, why did the Bush administration give immunity to the Blackwater guards, and is the administration going to hold these guys accountable for what transpired?

MS. PERINO: This is what I can tell you: Secretary Rice has made it very clear that she takes the situation very seriously. It is under review. She said that anyone who has engaged in criminal behavior will be prosecuted. I don’t have additional detail that I can provide for you, and I’ll have to refer you to the State Department and Justice Department for more.

Q Has the President been briefed on this, or what does he think? What is he saying?

MS. PERINO: I do not know if the President has been briefed on it specifically. I can ask.

Q Were they given immunity or weren’t they?

MS. PERINO: Helen, as I said, it’s a matter that’s under review.

Q (Inaudible) tough questions. Why can’t you answer them?

MS. PERINO: Because it is a matter that’s under review, and I’m going to refer you to the State or the Justice Department for more.

Q What do you mean “under review”? Why don’t you say yes or no?

MS. PERINO: The State Department is the one that is looking into this and they are the ones answering questions on it.

Q So the administration hasn’t decided whether or not the reports of that are true? You’re still looking into whether or not they actually were?

MS. PERINO: I am going to refer you to the State Department on that, who is looking into it.

Q As a general question, how could you both be offered immunity and promised prosecution?

MS. PERINO: Again, this is being — this is under review. It’s not something that I can talk about from here. Obviously, anyone who is engaged in criminal activity would be of a great concern and it’s very serious and it should be prosecuted. Let me let the State Department and the Justice Department answer further questions on it.

Q Also, what is being reviewed? Just so we’re clear.

MS. PERINO: The entire situation is being reviewed, from the incident to the aftermath of it. And I just don’t have anything more for you that I can say from the podium today.

Continue reading

War Crimes, Bitches!

This should make Chimpy’s worn-out “talkin’ ’bout the peace with Koizumi” storyeven funnier!

A top US scholar of wartime Japan said Wednesday that the Bush administration’s “war on terror” bore close parallels to Japan’s past militarism through a defiance of international law.

Herbert Bix, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for his landmark biography of wartime emperor Hirohito, said he believed US aerial bombings and alleged use of torture in Afghanistan and Iraq constituted war crimes.

“The current American rampage in Iraq and elsewhere, not to mention the Bush administration’s threats of war against Iran, so clearly replicates Imperial Japan during the period when its leaders willfully disregarded international law and pursued the diplomacy of force,” Bix said during a visit to Tokyo.

Japan defied the Nine-Party Treaty guaranteeing China’s sovereignty, signed in 1922 in Washington, when imperial troops invaded Manchuria in 1931.

Bix compared Japan’s action to current US efforts to scuttle the Treaty of Rome establishing the International Criminal Court, which President George W. Bush argues could unfairly target Americans.

He also said that senior US leaders — not just rank-and-file soldiers — should have been held to account for the killings of 24 civilians in the Iraqi town of Haditha.

“US war criminality is justice institutionalised, as Japan’s once was,” Bix said.

“In today’s America, torture is not only standard battlefield practice in the so-called war on terror. Torture is celebrated in American popular culture as evidenced by the popularity of ’24,’ a TV programme in which the hero confronts a ticking bomb scenario… designed to justify torture.”

You will not be surprised to learn…

In Michael Gerson’s new book we learn Dick Cheney doesn’t care about people. FromWaPo is this: (viaTP)

He [Gerson] recounts meetings in which Cheney’s office tried to kill proposals
to increase training of death-row defense lawyers, transition
assistance for prisoners and aid for Hurricane Katrina victims.

“The storm had also revealed a political and moral chasm in the
Republican Party,” he writes. “The president and I saw Katrina as an
opportunity to open a debate on race and poverty. Anti-government
Republicans saw Katrina as an opportunity to cut off medicine to old
people. It confirmed the worst image of Republicans as the party of
shriveled hearts.”

What can a person say other than…

UPDATE:Oyster has more. No profanity though the gulf between Bush’s promises and the subsequent reality is profane.

Forget Poland!

They’rebooking.

Polish Prime Minister-designate Donald Tusk said his future government would seek to end the nation’s military mission in Iraq next year, according to an interview published Wednesday.

Poland, a staunch U.S. ally, sent combat troops to the 2003 war in Iraq and still has some 900 soldiers stationed in the southeast, despite public displeasure with the mission. Polish troops now primarily train Iraqi forces and renovate schools and hospitals.

“We want to finish the mission in this form in 2008,” Tusk was quoted as saying by the daily Polska. He did not elaborate.

Tusk made pulling out of Iraq a top issue in his recent election campaign, in which his pro-European Union party, Civic Platform, ousted the socially conservative government of Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who is to resign Nov. 5.

The Pony From Hope

Chimpy sets an all-time record low job approval rating inArkansas.

George Bush Job Approval: 30%

George Bush Job Disapproval: 65%

With A Face Just Like Yours

This is just so fucking stupid I want to eat my own head.

Part of the reason that we have had a faith outreach in our campaigns is precisely because I don’t think the LGBT community or the Democratic Party is served by being hermetically sealed from the faith community and not in dialogue with a substantial portion of the electorate, even though we may disagree with them.

And you know, Atrios takes apart the know-it-all-ness of it, the condescension, but you know what I’m damn well tired of? Being told my concerns as a Democratic voter in a Democratic primary aren’t as important as those of “independents” or “centrists” or whatever it is we’re calling assholes who can’t make up their minds these days.

I’m getting really fucking sick of being told my concerns are out of reach because addressing them might piss off some whiny pussy who thinks it’s just too much for her to think about, the whole “equal protection under the law” thing, who equates co-existence with having something “shoved down my throat,” who thinks “other people might be uncomfortable” is a legitimate reason to refrain from letting right be done.

Good God. I am so TIRED of being second to these assholes, all the time, I am so tired, dead tired, and maybe this is my absolutely brutal hangover talking, but I am so fucking fucking fucking tired of coming in second to that constituency, to the caution, to the fear, to the equivocation, to the hedging, to the consultation and the achievable and the electable and the politically realistic, and if I could through the haze of my headache just offer the Obama camp (and the Clinton one while I’m at it, and everybody, really, running in this race) some advice right now?

YOU’RE IN A DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

TRY GETTING DEMOCRATIC VOTES.

Try doing things that appeal to passionate, involved, activist Democrats.

Instead of making out with the fence-sitters, with the centrists, with the people who believe their ambivalence about the direction of the country makes them morally superior, instead of snuggling and braiding the hair of the jackasses who think their feelings of vague discomfort about the idea of buttsex and pride parades justify a betrayal of our country’s ideals through discrimination, why not give your winks and nods to the constituency that is going to get you fucking votes in Iowa and New Hampshire and yes, even in South Carolina, which I’m betting is just thrilled at being thought of as the home of bigoted hicks. Why not appeal to the people who are going to give you the nomination?

You want to wink and nod at a constituency? You want to send a message to people that they should give a flying fuck about you becoming their standard-bearer? Try that constituency, that message, because we’re getting damn tired of being told to lie back and take it and then give you your change.

A.

Your President Speaks!

Today, at theWhite House (after taking the day off yesterday).

Stop Investigatin’ Me!

The House of Representatives has wasted valuable time on a constant stream of investigations, and the Senate has wasted valuable time on an endless series of failed votes to pull our troops out of Iraq.

What The Initial Bill Said We Got To Do

After going alone and going nowhere, Congress should instead work with the administration on a bill that puts poor children first; a bill that will take care of the poor children that the initial bill said we got to do; a bill that would stop diverting money to adults.

A Call For Bipartisanship

I know some on the Democrat side didn’t agree with my decision to send troops in, but it seems like we ought to be able to agree that we’re going to support our troops who are in harm’s way.

aWol AWOL from Jeebus…

Jesus_bicycle

…Unless he’s riding with him.
From Julie Mason at theHouston Chronicle (viaFroomkin)

Another Sunday and President Bush skipped church. We can’t remember
the last time he went. He never used to miss church — and we know,
because we get Sunday pool duty all the time and have to get up in the
dark and go with him.

9/23 pool report: The president of America eschewed church on this fine Sunday and instead went for a bike ride in Virginia…9/30 pool report: The evangelical president did not go to church today, but he did go on a bike ride…10/7 pool report: (Bush gave a speech at the National Fire Academy)10/14 pool report: (Bush was on his Crawford ranch)10/21 pool report: Pool reported this morning and headed straight for biking, no church…10/28 pool report: No church, and uneventful bike ride at Fort Belvoir, Va.

 

Your President Speaks! Again!

Today, at theWhite House, after a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.

Because He Eats Beef? Because Chimpy Has Never Raised Cattle

Second time we have met here in the Oval Office, and I told the President that I remember distinctly his description of what life was like in Uganda, particularly when it comes to his raising cows; he’s a cattleman, and it gave us something to talk about.

What President Museveni Has Got

The President has got good advice and has got good judgment when it comes to issues like Somalia and the Sudan.

Get Moving Those Troops

And it’s important for the United Nations to get moving those troops into the Darfur region as quickly as possible.

What They Discussed About

And of course we discussed about the peace between — the agreement between south and north of Sudan, and our desire is to make sure we implement that agreement.

“Without Legal Affect”

I won’t hold my breath waiting for the Bush Assministration to act onthese recommendations.

A U.N. human rights expert is calling on the United States to prosecute or release suspects detained as “unlawful enemy combatants” and to move quickly to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

Martin Scheinin, the U.N.’s independent investigator on human rights in the fight against terrorism, said in a report released Monday that he’s concerned about U.S. detention practices, military courts and interrogation techniques.

He urged the U.S. government to end the CIA practice of extraordinary rendition, in which terrorism suspects are taken to foreign countries for interrogation.

Scheinin said he was also concerned about what he termed “enhanced interrogation techniques reportedly used by the CIA,” saying that under international law “there are no circumstances in which cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment may be justified.”

[snip]

In the report, Scheinin called for the abolition of the military commissions which were established in 2001 by President and declared unlawful by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2006 because they were not authorized by Congress. Congress responded by passing the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

Scheinin said the offenses in the 2006 law — including terrorism, wrongfully aiding the enemy, spying and conspiracy — “go beyond offenses under the laws of war.” He argued that the offense did not apply at the time of the alleged acts by detainees, and maintained that the commissions are applying criminal law retroactively in violation of international law.

Due to various concerns, Scheinin recommended the abolition of the commissions. “Wherever possible, ordinary civilian courts should be used to try terrorist suspects,” he said.

Scheinin also recommended that the U.S. government abandon “the categorization of persons as `unlawful enemy combatants,'” calling it a “a term of convenience without legal effect.”

The report called on the “United States to release or to put on trial those persons detained under that categorization.”

While acknowledging the need to bring those accused of war crimes to justice, Scheinin emphasized that “the chance of ensuring a fair trial diminishes over time.” He added that “the detention of persons for a period of several years without charge fundamentally undermines the right of fair trial.”

Scheinin called on the U.S. to lift restrictions that prohibit Guantanamo Bay detainees to seek “full judicial review of their combatant status.” The U.S. prohibition violates the International Covenant’s prohibitions on arbitrary detention, the right to a judicial review which could grant freedom, and the right to a fair trial within a reasonable time, he said.

He urged “determined action” to move toward Bush’s goal of closing Guantanamo.

Da Bomb from Da Man

Brett_td_2
Brett_to_jennings_2

Brett threw a 82 yard OT TD pass last night to Greg Jennings to beat the Broncos! Just Perfect.

UPDATE:Maitri emails that you canvote for Favre for QB of the week…all of which is to take the opportunity to point out that Maitri wasprominently quoted in a Washington Post article on Bobby Jindal!

Musta Been Typo

Seems to me that$1.4 billion would provide health care for many poor kids.

The Pentagon has asked Congress for $1.4 billion in emergency spending to combat a growing threat of sniper attacks in Iraq based on an overstated assessment of the extent of the attacks, its records show.

In last week’s spending request, the Pentagon said sniper attacks have quadrupled in the past year and, if unchecked, the attacks could eclipse roadside bombs as the top killer of U.S. troops. However, the rate of sniper attacks has dropped slightly in 2007 and fallen dramatically in the past four months, according to military records given to USA TODAY.

Pentagon officials acknowledged the mistake Monday after questions about the data were raised by USA TODAY.

“The term quadrupled will be removed from the justification because it is simply incorrect,” said Dave Patterson, deputy undersecretary of Defense.

In 2006, there were 386 sniper attacks on coalition forces, according to data from the Multi-National Force-Iraq headquarters in Iraq. Through Oct. 26 of this year, there were 269 sniper attacks, the figures show.

A One-Two Punch

Pow!

U.S. home prices fell nationwide in August for the eighth consecutive month, offering little hope of a turnaround anytime soon, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index released Tuesday.

Things could get worse, said Yale economist Robert Shiller, who helped create the index.

“There is really no positive news in today’s report,” said Shiller, chief economist for MacroMarkets LLC, which collaborates with S&P on the indicator. “At both the national and metro area levels, the fall in home prices is showing no real signs of a slowdown or turnaround.”

Home prices as measured by the index have fallen by more every month since the beginning of the year. August is the 21st month of decelerating returns.

An index of 10 U.S. metropolitan areas fell 5 percent in August from a year ago. That was the biggest drop since June 1991. The lowest ever was a decline of 6.3 percent in April 1991.

Wham!

A key barometer of consumer sentiment dropped to its lowest level in two years, igniting concern that the upcoming holiday shopping season would be lukewarm.

The New York-based Conference Board said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index fell to 95.6 from a revised 99.5 in September. It was the lowest reading since 85.2 in October 2005 when gas and oil prices soared after hurricanes Katrina and Rita pummeled the Gulf Coast. Analysts had expected 99.5.

The report heightens worries for retailers, who are already bracing for a challenging holiday shopping season after a disappointing fall.

Regarding Bush’s General Tuck*

As I watched Bush’s press conference last week in California I was focused on Bush’sswipe at Governor Blanco and missed how moments later he referred to General Blum, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, as “General Tuck.” Reading Holden later, whodidn’t miss it, I was shocked. Does the President really not know who General Blum is? Was this just another of his mis-speaks? Or something else? I’m sure we’ll never know but I offer this for your consideration.

Here is thefull context of what Bush said:

And our National Guard personnel is providing very
important assistance. It turns out when the President shows up, so does a
lot of the other brass. I’m proud to be here with General Tuck*, who runs
the entire National Guard bureau.

That doesn’t read as very flattering really. Transcripts can be deceiving so I watched thevideo as perhaps Bush spoke the words with warmth. It didn’t appear such to me.

Given Bush’s history of mis-speaks it’s highly likely he just got the name wrong. But it is hard to believe Bush did not know General Blum. During ahearing of the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves General Blum reported…

in Hurricane Katrina I met with the chairman, the vice chairman, the deputy, the secretary of Defense, and even on occasions
the president of the United States during that time

Bush_blum

(Bush, General Blum, Sept 2, 2005 New Orleans)

And Blum was not just another man in uniform at a Bush photo op. He played a significant role in the Bush/Blanco standoff regarding the federalization of the National Guard.(NG)

For background…Documents from Blanco and her aides show a major element of the Bush team to push back against the negative publicity regarding the federal Katrina response was to blame the Democratic governor and vindicate or at least limit damage to Bush vis a vis the federalization of the NG. The Bush team wanted to federalize the NG as part of their attempt at push back. It would make the President“look decisive” and also would have come at a time when things were starting to improve in New Orleans. Bush would look like the leader of the cavalry come to the rescue now that the inept and hindering governor was out of the way. That was the plan at least.Blum tucked that up…

The next day, on a Bush visit, administration officials ganged up on
Blanco out of the presence of staff members and tried to bully her into
changing her mind, they said. Blanco requested 24 hours.

Ryder’s
notes report that on the night of Sept. 1, Army Lt. Gen. H. Steven
Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, advised Blanco, as an aide
put it, “You don’t want to do that. You lose control, and you don’t get
one more boot on the ground.”

Later, Blum told Ryder he came
“under political duress” for his opinion and used military slang to
describe an out-of-control situation, according to Ryder’s notes.

It would seem Blum’s actions placed him on the Bush administration radar.

Blum has also not fallen in line with the administration on other matters. First there is the provision in last year’s defense authorization act called the“Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies”€ which alters the Insurrection Act and“expanded the president’€™s power to invoke martial law” seemingly to give“the federal government a far stronger hand in coordinating responses to Katrina-like disasters.”

General Blum testified such a changewould not have helped in Katrina:

Harper Lee to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

Harper_lee2

It was announced today that Harper Lee will be receiving a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Congrats to Ms Lee.

The other recipients:


Henry J. Hyde
, Brian P. Lamb, Gary S. Becker, Francis S. Collins,
Oscar Elias Biscet, Benjamin L. Hooks, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Saturday Night Voyeurism

Lately I’ve been mainliningthis show. Because Damian Lewis as Dick Winters in Band of Brothers was … something freaking else and so I’m hungry for everything he does, and because this show does funny and quirky and painful all at once, and I like that, even if I have no idea what’s going on most of the time:

A.

Quite an Ending

Is there a stat in college football for number of laterals per play?

http://sports.espn.go.com/broadband/player.swf?mediaId=3083220

(h/tYour Right Hand Thief)