Saturday, August 18, 2007

Bush To Declare Iranian Military Forces "Terrorist Organization"

Washington Post: The United States has decided to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, the country's 125,000-strong military branch, as a "specially designated global terrorist," according to U.S. officials, a move that allows Washington to target the group's business operations and finances.

The Bush administration has chosen to move against the Revolutionary Guard Corps because of what U.S. officials describe as the group's growing involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as its support for extremists throughout the Middle East, the sources said. The decision follows congressional pressure on the administration to toughen its stance against Tehran as well as U.S. frustration with the ineffectiveness of U.N. resolutions against Iran's nuclear program, officials said.

The designation of the Revolutionary Guards will be made under Executive Order 13224, which President Bush signed two weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to obstruct terrorist funding. It identifies individuals, businesses, charities and many extremist groups engaged in terrorist activities. The Revolutionary Guards would be the first national military branch included on the list, U.S. officials said -- a highly unusual move because it is part of a government, rather than a typical non-state terrorist organization.

The order allows the United States to block the assets of terrorists and to disrupt operations by foreign businesses that "provide support, services or assistance to, or otherwise associate with, terrorists."

...The administration's move could hurt diplomatic efforts, some analysts said. "It would greatly complicate our efforts to solve the nuclear issue," said Joseph Cirincione, a nuclear proliferation expert at the Center for American Progress. "It would tie an end to Iran's nuclear program to an end to its support of allies in Hezbollah and Hamas. The only way you could get a nuclear deal is as part of a grand bargain, which at this point is completely out of reach."

The true reason BushCo. is doing this is for their political agenda. Exaggerating Iran's influence in Iraq is on par with a possible strike against yet another nation. One has to now question whether this will open the door for foreign nations to list organizations like US special armed forces or the CIA as "terrorist organizations" in their view.

If we continue travelling down our current path, they might not be far off.

Holy Home Depot, Batman!

The effects of no financial oversight.

The Guardian:

Plumbing and electrical firm C&D Distributors of South Carolina, took advantage of an automated system the Pentagon uses intended to cut out red tape by making speedy payments. The company repeatedly added hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cost of shipping parts.
The company claimed $998,798 for sending two [19 cent] washers, which could have been put in an envelope and posted through normal mail for a few dollars.

And we wonder why wars costs billions.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Max Roach Dead at 83

NY Times: Max Roach, a founder of modern jazz who rewrote the rules of drumming in the 1940s and spent the rest of his career breaking musical barriers and defying listeners’ expectations, died early yesterday in Manhattan. He was 83.

Mr. Roach’s death closes a chapter in American musical history. He was the last surviving member of a small circle of adventurous musicians — among them Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and a handful of others — whose innovations brought about wholesale changes in jazz during World War II and immediately afterward.

Mining Safety Czar Another Bush Recess Appointment

Three of the nine rescue workers atttempting to get to the six miners trapped in a Crandall Canyon, Utah mine that collapsed 11 days ago have died from injuries sustained in another cave-in during the rescue attempt.

Would it surprise you that mining deaths have increased dramatically during the Bush administration? Me neither.

Oh, one more thing: Watch Keith Olbermann's report regarding the mine disaster and Richard Stickler, the Bush recess appointee for mine safety. I wonder why the former coal company executive had to be appointed during a Congressional recess?... hmmm...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Fox News Scrubs Wikipedia

This is astonishing!

Daily Kos - Democrashield: Someone at Fox News is going online and scrubbing Wikipedia entries to make Fox look better and to attack their political enemies. Perhaps they would claim they’re simply trying to make things fair and balanced, but the rest of us see little more than revisionist history.

Apparently "Democrashield" does a little detective work and figures out that the IP address that is making these changes belongs to someone at Fox News Channel. I wonder if the culprit at Fox knew it would be so simple to follow the trail? Wouldn't it be funny if the address belonged to Bill O'Reilly or Brit Hume?

1/2 Hour News Hour Cancelled

Did anyone watch this show? It was awful. Not because it was partisan, political hackery, but because it just wasn't funny. You could tell by the title alone.

TVNewser: In a memo to senior producers this afternoon, [Fox News Channel's Senior Vice President] of programming, Bill Shine announced the network "will not continue the Half Hour News Hour beyond its current 15 episode run."

Also read: Why Fox News Fails at Comedy

Petraeus Schmetraeus

LA TIMES: Administration and military officials acknowledge that the September report will not show any significant progress on the political benchmarks laid out by Congress. How to deal in the report with the lack of national reconciliation between Iraq's warring sects has created some tension within the White House.

Despite Bush's repeated statements that the report will reflect evaluations by Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, administration officials said it would actually be written by the White House, with inputs from officials throughout the government.

And though Petraeus and Crocker will present their recommendations on Capitol Hill, legislation passed by Congress leaves it to the president to decide how to interpret the report's data.

So much for the decisions being made by "commanders on the ground, not by political figures in Washington, DC"... but at this point, didn't we all see this coming a mile away? You didn't expect Bush to keep his word, did you?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mattel Recalls More Toys Made in China

WNBC News: Threats from powerful magnets and lead paint led Mattel to recall more than 9 million toys on Tuesday, just weeks after it recalled 1 million other products.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said that magnets can come loose and be swallowed in more than 7 million Polly Pocket toys, 680,000 Barbie and Tanner sets, 1 million Doggie Daycare sets and 350,000 Batman figures.

The surface paint on 250,000 Sarge cars from the movie "Cars" were also added to the recall.

...Mattel is the world's largest toy maker, and the affected toys were made in China.

This comes on the heels of a report that "despite a two-year effort to eliminate the threat of poisonous lead in inexpensive children's jewelry, hundreds of thousands of tainted items are still being sold across the United States."

How many more products will have to be recalled that are made in China? Is this some kind of diabolical scheme by the Chinese government to slowly pollute the US population for an eventual takeover?

At this point, I'm a little trepidacious to order Chinese take out.

Phil Rizzuto Dead at 89

NY Times: Phil Rizzuto, the Hall of Fame shortstop during the Yankees' dynasty years and beloved by a generation of fans for exclaiming "Holy cow!" as a broadcaster, died Tuesday. He was 89.

I'm not a Yankees fan, but even I liked "The Scooter".

James Moore: The Rove Goes On Forever

James Moore is an Emmy-winning former television news correspondent and the co-author of the bestselling, Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential. He has been writing and reporting from Texas for the past 25 years on the rise of Rove and Bush and has traveled extensively on every presidential campaign since 1976. He is currently writing a book on the long term consequences for America of Bush and Rove policies, which will be published next year.

Here's his take on the legacy of Karl Rove courtesy of his Huffington post blog:

EXCERPTS: "Although he has thus far managed to avoid charges, Rove will always be connected with the treasonous act of leaking the name of a CIA agent. People who buy into the notion that it was an accidental slip by Richard Armitage in a conversation with Novak are perpetuating the kind of naiveté that makes Rove's work easier."

"Rove's great mind might have been put to great use. Instead, he has decided to view as an enemy any fellow citizen who doesn't think like him and his party. All of the institutions of our government, like our judicial system, which used to be considered politically sacrosanct, have now been polluted by his political ambitions."

"The image I see of Karl Rove as he leaves Washington is of a man carrying a gas can and a box of matches as the city burns behind him and yet no one has thought to blame him for the great blaze sundering our democracy. In his parting news conference with the president, Rove readily invoked the name of an Almighty but even this act was hypocritical. He told his friend Bill Israel years ago that he was agnostic and that 'he wished he could believe, but he cannot.' Karl Rove, though, can turn even religious agnosticism into a political advantage. Were he to eventually confront a judgmental deity, that may be the one place where he will finally discover the justice he has long managed to avoid."

Read the entire post here.

Bill Kristol on The Daily Show

Bill Kristol, Editor of The Weekly Standard, advocate of the War in Iraq, who was once quoted as saying, "There's been a certain amount of pop sociology in America ... that the Shia can't get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There's almost no evidence of that at all. Iraq's always been very secular"... yes, that Bill Kristol, was Jon Stewart's guest on The Daily Show Monday night.

He's just come back from 8 days in Iraq, and he reports that it's all going... wait for it... "well."

Stewart asks Kristol to help him understand the vitriol cast upon those who oppose the war.

Stewart: "I obviously have been against the war from the start, didn't think it was a good idea. Here's what I don't understand: how, if it doesn't go well, if it continues to go badly, how will that be my fault?"

Kristol: "It will be your fault if we pull the plug on a strategy that is now working..."

So here is where this game of chess has progressed. If it goes well, we congratulate Bush and the Republicans, if it goes badly, it's the anti-war groups and the soft-on-defense Democrats who are to blame. Which scenario do you think is more likely to happen? Check. It's a "can't lose" situation in their eyes.

Stewart backs Kristol against the wall by succinctly outlining what went wrong and how a true leader would admit those mistakes and bring the country together and not dismiss those who disagree with him. Kristol sidesteps it with a Jew joke.

Other infamous quotes and predictions by Kristol:

April 28, 2003: "The battles of Afghanistan and Iraq have been won decisively and honorably."

July 26, 2004: "...what so many reporters seem to have trouble understanding--is that Iraq and al Qaeda had a relationship that, by its very existence, posed a potential threat to the United States."

March 7, 2005: "Just four weeks after the Iraqi election of January 30, 2005, it seems increasingly likely that that date will turn out to have been a genuine turning point."

Read the full Glenn Greenwald blog, Bill Kristol: Pundit Superstar, and then wonder why anyone still listens to Kristol or how he even continues to get work.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Republican Foot In Mouth Disease

Well, I just mentioned Tommy Thompson's "money making Jews" inference, and also wrote about Giuliani comparing himself to 9/11 first responders. Both of these Republican candidates for the Presidential Primary have since said they misspoke. Any other takers?

Mitt Romney, who just won the Iowa Straw Poll, was asked a question last week regarding his five sons:

Q: "Are any of your five sons currently serving in the United States military and if not are any of them planning to support the war on terror by enlisting in the United States Military?"

ROMNEY: "The good news is that we have a volunteer Army and that's the way we're going to keep it. My sons are all adults and they've made decisions about their careers and they've chosen not to serve in the military and active duty and I respect their decision in that regard."

Excellent! Good straightforward answer, Mitt. You can stop talking now. ...What's that? You want to say one more thing? Are you sure? Okay...

ROMNEY:" of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I’d be a great president."

Oooooh! He was so close!

Well, Mitt (why would someone name their kid after hand outerwear?) now says he misspoke. Apparently, it's all the rage with the Republican Party, this "misspeaking".

"I misspoke. It's not service to the country, it's service for me, and there's just no comparison there.'' Romney continued to say that he "didn't mean in any way to compare service in the country with my boys in any way. Service in this country is an extraordinary sacrifice being made by individuals and their families.''

By the way, Romney did not serve in Vietnam due to deferments for being a Mormon "minister of religion" and for academic studies. He then drew a high number in the annual lottery that determined which young men were drafted. His high number ensured he was not drafted into the military.

Any takers on who'll be the next to "misspeak"? I'm giving odds.

Rove Resigns!

Wow, the rats really are deserting a sinking ship.

NY TIMES: In an interview published this morning in The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Rove said, “I just think it’s time,” adding, “There’s always something that can keep you here, and as much as I’d like to be here, I’ve got to do this for the sake of my family.”

Mr. Rove said he had first considered leaving a year ago but stayed after his party lost the crucial midterm elections last fall, which put Congress in Democratic hands, and as Mr. Bush’s problems mounted in Iraq and in his pursuit of a new immigration policy.

Ah, yes, the ol' "spending more time with the family" excuse.

MSNBC video courtesy of Crooks & Liars.

Tommy Who?

Tommy Thompson, four term Governor of Wisconsin and presidential hopeful has bowed out of the Republican race. Who's Tommy Thompson you ask?

THOMPSON: "I'm in the private sector and for the first time in my life I'm earning money," Thompson told the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. "You know that's sort of part of the Jewish tradition, and I do not find anything wrong with that."
Oh! Shylock wannabe! That Tommy Thompson! But don't worry. He apologized for the "money making Jews" remark.

"I just want to clarify something because I didn't [by] any means want to infer or imply anything about Jews and finances and things. What I was referring to, ladies and gentlemen, is the accomplishments of the Jewish religion. You've been outstanding businesspeople and I compliment you for that."
...Uh, what? Maybe you should just stop talking now Tommy. Let your spokesman take care of awkward answers.
Asked about the comments, Thompson spokesman Tony Jewell said the former Wisconsin governor, who is Catholic, was sorry.

"Gov. Thompson recognizes he misspoke in his remarks to the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and is very apologetic, especially given his strong relationship with the Jewish community in the United States and Israel," Jewell said in a telephone interview. "He didn't mean it as such," Jewell added. "He is sorry he misspoke in complimenting the success that Jewish people have had in the United States. It is something that he admires - financially and otherwise."

Okay... never mind. See ya, Tommy!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Dick Cheney Makes Sense!...

...of course, that was in 1994. Ah, the halcyon days.

Since becoming Vice President however, I don't think Cheney has made any sense. Watch how he explains why the Bush 41 Administration decided not to go after Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War, and how it is in complete contrast to what Cheney's been saying for the last 7 years.