April 27, 2008

The Oxymoron: Administration Intelligence Issues

Dan Froomkin of the Washington Post writes on the suspicious nature and timing of the latest disclosures concerning Syria's and North Korea's collusion in 'creating nuclear weapons' in Syria:

President Bush has built up a prodigious track record of selectively disclosing intelligence findings that serve his political agenda. And some of the most important of those findings, of course, turned out to be completely false.

The latest disclosure from the White House's intelligence apparatus -- that Syria secretly built a nuclear reactor with North Korean help -- is in many ways a blockbuster. But at the same time, its highly suspicious timing raises doubts about the motivation behind its announcement.

And even if everything the administration says is true, there are many elements of the emerging story that deserve scrutiny.

David E. Sanger writes in the New York Times: "[A]fter a full day of briefing members of Congress, two senior intelligence officials acknowledged that the evidence had left them with no more than 'low confidence' that Syria was preparing to build a nuclear weapon.

"[E]ven some senior officials of the administration acknowledge that they are likely to leave Mr. Bush's successor with a North Korea with roughly 10 nuclear weapons or fuel for weapons, up from the one or two weapons it had when Mr. Bush took office in 2001." [This although Bush's stated goal has been to relieve the tensions in Asia and around the world by getting N. Korea to dismantle its weapon program.]

Meanwhile, "Several members of Congress complained yesterday that the administration was too slow to share the intelligence and warned that it undermined future cooperation with the White House. . . ."

Click here for the complete text and related links.
I don't know about you but I know I have heard the bobble heads on the MSM [the few who even mentioned the interesting nature of the timing of these announcements] speculate about everything from 'getting the spies who had discovered the information out of harm's way' to parroting Cheney's assertion that such a delay 'helped with the negotiations with North Korea regarding dismantling of its nuclear weapons.' However, as Froomkin points out--the exact opposite of Cheney's assertion actually seems to be the case.

So, take a look at this interesting [to say the least] article. What do you think? What the MSM said? Or another ratchet-up-to-war while the MSM complies with silence?

Given its track record, why do they keep giving this administration a pass?

April 25, 2008

Visitor Logs Watch

Matt Apuzzo writes for the Associated Press:
"A federal appeals court sought compromise Monday between a liberal group demanding the names of White House visitors and the Bush administration, which says releasing the names would erode the president's power. . . .

"On appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, government attorneys said the president has a well-established right to seek advice privately.

"Releasing lists of visitors would trample on that right, said Justice Department lawyer Jonathan F. Cohn, and the logs should be treated like other White House documents.

"The judges were skeptical. They said they wanted to find a way to protect the president's rights without broadly prohibiting access to information that should be public.

"'What in the documents are so quintessentially presidential?' asked Judge David S. Tatel.

"'The name of the person going in to visit,' Cohn replied.
This sounds, to me,like the Nazi regime when the point was not to protect the country but to protect the Fuhrer.
Bush to the Constitution: 'Your services are no longer required.' ----Craig Ostovitz via The Washington Post

April 21, 2008

Retired officers have been used to shape terrorism coverage from inside the TV and radio networks.
--By DAVID BARSTOW-- Published: April 20, 2008

In the summer of 2005, the Bush administration confronted a fresh wave of criticism over Guantánamo Bay. The detention center had just been branded “the gulag of our times” by Amnesty International, there were new allegations of abuse from United Nations human rights experts and calls were mounting for its closure.

The administration’s communications experts responded swiftly. Early one Friday morning, they put a group of retired military officers on one of the jets normally used by Vice President Dick Cheney and flew them to Cuba for a carefully orchestrated tour of Guantánamo.

To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as “military analysts” whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world.

Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.

The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.

Those business relationships are hardly ever disclosed to the viewers, and sometimes not even to the networks themselves. But collectively, the men on the plane and several dozen other military analysts represent more than 150 military contractors either as lobbyists, senior executives, board members or consultants.
Click here for the complete text and a number of follow ups [on the sidebar] including Q & A.
Well, no wonder the opposition has been so silent in the MSM. Who's going to nay-say with all the big names lined up on one side and this sort of orchestration going on behind the scenes?

Meanwhile, I seem to recall something in the Constitution about a FREE Press -- or did I just hallucinate that?
Oh, right, the Big C is just a goddamned piece of paper-----I forgot.

April 17, 2008

Please Stop the Barbarism

This is off the beaten path for this blog-- and it MUST be included as you will see as you read it.
Please read this--pass it on via email, via your own blogs, by whatever means you can use, to as many people as you can reach .
This must not be allowed to continue--as it
will continue unless we act in concert with one another.
In 2007, the 'artist' Guillermo Vargas Habacuc, paid five children in an impoverished area of Costa Rica to help him catch this terrified stray dog. The dog had no way to escape capture or his fate once he was in the hands of this cruel maniac.
Habacuc tied the dog to a rope in an art gallery and starved him to death.

For several days, the 'artist' and the visitors of the exhibit watched, emotionless, the unfolding of the shameful 'masterpiece' of the dog's agony until, finally, he died.

But this is not all... the prestigious Visual Arts Biennial of the Central American decided that the 'installation' qualified as 'art', so Guillermo Vargas Habacuc has been invited to repeat his cruel action for the biennial of 2008.

Please go here and sign the petition asking that Ha
bacuc be banned from the Biennial of 2008 and all future exhibits put on by this body. [You must add a comment to ban him from future exhibits. Please do that, too.]

Also, please contact the gallery where the next exhibit is scheduled to take place:

Centro Nacional de la Cultura
Antigua Fábrica Nacional de Licores.
Avenida 3, calle 15/17. San José, Costa Rica.
Teléfono: (506) 257 7202 / 257 9370
Fax: (506) 257 8702

Another gallery currently holds some of Habacuc's work for display and sale.
If you would like to ask the gallery to drop him from their list of artists the email address is below.

Finally--The Animal Legal Defense Fund. suggests: 'At this point, we feel the most effective method of protest is to write local animal protection agencies demanding they put a stop to this exhibit. You can search for agencies
here in the Latin America/Caribbean section:

Or you can contact this agency directly by letter, phone, fax or email:
World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) - Costa Rica
Apartado postal 516-3000
Tel: + 506 262 6129/260 6948
Fax: + 506 260 5203
Experimentation; Cats; Dogs; Entertainment; Farm Animals; Equines; Marine Animals; Animal Transport

April 11, 2008

McCain Revises Proposals for Families in Economic Crisis -- by Dan Balz

Two weeks after drawing criticism for saying he favored only a limited federal role to help deal with the home mortgage crisis, Republican presidential candidate John McCain sought to assure Americans that he is prepared to use the government where necessary to help ease the impact on working families of a declining economy.

In a campaign appearance Thursday with small-business owners in Brooklyn, Sen. McCain (R-Ariz.) also addressed the economic downturn with proposals to help families facing foreclosure restructure their mortgages and to give workers who have lost jobs more flexibility and incentives to seek retraining and a speedier return to the workforce.

McCain plans a more comprehensive economic speech next week, but he came here to blunt criticism from his Democratic rivals, Sens. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), that he is insensitive to the plight of ordinary Americans.

"Let me make it clear that in these challenging times, I am committed to using all the resources of this government and great nation to create opportunity and make sure that every deserving American has a good job and can achieve their American dream," he said. [emphasis mine]
**Ahem** I sniff Reagan lite here. Remember the 'deserving poor'? Turns out there weren't too many of those, were there? All the poor were Welfare Queens out to screw the rest of us out of our hard-earned money.
Oops. My bad. THAT turned out to be the myth, didn't it?

McCain has proven, once and for all, that the Democrats don't have a lock on shooting themselves in the foot. Thank Goodness. Now, if he will just keep stepping up to the plate this way [on the economy, on Iraq, on social issues, etc.] we just might turn this ol' country around after all.

Obviously, he doesn't have a post-it note on his mirror----
Click here for the complete text.

April 10, 2008

White House Torture Advisers -- by Dan Froomkin
Top Bush aides, including Vice President Cheney, micromanaged the torture of terrorist suspects from the White House basement, according to an ABC News report aired last night.

Discussions were so detailed, ABC's sources said, that some interrogation sessions were virtually choreographed by a White House advisory group. In addition to Cheney, the group included then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, then-defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, then-secretary of state Colin Powell, then-CIA director George Tenet and then-attorney general John Ashcroft.

At least one member of the club had some qualms. ABC reports that Ashcroft "was troubled by the discussions. . . . [but, it seems that Ashcroft was only concerned with how it would look if what they were doing came to light -- not with any sense of immorality in what he and his colleagues were doing.]
Click here for the complete text.

April 9, 2008

Hello, All--
My abrupt departure was occasioned by the death of my mother.
The primary post is over at Scattershot Thoughts.

And, thank you for your patience. It may take a day or two for me to catch up but I'll be back to my usual, cantankerous posts pretty soon. In fact, I've got some new kitty pics to intersperse with my usual political-nasties.

April 3, 2008

I will be offline for several days.
Family business suddenly came up.
A Reprieve!
In the comments section of the post below, I said it was Good News that Obama plans to tap Al Gore for a cabinet post on Global Warming.
But, the REALLY good news is: my cousin noticed that I was running out of cat pics and sent me a new stash. They just arrived and I haven't had time to sort them yet.
So, in acknowledgment to the rest of the world, I'll post some pics of a couple of other species while I get that done [and give those others more recognition than they deserve, according to every cat who has ever allowed me to share his or her home].
First a nod to my new home [the state of Florida]:And then to the Canines among us:
Self Portrait
Good Doggy!
Oh, the humiliation!
Obama: I'd Hire Gore
By Devlin Barrett -- Associated Press Writer Wed Apr 2
Sen. Barack Obama said Wednesday he would give Al Gore. . . , a major role in an Obama administration to address the problem of global warming. At a town-hall meeting, Obama was asked if he would tap the former vice president for his Cabinet to handle global warming.

"I would," Obama said. "Not only will I, but I will make a commitment that Al Gore will be at the table and play a central part in us figuring out how we solve this problem. He's somebody I talk to on a regular basis. I'm already consulting with him in terms of these issues, but climate change is real. It is something we have to deal with now, not 10 years from now, not 20 years from now."
Click here for the complete text.
Our government finally taking one of the environmental crises seriously-- even if it is for political gain [after all, why else do they do anything?]
This is good news, indeed for my **ahem** 'enlightened' self-interest [see below :) ]

April 2, 2008

Keeping Things in Perspective
‘Reuse, Reduce, Recycle’ is a major tenet by which I live.
Along with, ‘Use as little as possible’.

I work toward living these two principles, not out of a sense of some moral Grand Idea about passing on something better to my grandchildren [of whom I have none] but because of a fairly simple one of self-preservation:
I believe in reincarnation. As a result, I believe that approximately 20 years from now I’ll be moving off the physical plane and I expect to be back about 200 years later. I’d like to find a habitable planet when I return.
I practice caring for the planet because I am, when all is said and done, selfish.