Luck Saved the Day in London

June 29, 2007 at 8:44 am | Posted in Great Britain, London, violence, War on Terror | 2 Comments

It seems London was saved from a horrible terrorist attack by sheer luck. An ambulance driver sent to the square to help someone out noticed the Mercedes and smoke coming out if the passenger window. The driver called the police who came and found a massive bomb in the vehicle, certainly meant to kill in the hundreds in a very busy part of London.

Police were alerted to the Mercedes sedan by a London ambulance crew, which had been summoned to the nearby “Tiger, Tiger” nightclub about 1 a.m. for a report of a person who was ill. They noticed the car, saw smoke inside its passenger compartment and called police, who summoned the bomb squad, Clarke said.

About 200 liters, or 50 U.S. gallons, of fuel were discovered in canisters inside the sedan, along with large numbers of nails, which increasingly have been used in bombs to heighten their lethality.

News reports indicated that up to a thousand patrons were packed into the nightclub, and the streets nearby were busy as well. In addition to drawing crowds almost around the clock, Haymarket is extremely close to many of London’s most famous attractions, including Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament.

“It is obvious that if the device had detonated, there could have been significant injury or loss of life,” Clarke said. ” . . . it certainly could have been into the hundreds.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if we see many more such incidents, but where the bomb doesn’t fail, and rather goes off. Londoners were lucky today, and should thank God in their prayers tonight.

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Mitt Romney and the Shaggy Dog Strapped on the Roof of His Car

June 27, 2007 at 6:58 pm | Posted in American politics, Mit Romney, Mitt Romney | 14 Comments

Wow, well apparently long ago Mitt Romney had the following to share:

Before beginning the drive, Mitt Romney put Seamus, the family’s hulking Irish setter, in a dog carrier and attached it to the station wagon’s roof rack. He’d built a windshield for the carrier, to make the ride more comfortable for the dog.

[snip]

As the oldest son, Tagg Romney commandeered the way-back of the wagon, keeping his eyes fixed out the rear window, where he glimpsed the first sign of trouble. ”Dad!” he yelled. ”Gross!” A brown liquid was dripping down the back window, payback from an Irish setter who’d been riding on the roof in the wind for hours.

As the rest of the boys joined in the howls of disgust, Romney coolly pulled off the highway and into a service station. There, he borrowed a hose, washed down Seamus and the car, then hopped back onto the highway. It was a tiny preview of a trait he would grow famous for in business: emotion-free crisis management.

Huh, emotion-free crisis management. Strapping the car on the roof? As Anne Marie Cox says:

In all seriousness, because it bears repeating, the truly out-of-the-box solution he hit upon here is strapping his dog to the roof of his car. Who else thought this little story would end with the dog not crapping itself but, you know, dead? Also, if this really is some kind of trademark approach, I can’t wait to hear what he thinks the “roadmap to peace” means. Israel calls shotgun!

Visiting Our Nation’s Capital

June 27, 2007 at 7:11 am | Posted in American politics, Congress, Washington DC | 6 Comments

This past weekend my family and I visited Washington DC. It was my first trip to the capitol. I was in DC for the annual American Library Association Conference, and figured in bringing my family along so we could tour the city. I’ve blogged so much about the power brokers of DC that I was curious how I would feel walking around town. In all honesty, DC felt a lot like Bucuresti, the capitol of Romania, with grayish cement buildings reaching only a certain height.

The capitol building where Congress works, however, is a beautiful building.

The Capitol Building

My daughter enjoyed walking around the capitol…

Dan and Ava at the Capitol

…and even playing with a duck in the fountain in front of the capitol.

Ava and the Duck

I liked seeing the capitol building, especially as the day was a beautiful day.

The Capitol

I didn’t care much for the White House. Maybe it is the current occupants and the dark cloud they’ve placed over the building.

The American Young Lean Left

June 27, 2007 at 5:34 am | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, conservatives, corruption, Democracy, George W Bush, Iran, Republicans | Leave a comment

Despite all of Karl Rove’s deceitful attempts to undermine democracy and create a permanent majority of Republican rule, the strong majority of America’s youth lean left on practically all topics. Republicans need to take some notes on how to best convince their fellow Americans that their way is the “more excellent way.” One really small thing, but so important, is that it usually does not do you any good to call your fellow Americans who disagree with you anti-American terrorist lovers. Just a small bit of advice.

In the meantime, we must bear with patience these next 17 months or so until this horrible administration is finally history, and pray they don’t do anything else stupid, like say, start a war with Iran. And I can tell you exactly what has ruined it for the Republican party. It is one small four letter word: Iraq. I hope it was worth it guys, because out of the multitude of costs, the biggest one you will feel will be when you sit back and languish with, say, 30 Senators in the Senate.

The CIA Reveals Its Dirty Laundry

June 26, 2007 at 6:52 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, CIA, corruption, secret combinations, Torture | Leave a comment

Looks like all those who knew the CIA behaved badly were right all along, as the CIA has revealed its dirty past.

The CIA today released hundreds of pages of formerly top-secret documents on activities ranging from a plot to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro to domestic espionage against Americans.

The documents, described in internal CIA memoranda as the “family jewels,” mostly cover activities in the 1960s and early 1970s that the agency considered likely to cause embarrassment if revealed. They include material compiled as part of a directive to review CIA activity that apparently violated federal law or could be construed as nefarious.

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that if the CIA behaved badly in the past, they would behave badly today, especially since evidence has already been revealed, by the President himself, that the CIA participated in black sites in Poland and Romania, and that the CIA employed Soviet and Nazi interrogation techniques previously considered illegal by the world community, including the United States.

One wonders then, why does the CIA under Michael Hayden, a very secretive man, release this kind of information now? What are they bracing for?

High School Presidential Scholars Tell Bush to Stop Torture

June 26, 2007 at 5:49 am | Posted in America, American politics, Bush Administration, Education, George W Bush, Gitmo, King George, secret combinations, Torture | 3 Comments

Ouch, this must have stung! High schoolers who visited the White House signed a letter to President Bush urging him to stop his administration’s torture policies. He apparently was unaware that they were going to present this letter.

President Bush was presented with a letter Monday signed by 50 high school seniors in the Presidential Scholars program urging a halt to “violations of the human rights” of terror suspects held by the United States.

The White House said Bush had not expected the letter but took a moment to read it and talk with a young woman who handed it to him.

I wonder what was going on through his mind. He was live to the world, probably couldn’t step out of the scripted scenario.

These students are Presidential Scholars, the top of the top high schoolers in the nation. They probably prepared this before the Washington Post’s amazing section on Dick Cheney’s torture regime. Future Americans will look back at our generation and be embarrassed.

The handwritten letter said the students “believe we have a responsibility to voice our convictions.”

“We do not want America to represent torture. We urge you to do all in your power to stop violations of the human rights of detainees, to cease illegal renditions, and to apply the Geneva Convention to all detainees, including those designated enemy combatants,” the letter said.

The designation as a Presidential Scholar is one of the nation’s highest honors for graduating high school students. Each year the program selects one male and one female student from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Americans living abroad, 15 at-large students, and up to 20 students in the arts on the basis of outstanding scholarship, service, leadership and creativity.

Well done, young men and women. Well done. The future is looking brighter than before.

Conservative FoxNews Loves Communist China

June 26, 2007 at 5:42 am | Posted in American politics, conservatives, corruption, Foxnews, secret combinations | 10 Comments

It seems Rupert Murdoch, the conservative CEO of NewsCorp, owner of such “capitalist” stalwarts as FoxNews and New York Post loves dealing with the Communist leadership of China.

Mr. Murdoch has flattered Communist Party leaders and done business with their children. His Fox News network helped China’s leading state broadcaster develop a news Web site. He joined hands with the Communist Youth League, a power base in the ruling party, in a risky television venture, his China managers and advisers say.

Now, this is the part that I just don’t get, based on how conservatives like to portray themselves, as fighters against evil Communism:

Mr. Murdoch cooperates closely with China’s censors and state broadcasters, several people who worked for him in China say. He cultivates political ties that he hopes will insulate his business ventures from regulatory interference, these people say.

In speeches and interviews, Mr. Murdoch often supports the policies of Chinese leaders and attacks their critics. A group of China-based reporters for The Journal accused him in a letter to Dow Jones shareholders of “sacrificing journalistic integrity to satisfy personal and political aims,” a charge the News Corporation denies.

I guess making good money is a higher priority than freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom to own guns, etc.

Oh and by the way, FoxNews is NOT banned in China. My blog is. Try it out, and see if your blog is banned.

Deceiving the Deceivers

June 25, 2007 at 9:33 pm | Posted in American politics, corruption, secret combinations | Leave a comment

Ken Silverstein of Harper’s Magazine had some interesting questions on his mind. Basically, how does a foreign entity sell itself to the world of Washington and America?

Harper’s Magazine’s Washington Editor Ken Silverstein has spent years watching Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firms advocate in Congress on behalf of corrupt, dictatorial foreign regimes. He wondered: Exactly what sorts of promises do these firms make to foreign governments? What kind of scrutiny, if any, do they apply to potential clients? How do they orchestrate support for their clients? And how much of their work is visible to Congress and the public, and hence subject to oversight?

For answers, Silverstein went undercover as “Kenneth Case,” a consultant for “The Maldon Group,” a mysterious (and fictitious) London-based firm that claimed to have a financial stake in improving the public image of neo-Stalinist Turkmenistan.

The two men successfully deceived the deceivers, the men behind the power-brokers, the men (and women) who pulled the levers of both governmental officials and influential journalists. The article is a must read. Note their efforts to direct the talking points in the media, for a better portrayal of some, well, pretty nasty people. Take this for example, the dictator of Equatorial Guinea.

“We know you’re talking to other firms,” Hartley said pointedly. “You’re going to have a hard time matching . . . [the] types of successes” his firm had racked up. For example, thanks to Cassidy’s aggressive media strategy and trips it had organized to Equatorial Guinea for congressional staffers, things were now looking up for the government there. The proof: three years ago, Hartley said, Parade Magazine had ranked Obiang as “the world’s sixth worst dictator,” grimacing as he stated that last word. “He’s still not a great guy,” he went on, “but he’s not in the top ten anymore, and we can take some credit for helping them figure out how to work down that list. Is he going to win the U.N. humanitarian award next year? No, he’s not, but we’re making progress.”

Digby has more quotes from the article well worth the read.

Tell me if you are not yet sick of the corruption of our nation…

Bush At 26% Approval

June 21, 2007 at 3:14 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Cheney, conservatives, corruption, George W Bush, Iraq, King George, neo-conservatives, Republicans, secret combinations | 8 Comments

Only three points separate Mr. Bush from the lowest of the low, that good ol’ Republican, Mr. Nixon. And Bush has over a year and a half to reach that point. Mr. Bush’s approval rating stands at 26%.

You know what I say, Bush, keep pressing those immigration reforms that right-wing talk radio just loves so much to talk about. Keep doing it, Mr. Bush. Let’s see if you can do the ultimate flip-flop. You once had 90% approval. Can you make it only 10% near the end of your term? Heck, your buddy in Israel, Olmert, is still stuck at 2% approval! Just keep offending everyone, left and right. Let’s hear more from people like Peggy Noonan who previously praised your Highness but now pout:

Why would they speak so insultingly, with such hostility, of opponents who are concerned citizens?

Keep it up, Mr. President. Who knows, we might even impeach you.

More Warning Signs From Iraq

June 21, 2007 at 8:59 am | Posted in American politics, condoleezza rice, conservatives, corruption, Iraq | 1 Comment

There are more warning signs from Iraq that Iraq is getting even worse. The first is the news that fourteen American soldiers were killed in the past 48 hours or so. That violence was among other bombs going off, including mortars on the Green Zone.

The second warning sign is Iraq’s Vice President has attempted to quit, and Shi’ite leaders are losing much confidence in Maliki and the Americans. This is very serious, because if the Shi’ites bolt from the government, well, what do you have left?

The third warning sign is US embassy workers lack any kind of Arabic language skills, forcing Condoleezza Rice to make the State Department fill positions in Iraq first. The reason this is a warning sign is because it just won’t happen. The United States will not be able to fill positions at their massive embassy in Baghdad with competent professionals who would have even the most basic understanding of Iraq and the Arab world. It really is tragic.

Heed these warnings, America. Iraq is an utter disaster and the longer we stay there, the worse it is going to get. These are not the fruits of good laborers.

The United States Military Purposefully Killed Seven Children in Afghanistan, Meanwhile, Bad Guy Got Away

June 19, 2007 at 10:13 pm | Posted in Afghanistan, American politics, corruption, Military, secret combinations, violence, War, War on Terror | 3 Comments

And you wonder why Afghanistan is such a mess, why after SIX LONG YEARS we still have not defeated the rabble Taliban (some of them are the same rabble group, I might add, that defeated the Soviet Union in the 80s). Well, earlier this week the United States military killed seven children in an air strike. The target was some bad dude named Abu Laith al Libi. Supposedly he’s a leader among the Taliban. That’s fine and dandy, but apparently he got away in time, so he was not killed. The latest word, according to NBC is that the military knew there would be children at this facility and decided to take the risk anyways:

U.S. special operations forces were targeting the leader of al-Qaida in Afghanistan — one of the organization’s top commanders — when they launched an attack against a compound that killed seven children Sunday in Paktika province of eastern Afghanistan, U.S. officials tell NBC News.

According to several officials, and contrary to previous statements, the U.S. military knew there were children at the compound but considered the target of such high value it was worth the risk of potential collateral damage.

Those same officials tell NBC News the target of Sunday’s attack was Abu Laith al Libi, the al-Qaida commander in Afghanistan and a top lieutenant of Osama bin Laden. The sources report that although six sets of remains besides those of the seven children were recovered, it’s not clear whether Abu Laith is among those killed.

It’s funny how the United States military chooses to sacrifice the lives of innocents without giving them any kind of choice in the matter. Just what are we fighting in Afghanistan for anyways?

By their fruits, ye shall know them.

Mitt Romney Smells Great?

June 19, 2007 at 7:50 pm | Posted in American politics, conservatives, corruption, Mit Romney, Mitt Romney, Republicans, secret combinations | 7 Comments

Huh, in the New York Times article we read the following:

Mr. Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, also looks great, sounds great and smells great, like shaving cream.

And from CNN the following:

Cho: He looks great, sounds great, smells great.

I’m sure Mitt Romney gets the latest toiletries to ensure his body odor is on the up and up, but just what the heck does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

Glenn Greenwald has more on pundits and journalists’ adoration of Republican candidates’ body odors. For example, he quotes Chris Matthews about Fred Thompson:

Does [Fred Thompson] have sex appeal? I’m looking at this guy and I’m trying to find out the new order of things, and what works for women and what doesn’t. Does this guy have some sort of thing going for him that I should notice? . . .

Gene, do you think there’s a sex appeal for this guy, this sort of mature, older man, you know? He looks sort of seasoned and in charge of himself. What is this appeal? Because I keep star quality. You were throwing the word out, shining star, Ana Marie, before I checked you on it. . . .

Can you smell the English leather on this guy, the Aqua Velva, the sort of mature man’s shaving cream, or whatever, you know, after he shaved? Do you smell that sort of — a little bit of cigar smoke? You know, whatever.

There’s that shaving cream again.

Saving All

June 19, 2007 at 11:16 am | Posted in America, American politics, Antonin Scalia, Bush Administration, Christianity, conservatives, corruption, Torture, War | 8 Comments

Conservatives these days use the security of our nation and our lives to justify a lowering of their standards and morals. It is their justification for some of the harsher practices we have employed against prisoners we have captured or arrested, regardless of whether they were legally here in America (like Jose Padilla) or found elsewhere (like everyone down in Gitmo). I just quoted Justice Antonin Scalia a Supreme Court Justice and hard-right wing man who said:

“I don’t care about holding people. I really don’t,” Judge Scalia said.

Even if a real terrorist who suffered mistreatment is released because of complaints of abuse, Judge Scalia said, the interruption to the terrorist’s plot would have ensured “in Los Angeles everyone is safe.” During a break from the panel, Judge Scalia specifically mentioned the segment in Season 2 when Jack Bauer finally figures out how to break the die-hard terrorist intent on nuking L.A. The real genius, the judge said, is that this is primarily done with mental leverage. “There’s a great scene where he told a guy that he was going to have his family killed,” Judge Scalia said. “They had it on closed circuit television – and it was all staged. … They really didn’t kill the family.”

Everyone is safe. Saving all. Any Mormon who reads that, who is familiar with his scriptures, should cringe. Who else believed in “saving all,” especially at the cost of certain freedoms?

Let’s read from Moses 4 in the Pearl of Great Price:

1 And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore fgive me thine honor.
2 But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.
3 Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;
4 And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.

So, what exactly is wrong with saving or redeeming all mankind, “that one soul shall not be lost?” The Lord said what is wrong with that two verses later: “because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man.” That’s why. The greatest irony of conservatives and their lowering standards and justifications for torture is that they do it for “safety” and “security” but don’t mind that the cost that arises with it are a drop in “freedoms” and “agency.”

In regards to priorities in this life, the safety of our lives does not actually take precedence over other more important priorities, the top being, agency. People are going to do stupid and evil things. That is their agency. We must do our best to ensure the safety of our nation and our people, but NOT at the cost of the very things we are fighting for. Let me share another scripture from the Book of Mormon. This is found in Alma 14. The situation is that Alma and Amulek, prophets and missionaries of the Lord go to a town called Ammonihah and preach. The ruling people reject them, take Alma and Amulek and bind them. They set them up to observe the following evil, which the ruling people do to those who believed in Alma and Amulek’s words:

8 And they brought their wives and children together, and whosoever believed or had been taught to believe in the word of God they caused that they should be cast into the fire; and they also brought forth their records which contained the holy scriptures, and cast them into the fire also, that they might be burned and destroyed by fire.
9 And it came to pass that they took Alma and Amulek, and carried them forth to the place of martyrdom, that they might witness the destruction of those who were consumed by fire.
10 And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames.
11 But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.

If ever there were a situation where violence or torture would be justified (by today’s conservatives’ standards), surely the ruling people of the town of Ammonihah deserved violence and torture. No? Amulek even asks if they could employ the power of God to save the people from the flames. After all, according to today’s conservatives’ standards, saving lives is of the utmost priority. What does Alma say? He says that the Spirit constrained him, that the innocent must suffer these things “that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.”

How does that apply to our day? First of all, it shows that the protection of life is not the utmost priority of this life. Following God’s laws and principles is of greater priority, even if it comes at the loss of life. (Remember that the greatest sacrifice had to be done; God had to lose His Son in order for the plan of salvation to work).

Would today’s conservatives save Jesus from certain death at the hands of the Jewish ruling class?

The principles we supposedly hold dear to our hearts are actually on the ground, underneath our trampling feet as we scurry on to “save all.” We have most certainly lost our way.

Judge Scalia, No Longer in the Real World

June 19, 2007 at 10:45 am | Posted in American politics, Antonin Scalia, conservatives, corruption, Republicans, secret combinations | 1 Comment

Look at how unhinged the right has gotten to where their Italian Stallion, Judge Antonin Scalia uses Jack Bauer to prove a constitutional point (as quoted at Andrew Sullivan’s blog):

“Jack Bauer saved Los Angeles. … He saved hundreds of thousands of lives,” Judge Scalia said. Then, recalling Season 2, where the agent’s rough interrogation tactics saved California from a terrorist nuke, the Supreme Court judge etched a line in the sand.
“Are you going to convict Jack Bauer?” Judge Scalia challenged his fellow judges. “Say that criminal law is against him? ‘You have the right to a jury trial?’ Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer? I don’t think so.

“So the question is really whether we believe in these absolutes. And ought we believe in these absolutes.”

Earth to Justice Scalia: Jack Bauer does not exist. But the assumption that he does can lead to a lot of unusual places:

“I don’t care about holding people. I really don’t,” Judge Scalia said.

Even if a real terrorist who suffered mistreatment is released because of complaints of abuse, Judge Scalia said, the interruption to the terrorist’s plot would have ensured “in Los Angeles everyone is safe.” During a break from the panel, Judge Scalia specifically mentioned the segment in Season 2 when Jack Bauer finally figures out how to break the die-hard terrorist intent on nuking L.A. The real genius, the judge said, is that this is primarily done with mental leverage. “There’s a great scene where he told a guy that he was going to have his family killed,” Judge Scalia said. “They had it on closed circuit television – and it was all staged. … They really didn’t kill the family.”

By their fruits, ye shall know them.

Failed States, the Legacy of the Bush Administration and Republicans

June 19, 2007 at 9:20 am | Posted in America, American politics, Bush Administration, Christianity, condoleezza rice, conservatives, corruption, Foreign Policy, George W Bush, Hezbollah, Iran, Iraq, Israel, King George, Middle East, Military, nationalism, neo-conservatives, Pakistan, Religion, Republicans, Revising History, secret combinations, Somalia, Syria, Thoughts, violence, War, War on Terror, World Events | Leave a comment

Republicans and the Christian Right should be well familiar with this particular verse from the Bible, Matthew 7:15-20:

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

By their fruits, ye shall know them. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit. A corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. Any Christian knows this parable. What does this mean for our world today? Let’s look at the fruits of the Bush administration and the Republican party.

Iraq

A failed state. The Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy magazine have released their annual report of the world’s failed states. Iraq is the second worst failed state in the world, only two points better in the rankings than the world’s worst failed state, The Sudan. We’re now well over four years into our war in Iraq. Let’s put that in perspective. World War II, if started on March 20, 2003, would have ended last December or so. What is worse about this is that unlike The Sudan, America has pumped billions of dollars into Iraq with so little to show for it.

That is not to say that all failing states suffer from international neglect. Iraq and Afghanistan, the two main fronts in the global war on terror, both suffered over the past year. Their experiences show that billions of dollars in development and security aid may be futile unless accompanied by a functioning government, trustworthy leaders, and realistic plans to keep the peace and develop the economy. Just as there are many paths to success, there are many paths to failure for states on the edge.

So I ask you, Americans, and especially Christian conservatives, what do these fruits tell you about the tree from which they come? Now some of you may say, the tree really is terrorism. The answer to that is, no. The tree is America. We entered Iraq with the supposed intent to recreate the Middle East, and Iraq itself. After four years, what are the fruits of our labors? An utterly failed state. Jesus said, evil fruit cannot come from good trees.

By their fruits, ye shall know them.

Afghanistan

Recently a US airstrike killed seven children along with many others. More than one hundred die in three days of heavy fighting. The Taliban (living over in neighboring Pakistan) continue to plague the Americans now SIX YEARS after we attacked them. Six years. And they are still around? Afghanistan is ranked as the 8th worst failed state in the world, behind only The Sudan, Iraq, and a bunch of African states.

By their fruits, ye shall know them.

Pakistan

The Bush administration continues to support the highly corrupt and repressive military dictator, Musharraf, regardless of how much he punishes reformers in Pakistan. Pakistan is ranked as the 12th worst failed state in the world. Only Haiti, Central African Republic and Guinea separate Pakistan from her neighbor Afghanistan.

By their fruits, ye shall know them.

Lebanon

Poor, poor Lebanon, the world’s pawn, played by all parties against her own will. Israelis bomb her to the stone age. Hezbollah is a parasitic virus, destroying the country from within. Syria assassinates her leaders. The United States sacrifices her democracy on the altar of supposed Israeli preference (though if the United States were smart, they would have reined in Israel last summer, because it is in Israel’s best interest to have a stable country to her north. Now because of their idiotic bombing campaign, Lebanon is failing). Lebanon is ranked as the 28th worst failed state in the world.

Palestine

Not a state (and apparently not ever going to be a state), this is probably the worst of Bush’s failures. Is it really in the best interest of our ally, Israel, to have a failed non-state as her neighbor? Is it really in Israel’s best interest to have 1.4 million starving raving lunatics in a 25 mile strip of land right on her border? Is this Condoleezza Rice’s idea of “birth pangs?”

Why are these failed states so important to the world? The Foreign Policy magazine states it well in their introduction:

It is an accepted axiom of the modern age that distance no longer matters. Sectarian carnage can sway stock markets on the other side of the planet. Anarchic cities that host open-air arms bazaars imperil the security of the world’s superpower. A hermit leader’s erratic behavior not only makes life miserable for the impoverished millions he rules but also upends the world’s nuclear nonproliferation regime. The threats of weak states, in other words, ripple far beyond their borders and endanger the development and security of nations that are their political and economic opposites.

These are the fruits of the Republican philosophy to the world. These are the fruits of neo-conservatives. These are not the fruits of good trees. These must be cast into the fire, metaphorically speaking. We must do what needs to be done with these kinds of philosophies, let them pass the way of the dodo bird, to be a relic of history, never to be seen again. At least, if Americans want a better world.

Supposed Suicide Bomb Teams Sent to US

June 18, 2007 at 6:30 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, corruption, George W Bush, Iraq, Osama Bin Laden, Pakistan, violence, War, War on Terror | 2 Comments

from Pakistan of course. Uh, so er, just what are we doing in Iraq?

Why General David Petraeus Is Not To Be Trusted

June 18, 2007 at 11:55 am | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, corruption, Iraq, Military, secret combinations, violence, War, War on Terror | Leave a comment

(Via Dick Polman)

General Petraeus in September 2004 on Iraq:

I see tangible progress. Iraqi security elements are being rebuilt from the ground up. The institutions that oversee them are being reestablished from the top down. And Iraqi leaders are stepping forward, leading their country and their security forces courageously…There are reasons for optimism…Training is on track and increasing in capacity. Infrastructure is being repaired…Progress has also been made in police training…Considerable progress is also being made in the reconstruction and refurbishing of infrastructure for Iraq’s security forces…Iraq’s security forces are developing steadily and they are in the fight. Momentum has gathered in recent months. With strong Iraqi leaders out front and with continued coalition – and now NATO – support, this trend will continue.

Why should we take anything that General Petraeus says seriously? Note that this was two months before November 2004, the worst month for US casualties in Iraq, with 135 some odd dead. And of course, two months before the general presidential election. General Petraeus surely wasn’t trying to influence voters to “stay the course” for Bush. Nah. So why should he be trusted to say anything but what Bush WANTS HIM TO SAY?

Sam Brownback’s Aide Attacks Romney’s Religion

June 18, 2007 at 11:13 am | Posted in American politics, conservatives, corruption, Mit Romney, Mitt Romney, Republicans, secret combinations | Leave a comment

One of Sam Brownback’s aides wrote an email to Iowan Republican leaders “fact-checking” Romney’s LDS faith. Brownback quickly tried to distance himself from the letter, and called and apologized to Romney. But there ain’t no way this was anything but an attempt by Brownback to plant the seed of doubt about Romney’s level of “Christianity.” It is just my personal opinion, but I believe this email was purposeful.

Doing Little To Take Care of Our Wounded Soldiers

June 18, 2007 at 7:42 am | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, corruption, gay bomb, George W Bush, Iraq, Military, secret combinations, violence | 2 Comments

The tragedy continues, and gets worse and worse. The government has not been giving the soldiers in Iraq the best protection, has done a piss-poor job at treating wounded soldiers at Walter Reed (and numerous other facilities around the nation), and now we read in yesterday’s Washington Post that again at Walter Reed, soldiers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder are getting short-changed and mistreated. Here’s a small snippet, though the whole article is a MUST read.

On the military plane that crossed the ocean at night, the wounded lay in stretchers stacked three high. The drone of engines was broken by the occasional sound of moaning. Sedated and sleeping, Pfc. Joshua Calloway was at the top of one stack last September. Unlike the others around him, Calloway was handcuffed to his stretcher.

When the 20-year-old infantry soldier woke up, he was on the locked-down psychiatric ward at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. A nurse handed him pajamas and a robe, but they reminded him of the flowing clothes worn by Iraqi men. He told the nurse, “I don’t want to look like a freakin’ Haj.” He wanted his uniform. Request denied. Shoelaces and belts were prohibited.

Calloway felt naked without his M-4, his constant companion during his tour south of Baghdad with the 101st Airborne Division. The year-long deployment claimed the lives of 50 soldiers in his brigade. Two committed suicide. Calloway, blue-eyed and lantern-jawed, lasted nine months — until the afternoon he watched his sergeant step on a pressure-plate bomb in the road. The young soldier’s knees buckled and he vomited in the reeds before he was ordered to help collect body parts. A few days later he was sent to the combat-stress trailers, where he was given antidepressants and rest, but after a week he was still twitching and sleepless. The Army decided that his war was over.

Every month, 20 to 40 soldiers are evacuated from Iraq because of mental problems, according to the Army. Most are sent to Walter Reed along with other war-wounded. For amputees, the nation’s top Army hospital offers state-of-the-art prosthetics and physical rehab programs, and soon, a new $10 million amputee center with a rappelling wall and virtual reality center.

Nothing so gleaming exists for soldiers with diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder, who in the Army alone outnumber all of the war’s amputees by 43 to 1. The Army has no PTSD center at Walter Reed, and its psychiatric treatment is weak compared with the best PTSD programs the government offers. Instead of receiving focused attention, soldiers with combat-stress disorders are mixed in with psych patients who have issues ranging from schizophrenia to marital strife.

Even though Walter Reed maintains the largest psychiatric department in the Army, it lacks enough psychiatrists and clinicians to properly treat the growing number of soldiers returning with combat stress. Earlier this year, the head of psychiatry sent out an “SOS” memo desperately seeking more clinical help.

Individual therapy with a trained clinician, a key element in recovery from PTSD, is infrequent, and targeted group therapy is offered only twice a week.

Young Pfc. Calloway was put in robes that first night. His dreams were infected by corpses. He tasted blood in his mouth. He was paranoid and jumpy. He couldn’t stop the movie inside his head of Sgt. Matthew Vosbein stepping on the bomb. His memory was shot. His insides burned.

Calloway’s mother came to Walter Reed from Ohio and told the psychiatrist everything she knew about her son. Sitting in the office for the interview, Calloway jiggled his leg and put his head in his hands as he described his tour in Iraq. His mental history was probed and more notes were taken. The trivia of his life — a beagle named Zoe, a job during high school at a Meijer superstore, a love of World War II history — competed with what he had become.

“I can’t remember who I was before I went into the Army,” he said later. “Put me in a war for a year, my brain becomes a certain way. My brain is a big, black ball of crap with this brick wall in front of it.”

After a week in the lockdown unit, Calloway was stabilized. They gave him back his shoelaces and belt. On the 10th day, he was released and turned over to outpatient psychiatry for treatment. And Calloway, a casualty without a scratch, began the longest season of his young life.

It is absolutely reprehensible that our nation and our government does not take care of those who supposedly fight for our very existence, but let them languish in their mental horrors. Then again this should tell you how much the Pentagon truly understands the human mind.

Scooter Libby Supporters Threaten Judge’s Life and Family

June 14, 2007 at 12:19 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, conservatives, corruption, secret combinations | 2 Comments

So much for the rule of law and order from conservatives. Judge Walton, the judge who ruled on Libby’s perjury case has claimed he received death threats.

The federal judge who oversaw I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s CIA leak trial said Thursday that he received threatening letters and phone calls after sentencing the former White House aide to prison.

“I received a number of angry, harassing mean-spirited phone calls and letters,” U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton said. “Some of those were wishing bad things on me and my family.”

Walton made the remarks as he opened a hearing into whether to delay Libby’s 2 1/2-year sentence. He said he was holding the letters in case something happened but said they would have no effect on Thursday’s decision.

Wow.

A question for conservatives. How effective is the rule of law and order if judges’ lives are threatened?

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