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2/28/2005

Zarqawi to Attack US?

From Voice of America.com

"U.S. counter-terrorism officials say al-Qaida terrorist leader Osama bin Laden recently communicated with his counterpart in Iraq - Abu Musab al-Zarqawi - urging him to get involved in attacks in the United States.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, did not say how the two terrorist masterminds communicated or how U.S. intelligence became aware of it.

Al-Zarqawi has claimed responsibility for many attacks in Iraq and the abduction and beheading of several Westerners there."

Hopefully Zarqawi never makes his presence felt here in America, but if he does, just remember this from
NBC news back in March of 2004,

"But NBC News has learned that long before the war the Bush administration had several chances to wipe out his terrorist operation and perhaps kill Zarqawi himself, but never pulled the trigger."

The report goes on,

"The Pentagon quickly drafted plans to attack the camp with cruise missiles and airstrikes and sent it to the White House, where, according to U.S. government sources, the plan was debated to death in the National Security Council.

'Here we had targets, we had opportunities, we had a country willing to support casualties, or risk casualties after 9/11 and we still didn't do it,' said Michael O'Hanlon, military analyst with the Brookings Institution."

The real point to keep in mind here is that the man who preaches the doctrine of preemption in regards to attacking terrorists passed on killing Zarqawi over a year ago because, "the administration feared destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq could undercut its case for war against Saddam."

It's a good thing Kerry didn't get elected or the terrorists would be on their way to American soil again...oh...wait...forget it.

Time to Fight Back

Todd Epp at Thune Watch and other concerned Democrats are making plans to hold John Thune and the South Dakota press accountable in regards to the Jeff Gannon affair. Here is the plan,

-Raise money for radio advertisements.

-Hold a news conference calling upon the SD media to ask John Thune to investigate Thune’s ties to Gannon.
-Ask Thune to come clean about his ties to Gannon.
-Play the radio spots that would start airing that day.
-Hand out a packet of information about “Gannongate” from national press stories and reliable blogs.
-Have people call the talk radio stations that day about the issue.
-Have bloggers blog the story and our activities.
-Follow up as needed.

Right now the most important part of the plan is the raise the money part, without it we can't do anything. Please contact Todd if you can help. This is important, we can't let Thune and the media just slide by without being held accountable. Please help if you can. Go to
Thune Watch for more details and Todd's contact info.

2/25/2005

What IS the Matter with Kansas?

Not only do Republicans have a propensity to lie to us, they also think we are too stupid to realize it. The latest example comes from Kansas (surprise, surprise).

Kansas AG Phill Kline "a staunch opponent of abortion, has demanded the medical records of nearly 90 woman and girls who had late-term abortions, saying he needs the material to investigate crimes."

What crimes you may ask? Kline says he has, "the duty to investigate and prosecute child rape and other crimes in order to protect Kansas children."

That's a noble cause, but demanding abortion records to combat rape? I still don't follow. Here is his explanation. "Sex involving someone under 16 is illegal in Kansas, and it is illegal in the state for doctors to perform an abortion after 22 weeks unless there is reason to believe it is needed to protect the mother's health."

"The clinics said Kline demanded their complete, unedited medical records for women and girls who sought abortions at least 22 weeks into their pregnancies in 2003. Court papers did not identify the clinics.

The records sought include the patient's name, medical history, details of her sex life, birth control practices and psychological profile."

OK, if a crime has been committed then fine, by all means investigate. Let's all be grown ups for a minute though. This request really has nothing to do with investigating child rape. It has everything to do with harassing and persecuting women who have had abortions. If Kline is really so concerned about child rape then why hasn't he requested all the hospital records of girls aged 16 and under who actually gave birth to babies? I guess in Kansas you only get prosecuted for raping a child if that child chooses to have an abortion. If you can talk her into having the baby your home free.

Does Kline think we won't realize the real intent of this request? Stay tuned, this crap is coming to a state near you soon.

2/23/2005

Thune Blog A-Lie-Ance and Jeff Gannon

From the Nashua Adovate,

"According to Dan Pfeiffer, former spokesman for Tom Daschle--the U.S. Senate Minority Leader until his defeat in the 2004 general election--Jeff Gannon's use of assumed identities was information available to the media as far back as the summer of 2003.

It was then, more than a year and a half ago, that Pfeiffer received an e-mail from someone claiming to be a citizen of South Dakota, wanting to know the Daschle campaign's reaction to a story by "Jeff Gannon."

The concerned "citizen of South Dakota" turned out to be Gannon himself, as the Daschle campaign quickly uncovered by tracking the e-mail account from which the query had been sent, "jdg17@aol.com." That e-mail address led Daschle campaign staffers to Gannon's AOL
website, at which point the entire campaign became instantly aware that Gannon, then a White House correspondent for "Talon News," had attempted to deceive them. This incident, combined with Gannon's "reporting" of the 2004 general election in South Dakota and the sheer oddity of his website, prompted the Daschle campaign to conclude Gannon was not a legitimate reporter."

There's more,

"According to Pfeiffer, the campaign sent Gannon's website address and news of his attempted deceit of the Daschle camp to several reporters. That's right: members of the media had access to Gannon's website more than a year and a half ago."

Love that "Liberal" media.

"A South Dakota reporter, who asked not to be identified, has confirmed to The Nashua Advocate that he received an e-mail from the Daschle campaign containing a link to Gannon's AOL
website, but said there was no evidence the Daschle campaign knew anything about Gannon's background as an escort, and he (the reporter) did not consider the e-mail an attempt to discredit Gannon."

I'd love to know who that reporter is. No evidence the Daschle campaign knew anything about Gannon's background as an escort? They had his website address which has links to his escort solicitations. Not an attempt to discredit Gannon? What was it then? Just thought you might like to hire this guy for a night so here you go? Ridiculous.

"In the summer of 2003, Gannon's bizarre behavior and incredibly unprofessional web presence were known by many in the political mainstream, including, according to Pfeiffer, staffers of U.S. Senator John Corzine (D-NJ), among others. Despite this, no reporting was done on Gannon, and no questions were asked."

Here is the good part,

"Said Gannon of Lauck and Van Beek, 'We traded information back and forth.' There is no word yet as to whether Gannon fully understands or appreciates what he's thus admitted to: that, as a White House reporter, he was feeding opposition research information to a pending G.O.P. Senate campaign."

"Asked about the information-sharing between a White House reporter and two bloggers on the Thune payroll, Alex Conant of John Thune's Washington, D.C office told The Advocate that the Thune campaign did not and does not consider Lauck a Thune "staffer"; Lauck, Conant said, was merely paid for "research" and "debate preparation."


[Pause].

On the other hand, Lauck was blogging throughout the 2004 general election, consistently with favorable coverage of Thune, and was being paid $27,000 by the campaign.

Apparently, to hear the Thune folks tell it, that nearly $30,000 revenue stream was compensation for Lauck--well, what, being a research monkey and lobbing softballs at Thune (like Gannon at McClellan and Bush, ironically) during fake debates?
Doubtful.

It is important to note that the Thune campaign had a prior awareness of Lauck's stunning February 20th, 2005 claim about the Daschle campaign prior to The Nashua Advocate's directing their attention to it--not, you know, that they were paying any attention to the online activities of a man formerly on their payroll.
Conant denied that Lauck was paid to blog, and denied any knowledge whatsoever of Lauck and Gannon's information-sharing activities."

I don't know about you but I feel Senator Thune is doing a fine job respresenting South Dakota values.

2/21/2005

The Lie of Liberal College Professors

Almost daily Sean Hannity (it's only a matter of time before we find out this weasel is on the Bush/Rove payroll) rants on and on about how Liberal professors are "brainwashing" the youth of America. Like everything else from the Right side of the aisle, this is simply a lie. Exhibit number one is Professor Jon Lauck right here in South Dakota.

Before we go any further it is probably appropriate to see just where these wackos are coming from. The following was written by a 21-year old law student at Duke.

"The reality of liberal bias on campus is so overwhelming that columnists and commentators are forced to choose between countless illustrations. Whether examining the anti-Christian bent at the University of North Carolina, where one student was labeled a sexist bigot for asserting his personal belief that homosexuality is immoral and Alpha Iota Omega Christian Fraternity was derecognized (should have gone to English class, derecognize is not a word)as a student organization for refusing to admit non-Christians"

As I was reading this I half expected the next line to say it was perfectly acceptable for a student to assert his "personal belief" that blacks should be paid less than whites for doing the same job, or that a public schools should be allowed to openly not adimit Jews. Is this really what Conservative college students should be caring about? Shouldn't they be more concerned with what they are taught in say Economics classes?

Here is more

"Some universities try to institute campus speech codes, limiting dialogue to their understanding of political correctness. Most just lambaste conservative students. At UNC-Charlotte, the resident College Republican chapter recently hosted their third annual 'affirmative action' bake sale. Treats were offered at lower prices to traditionally recognized minorities, protesting how affirmative action universities' accept minorities with comparatively lower academic credentials. Kristen McManus, UNC-Charlotte's Associate Director for Academic Initiatives for Mentoring Students, was quick to label the practice as racist. Titling the communiqué, 'Racist Practice at UNCC,' McManus e-mailed the press and warned them of the College Republicans' 'egregious methodology.' After this slur, will members of the UNC-Charlotte College Republicans remain comfortable coming to McManus for academic assistance? Would you feel safe around someone who called you a racist?"

Would you feel safe sending your child to a University that would just sit back and allow racist activities like this to continue? They where only called racists because they are!

Conservative crazies in Ohio are actually trying to get legislation passed that would prevent professors from discussing "controversial matters" in the classroom. In addition it would set up a grievance system in case you feel wronged by your professor. Like nearly everything out of the Republicans these days, this legislation is aimed at a problem that simply doesn't exist and the legislation itself is so vague it could never be enforced. "Controversial matters"? What exactly does that mean? Some feel that the Holocaust never happened and so teaching that it did might be "controversial" and should be omitted. This is all part of the New Rights preference for surrounding themselves with like-minded sycophants so they never have to have their beliefs challenged. How about this, if you identify yourself as a Republican at a state university you can just give yourself the grade you feel you deserve. Just cut out the middle man.

Here is quote from one of those supposed "Liberal" professors.

"I think there needs to be a guarantee that no student will be prejudiced for voicing a personal opinion that might be at odds with the professor," said Cleveland State law professor David Forte.

Forte then expounds,

"If it is a political science class, [students] will get a liberal perspective and they won't hear many opposing views," Forte said. "Many students are uncomfortable with this."

Now Republican more than most would tell you that the purpose of college is to prepare students for the "real world". When one enters the "real world" they may come across a boss who is an asshole and many people are uncomfortable with this. What are they going to do then? Cry to Sean Hannity? If you disagree with a professor raise your hand and argue with him. I went to college, it happened all the time and not just Conservative student vs. Liberal professor either. Never once did I hear of a student at my college who flunked a class or got a lower grade due political differences with a professor. Suck it up and be a grown up. I think it's nice that the party of personal responsibility doesn't want their youth to take any.

I think Kerry Howling at Reason.com sums it up best.

"No one seriously doubts that the average campus is a liberal enclave or believes diversity on elite campuses extends past skin color. But is it really so poisonous? The words "brainwashing" and "indoctrination" cannot possibly be less applicable to media savvy American students, and the idea that an 18-year-old is an empty receptacle waiting to be pumped full of Marxism is its own brand of absurdity. Harvard Yard is not a totalitarian state, and after a required helping of queer lit, a student can always switch to C-Span and watch a gay escort throw softballs to President Bush for a heady dose of conservative ideology."

They lying Right has no shame.

2/18/2005

I Wanna Be...I Wanna Be Like Sibby

We always knew Sibby thought he was smarter than us, but now he has said as much, ( I added the emphasis in the entire post) "But there is still hope. Like me they can get smart, grow up, and become conservatives."

Preceding that quote Sibby had this to say, "Todd Epp graciously thanked me for all the traffic I sent his way when I linked to his blog the other day. But when his supporting cast of wet-behind-the-ears and snot-nosed kids (plus one old guy) link to my blog, I get only a handful of hits."

I can on only assume that is a thinly veiled attack on me as well as others. While I won't presume to speak for the other "wet-behind-the-ears and snot-nosed kids" or the "old guy", I will respond for myself.

First of all, if growing up and getting smart means being like Sibby then I hope to stay young and dumb for the rest of my life.

Now lets look at just how grown up Sibby is. On the top of his blog Sibby says the following, "Sibby Online, In Search of the Truth". In reality it should say, "Sibby Online, in search of my name in print in the mainstream media".

Remember in late November and early December when Sibby was on an almost daily rant about Steve Hemmingsen? If not check out his archives under "Media Bias". The whole point, I guess, was to get Hemmingsen to say the David Kranz was in Tom Daschle's pocket. If one reads closely though the real motivation is apparent. The following is from a post on 11/30/04 entitled "Sibby left out in the Cold".

"Steve Hemmingsen's column mentioned the impact two of the DBA bloggers (Jon & Jason) had in the 2004 South Dakota Senate race. Like the National Journal column a couple of weeks ago, he took issue with the money they received from the Thune campaign.

I did not get one red cent from the Thune campaign. This is not a complaint. I did not start Sibby Online in search of money. As it says at the top, I am in search of the truth. It's the truth that Hemmingsen and the mainstream media can't handle.

But I do have a problem with not being mentioned by Hemmingsen and the National Journal."

Later on the same post Sibby whines even more (very mature). This time Hemmingsen credited South Dakota Politics with finding a connection between Kranz and Daschle when they where both in college. Sibby couldn't let that go unchallenged.

"For the record, I was the one who found the Kranz-Daschle college connection."

Jealousy is not attractive on you Sibby.

Sibby's real motivation reared it's ugly head again, just last week. In a post dated 2/18/05 and entitled "Argus Leader Contradicts CBS News".

Sibby starts by quoting an article written by Dotty Lynch, "These articles then got a huge amount of play on the blogs of John Lauck and Jason Van Beek, and were picked up by other conservative sites and talk radio."

Then Sibby reaches for Holy Grail of affirmation in the media by claiming that Lynch was referring directly to him is some sort of code. "Also note that I was the blogger (I think CBS News refers to me as one of those other conservative sites) who first reported the college connection of Tom Daschle and David Kranz. That was how Jeff Gannon found out. I was not paid by the Thune campaign. I am only in search of the truth. Too bad the Argus Leader and CBS News are not."

Shall we take a look at some other signs that Sibby is more grown up and smarter than we are? Yes. I think we shall.

In a post 2/18/05 and entitled "Democrats on Christian Values", Sibby starts by quoting the Bible to us, I guess to show us how much better he is than we are, and then finishes with this, "Jesus taught us about tolerance. The Democrats can talk the talk about tolerance, but they cannot walk the walk when dealing with an alleged prostitute, and a gay one at that. Looks like it is the Democrats who are in the role of the Pharisiees."

I found it odd that Sibby would want to preach to us about tolerance on the same day that Dirty Flower reported on Sibby's testimony in front of the South Dakota state legislature on House Bill 1190 which would allow out-of-staters with a concealed weapons permit the right to carry a loaded concealed weapon in South Dakota. Sibby told quite a story about his own experience in needing a concealed weapon while on vacation. Go to Dirty Flower to read his entire testimony, but allow me to summarize.

Seems Sibby got lost in Indianapolis and found himself in a predominantly African-American neighborhood. Then the trouble started. First, an elderly black woman looked at him. Then a younger black man looked at him. Of course Sibby being so grown up, smart and tolerant like Jesus figured anyone looking his way in that neighborhood must be "Mr. Bad Guy." So, Sibby now admits he repeatedly broke the law be exceeding the speed limit and running stop lights. When Sibby had finally cheated death he reflected on the near miss with his wife. "And I was sitting there and I told my wife, 'You know, why is my South Dakota's drivers license honored in any state you go into, but my concealed carry permit is not' I left that gun at home. And, uh, only way to carry it legally is to have it locked in my trunk unloaded. And what good what that do? 'Mr. Badguy, can you just wait till I load my gun before I defend myself?'"

Wow, you really are tolerant just like Jesus. Defend yourself? From what? If you ever see Sibby at a stop light don't look at him if your in South Dakota, because he's probably packing heat. While Sibby wonders why his South Dakota drivers license is valid in other states but not his concealed carry permit, I wonder why my marriage license from say Massachusetts, is valid there but in say South Dakota? I guess Sibby's message is tolerance for concealed weapons owners but not for homosexuals. I must have missed that distinction in the Bible.

Sibby must be smart though, because he has figured out a way that anyone, even a Wal-Mart employee making minimum wage and never getting a raise, can retire a multi-millionaire. The following is from a post entitled "Social Security, Socialism and the lying left" dated 12/28/04. It's kind a long post, here is the good part.

"So now let's invest the money into the stock market via the diversification of a mutual fund. I use the Janus fund for some of my retirement savings. Since the fund started in 1970, it has averaged a 14.26% return over the 34-year period. At that rate, the Wal-Mart employee nest egg would explode to $4,870,829. That's right, nearly $5 million. If you sold the stock and bought 5% bonds, your monthly income would be $20,295. Now that is a far cry from $900 per month."

Wow! Even Bush and Rove aren't promising that. Course Sibby is probably smarter than they are too.

2/17/2005

Syria

The Bush administration lied to the American people to involve us in Iraq, now they don't even go to the trouble. As tensions escalate with Syria here is Sec Rice gives us for "proof" of Syrian involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

"While acknowledging that the United States does not know who was behind the Monday bombing that killed the former Lebanese prime minister, Rafik Hariri, Ms. Rice said Syria should be held at least indirectly responsible, 'given their continued interference in Lebanese affairs.'"

Oh and this clinches it,

"Ms. Rice also said that Syria 'created a destabilize environment in Lebanon in what is a developing democratic process.' And she charged that 'terrorists operate in southern Lebanon with Syrian forces in close proximity to them.'"

Never has a more flimsy case ever been made. Well unless you count that whole Iraq thing.

And This is the Guy Who Got KEEP His Job

Here are two quotes from Donald Rumsfeld as he gave testimony before Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday. The first is an exchange with Sen Clinton, the second is...well...nonsense I guess.

"It strikes me as a little odd that we would deploy a system that hasn't succeeded and expect that to serve a deterrent value," Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., told Rumsfeld during a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"I agree with that point, that there's no deterrent if something is known to not work," Rumsfeld said.

But Rumsfeld also said the best way to develop a system is to get it into the ground, work out the problems and keep testing so the capability evolves into the early stages of a missile defense. "If you didn't do anything until you could do everything, you probably wouldn't do anything," he said.

I really can't improve on that. That pretty much says it all...whatever it is.

Social Security Calculator

Democrats have unveiled a Social Security calculator which they cleverly call a Social inSecurity Calculator. All you do is put in annual salary and the year you where born an it does the rest. I have no idea how they came up with these projections and it doesn't really say, but hey, Republicans never the truth get in the way of a good story so why should we? Maybe these numbers are true I don't know. The point is that it is pretty cool to play with. It tells me that under Bush's plan (whatever that is) will make me lose $3,188 per year a 22% rate of loss. I hate those Republicans.

2/14/2005

Funding Both Sides of the War on Terror

The following is from a NYT Op-Ed by Thomas Friedman:

"The Wall Street Journal ran a very, very alarming article from Iran on its front page last Tuesday. The article explained how the mullahs in Tehran - who are now swimming in cash thanks to soaring oil prices - rather than begging foreign investors to come into Iran, are now shunning some of them. The article related how a Turkish mobile-phone operator, which had signed a deal with the Iranian government to launch Iran's first privately owned cellphone network, had the contract frozen by the mullahs in the Iranian Parliament because they were worried it might help the Turks and their foreign partners spy on Iran.

The Journal quoted Ali Ansari, an Iran specialist at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, as saying that for 10 years analysts had been writing about Iran's need for economic reform. 'In actual fact, the scenario is worse now,' said Mr. Ansari. 'They have all this money with the high oil price, and they don't need to do anything about reforming the economy.' Indeed, The Journal added, the conservative mullahs are feeling even more emboldened to argue that with high oil prices, Iran doesn't need Western investment capital and should feel 'free to pursue its nuclear power program without interference.'

This is a perfect example of the Bush energy policy at work, and the Bush energy policy is: 'No Mullah Left Behind.'"

Friedman goes on to point out,

"By adamantly refusing to do anything to improve energy conservation in America, or to phase in a $1-a-gallon gasoline tax on American drivers, or to demand increased mileage from Detroit's automakers, or to develop a crash program for renewable sources of energy, the Bush team is - as others have noted - financing both sides of the war on terrorism. We are financing the U.S. armed forces with our tax dollars, and, through our profligate use of energy, we are generating huge windfall profits for Saudi Arabia, Iran and Sudan, where the cash is used to insulate the regimes from any pressure to open up their economies, liberate their women or modernize their schools, and where it ends up instead financing madrassas, mosques and militants fundamentally opposed to the progressive, pluralistic agenda America is trying to promote. Now how smart is that?"

Friedman beleives Bush should be using his much talked about "political capital" to be pressuring car makers into more energy effecient vehicles and embracing a gasoline tax that would sharply cut consumption in the US.

"What would that buy? It would buy reform in some of the worst regimes in the world, from Tehran to Moscow. It would reduce the chances that the U.S. and China are going to have a global struggle over oil - which is where we are heading. It would help us to strengthen the dollar and reduce the current account deficit by importing less crude. It would reduce climate change more than anything in Kyoto. It would significantly improve America's standing in the world by making us good global citizens. It would shrink the budget deficit. It would reduce our dependence on the Saudis so we could tell them the truth. (Addicts never tell the truth to their pushers.) And it would pull China away from its drift into supporting some of the worst governments in the world, like Sudan's, because it needs their oil. Most important, making energy independence our generation's moon shot could help inspire more young people to go into science and engineering, which we desperately need"

Bush. Science. I don't think so.

Friedman finishes with this,

"But no, President Bush has a better project: borrowing another trillion dollars, which will make us that much more dependent on countries like China and Saudi Arabia that hold our debt - so that you might, if you do everything right and live long enough, get a few more bucks out of your Social Security account.

The president's priorities are totally nuts"

Friedman is kinder than I. I would just say the President is nuts.

All Republicans Really Care About is Politics (Part II)

As mentioned here before, elected Republicans don't really care to actually DO anything about issues like abortion and Social Security reform. All they really want to to do is to continue to have these issues to run campaigns on. If they really cared to do anything on these issues they certainly could, since they own Washington DC at this time. Here is more proof from Sen. Charles Rangle regarding Social Security.

"'There is no Democrat in the House of Representatives, on my committee that this president has reached out for' said Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., on NBC's 'Meet The Press' Sunday."

Here is the part that is right on the money,

"I'm telling you now, Social Security reform by the president is dead, and he killed it,"

2/09/2005

Sounds Like a Possible Bush Judicial Nominee

I swear I'm not making this up.

"OKLAHOMA CITY - Jurors and others in Judge Donald Thompson's courtroom kept hearing a strange whooshing noise, like a bicycle pump or maybe a blood pressure cuff. During one trial, Thompson seemed so distracted that some jurors thought he was playing a hand-held video game or tying fly-fishing lures behind the bench.The explanation, investigators say, is even stranger than some imagined: The judge had a habit of masturbating with a penis pump under his robe during trials."

OK, stop laughing. "The trials during which he allegedly used the pump included murder cases as well as a libel suit in which a jury ordered the company that publishes The Oklahoman, a Web site and a TV station to pay $3.7 million."

He seems to have been fairly prolific with the device, "Thompson's court reporter, Lisa Foster, told authorities that she saw him use the pump at least 10 times during trials. She said the first time in court was in 2000, but she did not tell authorities. "I didn't want to be found dead in a ditch somewhere," she told The Associated Press.Foster told authorities she saw Thompson use the device almost daily during the August 2003 murder trial of Kevin Vomberg, a man accused of shaking a toddler to death. The case ended in a hung jury. The whooshing sound could be heard on Foster's audiotape of the trial."

He was always kinda quiet, kept to himself, "I always thought he was an excellent trial judge," said Don I. Nelson, who tried more than 40 cases before Thompson as the prosecutor assigned to his court.Nelson handled a murder trial during which authorities say Thompson used the pump. The jury ended up convicting the defendant on the lesser charge of manslaughter."I never heard anything that was going on," Nelson said. "I was completely shocked and couldn't believe it."

2/08/2005

Elections in Iraq Not Liberating for All

This article was written by Houzan MahMoud, an Iraqi living in Britain, is the United Kingdom head of the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq. This article was first published in The Independent in Britain. It was reprinted in the Seattle Post Intelligencer. Of course these types of stories have to come to us from the foreign media since our media is either bought and paid for by the Bushies or for some reason afraid to report anything but glowing reports on Iraq.

"I am an Iraqi woman, and I am boycotting the elections. Women who do vote will be voting for an enslaved future. Surely, say those who support these elections, after decades of tyranny, here at last is a form of democracy, imperfect, but democracy nevertheless?

In reality, these elections are, for Iraq's women, little more than a cruel joke. Amid the suicide attacks, kidnappings and U.S.-led military assaults since Saddam Hussein's fall, the little-reported phenomenon is the sharp increase in the persecution of Iraqi women. Women are the new victims of Islamic groups intent on restoring a medieval barbarity and of a political establishment that cares little for women's empowerment."

She tells some pretty chilling stories about violence against women since the "liberation" of Iraq.

"Take the case of Anaheed. She was suspended to a tree in the New Baghdad area of the capital and then first shot by her father (a solicitor no less) and then by each member of her tribe. She was then was cut into pieces.
This to clear the shame on the tribe's honor for having wanted to marry a man she was in love with. This happened in late 2003, months after the 'liberation.'

In the last six months at least eight women have been killed in Mosul alone -- all apparently by Islamic groups clamping down on female independence. Among these, a professor from the city's law school was shot and beheaded, a vet was killed on her way to work and a pharmacist from the Alkhansah hospital was shot dead on her doorstep.

The occupation has unleashed this new violence against women, while in some cases adding its own particular variety. Iraqi women have been tortured by U.S. soldiers in prisons. The social taboo against speaking about sexual abuse is so strong in Iraq that these women will almost certainly have no one to turn to upon release."

As for the recent elections in Iraq she has this to say.

"If Iraqi women take part in the elections, who are they to vote for?

Women's rights are ignored by most of the candidates. The U.S. government appears happy to have Iraq governed by reactionary religious and ethnocentric elites."

I guess the Bushies never saw any problem with replacing a secular ruthless dictator with an Islamic fundamentalist governing body that is, oh by the way, sympathetic to Iran. Be careful what you wish for.

2/07/2005

Republicans Just Don't Get It

As they always do, Republicans are again playing the race card. This time in regards to abortion. Even African-American Conservatives are joining in. According to BlackGenocide.com "For every five African-American women who get pregnant, three have an abortion." Here are some more fun facts from that website:

-- Since 1973, more than twice as many blacks have died from abortion than from heart disease, cancer, accidents, violent crimes and AIDS combined
-- Blacks make up about 12 percent of the population in the United States but account for 32 percent of the abortions
-- About 1,450 black infants are aborted every day in this country

I first came across this information in an article that appears at CNSNews.com. In that article there are all sorts of anecdotes that they try to make only African-American in nature but that in reality could be about anyone.

Like this, "Many poor children see their mothers, often in a single-parent situation, begin to have their stomachs rise and talk happily about having a child, but at some point, there's no more talk of a baby. And the children hear the mother say: 'I got rid of it.' These children, often at a very young age, hear or see or understand that this life, which was once being celebrated, has been terminated."

I especially like this little bit of "investigative reporting" on Planned Parenthood. "In Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts and Ohio, the communities containing all of the Planned Parenthood abortion clinics had much higher black populations than their respective states, while Idaho, Kentucky, North Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming -- all of which have low black populations -- have none of the organization's abortion facilities"

Of course the fact that according the the 2000 census to combined populations of Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts and Ohio was 34,468,215 while the combined populations of Idaho, Kentucky, North Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming where a paltry 10,513,217. Of course sheer numbers of people wouldn't have anything to do with where Planned Parenthood has abortion facilities. Nope, the only factor is where the black people are. Not to mention the fact that both Massachusetts and Ohio have African-American populations that are below the national average of 12.3%. This "investigation" also doesn't explain why little old South Dakota with a population of 754,844 and a black population of of only .06% does have a Planned Parenthood abortion facility. Well, Republicans are never one's to let facts get in the way of playing the race card.

I also found it interesting that in neither the article nor the website was there any mention of birth control or sex education as a way of preventing "black genocide". Also, they don't seem to care much about these kids once they are born. They completely ignore the facts about African-Americans in the judicial system. "Among men, blacks (28.5%) are about six times more likely than whites (4.4%) to be admitted to prison during their life. Among women, 3.6% of blacks and 0.5% of whites will enter prison at least once. (U.S. Department of Justice) Based on current rates of incarceration, an estimated 7.9% of black males compared to 0.7% of white males will enter State of Federal prison by the time they are age 20 and 21.4% of black males versus 1.4% of white males will be incarcerated by age 30. (U.S. Department of Justice) Some have noted that more black men are in prison in America than are in college. (The Black and White of Justice, Freedom Magazine, Volume 128)"

Republicans are like a broken record. "Sanctity of life, sanctity of life." They just don't care much about actually preventing abortion or about helping people once the child is actually born. See they just like to kill them later at the states expense with a lot of fanfare and media around.


Republicans Just Can't Tell The Truth About SS

As predicted here some time ago, Conservatives continue to tell us how great privatized Social Security has worked out in Galveston County Texas. Of course they never get around to telling their Kool-Aid-Drinking neocon readers the whole truth about Galveston's plan. Here is an example.

From a CNSNews.com article entitled "Social Security Alternative Already Working in Texas":

"Data from First Financial Benefits, which administers the Galveston Alternate Plan, shows that county workers earning slightly more than $17,000 a year can retire at age 65 with a monthly payment of $1,285 compared with $782 a month under Social Security." OK, that all sounds pretty good, but here comes the lie.

"They have never lost money. They have gone through double recessions in the 1980s, recessions in the 90s, and a tech boom and bust in the 1990s and into 2000," said Charles Jarvis, chairman and CEO of USA Next-United Seniors. "They've gone through another recession, an attack on this country and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, yet they have steadily provided income for people." Of course this quote leads one to believe that somehow these charmed county employees from Galveston County Texas weathered the storm that battered Wall Street even as the rest of us lost significant money as the market headed south. The reason they didn't lose money is that they don't have any money invested in the stock market! NONE! ZERO! ZIP!

Here is the truth from Galveston County Judge Ray Holbrook in a 1998 article. "The Alternate Plan developed comprised a life insurance element for employees which would protect families of deceased employees, a disability insurance element as good as Social Security, and a retirement element with annuities purchased from major life insurance companies. A calculated decision was made not to invest in the stock market."

Here is another lie straight from Bush's mouth in his State of the Union address last week (lies in the State of the Union are of course nothing new for Bush) and quoted in the same CNSNews.com article linked above. "As we fix Social Security, we also have the responsibility to make the system a better deal for younger workers, and the best way to reach that goal is through voluntary personal retirement accounts." That is a familiar refrain from the Bushies, that they are "fixing" Social Security. The fact is they know they are not. "...this deal still does not solve Social Security's financial problems. 'In a long term sense,' the White House official said at Wednesday's briefing, 'the personal accounts would have a net neutral effect on the fiscal situation of the Social Security and on the federal government.'"

And just for fun I thought I would share this little gem from Sibby Online, "Nobody will find prosperity with the current social security program." Really? Nobody? Nobody has or ever will find prosperity with the current social security program. Now I'm not sure exactly what he means. Does he mean that Social Security contributions are keeping people from finding prosperity? If so somebody needs to tell all the new millionaires that are being minted each year that prosperity in America is simply not possible under this Social Security system. Maybe though he means that those who rely on Social Security for their retirement income will never vacation in Palm Beach. He is correct about that, but that misses the entire point of Social Security. It was never designed to make you rich, it was to keep you from being poor.

2/04/2005

All Republicans Care About is Politics

For Republicans to succeed they have to have an enemy. It used to the Evil Empire of the Soviet Union, now it is gays, abortions and Social Security. It should be obvious to anyone paying attention that Republicans now in office as well as those that would run for office, have no real interest in making changes to these issues. I mean they own the House, the Senate, the White House and the Supreme Court and yet no bills regarding same-sex-marriage on a Federal level, no bills outlawing abortion on a Federal level and even though Bush seems sincere about changing Social Security, the only real plan so far is that there is no plan. In his words "everything is on the table."

The interesting thing about the whole Social Security thing is what might be the ulterior motives of Bush. Take the first two stops on his Social Security tour, North Dakota and Nebraska. Why, one might ask, remote locations such as these. Well, both state overwhelmingly voted for Bush and yet have Democrat Senators who happen to be up for re-election in two years. It it becoming obvious that in addition to the Democrats in the Senate, there are a number of Republicans like Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins and Lincoln Chafee who also oppose Bush's Social Security plan. It seems, that the plan now is, go to "Red" states where Democrat Senators are up for re-election soon and blame them for a Social Security crisis that doesn't exist in an effort to get even more Republicans elected.

They don't even try to write legislation changing laws regarding gay marriage and abortion, because if those laws where actually changed the Republicans would lose their two most effective campaign tools. Go ahead and try to tell me what a Republican would campaign on if same-sex-marriage and abortion where both illegal.

When will rank and file Republicans start to blame the people they have elected for not doing something about what they feel are important issues? So far the Republicans continue to blame the evil Democrats for everything the Republican base holds dear but can't change. At some point, hopefully soon, these rank and file Republicans will start to look around and ask what has to happen for these changes to take place? As I said earlier, the Republicans own the whole of the Federal government. If not now then when?

The Republicans always have alternate agenda's. They don't really care so much about tort reform, what they do care about is that trial lawyers traditionally give large amounts of money to Democrats and they want that money to dry up in order to get even more Republicans elected.

Bush won't close the Mexican border even though terrorists could and maybe already have enter the country very easily that way. Why? Because he want's Hispanics to vote for Republicans to get even more Republicans elected.

Karl Rove's stated plan is to create a permanent Republican majority in the Federal government. It's time we all realized that is their only agenda. They only care about abortion and same-sex-marriage, and Social Security and anything else you can think of in so far as how they can use it to create an even larger majority in Congress.

The Republican party is heading for a meltdown, it's just a matter of time.

2/03/2005

Social Security Details

From the Washington Post:

"Under the White House Social Security plan, workers who opt to divert some of their payroll taxes into individual accounts would ultimately earn benefits more than those under the traditional system only if the return on their investments exceed the amount their money would have accrued under the traditional system."

Here is lie number one in the State of the Union Address:

"And best of all, the money in the account is yours, and the government can never take it away."

In reality here is what you get, or don't get:

"What Bush did not detail is how contributions in the account would reduce workers' monthly Social Security checks. Under the system, described by an administration official, every dollar contributed to an account would be taken from the guaranteed Social Security benefit, with interest.

The person comes out ahead if their personal account exceeds a 3 percent real rate of return, which is the rate of return that the trust fund bonds receive," the senior administration official said. "So, basically, the net effect on an individual's benefits would be zero if his personal account earned a 3 percent real rate of return. To the extent that his personal account gets a higher rate of return, his net benefit would increase."

Here are some numbers to consider, "If a worker sets aside $1,000 a year for 40 years, and earns 4 percent annually on investments, the account would grow to $99,800 in today's dollars. All of that money would be the worker's upon retirement. But guaranteed benefits over the worker's lifetime would be reduced by approximately $78,700 -- the amount the worker would have contributed to Social Security but instead contributed to his private account, plus 3 percent interest above inflation. The remainder, $21,100, would be the increase in benefit the worker would receive over his lifetime above the level he would have received if he stayed in the traditional system"

"In effect, said Democratic economist Peter R. Orszag of the Brookings Institution, the system works like a loan, in which the government grants workers 4 percentage points of their payroll tax to invest in stocks and bonds. The loan would have to be paid back with interest out of workers' monthly Social Security checks."

So let's recap. In the State of the Union Bush said this, "And best of all, the money in the account is yours, and the government can never take it away." When in reality if you retire with nearly $100,000 in your private account, after the government takes it's cut you really only get $21,100.

I'm sure this won't be the only time Bush lies to you about Social Security.

Most Ridiculous Item of the Week

From NYT:

"A senior Marine general who commanded forces in Iraq and Afghanistan has been admonished by the commandant of the Marine Corps for saying publicly, 'It's fun to shoot some people.'"

The entire quote is even better, "Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight. You know, it's a hell of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right upfront with you, I like brawling. You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."

Now as ridiculous as that is, it still isn't the most ridiculous part of this story. No, the most ridiculous part is the way his superiors make lame (and I mean lame) excuses for him.

On Thursday, Gen. Michael W. Hagee, commandant of the Marine Corps, issued a statement saying, "I have counseled him concerning his remarks, and he agrees he should have chosen his words more carefully. While I understand that some people may take issue with the comments made by him, I also know he intended to reflect the unfortunate and harsh realities of war."

Really? Which part was the unfortunate, harsh realty of war? The part where he said he loves to brawl, or the part where he it's a "hoot" to kill people?

2/02/2005

Pataki Spends Party Money on Maid for His Wife

Michelle Stubbs has a pretty cool $50,000 a year job working as an "Administrative Aid" to Gov. and Mrs. Pataki at the expense of the New York State Republican Party.

"The state Republican Party worker described by Gov. Pataki's staff as an "administrative aide" to his wife has had to trot to Albany to pick up chef-prepared meals for Mrs. Pataki, haul lawn furniture around at the family mansion, and do pool maintenance, a close pal told The Post yesterday."

Stubbs ex-boyfriend spilled the beans to the New York Post. "She did a lot, bringing in and taking out the lawn furniture during the seasons, making sure the pool was running,"

Of course Pataki is playing dumb. When asked if Stubbs does personal chores for his wife, the Gov replied, "Not that I'm aware of."

So maybe this ex-boyfriend just has an axe to grind since he is now the ex-boyfriend. Except for this, "The Post revealed yesterday that Stubbs had been secretly put on the state Republican Party's payroll in 1999 to serve as Libby Pataki's "maid" and "personal valet."

Whoops!

If Republicans cared about ethics and laws and silly things like that they might be interested in the fact that, "Under state law, campaign funds cannot be used for personal expenses."

At least some New York Republicans are upset, "It infuriates me," said James Balsley, a Manhattan design consultant who gave the state GOP $100 last year

Ethics Smethics

The party of personal values continues to show everyone just how little they care about public values. "Two donors to U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay's defense fund were named on Wednesday to the House ethics committee, which twice last year admonished the Texas Republican."

"(Speaker of the House Dennis) Hastert appointed to the panel Republican Reps. Lamar Smith of Texas and Tom Cole of Oklahoma. Both have donated to a defense fund DeLay created in 2000 after Democrats filed a civil racketeering suit -- later dismissed with the agreement of both sides -- over his fund-raising network.

Smith donated $10,000 and Cole donated $5,000, according to the government-watchdog group Public Citizen."

It's easy to see how two gay people getting married will bring about the end of Western Civilization, but I guess buying your way onto the ethics committee is what...ethical? Oh those wacky Republicans.

2/01/2005

Death a Benefit?

Now the Bush administration wants soldiers to get a benefit from being killed in action, however one would have to be killed in specific places in order to reap the biggest benefit. I realize that criticism of this plan will probably end up with me being called treasonous or something like that, but so much about this plans just strikes me as odd.

First of all, I do appreciate very much all the sacrifices those young men and women make for our country. I don't happen to agree that they need to be making those sacrifices in this war, but I nonetheless recognize and appreciate those sacrifices. I certainly don't think that a family of a soldier killed in action should have to get money together for final expenses. I agree we need to help these families the best we can.

That said, here are the high points of
Bush's plan:

"A tax-free "death gratuity," now $12,420, would grow to $100,000. The government also would pay for $150,000 in life insurance for troops. Veterans groups and many in Congress have been pushing for such increases." Now that extra $150,000 in life insurance is on top of $250,000 in life insurance that troops already have. So, if you die in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan, your family will receive the tidy sum of $500,000! That's right, a half a million if you die.

"Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., who is sponsoring a bill with the same provisions, said yesterday that the first-year cost of the increased benefits would be $459 million, including more than $280 million in retroactive payments of the higher gratuity and the extra life insurance payouts. "The American people want to be generous to the families of service people who give their lives for their country," he said."

Under the plan, only those service members who die in Iraq or Afghanistan would be eligible for this increased benefit. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) thinks that the money should, "apply to all service members on active duty" who die and not just those who die in Pentagon-designated combat zones. Another good point.

According the a
Defense Department website, an enlisted soldier with 2 years of experience on active duty makes $1235.10 per month. That's a huge sum of $14,821.20 per year. Now they also get housing allowances and retirement savings, but they are taking home 14K per year. Going on the assumption that most of those killed in the War on Terror have 2 years or less active duty experience and are enlisted men or women, that means that we are telling those brave soldiers that they are worth roughly 33 times more to us dead than alive.

I mean I think it's great to take care of the military, but lets use some of that $459 million to actually keep them alive in the first place. How about some body armor or some armored vehicles? Why not pay them a little more while they are actually alive?

The really crazy part is that only those killed in Iraq or Afghanistan rate this star treatment. Maybe it's the Middle East. I mean a suicide bomber gets 27 virgins in heaven and a US Marine gets a half million buck for his family. What do you tell the kids of a soldier killed someplace else by hostile fire? "Sorry, your Daddy was a second-rate soldier who didn't even die in Iraq. So take your $12,000 and run along now. I see some kids of an Iraqi casualty just over there."

Again, I think it's great to pay premiums for life insurance for soldiers and even to pay for final expenses, but I would think that $400,000 in life insurance money would be plenty in addition to $12,000 for final expenses. I'm sure I'm wrong about this, I'm sure I'm a traitor, but this whole thing just seems crazy to me.

What Mainstream Media?

From NYT:

An advocacy group, USAction, said on Monday that four television networks had turned down its request to run an advertisement opposing President Bush's effort to clamp down on medical malpractice lawsuits.

The group wanted to run the spots just before Mr. Bush's State of the Union address on Wednesday. But networks said the advertisement violated their standards for advertising on controversial issues.

The NBC Universal Television Network, owned by General Electric, told the group, "We are sorry that we cannot accept your ad based on our network policy regarding controversial issue advertising."

I guess killing Social Security isn't "controversial" since I've seen Bush ad's for that little plan on all of these networks I think.

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