Halliburton to Launch New Line of Depleted Uranium Mineral Supplements 19th FEBRUARY 2006
Radiation detectors in Britain recorded a fourfold increase in uranium in the atmosphere after the "shock and awe" bombing campaign against Iraq. Scientists who uncovered the figures through freedom of information laws say it is evidence depleted uranium was carried by wind currents to Britain. Government officials say the sharp rise in uranium was a coincidence and probably came from local sources. Research shows that rather than remaining near the target as claimed by the military, depleted uranium weapons contaminate both locals and whole populations hundreds to thousands of miles away.
American Actions Do Not Coincide with Those of Civilised Nations 19th FEBRUARY 2006
The Archbishop of York has launched a passionate attack on Bush, saying his administration's refusal to close the notorious Guantanamo Bay camp reflected "a society that is heading towards George Orwell's Animal Farm." The Church of England's second in command urged the UNHRC to take legal action against the US through the US courts or the International Court of Justice at The Hague should it fail to respond to a report by UN inspectors advising that Guantanamo Bay should be shut immediately because prisoners there are being tortured. Rummy: "He's just flat wrong. We shouldn't close Guantanamo. We have several hundred terrorists, bad people, people who if they went back out on the field would try to kill Americans. To close that place and pretend that really there's no problem just isn't realistic."
Good Fellas: God's Most Beloved Continue Winning Hearts & Minds 19th FEBRUARY 2006
The gunfight by the Tigris River was over. It was time to retrieve the bodies. Staff Sgt. Cortez Powell looked at the shredded jaw of a dead man whom he'd shot in the face when insurgents ambushed an American patrol in a blind of reeds. Powell's M4 assault rifle had jammed, so he'd grabbed the pump-action shotgun that he kept slung over his shoulders and pulled the trigger. Five other soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division scrambled down, pulled two of the insurgents' bodies from the reeds and dragged them through the mud. "Strap those motherf-----s to the hood like a deer," said Staff Sgt. James Robinson, 25, of Hughes, Ark. The soldiers heaved the two bodies onto the hood of a Humvee and tied them down with a cord. The dead insurgents' legs and arms flapped in the air as the Humvee rumbled along. Iraqi families stood in front of the surrounding houses. They watched the corpses ride by and glared at the American soldiers.
Jesus Signs! Verily He Shall Be SpokesModel Unto the GOP 19th FEBRUARY 2006
Republican Party asked members to send church directories to the party, drawing furious protests from local and national religious leaders. "Such a request is completely beyond the pale," said the head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of Southern Baptists. During the presidential race, Bush-Cheney sent a similar request to activists across the country. It asked churchgoers not only to furnish church directories to the campaign, but also to use churches for political organizing. The tactic was roundly condemned across the political spectrum, including conservative evangelical Christians. Ten professors of ethics at major seminaries and universities wrote a letter to Bush asking him to "repudiate the actions of your re-election campaign," and calling on both parties to "respect the integrity of all houses of worship."
When Will We Admit That We Have Lost America, America? 19th FEBRUARY 2006
Is preemption a sign of defeat? Is defeat marked by a nation’s moral compass becoming erratic or empire building and theft of lands and resources? What tells us we have lost a battle or a war? Is victory marked by dressing the part of a warrior and declaring "Mission Accomplished." Is "loss" defined by politicians reporting victory? Is "loss" the "beautiful people" hanging onto the "last helicopter out?" Is it "loss" when the most powerful army the world has ever seen can’t travel its own six-mile road from its Baghdad airport to its administrative headquarters? Is defeat an Army’s friendly fire killing its own military hero and then lying for months on end about the circumstances of the event? Does the need to manufacture a heroine like Jessica Lynch mark the end of a blatantly unjust cause and therefore defeat? How does an alleged commander-in-chief wage war when one of his senior generals says, "I don't know if I have the moral authority to send troops into combat anymore. I'm no longer sure I can look a soldier or a Marine in the eye and say: 'This is something
worth dying for.'"
America Sends Obedience Trainers to Teach Puerto Ricans a Lesson 18th FEBRUARY 2006
February 10, 2006, agents of the FBI again violently invaded homes and places of employment of respected independentistas activists in Puerto Rico. They terrorized entire communities, assaulted members of the press covering the FBI operation and displayed disregard for the government and police of the island. FBI aggression leaves unequivocally clear at stake now is: Yankees or Puerto Ricans? When the assault troops of the FBI launched this new action, less than five months after the brutal assassination of pro-independence leader Ríos, they proceeded as usual. They did not bother notifying the Governor island or the Chief of Police until finished ransacking houses and offices, arresting people and assaulting the press. Why? Because the Governor and the Chief of Police are Puerto Ricans, and the FBI does not trust them.
Bush Regime Selling der Fuhrer -- Americans Buying 18th FEBRUARY 2006
...even as Bush declares America is at war to bring democracy to the Middle East. Last week's annual Conservative Political Action Conference signaled the transformation of conservatism into brownshirtism. A former Justice Department official got a standing ovation when he told the CPAC audience the rule of law mustn't get in the way of Bush protecting Americans from bin Laden. Republican Bob Barr, who led the impeachment of President Clinton, reminded the audience that our first loyalty is to the Constitution, not to a leader. The question, Barr said, is not one of disloyalty to Bush, but whether America will remain a nation subject to and governed by rule of law or whim of men. The audience preferred Bush. A member of CPAC loudly booed Barr, declaring: "I can't believe I'm in a conservative hall listening to him say Bush is off course." A woman in the audience told Barr the Constitution placed Bush above the law and above non-elected federal judges.
Maid Condi Continues to Spread Joy & Goodwill Wherever She Goes 18th FEBRUARY 2006
The Bush regime has certainly had its problems with its Secretaries of State. The first one, Colin Powell, lied through his teeth at the United Nations Security Council and this one, Condoleezza Rice, has an acute case of chronic insolence where Russia is concerned. Every so often, Condoleezza Rice has an attack of fury, which seems more like a temper tantrum from some spoilt six-year-old brat in need of a good hiding. Yet again she makes some manic and unfounded statements about Russia and democracy – the old cassette we hear from time to time, which these days makes everyone shrug their shoulders, shake their heads and say "there she goes again, poor woman." Did the United States of America invade Iraq, a sovereign nation, without a casus belli? (Yes.) Has the Bush regime broken practically every international law in recent history regarding crisis management? (Yes.) Should you shut the fuck up and grab a mirror? (Yes. Yes. A thousand times, yes!)
"Dove-Killing Enthusiasts" Strap Jesus to Hummer 18th FEBRUARY 2006
The more we learn about the Armstrong Ranch, site of the Cheney shooting, the more it feels like the GOP equivalent of Tony Soprano's joint. CNN described the remote 50,000-acre ranch as "a private getaway." It's the kind of place goodfellas of the Republican crew can go to kick back, have a beer (or two), talk a little business, raise a little money, make a few deals, maybe meet a girl. Dick Cheney's been kicking back at Armstrong for over 30 years. Also in the know: Bush and Laura, Bush 41 and Barbara, Karl Rove, and James Baker, all of whom have been frequent guests. The rest of us can get an idea of "what happens there" by piecing together the very cozy connections between the Armstrong Ranch Mafia.
Billion Dollar Heist in Broad Daylight: Treasury Emptied 18th FEBRUARY 2006
The Bush administration spent $1.6 billion to paint a prettier picture of failing policies, even as it cut the social safety net. The public-relations gloss that long wrapped Bush is fast becoming a blemish on the White House, according to lawmakers who uncovered $1.6 billion in federal funds spent promoting administration-sponsored programs. Between 2003 and mid-2005, the administration racked up $1.4 billion in contracts with advertising agencies to broadcast positive messages about its policies and initiatives. Another $200 million went to public-relations companies, and $15 million were spent building connections with media outlets. Individual members of the press received $100,000 in promotional contracts. The money went to push an array of sometimes controversial White House programs, including efforts to research and promote the benefits of marriage. The bulk of the money went toward brightening the image of the military, with the Defense Department spending over $1 billion on media contracts.
Willful Ignorance Could Cost Us Our Remaining Rights 17th FEBRUARY 2006
Ignorance is dragging down democracy. The typical voter fails to comprehend even the basics of government. Barely half recognize the three branches of government, and even fewer know what "separation of powers" means. That goes to the heart of controversies including wiretapping and congressional meddling in the Terri Schiavo case. The number of agencies that can accost, prohibit, tax, impound, impede, detain, subpoena, confiscate, search, indict, fine, audit, interrogate, wiretap, sanction and otherwise harass and subjugate citizens or their property and rights has skyrocketed. Few citizens made a corresponding buildup of knowledge of their rights and government processes.
Supporting the War As An Act of Unpatriotic Cowardice 17th FEBRUARY 2006
Americans have to journey far out of their way to blind themselves to how the country was utterly duped into fighting a completely unnecessary war in Iraq. It’s getting to the point where you have to very badly want to believe whatever the president says in order to do so. It’s getting to the point where you have to actively hide from the evidence in order to keep your faith-based war politics safe from the cognitive dissonance induced by overwhelming empirical evidence to the contrary. Tthat is precisely what many conservatives are now choosing to do. They are free to indulge in as much political masturbation as suits them. What I mind is their loudly-proclaimed belief that they are patriots, and that they support the troops in Iraq. Nothing could be further from the truth.
America Creates Reality? Remember the Neocons’ Iraq Reality? 17th FEBRUARY 2006
Fact and analysis no longer play a role. The spun reality in which Americans live is insulated against intelligent perception. American "manufacturers" are becoming marketers of foreign made goods. CEOs and shareholders have too short a time to understand that once foreigners control the manufacture-design-innovation process, they will bypass American brand names. US companies will cease to exist. Former CEO of Lockheed Martin says even McDonald's jobs are no longer safe. Why pay an error-prone order-taker minimum wage when McDonald's can have the order transmitted via satellite to the person preparing the order. McDonald’s experiment with this system has cut its error rate by 50% and increased its throughput by 20%. Technology lets the orders be taken in India or China at costs below minimum wage and without the liabilities of US employees.
Our Words Mean Nothing = Our Laws Mean Nothing 17th FEBRUARY 2006
Isn't it fascinating how a clever propagandist can spin any topic to their advantage? Isn't it amazing to watch people fall for the manipulation? Faced with the increasingly invasive/unconstitutional actions of our government, apologists for Soviet style "security" triumphantly ask: "If you haven't done anything wrong, why do you care?" With that question they're making a clear statement: "Only criminals desire (and benefit from) a right to privacy." As is often the case with propaganda, the exact opposite is true. History has demonstrated that only criminals seek (and benefit from) a right to violate the rights of others. In short, the correct question isn't: "If you haven't done anything wrong, why do you care?" Rather, it is: "If I haven't done anything wrong, what right do you have?"
Mardi Gras Façade Will Hide a Toxic, Rubble-Strewn Wasteland 17th FEBRUARY 2006
Mechanical diggers and dumper-trucks that were clearing streets have been redeployed closer to the party sector in recent days "just so we can give this ‘New Orleans is back’ message to the visitors," complained a community campaign group. "What we have done is build a Hollywood set, like in the old Westerns where you have the fake façade of a storefront and behind it there’s nothing but desert. That’s what New Orleans has become." The Big Easy has removed 6.3 million cubic yards of debris since Hurricane Katrina wrought its devastation. There is another 50 million to go. Vast tracts are still lifeless wasteland, scores of neighbourhoods remain uninhabitable, only a third of the population returned and coffers are bare. More than 700 inhabitants lost their lives.
The Adulation of Ignorance 16th FEBRUARY 2006
After three years of war in Iraq, reporting and debate continue
to ignore the key fact: The U.S. invasion was a mistake. Bush himself acknowledges this. He says the war was based on intelligence and the intelligence was wrong. So, what is right about the war? Why is Bush intent on continuing the war? Why is it important to win a war that should not have happened and only happened because U.S. intelligence was mistaken? How can Bush tell Congress and the world that the U.S. is winning in Iraq? Why did Congress stand and applaud? What does it mean to win a war that should not have been started?
"Pro-Life" Tactics Actually Encourage Abortion and Riskier Sex 16th FEBRUARY 2006
Pro-lifers tend to be absolutists. You are either churchgoer or sinner, procreator or contraceptor, for the culture of life or for the culture of death. For the unmarried, the right course is abstinence. And for everyone, single or married, the right course never, ever leads to abortion. Unfortunately, if the goal is to reduce abortion, the pro-lifers' strategies don't work. Criminalizing abortion may be a sacred pro-life goal. But in practice, bans have failed to curb rates of abortions. It's worth noting that the Catholic Church wasn't pro-life until 1869. It supported legalized abortion until quickening, at approximately 19 weeks of pregnancy, which is when it considered the fetus was given a soul.
Military Abandons Veterans with Mental Problems 16th FEBRUARY 2006
Dramatic figures have been released revealing that at least 1,333 servicemen and women - almost 1.5 per cent of those who served in the Iraq war - have returned from the Middle East with serious psychiatric problems. Official statistics identify those diagnosed with mental health problems while on duty. Many Iraq veterans are now receiving little or no treatment for a variety of mental health problems. Questions have also been raised about the level of care being given to regular soldiers, reservists and members of the TA, some of whose symptoms emerged after ending active service. Many are not included in the figure of 1,333. Many claim they have been abandoned by the military establishment.
Dereliction of Duty: High Treason by Low Lifes 16th FEBRUARY 2006
Bush administration "misused" prewar intelligence to justify the decision to go to war, purposefully ignored intelligence analysis that did not fit its preconceived notions (such as the intelligence community's finding that Iraq was years away from developing a nuclear weapon), created an environment in which intelligence analysts did not feel free to reach conclusions that clashed with White House assumptions, and essentially perverted the intelligence process.
NSA Officer Stripped of Clearance for Revealing Patriotism 16th FEBRUARY 2006
A former NSA employee said there is another ongoing top-secret surveillance program that might have violated millions of Americans' Constitutional rights. He believes it violates the Constitution's protection against unlawful search and seizures but has no way of sharing the information without breaking classification laws. He is not allowed to tell the congressional intelligence committees - members or their staff - because they lack high enough clearance. Neither could he brief the inspector general of the NSA because that office is not cleared to hear the information.
What Boomers Hath Wrought: Meet Generation Debt 16th FEBRUARY 2006
A growing group of twenty- and thirty-somethings spend much or all of the money they make -- often more -- on travel, clothes, food, drink and hot spots, particularly of the high-end sort. "It seems our generation, we want it all. We have really high expectations." Peers don't let debt or low incomes stop them from spending enthusiastically. They want to enjoy life now, and aren't worried about saving for the future, despite foreboding speculations about economic downturns. The "celebutante" lifestyle of Paris Hilton prevails: live like a young heir, whether or not you are one.
Look Now: It's Fugly, Sad, Stomach-Twisting, Mind-Blowing Reality 15th FEBRUARY 2006
I wish I could tell you a joke about Cheney and a lawyer full of birdshot, because I'd really like to focus on good, clean fun at the vice-resident's expense. But I can't. It would be letting him, Bush, Rice, Rumsfeld, and the whole administration off far too easy. Besides, I'm too naseous. Too furious. Too repelled at the moral line crossed by our representatives -- in our name -- at Abu Ghraib. The summary and a link to the photographs and a video that I can't bring myself to see all the way through is here. The images make me wonder why the bowels of the earth don't open and swallow the resident every time he makes reference to us "bringing democracy" anywhere. They make violent resistance in Iraq seem like the only justified response.
Outrageously Off-Target: All the News That's Fit to Orwell 15th FEBRUARY 2006
The release of the photographs will spark violence? No -- U.S. torture of prisoners sparks massive outrage and justifiably so. This outrage should not just be confined to the "Arab world" but should be felt everywhere, particularly in the US. Pentagon lawyers have already tried this in federal court, and a judge ruled that fear of facing the consequences of your actions is not a legitimate defense. They were swiftly put on Arab TV. Is there something devious about that? Is "Arab TV" somehow committing some transgression against freedom and democracy by broadcasting these images that were first put out by Australian TV in a country Bush claims as his ally? All images of torture at Abu Ghraib should be made public, because they are an accurate representation of what has happened and continues to happen in U.S.-run and -supported gulags around the world.
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