Saturday, March 06, 2004

Taxes and the economy 

An interesting little essay from atrios.

Bush's response to these kinds of criticisms?

"The economy is getting stronger. We've overcome a lot. We've been through a recession. We've been through an attack. We've been through corporate scandals. We've been through war. And our economy is getting stronger," [Bush] said.

Bush said reducing regulation, changing rules on nuisance lawsuits and making his tax cuts permanent will strengthen the economy. "The question is who brings forth the best growth policies," Bush said.

And the answer is? ABB.



From xoverboard.com, a blog by August Pollak:

CBS 2 News interviewing a 9/11 victim's family member about Bush's campaign ad:

"We can't see pictures of soldiers being carried out of Iraq, but Bush can use firefighters being carried out of the World Trade Center for his campaign."

I repeat: ouch.


Over and over again 

To the Editor:

Re: "Bush Ad Campaign Ready to Kick Off an Expensive Effort" (front page, March 4):

It continues to baffle me that the Republican Party insists on reminding the American people over and over again that George W. Bush's administration is responsible for the greatest security failure in the history of the United States.

New York, March 4, 2004


Friday, March 05, 2004

Don't forget... 

...if you're griping out loud or silently about Kerry being nominated, because of real or imagined faults he may suffer from, such as not being liberal or Green or progressive enough, remember one thing--

--it could have been LIEBERMAN.

ha ha


Conservative estimates 

A lot of machinations go into the economy, and anyone's spin on it. ANYONE'S. Even Paul Krugman's.

But there's one thing about the economy today that is undeniable. George W. Bush's tax cuts have NOT produced the jobs he promised.


Via atrios. By the way--atrios has said, many times, that if Bush's economic policies actually produce the jobs Bush has predicted, he would VOTE FOR HIM IN 2004. After all, Bush would DESERVE that vote, wouldn't he?


Back when the the last round of tax cuts were passed, the were sold as a jobs program. The Bush administration claimed that if their tax program passed the economy would add an average of 306,000 jobs per month. By now, we should have had an additional 2,448,000 jobs. There are actually only 294,000 net new jobs, and so we're 2,154,000 behind what the Bush administration had promised.

They said magic tax cuts would create jobs. They didn't.


"God told me to smite him. And I smote him." 

--George W. Bush, speaking about Saddam Hussein to Mahmoud Abbas, in 2002

Ashcroft Hospitalized With Pancreatitis

ha ha


Thursday, March 04, 2004

The Plame Game is gettin' SERIOUS 

This reminds me so much of 1973-74...to quote Elvira, Mistress of the Dark: "It's, like, deja vu..."...

"It's, like, deja vu..."


Air Force One phone records subpoenaed

Grand jury to review call logs from Bush’s jet in probe of how a CIA agent’s cover was blown


How do they see us? Who CARES what they think? 

Highlights from AP-Ipsos polls in eight countries in North America and Europe


Two-thirds of Britons say they have a negative opinion of the role that President Bush plays in world affairs.

Two-thirds of Canadians say they have a negative opinion of the role that President Bush plays in world affairs.

Just over eight in 10 of the French have a negative view of the role President plays in world affairs.

More than eight in 10 Germans say they have a negative view of the role President Bush plays in world affairs.

Almost six in 10 have a negative view of the role President Bush plays in world affairs.

Half in Mexico have a negative view of the role President Bush plays in world affairs.

More than half [of Americans], 57 percent, say they have a positive opinion of the role President Bush plays in world affairs.


Only you... 

"Only a President who never had to apply for unemployment benefits would oppose extending them when so many workers are without a job.

Only a President who never needed overtime pay would advocate taking it away from those workers who rely on it to make ends meet.

Only a President who never needed federal aid to attend college would advocate cutting it back for those students who cannot attend college without it."

--Sen. Robert Byrd, Attribution


Wait 'til THIS hits the streets 

Under the Taliban, opium production was about 15% of what it was before the Taliban took power.

Now (supposedly) Bush has taken power in Afghanistan. And the opium production has SOARED "to the highest levels ever recorded".

How do you spin that one, Karen Hughes?


Bush Campaign Defends Ads With 9/11 Images 

Again: What more can you say?

No attack ads yet. The RNC is simply trying to establish a soft-focus, kindly and Presidential image for Bush.

But they're not doing a very good job, because they're already on their heels, right out of the box--in EARLY MARCH. When you have to DEFEND your ads...what does that tell you about the message?

Evil geniuses? Evil, maybe...



"You need to be able to drill on state and federal lands. You don't harm it that much anyway."

--Stephen Gose, chairman of Retamco, who paid $600,000 for leases in February, Attribution

What more can you say?


Wednesday, March 03, 2004

9-11 Commission says NO 

9/11 Panel Rejects White House Limits on Interviews


WASHINGTON, March 2 — The independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks is refusing to accept strict conditions from the White House for interviews with President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney and is renewing its request that Mr. Bush's national security adviser testify in public, commission members said Tuesday.

The panel members, interviewed after a private meeting on Tuesday, said the commission had decided for now to reject a White House request that the interview with Mr. Bush be limited to one hour and that the questioners be only the panel's chairman and vice chairman.

The members said the commission had also decided to continue to press the national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, to reconsider her refusal to testify at a public hearing. Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney are expected to be asked about how they had reacted to intelligence reports before Sept. 11, 2001, suggesting that Al Qaeda might be planning a large attack. Panel members want to ask Ms. Rice the same questions in public.

"We have held firm in saying that the conditions set by the president and vice president and Dr. Rice are not good enough," said Timothy J. Roemer, a former Indiana congressman who is one of five Democrats on the 10-member commission.

Mr. Roemer said that former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore had agreed to meet privately with the full bipartisan commission, and that Samuel R. Berger, Ms. Rice's predecessor, would testify in public.

"It's very important that we treat both the Bush and the Clinton administrations the same," he said.

Since when? ha ha

As blah3.com said: "Can't wait to see Bush's tantrum over this."

I'd pay GOOD money to see that. Couple hundred bucks, at least.


[BLANK] had [BLANK] right in his sights, but he let that dirty terrist get away clean 

Nope. Not Clinton and bin Laden.

Bush and Zarqawi. I have a feeling this might cost him the election, among dozens and dozens of other issues.

From msnbc.com, via blah3.com:

Avoiding Attacking Suspected Terrorist Mastermind

[Who the hell wrote this UNREADABLE headline...?]

By Jim Miklaszewski Correspondent, NBC News

With Tuesday’s attacks, Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant with ties to al-Qaida, is now blamed for more than 700 terrorist killings in Iraq.

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.

In June 2002, U.S. officials say intelligence had revealed that Zarqawi and members of al-Qaida had set up a weapons lab at Kirma, in northern Iraq, producing deadly ricin and cyanide.

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.

Four months later, intelligence showed Zarqawi was planning to use ricin in terrorist attacks in Europe.

The Pentagon drew up a second strike plan, and the White House again killed it. By then the administration had set its course for war with Iraq.

“People were more obsessed with developing the coalition to overthrow Saddam than to execute the president’s policy of preemption against terrorists,” according to terrorism expert and former National Security Council member Roger Cressey.

In January 2003, the threat turned real. Police in London arrested six terror suspects and discovered a ricin lab connected to the camp in Iraq.

The Pentagon drew up still another attack plan, and for the third time, the National Security Council killed it.

Military officials insist their case for attacking Zarqawi’s operation was airtight, but the administration feared destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq could undercut its case for war against Saddam.

How stupid can this administration be? How could destroying a terrorist camp in Iraq UNDERCUT ITS CASE FOR WAR AGAINST SADDAM? Haven't we heard unto death itself how Saddam and al Qaeda are in cahoots? Even if it WEREN'T true, this is a perfect opportunity for them to link the Iraq War to the War on Terror.

Is there ANYTHING these boobs CAN'T fuck up? Do we really trust them to run things, when it's obvious they're total morons?


The question that answers itself... 

...is from Body & Soul, and is:

Why does George W. Bush hate smart kids?


The news has hit the street 

Halliburton: Cheney--Risk Factor

Feb. 9 issue - Halliburton, the big contracting company that Dick Cheney used to run, is now warning investors that its Cheney connection is what Wall Street calls a "risk factor." No, the company's not talking about the multibillion-dollar asbestos liability that it got stuck with thanks to the Cheney-orchestrated takeover of Dresser Industries. Rather, Halliburton says, the Cheney connection has caused "intense scrutiny" of its operations. "Since [Cheney's] nomination as vice president," the company said in a recent SEC filing, "Halliburton has been and continues to be the focus of allegations, some of which appear to be made for political reasons by political adversaries of the vice president and the current Bush administration. We expect that this focus and these allegations will continue and possibly intensify as the 2004 elections draw nearer."

The one-paragraph Cheney item, first noted by Michelle Leder's footnoted.org financial-news blog, is buried in 26 pages of risk factors that range from subsidiaries' bankruptcy proceedings to contract disputes over an oilfield off the coast of Brazil. Cheney's office referred all comment to Halliburton, which said this is the first time it has included a Cheney-risk item in its SEC filings. "Management made the decision to include these statements because of the politically charged environment in which we now operate," company spokesman Wendy Hall said in an e-mail. "Times have changed since the vice president left the company and we understand it is an election year." The bottom line: when you hire a rainmaker CEO like Cheney, you've got to be ready to mop up the puddles he leaves behind.

—Allan Sloan


The news has hit the street 

Halliburton: Cheney--Risk Factor

Feb. 9 issue - Halliburton, the big contracting company that Dick Cheney used to run, is now warning investors that its Cheney connection is what Wall Street calls a "risk factor." No, the company's not talking about the multibillion-dollar asbestos liability that it got stuck with thanks to the Cheney-orchestrated takeover of Dresser Industries. Rather, Halliburton says, the Cheney connection has caused "intense scrutiny" of its operations. "Since [Cheney's] nomination as vice president," the company said in a recent SEC filing, "Halliburton has been and continues to be the focus of allegations, some of which appear to be made for political reasons by political adversaries of the vice president and the current Bush administration. We expect that this focus and these allegations will continue and possibly intensify as the 2004 elections draw nearer."

The one-paragraph Cheney item, first noted by Michelle Leder's footnoted.org financial-news blog, is buried in 26 pages of risk factors that range from subsidiaries' bankruptcy proceedings to contract disputes over an oilfield off the coast of Brazil. Cheney's office referred all comment to Halliburton, which said this is the first time it has included a Cheney-risk item in its SEC filings. "Management made the decision to include these statements because of the politically charged environment in which we now operate," company spokesman Wendy Hall said in an e-mail. "Times have changed since the vice president left the company and we understand it is an election year." The bottom line: when you hire a rainmaker CEO like Cheney, you've got to be ready to mop up the puddles he leaves behind.

—Allan Sloan

Myself, I haven't seen it yet 

And since I work in a movie theater, the only way I'm going to see this movie is for FREE--as soon as it's off the "No Pass" list. I'm not giving Mel Gibson a PENNY for his efforts. Ah cain' DO it.

From a letter to the L.A. Times:

I am a high school teacher and the daughter of Holocaust survivors. Monday morning, Period 1, a student, age 17, comes into my room. She asks me if I had seen the film "The Passion."

I answer, "No."

She continues, "It was so sad. I cried so much. I hate the Jews."

Very, very sadly, that tells the whole story, Mr. Gibson.

Anna Paikow

Los Angeles


Tuesday, March 02, 2004

One of These Investigations Is Not Like the Other 

Damn...now I have that stupid Sesame Street song rattling around in my head...

From a (gasp!) blogger known as Norbizness:

One of These Investigations Is Not Like the Other

Mike Espy (Secretary of Agriculture) investigation: 4 years, $19.2 million.

Henry Cisneros (HUD Secretary) investigation: 8 years, $19 million.

Iran-Contra Affair: 6 years, $47.4 million.

Whitewater investigation: 6 years, $52 million.

Investigation into the Challenger explosion: $40 million

Investigation into the Space Shuttle Columbia: appropriated $50 million.

9/11 Commission (assuming it ends on 7/29/04): 20 months, $14 million.

A commenter replies:

I would add the following data:

Espy death toll: 0
Cisneros death toll: 0
Iran-Contra death toll: unknowable
Whitewater death toll: 0
Challenger death toll: 7
Columbia death toll: 7
9/11 death toll: 2973 (2749 WTC/184 Pentagon/40 PA)

Bush runs on 9/11 while tossing a penny on the graves of those that died.


Cheney tells the truth 

"If the Democratic policies had been pursued over the last two or three years, the kind of tax increases that both Kerry and Edwards have talked about, we would not have had the kind of job growth that we've had."

--Dick Cheney, Attribution

Think about this. Dick Cheney has actually spoken truthfully, whether he realizes it or not.

There has been NO job growth in the last three years. NONE. There have been 2+ million jobs LOST in the last three years.

Therefore, if Kerry/Edwards' tax policies HAD been implemented, we WOULD NOT HAVE SEEN the [lack of] job growth we've seen in the last three years.

Cheney got it right. Somebody tell him, quick.


Can't get enough about HAITI 

This should finally clear up every last question about the latest nation taken over by Bush & CO. From those dirty commies at the Financial Times:

Don't fall for Washington's spin on Haiti

By Jeffrey Sachs
Published: February 29 2004 20:15 | Last Updated: February 29 2004 20:15

The crisis in Haiti is another case of brazen US manipulation of a small, impoverished country. Much of the media portrayed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide as an undemocratic leader who betrayed Haiti's democratic hopes and thereby lost the support of his erstwhile backers. He "stole" elections and intransigently refused to address opposition concerns. As a result he had to leave office, which he did on Sunday at the insistence of the US and France. Unfortunately, this is a very distorted view.

President George Bush's foreign policy team came into office intent on toppling Mr Aristide, and their efforts were apparently consummated on Sunday. Mr Aristide was long reviled by powerful US conservatives such as former senator Jesse Helms, who obsessively saw him as another Fidel Castro in the Caribbean. Such critics fulminated when President Bill Clinton restored Mr Aristide to power in 1994, and they succeeded in forcing the withdrawal of US troops from Haiti soon afterwards, well before the situation in the country could be stabilised. In terms of help to rebuild Haiti, the US Marines left behind about 8 miles of paved roads in Port-au-Prince and essentially little else.

In the meantime, the so-called "opposition," a coterie of rich Haitians linked to the preceding Duvalier regime, former (and perhaps current) CIA operatives and decommissioned officers of the brutal Duvalier army disbanded by Mr Aristide, worked Washington political circles to lobby against him.

In 2000, Haiti ran parliamentary and then presidential elections, unprecedented in their scope. The parliamentary elections went off adequately, although not perfectly. Mr Aristide's party, Fanmi Lavalas, clearly won the election, although candidates who won a plurality rather than a majority, and who should have faced a second-round election, also gained seats. Objective observers declared the elections broadly successful, albeit flawed.

Mr Aristide won the presidential election later that year. The US media now reports that those elections were "boycotted by the opposition," and hence not legitimate, but this is a cruel joke to those who know Haiti. In fact, Haiti's voters elected Mr Aristide in late 2000 with an overwhelming mandate and the opposition, such as it was, ducked the elections. Duvalier thugs hardly constituted a winning ticket and as a result, they did not even try. Nor did they have to.

Mr Aristide's foes in Haiti benefited from tight links with the incoming Bush team; and thereby followed one of the great recent scandals of US foreign policy. The Bush team told Mr Aristide it would freeze all aid unless he agreed with the opposition over new elections for the contested Senate seats, among other political demands. The wrangling led to the freezing of $500m in emergency humanitarian aid from the US, the World Bank and other multilateral organisations.

The tragedy, or joke, is that Mr Aristide had agreed to compromise, but the opposition simply came up with one excuse after another - it was never the right time to hold new elections, as proposed by Mr Aristide, because of "security" problems, they said. Whatever the pretext, the US maintained its aid freeze and Haiti's economy, cut off from bilateral and multilateral financing, went into a tailspin.

All this is now being replayed before our eyes. As Haiti slipped into deeper turmoil last month, Caribbean leaders called for a power-sharing compromise between Mr Aristide and the opposition. Once again, Mr Aristide agreed and the opposition balked, saying instead that the president had to leave [!]. US Secretary of State Colin Powell reportedly pressed opposition leaders to accept a compromise but they refused again. But rather than defending Mr Aristide and dealing with opposition intransigence, the White House announced the president should step down.

The ease with which another Latin American democracy crumbled is stunning. What, though, has been the role of US intelligence agencies among the anti-Aristide rebels? How much money went from US-funded institutions and government agencies to help the opposition. And why did the White House abandon the Caribbean compromise proposal it had endorsed just days before? These questions have not been asked. Then again, we live in an age when entire wars can be launched on phony pretenses, with few questions asked in the aftermath.

What should happen now is unlikely to pass. The United Nations should help restore Mr Aristide to power for his remaining two years in office, making clear that Sunday's events were an illegal power grab. Second, the US should call on the opposition, which is largely a US construct, to stop all violence, immediately and unconditionally. Third, after years of literally starving the people of Haiti, the long-promised and long-frozen aid flows of $500m should start immediately. These steps would rescue a dying democracy and at least help avert a possible bloodbath.

The writer is director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University


It's easy, when you have a clear conscience 

Clinton, Gore Set to Face 9/11 Commission

There's only one thing to say about this:

Clinton and Gore are set to face the 9-11 Commission because THEY HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE WHATSOEVER.

Unlike most of the Bush administration, including Condi Rice, Dick Cheney and The Smirk himself, each of whom refuses to meet with them on the record, in public, and/or meet with the ENTIRE commission.

I'll repeat myself from a former post.

Number of hours Bush spent on vacation prior to 9-11:


Number of hours Bush has committed to set aside to address the 9-11 Commission:


Filth. Utter filth.


Where's the Grand Jury? Never around when you NEED one... 

Okay, maybe this one won't strike you as terribly bad. But they have laws like this for a VERY GOOD REASON!

From Berry's World:


To prevent pressure or harassment of voters, there is a zone surrounding polling places where there is absolutely no campaigning allowed.

KCAL 9 is airing a clip of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, from INSIDE his polling place, instructing a voter:

"Be sure to vote yes on (Propositions) 57 and 58."

I'm not a lawyer, but I would tend to think that our Governor violated Federal Election Law.


What really got Stern dropped from Clear Channel 

Yeah, somebody called in and said a racist, sexist thing. Bullshit. This is what got him bounced. There's more at the link. From blah3.com:

Howard: ...over the vacation I read Al Franken's book, Lying liars who... it's great.

Robin: Yeah?

Howard: It's a great... He is phenomenal.

Artie: He's a funny guy.

Robin: That's the one that Bill O'Reilly was upset about.

Howard: I can see why.

Robin: Yeah?

Howard: He does a thing. It's really funny... I bought the book, and I said on my vacation I'm going to read Al Franken's book. Lying liars who lie... I don't even know the title. And uh... the first page he insults me.

Robin: Really?

Howard: yeah, he talks about how I'm, like me and uhh Ann Coulter are McCarthyites or something... like ya know it's was just really insulting. And I And I And I And I just said, ya know...

Robin: You, and Ann Coulter, that's interesting.

Howard: I can get past this if Al doesn't like me. But, I'm not even sure why I'm like McCarthy, but, evidently I am, according to AL and ya know what, if Al says it it must be true because

Robin: because you loved this book and he was right on about everything...

Howard: I loved the book, and he seems to be right on about everything. If you read this book you will never vote for George W Bush.

Robin: Yeah?

Howard: Because, what he does is, he takes everything that you've seen in the newspaper, and goes back and he get 12 Harvard kids...

Artie: (Laughing)

Howard: ...to research everything and to find out what really happened...

Robin: uh huh?

Howard: and when you find out the truth about stuff, it is just frightening and he does a chapter on uhh on Hannity and Colmes from the Fox news network that is so funny... I mean I can't even tell you how funny it is.

Robin: Really? I've got to get this book.


THAT didn't take long... 

A matter of hours is all.

Duvalier Wants to Return to Haiti Soon

MIAMI (Reuters) - Deposed Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier wants to return as soon as possible to his homeland, where Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted as president after an armed rebellion.

Duvalier said in a television interview aired late on Monday, a day after Aristide fled Haiti, that he had requested a diplomatic passport several weeks ago, although he does not plan to run for president.


Aristide finally heard from 

It's official, kids. Aristide has made it clear. Via kos's diaries. To wit:

Aristide has just spoken with the Associated Press, courtesy of Jesse Jackson. An excerpt from the article:

When asked if he left Haiti on his own, Aristide quickly answered: "No. I was forced to leave.

"Agents were telling me that if I don't leave they would start shooting and killing in a matter of time," Aristide said during the brief interview via speaker phone. He spoke with a thick Haitian accent and was interrupted at times by static.

When asked who the agents were, he responded: "White American, white military.

"They came at night. ... There were too many, I couldn't count them," he added.

Aristide told reporters that he signed documents relinquishing power out of fear that violence would erupt in Haiti if he didn't comply with the demands of "American security agents."

That settles it. Bush is now a nation-builder, and a power broker who will overthrow any nation he sees fit. This is preposterous. It's outrageous. Bush deserves a fair trial at the Hague, and whatever punishment the court deems necessary if found guilty.

Bush is a Menace II Society. This proves it without even a shadow of a doubt.


How their brains work 

It's necessary to understand your enemies. I consider these people my enemies because they'll be coming for me as soon as they've gotten all the gays first.

It's necessary--and sometimes unexpectedly hilarious. From atrios:

Paul Cameron, who is regulated cited as an authority by anti-gay bigots, sums up his concerns about homosexuality:

"Untrammeled homosexuality can take over and destroy a social system," says Cameron. "If you isolate sexuality as something solely for one's own personal amusement, and all you want is the most satisfying orgasm you can get- and that is what homosexuality seems to be-then homosexuality seems too powerful to resist. The evidence is that men do a better job on men and women on women, if all you are looking for is orgasm."

So powerful is the allure of gays, Cameron believes that if society approves that gay people, more and more heterosexuals will be inexorably drawn into homosexuality. "I'm convinced that lesbians are particularly good seducers," says Cameron. "People in homosexuality are incredibly evangelical," he adds, sounding evangelical himself.

"It's pure sexuality. It's almost like pure heroin. It's such a rush. They are committed in almost a religious way. And they'll take enormous risks, do anything." He says that for married men and women, gay sex would be irresistible. "Marital sex tends toward the boring end," he points out. "Generally, it doesn't deliver the kind of sheer sexual pleasure that homosexual sex does." So, Cameron believes, within a few generations homosexuality would be come the dominant form of sexual behavior.

I couldn't have said it better if I were trying to write an over-the-top parody of these people.

Maybe this article was taken from National Lampoon instead of Rolling Stone.


Monday, March 01, 2004

A New York Times Headline That Speaks for Itself: 


I might be willing to give Bush some credit... 

...in the war against "terror", if only it weren't for two things:

Pakistan and Egypt.

Pakistan is our "friend." They're "with us." They're not "against us." They're our "ally" in the war on "terror."


Except that a huge population of that country hates Musharraf, a dictator, who holds power unconstitutionally and is a bulwark against fundamentalist Muslims taking over the country. In return for this, Bush has turned a blind eye to the proliferation of nuclear arms and technical supplies throughout the world, including to Bush's own Axis of Evil--Iran and North Korea.

Pakistan was punished with sanctions when it became the first Muslim nation to build a nuclear weapon. Those sanctions were lifted by Bush when he declared Pakistan and Musharraf his "allies" in the war on "terror." But they were not put back in place when it became evident that Pakistan is now exporting nuclear warfare to two of our "enemies"--Iran and North Korea.

What crime or unwise action WOULD Pakistan have to commit for Pakistan to deserve sanctions, IF NOT THIS?

In light of this truth, how can we take Bush's foreign policy seriously for even one second?

Then there's Egypt, who is the recipient of TEN PERCENT of the entire U.S. foreign aid money. They're REALLY "with us." They're REALLY our "allies." Money talks and bullshit walks, baby.

But they're just as bad as Saddam, apparently. To wit:

Group Says Egypt Entraps, Tortures Gays


Early last year, the rights group interviewed 63 men who had been arrested for homosexual conduct. It said they spoke of being whipped, bound and suspended in painful positions, splashed with ice-cold water, burned with cigarettes, shocked with electricity to the limbs, genitals or tongue. They also said guards encouraged other prisoners to rape them, according to the report.

As August says, from whom I borrowed the post here:

Let's see. Massive civilian inequality. Oppressing of civil rights. And... oh, look... "rape rooms!" Remember those? Those two little horrible words that validated carpet-bombing a country? The things Amnesty International and NOW were raising awareness about for over a decade but everyone ignored until Laura Bush pretended to be the first to consider it, according to Showtime Networks?

So is the condemnation of Egypt coming any time soon? Considering that Egypt gets almost 10% of the entire American foreign aid budget, I highly doubt it. But cheer up. Maybe it'll be just like Iraq, and in twelve years or so everyone can pretend it was them who first started caring about these people.

Bush foreign policy: A total joke. And the joke is on us, if we actually re-install this man in November.


The latest on Haiti 

This is a pretty big story out there in the Big Wide World, kids.


Multiple sources that just spoke with Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide told Democracy Now! that Aristide says he was "kidnapped" and taken by force to the Central African Republic. Congressmember Maxine Waters said she received a call from Aristide at 9am EST. "He's surrounded by military. It's like he is in jail, he said. He says he was kidnapped," said Waters. She said he had been threatened by what he called US diplomats.

According to Waters, the diplomats reportedly told the Haitian president that if he did not leave Haiti, paramilitary leader Guy Philippe would storm the palace and Aristide would be killed. According to Waters, Aristide was told by the US that they were withdrawing Aristide's US security.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters is claiming this. Why is this not on the front pages of every journalistic source in the country?

Even if it IS bogus--and it's far from certain that it ISN'T, until we hear from Aristide HIMSELF--it's a sad statement about the Bush administration that it is completely untrustworthy in this and most other matters, excepting only tax breaks. More:

U.S. Arranging 'Elders Council' to Run Haiti

Mar 1, 9:59 AM (ET)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States scrambled on Monday to create a "council of elders" to run Haiti, organize early elections and disarm rebels after Washington pressured President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to quit in the face of a deadly revolt, a U.S. official said.

"There's going to be a tripartite commission, made up of the opposition, the government and the international community, who will form a sort of 'council of elders,"' said a State Department official, who asked not to be named.

A "council of elders"? Another hand-picked group chosen to run a sovereign nation, exclusively by Bush?

As atrios said, whatever happened to the constitutional rule of law? Haiti HAS one. The Supreme Court Chief Justice of Haiti was sworn in as soon as he left. HE'S the President now, and they should follow their own laws, and not what Bush TELLS them to do. This is ridiculous, and it smells to high heaven, y'all. Yet even MORE:

U.S. political maneuvering behind the ouster

The departure of Haiti's Jean-Bertrand Aristide is a victory for a Bush administration hard-liner who has been long dedicated to Aristide's ouster, U.S. foreign policy analysts say.

That official is Roger Noriega, assistant U.S. secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, whose influence over U.S. policy toward Haiti has increased during the past decade as he climbed the diplomatic ladder in Washington...

Noriega's ascent largely has been attributed to his ties to North Carolina Republican Jesse Helms, an arch-conservative foe of Aristide who had behind-the-scenes influence over policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean before retiring from the Senate two years ago.

"Helms didn't just dislike Aristide, Helms loathed Aristide because he saw in Aristide another Castro," said Larry Birns...

Working hand in hand with Noriega on Haiti has been National Security Council envoy Otto Reich, who, like Noriega, is ardently opposed to Cuban leader Fidel Castro, say analysts such as Birns. Washington diplomats have seen Aristide as a leftist who is often fierce in his denunciations of the business class and slow to make recommended changes such as privatizing state-run industries. [!]

"On a day-to-day basis, Roger Noriega [has been] making policy, but with a very strong role played by Otto Reich," Birns said.

Reich is a controversial Cuban-American criticized by some who have lingering concerns about his contacts with opposition figures who plotted a short-lived coup against Venezuela's leftist president, Hugo Chávez, two years ago. Reich also is linked to the Iran-contra scandal of two decades ago that was part of President Ronald Reagan's policy of defeating Marxists in Central America.

We're in a time warp. It's the 1980s again. No wonder my hair looks like A Flock Of Seagulls'...

As atrios said, again, how many Haitians died last week for Otto Reich's wet dreams?

Of course, we're getting absolutely no help from Scott McClellan. I wonder how much longer Scotty can hold out before HE retires. The smartest man I can think of: Ari Fleischer.

Administration Denies Forcing Aristide Out

The long and short of the above article: Everybody who spoke to Aristide directly claims he told them he was KIDNAPPED by U.S. MILITARY. And everybody in the Bush administration DENIES this. But whether or not this is the case, one fact remains: The Bush administration REFUSED TO GUARANTEE ARISTIDE'S SAFETY until he left the country.

Aristide apparently reconsidered his initial decision not to step down after learning over the weekend that the United States would not protect him, a Bush administration official said on condition of anonymity.

Guards from Aristide's security team, employed by the San Francisco-based Steele Foundation, asked the U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince on Saturday whether they could count on American protection in the event of rebel hostilities at the presidential palace, the official said. Aristide's guards were told that no such protection would be provided, the official said.

Powell called former Rep. Ron Dellums, D-Calif., whom Aristide hired as a Washington lobbyist, the official said, and told him that the United States had no plans to protect Aristide.

Remember: This is a country with NO STANDING ARMY. The government of Haiti is at the mercy of U.S. or U.N. intervention.

How 'bout THEM apples? Bush to Aristide: Tough luck. Leave or die. We'll send in the Marines to calm the crowds ONLY if you LEAVE.

Nothing about that scenario suggests to me that Aristide left VOLUNTARILY.


Bush's Unconscionable Deal for an "October Surprise" 

Here's the surprise that should surprise no one: looks like George W. Bush has made a deal to more or less IGNORE Pakistan's role as Nuclear Dealer to the 'Rogue States' of the World IN EXCHANGE for permission to launch a search for Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. As one former intelligence official told the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh, "It's a quid pro quo."

Here is Hersh's story.

Here is a report showing that the Pakistani media are filled with reports of this deal.

And you'll find excerpts and more links at BushWhackedUSA.com.

Feel outraged yet?

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Where's Aristide? 


From an Australian news source:

US troops 'made Aristide leave'

HAITIAN leader Jean Bertrand Aristide was taken away from his home by US soldiers, it was claimed today.

A man who said he was a caretaker for the now exiled president told France's RTL radio station the troops forced Aristide out.

"The American army came to take him away at two in the morning," the man said. The Americans forced him out with weapons. It was American soldiers. They came with a helicopter and they took the security guards.

"(Aristide) was not happy. He did not want to be taken away. He did not want to leave. He was not able to fight against the Americans."

The RTL journalist who carried out the interview described the man as a "frightened old man, crouched in a corner" who said he was the "caretaker of the residence".

Aristide fled Haiti today in the face of an armed revolt. The United States has ordered Marines to the Caribbean state to help restore order.

Where is Aristide now? He's the only one who can shed the light of truth on this claim.

Where's Bush taken him? Surely not MIAMI...where 200,000 Haitian emigres live...the largest population outside Haiti itself...that would make TOO much sense.

What are the Vegas odds that Aristide will end up in GITMO?


More hard information on Haiti 

For a reliable and complete list of information and links, I recommend this post and the one below it at Body & Soul.

She is a wonderful writer. One of the best on the Internet.


Aristide Flees Haiti; Judge Claims Power 

The first democratically-elected President of Haiti has been forced into exile, as was the wish of George W. Bush. Bush got his "political" solution.

This is a crime. If justice exists, someone will pay for this. Someone like Otto Reich.


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