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« Liberal Outrage: April 2006 | Main | Liberal Outrage: June 2006 »

Liberal Outrage

Get yourself in even more trouble with the government

If you've used a telephone in the past five years, join the ACLU in filing a complaint.


By fnord12 | May 26, 2006, 1:06 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link



Checkin' you out.

Wired magazine has published all the info on AT&T and how it's been helping the NSA spy on us via our phone records and across "the entire internet". (I'm not linking directly to Wired because they seem to be getting overwhelmed by traffic right now. The link to Wired is in the article. They are very brave because Attorney General Gonzalez has threatened to put journalists in jail over this.

Meanwhile Business Week is reporting that the government has been bypassing privacy laws by buying data wholesale from private companies.

This is not about protecting us from terrorists. This is about creating a massive database which can be used and abused for all sorts of reasons, like keeping political enemies in check and staying in power.


By fnord12 | May 24, 2006, 1:50 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link



Peak Oil & Venezuela

Speaking of Chavez, here's something interesting. Regular readers know that i harp on and worry about the fact that some scientists believe that we are approaching or have reached the point in time where we will be at peak oil extraction, meaning that from here on in oil will be harder to access and become gradually more expensive to the point where our modern way of life is no longer viable. I highly recommend (again) renting or borrowing The End of Suburbia or reading The Long Emergency. Seriously.

Anyway, this article talks about how when the scientist who made the intial estimate regarding peak oil made his calculations, he was only considering the "light sweet" crude oil, but now that oil is $70+ a barrel it's more economically viable to produce some of the types of oil that are harder to extract, like the stuff stuck in tar. (Based on what i've read from the Peak-Oil people, this type of oil isn't irrelevant due to the economics, it's due to the amount of energy required to extract it. In other words, you spend more energy digging up and refining this typing of oil than you get out of burning it. But let's pretend for a minute that they are wrong.) Well, it turns out that the majority of the world's "difficult" oil is in Venezuela.


By fnord12 | May 24, 2006, 1:38 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Confessions of an Economic Hitman

In an article on the demonization of Chavez, i read this:

In his book, Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man, John Perkins describes the role he played in the West's devastation of the Third World for profit, Latin America very much included.

Perkins explains that his real task - rarely discussed but always understood in high government and business circles - was to deliberately exaggerate growth forecasts in countries like Peru, Ecuador, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. The goal was for these countries to +fail+ to achieve their inflated targets and so be unable to repay their loans. The point being, as Perkins writes, that Third World leaders would then "become ensnared in a web of debt that ensures their loyalty". As a result, American interests "can draw on them whenever we desire - to satisfy our political, economic, or military needs. In turn, they bolster their political positions by bringing industrial parks, power plants, and airports to their people. The owners of US engineering and construction companies become fabulously wealthy". (Ibid, p.xi)

The "needs" include military bases, votes at the UN, cheap access to oil and other human and natural resources. Perkins describes this as a non-military means for achieving "the most subtle and effective form of imperialism the world has ever known". (Ibid, p.139)

Bankrupt debtor countries have thus been forced to spend much of their national wealth simply on repaying these debts even as their people sicken and die from malnutrition and poverty. For example, international banks dominated by Washington loaned Ecuador billions of dollars from the 1970s onwards so that it could hire engineering and construction firms to improve life for the rich. In the space of thirty years, poverty grew from 50 to 60 per cent, under- or unemployment increased from 15 to 70 per cent, public debt increased from $240 million to $16 billion, and the share of national resources allocated to the poor fell from 20 per cent to 6 per cent.


By fnord12 | May 24, 2006, 1:37 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Leg pressing for the Lord

Found on The Carpetbagger:

This isn't particularly political, but I thought it was hilarious. According to TV preacher Pat Robertson's website, Robertson "can leg-press 2000 pounds" thanks to an "age-defying protein shake" that Robertson personally developed.

I've heard Robertson make the claim many times on The 700 Club, but not knowing much about exercise, I never thought much of it. Sure, 2,000 pounds sounds like a lot, but what do I know.

An alert reader, however, emailed me a new column from Clay Travis, a writer for CNS Sportsline, who apparently is on a personal quest to be able to leg press 400 pounds. Someone alerted him to Robertson's miraculous claims. Apparently, Travis is a little skeptical.

There is no way on earth Robertson leg presses 2,000 pounds. That would mean a 76-year-old man broke the all-time Florida State University leg press record by 665 pounds over Dan Kendra. 665 pounds. Further, when he set the record, they had to modify the leg press machine to fit 1,335 pounds of weight. Plus, Kendra's capillaries in his eyes burst. Burst. Where in the world did Robertson even find a machine that could hold 2,000 pounds at one time? And how does he still have vision?

Those sound like reasonable questions. In fact, Travis has contacted Christian Broadcast Network directly with a request.

"I would like to interview Pat Robertson about his leg-press workout and protein shake. If possible, I would like to accompany Pat on his workout where I could help him stack on the 44 different 45-pound plates he would need to attach to leg press 2,000 pounds. By my calculations, his leg press of 2,000 pounds requires 22 forty-fives and one ten-pounder on each side."

Will Robertson respond? Stay tuned.



By fnord12 | May 24, 2006, 1:34 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



More of that good old bad(?) science fiction

Via Carlos, here is an article about how New York will soon be collecting DNA on file for all criminals, even misdemeanors. I understand how it can be a good thing. For example, a lot of death row cases have been reversed based on new DNA evidence. But on the other hand i think it's kind of creepy for the government to be housing a database of people's DNA, and i also worry about mistakes and mix-ups.


By fnord12 | May 24, 2006, 12:24 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Mackin' for Christians

This article (also liberated from the subscription only NY Times Select section) compares the way the producers of the Da Vinci Code have co-opted Christians into watching and promoting a movie that questions their religion with the way the Republicans have managed to co-opt Christians into a party that has nothing to do with actual Christian values. It's interesting and you should give it a read, although i'm not sure how good a comparison it is.

Anyway, what's important is when the author gets to the part where the Democrats try to get in on the game:

The bad news is that no sooner does the religious-right base show signs of cracking in a youthquake than the Democrats trot out their own doomed Da Vinci strategy.

This idiocy began the morning after Election Day 2004, when a vaguely worded exit-poll question persuaded credulous party leaders that "moral values" determined their defeat (as opposed to, say, their standard-bearer's campaign). Their immediate response was to seek out faith-based consultants not unlike those recruited by Sony, and practice dropping the word "values" and biblical quotations into their public pronouncements. In the House, they organized, heaven help us, a Democratic Faith Working Group.

As the next election approaches, they're renewing this effort, to farcical effect. The Democrats' chairman, Howard Dean, who proved his faith-based bona fides in the 2004 primary season by citing Job as his favorite book in the New Testament, went on the Pat Robertson TV network this month and yanked his party's position on same-sex marriage to the right. (He apologized for his "misstatement" once off the air.)

Not to be left behind, Senator Clinton gave a speech last week knocking young people for thinking "work is a four-letter word" and for having TV's in their rooms, home Internet access and, worst of all, that ultimate instrument of the devil, iPods. "I hope that we start thinking some very old-fashioned thoughts," she said. (She also subsequently apologized, once her daughter complained, joining the general chorus of ridicule.)

I supported Dean in the primaries and for his chairman position, so i'm doubly disgusted by him, but in general the Democrats just continue to show what idiots they are. They are not an opposition party. They're a lesser-degree-of-evil-stupidity party. They are useless.


By fnord12 | May 24, 2006, 12:16 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Ted Koppel: Pro-SciFi Dystopia

On Sunday, an op ed was published in the NY Times (liberated from behind the Times Select wall here) by Ted Koppel where he is advocating the exansion of the role of private armed forces companies like Blackwater:

So, what about the inevitable next step - a defensive military force paid for directly by the corporations that would most benefit from its protection? If, for example, an insurrection in Nigeria threatens that nation's ability to export oil (and it does), why not have Chevron or Exxon Mobil underwrite the dispatch of a battalion or two of mercenaries?

He thinks it's a good thing, because with "public disenchantment" with the Iraqi war, it would be easier to continue the war with private armies so we wouldn't have to worry about public opinion (policy being determined based on public opinion being the definition of Democracy, and we can't have that).

Can anyone imagine a world where global mega-corporations have their own private armies? Don't these people read/watch science fiction? What is wrong with them?


By fnord12 | May 24, 2006, 12:03 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link



Tax free living!

People who make less than $40,000 don't pay taxes. I bet you didn't know that, but Dennis Hastert, speaker of the house, said so, and he should know. (I mean, he should know, right?) That's why people who make $40,000 don't deserve a tax cut (but millionaires do).

Now look, when you caveat out payroll taxes and try to figure in deductions for 2 children (what family can support 2 children on $40,000?), you may start to be able to figure out what he's talking about, but seriously... who does he think he's fooling? Anyone can look at their paycheck and see 1/3rd taken out for "taxes". It's like they've so totally taken their working class supporters for granted that they can just start legislating for the millionaires (their real constituents).


By fnord12 | May 22, 2006, 3:08 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Easing out of the housing boom

Krugman:

On May 10 the White House issued a press release titled "Setting the Record Straight: The New York Times Continues to Ignore America's Economic Progress." The release attacked The Times for asserting that paychecks weren't keeping up with fixed costs like medical care and gasoline. The White House declared, "But average hourly earnings have risen 3.8 percent over the past 12 months, their largest increase in nearly five years." On Wednesday Treasury Secretary John Snow repeated that boast before a House committee. However, Representative Barney Frank was ready. He asked whether the number was adjusted for inflation; after flailing about, Mr. Snow admitted, sheepishly, that it wasn't. In fact, nearly all of the wage increase was negated by higher prices. Meanwhile, the return of economic gravity poses a definite threat to U.S. economic growth. After all, growth over the past three years was driven mainly by a housing boom and rapid growth in consumer spending. People were able to buy houses, even though housing prices rose much faster than incomes, because foreign purchases of U.S. debt kept interest rates low. People were able to keep spending, even though wages didn't keep up with inflation, because mortgage refinancing let them turn the rising value of their houses into ready cash. As I summarized it awhile back, we became a nation in which people make a living by selling one another houses, and they pay for the houses with money borrowed from China. Now that game seems to be coming to an end. We're going to have to find other ways to make a living - in particular, we're going to have to start selling goods and services, not just I.O.U.'s, to the rest of the world, and/or replace imports with domestic production. And adjusting to that new way of making a living will take time. Will we have that time? Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, contends that what's happening in the housing market is "a very orderly and moderate kind of cooling." Maybe he's right. But if he isn't, the stock market drop of the last two days will be remembered as the start of a serious economic slowdown.

By fnord12 | May 22, 2006, 3:07 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Why Do It Legally If You Can Get Away With Doing it Illegally

The NSA had a system that could have gathered phone data without compromising privacy laws. They decided not to go with it. They opted instead for the less efficient system that didn't have protections against abuse of records. And as an added bonus, it would be illegal, to boot. Digby's got the article up. I'd link directly to the article, but it's a subscription site.

The National Security Agency developed a pilot program in the late 1990s that would have enabled it to gather and analyze massive amounts of communications data without running afoul of privacy laws. But after the Sept. 11 attacks, it shelved the project -- not because it failed to work -- but because of bureaucratic infighting and a sudden White House expansion of the agency's surveillance powers, according to several intelligence officials.

The agency opted instead to adopt only one component of the program, which produced a far less capable and rigorous program.

...

In what intelligence experts describe as rigorous testing of ThinThread in 1998, the project succeeded at each task with high marks. For example, its ability to sort through massive amounts of data to find threat-related communications far surpassed the existing system, sources said. It also was able to rapidly separate and encrypt U.S.-related communications to ensure privacy.

But the NSA, then headed by Air Force Gen. Michael V. Hayden, opted against both of those tools, as well as the feature that monitored potential abuse of the records. Only the data analysis facet of the program survived and became the basis for the warrantless surveillance program.

That's all i need to know that they should confirm Hayden as the new head of the CIA. I mean, he's clearly the sort of lackey they love putting in powerful positions. Aces!


By min | May 18, 2006, 11:11 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



I Like 'Em Barefoot and Pregnant

And in the kitchen cookin' supper.

Stole this link from firepile. Federal guidelines are being instituted to treat women as pre-pregnant. That's all women. Even you misguided freaks who don't plan on having kids. When you're more mature, you'll see the error of your ways.

Overall, the recommendations are good ones. Maintain a healthy weight, don't smoke, keep asthma and diabetes under control, take vitamins. The problem is that they're not recommended so that women can lead a healthy lifestyle. No. The context is purely so that women can make healthy babies. Really, what else are women good for?


By min | May 18, 2006, 10:51 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



War and More War

Military investigations into the killing of Iraqis back in November reveal the Marines murdered innocent civilians in cold blood, including children. Digby has a post up on it.

Military officials say Marine Corp photos taken immediately after the incident show many of the victims were shot at close range, in the head and chest, execution-style. One photo shows a mother and young child bent over on the floor as if in prayer, shot dead, said the officials, who spoke to NBC News on condition of anonymity because the investigation hasn't been completed.

One military official says it appears the civilians were deliberately killed by the Marines, who were outraged at the death of their fellow Marine.

Tbogg parallels this with the incident in Vietnam when American soldiers went into a village and massacred the people there. Old men, women, and children. They were stopped when a U.S. helicopter crew landed in between the soldiers and the Vietnamese hiding in a bunker. The helicopter crew threatened to open fire if the American soliders did not desist.

The death of a friend combined with the pressures the soldiers are experiencing in Iraq, the constant tension, never knowing when you might get shot or blown up, general helplessness at improving your situation can be a dangerous mixture. How can someone seeing this situation and insisting we "stay the course" possibly say they support the troops? They support the destruction of people's lives.


By min | May 18, 2006, 10:37 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



If You're Against Bush's Policies, You Must Be Delusional

This 53-yr old woman posted an anti-bush sign on a utility post. Two cops arrested her for it. Now she's being charged with assaulting 2 officers. She says she was defending herself. The judge says her stance that Bush's invasion of Iraq was illegal proves she's delusional and therefore should be in a psych ward.

Um....I don't really know what to say. You're just going to have to read it for yourself.

Judge McGinty wouldn't allow Carol and her attorneys the ability to wage a defense. The only "relevent" testimony was that provided by the state. No politics was allowed into the trial. Nothing about the brutal and arrogant reputation of the Cleveland Heights police. Nothing about how Carol was the one assaulted by the police and then humiliated at University Hospital when she was taken there for her injuries.

The testimony of a courageous EMS worker who was afraid for Carol's safety from the police rampage was cut to a mere 4 minutes. Only one character witness was allowed, and then only for a couple minutes. The judge refused to inform the jury of a serious lie by the prosecution during closing testimony.

But even after this outrageous verdict, it still wasn't over! The judge actually praised the "professionalism" of these cops and said they "they have a bright future!" He then ordered that Carol submit to a psychological exam as part of the pre-sentencing investigation! He said that he thinks she might have a "martyr complex." The judge told Carol that she better be prepared to apologize at her sentencing or else "bring your toothbrush with you."

And here:

On the phone this morning, Carol Fisher stated that, in addition to sending her to the psych unit, McGinty has also put her on "suicide watch"! They have taken away her eyeglasses. And if she refuses the psych exam, she will be forcibly sent to North Coast Mental Institute for a 20 day evaluation.

Who will protect the poor 200lb policemen from the 53-yr old women?

During cross-examination, Downey said Fisher gave him and his partner all that they could handle even though the officers weigh over 200 pounds, lift weights and are 20 years younger than Fisher.

"As small as she is, I could not break her grip," Downey said.


By min | May 12, 2006, 3:09 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



To Qwest or Not to Qwest

AT&T, Verizon, BellSouth, Cingular (owned by AT&T and BellSouth), and MCI (owned by Verizon) all handed over phone records to the NSA without requiring any warrants or authorization of any kind. This is beyond the "international calls only" wiretaps the agency took heat for earlier. This is data mining. They're collecting data on every phone call made (domestic and international) by everyone, what number called what number and how often. Everyone. That would include you. Do you feel safer now?

When asked about their data mining, the NSA (and the White House) say they can't comment on anything that may or may not be occurring that may or may not be legal and may or may not be done with the complete approval of the Administration.

In the article, it says that one telecom giant has held out. Qwest Communications. They and their lawyers didn't feel comfortable with handing over that information to the NSA without some kind of warrant or written authorization from FISA or the Attorney General's office. The NSA said they couldn't ask FISA because FISA might not approve it. That's almost too logical for my brain.

Now, my first reaction is that i would soon be giving my patronage to a new phone company. I wasn't alone in that sentiment, either. However, knowing Qwest is a huge telecommunications company, they were bound to have a few skeletons in their closet. Fnord12 pointed out a few to me today. First off, their CEO is against net neutrality.

The CEO of Qwest had to know he wasn't preaching to the choir when he told a crowd at a VoIP convention in San Jose, California, last week that so-called neutrality is a dream, and charging customers more money for more bandwidth is the future.

It was a hard line to take with a roomful of entrepreneurs and techies, many of whose startup dreams hinge, at least in part, on the idea that their Internet traffic will move through the system at the same cost as everyone else's. "If you have enough money, we can make a lot of things happen," said Mr. Notebaert, referring to customers such as Internet portals, startups, and content providers that would be willing to pay for more bandwidth.

Notebaert calls it the future. I call it bribery. I wonder if those people left that convention feel just a little bit dirty.

Second, their former CEO was indicted for insider trading back in December. Sure, he's gone now, but who's to say they got rid of all the rotten apples over there? And they're a giant telecommunications firm which automatically generates distrust.

So it comes down to which phone company is slightly less disgusting. Either that or i get rid of my phone and my DSL. You guys would have to start communicating with us via smoke signals and snail mail. Grim prospects indeed.


By min | May 12, 2006, 12:47 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link



Everything Free Online!

In Europe, the goverment is pushing to make scientific papers free online, which, as you may imagine, is quite a blow to the publishing companies. The reasoning is that the research was funded by taxpayer money and therefore every member state should have free access to the results. Can anyone imagine our government proposing such a thing? I think i can almost hear the "hindrance to a free market and economic growth" arguments now.

Speaking of free access, how much do you pay for internet service? Taxpayer dollars funded that research. I suppose we don't pay for the internet itself, just for being able to access it. Nice. Ofc, if we lose the net neutrality fight, it won't matter so much that we have access to the internet because ISPs could decide to block or slow down access to any sites they don't like. Here's an interview with Amazon VP Paul Misener who makes the case for net neutrality. I find that pretty interesting since a company as large as Amazon could be one of the preferred sites that get loaded faster since they have the money to pay the ISPs for the "premium access" service.

I think it's interesting that part of the argument of companies like Verizon who want to get rid of net neutrality is that it's hurting companies' ability to compete effectively and hurting the market. Everyone's page getting loaded at the same rate and everyone having access to all sites equally hurts the market. We should give the advantage to companies who pay the telecoms a fee. That, ladies and gentleman, is the new capitalism at work. Screw the idea that the one with the best product wins the most business. It should all go to whoever pays the biggest bribe.


By min | May 12, 2006, 12:43 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Where were you people during the election?

Bush Dips Into the 20s

President Bush's job-approval rating has fallen to its lowest mark of his presidency, according to a new Harris Interactive poll. Of 1,003 U.S. adults surveyed in a telephone poll, 29% think Mr. Bush is doing an "excellent or pretty good" job as president, down from 35% in April and significantly lower than 43% in January. Approval ratings for Congress overall also sank, and now stand at 18%.

Roughly one-quarter of U.S. adults say "things in the country are going in the right direction," while 69% say "things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track." This has been the trend since January, when 33% said the nation was heading in the right direction. Iraq remains a key concern for the general public, as 28% of Americans said they consider Iraq to be one of the top two most important issues the government should address, up from 23% in April. The immigration debate also prompted 16% of Americans to consider it a top issue, down from 19% last month, but still sharply higher from 4% in March.

The Harris poll comes two days after a downbeat assessement of Bush in a New York Times/CBS News poll. The Times, in analyzing the results, said "Americans have a bleaker view of the country's direction than at any time in more than two decades."


By fnord12 | May 12, 2006, 10:59 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link



Eloquent As Ever

On his tour in Florida to promote his Senior Tax, Bush showed off his quick wit and charisma:

Bush visited with some waiting in a courtyard where Frank Sinatra's "Young At Heart" played on the loudspeakers, then he went indoors where people were looking over the laptops. He walked around giving handshakes and hugs to those who rose for his entrance, and greeted a man who remained sitting in a wheelchair with, "You look mighty comfortable."

Oh, and if you don't know what the Senior Tax is, basically, the Bush Administration has decided that if seniors don't sign up for the Medicare prescription drug program by May 15th, they can face lifetime penalties.

The Bush Administration's botched implementation of the plan, itself a special interest giveaway to drug companies and HMOs, has punished seniors around the country. Now, with millions still not signed up for the confusing program and the enrollment period set to expire on Monday, Democrats are urging Bush Republicans not to charge seniors for their own incompetence.
...
Said Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), "Seniors are paying the price because drug companies are pulling the strings in Washington. What other explanation is there for the stubborn refusal by President Bush and Republican leaders in Congress to extend the May 15th enrollment deadline? Millions of seniors are faced with a mountain of prescription drug bills and a growing stack of glitzy brochures from insurance companies looking for new customers. Unless we extend the deadline, seniors in Illinois and across the country who don't sign up by May 16th will be hit with a lifetime penalty that will make their prescriptions more expensive. It is time for the President to start listening to America's seniors, not to Washington drug company lobbyists."

It's interesting that Democrats are using such strong language to condemn the drug companies, who we damn well know they are in bed with, as well. I guess they have to at pay lip service, and they'd rather talk about this than Iraq (right Senator Clinton?). At any rate, even if they only mean it a little bit, it's nice to see Democrats stand up to the Administration. It's a rare sight indeed.


By min | May 10, 2006, 3:26 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



The Shoot First State

Last year, Florida introduced a new bill that allows people to shoot someone if they feel threatened without fear of criminal or civil prosecution. They call it the "Castle Doctrine," as in your body is your castle and you can defend it with force.

Now, a woman in Florida has been arrested for pulling a sword out of her cane and assaulting a woman who took her parking space at the Walmart.

Sharlott Till is accused of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly threatening women in another car with a 27-inch sword hidden inside her walking cane.
...
Witnesses told police that Till produced the sword and began swinging it around. She later told police she is trained in the use of a sword and was only attempting to scare the victims.

So, Ms. Till felt "threatened" when her parking space was taken, and she acted to defend herself because that space was part of her "castle". If she wanted to properly defend anything, she should have pulled her rifle out of the gun rack in her trunk and shot the woman. I mean, a sword is so 1800s.

Conversely, if the woman in the car feared for her life because this crazy lady was swinging a sword at her, she would also have been perfectly in her right to shoot Ms. Till with her glock. Thank you, NRA. Culling the herd one moron at a time.

Thanks to Rob for the link.


By min | May 10, 2006, 10:11 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2)| Link



Thanks for coming. Have a seat.

Several topics I'd like to talk about today -- Farm Bill, trade with Japan, WTO, avian flu... but before I do, let me touch on a subject people always ask about... progress in Iraq. We are helping the Iraqi people build a lasting democracy that is peaceful and prosperous - one that will never again be a safe haven for terrorists, and will serve as a model for freedom in the broader Middle East.

That's from the talking points that were sent to USDA officials. The USDA - that's the US Department of Agriculture - is now required to promote the war in Iraq whenever it gives a speech.

Your government is working hard with your tax dollars... to promote Republican politicians.


By fnord12 | May 9, 2006, 1:37 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



World War III

Bush says fight against terror is 'World War III':

But he said he agreed with the description of David Beamer, whose son Todd died in the crash, who in a Wall Street Journal commentary last month called it "our first successful counter-attack in our homeland in this new global war -- World War III".

Bush said: "I believe that. I believe that it was the first counter-attack to World War III.

Of course, former CIA directory James Woolsey thinks we are up to IV.

These World Wars are a lot like movie sequels. The first two are major events, and after that they start getting released direct-to-video and you don't even know they came out.


By fnord12 | May 9, 2006, 1:30 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Who wants some more wars?

Bolivia is daring to claim that they own their own natural gas, so look for a war on them and Venezeula some time soon:

The plans are well underway now for a fourth attempt to oust Hugo Chavez that may include assassinations and possibly an armed assault by US invading forces. Last Sunday VHeadline published a commentary/review I wrote about Noam Chomsky's new book Failed States. In an email I received from Chomsky on April 29 he updated the views he stated in his new book and gave a blunt assessment of what may be in prospect which I'll quote again here: he said he "wouldn't be surprised to see (US inspired) secessionist movements in the oil producing areas in Iran, Venezuela and Bolivia, all in areas that are accessible to US military force and alienated from the governments, with the US then moving in to 'defend' them and blasting the rest of the country if necessary."

And things aren't going so well in Nigeria, either:

A militant group that has been attacking Nigeria's oil pipelines and helping to drive up world oil prices added a new tactic last week by detonating a car bomb in a major oil city to publicize its standing threat to shut down the country's entire crude output.
...
The rebels have tapped into deep resentment in poor local communities against big oil and government neglect. Delta residents live in abject poverty and also suffer from the environmental effects of oil pumping, including the pollution of drinking water and rivers and damage to fishing. The oil gives rivers a rainbow gloss in some places.

In one village, Pepa Ama, residents say the pumping of oil has sunk their land. Villagers walk barefoot over thin rotting logs and wobbly planks to avoid getting oily feet.

"We are the owners of the oil," said one village resident, Florence Komanda, 46, who lives in a small hut on stilts above the polluted mud with her husband and 12 children. "We don't have water to drink, we don't have fish to kill because of the water. Even money to buy things to eat, we don't have."

And if that's not enough, looks like Cheney is spoiling for a fight with Russia:

Vice President Dick Cheney made a keynote speech on relations between the West and Russia in which he practically established the start of the second Cold War ... The Cold War has restarted, only now the front lines have shifted," it said
...
Commentators said the speech was an answer to Russia's new self-confidence, which has stemmed from high oil prices and a shortage of energy supplies giving it new influence.
...
"What can Russia do? It would appear it will have to strengthen ties with Belarus and Central Asia. And get close to China, to balance this Western might."

Commentators said Russia was being expected to knuckle under and follow the U.S. lead.

Also, that whole thing about Iran's PM saying that he wanted to "wipe Israel off the map" may not have been entirely on the up-and-up, although i don't see that the alternate translation is much better.


By fnord12 | May 8, 2006, 1:38 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link



Mission Accomplished

So Peter Goss, once best known as the congressman who unsuccessfully tried to hide behind his office door from his constituents, was put in charge of the CIA by Bush less than a year ago. Goss went in, kicked out all the competent CIA agents, including the ones who were right about about Iraq's WMDs, and replaced them with partisan Republican hacks. Then he got himself involved in the Watergate prostitution scandal, and now he's resigning. Remember, these are the people that are going to protect us from terrorists.


By fnord12 | May 8, 2006, 1:26 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link



Smacked

I'm not even sure if i know who Godsmack is, but if you want to see them get smacked around by an interviewer because they let their music be used in army recruiting commercials, here's the link.


By fnord12 | May 8, 2006, 1:24 PM | Liberal Outrage & Music | Comments (1)| Link



I like sci fi movies but...

...i don't need to live in them.

One:

It looks like a scene from the movie "Waterworld" here off the Iraqi coast.

Two oil terminals - this one and the Khawr al Amaya a few kilometers away - rise from the sea, miles out of sight of land. The oil wealth of Iraq flows into supertankers that berth here.

There is a post-Apocalyptic, industrial wasteland feel to this oil terminal. It's all hard edges - steel grating, concrete and massive valves. The whine of machinery, the thump of pumps and the roar of generators are constant. The smell of crude oil permeates everything.

Two:

The Bush administration is seeking to develop a powerful ground-based laser weapon that would use beams of concentrated light to destroy enemy satellites in orbit.

The largely secret project, parts of which have been made public through Air Force budget documents submitted to Congress in February, is part of a wide-ranging effort to develop space weapons, both defensive and offensive. No treaty or law forbids such work.


By fnord12 | May 4, 2006, 4:44 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (5)| Link



Just lock me up now

When i start sounding like Rush Limbaugh, it's all over.

From Cursor:

Response to the Senate Republican plan to mail $100 checks to voters to offset high gasoline prices has been largely hostile on both the left and right, with Rush Limbaugh complaining, "Instead of buying us off and treating us like we're a bunch of whores, just solve the problem."


By fnord12 | May 2, 2006, 1:15 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (3)| Link



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