Monday, October 27, 2003

Guilt, Insanity Ravage Returning Soldiers

During the Iraq war, Pfc. Tyrone Roper became a combat star. By early April his Kevlar helmet bore three hand-drawn feathers, one for each of his confirmed kills. His buddies in the 101st Airborne Division praised his machine-gun prowess. He was the one they most wanted by their side in a firefight.

These days, Roper's battles are raging mostly inside his head. He was evacuated to Ft. Campbell this past summer after being found psychologically unfit. He says he is still racked by bad dreams, acute loneliness and punishing guilt over the killings he carried out for the U.S. Army.

Now Roper, 27 and a married father of two, is on the run.

This month, days before he was to be released from the Army, he left his blue stucco rowhouse on the base, possibly headed to Texas, where his mother lives, or to Canada, where he was born. No one is sure where he went or why. But he has communicated by e-mail to The Baltimore Sun in rambling, unpunctuated and uncapitalized messages about his pain.


Conspiracy theories kneading city

"Santa Cruz Mayor Emily Reilly is warning her constituents in this liberal beach town not to jump to conspiracy theories about several unusual events involving her bakery in the days since the city council decided to challenge President Bush.

It was Reilly who, after a Santa Cruz City Council vote on Sept. 9, sent a letter to Washington asking the U.S. House Judiciary Committee to consider impeaching President Bush.

Four days later, a sophisticated burglar pried moulding off a window at Emily's Good Things to Eat bakery, evaded a motion detector and stole an old computer hard drive and the hard-drive backup.

Then, on Sept. 17, Emily's Good Things To Eat bakery was visited by an agent of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration who introduced himself, showed his identification, and looked around. He asked if they used artificial coloring (heavens no!) or if they transported anything across the state lines (they've been known to mail cookie-grams)."

Friday, October 24, 2003

Mysterious Vote Shifting Led To 2000 Election Call For Bush

If you strip away the partisan rancor over the 2000 election, you are left with the undeniable fact that a presidential candidate conceded the election to his opponent based on a second card (card #3) that mysteriously appeared, subtracted 16,022 votes from Al Gore, and in some still undefined way, added 4,000 erroneous votes to George W. Bush, then, just as mysteriously, disappears.

Black Box Voting reveals for the first time that it was the Volusia and Brevard County anomalies that caused TV networks to call the election for Bush. An internal document from CBS, combined with timelines and interviews from Agence France-Presse and internal Diebold memos show that:

- A replacement set of votes was uploaded on the Diebold machines (then called Global Election Systems) in Volusia County about one hour after the original votes.

- The original votes were on “copy 0” of the memory card containing the vote database. The replacement votes were tagged to a “copy 3.”

- According to an internal memo written by Diebold Election Systems Sr. V.P. of Research and Development Talbot Iredale, the second set of votes should not have been done and may have been “unauthorized.”

- In the replacement vote set, totals for all races were correct except for the presidential race.

- According to CBS documents, the erroneous 20,000 votes in Volusia was directly responsible for calling the election for Bush.

- Brevard County, Florida also used Global Election Systems (now Diebold) voting machines. Brevard omitted 4,000 votes for Gore from its tally, which contributed to the decision by the networks to call for Bush.

- The two erroneous county totals came directly from the central tabulating system for the county. The GEMS program is Diebold’s central tabulation software.

One journalist was doing his job correctly that night: Ed Bradley, a CBS correspondent best known for his work on “60 Minutes.” Bradley sounded alarm bells over discrepancies in the data, but no one paid attention to him. CBS also ignored independent data from The AP; had CBS and the other networks used AP data instead of Voter News Service (VNS), they would not have called the election for Bush.

The election was first called by Fox analyst John Ellis, who had earlier conferred with his two cousins, George W. Bush and Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Ellis was privy to the numbers from VNS, and presumably knew the margin that would be required in order to call the election.

During the evening, a 55,000-vote spread evaporated into just hundreds of votes.

Al Gore called George W. Bush around 3:15 a.m. and conceded the election. Between 3:30 and 3:45, he boarded a motorcade to make a public concession. Votes were melting away at a rate of some 5,000 every 15 minutes, and Ed Bradley from CBS was telling everyone in sight that someone needed to check the figures. When Gore was two blocks from Memorial Plaza in Nashville, Tennessee, where he planned to issue a formal concession, word of the disappearing votes reached him.

He chose not to concede: Thus we had a recount in Florida.

If this isn’t disturbing enough, consider these three points:

1) We don’t know if this is an isolated incident. It may have occurred in other locations in smaller, less spectacular totals
2) The errors were correctable because paper ballots existed.
3) The fact that “negative votes” could be applied to a candidate’s total demonstrates such a fundamentally flawed software model that it calls into question the competence and integrity of the programmers, the company and the certification process itself.

According to the memo from Talbot Iredale, there were two uploads from two different cards.

• The votes were uploaded on the same port approxiately 1 hour apart.
• Only one memory card was supposed to have been uploaded.
• “Copy 0” uploaded some votes.
• “Copy 3” replaced the votes from “Copy 0” with its own.
• Iredale believes the second one is the one that caused the problem.
• The “problem”: 16,022 negative votes for Al Gore

I uncovered an 87-page report called “CBS News Coverage of Election Night 2000: Investigation, Analysis, Recommendations prepared for CBS News.”

According to the CBS News report: “These 24,000 votes would have nearly eliminated the 30,000-vote final Bush margin the CBS News Decision Desk has estimated. There would have been no call if these errors had not been in the system.”

Breakdown of the 24,000 votes: [20,000 from Volusia -- 16,022 negative votes for Gore and 4000 erroneous votes for Bush, plus 4000 omitted votes for Gore in Brevard County, which also used GES/Diebold voting machines.

According to the CBS report, “the call for Bush was based entirely on the tabulated county vote” [i.e., GEMS or equivalent programs]. “There were several data errors that were responsible for that mistake. The most egregious of the data errors has been well documented. Vote reports from Volusia County.”

“The mistakes ... which originated with the counties, were critical,” says the report. “They incorrectly increased Bush’s lead in the tabulated vote from about 27,000 to more than 51,000. Had it not been for these errors, the CBS News call for Bush at 2:17:52 AM would not have been made.”



Wednesday, October 22, 2003

What Alabama's Low-Tax Mania Can Teach the Rest of the Country

"The budget ax is swinging in Alabama, and the carnage is piling up. A hundred and fifty fewer low-income AIDS patients will receive life-saving medicines from the state. Fifteen thousand low-income Alabamians may lose their hypertension drugs.

High Hopes, a program that offers after-school tutoring to students who fail the high school graduation exam, is being slashed. And up to 1,500 poor children and adults with Down syndrome, autism and other disabilities will not be able to attend a state-supported special-needs camp.

The cuts are reaching down to core government functions. The court system is laying off 500 of 1,600 workers, from clerk's office employees to probation officers. The health department is losing investigators who track tuberculosis, and sharply reducing restaurant inspections.

Alabama's huge budget gap is a result of the voters' rejection, nearly six weeks ago, of Gov. Bob Riley's tax reform plan, which would have generated an additional $1.2 billion, much of it from undertaxed timberland.

. . .

Alabama voters also need to realize that by entrenching their state at the bottom of the national rankings in taxes and government services, they are putting themselves on the margins of the new, global economy, and sabotaging their future tax base. Businesses looking for low taxes and cheap government will pass right over Alabama and head for Mexico. And companies that want well-educated, skilled workers, the companies Alabama needs to attract, will not locate in a state where high school students do not graduate, TB cases are not tracked and the restaurants may be hazardous.

The nation is facing precisely the same issues as Alabama. The Bush administration has tried to delude the public into thinking we can fight a war, rebuild Iraq, fix our schools, get prescription drug benefits and still enjoy the largest tax cut in history. But the deficit cannot grow forever. Eventually, we will have to pay more or, as "starve the beast" proponents hope, do with much less.

. . .if Alabama heads into next year without additional revenues, students may have to learn without textbooks, prisoners may be released early, and people may start dying of preventable diseases. We should all pay attention, because if the "starve the beast" crowd continues to prevail in Washington, as goes Alabama so may go the nation."

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Smelly Swampland Deal Investigated

Now federal investigators are scrutinizing a smelly deal birthed last year from Everglades muck. A year ago, New Times probed the Bush administration's planned $120 million buyout of mineral rights in the Big Cypress National Preserve from the wealthy Collier family, whose operation is based on Florida's west coast ("Big Cypress Buyout," September 12, 2002). The deal, announced in May 2002 on the White House lawn by the president and little brother Jebbie, was also to include to-be-determined tax breaks that could have amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars.

Though New Times revealed that the feds ignored staff estimates that the mineral rights were worth only $5 million to $20 million, there was little response.


Florida Swampland? Sounds like the classic con is seeing new life in the Bush Administration.



Monday, October 20, 2003

United Press International: Sick, wounded U.S. troops held in squalor

"FORT STEWART, Ga., Oct. 17 (UPI) -- Hundreds of sick and wounded U.S. soldiers including many who served in the Iraq war are languishing in hot cement barracks here while they wait -- sometimes for months -- to see doctors.

The National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers' living conditions are so substandard, and the medical care so poor, that many of them believe the Army is trying push them out with reduced benefits for their ailments. One document shown to UPI states that no more doctor appointments are available from Oct. 14 through Nov. 11 -- Veterans Day."

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Halliburton exempted from EPA Clean Water Act

For several years the Environmental Protection Agency has been studying whether an increasingly popular -- but environmentally controversial - - drilling technique used by Halliburton Co. and other big oil and gas operators pollutes underground drinking water supplies.

Now Republicans drafting broad energy legislation have decided not to wait for the EPA to issue its final report. Instead, the House-Senate compromise on the energy bill exempts the technique, known as "hydraulic fracturing," from some of the controls of the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act.



Monday, October 13, 2003

America can't make Iraq's black gold flow

"Even during the war, a detailed analysis by Yahya Sadowski, a professor at the American University of Beirut, suggested that repairing wells and pipes in postwar Iraq would cost $1 -billion, that raising oil production to 3,5 million barrels a day would take three years and cost another $8-billion investment, plus $20-billion for repairs to the electrical grid that powers the pumps and refineries. Bringing production up to six million barrels a day would cost a further $30-billion - some say up to $100-billion.

In another words - assuming only $8-billion of the $20 billion can be used on industry - the Bush overall budget of $87-billion that now horrifies the US congress is likely to rise towards $200-billion.

. . .

. The cost of making it flow could produce an economic crisis in the US. And it is this - rather than the daily killing of US soldiers - which lies behind the Bush administration's growing sense of panic. Washington has got its hands on the biggest treasure chest in the world - but it can't open the lid. No wonder they are cooking the books in Baghdad."
Hey, it worked for Isreal, right?

"US soldiers driving bulldozers, with jazz blaring from loudspeakers, have uprooted ancient groves of date palms as well as orange and lemon trees in central Iraq as part of a new policy of collective punishment of farmers who do not give information about guerrillas attacking US troops."

Saturday, October 11, 2003

When big media gets bigger: The Death of Democracy

"That giveaway (on media ownership rules by the FCC) brought protests from over 2 million citizens; they turned the FCC into a besieged Bastille on the Potomac. Such indignation from the grass roots caused even the Senate to say, 'Whoa, something's going on. People really care about this issue.' And the Senate stopped the FCC in its tracks. There are enough votes to do the same in the House. But then, General Electric, owner of NBC; News Corp, owner of Fox; Viacom, owner of CBS; and Walt Disney, owner of ABC, brought on the hired guns -- the lobbyists -- to wage a Trojan War on Congress. A passel of former insiders moved through the revolving door, Rolodex in tow, trading their influence for cash -- top aides of the Senate majority leader, the House majority whip and of John Ashcroft himself.

Now the most powerful Republican in Congress, Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, won't let a vote happen. The effort to reverse the FCC is dead in the water, sinking the democratic process with it. "
Interior Reverses Opinion on Mining Waste

The Interior Department has overturned a Clinton administration opinion that reduced the amount of land for waste from mining operations, rolling back another environmental decision made under President Bush's predecessor.

The department said its solicitor general under Clinton had misinterpreted the 1872 Mining Law by concluding that each 20-acre mining claim on federal land is limited to a single five-acre waste site.
Bush-Nazi Link Confirmed Documents in National Archives Prove George W. Bush's Grandfather In Business with Nazis

"After 60 years of inattention and even denial by the U.S. media, newly-uncovered government documents in The National Archives and Library of Congress reveal that Prescott Bush, the grandfather of President George W. Bush, served as a business partner of and U.S. banking operative for the financial architect of the Nazi war machine from 1926 until 1942, when Congress took aggressive action against Bush and his 'enemy national' partners.

The documents also show that Bush and his colleagues, according to reports from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, tried to conceal their financial alliance with German industrialist Fritz Thyssen, a steel and coal baron who, beginning in the mid-1920s, personally funded Adolf Hitler's rise to power by the subversion of democratic principle and German law."

Friday, October 10, 2003

Where's the Outrage Now?

In the California recall, the right wing's moralistic masters of attack choked on their own partisanship. These are the people who praised the "courage" of anyone who reported anything embarrassing about the sex life of a certain former president. Then they painted all who did not respond with indignation as "apologists" complicit in America's moral decline and the "death of outrage."

Guess who the apologists were this time? All of a sudden it was Arnold Schwarzenegger being accused of groping, fondling and humiliating women. Oh, yes, there was outrage on the right. But it was directed at the Los Angeles Times for investigating and reporting on the charges. The same folks who had insisted that our leaders should be moral exemplars were suddenly aghast when a news organization explored the "character" of, well, er, a Republican. Fox's Bill O'Reilly on Schwarzenegger: "The Los Angeles Times is out to get him, to destroy him. . . . Most guys have done dopey things with women." Bill O'Reilly on Clinton during impeachment: "The American people have a right to know everything there is to know about President Clinton's behavior."




SURPRIZE! Schwarzenegger's First Move: Cut Loose the Energy Fraudsters

One of Schwarzenegger’s boldest moves, . . . will be to enter into quick settlements with about a dozen energy companies accused of manipulating the state’s electricity market during the height of the state’s energy crisis two years ago, aides to Schwarzenegger said Wednesday.

For three years, California has been engaged in a costly legal battle against dozens of energy companies it said ripped off the state by purposely withholding much-needed electricity from consumers, creating an artificial shortage while boosting the companies’ profits.

Federal regulators ordered electricity refunds for California totalling about $3.3 billion, but Davis said the state deserves at least $9 billion and “not a penny less.”

Richard Katz, an energy advisor to Davis, told the Sacramento Bee last month that he thinks the state will have to sue to recover significantly more money; the state already has refund cases pending before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"The governor has said he'll go to every court, every venue," Katz said. Litigation "is the only process we have for getting justice for ratepayers."

But Schwarzeneggeer aides said the lawsuits are deterring energy companies from building power plants in California, which could lead to another energy crisis in 2006, and the legal wrangling alone is costing the state millions of dollars.


Enron and Dynergy could not be reached for comment.


Well, I know how angry I get when I lose a sock . . .

A 28-year-old man accused of stealing a man's penis through sorcery has been beaten to death in the West African country of Gambia, police say.

A police spokesman told Reuters on Thursday that Baba Jallow was lynched by about 10 people in the town of Serekunda, some nine miles from the capital Banjul.

Reports of penis snatching are not uncommon in West Africa, with purported victims claiming that alleged sorcerers simply touched them to make their genitals shrink or disappear in order to extort cash in the promise of a cure.



Sunday, October 05, 2003

IT'S HASTA LA VISTA TO $9 BILLION FOR CALIFORNIA IF THE GOVERNATOR IS SELECTED


"(Arnold Schwarzenegger t)he wannabe governor has yet to deny that on May 17, 2001, at the Peninsula Hotel in Los Angeles, he had consensual political intercourse with Enron chieftain Kenneth Lay. Also frolicking with Arnold and Ken was convicted stock swindler Mike Milken.

Now, thirty-four pages of internal Enron memoranda have just come through this reporter's fax machine tell all about the tryst between Maria's husband and the corporate con men. It turns out that Schwarzenegger knowingly joined the hush-hush encounter as part of a campaign to sabotage a Davis-Bustamante plan to make Enron and other power pirates then ravaging California pay back the $9 billion in illicit profits they carried off."


From Greg Palast
"One thing about being a journalist for 40 years, is not having to say your sorry".

This is what the miserable prick Robert Novak said on Meet the Press about his outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Contact Bob's supervisers and let them know what you think about treason. Here's some contacts provided in Eschaton comments by Rick B:

Bob's column is distributed by Creators Syndicate
5777 W. Century Blvd., Suite 700
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Phone # (310) 337-7003
Fax # (310) 337-7625
Email address:
info@creators.com

Bob's primary journalistic sponsor is:
Chicago Sun Times Inc
401 North Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 595-1951

His column is called :
Inside Report
and he can be reached directly through:
Robert Novak
http://cf.townhall.com/contact/columnists.cfm?ID=46&Post=9966

If you go to the last one, it is a right-wing set of contacts that includes Coulter.

Then there is, of course, CNN
http://www.cnn.com/feedback/cnnpopups/crossfire/frameset.exclude.html



Millions Wasted on No-Bid Contracts in Iraq

"Iraqi officials and businessmen charge that millions of dollars in contracts are being awarded without competitive bidding, some of them to former cronies of Mr. Hussein's government.
'There is no transparency,' said Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish member of the Governing Council, 'and something has to be done about it.

'There is mismanagement right and left, and I think we have to sit with Congress face to face to discuss this. A lot of American money is being wasted, I think. We are victims and the American taxpayers are victims.'
. . .

An American businessman, who would not allow his name to be used, said the occupation authority was doling out contracts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars by simply telephoning favored companies and announcing, "I have a contract for you," as he characterized a telephone call he received this week.

Mr. Othman said, "I hope Congress knows what is going on, but if they don't know and we don't know, then God help everybody."


From the N.Y. Times.
A land ruled by chaos

Iraq under the US-led occupation is a fearful, lawless and broken place, where murder rates have rocketed, 80% of workers are idle and hospital managers despair at shortages of IV sets and basic antibiotics. Police are seen as thugs and thieves, and the American and British forces as distant rulers, more concerned with protecting their troops than providing security to ordinary Iraqis. The governing council they created is simply irrelevant. A mile away from one of the richest oilfields on earth, the queues at petrol stations stretch for hours. "We completely underestimated how broken this system was," says Andrew Alderson, the financial officer of the British-led administration in Basra.

Bush Pioneer Profiteers

The contracts uncovered by Senator Daschle's office include $3.6m for 400 handheld radios and 200 satellite phones - averaging $6,000 per item. The White House also wants to spend $10,000 a month per student on business school tuition - double the fees for Harvard Business School.

Congress has also been asked to approve spending $100m on protecting 100 Iraqi families, costing an average of $200,000 per family member whereas the US federal witness protection programme costs $10,000 per person per year. Another $400m is being sought to build and run two new prisons in Iraq to hold a total of 4,000 inmates. This will in effect cost $50,000 a prisoner, nearly twice the cost of each high-security prison place in the US.

Dr Ian Davis, director of the British American Security Information Council, a military think-tank based in London and Washington, said: "This is the sort of outrageous 'gold-plating' normally associated with military procurement contracts. It is unlikely to encourage a sceptical international community to come to the donor table."


From the UK Independent.



Friday, October 03, 2003

Justice Department granted White House delay on order to preserve records in CIA agent leak investigation

NPR Redacted the following paragraph from its October 2, 2003 "Morning Addition" Transcript:

NINA TOTENBERG: "Well no administration ever wants an independent overseer, and there are very good career people who are in charge of this investigation, but it could get hairy. Yesterday I talked to a former justice department official who wondered to me why the White House had asked the Justice Department if they could wait a day, earlier this week, before directing the White House staff to preserve all phone and email records, and why, similarly, the Justice Department had agreed to let the White House wait that day. In the last analysis career people can't make some of the decisions that will have to be made, like whether to call a reporter before a grand jury. The Attorney General under Justice (Department) regulations is required to make that decision. A career person can't make it. And if a leaker is identified and not prosecuted it could raise problems with the CIA. Will the agency believe that a decision not to prosecute was made fairly, or will it, as one former Justice Department official put it to me, open a chasm of distrust between the two agencies. As I said no administration likes to open itself up to outside investigators. And the temperature isn't that hot yet, despite that poll you cited at the beginning, but it could get that hot, and we just can't know right now whether the temperature will get that hot for a long time and make it impossible to continue the course that the administration now has chosen to take."
Smackhead Limbaugh's Hearing Loss May Result From Opiate Addiction

Doctors in L.A. and elsewhere have identified at least 48 cases of deafness tied to prolonged misuse of Vicodin and other comparable prescription medicines.

So far, at least 48 patients have been identified by doctors at the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles and several other medical centers who have treated patients with sudden hearing loss. The hearing problems appear to be limited to people who abuse Vicodin and other chemically comparable prescription drugs by taking exceptionally high dosages for several months or more, doctors said.

Vicodin, one of the most commonly prescribed painkillers, is frequently used improperly."


Vicodin and Oxcontin (Rush's junk of choice) are chemically related synthetic opiates. Rush's maid says she's been delivering to him since 1998.
Political Ties Between Ashcroft and Rove Give Rise To Calls for Special Prosecutor

A COMPANY controlled by (Carl) Rove, who stands accused by the CIA officer's husband of at least condoning the leak (of the CIA officer's identity), was paid more than $300,000 by Ashcroft's 1994 Senate campaign in Missouri for direct mail work and other services, the New York Times reported Friday, citing campaign finance data.

President Bush's top political adviser also played a role in two earlier Ashcroft gubernatorial campaigns.

Information about the ties between Rove and Ashcroft has emboldened Democrats to push harder for a special counsel to investigate the leak. "Given allegations about the involvement of senior White House officials and the past close association between the attorney general and one of those officials, the investigation should be headed by a person independent of the administration," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement issued Thursday. "If there ever was a case for the appointment of a special counsel, this is it."


Have a nice trip, see you next fall

"U.S. Air Force pilots practice weekly and are psychologically ready to shoot down civilian airliners in any new attack on America like Sept. 11, the general in charge of domestic defense said on Thursday."

. . .

We practice it several times a week. Sometimes we practice three or four times a week -- the connectivity and having pilots airborne and go through mock exercises," Air Force Gen. Ralph Eberhart told reporters in an interview.

He said pilots and ground controllers were screened to make sure they would not refuse an order to shoot down a suspicious airliner packed with civilians such as the hijacked jets that crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon outside Washington and a field in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001."


"Terror Economy" has grown into a $1.5 trillion globe-spanning system

RATHER THAN LOOK at terrorism from a political or religious standpoint, (Italian writer Loretta) Napoleoni approaches it as an economist, which she was before becoming a writer. By tracing the dollars behind the terror networks, she estimates that the “new economy of terrorism” has now grown to $1.5 trillion or more in both illegal and legal transactions. The business of terrorism is now so large and the financial networks supporting it so complex, she says, that if the flow of money to terrorists were suddenly cut off, the drop in liquidity could have a serious impact on the Western economies.

School apologizes for Nazi flag flap

A Texas high school has apologized after the school band waved a Nazi flag during a performance on Friday, the start of the Jewish New Year holiday of Rosh Hashana. “We had an error in judgment,” band director Charles Grissom told the Dallas Morning News.

Opps! Sorry about that.
Don't be fooled. The Iraqi debacle won't stop an invasion of Iran.

"The cloud is still no larger than George Bush's hand but the storm of concern which the US is orchestrating over Iran is beginning to show uncomfortable similarities with the row over Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

A deadline has been set for Iran to make a full declaration of its nuclear energy programme by the end of this month. There is a demand for international inspectors to go in and examine any site to check for a possible hidden weapons project. Punitive measures are threatened in the case of non-compliance. "

. . .

The White House is already hinting at using force. Warning Iranians that "development of a nuclear weapon is not in their interests", Bush said in late July that "all options remain on the table". The Los Angleles Times subsequently reported that the CIA has briefed friendly foreign intelligence services on a contingency plan for air and missile strikes on Iranian nuclear installations.

Much of the pressure is coming from the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, and the same neo-conservative friends of his in Washington who drove the war on Iraq. They recently formed a "Coalition for democracy in Iran", which advocates the overthrow of Iran's regime. It includes well-known hawks like Michael Ledeen and Morris Amitay, a former executive director of the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee.

According to the Washington Post, Sharon recently told Bush that Israel might strike Iran's nuclear facilities, just as it destroyed Saddam Hussein's nuclear reactor in 1981. Whether Sharon only meant his warning as a device to get the US to take the issue seriously and strike first is not clear."


I imagine the Bush team prays for a new war to cover the mess they've already created.


Thursday, October 02, 2003

Ashcroft Distinctively Stinks

Attorney General John Ashcroft is running a dead heat with A. Mitchell Palmer, attorney general in the Wilson administration, for the distinction of being the worst in that job in the history of the United States.

One of the duties of the attorney general as head of the Justice Department is to protect the Constitution. Both Mr. Ashcroft and Palmer found that the Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights, got in their way more than it protected anything. It has gotten in Ashcroft's way in his pursuit of terrorists after Sept. 11, especially those who dress differently and practice a different religion. Palmer's crusade was the pursuit of communists, in the aftermath of World War I. He especially went after people with what to him were funny names from Eastern Europe. He tended to equate liberals with communists.