Thursday, December 11, 2008

Headlines - Thursday

Strange Alliance Between Bush and Alleged 9/11 Mastermind

By David Edwards and Muriel Kane, Raw Story

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, often described as the mastermind of 9/11, and four other prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay told a military judge on Monday that they wish to plead guilty to all charges.

Law professor Jonathan Turley sees this confession as a "strange alliance" between Mohammed and George W. Bush, where both men get what they want - martyrdom in Mohammed's case and vindication in Bush's - and President-elect Barack Obama is stuck in the middle with a dilemma on his hands.

Mohammed and the other accused terrorists first announced their plan to confess on November 4, which - as MSNBC's Rachel Maddow pointed out in introducing Turley - was "the day America elected a president who is expected to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and is expected to close the military tribunal system."


A bitter Spitzer now claims he got a raw deal

"Suddenly, my 'pay to play' doesn't seem so bad after all."


Morford: Misery loves TV - Unhappy people watch lots more toob. But is doesn't stop there:


The Center for Public Integrity has a fantastic site up that lays out all the horrors of the Bush Administration for our perusal. They list 128 failures by the Bush Administration and folks, it's ugly. Damn ugly.


Jon Stewart beautifully smacks down Huckabee on gay marriage:                          

If you buy into Huckabee's argument that the reason for only letting people get married is because they can breed, then you would not be against sterility testing prior to marriage. The marriages that the newspaper editors love to run stories about, the "childhood sweethearts get married after sixty years" would be illegal. Had a vasectomy, post-menopausal- no marriage for you!

But no. Huckabee and all the rest of the "we ought to base all our laws on the Bible" crowd close their eyes to that reality and adopt the legal fiction of "the fertile octogenarian." If marriage is all about raising kids, then let's make that part of the law; no kids after X number of years, your marriage is voided.

You might also note that when Stewart raised the points that slavery was permitted in the Bible and that polygamous marriage was common, Huckabee danced away from discussing those topics as though he was covered in snake oil. Child marriage was also common a long time ago, but it is not now.

Huckabee is flat-out wrong when he asserts that "marriage is a privilege." It most assuredly is not; marriage is regarded as a fundamental right. Look up Zablocki v. Redhail, 434 U.S. 374, a 1978, a case where Wisconsin sought to deny people who owed child support the automatic right to marry... "the right to marry is of fundamental importance to all citizens." Even prison inmates have a right to get married, Turner v. Safley 482 U.S. 78, in 1987 (a unanimous opinion).

What gripes me most of all is Huckabee's notion that if people vote to deny rights to others, that is OK with him. There was no shortage of states which still outlawed interracial marriage when Loving v. Virginia was decided by the Supreme Court 41 years ago; President-elect Obama's parents' marriage was illegal in a substantial number of states when he was born. Voters in this country do not get to choose which group of citizens are allowed rights and which are not. The voters in Arizona, for instance, cannot disenfranchise Hispanics. Voters cannot forbid an ethnic group from living in their community.

Huckabee seeks to use the law to enshrine discrimination based on his notion of who is worthy of being married and who is not. That we even need to discuss the wrongness of Huckabee's position irks me no end.


The Minnesota recount continues during an FBI investigation into Coleman's corrupt behavior. One of Coleman's cronies, Nasser Kazeminy, paid the senator off, to the tune of at least $100,000, through Coleman's wife, Laurie, who has acted as a kind of moll in a crime syndicate, not unlike John Doolittle's wife and Tom Delay's wife.


The taser abuse stories continue to roll in. In the most recent case out of El Reno, Oklahoma, police stopped a driver who appeared uncooperative in getting out of the truck. They tasered him only to learn later that he was in diabetic shock.


An organization called KopBusters in Texas rented a house and began using grow lights on  two small Christmas trees. Sure enough Odessa cops showed up and illegally searched the house, ready to lie on an affidavit.


Some rock bands are upset that Shrubya has been using their music to illegally torture illegal detainees.  The reporter had some fun with this one, raising the obvious question - are they more upset about the fact the music is being used without authorization to torture people illegally, or the fact that listening to their music could be preceived as torture?  He even found one self-unaware musician, Stevie Benton of Drowning Pool:

"People assume we should be offended that somebody in the military thinks our song is annoying enough that played over and over it can psychologically break someone down," he told Spin magazine. "I take it as an honor to think that perhaps our song could be used to quell another 9/11 attack or something like that."

Some questions weren't posed, though. Are they really as concerned about the use of their music in illegal torture, or the fact that the Military isn't paying them royalties (notice RIAA-friendly Metallica not mentioned among the complainers) for the songs. And why has it taken them so damn long to complain?


How the Gingrinch stole Christmas

Now that the dust has settled over the bad financial waves that Emperor Shrubya vainly tried to whip back (at least until after the election), more information is now filtering out about the architects of the junk mortgage disaster - starting with Freddie Mac's "enablers."

As you might presume, Freddie's 'bad government' partners include some of the usual suspects, like Newt Gingrich, who pulled in $300,000 to lobby his good buddies in Congress and the misAdministration about "the benefits of the Freddie Mac business model" - i.e. against moves to break up Freddie Mac's business and spread it among other companies such as commercial banks.

But the Grinchster wasn't alone - here is the current Repug list of shameful enablers:

•Sen. Alfonse D'Amato of New York, at Park Strategies, $240,000
•Rep. Vin Weber of Minnesota, at Clark and Weinstock, $360,297
•Rep. Susan Molinari of New York, at Washington Group, $300,062
•Susan Hirschmann at Williams and Jensen, former chief of staff to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, $240,790
•Viet Dinh, $300K

Just don't expect any of these 'Grinches' to return any of the misbegotten dough.


Back to the ugly future?

Here comes the hate: 

A Ford dealer angered over the proposed bailout of U.S. automakers blames the nation's sour economy on Congress and criticized buyers of Japanese cars, calling the vehicles "rice ready ... not road ready" in a radio ad.

O.C. Welch, who owns a dealership near Savannah in Hardeeville, S.C., began airing the minute-long ad on a dozen stations in the area over the weekend....


Andy Borowitz

In what is being called one of the most daring escape attempts in the history of law enforcement, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich today offered the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama to the FBI agent who took him into Federal custody this morning.

According to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, the astonishing escape attempt occurred moments after Mr. Blagojevich was handcuffed by the agent, who was wearing a wire and captured the entire expletive-laden offer on tape.

"'You can be the [bleeping] junior Senator from [bleeping] Illinois if you let me out of these [bleeping] handcuffs,'" Mr. Fitzgerald read from a transcript. "'And if that mother-[bleeper] Barack Obama tries to [bleep] with me, I'll [bleep] him up.'"

According to Mr. Fitzgerald, "When I say 'bleep,' he didn't really say 'bleep' on the tape," adding, "I'm going to keep making that joke until one of you [bleepers] laughs at it."

Gov. Blagojevich has been charged with a laundry list of Federal crimes, including stealing his haircut from the dad on "The Brady Bunch."


The Middle East has a brighter future than it did seven years ago

By George W Bush

".......Iraq has gone from an enemy of America to a friend of America, from sponsoring terror to fighting terror, and from a brutal dictatorship to a multi-religious, multi-ethnic constitutional democracy. Instead of the Iraq we would see if Saddam Hussein were in power – an aggressive regime vastly enriched by oil, defying the United Nations, bullying its Arab neighbours, threatening Israel, and pursuing a nuclear arms race with Iran – we see an Iraq emerging peacefully with its neighbours, showing the Middle East a powerful example of a moderate, prosperous, free nation......."


I posted this story a couple of days ago:

This story is a horrifying wakeup call. While Britain is leading the opposition to new European controls on pesticides, many which have "gender-bending" effects, a new scientific study shows that baby boys born to women who've been exposed to chemicals are born with smaller or feminized genitalia. 

Dick's comment:

Bad news for the Democrats. The rolls of the Republican Party will no doubt be decreasing as these kids mature.

The way the Bush administration has devastated the environment over the past eight years it's almost as though they knew what they were doing.


Righties are trying to implicate Obama in the Blagojevich mess:






Barack Obama plans to nominate Nobel laureate Steven Chu to be his Secretary of Energy.

Imagine that - a real rocket scientist who would be in charge of the energy department!

Check out his resume:

Phenomenal. And he's not the only excellent choice - Obama's putting together a Green Dream Team that's showing in no uncertain terms that he's serious about getting global warming under control and transitioning us to a green economy. Carol Browner, who may be heading up a new National Energy Council and will definitely be part of the Administration, sees environmental regulations as market opportunities. Lisa Jackson, who may head up the EPA and is co-chair of the energy and natural resources transition team, is more of a mixed bag, coming highly recommended by some environmentalists and condemned by others, but New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine has no doubts she'd be awesome. Alas, I know nothing much at all about the women he's chosen to become Secretary of Energy and the chair of the President's Council on Environmental Quality, but the fact that the Chamber of Commerce is screaming bloody murder tells me we're probably looking at emerald green choices:

"What you've got are people who are committed to moving forward with regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, which we believe is a huge mistake." -  William Kovacs, VP of the US Chamber of Commerce.

Yup. Definitely on the right track.

So, we've got a Nobel Laureate and several people who are dead-serious about making green a go. They're the real deal.

Contrast this with Bush's buffoonery, and you'll see there's no comparison:

Currently, representatives from 190 countries are meeting in Poznan, Poland for an international climate change conference to work on the successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which President Bush refused to ratify in 2001.

In an interview with AFP in Poznan, Paula Dobriansky, the chief U.S. delegate, said that she has no regrets on the Bush administration's climate change record. If she could change anything, Dobriansky said a better job could have been done in articulating Bush's "message":

I think this issue (climate change) is important, we care about it greatly. Looking back, if there was anything that maybe I would have hoped, it's that we could have done a more effective job in getting our message out, in other words, (in) public diplomacy.

Spin couldn't have saved Bush's record on climate change. In fact, according to the annual Climate Change Performance Index published today, the U.S. is ranked as having the third worst record of 60 countries in tackling greenhouse gas emissions.

Somehow, methinks Obama's Green Team is going to be a lot less talk and a lot more action. Finally, America will be ready to lead the way on containing climate change and taking care of this gorgeous planet.


And in other rocket-related news, NASA administrator Mike Griffin is not cooperating with President-elect Barack Obama's transition team, is obstructing its efforts to get information and has told its leader that she is "not qualified" to judge his rocket program, the Orlando Sentinel has learned.

In a heated 40-minute conversation last week with Lori Garver, a former NASA associate administrator who heads the space transition team, a red-faced Griffin demanded to speak directly to Obama, according to witnesses.

In addition, Griffin is scripting NASA employees and civilian contractors on what they can tell the transition team and has warned aerospace executives not to criticize the agency's moon program, sources said.

Griffin's resistance is part of a no-holds-barred effort to preserve the Constellation program, the delayed and over-budget moon rocket that is his signature project.


Pentagon 'dragging its feet' on injured vets

Yes, they'll screw the soldiers over, but then watch the bureaucrats trip over their feet trying to save the F-22 program. There is always money for the latest and greatest toys, but never enough to support the people with rifles.

Nothing ever changes at Ft. Fumble.


Bush awards Presidential Citizens Medal to Watergate crook Chuck Colson:


The comments over at regarding Dubya's admission that he doesn't think the bible is literally true are hysterical:

What he meant is he doesn't believe all of it. He gets to pick and choose what to force down people's throats.
Nice of you to admit this after you have a god**mn month left of your eight-year-term, where you've used your "Christian principles" to oppose everything from gay marriage to stem cell research. Stupid, short-sighted, deluded, privileged, ignorant, failure-prone, manipulative, AND a hypocrite? Is there no beginning to your charms? Good riddance, a**hole.
Wow.... George W Bush has just done the impossible. He just may have found a way to piss off his 23%ers.
Yup...he may leave office with a single-digit approval rating.
The Bible is sort of like that slide show he forced Colin Powell to make to the UN on WMD's in Iraq.
I am waiting for later in the month when he admits he is still a raging alcoholic and a cokehead.
Kinda like how the WMDs weren't literally true?


Two letters to the editor of USA Toady share their disgust with Rump Limbaugh, Sean Hannity et al, who have "contributed more to the divisiveness in this country than any other source."


Thank you, Harry Reid

If the $14 billion bailout plan for U.S. automakers passes, it will help more than just Ford, Chrysler and General Motors. Federal judges would get a pay raise, as well.

The annual cost of living raise would bring U.S. District court judges up to par with members of Congress, who will receive an almost $5,000 boost on Jan. 1. District judges and lawmakers now earn $169,300 a year but are expected to be awarded a 2.8 percent raise next year

Meanwhile, unemployment claims reach 26 year high:


Heckuva job

Despite Secret Service screenings, employees of a Maryland cleaning company used by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff for the last four years have "turned out to be illegal immigrants." The owner said five of the company's illegal employees "were part of crews sent to Chertoff's home and whom ICE told him to fire because they were undocumented."


Rice disputes that America's image has been 'tarnished' by torture: "I'm going to have to object"

Yes, Condi. When photos like these were beamed around the world, it actually helped our reputation:

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