Monday, April 27, 2009

Headlines - Monday

Let's just send tea to Texas!

Gov. Rick Perry Saturday asked the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 37,430 courses of antiviral medications from the Strategic National Stockpile as a precaution after three cases of swine flu were confirmed in Texas.
Yes, that is the very same Rick Perry who, eleven days ago at the tea-baggery protests, said this:
"I believe that our federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state."
And this:
"Texas is a unique place. When we came into the union in 1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that."
Oh, sure. When everything is going well, douchebags like Perry rail and scream at the Federal government. But when Hurricane Ike slammed into Galveston, Perry had zero problem with asking the Federal government for help. There was not one Texas teabagging protester at the border to stop FEMA trucks.

That didn't stop the teabaggery fiasco from happening not eight months later. How soon they forget. They all want the Federal government to step in and help them, but horrors of horrors if they actually have to pay taxes!

Now, with a chance that a serious pandemic is in the offing, Governor Perry is in the forefront of asking the Federal government for help.

So here, for your viewing pleasure, is a photo of a world-class hypocrite: The Governor of Texas, the not-exactly-honorable Rick Perry:

This pandemic has been brought to you by the Republican party
That is the story in the Nation, which reported that the Republicans were very proud in being able to strip nearly a billion dollars' worth of funding for pandemic flu preparations from the stimulus bill. As noted in the article, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine was a leader in the move to strip funding for pandemic preparation. As she brags in her own website:
Sen. Collins expressed concern about a number of spending provisions, including $780 million for pandemic-flu preparedness.
I predict that, if the swine flu turns into a real pandemic, you will see Republicans running for cover on this even faster than sick people going to the pharmacy with a prescription for Tamiflu.  
Nice to know Donald Rumsfeld will be profiting from this.
And this:

Bush's Brain doesn't appear to be quite so prescient in the face of a potential global flu epidemic.

Writing in a column in the Wall Street Journal in February, Rove attacked Democrats for what he dubbed as reckless spending — stimulus money being doled out to industries "that added jobs last year."

Among them? Education and healthcare.

What nefarious programs were Democrats trying to insert? Among other things, Rove cited $900 million for "pandemic flu preparations."

Cool! Scroll around the Sistine Chapel:
h/t Dick
Do I have this right?  If you're a private citizen caught brewing meth in your home, prosecuting your crime is seeking 'justice'.  If you're an elected politician or an appointed official openly and actively conspiring to undermine the Constitution and subvert national and international law in your Washington office, prosecuting your crimes would be seeking 'retribution'. That about it?
Politicians free to do as they please without fear of criminal prosecution.  Change I certainly can believe in.
bill clinton
Frank Rich: The Banality of Bush White House Evil:
In the midst of the  swine flu mess, the Republicon bastards are filibustering the confirmation of Secretary of HHS
Yesterday at the White House briefing, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, was there as was John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. They were joined by the Acting Director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). But, we don't even have a head of CDC because the Secretary of HHS appoints that person. And, no Secretary of HHS. In fact, as the White House transcript shows, Napolitano had to make the announcement about the "public health emergency" for HHS:
The first thing I want to announce today is that the Department of Health and Human Services will declare today a public health emergency in the United States.
For the time being, HHS is being led by Acting Secretary Charles Johnson, a Bush-appointee from Utah who spent most of his career working as an accountant.
Dick Cheney has been asking the Obama administration to release certain pages of certain classified documents, in order to "prove" that torture works. Here's a question: How does a 68 year old man remember specific pages of specific documents when he left his job over three months ago and, presumably, presumably lost his access to those documents at the time he left the White House? Did Cheney take copies of classified documents with him? Is someone leaking Cheney information about classified documents? Did Cheney takes notes on classified documents, which would themselves be classified?

Consider the amount of paperwork the vice president of the United States sees on a daily basis. Then consider that Cheney held the job for 8 years. We're to believe that he can remember specific pages of specific documents well enough to request in writing that those specific pages and documents be declassified? I smell a leak.

Joe Wilson is feeling ornery:

Cheney's request for the declassification of material is a welcome development, but it should not be limited to his narrow request. Our country's understanding of what was done in our name by the Bush administration depends on the release, not just of the documents Cheney has designated, but of all documents related to the efforts of the Bush administration and Cheney himself to defend the indefensible—the decision to invade Iraq despite the knowledge at the time that Iraq did not have a nuclear program, had no ties to al Qaeda, and posed no existential threat to the United States or to its friends and allies in the region.

The disinformation campaign to manipulate public opinion in favor of the invasion, the torture program, and the illegal exposure of a clandestine CIA agent—my wife, Valerie Plame Wilson—were linked events. In their desperate effort to gather material to whip up public support, Cheney and others resorted to torture, well known in the intelligence craft to elicit inherently unreliable information. Cheney & Co. then pressured the CIA to put its stamp of approval on a series of falsehoods—26 of which were inserted into Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech before the United Nations Security Council. At the same time, Cheney was furiously attempting to suppress the true information that Saddam Hussein was not seeking yellowcake uranium in Niger. After I published the facts in an article in The New York Times in July 2002, Cheney tried to punish me and discredit the truth by directing the outing of a CIA operative who happened to be my wife.

Among other documents Cheney should release is his testimony to Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald about the role he played in the treasonous leak of the identity of a covert CIA officer. His chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury for his efforts to ensure that the "cloud over the vice president," as Fitzgerald noted, was not penetrated.

As a witness in the Libby case, Cheney has the legal grounds to release his own testimony. If he feels more comfortable, he can ask permission, though he does not need it, from former President George W. Bush—and ask that Bush release his testimony as well. Because Cheney has called for transparency, why should he or Bush object? Then Pat Fitzgerald can make public the transcripts. It's time for this coverup to end.

Your move, Dick.


It appears that Mexican authorities are sitting on information in an attempt to keep people from panicking - and of course, people are panicking because they have no real information on the Swine Flu.

Once again, it looks like the internet is ahead of the official media. Comments on a BBC News site paint a much grimmer picture than we've been led to believe about the swine flu epidemic in Mexico. And while I'm reluctant to assume all commenters on a news site are telling the truth, I don't think we can completely dismiss this, either. After all, Mexican authorities, already reeling from a sharp drop in tourism, have a strong financial incentive to downplay the size of this problem. Here's a sample:

There is a sense of chaos in the other hospitals and we do not know what to do. Staff are starting to leave and many are opting to retire or apply for holidays. The truth is that mortality is even higher than what is being reported by the authorities, at least in the hospital where I work it. It is killing three to four patients daily, and it has been going on for more than three weeks. It is a shame and there is great fear here. Increasingly younger patients aged 20 to 30 years are dying before our helpless eyes and there is great sadness among health professionals here.


Today, the U.S. and Iraq will begin negotiating "possible exceptions to the June 30 deadline for withdrawing American combat troops from Iraqi cities, focusing on the troubled northern city of Mosul" and parts of Baghdad. In the rest of Iraq's cities and towns, the withdrawal of all United States combat troops "is on schedule to finish by the June 30 deadline."

Mr. "I was against the Iraq war even though I couldn't vote on it" Obama better not cave on this.


Californian victims of Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme would like to have back the taxes they paid on all their imaginary earnings. Los Angeles Times


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