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Archive for June 22nd, 2007

by- Suzie-Q @ 6:46 PM MST

CNN reported Thursday that the Secret Service expects President Bush to be “a high value terrorist target after he leaves office.” They then showed the Secret Service practicing to deal with everything from James Bond-style stealth weapons to roadside IED’s in order to meet that challenge.

Retired agent Terry Samway told CNN, “We have the mandate to make sure that whatever they did during their presidency, they are still safe from any of those lingering issues after their presidency.”

Even before 9/11, the cost of protection for former presidents was estimated as $24 million a year, and Bush will be guarded by an unprecedented 103 full-time agents starting in January 2009. However, a 1997 law limits the duration of Secret Service protection for former presidents to just 10 years.

“But before they can protect a president or former president,” concluded CNN, “the new recruits are drilled in the basics, including target practice at 100 yards and then a sprint to load and fire again — this time much more up close and personal.”

The following video is from CNN’s News Room, broadcast on June 21.

Watch the video

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The Eight Principles Of Incompetence

by- Mentarch … 18:38 EDT 

It is no secret that the two recurring themes in my entries are A) intellectual sloth; and B) the day-to-day expression, or symptom, of intellectual sloth – incompetence. Throughout my writings and explorations of these two themes, I have come to realize that there are actually general principles, or laws, which govern human incompetence.

After further research, thinking and pondering, I now feel confident to present to you my final, “official”, Eight Principles of Incompetence:

(more…)

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by GEF @ 5:50 PM EDT

 

World trade talks collapse in acrimony

By Alan Beattie, World Trade Editor

Published: June 21 2007 20:43 | Last updated: June 21 2007 20:43

The chance of a global trade deal being clinched before President George W. Bush leaves the White House shrank dramatically on Thursday with talks between core negotiating partners collapsing again in division and acrimony.

In a near-exact repeat of events last summer, talks in Potsdam, Germany, between the four partners at the centre of the so-called Doha round of negotiations – the EU, US, Brazil and India – broke up with sides still far apart on cutting agricultural subsidies and goods tariffs.

Go Read It—->

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All Hands to the LifeBoats..Abandon Ship!

by GEF @ 5:10 PM EDT

I should have re-title this:
“THE COMING INDICTMENT OF GEORGE W. BUSH!”

The hired cabin stewards are now jumping overboard before Titanic rolls over and goes into it’s death plunge! 😉

 

Bush aides quit amid little sense of purpose

By Edward Luce and Andrew Ward

Published: June 21 2007 02:17 | Last updated: June 21 2007 02:17

When asked whether he was quitting the Bush administration because it would be good for his political future, Rob Portman, the outgoing budget director, replied: “It would be good for my mental health.” Although Mr Portman was joking, a growing list of officials have already acted on that impulse.

At least 20 senior aides have left important posts in the White House, Pentagon or State Department over the past six months, as chaos has deepened in Iraq. “There’s a real sense of fatigue and very little sense of purpose,” said a senior official, who asked not to be named. “My guess is you’re going to see a lot more departures.”

Mr Portman, who had been Mr Bush’s budget director for little more than a year, could hardly have quit at a less convenient time for the administration. His resignation was particularly symbolic because he had taken the job as part of last year’s White House shake-up designed to breathe fresh life into Mr Bush’s second-term policy agenda.

Go Read It—>

LOOK BETTY…THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES…

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by- Suzie-Q @ 1:51 PM MST

Moore explains how the the obscene profits made by the CEOs of “non-profit” hospitals started with Richard Nixon in this powerful interview about his new documentary, SiCKO.

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore sat down with Amy Goodman ahead of the release of his new film SiCKO. The film is a seething indictment of the US healthcare system. It focuses not on the more than 40 million people who don’t have healthcare but on the 250 million who do – many of whom are abandoned by the very health insurance industry they paid into for decades. “They are getting away with murder,” Moore said of the health insurance companies. “They charge whatever they want. There is no government control, and frankly we will not fix our system until we remove these private insurance companies.”

Amy Goodman: Michael Moore is on the move. The Academy Award-winning filmmaker testified this week on Capitol Hill. And he’s making his way to New Hampshire to challenge presidential candidates — Democrat and Republican — over the nation’s healthcare system.

Oh, and his latest documentary, SiCKO, is being released in thousands of theaters next week. The film is a seething indictment of the US healthcare system. It focuses not on the more than 40 million people who don’t have health insurance, but on the more than 250 million who do, many of whom are abandoned by the very health insurance industry they’ve paid into for decades.

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Don’t Mention the War

Anthony @ 21:25 BST

That was the message many European Union leaders had for Poland on Thursday as they arrived for a summit on the division of power in the 27-nation bloc.

‘The idea of basing today’s decision on voting rights … on World War Two is absurd,’ Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters.

He was responding to remarks by Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who said Poland deserved more voting power in the EU because its population had been decimated by Nazi Germany and would otherwise be much larger now than 38 million.

‘We are only demanding one thing, that we get back what was taken from us,’ Kaczynski said in a radio interview this week.

‘If Poland had not had to live through the years of 1939-45, Poland would be today looking at the demographics of a country of 66 million.’

Hans-Gert Poettering, the German conservative who is president of the European Parliament, said he found such statements ‘very painful’.

‘Throughout Europe since 1989, there has been a great deal of goodwill shown, especially to Poland. That is why as a German, and as a European, it now hurts me very deeply to hear such comments,’ he told a news conference.

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Nobody Asked Me, But…

by- Actor212 @ 3:12 PM EDT

I’ve gotten enough feedback on this regular feature of Simply Left Behind that tells me I ought to make it even more regular…presumably without forcefeeding it a bran muffin.

And it’s true, I’ve viewed NAM,B as a fallback option when I really have nothing to say, but don’t want to spend a day not saying it.

So without further ado…

1) New York state politics is heating up, as the GOP finds itself on the ropes of irrelevancy. State Senate leader Joseph Bruno is the last Republican in New York with any stroke, and he’s under several clouds of suspicion. This has national implications, particularly if Giuliani, Clinton, and Bloomberg all end up Presidential nominees after the dust settles next summer.

2) It pays to check your doctor’s credentials. Always.

3) Fendi will hold a fashion show on the Great Wall of China. What shoes go with “brick”?

4) NASA is having problems landing the shuttle. Again. it seems to me that more money is spent getting this puppy down from space than getting a mission launched. Maybe the Space Center needs to be moved someplace with friendlier weather? The Mojave Desert springs to mind.

5) Who cares? Seriously?

6) Poor George Clooney. Maybe this is payback for Oceans 13?

7) The US is predicting that Robert Mugabe, the tyrant-president of Zimbabwe, will be deposed shortly because of hyperinflation, rampant unemployment, and more and more people in dire need of food, clothing, and shelter, struggling with poverty. The good news for Zimbabwe is, he’s still a better president than we have. On a related note, it seems as though much of Africa is reaching a flash point, in tandem with much of the Middle East.

8) Iwo Jima is no more.

9) If you thought our trade deficit was bad enough, get ready for real trouble. European governments are now free to bolster industries within their borders. This bodes ill for the high tech sector in America, particularly Apple and Microsoft, which hold dominant positions in their sectors in Europe. Who led this fight in Europe? The “conservative” Nicolas Sarkozy. This is the guy our economic royalists were touting as bringing American capitalism to Europe, and they were right, but boy is it about to backfire!

10) Every man ought to own at least one Hawaiian shirt. Every man. And most women, while we’re at it.

11) I’m more and more amazed that the Mets have managed to cling to first place. They haven’t won back to back game this entire month, something they hadn’t done since the early 60s. When Ricky Ledee is your sparkplug, you have serious troubles.

12) At first glance, it looks like the Dems turned their backs on a core constituency. I think in this case, however, the union screwed up, and misjudged how serious Congress needs to get about CAFE standards. Politics makes strange bedfellows, and so while Nissan Motors backed the tougher mileage standards, GM, Ford, and Chrysler stood solidly behind…their unions???

13) Rudy claims he didn’t want to politicize the Iraq Study Group. So why did he sign on in the first place?

14) Another nail in the coffin for the average American.

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Posted by Anthony @ 19:25 BST

The hot story in the Blogosphere is that the “erroneous” exit polls that showed Kerry carrying Florida and Ohio (among other states) weren’t erroneous at all – it was the numbers produced by paperless voting machines that were wrong, and Kerry actually won. As more and more analysis is done of what may (or may not) be the most massive election fraud in the history of the world, however, it’s critical that we keep the largest issue at the forefront at all time: Why are We The People allowing private, for-profit corporations, answerable only to their officers and boards of directors, and loyal only to agendas and politicians that will enhance their profitability, to handle our votes?

Maybe Florida went for Kerry, maybe for Bush. Over time – and through the efforts of some very motivated investigative reporters – we may well find out. Bev Harris of http://www.blackboxvoting.org/just filed what may be the largest Freedom of Information Act [FOIA} filing in history), and bloggers and investigative reporters are discovering an odd discrepancy in exit polls being largely accurate in paper-ballot states and oddly inaccurate in touch-screen electronic voting states Even raw voter analyses are showing extreme oddities in touch-screen-run Florida, and eagle-eyed bloggers are finding that news organizations are retroactively altering their exit polls to coincide with what the machines ultimately said.

But in all the discussion about voting machines, let’s never forget the concept of the commons, because this usurpation is the ultimate felony committed by conservatives this year.

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See also: Was the 2004 Election Stolen?

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DON’T UNDERESTIMATE MICHAEL BLOOMBERG

Anthony @ 19:00 BST

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is jumping the Republican ship for two good reasons ~ Bush is determined to take the party down with him in 2008 and, as an Independent, Bloomberg offers the electorate a fresh and compelling alternative versus seeing the Clintons in the White House again: Allen L Roland

Despite Bloomberg’s statements, he is often talked about as a potential 2008 independent presidential candidate. Bloomberg denies these plans, but has dropped several coy hints over the past year that the idea has crossed his mind:

In summer 2006, he met with Al From of the centrist group the Democratic Leadership Council to talk about the logistics of a possible run.

Bloomberg re-launched his personal website (http://www.mikebloomberg.com), which had been defunct since his successful election to a second mayoral term. Writing in the New York Sun, Jill Gardiner noted Bloomberg’s site was conspicuously red white and blue and “strikingly similar to the sites of the 2008 presidential candidates.”

After a conversation with Bloomberg, Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska has also suggested that he and Bloomberg could run on a shared independent ticket for the presidency.

On This Week on June 10, 2007, anchor George Stephanopoulos mentioned four necessary conditions Bloomberg insiders say would be prerequisites to a presidential campaign for the Mayor:

  • 70% of the nation would need to feel as though the country is moving in the wrong direction.
  • Both nominees would need to have disapproval ratings in the 40% range.
  • 40% of the country would need to be open to a third party candidate.
  • 20–25% of the country would need to be “open to Mike Bloomberg”. During that airing, panelist Jay Carney also made allusions to a conversation between Bloomberg and top staffers. During said conversation, Bloomberg asked approximately how much a presidential campaign would cost, one staffer replied “around $500 million.”

A $500 million budget would allow Bloomberg to circumvent many of the common obstacles faced by third party candidates seeking the White House.

On June 19, 2007, Bloomberg left the Republican Party, eschewing the labels of party politics and filed papers to change to an Independent after a scathing speech about the current political climate in Washington. This has only increased speculation about his future plans, but Bloomberg continues to say he won’t run.

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by- Suzie-Q @ 10:48 AM MST

by F. Vyan Walton

I really shouldn’t be surprised by now – I’m mean honestly. – but this latest revelation coming out of Henry Waxman’s committee that Vice President Dick Cheney has quite literally refused to abide by a Presidential Executive Order regarding the handling of sensitive National Security Information is truly stunning.

And what’s really amazing is the reasoning they’ve provided. Ya see, it’s simply the fact that the Vice President’s Office – Isn’t Part of the Executive Branch – and hence isn’t subject to such Executive Orders from the guy down the hall – y’know what’s his name – the non-Vice dude.

Say What!?!

This particular claim – that the OVP isn’t part of the executive – actually isn’t a surpise, because I’ve heard of Cheney making it before. The theory goes that since the Vice President is also a voting member of The Senate – literally it’s President – he exists in the unique position of being in two branches of government at the same time.

So it would naturally follow that he isn’t beholden to the rules of either branch then right?

Yeah, ok – sure. That makes perfect sense On The Bizarro Planet!

Regardless of the excuses, what does this mean in practical terms? Well, here’s what Paris Hilton’s Congressman, Mr. Waxman has to say about it.

Executive Order 12958, “Classified National Security Information,” was first issued by President Clinton in 1995. President Bush amended the executive order in March 2003. As amended by President Bush, the executive order prescribes a uniform system for classifying, safeguarding, and declassifying national security information.

The executive order gives important responsibilities to the Information Security Oversight Office within the National Archives. This office was created in 1978 by Executive Order 12065, “National Security Information,” issued by President Carter. Under the Bush executive order, the National Archives, acting through the Information Security Oversight Office, is directed to ensure agency compliance with classified information safeguards by issuing directives to agencies; developing and monitoring security education programs; receiving and responding to reports of security violations; and acting on complaints about the program’s implementation. In addition, the executive order and its implementing directive require executive branch agencies to provide data to the Archives about their classification and declassification activities, which the Archives then compiles to produce annual reports for the President.

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