Archive for June 2nd, 2008

Cheney: Forced To Apologize For His Sick Incest Joke

By- Suzie-Q @ 8:55 PM MST

From: Think Progress
By Matt at 10:17 pm

Cheney forced to apologize for incest joke about West Virginians.»

At the National Press Club today, Vice President Dick Cheney raised the ire of West Virginia lawmakers when he made an offhand incest joke about the state, saying he “had Cheneys on both sides of the family and we don’t even live in West Virginia.” West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, Sens. Robert Byrd (D) and Jay Rockefeller (D) and Reps. Shelley Moore Capito (R) and Nick Rahall (D) all condemned Cheney’s attempt at humor. This evening, Cheney’s spokesperson, Lea Anne McBride, put out a statement apologizing for the Vice President:

The Vice President’s offhand comment was not meant to hurt anyone. On reflection, he concluded that it was an inappropriate attempt at humor that he should not have made. The Vice President apologizes to the people of West Virginia for the inappropriate remark.

(HT: Huffington Post)

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By- Suzie-Q @ 8:45 PM MST

U2- Pride (In The Name Of Love)- Live from 2003-06-21_Dublin

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The NIST Bu$hco & The WTC Investigation

by Geezer Power…11:46 am

National Institute of Standards and Technology Boulder, Colorado

We may think that we live in a Democracy, but it is pretty much controlled by the Executive part of the White House. The directors of many of the institutes and foundations that are involved in the shaping of our policies are appointed by the POTUS.

Both the director of the NIST and the director of the NSF were appointed by George W. Bu$h for six year terms. The study on WTC1 from my previous article, by Purdue University was funded by the NSF, which was funded by the US corporate government.

The current NIST investigation of the World Trade Center disaster
is also funded by the US government and has been stonewalling a real investigation for seven years. The NIST is a non regulatory federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce. and headed by a Bush appointee.

NIST Director William Jeffrey

Jeffrey, 45, was nominated by President Bush on May 25, 2005, to succeed Arden Bement, who was appointed director of the National Science Foundation in November of last year. NIST Deputy Director Hratch Semerjian has served as acting director in the interim.

Jeffrey has been involved in federal science and technology programs and policy since 1988. Previous to his appointment as director of NIST he served as senior director for homeland and national security and the assistant director for space and aeronautics at the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) within the Executive Office of the President. Prior to that he was the deputy director for the Advanced Technology Office and chief scientist for the Tactical Technology Office with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). While at DARPA, Jeffrey developed research programs in communications, computer network security, novel sensor development and space operations.

Prior to joining DARPA, Jeffrey was the assistant deputy for technology at the Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office, where he supervised sensor development for the Predator and Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and the development of common standards that allow for cross-service and cross-agency transfer of imagery and intelligence products. Jeffrey also spent several years working at the Institute for Defense Analyses performing technical analyses in support of the Department of Defense.

Well, one would think that this guy would come in real handy for the WTC investigation with his DARPA connections and knowledge of novel sensor development and space operations, but I doubt that we’ll hear about anything except “Fire in the Skyscraper” and debunking the Twoofers.

Read more about the NIST

NIST is a nonregulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The purposes of NIST investigations are to improve the safety and structural integrity of buildings in the United States and the focus is on fact finding. NIST investigative teams are required to assess building performance and emergency response and evacuation procedures in the wake of any building failure that has resulted in substantial loss of life or that posed significant potential of substantial loss of life. NIST does not have the statutory authority to make findings of fault or negligence by individuals or organizations. Further, no part of any report resulting from a NIST investigation into a building failure or from an investigation under the National Construction Safety Team Act may be used in any suit or action for damages arising out of any matter mentioned in such report
(15 USC 281a, as amended by P.L. 107-231).

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Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has pulled the country's troops out of Iraq

By Nick Squires in Sydney | London Telegraph | Last Updated: 11:47AM BST 02/06/2008

All the arguments Australia marshalled to justify sending troops to fight in Iraq proved to be wrong, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said today, as the country’s 550 combat soldiers headed home.

In an admission that will make uncomfortable reading in London and Washington, the Labour leader dismissed one-by-one the reasons used by his predecessor, John Howard, to join the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq five years ago.

“Have further terrorist attacks been prevented? No, they have not been, as the victims of the Madrid train bombing will attest,” Mr Rudd told parliament.

“Has any evidence of a link between weapons of mass destruction and the former Iraqi regime and terrorists been found? No.

“Have the actions of rogue states like Iran been moderated? No … Iran’s nuclear ambitions remain a fundamental challenge.

“After five years, has the humanitarian crisis in Iraq been removed? No it has not.”


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anthony @ 17:33 BST

An amphibious assault vehicle leaves the USS Peleliu, which was used to detain prisoners, according to the human rights group Reprieve
An amphibious assault vehicle leaves the USS Peleliu, which was used to detain prisoners, according to the human rights group Reprieve. Photograph: Zack Baddor/AP

· Report says 17 boats used
· MPs seek details of UK role
· Europe attacks 42-day plan

The United States is operating “floating prisons” to house those arrested in its war on terror, according to human rights lawyers, who claim there has been an attempt to conceal the numbers and whereabouts of detainees.

Details of ships where detainees have been held and sites allegedly being used in countries across the world have been compiled as the debate over detention without trial intensifies on both sides of the Atlantic. The US government was yesterday urged to list the names and whereabouts of all those detained.

Information about the operation of prison ships has emerged through a number of sources, including statements from the US military, the Council of Europe and related parliamentary bodies, and the testimonies of prisoners.

The analysis, due to be published this year by the human rights organisation Reprieve, also claims there have been more than 200 new cases of rendition since 2006, when President George Bush declared that the practice had stopped.

It is the use of ships to detain prisoners, however, that is raising fresh concern and demands for inquiries in Britain and the US.

According to research carried out by Reprieve, the US may have used as many as 17 ships as “floating prisons” since 2001. Detainees are interrogated aboard the vessels and then rendered to other, often undisclosed, locations, it is claimed.

Ships that are understood to have held prisoners include the USS Bataan and USS Peleliu. A further 15 ships are suspected of having operated around the British territory of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, which has been used as a military base by the UK and the Americans.


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Sudhan @17:30 CET

Palestinian Information Center, June 1, 2008

GAZA, (PIC)– International Tadamun (solidarity) society for human rights reported that the IOF troops killed 45 Palestinian citizens during last May including five children and two women, adding that most of the victims were murdered in the Gaza Strip.

In a monthly report received by the PIC, the society said that this large number of victims in one month clearly indicates that the Israeli occupation is persistent in its aggression through pursuing the policy of execution and assassination against the Palestinians despite it is proscribed by international conventions and charters.

Tadamun expressed its deep concern over this high number of victims killed by Israel in Gaza, considering what is happening part of the Israeli policy of ethnic cleansing and war crimes against humanity.

The society called on all parties concerned with human rights to urgently intervene to stop the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and the West Bank through pressuring Israel to cease its aggression and violations against the Palestinian people there.

For its part, the Palestinian center for the defense of prisoners revealed Sunday that the IOF troops kidnapped last month 372 Palestinians including 32 children during 96 raids in different areas of Gaza and the West Bank.

The center underlined in its monthly report, a copy of which was received by the PIC, that the province of northern Gaza topped the other Palestinian provinces in the number of detainees where the number there reached 79 kidnapped Palestinians.

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By- Suzie-Q @ 7:00 AM MST

Sunday, June 01, 2008
Jane’s YouTube vid reaches #1, 500,000 views in one day

John Aravosis (DC) · 6/01/2008 08:54:00 PM ET

Most viewed video on YouTube today, taken by Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake at yesterday’s Rules committee meeting. Watch it.

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GEF @ 6:08 AM MST


Rockefellers Seek Change at Exxon

HOUSTON — The Rockefeller family built one of the great American fortunes by supplying the nation with oil. Now history has come full circle: some family members say it is time to start moving beyond the oil age.

The family members have thrown their support behind a shareholder rebellion that is ruffling feathers at Exxon Mobil, the giant oil company descended from John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust.

Three of the resolutions, to be voted on at the company’s shareholder meeting on Wednesday, are considered unlikely to pass, even with Rockefeller family support.

The resolutions ask Exxon to take the threat of global warming more seriously and look for alternatives to spewing greenhouse gases into the air.

One resolution would urge the company to study the impact of global warming on poor countries, another would encourage Exxon to reduce its emissions and a third would encourage it to do more research on renewable energy sources like solar panels and wind turbines.

A fourth resolution, which the Rockefellers are most united in supporting, is considered more likely to pass. It would strip Rex W. Tillerson of his position as chairman of Exxon’s board, forcing the company to separate that job from the chief executive’s job.

A shareholder vote in favor of that idea would be a rebuke of Mr. Tillerson, who is widely perceived as more resistant than other oil chieftains to investing in alternative energy.

The Rockefellers say they are not trying to embarrass Mr. Tillerson, also Exxon’s chief executive, but think it is time for the company to spend more of its funds helping the nation chart a new energy future.

“Exxon Mobil needs to reconnect with the forward-looking and entrepreneurial vision of my great-grandfather,” Neva Rockefeller Goodwin, a Tufts University economist, said in a statement to reporters.

“The truth is that Exxon Mobil is profiting in the short term from investments and decisions made many years ago, and by focusing on a narrow path that ignores the rapidly shifting energy landscape around the world,” she added.

The resolution on Exxon’s chairmanship was offered for several years before the Rockefellers became publicly involved and last year was supported by 40 percent of shareholders who voted. Royal Dutch Shell and BP already separate the positions of chairman and chief executive, as do many other companies.

“You need a board asking the tough questions,” Peter O’Neill, a private equity investor and great-great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller, said in an interview. “We expect the company to figure out how in this changing world to adjust.”

Kenneth P. Cohen, vice president for public affairs at Exxon, said the shareholders pushing the resolutions were “starting from a false premise.” He added that the company was already concerned about “how to provide the world the energy it needs while at the same time reducing fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions.”

Fifteen members of the family are sponsoring or co-sponsoring the four resolutions, but it appears that some have much more solid support in the sprawling family than others.

Mr. O’Neill said that 73 out of 78 adult descendants of John D. Rockefeller were supporting the family effort to divide the chief executive and chairman positions. The goal of that resolution is to improve the management of the company, which could strengthen its environmental policies and improve more traditional pursuits like exploring more aggressively for new oil reserves.

David Rockefeller, retired chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank and patriarch of the family, issued a statement saying, “I support my family’s efforts to sharpen Exxon Mobil’s focus on the environmental crisis facing all of us.”

The Rockefeller family has always been identified with oil and the legacy of Standard Oil, but for several generations, it has also been active in environmental causes and acquiring land for preservation. John D. Rockefeller’s grandsons devoted themselves to conservation issues, and Rockefeller charitable organizations have long promoted efforts to fight pollution.

Ms. Goodwin, one of the most vocal Rockefellers on the environment today, is co-director of the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts.

In recent years, family members have quietly encouraged Exxon executives to take global warming seriously, but their private efforts did not go far. Until now, they have avoided publicity in their efforts, and the youngest Rockefeller generations have generally shunned attention.

Exxon executives said the company spent $2 billion over the last five years on programs to reduce emissions and improve efficiencies and had plans to spend $800 million on similar initiatives over the next three years. They said the company reduced the release of greenhouse gases from its operations last year by 3 percent, and it was working with Stanford to research biofuels and solar and hydrogen energy.

Since taking over the company two years ago, Mr. Tillerson has gradually shifted the company’s positions away from those of his predecessor, Lee R. Raymond, who was considered a skeptic on the science of global warming.

But with gasoline prices soaring and concern growing over global warming, Exxon, the biggest of the investor-owned oil companies, is a target for politicians and environmentalists. Chevron, BP and Shell, Exxon’s largest competitors, have given their investments in renewable fuels a much higher profile.

Similar or identical environmental proposals have not passed at previous Exxon shareholder meetings, but the public support of the Rockefeller family has given old efforts new energy.

The involvement of the Rockefellers, said Robert A. G. Monks, a shareholder who has been urging a separation of the chairman and chief executive jobs for years, shows that “this is not just a matter of the self-appointed good guys against the cavemen, but also a matter of the capitalists wanting to make money.”

Nineteen institutional investors with 91 million shares announced last week that they would support resolutions asking Exxon to separate the top executive positions and tackle global warming. They included the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and the New York City Employees’ Retirement System.

California’s treasurer, Bill Lockyer, who serves on the boards of the two California funds, said the company’s “go-slow approach” on global warming “places long-term shareholder value at risk.”

Under Exxon’s rules, a shareholder proposal that passes is not binding without the support of the board. But Andrew Logan, director of the oil program at Ceres, a coalition of institutional investors and environmentalists, said, “boards tend to strongly consider proposals that get significant support.”

Paul Sankey, an oil analyst at Deutsche Bank, said that he thought a separation of the chief executive and chairman jobs might be a good management move and that “we might see a mild benefit to Exxon’s public image.” But he added, “On balance, we wouldn’t expect any change in strategy.”

The Fraternal Order of Police, which represents public safety officers, whose pensions are invested in Exxon, has publicly opposed the shareholder effort to change company policy.

“The Rockefeller resolution threatens to degrade the value of Exxon Mobil,” the organization wrote in a letter to Mr. Tillerson that criticized the splitting of the top executive jobs.

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More war lies and propaganda

sudhan @10:00 CET

Illustration: Luis Vazquez/Gulf News

By Adel Safty Special to Gulf News
Published: June 01, 2008, 23:35

All governments engage in self-promotion and propaganda to influence public opinion and achieve a measure of thought control – overtly so in authoritarian regimes, and more subtley in democracies.

What distinguishes the Bush administration from other democratic governments, is the aggressiveness with which it engaged in propaganda, and the contempt with which it treated the people’s democratic right to know the truth.

The Bush administration also co-opted the influential corporate media in its campaign of deception. Newspapers such as the Washington Post acted as a cheerleader for the war.

The New York Times propagated the unfounded allegations of its disgraced reporter Judith Miller to build up a case for war. The New York Times later admitted that it had erred and apologised to its readers, but after the damage was done.

>The deception campaign was multi-faceted. Documents revealed to and interviews with the New York Times confirmed that the Bush administration launched a major secretive propaganda war: “The campaign was begun by the White House,” wrote the New York Times, “which set up a secret panel soon after the September 11 attacks to coordinate information operations by the Pentagon, other government agencies and private contractors.”

The Pentagon hired two public relations firms: The Lincoln Group, and the Rendon Group. The Lincoln Group planted more than a 10,000 pro-American articles in Iraqi and Arab press. The Rendon Group targeted foreign news organisations critical of US policies.

Pentagon documents obtained by Rolling Stone, show that the Pentagon set up, in late 2001, a secret organisation called The Office of Strategic Influence to conduct “covert disinformation and deception operations – planting false news items in the media and hiding their origins”.

Secret documents

The Pentagon’s Office of Strategic Influence was also expected to “coerce” foreign journalists and plant false information overseas. Secret documents also showed that the Office was expected to “find ways to “punish” those who convey the “wrong message.” (Rolling Stone, November 27, 2005)
Recently, two major studies further documented the various dimensions of the Bush administration’s campaign of deception.

In January of this year, a study by the Centre for Public Integrity found that Bush and his senior administration officials made hundreds of false statements about Iraq.

Continued . . .

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