Archive for August 7th, 2008

White House Press Plane Detained In China

By- Suzie-Q @ 9:30 PM MST

China Detains White House Press Plane

Huffington Post

PAUL ALEXANDER | August 7, 2008 06:05 PM EST | AP

BEIJING — A charter airplane carrying the White House press corps was detained for nearly three hours Friday at Beijing’s international airport not long after President Bush arrived to attend the Olympic Games.

The flight crew of the Northwest Airlines 747 had been expecting to park at a VIP terminal, but after landing was instead directed by the control tower to a normal international gate.

White House officials would say only there were “logistical problems” getting clearance to unload the aircraft. The flight crew was told the Chinese were insisting that all luggage be inspected.

Typically, the White House press charter receives the “custom of the port,” meaning reporters, photographers and camera crews are able to get off the plane right after landing, board buses and head to their hotels and work areas while U.S. State Department officials process immigration and customs details.

Delays on landing have happened before, but no one on the plane was able to recall one this long.

The plane landed at 2:10 a.m. local time. Passengers finally were able to get off the plane shortly after 5 a.m. However, they were made to pass through Chinese immigration control individually, and baggage was still being screened.

Many of those on the plane _ roughly 40 journalists _ were due to cover the president’s first appearance of the day: the opening of the new Beijing U.S. Embassy complex.

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DOJ Has Widened Scope on Attorney Firing Scandal

By- Suzie-Q @ 9:00 PM MST

U.S. Attorney Scandal Probe Enters White House Circle

Huffington Post- Murray Waas

August 7, 2008 02:16 PM

The Justice Department investigation into the firings of nine U.S. attorneys has been extended to encompass allegations that senior White House officials played a role in providing false and misleading information to Congress, according to numerous sources involved in the inquiry.

The widened scope raises the possibility that investigators will pursue criminal charges against some administration officials, and recommend appointment of a special prosecutor if there is evidence of criminal misconduct.

The investigators have been specifically probing the role of White House officials in the drafting and approval of a Feb. 23, 2007 letter sent to Congress by the Justice Department denying that Karl Rove (President Bush’s chief political adviser at the time) had anything to do with the firing of Bud Cummins, a U.S. Attorney from Arkansas. Cummins was fired in Dec. 2006 to make room for Tim Griffin, a protégé and former top aide of Rove’s.

The February 23 letter stated, “The department is not aware of Karl Rove playing any role in the decision to appoint Mr. Griffin,” and that the Justice Department was “not aware of anyone lobbying, either inside or outside of the administration, for Mr. Griffin’s appointment.”

Federal investigators have obtained documents showing that Kyle Sampson, then-chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and Chris Oprison, then an associate White House counsel, drafted and approved the letter even though they had first-hand knowledge that the assertions were not true. The Justice Department later had to repudiate the Sampson-Oprison letter and sent a new one informing Congress that it could no longer stand by the earlier assertions.

The Justice Department’s Inspector General (IG) and the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) are jointly conducting the current investigation. Both can initiate disciplinary action only against Justice Department employees and neither has prosecutorial powers.


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The Great Wall Of Duh!

By- Bob Cesca @ 7:03 PM (EST)

Senator Obama on Tuesday said of the McBush Republicans, “It’s like these guys take pride in being ignorant.” After eight years trapped aboard this dark ride, finally hearing a Democratic presidential candidate publicly and forcefully refer to the Republicans as ignorant liars ought to be enough to coax even the most indecisive leaner into the Obama column.

But let’s take the senator’s remark even further. The McBush Republicans don’t just take pride in their ignorance — their entire electoral strategy depends on it.

This is obviously a risky strategy given the existence of things like “reason”, “facts” and “truth” — each readily available to anyone who’s industrious enough to seek them out. Fortunately, though, for the McBush Republicans, there’s an outside collaborator working in their favor: the barbecue media whose success also depends greatly upon both ignorance and disingenuousness (Olbermann and others excluded). Paraphrasing Woody Allen, ignorance and disingenuousness are, collectively, their various breads and various butters. So the Republicans have a convenient and sizeable zero-barrier of protective stupid surrounding their golf courses and mansions and trophy wives, shielding them from reality. Let’s call it the Great Wall of Duh.

To wit: Paris Hilton and Toby Keith have occupied above-the-fold placement in our national political discourse this week.

Barbecue media players like TIME‘s Mark Halperin are somehow taken seriously even though he’s on record having recommended to Senator McCain that he frame Senator Obama as a “Manchurian Candidate” (read that: Islamic terrorist), while also recommending that Senator McCain allow his surrogates to engage in race-baiting. Very serious!

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal told us this week that Senator Obama’s thin physique might make him unelectable in a nation of fatties.

Professional television broadcasters from Dan Rather to Chris Matthews can’t stop confusing Senator Obama with Osama Bin Laden; and that’s only after they wonder out loud whether or not Senator Obama is capable of speaking “mumble talk” in a diner.

And then of course there are the four horsemen of lying ignoramuses: O’Reilly, Hannity, Doocy and Kilmeade. The entire success of FOX News Channel depends on its audience accepting everything at face value.


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We did it!

anthony @ 23:00 BST

Last week, Congressman Dennis Kucinich delivered a petition bearing more than 100,000 names to the Speaker of the House urging that impeachment proceedings begin into the conduct of President Bush. In a special video message (click here), Dennis is asking for your help to deliver an even more powerful message to Congress when it reconvenes in September.

With new disclosures that the Administration tried to “cook the books at the CIA” by creating a phony, forged link between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, “We cannot step back and let this President escape accountability.”

If you have already signed the impeachment petition at www.kucinich.us, thank you. If you haven’t, please do. And, in the next few weeks, please ask just one more person to sign so we can let the members of Congress hear our collective demand that they meet their obligation to uphold the Constitution.

Video by Chad Ely

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i am not sure where i belong

by betmo @ 4:46 PM EDT

but i am seriously beginning to doubt it’s this century and in this country. yep, you over there, you guessed it- i went shopping today. now, anyone who reads here regularly pretty much knows i would rather stab myself repeatedly in both eyes with a soup spoon than go to the grocery store- or wal-mart- and well, today, i did both. and i cursed. repeatedly. now, most readers here know that i hail from upstate new york and we generally speaking- have seasons. this is the first week in august and so we have approximately 2 full months of summer left since global climate change. no, not being snarky- for about the last 10 years at least we have had summer like weather well into october. i wore a short sleeved wedding gown when i married my dear husband and it was warm.

but i digress.

so, being that it is pretty much the high point of summer, and being that i just bought a house with a deck and lawn chairs, i thought that i would happen on over to the wall of mart to get some of those nifty cheap plastic outdoor end tables so that folks could set their beer and soda somewhere other than the warped deck (good thing i didn’t put any effort into thinking about leveling them out). imagine my surprise when i go and find that the lawn and garden section is being emptied out to make room for— snow shovels and rock salt. jesus christ in a sidecar. it hasn’t snowed much before january in the last 5 years. i am surprised that they didn’t have goddamned snow blowers out front instead of lawn mowers. i mean god forbid you want summer wear or outdoor furniture. annoyed is an understatement.

grocery shopping is another ill conceived idea- i mean who enjoys herding into a big food warehouse with skinny aisles and large carts attempting to find the best ‘deal’ amongst the overpriced, overprocessed, overpackaged crap that passes for food? plus, since i moved on up ala weezie jefferson, i get to shop with folks who really firmly believe that they are god’s chosen and that the sun only shines on them. that goes over like a lead balloon too. i make sure i wear my beat up old tie dyed tshirt and i don’t shave my legs when i go grocery shopping. that way, if i go with my sister to our old stomping grounds- i blend in. if i go in my new neighborhood- i stand out 😉 i have decided that since most of my entertaining is behind me this year- i am going to devote my time to finding alternative food sources because it is getting to be more than i can take.

on slightly more positive note- monsanto is giving up its dairy hormone business. probably to be outsourced to a private contractor under a different name. but, it is a small victory for now 🙂

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Jalil Habbush The 6 Million Dollar Man

by Geezer Power…12:18 pm

Citizens for Legitimate Government

Lori Price

06 August 2008

According to Ron Suskind in his book, ‘The Way of the World,’ Iraq Intelligence Director Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti collected a cool $5 million from the CIA for forging a backdated letter for Bush’s henchmen. But, if you turn him in through the US ‘Rewards for Justice’ program, you can collect up to a million bucks!

As of 06 August 2008, Tahir Jalil Habbush resides on the US Rewards for Justice ‘Wanted Terrorist’ list. This means that George W. Bush funded a wanted terrorist. Isn’t the Patriot Act supposed to keep terrorists from funding other terrorists?

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Unemployment Claims Highest In Six Years

By- Suzie-Q @ 12:10 PM MST

Unemployed worker Donte Walker reads job listings at the employment training facility, JobTrain, in Menlo Park, Calif., Wednesday, July 30, 2008. New claims for jobless benefits rose to 455,000, the most since spring 2002. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma) (Paul Sakuma – AP)

Bush economy: Unemployment claims highest in six year

Joe Sudbay (DC) · 8/07/2008 11:10:00 AM ET

The number of people claiming unemployment rose again — despite expectations that there would be a drop. The Bush economy continues to deliver bad news:

The number of newly laid off people signing up for jobless benefits last week climbed to its highest point in more than six years as companies cut back given the faltering economy.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that new applications filed for unemployment insurance rose by a seasonally adjusted 7,000 to 455,000 for the week ending Aug. 2. The increase left claims at their highest level since late March 2002.

A program to locate people eligible for jobless benefits played a role in the increase, a Labor Department analyst said. However, the analyst couldn’t say how much of a role.

The latest snapshot of layoff filings was worse than analysts expected. They were forecasting new claims to drop to around 430,000.

And, John McCain wants to give you another term of the Bush economy.

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Afternoon Jukebox… Fly Away

By- Suzie-Q @ 12:05 PM MST

Lenny Kravitz- Fly Away

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Verdict is in on Bush-style justice: Guilty

by- SadButTrue @ 2:25 PM EDT

By accepting evidence based on torture,
military commissions betray American values

Haroon Siddiqui, The Toronto Star

Aug 07, 2008

Osama bin Laden’s driver Salim Hamdan was convicted at Guantánamo Bay yesterday – in his second trial at the hands of the Bush administration.

Had his first in 2004 not been interrupted by a successful appeal to the Supreme Court, he would have been acquitted. For what he has been found guilty of – providing material support to terrorism – was not then under the jurisdiction of the military tribunal that has sentenced him.

Such is justice under George W. Bush. Such is the justice that awaits Omar Khadr and 80 others to be tried by the special military tribunals at Guantánamo.

More than the detainees, though, it is the Bush administration that’s on trial. Thus the United States is on trial. There, the verdict is already in: Guilty.

Guilty of torturing detainees. Guilty of obtaining evidence from torture. Guilty of introducing hearsay evidence in trials. Guilty of hiding evidence from the detainees.

Guilty, therefore, of violating the most basic norms of the rule of law – and betraying American values.

It’s precisely because of all of the above that Bush concocted his kangaroo courts, avoiding both the civilian courts and the military courts martial, both of which would have ensured due process.

“It all stems from the administration’s decision to endorse torture,” says Jameel Jaffer, a Canadian who directs the American Civil Liberties Union’s national security project. “These tribunals are the fruit of that poisonous tree.

“Once the decision was made to use torture, the administration needed a system of rules that would allow them to rely on evidence obtained from torture. Thus these military commissions.”

But what happens in these trials is almost irrelevant. The process is discredited. It is seen as illegitimate by much of the world, including a majority of Canadians and an increasing number of Americans.

As for the Muslim world, where the war against terrorism counts the most, it will engender even more fury.

When Bush opened Guantánamo in 2002 to house the prisoners captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere, he declared them to be “unlawful enemy combatants.”

He stripped them of their Geneva Convention rights and also argued that they be denied habeas corpus, the old principle that a prisoner must be brought before a court to justify his detention.

In 2004, the Supreme Court ruled that the detainees did have that right. But Bush got the Republican-controlled Congress to pass the Detainee Treatment Act (2005), stripping the detainees of habeas corpus.

In 2006, the Supreme Court ruled that Bush did not have the authority to set aside the Geneva Conventions when he set up his 2002 military commissions.

But Congress granted him just such authority, passing the Military Commissions Act. It essentially resurrected his military commission system, authorizing them to prosecute for terrorist crimes, including the provision on which Hamdan has now been convicted.

Bush has had two tracks going at Guantánamo: one for those charged with war crimes and another, through the Combatant Status Review Tribunals, for those who haven’t been charged and may never be.

The latter was ostensibly an alternative to habeas corpus. Except that it wasn’t. The detainees could not have legal counsel. They could not have access to evidence either.

The system was so rigged that a military member of one of the panel quit, saying the tribunals were a farce and, in some instances, fixed. (more…)

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By- Suzie-Q @ 10:30 AM MST

Israel building up strike capabilities against Iran

Think Progress- By Amanda at 12:32 pm

CBS News reports, “Israel is building up its strike capabilities amid growing anxiety over Iran’s nuclear ambitions and appears confident that a military attack would cripple Tehran’s atomic program, even if it can’t destroy it.” The country has also “purchased 90 F-16I fighter planes that can carry enough fuel to reach Iran, and will receive 11 more by the end of next year.” According to the Times of London, President Bush has given an “‘amber light‘ to an Israeli plan to attack Iran’s main nuclear sites with long-range bombing sorties.”

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