Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Sure there isn't...

Sun Tzu and the Art of Spying

This article is a tad lengthy, but it's well written and makes some good points.

A White House official's wisecrack about an ancient Chinese philosopher actually provides critical insights into Bush's views on spying and executive branch power...

- By Craig Murray

Sunday, January 29, 2006

George and Jack

Well, George Bush and Scott McClellan are talking- which means they are lying or misleading. This article is interesting. The topic, whether or not the White House should release photos of the President and Jack Abramoff, is irrelevant. What is relevant, and annoying, is the spin and manipulation we are starting to get from the Republicans. Again*. Firstly, the photos are just a political tool in waiting, just something to use against the president. Whether or not the White House releases them or not, I could care less- they have enough problems as it is that a couple snapshots between a crook and a figurehead will not make me any more faithless. A couple of funny things:

"Absolutely," Mike Pence, an Indiana Republican, told "Fox News Sunday" when asked if records should be released.
"I think this president is a man of unimpeachable integrity. The American people have profound confidence in him, Pence said."

Let me break this down. His first statement I do not agree or disagree one way or the other. That this man is of unimpeachable integrity is a terrible thing to say. I am not suggesting the president be impeached, I am suggesting he be checked. Unimpeachable and integrity should not go together in this sentence or any sentence ever. There is an extreme lack of intergrity in this administration.

And the American people have profound confidence in him is really just stupid and completely wrong. His approval ratings are horrible and I am not pleased to see how bad they are. It is plain embarrassing. If the "American people" is a room full of Bush and some of his and his dad's friends, then yes, the American people have profound confidence in him. But it isn't.

Bush also says he doesn't know Abramoff, or, it seems, anything about him. I tend to doubt that as well- Abramoff is only a good friend of Karl Rove, Grover Norquist, Tom DeLay and is a pretty big contributor too. I am sure they weren't hanging out every day, but I am not so sure that the President doesn't know or remember him. It really doesnt matter but its just funny to me.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Send Ken Lay to Prison Forever

Ken Lay is a bastard. There, I said it. Never before have I been so angered by greed, corruption and just plain arrogance. So let me throw this out there- I say execute him. Yup. What this man oversaw and allowed to happen, and the number of people who were adversely affected because of those actions renders me an angered state that can only be mollified by 1) him being gassed to death*. And since that is completely crazy and asinine and wont happen 2) the rest of his life in prison. An overcrowded one. With pissed off guards and even more angry inmates with rapist tendencies. Now, I am not a violent man, I just wish violent consequences on those who deserve it.- like terrorists, rapists and Ken Lay and his cohorts (in that order). This man and his weasels had a good thing going for them and abused it to the ultimate extreme, screwing so many people out of so much. Can anyone explain to me, or prove to me that this man does not deserve to spend the rest of his life in a maximum security prison? And not the lame 7 year sentence that Richard Causey got- although for testifying against Lay and co. I can let that slide. Click the link and read the article- Lay and Jeffrey Skilling will finally go before a jury after four years of probably living large. I haven't much faith in the American justice system these days, but if these people get imprisoned for eternity like they deserve, I can be slightly won back. The fact that Ken Lay actually stated that "he was a victim of prosecutors' 'wave of terror'" is absurd, arrogant and warrants a punch in the face from all the people who were swindled. Yeah, great idea, equate the pursuit of justice with a wave of terror. If attempting to imprison someone who does not deserve the sweet air of American freedom is terror, then what would Ken Lay say about the actions of he and his associates? Its all there and I will never believe that this man had no knowledge of what was going on.

*I really don't think he or anyone should be executed for this but do strongly feel they should spend the rest of their lives in maximum security prison.

Sorry for being so angry. I am better now.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

More From The Osama Chronicles

Okay, just a quick one before I head out the door. I don't even need links for this one because it is all out there and it has all been linked before. It's like this:

Osama Bin Laden is back in the news with a new videotape message. The US government and its lapdog right-wing media responds with the usual, as if it considers Bin Laden to be a problem or something.

How could it? This is the same government presided over by a flip-flopper-in-chief who said he did not care about Bin Laden anymore. Didn't know, didn't care.

The same government who could have used its superpower resources to pursue and capture Bin Laden, but instead chose to let him go free so it could use its "political capitol" to pursue other adventures that held promise of wealth and power for them.

The same government that pulls Bin Laden and/or 9/11 out of a hat every time their popularity dips low. It's been a while since we've seen him, but now that impeachment is becoming a real possibility, it has become necessary to recall Bin Laden from his life of leisure at the ranch in Crawford and dangle him like a scarecrow before the cowering masses. The politics of fear. Also called terrorism. A specialty of the Bush-Cheney regime.

If Osama Bin Laden is a threat, it is because the Bush Administration has refused to pursue and capture him. They want him to remain at large so that they can exploit his name whenever they need to, and use him as a tool to generate fear and support among their followers. He is Bush government's accomplice, and they are his protectors, and they do not give a shit about you or me or anyone's safety but their own. They are vile, treasonous bastards who deliberately jeopardize this nation for their own gain.

Whoever supports George Bush need not worry about Osama Bin Laden. They're all partners in terrorism.

UPDATE: Ooops, nevermind the update. The link changed!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Congress Begins Standup Comedy Tour

Republicans move for lobbying reforms
"...Republicans moved to seize the initiative for ethics reform..."

Democrats counter GOP on lobbying ethics
Okay, better late than never, I suppose. Just remember the old saying about glass houses...!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Aspen Ideas Festival

I'm thinking about attending this festival in July. It sounds interesting. I'll make a decision when the speaker list is published, it's expensive.

Maryland forces Wal-Mart to spend more on employee health benefits

How can I let a story like this go by without comment? It's a fascinating turn of events, and the implications are interesting no matter what side of the political spectrum you're on.

For example, those of us who believe in a free market might be understandably concerned about government dictating terms to a private enterprise about how much health benefits to provide their employees.

On the other hand, those of us who believe in a free market know that Wal-Mart, which sucks mightily at the taxpayers' teat, is not really a free market enterprise at all: it is subsidized by the taxpayers and reaps huge profits at their expense, forcing the those of us who pay taxes to pay the balance on their so-called "always low prices" with our tax dollars.

As far as I am concerned, if Wal-Mart can't stay afloat without relying on taxpayers' money, then it is a recipient of corporate welfare in the worst way and should be required to reimburse the taxpayers with some of those $10 billion record profits they are so proud of. But since we know that will never happen, the least they could do is tale steps to ensure that their employees do not have to rely on public assistance (yes, the store even encourages them to do so).

So, to all those to condemn government meddling in Wal-Mart's affairs, and who also condemn what they describe as lazy deadbeat welfare recipients who are encouraged not to become self-sufficient by living off the taxpayers, it is time to put your money where your mouth is. It's time for Wal-Mart to stand or fall without being propped up by public assistance.

p.s. - more states are pickin' up on this, too...

Saturday, January 14, 2006

A new epidemic?

Apparently WHO is hiding the dates of avian flu contraction because human to human transmission in now occurring in Turkey. I have a bag packed, just in case. Whether it's this year or the next it is going to happen. 50% mortality rate is bound to create some anarchy.

The End of An Era

While there is news out there and issues to discuss as always, how about a little change- I have a story I want to share with all of you-. For the past four years I have worked at a grocery store, Curtis Farms, in Quincy, MA. It started as a summer job in the deli after my second sophomore year of college in 2002 and it evolved/intelligently designed into something far greater than that for me and so many other people. It was a summer job for me for two years during college summers and even after I graduated in 2004 and found a full time job for a mutual fund transfer agent, I worked weekends there. Not because I desperately needed the job (5 hours a week at $9.80 isnt going to make or break me), but it was out of loyalty and love for my coworkers/friends there and my love for that business. Let me describe this beautiful establishment- it is a small neighborhood grocery store, 4 lanes for checking out and 5 aisles- a meat dept, produce dept, deli and bakery (which i worked at) out back- what youd expect to see except smaller. The place was just outdated though and not so modern, there are no scanners and everything is ringed up by hand- thats old school. Now Curtis Farms was within a mile of The Milton Marketplace in my hometown, Stop n Shop, Victory and Star Markets- all mega supermarkets- and Curtis stood on its foundation for more than 50 years, surviving recessions, terrorism, capitalism, communism, Pol Pot, Vietnam, Iraq, everything. It was a place my mother has been shopping at for as long as my family has lived in Milton, Id been going there since I was a youngin and people I remember from when I was a small child (and when I worked there for a couple months as a bagger when I was 16, my first job) were still there. I am telling you all of this because Curtis Farms is closing Wednesday, being gutted, renovated and a new convenience store with a deli and bakery is being erected, and half of the lot will be leased to whoever. Curtis is owned by Tedeschi's, a convenience store giant in New England that also owns Lil Peach, Store 24 and a couple other establishments. Now, they've been wanting to close this store for about 7 years because they wanted to get out of the supermarket business for whatever reason- but the store was just doing too well, constantly surpassing expectations. The last couple of years, though, the store has been losing money and they decided it was time for a change. So yeah, the new year brought us news of the store's closing-it's a lot harder for the old ladies in the neighborhood- theyve been crying when they come in the store and they really cared about the place and our 60something employees. But the sense of community and loyalty that this place brainwashed into me is something I take with me forever and I hope you all can have something like that, or do.

And I can finally sleep in on Saturday mornings again.

Saturday morning part-time baker for hire. Will work for less than a wal-mart worker salary.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Blunt, why bother?

If Roy Blunt is elected the new majority leader of the house we may see a second resignation from that position in less than 6 months. Blunt married to Philip Morris lobbyist, Abigail Perlman, is linked to Abramoff and used the same consultant under indictment with DeLay in Texas. Power really has corrupted Republicans to a point of misguided arrogance that they think the are immune to the same fate that is befalling their colleagues. At a time when Blunt should be laying low he's nominating himself for a high profile position that will thrust his relationship with lobbyists to the forefront of the news. Idiot.

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Republican Crime Party

The Republican Crime Party
"It is not our job to seek peaceful coexistence with the Left. Our job is to remove them from power permanently." - Jack A. Abramoff

And how did they proceed with that plan? Why, by clinging to their tried-and-true gameplan of graft, corruption, and a complete lack of ethics. Sticking with what has worked for them in the past, conserving those old-fashioned tricks they used before.

It seems to follow the same pattern. Start out on top, and end up with a scandal. Take Nixon. His scandal became the one by which all others are judged since. Since Watergate, everything is "__gate." Humorously, even the republicans apply the "-gate" suffix to democrats' scandals, whether real or imagined, only serving to remind their audience where "-gate" came from.

Then there was Reagan. Again, started out on top, thanks to his willingness to endow the nation's sworn enemies with weapons. By the time his presidency ended, you couldn't swing a cat without hitting an indicted republican.

Then came Bush Sr. Besides pardoning the criminals from the Reagan presidency, he ushered in the era of Bush scandals. The S&L scandals. The gay child-sex scandal (to be fair, that one was a Reagan-Bush scandal). And so on.

Now, we live in the era of Bush Jr. The most corrupt administration ever, built on lies and hypocrisy. One that seems to revel in its repeated insults to America. Republican all the way.

And you know what? I hear that all the corruption-cash in the Abramoff scandal went to republicans. All of it. Not a dime to democrats. Hmm. I guess God's chosen, morally superior party of family values, is just repeating history again. Now that's conservative!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Pat Robinson caused Ariel Sharon's stroke

Is Mossad going to hunt down Pat Robinson for causing Ariel Sharon's stroke? I just wonder how many people buy Robinson's bullshit...

"He was dividing God's land, and I would say, woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the European Union, the United Nations or the United States of America"

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

More about War for Control of Resources

Along with Mochi's post about the devastating implications of the Russian-Ukrainian comflict over natural gas resources, I would like to offer this finding reagarding the role of water in the Iraq war.

To our right-wing commenters, I ask you to please not dismiss the article simply because it mentions Cindy Sheehan in a positive light. The information about the role of water in the Iraq war is an important issue, addressed separately.
"Consider for a moment why we have not heard the mainstream media or the President mention the role of water in the Iraq war. The Middle East is home to five percent of the world's population and only one percent of the world's renewable water supply... [the] population, comparable to the population of the United States, is on track to double in just a few decades... Iraq is a critical strategic location for both al Qaeda and the United States not just because of Iraq's oil, but because Iraq has the most extensive fresh water system in the Middle East... Understanding the role of water in the Middle East explains why there is no exit strategy from Iraq and why many Middle East experts predict the United States will be in Iraq for decades. Even Donald Rumsfeld, with a track record of being overly optimistic about the cost and duration of the Iraq war, is now setting expectations that the war will continue until 2017... Pieces to the puzzle, like the locations of the 14 "enduring" or permanent military bases and likely duration of the American occupation, can suddenly become crystal clear when you consider the locations of the Euphrates, Tigris, Greater Zab and Lesser Zab rivers. One only need look at the Nasiriyah "enduring base" on the Euphrates in South-East Iraq to understand the strategic value of water. The truth is that in addition to oil, water is a real reason for the invasion of Iraq... Don't be fooled by the occasional messages that our troops will leaving in a few years. The Pentagon is planning on occupying Iraq for decades. The Pentagon's long-range strategic plan is likely to require an American occupation far beyond Donald Rumsfeld's optimistic 2017 forecast.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Battling for resources

One of my professors at university theorized that the next world war may erupt from an argument over natural resources. He thought that the most likely conflict would concern water from the River Nile and be fought between Ethiopia and Egypt. I was skeptical, I always assumed that terrorism, religion or political ideology would eventually lead to the next global conflict. By the way, I don't consider the "war on terror" a world war.

After failing to kill Yushchenko the Kremlin is now cutting the supply of natural gas to the Ukraine. A deal sealed prior to the last election set gas prices at 20% of what the Russians are now demanding. It's understandable that Russia would seek a fair market value for their natural gas however a deal is a deal and a measured increase in prices over time is solution that makes the most sense. Unfortunately for the Russians they supply 25% of Europe's gas, distributed through pipelines that pass through the Ukraine. This leaves Yushchenko in a powerful bargaining position.

Maybe my professor was right. A war between Russia and the Ukraine over natural gas would cause a situation that may force European countries to participate. Losing a quarter of their natural gas supply would be disastrous to the economies of France, Hungary, Austria, Italy, Poland, Slovakia and Croatia. Putin is a problem. His imperialistic policies are moving Russia in the wrong direction.

Taking the lead from Yushchenko, I'm thinking about declaring war on my local gas company. I wonder whether I could cut the supply of gas that passes through my property until Keyspan agrees to lower prices. It's going to be a long winter.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

It Wasn't All Bad 8^)

Was the glass half-full or half empty? Here's a look back at some positives in a year that saw the Republican party go from a moral compass (in their own minds, anyway) to a barometer that says a big storm is brewin'...