Back-Dating Torture Justifications

Is there anything scarier than hearing the Attorney General of the United States looking for justifications for government action after the fact? Does he apply the same rules to police? Can they arrest anyone at any time without prior justification, then trump up a justification for the arrest after the fact? Hmmm, that sounds a lot like what’s happening in Guantanamo Bay at Camp X-Ray right now where hundreds of people are being held without being charged with a crime.

I’d prefer to see this country in the hands of an Attorney General intersted in upholding the constitution rather than trying to dismantle it through the Patriot Act (which thankfully is now starting to be ruled as unconstitutional).

Yahoo! News – Ashcroft: War Justified Even Without WMD:
VIENNA, Austria – Even if weapons of mass destruction are never found in Iraq (news – web sites), the U.S.-led war was justified because it eliminated the threat that Saddam Hussein (news – web sites) might again resort to “evil chemistry and evil biology,” Attorney General John Ashcroft (news – web sites) said Monday.

Analyzing Bush’s 2004 State of the Union

Check out this Report on Bush’s 2004 State of the Union.

Solid point by point analysis of the speech. It’s a shame we don’t have a president with a better sense of his role as President. It’s certainly not to enrich his father’s business partners.

How does he find time to invade two countries, cut social security benefits to the benefit of pharmaceutical companies, run the country much further into debt while demanding permanent tax cuts, while also taking on important presidential issues like steroid use in pro sports? And why does he think the country needs a constitutional amendment to discriminate against people who happen to love someone of the same sex? Is he too stupid to realize the courts in this country are designed to protect people in the minority on an issue? Based on his logic (if the majority of Americans favor discriminating against gays) we would also continue to live in a segregated society. Jim Crow rules would still be in effect. We’re desperately in need of a change.

Iraq Casualty Stats

I don’t know how anyone could see anything good in the following stats:

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=482947

232: Number of American combat deaths in Iraq between May 2003 and January 2004

501: Number of American servicemen to die in Iraq from the beginning of the war – so far

0: Number of American combat deaths in Germany after the Nazi surrender to the Allies in May 1945

0: Number of coffins of dead soldiers returning home from Iraq that the Bush administration has allowed to be photographed

0: Number of funerals or memorials that President Bush has attended for soldiers killed in Iraq

100: Number of fund-raisers attended by Bush or Vice-President Dick Cheney in 2003

13: Number of meetings between Bush and Tony Blair since he became President

10 million: Estimated number of people worldwide who took to the streets in opposition to the invasion of Iraq, setting an all-time record for simultaneous protest

2: Number of nations that Bush has attacked and taken over since coming into the White House

9.2: Average number of American soldiers wounded in Iraq each day since the invasion in March last year

1.6: Average number of American soldiers killed in Iraq per day since hostilities began

16,000: Approximate number of Iraqis killed since the start of war

10,000: Approximate number of Iraqi cililians killed since the beginning of the conflict

$100 billion: Estimated cost of the war in Iraq to American citizens by the end of 2003

$13 billion: Amount other countries have committed towards rebuilding Iraq (much of it in loans) as of 24 October

36%: Increase in the number of desertions from the US army since 1999

92%: Percentage of Iraq’s urban areas that had access to drinkable water a year ago

60%: Percentage of Iraq’s urban areas that have access to drinkable water today

32%: Percentage of the bombs dropped on Iraq this year that were not precision-guided

1983: The year in which Donald Rumsfeld gave Saddam Hussein a pair of golden spurs

45%: Percentage of Americans who believed in early March 2003 that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 11 September attacks on the US

$127 billion: Amount of US budget surplus in the year that Bush became President in 2001

$374 billion: Amount of US budget deficit in the fiscal year for 2003

1st: This year’s deficit is on course to be the biggest in United States history

$1.58 billion: Average amount by which the US national debt increases each day

$23,920: Amount of each US citizen’s share of the national debt as of 19 January 2004

1st: The record for the most bankruptcies filed in a single year (1.57 million) was set in 2002

10: Number of solo press conferences that Bush has held since beginning his term. His father had managed 61 at this point in his administration, and Bill Clinton 33

1st: Rank of the US worldwide in terms of greenhouse gas emissions per capita

$113 million: Total sum raised by the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign, setting a record in American electoral history

$130 million: Amount raised for Bush’s re-election campaign so far

$200m: Amount that the Bush-Cheney campaign is expected to raise in 2004

$40m: Amount that Howard Dean, the top fund-raiser among the nine Democratic presidential hopefuls, amassed in 2003

28: Number of days holiday that Bush took last August, the second longest holiday of any president in US history (Recordholder: Richard Nixon)

13: Number of vacation days the average American worker receives each year

3: Number of children convicted of capital offences executed in the US in 2002. America is only country openly to acknowledge executing children

1st: As Governor of Texas, George Bush executed more prisoners (152) than any governor in modern US history

2.4 million: Number of Americans who have lost their jobs during the three years of the Bush administration

221,000: Number of jobs per month created since Bush’s tax cuts took effect. He promised the measure would add 306,000

Bush’s Policies vs Political Theater

This is a tough one. I don’t think George W. Bush has known many African Americans in his lifetime outside of the baseball players on the Texas Rangers. Personally, I don’t think he thinks enough to be an outright bigot, but his policies (that are likely constructed by others) certainly do nothing to help people of dark skin tones get ahead in the US.

Yahoo! News – Hundreds Protest As Bush Visits MLK Tomb: ” Top Stories – AP

Hundreds Protest As Bush Visits MLK Tomb
2 hours, 4 minutes ago

By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer
ATLANTA – …

The president’s critics dismissed his visit to the grave as a symbolic gesture that only underscored shortcomings in the administration’s relationship with blacks.

Back in Washington, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (news – web sites), said not one policy decision made by the Bush administration — from the war in Iraq (news – web sites) to the economy, from education to the environment — has mirrored King’s dream. “The president needs to be more embracing of elected African American officials and the entire African American community every day of the year, not just on January 15th,” he said.

Brazil Reciprocating American Visa Policies

It turns out that reciprocating ridiculous American travel policy issues can be a real bitch for arrogant American Airlines pilots. ah_brazil2000 really broke it down well:

Re: I wonder how many US tourists overst
by: ah_brazil2000 01/14/04 02:37 pm
Msg: 2 of 2335
14 recommendations

Grog

probably very few. But remember that Brazil is taking this procedure not to combat illegal imigrants, but as a gold rule in diplomacy called reciprocity.

As I understand, the US-visit program was put on place not to combat ilegal imigrants, but to combat terrorism. Now I ask: How many brazilians have conducted terror acts in US? How many were accused?

I have the answers to these questions. NONE. Now, how many from England or Germany? A few, but US is not checking on them.

Also by reciprocity, Brazil was supposed to charge US$100.00 per visa, as USA does charge in Brazil. Incredible, but we do not charge that from US citizens.

Another question. What would happen if I make an “obscene gesture” when I go through customs in US? The american pilot should be arrested as any other that does not obey the local law.

The deal here is not about ilegal imigrants.

Yahoo! News – U.S. Pilot Held in Brazil in Fingerprinting Spat: “U.S. Pilot Held in Brazil in Fingerprinting Spat

By Todd Benson
SAO PAULO, Brazil (Reuters) – An American Airlines pilot was arrested at Sao Paulo International Airport on Wednesday after making an obscene gesture while being photographed by Brazilian (news – web sites) immigration officers, police said.

The pilot, Dale Robin Hirsch, raised his middle finger at police while undergoing recently introduced Brazilian security measures that require U.S. citizens to be fingerprinted and photographed upon entering the South American country. ”

Tom Delay’s Defense of George W Bush

So Ted Kennedy calls out George W. Bush’s abuse of the 9/11 disaster to justify his oil war in Iraq in blunt terms and what does Tom Delay do to defend his President? He simply restates what Ted Kennedy said in his own words: “‘. . .insulted the president’s patriotism, accused the Republican Party of treason . . .”

It must really suck to have to defend the leader of your party when he’s so clearly on the wrong side of this issue.

Kennedy accuses Bush of ‘marketing’ war for GOP gain: “We are reaping the poison fruit of our misguided and arrogant foreign policy,’ Kennedy, D-Mass., said in a speech at the Center for American Progress, a liberal policy organization in Washington. ‘The administration capitalized on the fear created by 9/11 and put a spin on the intelligence and a spin on the truth to justify a war that could well become one of the worst blunders in more than two centuries of American foreign policy.’
Kennedy’s remarks were more pointed and partisan than in the past, and they come as presidential and congressional elections approach.
The speech drew an immediate and harsh reply from Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas, the House Republican leader. ‘His hateful attack against the commander-in-chief would be disgusting if it were not so sad,’ DeLay said, adding that Kennedy ‘insulted the president’s patriotism, accused the Republican Party of treason and resurrected the weak and indecisive foreign policy of Jimmy Carter and Michael Dukakis.'”

Who’s Responsible for Illigal Aliens Working in the United States?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the best way to solve the drug problem to go after the drug dealers? Assuming that’s correct, wouldn’t it make sense to go after the corporations that employ illegal aliens rather than punishing the illegal aliens who are simply trying to make a better life for themselves and their families?

Why doesn’t George W. Bush simply crack down on corporations like Wal-Mart and the agricultural industry for their illegal exploitation of illegal immigrants? Then set up a H1-B type visa program for migrant workers interested in crop picking and other common jobs fulfilled by illegal immigrants?

The jobs clearly need to be filled, but GWB’s ‘solution’ to this is basically saying that it’s okay for corporations to hire illegal aliens. Not good.

Yahoo! News – Wal-Mart Audit Finds Labor Violations: By The Associated Press

“NEW YORK – An audit by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of about 25,000 employees uncovered thousands of labor violations, including minors working during school hours and workers not taking breaks or lunches.

The audit of 25,000 employees performed by Wal-Mart in July 2000 detailed 1,371 violations of child-labor laws, including minors working too late, too many hours in a day or during school hours. On more than 60,000 occasions, workers missed breaks and on 16,000 they skipped meal times, in violation of most state labor regulations.”

Bush’s Economic Disengagement

The White House sure isn’t afraid go after a very competent man for speaking his mind. How can the White House honestly say that George W. Bush is engaged in economic policy decisions when he’s previously admitted that he doesn’t read his briefings (kind of sad considering that he’s married to a teacher). Everyone knows he’s much too busy taking naps while his daddy’s cronies plan the next unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation to enrich his friend’s corporations.

The Administration’s Changing Tone
The Administration Then: Bush Said He Needed O’Neill and His Cabinet of “Strong and Competentâ€? Individuals. · “What my cabinet shows is that I am not afraid to surround myself with strong and competent people…a good executive is one that understands how to recruit people and how to delegate authority and responsibility.” [President-Elect Bush, 1/2/2001]
· “I am not afraid to surround myself with strong and confident people…” [USA Today, 1/18/01]
· “I knew I needed to surround myself with really strong, competent, capable people.” [Remarks by President Bush at the 2003 RNC Presidential Gala, 10/8/03, www.georgewbush.com]

The Administration Now: “We Didn’t Listen to [O’Neill’s] Wacky Ideas�
· “Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill’s charge that President George Bush always meant to oust Saddam Hussein sparked an angry reaction Sunday. An unnamed White House official told the Washington Post that O’Neill’s “suggestion that the administration was planning an invasion of Iraq days after taking office is laughable. Nobody listened to him when he was in office. Why should anybody now?”â€? [UPI, 1/11/04]
· “”We didn’t listen to [O’Neill’s] wacky ideas when he was in the White House, why should we start listening to him now,” said a senior official. The official said he informed Bush of O’Neill’s comments but declined to describe the president’s reaction.â€? [CNN, 1/11/04]

NRA Leaders

It’s gotta be a real pain to be a racist idiot or a gun toting freak and have to deal with someone using your own words against you. It’s almost enough to make a person want to grow up and start treating people with some respect. It’s a shame people have to be shamed into being human, but if that’s what it take, here’s the site to do it:
NRA Leaders – What NRA Leaders Are Saying