Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither, and lose both.
-- Benjamin Franklin

A British PM tells the Emperors of the Senate that they have no clothes

From British Member of Parliament George Galloway:

“I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims, did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11, 2001,” he told Coleman.

“Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong. And 100,000 people have paid with their lives — 1,600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies, 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever, on a pack of lies.”

He added: “Senator, this is the mother of all smokescreens. You are trying to divert attention from the crimes that you supported.”

Coleman, a former district attorney, told Galloway before his sworn testimony that “senior Iraqi officials have confirmed that you, in fact, received oil allocations and that the documents that identify you as an allocation recipient are valid.”

Galloway challenged that accusation in his opening statement.

“Now, I know that standards have slipped over the last few years in Washington, but for a lawyer, you’re remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice,” he told Coleman.

He said he was “friendly” with former Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz and met him many times but that he met with Saddam only twice — in 1994 and in 2002 — the last time to persuade Saddam to allow U.N. weapons inspectors into the country.

He said he had met with Saddam “exactly as many times as Donald Rumsfeld has met with him.”

“The difference is Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and give him maps,” Galloway said in his heated opening statement.

“I met him to try and bring about an end to sanctions, suffering and war, and on the second occasion, I met him to try and persuade him to allow Hans Blix and U.N. inspectors back into country.”

Galloway complained that the panel had determined his guilt without speaking to him.

“You have my name on lists provided to you… by the convicted bank robber and fraudster and con man Ahmed Chalabi, who many people, to their credit, in your country now realize played a decisive role in leading your country into the disaster in Iraq,” Galloway told the panel.

Other allegations reportedly came from Iraqi detainees.

“In these circumstances, knowing what the world knows about how you treat prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison, in Bagram Air Base [Afghanistan], in Guantanamo Bay — including, if I may say, British citizens being held in those places — I’m not sure how much credibility anyone would put on anything you manage to get from a prisoner in those circumstances,” he said.

You tell’em, dude.

Suddenly, republicans question the tax-exempt status of active churches

A church in Indiana has been threatened that it might lose it’s tax exempt status if went through with a community presentation on Social Security.

Funny that the republicans find this acceptable, but were all for churches being involved in politics during the election. Why were there no calls to remove the tax exempt status of the catholic church, when bishops threatened to with hold communion from anyone who voted for the democratic candidate?

If You’re Not Outraged, You’re Not Paying Attention

O’Neill and Clarke were right, Bush lied

We know that dictators are quick to choose aggression, while free nations strive to resolve differences in peace.

–George W. Bush

In another story pretty much ignored by the US Press, a British memo was released May 1st which shows that the US was determined to attack Iraq many months before the war, regardless of UN or Iraq actions. It is telling that Blair and the Labour Party did not even attempt to question whether this memo was authentic.

This confirms what Paul O’Neill and Richard Clarke testified to. They were telling the truth, and were not the disgruntled employees the Bush Whitehouse claimed.

For a CNN article on this (without, of course, the actual memo, that would be too damning for US journalists) see here.

The London Times has reprinted the memo, and it is in the “More Text” section of this post, in its entirety.

Bush lied about the war, and the reasons for going to war. But then, anyone who was paying attention already knew that.

If You’re Not Outraged, You’re Not Paying Attention


Texas Politicians have their priorities

To go along with the Colorado state representative who wants to put boxing gloves on roosters, and the Alabama legislator who wants to ban books which are by, or mention, homosexuals, we now have proof that the great state of Texas has legislators of their own with a keen sense of propriety and priority.

Representative Al Edwards wants a state law to regulate the dances of cheerleaders, though he can’t actually describe what it is he is trying to ban, nor how he will regulate the local schoolboards which would be forced to implement his law.

With Texas ranking 10th in the nation for seniors living in poverty, 9th for children living in poverty, and 1st for the percentage of people without healthcare, and ranking 1st, by far, in the number of executions, it’s good to see the politicians focusing on what __really__ matters.

WMD Final Report

The Associated Press
Updated: 9:24 p.m. ET April 25, 2005

“WASHINGTON – In his final word, the CIA’s top weapons inspector in Iraq said Monday that the hunt for weapons of mass destruction has “gone as far as feasible” and has found nothing, closing an investigation into the purported programs of Saddam Hussein that were used to justify the 2003 invasion.

In 92 pages posted online Monday evening, Duelfer provides a final look at an investigation that occupied over 1,000 military and civilian translators, weapons specialists and other experts at its peak. His latest addenda conclude a roughly 1,500-page report released last fall.

On Monday, Duelfer said there is no purpose in keeping many of the detainees who are in custody because of their knowledge on Iraq’s weapons, although he did not provide any details about the current number.

Among unanswered questions, Duelfer said a group formed to investigate whether WMD-related material was shipped out of Iraq before the invasion wasn’t able to reach firm conclusions because the security situation limited and later halted their work. Investigators were focusing on transfers from Iraq to Syria.

No information gleaned from questioning Iraqis supported the possibility, one addendum said. The Iraq Survey Group believes “it was unlikely that an official transfer of WMD material from Iraq to Syria took place. However, ISG was unable to rule out unofficial movement of limited WMD-related materials.”\

WMD Found: 0
Ties to 9/11: 0
Ties to Al Qaeda: 0
American Service personnel killed: 1573 (to date)
Estimated Iraqi Deaths: 100,000+
Cost of War: $167,000,000,000 (to date)

The captain of a submarine which hits an uncharted under water mountain is relieved of duty. The commander in chief who leads his country into a war under false pretenses causing thousands of deaths and billions of dollars lost, somehow gets re-elected.

See the comment about yahoos at the end of the next article.

Yet another example of the danger of “Red State” inbreeding…

From CBS News:

\Republican Alabama lawmaker Gerald Allen says homosexuality is an unacceptable lifestyle. As CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassmann reports, under his bill, public school libraries could no longer buy new copies of plays or books by gay authors, or about gay characters.

“I don’t look at it as censorship,” says State Representative Gerald Allen. “I look at it as protecting the hearts and souls and minds of our children.”

Books by any gay author would have to go: Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote and Gore Vidal. Alice Walker’s novel “The Color Purple” has lesbian characters.

Allen originally wanted to ban even some Shakespeare. After criticism, he narrowed his bill to exempt the classics, although he still can’t define what a classic is.\

This turkey is bad enough, I worry more about the yahoos that elect people like him.

Notice a resemblance?

We know that Tony Blair is Bush’s ideological twin (or lapdog), but the resemblance is intriguing, also.

More importantly, Blair is up for reelection now, and appears headed to a victory, which will leave us wondering how so many million people in that country can be so dumb.

More Hypocrisy

More on the Frist Judicial Hypocrisy from CNN:

Frist also said that the Democrats’ filibuster against Bush’s nominees was the first time ever that “a judicial nominee with majority support had been denied an up-or-down vote.”

Republicans held a Senate majority for six of President Clinton’s eight years in office and frequently prevented votes on his court appointments by bottling them up in the committee, knowing the nominees would be confirmed if allowed to go to a vote by the full Senate.

One nominee, Richard Paez, a district court judge when he was nominated, waited more than four years before being confirmed to the appeals court.\

Frist is a liar. But apparently lying only matters if you are talking about your sex life. Then it’s an impeachable offense.

and also:

Democrats blocked 10 appointments in Bush’s first term. The president has renominated seven of the 10 since he won re-election, and Democrats have threatened to filibuster them again.

Wow, 10? Amazing. Note that in 1999 alone, of the 62 judicial nominations put up by Clinton, the Senate voted to confirm only 17, with the Republicans blocking a vote on the rest.

Frist, Delay, and the rest are not only liars and hypocrites of the worst sort, they are also ignorant of the basic constitutional rules which have governed our country for nearly 220 years.


From CNN:

\Conservative Christian leaders used a nationally televised rally Sunday night to urge an end to Democratic filibusters against several of President Bush’s nominees for federal judgeships.

In the rally, sponsored by the Family Research Council, one of the leaders called the congressional tactic of delaying debate, or blocking legislation, “judicial tyranny to people of faith.”\

Amazing, isn’t it, how the GOP can turn 180 degrees so quickly? Now if judicial nominees are blocked, it is tyranny. Somehow, though, it wasn’t during Clinton’s administration, when far more judgeships went unfilled because the republicans blocked nominees:

From the St. Petersburg Times, April 14, 1994: “Republicans had been threatening to hold up the nomination [of a federal court nominee] indefinitely.”

From the New York Times, December 9, 1994:Senator Orrin Hatch, the new chairman of the Judiciary Committee, told Clinton administration “officials that he was now the principal gatekeeper on who gets to be a federal judge.”

From the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, November 12, 1997: “Any Clinton administration nominee who harbors ideas that don’t measure up on the GOP litmus test will have a tough time getting by [the Republican Senate's] checkpoints.”

From the New York Times, January 2, 1998:“Mr. Hatch and his fellow Congressional Republicans … have delayed consideration of many of President Clinton’s nominees.”

From the St. Petersburg Times, September 26, 1999: “From virtually the beginning of Clinton’s presidency, [Republicans] have blocked, stalled and shut down judicial confirmations in an attempt to keep jurists with the slightest liberal bent off the bench. Of the 62 judicial nominations put up by Clinton this year, the Senate has voted to confirm only 17.”

From the San Diego Union-Tribune, January 22, 2000: “Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., [said] that he and at least 13 other Republicans will block confirmation votes on every judicial nominee sent to the Senate by President Clinton in his last year in office.”

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 11, 2000: “Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott pushed through the confirmation of two federal judges Thursday, defying an effort by his fellow Republicans to block all nominations submitted by the Clinton administration.”

From the San Francisco Chronicle, March 10, 2000: “Confirmation votes [on two nominees] had been delayed for years by conservative Republican senators who charged [they] were liberal activists named to a federal appeals court that already leans too far to the left. [One nominee] had to wait four years before yesterday’s vote, the longest delay in history for any federal judicial nominee.”\

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 28, 2000: “Clinton said that he had been trying to get a black judge on [the 4th U.S. Circuit Court] for the last five years but that he had been stopped by the Senate Republican majority.”

On the same front, the GOP was willing to spend $73 million on the Whitewater Investigation, which came up with exactly nothing other than the president lied about his sex life (horrors! that’s never happened before!), about 4 times the amount spent investigating a war fought on false premises, and which has cost about 100,000 lives, including at last count 1569 american service men and women. But that was ethics, right? And we need to be able to trust our leaders, right? Of course, we can completely change the congressional rules of ethics to protect that paragon of virtue, Tom Delay, who can’t go a day without revelation of another unethical action.

If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention!

Foreign Influence in US elections (besides Saudi Arabia)

New Pope Intervened against Kerry in US 2004 Election Campaign
Agence France-Presse
Tuesday 19 April 2005

\Washington – German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican theologian who was elected Pope Benedict XVI, intervened in the 2004 US election campaign ordering bishops to deny communion to abortion rights supporters including presidential candidate John Kerry.

In a June 2004 letter to US bishops enunciating principles of worthiness for communion recipients, Ratzinger specified that strong and open supporters of abortion should be denied the Catholic sacrament, for being guilty of a “grave sin.”

He specifically mentioned “the case of a Catholic politician consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws,” a reference widely understood to mean Democratic candidate Kerry, a Catholic who has defended abortion rights.

The letter said a priest confronted with such a person seeking communion “must refuse to distribute it.”

A footnote to the letter also condemned any Catholic who votes specifically for a candidate because the candidate holds a pro-abortion position. Such a voter “would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for holy communion,” the letter read.

The letter, which was revealed in the Italian magazine L’Espresso last year, was reportedly only sent to US Catholic bishops, who discussed it in their convocation in Denver, Colorado, in mid-June.

Sharply divided on the issue, the bishops decided to leave the decision on granting or denying communion to the individual priest. Kerry later received communion several times from sympathetic priests.

Nevertheless, in the November election, a majority of Catholic voters, who traditionally supported Democratic Party candidates, shifted their votes to Republican and eventual winner George W. Bush.\

This presents an interesting problem, regardless of your stand on the abortion issue.

The Vatican is a foreign state, with the Pope as it’s head of state. It functions as, and is in all ways, a separate country. Countries have foreign-policy concerns, and it is reasonable that one of these concerns for the vatican would be the issue of abortion. What is not reasonable is that a foreign state use it’s very considerable influence to sway a US election. I believe, in fact, that there are laws against such things. If the members of the catholic church are coerced in their voting decisions by the withholding of a sacrament considered essential, how does this relate to illegal interference in US politics by a foreign nation?

Interesting thoughts, which need some rumination.