Friday, March 30, 2007

More on possible Iran strike

The Russian intelligence services are still chattering about an early-April strike against Iran by the U.S. and U.K.

Let's hope they're wrong on this one.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Whole World is behind Senator Webb


Senator James Webb has proposed an amendment to the Congress' authorization of the use of force in the Middle-East that would require Bush to obtain the Congress' express consent before engaging Iran in a military conflict.


A "Million Phone March" has been called in support of Senator Webb's amendment. If enough of us pull together and make a show of force via our telephones, calling out members of the House and Senate and expressing our adamant and unified voices that the U.S. SHOULD NOT ATTACK IRAN, this will pass.

Do it. Today.

Hell. Do it now.

For the sake of our world, just pick up a phone. Dial Congress at one of the following toll-free numbers:
800-828-0498, 800-459-1887 or 800-614-2803

War with Iran can be prevented. Just because our President appears hell-bent on bringing about a new World War does not mean we have to sit back and watch it unfold.

Stand up, America. Now. This is our hour.

Seize it.


Gonzales lied under oath to Congress (again)

Or so says his (former) Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson.


One has to wonder how much longer the GOP will let Bush keep his personal lieyer on staff.


Jack-o is Back-o!

Speaking of strange and unnatural things, I really, really, really hope Michael Jackson gets his way on this shin-dig.

From Yahoo! Music News ...
Michael Jackson is in discussions about creating a 50-foot robotic replica of himself to roam the Las Vegas desert, according to reports.

The pop legend is currently understood to be living in the city, as he considers making a comeback after 2004's turbulent child sex case.

It has now been claimed that his plans include an elaborate show in Vegas, which would feature the giant Jacko striding around the desert, firing laser beams.

If built, the metal monster would apparently be visible to aircraft as they come in to land in the casino capital.

It is the centerpiece of an elaborate Jackson-inspired show in Vegas, according to Andre Van Pier, the robot's designer.

Luckman Van Pier, his partner at the company behind the proposal, claims blueprints have been drawn up for the show and seen by the star.

"Michael's looked at the sketches and likes them," he told the New York Daily News.

On the subject of the robot, he continued: "It would be in the desert sands. Laser beams would shoot out of it so it would be the first thing people flying in would see."

That sounds like an orgasmic dream.

A 50-foot tall robot of Michael Jackson that roams the Las Vegas desert and shoots frickin' lasers?!?

That is the sort of epic-proportion dreaming that would play to an AWESOME scene in a post-apocalyptic world. I can picture it now, 150 years from today, as tribes of humans roam the countryside in search of long-preserved consumer goods, now the only currency known to the de-volved, backwards, radiation-plagued savages.

And like a mirage in the desert heat, they discover The Jackson, leaned forward on its haunches, long-since deactivated.

The tribes would worship it for decades to come. It would become an icon in human history, outlasting nations. Generations upon generations of our kind would flock to the desert to see the ancient monster, and marvel at its complex inner-workings.

It would be beautiful.

Or, maybe all that stuff won't happen. But I'd still love to see the day when a 50-foot tall replica of the world's most famous pedophile roams the barren wastelands of Nevada, firing frickin' laser beams from its eyes.

At the moment this machine is powered on, our culture will have come full-circle.




This is the saddest display I think I have ever been witness to in my short time on Earth.

This is how the black-hearted bastard will be remembered.

I think I can live with that.


When "flip-flopping" is a good thing

Republican Congressman from Georgia Bob Barr in 1998 ...
"Now, I think this is just a logical step. If we want a drug-free America, if we want a drug-free workplace, if we want drug-free prisons and drug-free schools and drug-free highways, we probably ought to have a drug-free capital, to say to prohibit the legalization of marijuana in the District of Columbia, where millions of our constituents come, year in and year out, day in and day out, week in and week out. They ought to be safe."
Former Republican Congressman from Georgia Bob Barr in 2007 ...
“I, over the years, have taken a very strong stand on drug issues, but in light of the tremendous growth of government power since 9/11, it has forced me and other conservatives to go back and take a renewed look at how big and powerful we want the government to be in people’s lives.”
And get this: the one-time drug warrior has, as of yesterday, become a lobbyist for the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington D.C.

Golly. You see a lot of strange and unnatural things these days. Weird stories of doom and failure are the currency of the land.

Like cannibals, hopped up on juice, roaming the countryside in search of skulls to gnaw on.

I think there'll be a lot of cannibals out for Mr. Barr's skull once they read this. Talk about an amazing about-face.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

White House aids switching to private e-mail

Since all these dern e-mails have been coming out and "contradicting" Administration officials (note to the wingnuts: e-mails hate America), White House aids have begun switching their primary modes of communication from official, government-run servers to private accounts.

Sounds like someone is either running scared, or has no idea of what "security concerns" are.


The Disconnect

The Fantasy ...

"There are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods, today."

-- U.S. Senator John McCain, March 26, 2007

* * * *
The Reality ...
BAGHDAD - Shiite militants and police enraged by massive truck bombings in the northwestern town of Tal Afar went on a revenge spree against Sunni residents there Wednesday, killing as many as 60 people, officials said.

The gunmen began roaming Sunni neighborhoods in the city, shooting at residents and homes, according to police and a local Sunni politician.

Ali al-Talafari, a Sunni member of the local Turkomen Front Party, said the Iraqi army had arrested 18 policemen accused of being involved after they were identified by the Sunni families targeted. But he said the attackers included Shiite militiamen.

He said more than 60 Sunnis had been killed, but a senior hospital official in Tal Afar put the death toll at 45, with four wounded.

The hospital official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to security concerns, said the victims were men between the ages of 15 and 60, and they were killed with a shot to the back of the head.

-- The Associated Press, March 28, 2007

* * * *
Any questions?


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Feeding homeless in Dallas: illegal?

So says this story in USA Today ...


Operation Bite: Iran attack planned for Good Friday?

This just in, as reported by journalist Webster G. Tarpley ...
WASHINGTON DC -- The long awaited US military attack on Iran is now on track for the first week of April, specifically for 4 AM on April 6, the Good Friday opening of Easter weekend, writes the well-known Russian journalist Andrei Uglanov in the Moscow weekly "Argumenty Nedeli." Uglanov cites Russian military experts close to the Russian General Staff for his account.

The attack is slated to last for twelve hours, according to Uglanov, lasting from 4 AM until 4 PM local time. Friday is a holiday in Iran. In the course of the attack, code named Operation Bite, about 20 targets are marked for bombing; the list includes uranium enrichment facilities, research centers, and laboratories.

The first reactor at the Bushehr nuclear plant, where Russian engineers are working, is supposed to be spared from destruction. The US attack plan reportedly calls for the Iranian air defense system to be degraded, for numerous Iranian warships to be sunk in the Persian Gulf, and the for the most important headquarters of the Iranian armed forces to be wiped out.

The attacks will be mounted from a number of bases, including the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. Diego Garcia is currently home to B-52 bombers equipped with standoff missiles. Also participating in the air strikes will be US naval aviation from aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf, as well as from those of the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. Additional cruise missiles will be fired from submarines in the Indian Ocean and off the coast of the Arabian peninsula. The goal is allegedly to set back Iran's nuclear program by several years, writes Uglanov, whose article was re-issued by RIA-Novosti in various languages, but apparently not English, several days ago. The story is the top item on numerous Italian and German blogs, but so far appears to have been ignored by US websites.

Observers comment that this dispatch represents a high-level orchestrated leak from the Kremlin, in effect a war warning, which draws on the formidable resources of the Russian intelligence services, and which deserves to be taken with the utmost seriousness by pro-peace forces around the world.
I'll be in Crawford, Texas on Good Friday.

We'll see how 'Good' that day turns out to be.


British accept obscene Iraqi death toll

From The Independent ...
British backtrack on Iraq death toll

British government officials have backed the methods used by scientists who concluded that more than 600,000 Iraqis have been killed since the invasion, the BBC reported yesterday.

The Government publicly rejected the findings, published in The Lancet in October. But the BBC said documents obtained under freedom of information legislation showed advisers concluded that the much-criticised study had used sound methods.

The study, conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, estimated that 655,000 more Iraqis had died since March 2003 than one would expect without the war. The study estimated that 601,027 of those deaths were from violence.

The researchers, reflecting the inherent uncertainties in such extrapolations, said they were 95 per cent certain that the real number of deaths lay somewhere between 392,979 and 942,636.

The conclusion, based on interviews and not a body count, was disputed by some experts, and rejected by the US and British governments. But the chief scientific adviser to the Ministry of Defence, Roy Anderson, described the methods used in the study as "robust" and "close to best practice". Another official said it was "a tried and tested way of measuring mortality in conflict zones".


Flying while brown

Here's a classic example of what happens when our law enforcement bases its suspicions on the color of someone's skin.

Stories like this one make me wonder: what does more harm? The drugs, or the drug war?
SAN FRANCISCO ( AP ) - A woman held for 22 hours at San Francisco International Airport, strip-searched and forced to take laxatives by Customs agents during a futile search for drugs has been awarded $450,000 by a federal court jury.

Lawyers for Amanda Buritica of Port Chester, N.Y., argued the agents at SFO had no reason to suspect her of being a drug courier, intensified their search when they found no evidence and ignored the fact she was already suffering from diarrhea. Agents found : anti- diarrhea medicine in their initial search.

"The more they searched, the less they found, and the less they found, the more suspicious they became," her lawyer, Gregory M. Fox, said.

A government lawyer countered that agents had several reasons for suspicion: Buritica was a woman in her 50s, traveling alone, on a Singapore Airlines flight from Hong Kong-a "high-risk flight" from a city that is a common source of drugs- wore loose clothing, carried no mementos from her trip and was unresponsive to questions.

But the U.S. District Court jury on Tuesday found the search unreasonable and awarded $225,000 in damages against each of two Customs agents involved in the search. The government usually pays such damages against its employees, although Assistant U.S. Attorney Gail Killefer said no decision to do so has been made yet.

Jurors also ordered punitive damages of $1,000 for malicious conduct against John Petrin, chief Customs inspector at the airport, who was also involved in a 1989 case before the same judge in which a bodycavity search of a passenger was ruled illegal.

U.S. District Judge Vaughm Walker will decide at a later date whether to order changes in Customs' local search policies and training procedures. He could also order additional damages against the government.

Buritica, who said she lost her job because of stress from the incident, told reporters the damages did not make up for her ordeal, "but I am glad that the jury realized that they did something very awful to me."

Killefer declined comment. She has asked Walker to overturn the verdict and dismiss the suit on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence of an unreasonable, search or inadequate training.

Buritica, then 50, a Colombian-born U.S. citizen, was returning from a round-the-world trip when she was detained at San Francisco International Airport in September 1994. After a luggage search, she was patted down, then strip-searched, X-rayed, and sent to a hospital for administration of a strong purgative.

She testified she was told she would be forcibly fed the purgative if she refused to drink it. Two agents watched her continuously while she used a portable toilet repeatedly during an eight-hour period, she said. After finally concluding she had no drugs in her system, the agents left the room, but no one told her she was free to leave for six to eight hours, she said.

Fox said local U.S. Customs agents randomly select passengers for scrutiny as possible drug couriers, without any grounds for suspicion. Even after reasonable suspicion justifies an initial search, he said, an intensified search should be prohibited unless agents find some evidence of smuggling and consider the passenger's innocent explanations.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Alberto now tied to TYC pedophile scandal

Dear Lord! We have reached a new, all-time low.

It is now being alleged that the Texas Attorney General's office, as well as Gonzales' Department of "Justice", IGNORED the Texas Youth Commission sexual abuse reports from Texas Rangers for OVER A YEAR due to political pressure. The prosecution was prepared by US Attorneys at the behest of the Texas Rangers, but when it went up the chain of command, the case was squashed.

I'll be damned.

That means US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, along with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, knew children were being raped in their "correctional" facilities, but did nothing about it because the scandal would have damaged other prominent Republicans' (re)election bids.

If it can be shown they both knew about it, they should resign immediately.

If they didn't know about something this serious going on in their respective agencies, they should resign out of embarrassment of their unbelievably poor management.

This is inexcusable.

Why do these things always, always, always go to the very top of the chain of command?


Say Whaaa?

"By charging this big lie [DeLay's violation of campaign finance laws], liberals have finally joined the ranks of scoundrels like Hitler."

-- Tom DeLay in his new book, "No Retreat, No Surrender"

(Speaking of Houston's most famous Used Car Salesman ... I wonder how My Congressman, Michael Burgess, feels about his 'ole best-budd. After all, he DID vote to keep House Ethics rules in a broken state, all in favor of keeping Tommy Boy in House leadership.)

Ain't they the CUTEST?!?

Don't worry, Tommy.

We'll always have the good 'ole days of child sex slavery in Saipan.


Family Values

I think this cartoon says it all ...


Cuban to distribute 9/11 Truth movie

The owner of The Dallas Mavericks is about to prove he's more of a maverick than anyone previously thought ...

Mark Cuban is going to bankroll distribute Loose Change Volume Three -- a film which alleges criminal elements within the United States government conspired with terrorists to carry out the September 11, 2001 attacks. The film will be screened in Cuban's Magnolia movie theater chain. 9/11 Truth activist Charlie Sheen will be narrating the final cut.

Many of you dismiss the 9/11 Truth Movement outright. I do not.

I have no conclusions; merely questions. The makers of Loose Change put forward a theory; I do not.

But lemme tell you ... Video clips like this one really tighten my wig:

"... shot down the plane over Penssylvania,"???


A new version of Loose Change is coming soon to a theater near you. You can watch the current version of the film here.

There's a group near me called North Texans for 9/11 Truth. They made it out to last Monday's block party at the planned site of the Bush library on the SMU campus. A video of their exploits recently surfaced on their Website, and it features your Humble Muckraker for a moment at the end. Dig it!

Better still, they made the front page of Park Cities People ...

(An unrelated side-note: the reporter credited for the Park Cities article, Stephanie Ackerman, used to work for The Flower Mound Leader. We were city council buddies for a few months. Last I heard, her boyfriend is in Iraq. So, best wishes Stephanie. Thanks for reporting on my friends' party. There'll be many, many more to come.)


Friday, March 23, 2007

Those evil neo-sapians!

Damn those Neo-Sapians!

Anyone else remember the cartoon Exo Squad from the early 90's? I do, but I certainly never made the connection then that I made today.

Watch this, and see if you pick out any recurrent themes.


America gets Snow'ed

Here's one for the "Are you smarter than a 5th grader?" file ...

Yesterday, when answering questions from reporters on the US Attorney scandal, White House spokesman Tony Snow said the following:
"There are -- in this particular case, the Department of Justice -- the Congress does have legitimate oversight responsibility for the Department of Justice. It created the Department of Justice. [Congress] does not have constitutional oversight responsibility over the White House, which is why by our reaching out, we're doing something that we're not compelled to do by the Constitution [...]"
Sorry Tony, but the Department of State's website seems to disagree with you in its opening paragraph describing the oversight powers of Congress ...

Dictionaries define "oversight" as "watchful care," and this approach has proven to be one of the most effective techniques that Congress has adopted to influence the executive branch. Congressional oversight prevents waste and fraud; protects civil liberties and individual rights; ensures executive compliance with the law; gathers information for making laws and educating the public; and evaluates executive performance. It applies to cabinet departments, executive agencies, regulatory commissions, and the presidency.
What we have, ladies and gentlemen, is an Executive Branch that now wishes to be above the law.

What do we call this set of circumstances when we witness it in other, smaller countries?

Say it with me class: An Executive Branch that over-rides the constitutionally-delegated power of the Congress has established a ... "Dick-Tate-Orrr-Ship"

Lordie. Next thing you know, they'll be saying that the Military Commissions Act or The Patriot Act gives them the authority to suspend the next election.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Iraq - a new vacation destination?

Let's have a round of applause for Rep. Tim Walberg, Republican of Michigan. According to the Congressman ...
"80 to 85 percent, in a conservative fashion, of Iraq is reasonably under control, at least as well as Detroit or Chicago or any of our other big cities. That's an encouraging sign.''
In the mean time, the new Secretary General of the United Nations was visiting the green zone in Baghdad. He probably has a different outlook on the situation ...

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Maggots and bats and soldiers, Oh My!

Front page of The Washington Post today ...
The Government Accountability Office warned the Pentagon this week that residents of the home "may be at risk" in light of allegations of severe health-care problems. Residents have been admitted to Walter Reed Army Medical Center with "the most serious type of pressure sores" and, in one case, with maggots in a wound, according to a GAO letter sent to the Defense Department.
And then there's the Associated Press, which reports ...

Some of the more striking problems were found at a VA clinic in White City, Ore. There, officials reported roof leaks throughout the facility, requiring them to "continuously repair the leaks upon occurrence, clean up any mold presence if any exists, spray or remove ceiling tiles."

In addition, large colonies of bats resided outside the facility and sometimes flew into the attics and interior parts of the building.

"Eradication has been discussed but the uniqueness of the situation (the number of colonies) makes it challenging to accomplish," according to the report, which said the bats were being tested for diseases. "Also, the bats keep the insect pollution to a minimum which is beneficial."

AP also reports ...

_In Oklahoma City, secondhand smoke from an outside smoking shelter sometimes infiltrated the building through the women's restroom.

_Deteriorating walls and hallways were common, requiring repair, patch and paint in 30 percent of patient areas in Little Rock, Ark.

_Numerous unspecified "environmental conditions" affected the quality of the building in New York's Hudson Valley, with the private landlord repeatedly refusing to fix problems. The VA is taking steps to relocate to another facility.

_Roof leaks or mold at facilities such as Hudson Valley; North Chicago, Ill.; Indianapolis; Puget Sound, Wash.; Portland, Ore; and Fayetteville, Ark.

Yet the President's FY 2007 budget cuts funds for VA care.

Support the Troops or Support Bush. There is no having it both ways.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Oh ... God ...

No words come to me ...

Just read this.


Snow on "The Gap"

The Justice Department recently purged over 3,000 pages from its databases, many of them e-mails and memos. As reporters have been discovering, there was a lot of talk about firing these U.S. Attorneys. Then, there's a gap - 18 days in which no e-mails or memos are present, as though they had been deleted.

When asked about this earlier today, White House spokesman Tony Snow had an amazing response. This, if nothing else, should tell you all there is to know about what is going on ...
"I'm lead to believe there's a good response for it," he said.
And we're lead to believe, Tony, that your boss is lying and trying to hide from the rule of law which he swore to uphold.

Pre-election firing of US Attorneys who were working on corruption cases related to prominent members of your own party -- otherwise known as Obstruction of Justice -- is not behavior befitting a president.

And no, my Republican friends, Clinton didn't do the same thing. His AG did NOT fire all the US Attorneys when taking office. Nor did they toss any attorneys who were investigating Democrats.

But if he did, it would have been just as wrong then as it is now.

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Promo for Peace

You should meet some of my friends. They're part of a group called DallasRally - an collection of activist networks, all tied up into one big, happy family. They're not only changing Dallas, they're changing the world ... Ya dig?

November 6, 2007 - George W. Bush was in town to support Governor Rick Perry at a Republican meeting in Reunion Arena. Keep your eye on the van ...

January 2, 2007 - A vigil in memory of our 3,000 fallen heroes ...

February 19, 2007 - President's Day at the spot Kennedy was assassinated ...

February 19, 2007 - President's Day - No war but the class war, baby ...

March 19, 2007 - Fourth Anniversary of the Invasion ...
WFAA, Channel 8
CBS, Channel 11
Dallas Morning News
The Dallas Observer
D Magazine

(More coming soon!)

DallasRally is planning some block parties, got the hook-ups on live music, and they're always, always ready to speak some truth when it is needed. So, where you at? Ya down? Join up, or keep your eye on

Click to join dallasrally

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Pick up a DMN today

Page 10A of The Dallas Morning News today reads ...

On the Mockingbird bridge over Central Expressway, Dallas police stopped rush-hour traffic along the half-mile march as the wind whipped banners with anti-Bush slogans and carried chants of peace.

"What do we want? Our troops out. When do we want it? Now."

Motorists honked horns and snapped pictures with cellphone cameras while they waited for about 150 protesters to walk past.

The same passage can be found on page 8B in my Metro zone. There's even a picture of one of our friends holding a sign that reads "NO MORE BLOOD FOR OIL", right on the cover, below the fold.

Oh, and you'll want to watch the video report on WFAA as well. A Republican precinct chairwoman screams into the camera, "I've never marched a day in my life before this ... What we have done is wrong ... We've GOT TO IMPEACH George W. Bush!"

And, if you're in the know, you'll probably even spot Beth, the event's intrepid organizer and personal friend o' moi.

Also be sure to check out the CBS 11 report. It includes a writeup and video.

What The Morning News neglects to say is that at the last minute, this gathering was being dubbed by DallasRally a "block party". And the last two hours of it almost, almost actually qualified as a block party. So close.

But still, I say: GENIUS!

Speaking with Beth after the event - which was host to some really great live music, some amazing speakers and poets, and some cool activist-types passing out vital coalition-building materials - I emphasized to her that "block party" is the way future events need to be put forward.

She agreed, and so did the majority of (young) folks who followed us to Cafe Brazil afterward.

Yes, I think there was a consensus last night: protesting is so last generation! I'm feeling a free speech block party, with DJ's on some tables, a few members of the hip-hop caucus, a couple kegs, a free speech zone, tables where various groups can pass out their literature ...

But its going to take a real coalition. The Dallas Peace Center and DallasRally are friends with a lot of other activist networks, but these parties would be more geared to the student groups. We've got to get some (or find some) SDS chapters. I think there's one at UTA. Perhaps more research is needed.

Regardless, free speech block parties will happen, and soon. It'll be a "byob" event, and people probably should be carded before entering. But the drink will be free, and no one organization will be "responsible" or a "sponsor" of the event. We're all just there, chilling out, having a good time, speaking some truth, hanging with good people.

"What's the problem, officer man?"

Last night was the start of something big in Dallas; coming soon to a college campus near you. :OP

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Monday, March 19, 2007




Visit the Iraq Veteran's Memorial

Hear them speak ...


Peace march in Colorado attacked by police

Hey Dallas-ites and my home-team in Denton -- remember this when you march tonight.

The Denver Post has a report of a small peace march in Colorado Springs, Colorado that was attacked over the weekend by a group of police. The Post's story is somewhat detail-lite. The Colorado-Springs Gazette story is decent. But the story in Colorado Confidential is best, I think. Writer Cara DeGette says ...

Bill Durland, who was part of a group of about 45 marching with the Bookman bookmobile, says he watched as Colorado Springs police, some wearing riot helmets, descended into the crowd.

One cop kneed a woman in the groin as she lay on the ground. Another broke a wooden peace sign that one of the participants had been carrying. One photo shows a cop with his arm around the neck of a retired priest, Frank Cordero, in an apparent chokehold. In another shot a cop hoists a Taser.

The arrests occurred just after start of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Colorado Springs on Saturday. The group were marching with the bookmobile owned by Verlo, a well-known peace activist. Verlo had obtained a $15 permit to participate in the parade, but apparently, though the participants say they did nothing more than wear T-shirts with peace signs and carry peace banners with messages like "Kids Not Bombs," they were told after the parade started that they were unwelcome.

"There were City Council candidates and the Knights of Columbus," Durland said. "We were just wearing peace sweaters and green T-shirts with white peace signs and carrying a banner that said ‘Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission’ and then someone came running up at an intersection and told us to leave. He didn’t identify himself, and he started pushing people around and he must have called the police because they came pretty fast."

Many of the participants who were walking with the Bookman bookmobile indeed dispersed when the police appeared and ordered them to do so. But those who didn’t leave, White noted, were "mainly the people most trained in non-violence."

"They went limp," he said.

Durland says it all happened so fast that few understood what was happening. He called the officers’ response "shock and awe."

Today is the Fourth Anniversary of the Invasion of Iraq. Tonight, Peace Activists from all over Texas will descend upon Dallas, Denton and Arlington, among the thousands of other locations around the nation.

Keep safe, friends. And remember: if the police attack you, go limp and do not fight back. The most important thing is ensuring your safety.

That being said, don't forget TONIGHT!


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Another break-in

Wow! The second break-in at a Democratic headquarters in less than a month ...

On Saturday night, the office of Communications Director Nick Kimball of the Minnesota DFL was burglarized.

This time, intruder(s) stole a key laptop, neglecting to pick up other items of value, such as a digital video camera and other computers nearby.

I wonder what that could mean?

"Gosh, I hope there isn't any political espionage going on."

"Gee. I hope so too. You would have thought our thug-like friends in the GOP had learned their lesson back during Nixon's day."

"Wul shucks, I really do hope so, I do-I do ..."

Let's not hold our breath, eh?

I'm sure we'll be hearing about this, and last month's break-in at the New Hampshire headquarters, quite a bit more in the very near future.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Poor Jean Schmidt

First the rookie Congresswoman calls one of the most decorated ex-Marines in Congress "a coward".

Then, today, she slips and falls in a puddle of vomit and runs out into the hallway, in front of a troupe of legislators, making a big, screaming production out of it all.

Poor, poor Jean Schmidt.


Bedtime for Alberto "Torture Memo" Gone-zales

I swear, Washington D.C. is all about the Sex, Lies and Videotape. And once again, our friends at ThinkProgress have the video tape.

Alberto Gonzales has

lied under oath

in testimony

to Congress

With all this furor over the attorney scandal, and Gonzales purjuring himself amid Republican calls for his resignation - DURING massive abuses of provisions in the Patriot Act ... I give the guy two weeks. Possibly less.

And so shall end the career of Alberto "Torture Memo" Gonzales.

Bye-bye, soldado fiel.

CBS News (and at least one White House political strategist) agrees with me.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

If Jobs ran Apple like Bush runs America ...

It would probably look something like this ...

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Ohio election workers sentenced to jail

Some old Republican ladies just took a fall for their party. They tampered with Cleveland's 2004 Presidential election, or so a judge has ruled.

The judge adds, "I can't help but feel there's more to this story."

Ditto, man. Ditto.


Pentagon: Parts of Iraq in 'civil war'

They finally said it.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Public safety vs. personal morality

The Webster Retort
For March 16, 2007

Public safety vs. personal morality
Jessica’s Law was long overdue. But there is a pressing issue which, by this law’s passage, we as a society must address.

Jessica’s Law requires that convicted sex offenders be slapped with a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years. Repeat offenders may be sentenced to death. Say what you will about the death penalty, but if any offender class deserves a mandatory minimum, it is the child molesters.

Let us consider our own back yard. Seventy adults convicted of molesting a child under the age of 12 live in Denton County; none of whom have served prison time. The county’s total number of offenders comes to 176 at my last count, and only 12 are behind bars. Flower Mound is home to 13. Five more dwell in Highland Village. Dallas County abides another 843.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children claims 80-100,000 convicted offenders have absconded form our databases. The Department of Justice says that a child is sexually assaulted in this nation EVERY FOUR MINUTES. And, according to the Center for Sex Offender Management, over half of all convicted offenders are arrested again for a repeat offense or other crimes.

If that is not enough to get you outraged, I doubt your humanity.

The American Justice System needs a basic – yet radical – reform. With Jessica’s Law, we have an opportunity like none other to emphasize how vitally important our children are, placing them above all other items of import.

It starts in our prisons and courtrooms. We must clarify which offenses we as a state are willing to destroy an individual’s life over. Molesting and/or murdering a child should be chiseled in rock atop the list.

Today, the most widely committed crime is the smoking of marijuana. One-in-three Americans have tried it. In 2000, 646,042 Americans, making up 41 percent of all drug arrests, were incarcerated for possession - not distribution. No scientific study has ever linked the death of an individual to marijuana use.

Whereas alcohol – our most intoxicating recreational drug - knocks off over 110,000 of our citizens annually. Additionally, 36 percent of violent felons committed their crime(s) with alcohol coursing through their veins. Cigarette smoking kills 430,000 Americans every year. And aspirin, along with related over-the-counter pain killers, claims an additional 7,500 lives.

In 1986, mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders went into effect in many states. By 1997, the national corrections budget had shot up 135 percent, and America had become the most incarcerated nation on Earth. As of 1997, the cost of putting one person through a drug treatment program was $6,800. The costs associated with keeping that same person incarcerated for one year exceed $23,000.

In 2005, Texas arrested and incarcerated 51,563 people for small possession, on whom we proceeded to waste over $1 BILLION in state funds. And let’s not even think about the number of man hours our police officers invested in such a shocking sum.

Our jail population is about to swell thanks to the long-overdue measures within Jessica’s Law. We will be spending a much larger sum of money on our corrections due to prisoners who will be staying in state facilities much, much longer than before.

Texas is, at least fiscally, a Conservative state. One would hope the legislature recognizes our money as a finite resource. Jessica’s Law will place a much greater burden on our law enforcement and local municipalities in keeping track of the thousands upon thousands of offenders who have absconded or have been released.

Before we commit a lion’s share of our citizens’ hard-earned, begrudgingly-paid taxes to building new cage-motels to handle the additional overflow, a most important question must be asked: Where do our priorities lie?

I believe everyone would agree that the child molester and murderer does far more damage to society than the marijuana smoker, if indeed the later has much impact at all.

House Bill 758 in the Texas Legislature aims to reduce penalties for marijuana possession under one ounce – which accounts for the majority of pot arrests – from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class C misdemeanor. Class B carries a penalty of 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Class C is a fine of $500 and mandatory confiscation of the substance.

The bill keeps a punishment aspect close at hand for minor drug abuse, and addresses the issue of overcrowded jails.

Should House Bill 758 pass, we would be enabled to designate a greater portion of our jail space to those who really deserve incarceration: pedophiles, whose offenses our society has neglected far too long.

Jessica’s Law is a good start. Now it is time to brace for its wake. Call your Representatives and tell them to make some extra room in our cages for the real monsters by supporting H.B. 758. It is the only Responsible and Conservative thing to do.

Little Jessica Lunsford did not have to die in agony for our society to realize that public safety, not personal morality, should be paramount in our System of Justice.


Monday, March 12, 2007

Cheney should've listened to Cheney

In 1991, on ABC's This Week, Dick Cheney said ...
Well, just as it’s important, I think, for a president to know when to commit U.S. forces to combat, it’s also important to know when not to commit U.S. forces to combat. I think for us to get American military personnel involved in a civil war inside Iraq would literally be a quagmire. Once we got to Baghdad, what would we do? Who would we put in power? What kind of government would we have? Would it be a Sunni government, a Shi’a government, a Kurdish government? Would it be secular, along the lines of the Ba’ath Party? Would be fundamentalist Islamic? I do not think the United States wants to have U.S. military forces accept casualties and accept the responsibility of trying to govern Iraq. I think it makes no sense at all.
So it begs the question: Why didn't Cheney listen to Cheney?

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Movin' on ... Out?

Halliburton is moving its corporate headquarters from Houston to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Meaning they won't have to pay American taxes.

But we're still going to keep paying Dick Cheney's company egregious sums of money in Cost Plus contracts to "pacify" Iraq.

Yeah. That's great. Awesome.

It also makes me suspicious that something real bad may be about to go down in Houston.


Public funds for abortion!

Or so said one of today's GOP Presidential candidates, waaaaay back in 19-of-89 ...


Thursday, March 08, 2007

General Petraeus speaks

Top U.S. General in Iraq ...

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Another FEMA foul-up? Maybe not.

On the surface, that's what the story in Hope, Arkansas appears to be.

The residents of Hope were displaced from their homes by a flurry of tornadoes. Sitting just 160 miles away, a field full of trailers purchased and furnished by FEMA in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina -- but never used due to vast incompetence.

It has been over a week since the people of Hope saw their homes destroyed. Why aren't the Fed's coming in with help?

Because unlike neighboring states Alabama and Georgia, which President Bush visited within 48 hours of the storms, Arkansas has a Democrat as governor. Alabama and Georgia are governed by Republicans.

Arkansas has received no help from FEMA because President Bush has not declared the sites to be a federal disaster area. But in Alabama and Georgia, it happened almost immediately.

Just what the hell is going on in the White House?

Heck'uva Job Brownie is gone. And now the Bush stands alone. Why is he refusing federal aid to the now-homeless citizens of Arkansas?


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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Cowardly and deceptive means

The Webster Retort

Publication date: March 9, 2007

By Stephen Webster

Cowardly and deceptive means

I think the term “Democratic leadership” has become an oxymoron.

From the green fields of Crawford, Texas, during the sweaty summer of 2005, a rallying cry was issued from coast to coast. Thousands gathered just miles from the Bush Ranch, sparking a flurry of media coverage and the onset of an inevitable national debate. People of ever political stripe came together and built the most powerful emerging movement in America which now holds a commanding majority in the electorate.

In short, the Peace People Cleaned House. They swept a dearth of Iraq war supporters from their representative halls, proving our democracy may yet be salvageable.

This is not about partisanship. It is not liberal or conservative to be against dropping our brave men and women into a pit of razors. It is not Left or Right to wish our wounded soldiers were receiving proper medical care at government-run facilities. There is no Left or Right when ideology becomes of principal import over and above the health and safety of our sons and daughters.

But seriously, folks. This is getting absurd.

The amount of disgust that pursed through my veins at the notion of a “non-binding resolution” opposing the troop surge reached a level that nearly gave this Faithful Muckraker a Dick Cheney. Ehrm, I mean, coronary.

The Texan in me wants to stand up and shout: “You yellow-bellied, silver-tongued, lying, traitorous, unwashed, flat-footed, cowardly, good-fer-nothin, rot-gut scoundrels!”

First, the facts of this so-called “surge” ...

The president has “decided” to send in 21,500 additional troops, or so he said. (It is actually more.) Once complete, the “surge” would bring troop levels to – dun dun dun – the same level they were at in 2005; which was lower than in 2004.

America currently has about 120,000 troops in country. Post surge, it increases to roughly 141,500 troops. The nation of Iraq has a population of 26,783,383 terrorized, gun-clutching, panicky people. So, by that measure, there will be 189 Iraqis to every one American. In all reality, the “surge” is nothing more than a meaningless PR campaign; or as John Soltz of VoteVets calls it, “a drop in the bucket.”

BoiBush is clearly getting desperate to save face. Unfortunately, all this does is place a greater number of our men and women in an extremely dangerous situation far beyond their control.

It will make no difference.

And if the Walter Reed scandal is any indicator, the military is little better today at providing care for our wounded vets than they were during 'Nam. Sure, battlefield medicine has improved. But what good is it if we abandon them once they come home?

And the White House's line? “That's not our responsibility. Talk to the people across the river.”

Good Lord! My grandmother used to have a saying about America's power structure. It went a little like, “The buck stops here [meaning, at the White House], but most politicians just want to play 'smear the queer'.”

We are like the French in Algeria, and no amount of guns, bombs or fighting will solve our problem. The solution lies in a decentralized federal system with wealth-sharing, localized police and an emphasis on individual freedoms. Instead, we have given them a divisive and authoritarian religion-based state that serves only to fuel sectarian tensions, driving the civil war to new heights.

Nancy Pelosi, our esteemed House Speaker, was placed in a position of power by The American Peace Movement. Our bipartisan majority understands what it will take to pacify Iraq, and bringing our soldiers home NOW is just the first step. There is no point in keeping them in the middle of a crossfire. Even James Baker, DadiBush's third hand, understands this.

That Pelosi would promote the “non-binding resolution” as something useful is unconscionable. And now she is lending support to the passage of yet more funding to escalate the war? Who have we elected?

Republicans say that de-funding the war “puts troops in harm's way”. As though military command is just going to up-and-vanish, forgetting about all 141,500 soldiers in country. Give me a break!

Sadly, the utterance of such a phrase sends “Democratic leadership” scurrying for the hills.

Is the memory of our leaders so short that they cannot recall the 90's?

Texas Republican Congressman Sam Johnson is one such forgetful individual. He recently argued against a proposal to tie war funding to concrete troop readiness levels. “The grim reality is that this House measure is the first step to cutting funding of the troops,” said Johnson. “Just ask John Murtha about his 'slow-bleed' plan that would hamstring our troops in harm’s way.”

However, when President Clinton attached U.S. troops to a NATO peacekeeping force in Bosnia, Congressman Johnson had no problem committing to an action which, as he now feels, would “hamstring our troops in harm's way.”

In 1996, Congressman Johnson said, with some amount of indignation over Clinton's marching orders, I wholeheartedly support withholding funds! [Mmhmm.] Although it is a drastic step and ties the President’s hands, I do not feel like we have any other choice. The President has tied our hands, gone against the wishes of the American people, and this is the last best way I know how to show my respect for our American servicemen and women. They are helpless, following orders. But we, we are in a position to stop this terrible mistake before it happens.”

Even the esteemed Senator Phil Gramm of Texas vowed to support efforts his colleagues today claim would “put troops in harm's way.”

Yes, that's right: they were for cutting funds before they were against it.

Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid need to grow some spine. Their Republican counterparts utilize cowardly and deceptive means to avert honest debate. But they, being the so-called “Democratic leadership”, are proving no less cowardly or deceptive as they shirk their promise of Ending the War.

De-funding war opens the Path to Peace. Anything Else is just Smoke and Mirrors.

Accept No Substitute. Power to The Peaceful.


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Libby guilty of perjury, obstruction of justice

Sentenced to:
25 years in prison and a fine of $1 million
(as of noon today)

Convicted on the charges of (according to CNN) ...

  • obstruction of justice when he intentionally deceived a grand jury investigating the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame;
  • making a false statement by intentionally lying to FBI agents about a conversation with NBC newsman Tim Russert;
  • perjury when he lied in court about his conversation with Russert;
  • a second count of perjury when he lied in court about conversations with other reporters.

  • Now, finally, The Cheney stands alone. Will the Vee'P let himself be tried for his crime? Or will he simply resign?

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    Friday, March 02, 2007

    Real Nightmare ...

    Attention-attention, everyone!

    Because some criminal terrorist did something, every single one of us formerly free people will now have to submit to intense government scrutiny and a complete loss of privacy.

    Michael Chertoff, in association with The Department of Fatherland Security, proudly presents ...

    REAL I.D.

    (aka - the "National I.D. Card - aka - the "Mark of The Beast" - aka - the next major battle in the War on Freedom)

    There are 186 pages of proposed rules set forward by the DHS. Here's a few (nod to Wired Magazine) ...

    * Applicants must present a valid passport, certified birth certificate, green card or other valid visa documents to get a license and states must check all other states' databases to ensure the person doesn't have a license from another state.

    * States must use a card stock that glows under ultraviolet light, and check digits, hologramlike images and secret markers.

    * Identity documents must expire before eight years and must include legal name, date of birth, gender, digital photo, home address and a signature. States can propose ways to let judges, police officers and victims of domestic violence keep their addresses off the cards. There are no religious exemptions for veils or scarves for photos.

    * States must keep copies of all documents, such as birth certificates, Social Security cards and utility bills, for seven to 10 years.

    The project will costs "states and individuals" $23 billion over the next decade, starting in 2008.

    It will create the largest single database about U.S. citizens ever imagined, all in the name of safety, under the guise of good intentions.

    It will protect us from the terrorists who've killed just as many Americans as lightning strikes since 1960 ... And you know how concerned we are with preventing lightning strikes.

    Real I.D. will serve as an "internal passport", required for almost all interaction in the public domain. You will not be able to open a checking or savings account, invest in the stock market, use any government service, board any mass transportation vehicle such as a bus, train or airplane, or enter any government building if you do not posses the card.

    But there are many who stand against this, even today. Join them, and maybe we won't have to march in our streets once we've been barred from our banks.

    There is still time to stop this insanity.


    You and I are Josephe Padilla. (Or could be, anyway.)

    What happened to the Joseph Padilla interrogation tape?

    That's what human rights organizations are wondering today, as a Pentagon representative tells America (but mostly just U.S. Judge Marcia Cooke in Miami) that it has gone missing.
    "This is the kind of thing you hear when you’re litigating cases in Egypt or Morocco or Karachi,” said John Sifton, a lawyer with Human Rights Watch, one of a number of groups that has criticized the U.S. government’s treatment of Padilla. “It is simply not credible that they would have lost this tape. The administration has shown repeatedly they are more interested in covering up abuses than getting to the bottom of whether people were abused."
    Interestingly, Mr. Padilla has just been declared competent to stand trial. Some experts have diagnosed him as suffering Stockholm's syndrome. Perhaps there's some clues as to why on this missing tape?

    Or is 'clues' is the wrong word?

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    The Weird, Turned Pro.

    Created by The Gonzo Muckraker
    Based in Dallas, Texas
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    Stories I'm Digging today ...