Monthly Archives: June 2007

Even the Post Office Isn’t Safe From Bush & Cheney

I work for the Post Office. For the last six-plus years of the Bush/Cheney administration, the National Association of Letter-carriers, the Mail-handlers Union, and the American Postal Worker’s Union (APWU) have been fighting Bush’s hand-picked, corporate crony-filled Postal Board of Governors and its attempts to privatize (i.e. plunder, gut, dismember and give the remains to Pitney Bowes, Big Mailers, UPS and Fed-Ex) the USPS. The APWU finally decided to get into the influence-buying game themselves and started Committee On Political Action (COPA), which is a fourth-rate lobbying arm which pits Union members donated 1 million dollars/year against its opponent’s tens of millions. Guess who was winning? No surprise things looked grim until the Democrats retook the house and senate in 2006.

For weeks I’ve been telling everyone who’ll listen about the 2007 Postal Rate Change–specifically how its going to kill (OK–seriously impact the bottom-line of) small business-owners and adversely affect average Americans. As a person who sells items on ebay and, I can testify that the new rates have seriously impacted my profit margin on and forced me to downgrade from 1st class to 3rd class (media mail) in my mailings, and I’ve been twice-bitten when postal rates for items I sold on ebay ended up being significantly higher than expected. I no longer sell to Canadian and International buyers because the rates are so high.

A few days ago, I received this email request for aid from the Nation Magazine, which has been hit much harder than my ebay business:

Dear Member of the Nation Community,

One-half million dollars. That’s what the latest round of rate-juggling by the United States Postal Service will cost The Nation in the next year. Rate increases go into effect July 15, 2007. We are fighting this increase as best we can, but even if we “win,” which is a long shot, we are still facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional postage. Now it’s time to accept the reality: The Nation needs your help and we need it now. Click here. Here’s the history of this situation:

  • In an unprecedented move, postal regulators rejected the rate plan submitted by the United States Postal Service in favor of a complex scheme designed by Time Warner, the country’s largest publisher!
  • The new plan gave much lower increases, or in some cases decreases, to mega-magazines like Time Warner’s own Time, People and Sports Illustrated, shifting the burden to smaller publications like The Nation.
  • We were given just eight working days to prepare a response to the 758-page rate plan before it was declared a fait accompli.

The result: an 18% increase in postal costs for The Nation. Please help now. For the media mastodons that increasingly control the information that gets out to you and their Washington flacks, it’s just business as usual. For The Nation it’s a potential disaster — but not exactly a surprise. We have two choices: start cutting back on our investigative reporting and coverage of what’s missing in the mainstream/corporate media, and on our efforts to expand our outreach programs to students and decision-makers. Or hope that friends and supporters like you will help us fill the shortfall. Click here to help. Given the state of things in this country at this time, and a historically decisive election on the horizon, the timing couldn’t be more critical. We need your help, if you can possibly give it, and we need it now. In advance, accept our very real gratitude. Sincerely Teresa Stack Teresa Stack, President

P.S. We will shortly be inviting you to a very special phone conference to discuss the postal rate increase issue in more depth. Join your fellow Nation readers, Nation editors and writers, as well as special guest experts and learn more about this serious issue. Stay tuned!

Peter Rothberg, blogging at The Nation, tells us why a low-cost Postal Service is so valuable to the American People:

America’s founders understood the First Amendment would be worth little without a postal system that encouraged broad public participation in America’s “marketplace of ideas.” Thomas Jefferson called for a postal service that allowed ideas to “penetrate the whole mass of the people.” Along with James Madison, he paved the way for a system that gave low-cost mailing incentives to small publications of information and ideas.

Every small mailer will be hit by the rate increase. Whether you subscribe to Mother Earth News or Pet Fancy or Tiger Beat–they will be affected and: 1. Raise rates. 2. Shut down operations/restructure/go bankrupt. 3. Lay-off staff/reporters/ editors.

While the period for public debate has expired, there probably is no harm in contacting your representatives in the House and Senate and telling them to throw out the unfair Time/Warner-authored rate increases.

You can learn more at the APWU site here.

The Nation has some articles and blogs with more info here.

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Filed under post office, rate increase, the nation magazine, time/warner, usps

Mainstreaming Torture

I finally hit my breakpoint with cable television–and network television for that matter–yesterday. I was channel surfing when I came upon MTV and their “reality show” Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Inferno 3. I’ll admit, I have a soft-spot for MTV. I love their garbage-y reality shows much in the same way I love fast food: I know its bad for me, but I can’t help indulging now and then.

The episode I partially watched involved a challenge where 1 player from each of the 2 teams was seated in a chair resembling an electric chair and electrodes were attached to their arms. The remaining team-members answered trivia questions. For every wrong answer, the player in the electric chair got shocked by the show’s host T.J. Lavin.

Almost immediately, the hairs on the back of my neck rose up. I thought of kidnapped American Soldiers, Daniel Pearl, Abu Ghraib, extraordinary rendition, secret CIA prisons in eastern Europe, Alberto Gonzales’ “torture memos”, “enhanced interrogation”, Guantanamo Bay, cluster bombs and unexploded bomb-lets, etc. etc. etc. Almost immediately I wondered for what purpose MTV created this episode. I knew Viacom owned MTV. And thanks to wikipedia I learned National Amusements owns Viacom. And that Sumner Redstone owns National Amusements, and also has controlling interest of CBS. Redstone owns, or controls, a vast media empire. Like 24 on FOX, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp, Sumner is doing his part to put a positive spin on torture.

I know I’m probably being paranoid, but the only reason I can see for “torture-lite” on an MTV reality show is to desensitize it’s young, impressionable viewers to the idea of torture. MTV isn’t an “R” rated motion picture like the despicable Hostel or SAW films (though they do run trailers of these ultra-violent torture flicks). Young people under 17 don’t have to be accompanied by an adult to see MTV. See enough people bound and wired and given low-grade electric shocks and you won’t be “shocked” when you see or hear or read about detainees or “terrorists” being subjected to hardier doses of the same treatment at Gitmo, or an undisclosed location overseas.

Another aspect of the torture scene from Inferno 3 was the fact that the victims of the torture were two woman, arguably the two most attractive women on the show–who were chosen to be electrocuted because the opposing team felt they were the weakest member and might succumb to the pain and forfeit the challenge. It’s bad enough that the cast-mates laughed and cheered as the “Captains” were electrocuted, but in addition to the cheering, we add an element of S&M and misogyny in that two women were tied up and shocked while their male cast-mates watched. I say S&M and misogyny because as the two bound women gasped, cried out, and/or moaned from the discomfort of the shocks, several of the male cast-mates commented “I’m getting kinda hot” and “Cara is making the sexiest sounds I’ve ever heard–from someone who’s getting electrocuted”. So there you go, young people: torture = sex. The whole scene made me a little sick to my stomach, but hey that’s me.

I realize MTV and their Inferno show are “small potatoes” when it comes to torture on TV. FOX’s 24 is the undisputed champion of championing the cause of torture–or enhanced interrogation if you prefer. 24 and Jack Bauer’s use of torture is so visceral and disturbing that the U.S. Army asked them to tone it down. From

The U.S. military believes the television show 24 — which has become a foreign policy guide for the right — is sending inappropriate messages to the troops condoning torture:

The United States Military Academy at West Point yesterday confirmed that Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan recently traveled to California to meet producers of the show, broadcast on the Fox channel. He told them that promoting illegal behavior in the series – apparently hugely popular among the US military – was having a damaging effect on young troops.

The New York Times noted, “Very little public scrutiny – much less protest – of violent interrogation is depicted” on the show. Numerous conservative pundits have cited 24 as a sanction for harsh interrogation practices. radio host Laura Ingraham has said:

The average American out there loves the show 24. OK? They love Jack Bauer. They love 24. In my mind that’s close to a national referendum that it’s OK to use tough tactics against high-level Al Qaeda operatives as we’re going to get.

Note: I’ve never seen an episode of 24, but I’ve seen clips on various other news programs and radio shows.

The Carpet Bagger Report has a great post in the archive about right-wing pundits and 24 and how 24 might not be strictly for the GOP.

Some more words on torture, from an story titled Gitmo Interrogations Spark Battle Over Tactics:

“No. 1, it’s not going to work,” said Col. Brittain P. Mallow, the commander of the task force from 2002 to 2005.”No. 2, if it does work, it’s not reliable. No. 3, it may not be legal, ethical or moral. No. 4, it’s going to hurt you when you have to prosecute these guys. No. 5, sooner or later, all of this stuff is going to come to light, and you’re going to be embarrassed.”

Col. Mallow was the commander of the Defense Department’s Criminal Investigation Task Force. I think he’s spot one with observation no. 1 and 2 and 4. No. 3 I would change to It ISN’T legal, ethical or moral. No. 5 I would substitute “horrified and ashamed” for “embarrassed”–as in, we, the American people, were horrified and ashamed when the details of torture came to light. AHEM–those of us who don’t watch that much television were horrified and ashamed.

Its occurred to me all at once that the U.S. is morally upside-down and inside-out under the Presidency of George Bush. There are two wars being fought in our name and most of us support them solely by going shopping. Our national war hero isn’t a real-life General or grunt but a TV secret agent who stops the bad guys by pulling off fingernails and dunking heads in toilets until the baddies cry “uncle”. Our leaders declare Constitutional rights and international law to be “quaint” and/or obsolete ideas that must be suspended or discarded to protect our country during the “long war” against Islamic terrorism–and nobody seems to care. All the wars and White House spin and garbage on TV, be it torture on 24 or torture on MTV–or Paris, Britney or Lindsey on the “news” programs–pile up, combine and overlap into a gigantic national psychosis.

But despite the claims of terrorists lurking under every bed, I refuse to agree that torture–excuse me, enhanced interrogation–is necessary to protect our country. And it still makes me sick and I’ll tell everyone who’ll listen so. And I still won’t watch Fox’s 24–or MTV anymore, for that matter.

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Filed under inferno 3, mtv, torture

Who’s Afraid of Global Warming?

I have to confess I still haven’t seen An Inconvenient Truth. I did listen to most of Al Gore’s recent testimony to Congress though. I’ve also read report after report by reputable scientists that insist that Global Warming is very real and very much a danger. Additionally, I’ve seen the evidence that time and again, the Bush administration has put Energy Industry hacks into high-level government environmental positions to alter scientific data, bully scientists, and generally try to muddy public perception of Global Warming.

Oftentimes, while looking for something online, I stumble onto something entirely different, and unexpected–but stay awhile and read it anyway. A few months ago, I found a right-wing website that debunks liberal “myths”. A post by a man named Noel Sheppard on said site, NewsBusters, reported on a story about Colorado sixth-graders who decided, in a mock trial, that man isn’t responsible for Global Warming. Keep in mind just who and what we’re talking about: 11 and 12 year-old kids–pre-teens–who researched the topic online on a Wednesday then had their mock trial the following day. The verdict, by a 7-to-4 margin: Man, not guilty. Mother nature, very guilty.

Mr. Sheppard expressed obvious delight at the story, seeming a little too excited about tweener scholastic exercise (in the comments of the post, Sheppard claims it’s a puff piece and not all that serious, but I’m not so sure that’s how he really feels). I’m fairly certain sixth-graders in 2007 are way more sophisticated than I was in 1985, because at their age I was more concerned with cartoons, baseball, Dungeons & Dragons, my BMX, and–though I wouldn’t have admitted it then–girls, than anything involving school. Furthermore, at that age I still believed that everything a trusted adult (parent, teacher, coach, priest, etc) told me was 100% true. Most of the opinions I had then were from my limited sphere of influences. Of course, that was in a time before Al Gore invented—Ha Ha—the internets.

Given the fact that these are kids engaged in a commendable–but really a just-for-fun, and cursory–exercise in debate, I was surprised and dismayed by the commentary and comments at Newsbusters. While many were somewhat well-reasoned, a majority seemed to think that so-called “Main Stream Media” ignored this story because of the jury’s verdict against man-made global warming. Here’s a few choice comments in that vein:

You know that if these kids had found against man, that they’d be invited to Good Morning America and Diane Sawyer would be all over these kids proclaiming how cute they were and how important it is for us to listen to the children.

Of course, they find in favor of man and against alarmists, and you can hear crickets chirping.

. . .

My hats off to those sixth graders, apparently the indoctrination isn’t working.

Gorbal warming is a sickness, not a science.

. . .

There are a few eyebrow raising nuggets in the original story, Global Warming On Trial, in the Longmont, CO paper The Daily Times-Call:

Ken Poppe said he let students choose which side of the debate to argue. Poppe personally believes global warming is cyclical and not affected by humans, while his Colorado State University student aide David Richards believes the opposite. Both, however, said they presented both sides equally to the students leading up to Thursday’s debate.

“What I think is not the issue. It’s what the students dig up and how they present the case,” Poppe said.

“You don’t understand someone’s position until you can argue it to their satisfaction,” Poppe said, quoting a famous physicist. “I don’t believe in Darwinism either, but I can argue it as well as any Darwinist.”

It doesn’t surprise me that Mr. Poppe doesn’t believe in natural selection or global warming. It also doesn’t surprise me that his son was the star prosecutor on the anti-global warming side, and, it seems from the article, the most knowledgeable on the topic. If I was 12 again, and my Dad told me global warming was a hoax, I’d believe him.

Swing east and north. In Maine recently, a group of fourth graders watched An Inconvenient Truth and then did some research on global warming. They sent an essay to the local paper, which printed it. The piece was titled: Pending Doom: Global Warming Crisis.

Same as above, it’s the case of very young children seeing/reading/researching global warming–up to their capacity–and deciding to tell someone about what they learned. Sounds OK.

The piece ran in the Portland Press Herald on June 14, 2007. Sometime later, the Drudge Report picked it up. Then all hell broke loose. Commenters’ called for the teacher to be fired. Some went a wee bit further:

To the people who are so vehement about telling people and industry how to run there lives and businesses, my suggestion is they are NOT allowed to procreate (they have two kids and each of them has two kids…and so on and so on) and we neuter and spay the ones they do have. In the end, these fourth graders have not even found their wee wee’s and woo woo’s yet,what the hell do I care what the they think.

My two-cents: If you get angry or defensive–or elated–or completely blow your top–about a classroom of kids debating global warming, stop reading the article. All that most people who want to avoid dramatic climate change are asking all Americans to do is really minor: drive less and/or carpool more; consume less valuable resources–like water; recycle; turn off the lights when you leave a room, etc. etc. Is it really that painful to do these things? Sure conservation is a virtue. And sure “virtue is its own reward”. But shouldn’t we all be virtuous?

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Filed under al gore, drudge report, global warming, newsbusters

The "Other" Terrorist Threat

In the years since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the American people have lived in a state of fear over another terrorist attack by Islamic terrorists. Most experts agree that another attack in inevitable. But is it really inevitable? And is it inevitable that the attack will be by Muslim jihadists?

The reason I ask is this: In the 1990’s, the U.S. was terrorized by another group of violent fundamentalists: Militia groups. On April 19, 1995, American-born Anglo-white terrorists detonated a truck bomb at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This “cowardly and evil” attack, as it was called by President Clinton, killed 168 and injured 800.

The perpetrators of the attack were Timothy McVeigh, Terri Nicols and Michael Fortier. Timothy McVeigh was a U.S. Army veteran of the Persian Gulf War. The attack, as best as the public record can tell, was revenge for the government’s actions at militia groups at Ruby Ridge and the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. McVeigh, Nicols and Fortier perceived Big Government, Aka the Clinton administration, was trying to seize the guns of decent, law-abiding, patriotic American citizens.

I recall this event because of the recent arrests of another militia group in Alabama. On Thursday, April 26, 2007, the ATF arrested 6 terror suspects and seized a truck-full of ammunition, grenades, and a home-made rocket launcher. From The Birmingham News, Birmingham, Alabama:

Simultaneous raids carried out in four Alabama counties Thursday turned up truckloads of explosives and weapons, including 130 grenades, an improvised rocket launcher and 2,500 rounds of ammunition belonging to the small, but mightily armed, Alabama Free Militia.

Six alleged members of the Free Militia also were arrested by federal authorities and are being held without bond.

Investigators said the DeKalb County-based group had not made any specific threats or devised any plots, but was targeted for swift dismantling because of its heavy firepower. The militia, which called itself the Naval Militia at one point, had enough armament to outfit a small army.

2,500 round of ammo, 130 grenades, and a rocket launcher! That’s serious firepower–and a serious threat. I’m not an expert, but it does seem like a good idea to arrest people that are manufacturing grenades and rocket launchers. Bravo ATF.

The arrested militiamen are: Raymond Dillard (Aka Jeff Osborne), 46; Adam Lynn Cunningham, 41; Bonnell Hughes, 57; Randall Garrett, 22; James Ray McElroy, 20; and Michael Wayne Bobo, 30. Given the sweeping power of the USA Patriot Act, it would seem a no-brainer to charge these 6 men as terrorists. Especially since one of the men, Dillard/Osborne, had booby-trapped his property with several home-made grenades and trip-wire. Again from The Birmingham News:

The ATF investigation, launched about seven weeks ago, climaxed Thursday with more than 150 federal, state and local law enforcement officers carrying out raids in DeKalb, Marshall, Etowah and Jefferson counties beginning about 6 a.m.

The massive operation forced the closing of Collinsville High School on U.S. 11 because of traffic concerns. In Trussville, authorities rented a U-Haul truck to cart away the load of explosives and weapons from a house.

Agents encountered booby traps at one site. They found trip wires and two hand grenades rigged as booby traps at the Collinsville camper home of 46-year-old Raymond Dillard, who holds titles of both militia major and fugitive from justice on an unrelated federal case in Mobile.

“We were prepared,” Cavanaugh said. “We suspect booby traps with these types of groups.”

The men were charged with conspiracy to make a firearm. Bobo is a convicted drug user, and therefore has been additionally charged with being a drug user in possession of a firearm. Bobo faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The others face five years and the same fine. Those are the MAXIMUM penalties, folks. And, at least as far as law enforcement is concerned, they are NOT terrorists.

Several key facts struck me from the newspaper article’s paragraphs: ATF took only 7 weeks to infiltrate and arrest these creeps. These creeps had grenades and a rocket launcher. And the creeps laid traps to kill or injure trespassers–in this case, the “trespassers” were Federal Agents.

At a May 1, 2007 Bond hearing for the militiamen, additional information about their purpose and reason for weapon-making was released by the ATF undercover agent who infiltrated the group (from Anti-Defamation League website, May 4, 2007 story Alabama militia raid uncovers massive cache of munitions, 6 indicted):

During the May 1 bond hearing, a federal ATF agent testified that Dillard, Cunningham, Hughes, Cole and McElroy were planning an attack on Mexicans in a town near Birmingham. The agent further claimed that the group has an alleged policy to shoot at any government agents that attempt to approach them.

I find the period of the ATF’s investigation, 7 weeks, curious. I’m certain the ATF’s investigation was thorough and complete. My curiousity is more over why it takes so LITTLE time to investigate and arrest legitimate threats and so much time to investigate threats that seem only nominal. Specifically, why does the F.B.I. needs over a year of surveillence and the cooperation of a violent, imprisoned crack cocaine dealer–who was released from prison to infiltrate the group and only cooperated with the F.B.I. to reduce his sentence–to expose an alleged plot involving oft-homeless incense dealers with delusions of grandeur. From a Newsday story by Carol Eisenberg on June 6, 2007–Credibility of Terror Plot Questioned:

When U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf described the alleged terror plot to blow up Kennedy Airport as “one of the most chilling plots imaginable,” which might have caused “unthinkable” devastation, one law enforcement official said he cringed.

The plot, he knew, was never operational. The public had never been at risk. And the notion of blowing up the airport, let alone the borough of Queens, by exploding a fuel tank was in all likelihood a technical impossibility.

And now, with a portrait emerging of alleged mastermind Russell Defreitas as hapless and episodically homeless, and of co-conspirator Abdel Nur as a drug addict, Mauskopf’s initial characterizations seem more questionable — some go so far as to say hyped.

Again, as I stated in a previous post, I think the F.B.I. should investigate EVERY suspected terror plot, period. But do they need to rely on convicted drug kingpins–who probably just want to get out of the pen and a reduced sentence– as their star witness? Aren’t people like this of very dubious character–i.e. liars? Couldn’t they just be using their freedom to set up some patsies, go on trips, and get high?

Let me get back to my original point, whether or not another large 9/11/2001 or Oklahoma City Bombing-style terrorist attack is inevitable, and whether it is inevitable that it will be perpetrated by Muslim extremists. My hope is that the U.S. will not suffer another large terrorist attack. I am, however, realistic that another large terrorist attack on U.S. soil is possible–maybe even probable. The planners of 9/11 remain at-large; the Bush administration hasn’t caught Osama bin Laden or any of the upper echelon of al Qaida. They are certain to be plotting more attacks on the U.S. Also, the invasion and occupation of Iraq has created far more terrorists than it has killed or captured. They are certain to be pawns or cannon fodder for al Qaida. Finally, lack of U.S./NATO soldiers and material support in Afghanistan has resulted in the regrouping of the Taliban and al Qaida in that country.

But I am also very concerned about domestic terrorists like the Alabama Free Militia, or a group from Texas and New Jersey who were arrested with pipe bombs and 800 grams of almost pure sodium cyanide in 2004.

During the “heyday” of the militia movement during the Clinton presidency, there were an estimated 900 militia groups. Currently there are thought to be about 300 groups, many of which are monitored by Federal and State law enforcement. But what happened to the other 600 groups? It is speculated by some that they disbanded following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, or were turned off by the indiscriminate killing of militia figures like Timothy McVeigh or Eric Rudolph. I find the second explanation unlikely. I have also heard it speculated that some of the militia groups were/are more friendly to the Bush administration because of Bush’s positions on God, guns and gays. Due to relaxed recruiting standards, men and woman with gang affiliations (in the case of many militia groups, to white supremacist organizations) can enlist in the U.S. military. People such as these will be vastly more dangerous after receiving extensive military training and being exposed to combat and war.

What will happen in the militia movement in 2008 if Hillary Clinton, or any democrat for that matter, is elected President of the United States of America? This thought chills me much more than Russell Defreitas’ or the NJ Fort Dix bunch’s half-baked plots.

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Filed under alabama militiamen, clinton, election 2008, fort dix terrorist plot, jfk terrorist plot, militia, oklahoma city bombing, timothy mcveigh

Romney won’t pardon War Hero, but he might pardon Libby

U.S. Army National Guard Lt. Anthony Circosta.

My former Governor Mitt Romney is back in the local papers, but not for some asinine comment about “doubling the size of Guantanamo” or saying we wouldn’t be at war with Iraq if Saddam hadn’t kicked out the weapons inspectors and violated U.N. resolutions pre-invasion (both known lies). No, Romney’s made headlines again in Massachusetts for NOT pardoning a decorated Iraq War Veteran while he was Governor.

The highly-decorated, unpardoned War Hero is Anthony Circosta. At age 13, he was convicted of assault for shooting another boy in the arm with a BB gun. Although the BB didn’t break the victim’s skin, Circosta’s conviction has cost him deeply. Circosta grew-up to a be a law-abiding adult who put himself through college and served his country with distinction in Iraq as a member of the U.S. Army National Guard, but because of his youthful offense he cannot fulfill his ambition of becoming a police officer.

So, this Bronze Star-awarded Iraq War Veteran petitioned then-Governor Mitt Romney–twice–for a pardon. At the time of his first petition, in 2005, he was leading a platoon in Iraq. Both of Lt. Circosta’s petitions were denied by Romney.

This story would be offensive enough without some recent comments by Romney in which he indicated his burning desire to issue a Presidential pardon if he is elected. At a CNN Republican Presidential debate of June 5th, Romney bragged to the party faithful that while he had NEVER issued a pardon while Governor of the state of Massachusetts, as President he would carefully examine the option of pardoning a certain high-profile, neo-conservative convicted criminal. This criminal, he believed, was a true patriot unjustly accused and convicted, a man truly worthy of a pardon. The patriot’s name? I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

Let’s put this in perspective: Romney refused–twice–to pardon a decorated Iraq War Veteran who shot someone in the arm with a BB Gun when he was 13. But, he is literally salivating with anticipation at the thought of pardoning a man who, with VP Cheney, concocted a plan to start an illegal, pre-emptive war against a country which was no threat to us. He would pardon a man who helped to start an illegal war for oil but never served in his country’s armed forces. A man who served as the “right-hand” to the most secretive, deceptive Vice President in history until he was forced to resign in dishonor. A man who was convicted of lying to the F.B.I and a Grand Jury and obstructing justice so as to derail an investigation into whether senior members of the Bush administration revealed the identity of a secret C.I.A operative as retaliation for her husband writing a New York Times Op-Ed piece that criticized said administration’s use of KNOWN FAULTY INTELLIGENCE to build a case for the previously mentioned illegal, pre-emptive war. A man who harmed national security by helping to leak the identity of said covert C.I.A operative, who at one time worked in Nuclear Counter-Proliferation in the Middle East. This guy–this CRIMINAL–he would pardon. That, my fellow Americans, is outrageous and contemptible and despicable.

In Romney’s own words, from the CNN Presidential debate of June 5, 2007 (full transcript available here):

ROMNEY: This is one of those situations where I go back to my record as governor. I didn’t pardon anybody as governor, because I didn’t want to overturn a jury.

But in this case, you have a prosecutor who clearly abused prosecutorial discretion by going after somebody when he already knew that the source of the leak was Richard Armitage.

He’d been told that. So he went on a political vendetta.

BLITZER: Was that a yes?

ROMNEY: It’s worth looking at that. I will study it very closely if I’m lucky enough to be president. And I’d keep that option open.

By his refusal to pardon Anthony Circosta and his intention to pardon Mr. Libby, Romney has thumbed his nose at our troops instead of supporting them. He refused–twice–to pardon a decorated Soldier for a youthful indiscretion. He would, however, fall over himself trying to protect someone rich and powerful like himself who has been tried and convicted of great crimes but shows no remorse and offers no apology.

A few weeks back, when Mitt Romney was shamelessly trying to court pro-gun NRA types, he bragged of his youthful hunting adventures and proclaimed his love of hunting varmint. But Mitt Romney is no varmint-hunter, he’s a varmint.

P.S. Governor Patrick–if you’re reading this–pardon Lt. Anthony Circosta.

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Filed under anthony circosta, mitt romney, pardon, scooter libby

Extraordinary Rendition "Torture" Flights Ongoing

Above is a picture of a aircraft owned by a Blackwater USA (or one of its shell corporations) landing in England. Blackwater USA is a defense contractor which works in cooperation with U.S. Military and Intelligence agencies in many aspects of the Global War on Terror. It is part of the U.S. “Total Force” in Iraq and Afghanistan, but is not subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice and cannot is not liable for its actions in Civil Court.

English newspaper Daily Mail contends the aircraft is being used in the U.S. Extraordinary Rendition program to move undocumented “Ghost” prisoners from their point of capture or temporary confinement to C.I.A. secret prisons in Eastern Europe where the prisoners will be tortured. Read the full article, The Picture that proves ‘torture flights’ are STILL landing in the UK, here.

From the Daily Mail story by Glen Owen, June 10, 2007:

The row over CIA ‘torture flights’ using British airports has deepened following fresh evidence that a plane repeatedly linked to the controversial programme landed in the UK just days ago.

The plane was logged arriving at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk last weekend, and watching aviation experts said the aircraft, piloted by crew clad in desert fatigues, was immediately surrounded on the runway by armed American security forces.

Its registration number, clearly visible on the fuselage, identifies it as a plane which the European Parliament says has been involved in ‘ghost flights’ to smuggle terrorist suspects to shadowy interrogation centres abroad.

Records show the plane is owned by Blackwater USA, a CIA contractor described as “the most secretive and powerful mercenary army on the planet”. An eyewitness, who previously worked as an RAF electronic warfare expert, said that as the plane – a CASA-212 Aviocar – taxied to a stop on the runway it was met by a US military Humvee.

. . .

A report last November by a European Parliament committee placed the plane – registration number N964BW – on a list of “companies and aircraft used by the CIA for extraordinary rendition flights”. The plane was previously registered with the Bolivian army, and has been pictured on the ground in the Afghan capital Kabul within the past year.

The American Federal Aviation Authority lists the plane as being operated by two companies, Aviation World Wide Services and a sister company, Presidential Airways.

The European Parliament report describes these as shell companies operating as subsidiaries of Blackwater USA, “an important contractor for the CIA and the US military” which bases the planes in Malta.

The plane was observed by multiple parties landing at RAF Mildenhall Saturday, June 2 in the afternoon and departing eastward on Sunday, June 3, 2007.

I’ve recently heard stories about the dark days of the American Revolution, when General George Washington was informed of “coffin ships” in American harbors where American soldiers and Partisans were tortured–sometimes to death–by the British. Washington was entreated to do likewise to his British prisoners. His response was said to be that if we did that we mine as well stop the war and go back to being a British holding if we were going to act as they did. It was his intention that the fledgling American country would hold to higher ideals than King George III’s England.

A similar situation arose in the Civil War. Union cities were burning as the Confederacy pressed northward. Enemies were inside the corridors of power in Washington D.C. and Confederate forces massed across the Potomac river from our nation’s capitol. President Lincoln, like General Washington, was encouraged by some advisers that the traitors could be sniffed out by torturing Confederate prisoners of war. Lincoln flatly refused to sully the American Ideals of Liberty by using torture. Although hundreds of thousands of Americans died in the Civil War, America’s Union–and soul–was preserved.

Two of the this country’s greatest–if not this country’s two greatest–Presidents refused to use the repugnant practice of torturing prisoners because they felt–rightly–that it was in opposition to the morals, values, and laws of this country. And yet, our widely recognized worst-President-in-history George W. Bush authorizes the use of torture on detainees without a second thought. His callous and criminal error will haunt this nation, and harm our uniformed armed forces abroad, for generations to come.

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Filed under extraordinary rendition, George Bush, torture

Bush ILL at G8 Because of European Near-Beer?

With a nod and a wink at Fox News, here’s a question-style headline:

Bush Busy Boozing at the G8?

Here’s Bush busy doing important G8 business with main squeeze German Chancellor Andrea Merkel.

Recovering alcoholics aren’t supposed to touch beer, even Buckler non-alcoholic beer, as this is reported to be. And born-again Christians who reject alcoholism in favor of Jesus should know better.

Perspective on George W. Bush by the late Doctor Hunter S. Thompson:

“He knew who I was, at that time, because I had a reputation as a writer. I knew he was part of the Bush dynasty. But he was nothing, he offered nothing, and he promised nothing. He had no humor. He was insignificant in every way and consequently I didn’t pay much attention to him. But when he passed out in my bathtub, then I noticed him. I’d been in another room, talking to the bright people. I had to have him taken away.” -on meeting George W Bush at his Super Bowl party in Houston in 1974

“Bush is a natural-born loser with a filthy-rich daddy who pimped his son out to rich oil-mongers. He hates music, football and sex, in no particular order, and he is no fun at all.”

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Filed under alcolholism, andrea merkel, buckler beer, g-8, George Bush