Friday, October 28, 2005


They knew Plame was undercover

from Dailykos:

Fri Oct 28, 2005 at 12:56:32 PM PDT

They knew, as Josh notes.

Go to page 5 of the indictment [PDF]. Top of the page, item #9.

On or about June 12, 2003, LIBBY was advised by the Vice President of the United States that Wilson's wife worked at the Central Intelligence Agency in the Counterproliferation Divison. LIBBY understood that the Vice President had learned this information from the CIA.

This is a crucial piece of information. the Counterproliferation Division (CPD) is part of the CIA's Directorate of Operations, i.e., not Directorate of Intelligence, the branch of the CIA where 'analysts' come from, but where the spies come from.

Libby's a long time national security hand. He knows exactly what CPD is and where it is. So does Cheney. They both knew. It's right there in the indictment.


Turd Blossom Escapes by THAT MUCH.

Hot Karl Rove, aka Turd Blossom, aka Pig-Vomit. Because he looks like a Pig and he makes me want to Vomit. Escaped being indicted today but is still under investigation. I'm sure he and Cheney will be going down soon.

And I don't have enough Popcorn.


Scooter Libby Indicted: Facing Up to 30 Years in Prison and a $1.25 million fine. Who's Next?

I just finished reading the indictment of Scooter Libby. I'm sure the Right Wing Talking Heads will be out trying to spin this as a "nothing" story or a minor issue. I want to make sure everybody understands it in very basic language.

Patrick Fitzgerald was authorized to investigate who leaked the name of a covert CIA agent. There is no doubt about her covert status. She was a covert agent. There would be no reason to investigate the leak of someone's name who was not a covert agent. It's amazing the right has been able to make this argument with a straight face over and over for the last two years, but I digress...

During the course of the investigation Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff Scooter Libby tried to hinder an investigation, lied to the FBI, lied to the Special Prosecutor and then lied to the Grand Jury, twice. He tried to hinder the investigation. He was protecting someone, either himself as the original leaker, which would be Treason, or someone else who ordered him to try to discredit Joe Wilson by leaking his wife's name to the press, which would still be Treason.

Either way this is not a minor issue. Remember that Bill Clinton was impeached for committing perjury and the Republicans thought this was a big issue. The ironic thing is that Clinton lied about something that had nothing to do with the original investigation, did he have sex with Monica, which had nothing to do with a failed land deal in Arkansas, Whitewater. Scooter Libby has lied about who committed Treason, and lied about the subject of the investigation.

The Right Wing Talking Heads will try to spin these as equivalent, and if Patrick Fitzgerald had found nothing about Valerie Plame but discovered Scooter Libby lied to the Grand Jury about whether he liked a finger up his ass during sex, I might agree, but that is not the case. Scooter Libby hindered an investigation into who committed Treason, while Bill Clinton hindered an investigation into his sex life. They aren't even close to equivalent.

The interesting point now is to try and find out who Scooter was protecting and why. My money is on Vice President Dick Cheney. And Karl Rove is not out of the woods. The indictment indicates that Scooter was working with an as yet un-named "Official A." I'll be $37.50 that this is Karl "Pig-Vomit" Rove.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Funniest Thing I've Seen In a Long, Long Time

Check out Schwarzenegger Street!

Download Flashplayer if you have to, it's worth it!


This Week in Financial News: Supply and Demand had nothing to do with why you paid $3.00 a gallon this summer for Gas.

Exxon Mobil posts largest quarterly profit ever
U.S. oil giant reports quarterly sales of $100 billion; Shell profit also soars

The Associated Press
Updated: 1:35 p.m. ET Oct. 27, 2005

IRVING, Texas - High prices for oil and natural gas propelled Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC to their best quarterly results ever on Thursday, with Exxon becoming the first U.S. company ever to ring up quarterly sales of $100 billion.

To put Exxon’s performance into perspective, its third quarter revenue was greater than the annual gross domestic product of some of the largest oil producing nations, including the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. The world’s largest publicly traded oil company also set a U.S. profit record with net income of almost $10 billion, according to Standard & Poor’s equity market analyst Howard Silverblatt.

Both Exxon and Shell said their performances were buoyed by higher crude-oil and natural-gas prices, even as output suffered due to a busy hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico.

Exxon’s net income ballooned 75 percent to $9.92 billion, compared with $5.68 billion a year ago. The previous oil-industry earnings record was Exxon’s 2004 fourth-quarter profit of $8.42 billion. Revenue grew to $100.72 billion from $76.38 billion in the prior-year period.

At Shell, third-quarter net income attributable to shareholders grew 68 percent to $9.03 billion, compared with $5.37 billion a year earlier. Including income attributable to minority interests, profit rose 67 percent to $9.39 billion at the Anglo-Dutch company. Revenue rose 8 percent to $76.44 billion, in spite of an 11 percent decline in oil and natural gas output.

“We are capturing the benefits of high oil and gas prices and refining margins,” Shell Chief Financial Officer Peter Voser said, referring to the profit margin on each barrel of crude that is refined into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

Excluding certain items, Exxon’s profit was $8.3 billion, or $1.32 per share, or slightly below the $1.38 per share expected by analysts polled by Thomson Financial.

Shell said adjusted earnings on a current cost of supplies basis — a measurement that strips out the fluctuating value of the company’s oil and gas inventories — was $7.37 billion, sharply higher than analysts’ forecasts.

Exxon said the hurricanes slashed U.S. production volumes by 5 percent from a year ago, while global daily production slipped to 2.45 million barrels of oil equivalent from 2.51 million barrels.


Every Nominee Deserves an Up or Down Vote?

from DailyKos:

The big cave

Thu Oct 27, 2005 at 09:55:54 AM PDT

Quotes to remember as Bush and the Republicans deal with the fallout from their cave to the craziest of their issue groups. This is exactly the sort of thing they accused Democrats of doing on the Roberts nomination, even though Democrats handily confirmed Roberts.

RNC Accused Reid of Bowing to Liberal Groups. Last month, the Republican National Committee put out a press release with the headline "Puppet Politics: Reid `Got The Message' From Liberal Third Parties To Oppose Judge Roberts." [RNC Press Release, 9/21/05]

NRSC Wrote of Need to "Fight off Attacks" from Democrats and Liberal Interest Groups. In a fundraising email last month, NRSC Chair Sen. Elizabeth Dole wrote, "I ask that you contribute to the NRSC as we continue to fight off attacks from the Democrats and their radical allies, like and Alliance for Justice, as they attempt to put a strangle hold...on this confirmation process." [Dole NRSC Email, 9/15/05]

Conservatives Accused Senate Democrats and Issue Groups Of Trying to Hold Roberts' Nomination "Hostage." Last month, Gary Bauer wrote, "with the passing of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, left-wing special interest groups are demanding Senate Democrats block Roberts' confirmation until President Bush names his second nominee to the Court. Since Roberts is now replacing Rehnquist, liberal groups are once again demanding that the president maintain the existing balance on the Court by nominating another `centrist' like O'Connor, and they want to hold Roberts' nomination as a hostage!" [Bauer End-of-Day Email, 9/8/05]

Conservatives Accused "Far Left" of Smearing Roberts. Last month, the American Conservative Union told its members, "John Roberts is an outstanding choice. We cannot allow the Far Left to smear and besmirch his good name, all in an attempt to push the direction of the Supreme Court to the Left." [ACU Action Alert, 9/11/05]

And here I was thinking that every nominee deserved an "up or down vote".


Right Wing DOES have a litmus test for Supreme Court

from AmericaBlog:

by Joe in DC - 10/27/2005 10:11:00 AM

The right wing killed the nomination of Harriet Miers because she did not pass their litmus test. John said that last night when he saw the press release from Concerned Women of America opposing Miers. I heard a radio interview with Sam Brownback (R-KS) on the way to work. He said he wanted a paper trail for the next nominee. Right wingers like Brownback want proof the candidate will overturn Roe v. Wade and undo other rights.

Harry Reid got it right:
''The radical right wing of the Republican Party killed the Harriet Miers nomination...''
The conservatives destroyed their own talking points about getting every nominee a vote. They only want votes for nominees who pass their litmus test.

Bush was defeated on the Miers nomination by his own people. That makes the loss more devastating. And, it verifies that there is no room for compromise with the theocrats.


Republicans who are soft on treason

from AmericaBlog:

Courtesy of the Republican National Committee (thanks Ken!)
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Republicans Defend Karl Rove From Partisan Attacks
Contact: Tracey Schmitt, RNC

Senators And Congressman Rally Around Rove

Republican Senators Defend Karl Rove:

NRSC Chairwoman Elizabeth Dole (R-NC): “The Partisan Attacks Against Karl Rove Are Out Of Control And Entirely Inappropriate. He Is A Distinguished Member Of The White House And He Is My Friend.” (National Republican Senatorial Committee, “Elizabeth Dole Statement On Karl Rove,” Press Release, 7/13/05)

* Dole: “It Is Incredibly Irresponsible For Individuals And Organizations To Make Accusations Based On Rumor And Innuendo. It Is Unfair To The Investigation And Even More Unfair To Karl Rove.” (National Republican Senatorial Committee, “Elizabeth Dole Statement On Karl Rove,” Press Release, 7/13/05)

Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN): “My Democratic Friends Would Be Doing The Nation A Great Service If They Spent Half As Much Time Getting Legislation Passed That Will Benefit The Country As They Do In Attacking Karl Rove.” (Sen. Norm Coleman, Press Release, 7/13/05)

* Coleman: “We Have Enough To Do In The Senate In Minding Our Own Business Than To Be Sticking Our Noses Into Someone Else’s Business. Everyone Needs To Cool The Rhetoric, Focus On The Business Of The People, And Allow The Investigation To Run Its Course.” (Sen. Norm Coleman, Press Release, 7/13/05)

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA): “I Don’t See Any Evidence Out There That He Violated The Law.’’ (Richard Keil and Holly Rosenkrantz, “Rove’s Role In Spy Inquiry Reverberates Throughout Capital,” Bloomberg, 7/12/05)

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT): “In All Honesty, The Facts Thus Far – And The E-Mail Involved – Indicate To Me That There Is Not A Problem Here…” (Jim VandeHei, “GOP On Offense In Defense Of Rove,” The Washington Post, 7/13/05)

Hatch: “I Have Always Thought This Is A Tempest In A Teapot." (Jim VandeHei, “GOP On Offense In Defense Of Rove,” The Washington Post, 7/13/05)

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX): “If Anyone Thought The Anger And Political Sniping That Infested The Capital During The Campaign Would End After The Election, They Were Flat Wrong. Partisan Attacks In Lieu Of The Facts Have Replaced Ideas, Action And Cooperation.” (Sen. John Cornyn, “Attacks On Rove ‘More Anger And Political Sniping,’” Press Release, 7/13/05)

* Cornyn: “Sadly, These Attacks Are More Of The Same Kind Of Anger And Lashing Out That Has Become The Substitute For Bipartisan Action And Progress. While Republicans Focus On Accomplishing An Ambitious Agenda For The American People, Some Democrats And Their Allies In The Hyper-Partisan Interest Groups Continue On Their Path Of Smear And Distract.” (Sen. John Cornyn, “Attacks On Rove ‘More Anger And Political Sniping,’” Press Release, 7/13/05)

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA): “I Support Karl Rove.” (Tom Raum, “Newsview: CIA Leak Probe Focuses On Rove,” The Associated Press, 7/13/05)

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL): “Karl Rove Is A Friend Who, By All Accounts, Is Fully Cooperating With The Investigation. He Has Been A Most Valuable Member Of President Bush’s Team And Has Always Conducted Himself According To High Standards. It’s Disappointing That Some Democrats Are Using An Ongoing Investigation To Try And Score Political Points. Instead Of Focusing On The People’s Business, Democrats Are Prejudging An Incomplete Investigation And Doing Nothing More Than Mounting Partisan Political Attacks.” (Sen. Jeff Sessions, “Statement Of U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions On Karl Rove,” 7/13/05)

Republican Congressmen Defend Karl Rove:

House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO): “I Think We See Too Many Efforts Now Where People Quickly Rush To Judgment, Rush To Call For The Most Bizarre Solutions To Problems That Are Problems That Are Often Just Created In Their Own Minds.” (Rep. Roy Blunt, Floor Statement, U.S. House Of Representatives, 7/13/05)

Blunt: “Karl Rove Has Fully Cooperated In Any Investigation, And For More Than A Year Now Has Permitted Investigators To Talk To Him.” (Rep. Roy Blunt, Floor Statement, U.S. House Of Representatives, 7/13/05)

House Republican Conference Chair Deborah Pryce (R-OH):” I Think What The Democrats Are Doing With Karl Rove Is Just Another Politically Motivated Part Of Their Agenda.” (CNN’s “Wolf Blitzer Reports,” 7/13/05)

NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds (R-NY): “The Extreme Left Is Once Again Attempting To Define The Modern Democrat Party By Rabid Partisan Attacks, Character Assassination And Endless Negativity. And As Has Become Their Custom, The Rest Of The Democrat Party Is Standing By Silently.” (National Republican Congressional Committee, “NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds Statement On Karl Rove, Democrat Partisan Attacks,” Press Release, 7/13/05)

* Reynolds: “Democrats Are Bitter About Losing In 2004. And They Will Stop At Nothing To Accomplish Through Character Assassination What They Could Not Accomplish At The Ballot Box.” (National Republican Congressional Committee, “NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds Statement On Karl Rove, Democrat Partisan Attacks,” Press Release, 7/13/05)

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA): “Karl Rove Is Just The Latest In A Long Line Of Targets For The Democrats Vitriol And Political Games. The American People Want To Know How Congress Is Going To Keep The Economy Growing, Lower Energy Prices And Keep Them Secure At Home.” (Rep. Eric Cantor, “Cantor Statement on Democrat Attacks On Karl Rove,” Press Release, 7/13/05)

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA): “Karl Rove Who Did Not Even Know This Woman’s Name Did Not Have Any Information Of Her Acting In Any Covert Manner. It Is Just Silly.” (“Fox News’, “Fox News Live,” 7/13/05)

* Kingston: “The Democrats Are Absent On Issues Such As Social Security, They Are Ambivalent About Iraq To Begin With And They’re Throwing Up One More Smoke Screen Aimed At Karl Rove Who They’re Mad At.” (“Fox News’, “Fox News Live,” 7/13/05)

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX): “I Support Karl Rove …” (Tom Raum, “Newsview: CIA Leak Probe Focuses on Rove,” The Associated Press, 7/13/05)

DeLay: “This Is Typical Of The Democrats. They Smell Blood And They Act Like Sharks. Karl Rove Is A Good Man. He Was Doing His Job. He Was Trying To Talk A Reporter Out Of Filing A False Story Based Upon False Premise. I Don’t See That He Has Done Anything Wrong.” (Fox News’ “Studio B,” 7/13/05)

Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX): “The President And Karl Rove Are Doing Exactly What They Should. They Are Cooperating Fully With The Pending Investigation.” (Rep. Kay Granger, “Congresswoman Granger Calls Democrat Attacks On Rove Partisan Gamesmanship,” Press Release, 7/13/05)

* Granger: “He Knew Then That Much Of What Joe Wilson Was Saying Was Untrue. The Calls For Mr. Rove’s Resignation Are Simply Partisan Gamesmanship.” (Rep. Kay Granger, “Congresswoman Granger Calls Democrat Attacks On Rove Partisan Gamesmanship,” Press Release, 7/13/05)

Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY): “Republicans Should Stop Holding Back And Go On The Offense: Fire Enough Bullets The Other Way Until The Supreme Court Overtakes.” (Jim VandeHei, “GOP On Offense In Defense Of Rove,” The Washington Post, 7/13/05)


Damage Control: Harriet Miers Withdraws

"Washington Insiders" were reporting last week that Harriet Miers was going to withdraw, and yet for some reason she waited until 8:30 on Wednesday to officially do it. Why?

Because Harriet Miers is a team player. She knows that Thursday and Friday are going to be big news days due to the impending indictments of numerous White House officials. She waited until Wednesday because she wanted to distract the "liberal" media from Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation.

Looks to me like Turd Blossom is still on the job. These people have no shame.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Enough already with calling Iraq a “mistake”

from The Next Hurrah:

By Meteor Blades

Someone said it again today. Invading Iraq was a mistake. Every time it gets said, I grind another layer of enamel off my teeth. Nancy Pelosi says it. John Kerry says it. Mikhail Gorbachev says it. Spain’s Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero says it. Even the occasional Republican says it. And recent polls indicate 55% to 59% of Americans think it.

Every one of them is wrong. Invading Iraq was no mistake. It was bloody treason. And the traitors still rule us instead of breaking rocks at Leavenworth.

They knowingly, willingly, unhesitatingly pronounced what they knew to be lies and marginalized, denigrated and smeared contrary-minded people, manipulated real evidence, concocted fake evidence, tricked an American population traumatized, fearful and furious about terrorism and sent young men and women off to a war at the tip of a bayonet named “9/11.”

A mistake is when you hammer your thumb instead of the nail. A mistake is when you choose c) instead of d) on the SAT. A mistake is when you put too much garlic in the minestrone. Invading Iraq was no damned mistake. And calling it a mistake is more than a mere slip of the tongue. It sets a precedent. Pretty soon, everybody will be saying invading Iraq was a mistake. And in 20 years, your grandkids will be studying out of textbooks that call it a mistake.

Instead of calling it what it really was. Sedition.

Over and over again for three years we’ve had our faces rubbed in the evidence. Yet, every day, someone calls this perfidious, murderous scheme a mistake. As if invading Iraq were a foreign policy mishap. Oopsy.

Stop it already. People do not commit treachery by mistake.

As we full well know, even before George W. Bush was scooted into office 5-to-4, the men he came to front for were already at work plotting their rationale for sinking deeper military and economic roots in the Middle East, petropolitics and neo-imperialist sophistry greedily intertwined. When they stepped into office, as Richard Clarke explained to us , terrorism gave them no worries. They blew off Clarke and they blew off Hart-Rudman with scarcely a fare-thee-well. Then, when they weren’t figuring out how to lower taxes on their pals and unravel the tattered social safety net, they focused - as Paul O’Neill informed us - on finding the right excuse to persuade the American people to go to war with Saddam Hussein as a prelude to going to war with some of his neighbors. In less than nine months, that excuse dropped into their laps in the form of Osama bin Laden’s kamikaze crews.

From that terrible day forward, Richard Cheney and his sidekick Donald Rumsfeld and their like-minded coterie of rogues engineered the invasion. They didn’t slip the U.S. into Iraq by mistake. Like the shrewd opportunists they have shone themselves to be in the business world, they saw the chance to carry out their invasion plan and they moved every obstacle - most especially the truth - out of their way to make it happen.

When they couldn’t get the CIA to give them the intelligence that would justify their moves they exerted pressure for a change of minds. They exaggerated, reinterpreted and rejiggered intelligence assessments. For icing they concocted their own.

Larry Wilkerson merely confirms what O’Neill and Clarke previously had told us: The traitors didn’t mistakenly stumble their way into invasion pushed along by world events; they created a cabal of renegades specifically to carry out the Project for a New America Century’s plans for hegemony, first stop - Baghdad. They didn’t carefully weigh options and evaluate the pros and cons and make error in judgment, the kind of wrong choice that could happen to anyone. They studiously ignored everyone who warned them against taking the action they had decided upon years before the World Trade Centers were turned to ashes and dust.

The traitors ignored Brent Scowcroft when he wrote in August 2002,
”Don’t Attack Saddam”. They ignored the Army War College when it warned of the perils of invasion and occupation in a February 2003 report, ”Reconstructing Iraq: Insights, Challenges, And Missions For Military Forces In A Post-Conflict Scenario”.

When their propaganda failed to measure up as a justification for expending American lives and treasure, they fabricated evidence. Aluminum tubes that experts said could in no way be used to help make nuclear weapons were turned into prima facie evidence of Saddam’s intent to do so. Documents that intelligence veterans said from the get-go were forged remained the basis for the traitors’ claims. With the straightest face he’d mustered since taking the oath of office, Dubyanocchio declared: “Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.”

If the ousted Colin Powell can be believed, they sandbagged him into publicly providing the United Nations with information the traitors knew to be false.

Senators and Congressmen were lied into granting the President authority to take military action to protect the United States from a threat that the traitors knew didn’t exist.

When the weapons inspectors under Hans Blix couldn’t find anything, but asked for more time to look, they brushed him off and began pounding Baghdad and other Iraqi targets with a display of raw power they labeled, like ad writers for some ultimate cologne, “Shock and Awe.”

Every smidgen of this betrayal of the American people was purposely calculated, even if poorly planned and frequently incompetently handled. Just as invading Iraq was no mistake, the pretense that Bush hadn’t made his mind months before the invasion was no mistake. It was a calculated ploy to suggest falsely that the President and the ideological crocodiles in the White House gave two snaps about cooperating with the international community other than to camouflage their unalterable determination to stomp Iraq, plundering it under the guise of righteous magnanimity.

Just as the war was no mistake, torturing prisoners was no mistake. It was a deliberate, premeditated policy of international outlawry and inhumanity guided by legal arguments requested and approved by the man who soon got his reward, appointment as attorney general, and carried out on the direct orders of men like General Geoffrey Miller at the “suggestion” of Don Rumsfeld and under the command George Walker Bush.

It was no mistake that the vice president’s company collected billions in no-bid contracts and that the White House attempted to cover up massive over-charges by that company.

Just as planning for invasion, the concoction of evidence, the ignoring of counter-advice, and the lying to Congress, to the United Nations and to the American people were not mistakes, the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson was no slip of the tongue, but a conscious, purposeful and deliberate act. Nor did the traitors mistakenly smear Ambassador Joe Wilson – a smear which continues today. It was the intentional plot of men fearful of having their treacherous lies exposed.

Mistakes were definitely made. Three years ago, too many elected Democrats and too many other Americans believed the president and vice president of the United States to be honorable men. To be patriots. To have the best interests of Americans at heart. They believed them and they believed a megamedia that operated like government-owned megaphones instead of independent watch dogs. Those were gigantic mistakes.

I haven’t told you a single thing you haven’t heard dozens of times previously. And yet, every day, people who I am positive are as well or better acquainted than I with the facts I’ve outlined here say or write: “Invading Iraq was a mistake.”


Our leaders betrayed us and aided our enemies. They worked overtime to silence dissident voices. They deliberately took us into war under a cloak of deceit and the outcome, so far, is tens of thousands of dead soldiers and civilians, a weakened national security, a diplomatic catastrophe, a sullied American voice, a dwindling treasury and increased terrorism, with no end in sight.

Stop calling what they did a mistake.


Cheney leads White House fight against torture ban

Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Congressional negotiators are feeling heat from the White House and constituents as they consider whether to back a Senate-approved ban on torturing detainees in U.S. custody or weaken the prohibition, as the White House prefers.

Led by Vice President Dick Cheney, the administration is floating a proposal that would allow the president to exempt covert agents outside the Defense Department from the ban.

Meanwhile, a provision by Sen. John McCain would bar the use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" against anyone in U.S. government custody, regardless of where they are held.

"There's a lot of public pressure to retain the language intact. At the same time, there's pressure from the vice president's office to modify it," said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, which supports McCain's provision.

In a meeting last week with McCain, R-Ariz., Cheney and CIA Director Porter Goss suggested language that would exclude clandestine counterterrorism operations overseas by agencies other than the Pentagon "if the president determines that such operations are vital to the protection of the United States or its citizens from terrorist attack."

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Tuesday the president has "made our position very clear: We do not condone torture, nor would he ever authorize the use of torture."

McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, said he rejected the White House proposal because it "would basically allow the CIA to engage in torture."

It is unclear how much influence McCain has in the negotiations to resolve differences between House and Senate versions of the $445 billion defense bill. McCain will not be involved directly in those talks.

Among those leading the negotiations will be Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, and Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla.


Only US Seeks to Justify Abuse: Human Rights Watch

The US Congress should reject a Senate bill if it includes a White House-proposed amendment that would allow the CIA to abuse prisoners during interrogations, a human rights group said.

Human Rights Watch said that under President George W. Bush, the United States has become "the only government in the world to claim a legal justification for mistreating prisoners during interrogation."

"The administration is setting a dangerous example for the world when it claims that spy agencies are above the law," said Tom Malinowski, Washington director of Human Rights Watch.

"Congress should reject this proposal outright. Otherwise, the United States will have no standing to demand humane treatment if an American falls into the hands of foreign intelligence services," he said in a statement.

The US Senate recently approved 90-9 a bill sponsored by Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham banning military and Central Intelligence Agency use of any "cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment."

However, the Bush administration has approached members of Congress to place a waiver in the bill that would allow the CIA to use cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment on foreign detainees in US custody outside the United States, Human Rights Watch said.

Last week, Vice President Dick Cheney and CIA director Porter Goss met with McCain to propose the presidential waiver for the proposed legislation, the New York-based rights group said.

The proposed waiver says the measure "shall not apply with respect to clandestine counterterrorism operations conducted abroad, with respect to terrorists who are not citizens of the United States, that are carried out by an element of the United States government other than the Department of Defense," according to a copy of the proposal on the group's website.

"While many other governments practice torture and other forms of mistreatment and have records of abuse far worse than the United States, no other government currently claims that such abuse is legally permissible," Human Rights Watch said.

"This exception contains code language that could give the CIA a green light to treat prisoners inhumanely," said Malinowski. "If allowed to stand, it will render President Bush's past pledges about humane treatment meaningless."


Col. Janis Karpinski, the Former Head of Abu Ghraib, Admits She Broke the Geneva Conventions But Says the Blame "Goes All the Way to The Top”

Karpinski, the highest-ranking officer demoted in connection with the torture scandal, speaks out about what happened at the Abu Ghraib prison. She discusses:
  • How the military hid "ghost detainees" from the International Red Cross in violation of international law;
  • Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller calling for the Gitmoization of Abu Ghraib and for prisoners to be "treated like dogs";
  • Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's secret memos on interrogation policies that hung on the prison’s walls;
  • The military’s use of private (and possibly Israeli) interrogators;
  • Her dealings with the International Red Cross;
  • Why she feels, as a female general, she has been scapegoated for a scandal that has left the military and political leadership unscathed; and
  • Calls for Donald Rumsfeld, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, Alberto Gonzalez and Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller to be held accountable for what happened. [includes rush transcript - partial]
    The White House and CIA are urging Senators to exempt CIA officers from a proposed ban on torture. According to the New York Times, Vice President Dick Cheney and CIA Director Porter Goss met with Senator John McCain to urge him to rewrite the Senate’s proposed ban on torture. Three weeks ago the Senate voted 90 to 9 to ban the use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of any detainee held by the government. Cheney reportedly said the CIA needed to be exempt because the president needs maximum flexibility in fighting the so-called war on terrorism.

    Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union has released new documents this week that indicate at least 21 detainees have been murdered at U.S. facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan. The ACLU came to the conclusion after obtaining reams of released Pentagon documents. According to the group, the documents show that detainees were hooded, gagged, strangled, beaten with blunt objects, subjected to sleep deprivation and to hot and cold environmental conditions.

    Anthony Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU said, “There is no question that U.S. interrogations have resulted in deaths. High-ranking officials who knew about the torture and sat on their hands and those who created and endorsed these policies must be held accountable.”

    We look at the Iraqi prison at the center of the U.S. detainee abuse scandal – Abu Ghraib. It was here where the infamous photos of detainee abuse were taken: A hooded Iraqi man was forced to stand on a box with electrical wires connected to various parts of his body. Naked Iraqis were stacked on top of each other. U.S. military personnel posed with Iraqi corpses. And Iraqi detainees were held on leashes.

    In April 2004, a secret Pentagon report concluded that U.S. soldiers had committed "egregious acts and grave breaches of international law" at Abu Ghraib. Since the photos first appeared, no senior Bush administration officials have been reprimanded for what happened at Abu Ghraib. Seven soldiers have been convicted for their role in the detainee abuse. Last month Lynndie England was sentenced to three years in prison. In January, Specialist Charles Graner was sentenced to 10 years. The highest ranking military officer reprimanded was Brigadier General Janis Karpinski who was commanding officer at the prison. She was demoted to colonel in May. She oversaw all military police in Iraq and was the first female ever to command soldiers in a combat zone.

    • Col. Janis Karpinski, former Brigadier General and author of "One Woman’s Army : The Commanding General of Abu Ghraib Tells Her Story"


    Plamegate: Worse than Watergate

    by Arianna Huffington:

    It's getting hard to keep track of all the lies we've been told. Here's a quick cheat sheet:

    We now know that Cheney lied to the American people about his involvement in the effort to smear Joe Wilson.

    Three months after reportedly receiving a briefing about Wilson's trip to Niger from George "Slam Dunk" Tenet, and then telling Scooter Libby that Plame may have helped arrange her husband's trip, the Vice President went on national TV and told Tim Russert he didn't have a clue about the situation: "I don't know Joe Wilson... I don't know who sent Joe Wilson... I have no idea who hired him and it never came up."

    We now know that Karl Rove lied about his involvement, too.

    Back in September 2003, when Rove was asked if he had "any knowledge" about the Plame leak, he answered with an unambiguous "No."

    Since then, we've learned that Rove was actually up to his Turd Blossom in Plamegate, discussing Plame and her role at the CIA with Matt Cooper and Bob Novak, and taking part in what a source familiar with his four visits to the grand jury characterized as "an aggressive campaign to discredit Wilson through the leaking and disseminating of derogatory information regarding him and his wife."

    We now know that Scooter Libby also lied about his involvement.

    Libby told Pat Fitzgerald that he first learned Plame's identity from Tim Russert. But his own notes show that it was actually his boss, Dick Cheney, who first clued him in about Plame. (Russert, of course, has said he learned of Plame's identity by reading Novak's column, but that's a conundrum for another blog!).

    And we now know that Rove and Libby also lied to Scott McClellan, who then -- knowingly or not -- lied to reporters about the two men's involvement.

    When pressed today about the fact that in October 2003 he had "categorically" assured reporters that Rove and Libby "were not involved" in the Plame leak, McClellan made it clear that he was just passing on "the assurances that I had received on that." In other words, I only lied to you because they lied to me.

    Potential Bonus Presidential Lie: In June 2004, when asked whether he stood by his promise to fire anyone found to have leaked Plame's identity, President Bush (taking a cue from Rove) answered with an unambiguous "Yes." But the New York Daily News reports that Bush knew that Rove was involved in the leak two years ago. So why, a year later, was he still acting like he had no idea who'd been involved?

    Let's put aside the legal arguments for a moment and just focus on this glut of lying. Clearly, these guys knew that what they were up to should be kept in the shadows. Hence Rove's desire to have his conversation with Cooper be kept on "double super secret background," his self-assessment that he'd "already said too much" to Cooper, and Libby's request that Judy Miller identify him as a "former Hill staffer" instead of the usual "senior administration official."

    Cheney, Rove, and Libby obviously felt that their actions had to be covered up.

    But what they were covering up was much more than the outing of Valerie Plame. They were covering up the way the White House had used lies and deception to lead us into a war that was reckless and unnecessary -- what Lt. Gen. William Odom, National Security Agency director under Reagan, has called "the greatest strategic disaster in United States history."

    The reason why Cheney, Rove, and Libby were so aggressive in attacking anyone who questioned their rationale for war is because, by the summer of 2003, it was becoming embarrassingly clear how wrong they had been about Iraq -- wrong about WMD, wrong about flowers thrown at our feet, wrong about the cost of the war. Had their incompetence not been so grotesquely manifest, there would have been no need for the attack on Wilson -- and the resulting coverup -- that has now landed them all in such legal hot water.

    If Rove and Libby are indeed indicted (adding Cheney to our Merry Fitz-mas gift list would just be getting greedy), I believe it will shake up our government in a way we haven't seen since Watergate.

    To borrow a phrase from that era, let me make myself perfectly clear: I'm not saying that Plamegate is the same as Watergate. I'm saying it's worse. Much, much worse. No one died as a result of Watergate, but 2,000 American soldiers have now been killed and thousands more wounded to rid the world of an imminent threat that wasn't.

    Could there be anything bigger?

    After getting a fumbling cipher like George W. Bush elected president, the powers-behind-the-throne must have believed they were untouchable and could get away with anything -- including lying about WMD, outing a CIA agent, and, perhaps, lying to a special prosecutor.

    Like Nixon, their mindset was "if you try to get in our way we'll destroy you." (See how quickly those keep-us-safe national security guys were willing to jeopardize an intelligence asset in the name of covering their asses.) And their hubris caused them to over-reach.

    Like my old Greek pal Icarus, they flew too close to the sun... and now it looks like they, and their multitude of lies, are about to come crashing down.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2005


    Save Marriage from Republicans!

    This is hilarious! From Buzzflash.

    Here is the language on the ballot in Texas:

    "The constitutional amendment providing that marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman and prohibiting this state or a political subdivision of this state from creating or recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage."

    In their zeal to outlaw gay marriage, Texans risk outlawing marriage altogether!

    Monday, October 24, 2005


    Cheney Told Aide of C.I.A. Officer, Notes Show

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 — I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, first learned about the C.I.A. officer at the heart of the leak investigation in a conversation with Mr. Cheney weeks before her identity became public in 2003, lawyers involved in the case said Monday.

    Notes of the previously undisclosed conversation between Mr. Libby and Mr. Cheney on June 12, 2003, appear to differ from Mr. Libby’s testimony to a federal grand jury that he initially learned about the C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson, from journalists, the lawyers said.

    The notes, taken by Mr. Libby during the conversation, for the first time place Mr. Cheney in the middle of an effort by the White House to learn about Ms. Wilson’s husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, who was questioning the administration’s handling of intelligence about Iraq’s nuclear program to justify the war.

    Lawyers said the notes show that Mr. Cheney knew that Ms. Wilson worked at the C.I.A. more than a month before her identity was made public and her undercover status was disclosed in a syndicated column by Robert D. Novak on July 14, 2003.

    Mr. Libby’s notes indicate that Mr. Cheney had gotten his information about Ms. Wilson from George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, in response to questions from the vice president about Mr. Wilson. But they contain no suggestion that either Mr. Cheney or Mr. Libby knew at the time of Ms. Wilson’s undercover status or that her identity was classified. Disclosing a covert agent’s identity can be a crime, but only if the person who discloses it knows the agent’s undercover status.

    It would not be illegal for either Mr. Cheney or Mr. Libby, both of whom are presumably cleared to know the government’s deepest secrets, to discuss a C.I.A. officer or her link to a critic of the administration. But any effort by Mr. Libby to steer investigators away from his conversation with Mr. Cheney could be considered by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special counsel in the case, to be an illegal effort to impede the inquiry.

    White House officials did not respond to requests for comment, and Mr. Libby’s lawyer, Joseph Tate, would not comment on Mr. Libby’s legal status.

    Mr. Fitzgerald is expected to decide whether to bring charges in the case by Friday when the term of the grand jury expires. Mr. Libby and Karl Rove, President Bush’s senior adviser, both face the possibility of indictment, lawyers involved in the case have said. It is not publicly known whether other officials may be charged.

    The notes help explain the legal difficulties facing Mr. Libby. Lawyers in the case said Mr. Libby testified to the grand jury that he had first heard from journalists that Ms. Wilson may have had a role in dispatching her husband on a C.I.A.-sponsored mission to Africa in 2002 in search of evidence that Iraq had acquired nuclear material there for its weapons program.

    But the notes, now in Mr. Fitzgerald’s possession, also indicate that Mr. Libby first heard about Ms. Wilson — who is also known by her maiden name, Valerie Plame — from Mr. Cheney. That apparent discrepancy in his testimony suggests why prosecutors are weighing false statement charges against him in what they interpret as an effort by Mr. Libby to protect Mr. Cheney from scrutiny, the lawyers said.

    The notes do not show that Mr. Cheney knew the name of Mr. Wilson’s wife. But they do show that Mr. Cheney did know and told Mr. Libby that Ms. Wilson was employed by the C.I.A. and that she may have helped arrange her husband’s trip.

    Some lawyers in the case have said Mr. Fitzgerald may face obstacles in bringing a false statement charge against Mr. Libby. They said it could be difficult to prove that he intentionally sought to mislead the grand jury. Lawyers involved in the case said they have no indication that Mr. Fitzgerald is considering charging Mr. Cheney with wrongdoing. Mr. Cheney was interviewed under oath by Mr. Fitzgerald last year. It is not known what the vice president told Mr. Fitzgerald about the conversation with Mr. Libby or when Mr. Fitzgerald first learned of it.

    But the evidence of Mr. Cheney’s direct involvement in the effort to learn more about Mr. Wilson is sure to intensify the political pressure on the White House in a week of high anxiety among Republicans about the potential for the case to deal a sharp blow to Mr. Bush’s presidency.

    Mr. Tenet was not available for comment on Monday night. But another former senior intelligence official said that Mr. Tenet had been interviewed by the special prosecutor and his staff in early 2004, and never appeared before the grand jury. Mr. Tenet has not talked since then to the prosecutors, the former official said.

    The former official said he strongly doubted that the White House learned about Ms. Plame from Mr. Tenet.

    On Monday, Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby both attended a cabinet meeting with Mr. Bush as the White House continued trying to portray business as usual. But the assumption among White House officials is that anyone who is indicted will step aside.

    On June 12, 2003, the day of the conversation between Mr. Cheney and Mr. Libby, the Washington Post published a front page story reporting that the C.I.A. had sent a retired American diplomat to the Niger in February 2002 to investigate claims that Iraq had been seeking to buy uranium there. The story did not name the diplomat, who turned out to be Mr. Wilson, but it reported that his mission had not corroborated a claim about Iraq’s pursuit of nuclear material that the White House had subsequently used in Mr. Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address.

    An earlier anonymous reference to Mr. Wilson and his mission to Africa had appeared in a column by Nicholas D. Kristof in The New York Times on May 6, 2003. Mr. Wilson went public with his conclusion that the White House had "twisted" the intelligence about Iraq’s pursuit of nuclear material on July 6, 2003, in an Op-Ed article in The New York Times. The note written by Mr. Libby will be a key piece of evidence in a false statement case against Mr. Libby if Mr. Fitzgerald decides to pursue it, according to lawyers in the case. It also explains why Mr. Fitzgerald waged a long legal battle to obtain the testimony of reporters who were known to have talked with Mr. Libby.

    The reporters involved have said that they did not supply Mr. Libby with details about Mr. Wilson and his wife. Matthew Cooper of Time Magazine, in his account of a deposition on the subject, wrote that he asked Mr. Libby whether he had even heard that Ms. Wilson had a role in sending her husband to Africa. According to Mr. Cooper, Mr. Libby did not use Ms. Wilson’s name but replied, "Yeah, I’ve heard that too."

    In her testimony to the grand jury, Judith Miller, a reporter for the New York Times said that Mr. Libby sought from the start of her three conversations with him to "insulate his boss from Mr. Wilson’s charges."

    Mr. Fitzgerald asked questions about Mr. Cheney, Ms. Miller said. "He asked for example, if Mr. Libby ever indicated whether Mr. Cheney had approved of his interview with me or was aware of them. The answer was no."

    In addition to Mr. Cooper and Ms. Miller, Mr. Fitzgerald is known to have interviewed three other journalists who spoke with Mr. Libby during June and July 2003. They were Walter Pincus and Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post, and Tim Russert of NBC News. Mr. Pincus and Mr. Kessler have said that Mr. Libby did not Mr. Wilson’s wife with them in their conversations during the period. Mr. Russert, in a statement, has declined to say exactly what he discussed with Mr. Libby, but said he first learned the identity of Mr. Wilson’s wife in the column by Mr. Novak, which appeared on July 14, 2003.


    Niger/Uranium: FACTS everyone NEEDS to know

    from DailyKos:

    Mon Oct 24, 2005 at 03:27:33 PM PDT

    The issue of whether Iraq sought to buy yellowcake from Niger is and has always been irrelevant. The White House -- Bush, Cheney, Rice, Hadley; the intelligence community -- Tenet and CIA, DOE, and the State Department; Valerie Plame, and Joe Wilson, have all understood this from day one. Plame herself called the idea "crazy."

    What has been utterly misunderstood, misrepresented, and lost amid the babble of speculation and intrigue, is that Iraq didn't need yellowcake. They'd had a million pounds of it sitting around "in country" for over a decade, but with no viable means whatsoever of making it into nuclear weapons.

    It is all about the cover-up.

    The science is what's missing. Understand that and the real fraud will smack you right between the eyes, that someone rammed the Niger/yellowcake 'angle' down the intelligence community's throats. And everyone in the IC knew it, choosing to either toe the line or mutter quietly in the halls.

    Except Joe Wilson. He picked the scab that mattered, pointed to the elephant in the room. Niger. God willing, I'll find a way to make these subtle but important distinctions clear. Please bear with me.

    Mine and refine

    In nature, uranium is an ore much like iron. You dig it out of the ground as a big lump of uranium mixed with crud. The crud has to go, so by one of a few processes the crud is stripped away leaving mostly uranium. BTW, the industry's technical term for "crud" is "other." Crud's funnier.

    The so-called "pure" uranium that's left over is very weakly radioactive and not especially dangerous. Also, like cheese in the sun, it doesn't stay "pure" for long because it reacts with the air, sometimes in ways that are unpleasant.

    So countries like Niger, who mine and sell uranium force it to react a specific way to make a product that can be safely stored for a long time. They turn it into yellowcake. [1]

    Yellowcake is nothing more than uranium right from the ground that has been refined and stabilized. Short of eating it, breathing it, or batter-dipping yourself in it, yellowcake is not all that dangerous either.

    **This is really important.**
    On a drive from NJ to CA, at the PA state line you are indeed closer to CA. But if you have to pee, I wouldn't recommend holding it.

    On the drive to build a nuclear weapon from uranium, "yellowcake" is the PA state line. FYI, should you make to the mid-west, Israel will start launching U.S. cruise missles at you.

    Process and enrich

    The whole point of a nuclear weapon is making a big "boom." And that is really frickin' hard or a terrorist would have done it a long time ago.

    Like everything else in the universe, uranium is made of atoms. And like everything else in the universe, somebody screwed up because 1 out of every 100 uranium atoms is slightly different from the other 99. THAT's the one that goes "boom." So, you have to find that one stinkin' atom out of a hundred, toss away the other 99 (depleted uranium), and do this again and again until you have enough.

    Like a bazillion times. Because, as President Bush so clearly illustrated, it takes about a softball-sized chunk of enriched uranium to make a nucular weapon. And there are like a bazillion atoms in a softball. If a few regular old non-booming uranium atoms slip in, that's OK, but 90 out of 100 have to be the 'funny' kind.

    A lump of uranium where 90 out of 100 atoms are the dangerous kind is weapons-grade uranium.

    Making weapons-grade uranium from yellowcake sucks, and it takes a long time. First you have to turn the yellowcake into a gas, and then that gas into a different gas, etc., etc. and ONLY THEN can you start searching through a gas for the atoms that go "boom." Remember that scene in the Karate Kid, where Mr. Miagi and what's his face are trying to catch flies with chopsticks? Harder than that.

    Preparing yellowcake so you can start looking for the right atoms is typically called "processing" and repeatedly separating out that single atom and tossing away the other 99 is called enriching uranium. You are making the uranium "richer" in the kind that go "boom."

    OK, breathe. Now that you are officially a nuclear physicist, some historical persepctive is in order:

    I hope you've made it this far. This background is crucial to truly understanding what happened, and what may yet happen, i.e. Iran (with an "n") who is processing uranium, not enriching it yet. Here's the payoff:

    Repeated claims that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger, initiated and bolstered solely by the CIA's Directorate of Operations were irrelevant. The idea was never credible, never implied Iraq was re-starting their nuclear programs, and never taken seriously. Iraq had all the yellowcake it needed and 4 years to use it ('99-'02) -- they had no facilities to enrich uranium.

    Ask yourself: why would Iraq try to buy 500-550 mT of yellowcake when they already had the same amount, during a period and no one was inspecting it?

    Care to guess where Iraq originally bought it's yellowcake back in the late 80's? About 1/2 of it came from Niger, receipts they turned over in the early 90's. Receipts from the 80's for 500-550 mT of yellowcake.

    And finally, yes finally, ask yourself who in the Bush administration during '02-'03 didn't understand the unspannable gap between yellowcake and a nuclear bomb:

    Colin Powell knew. That's why he left out references to yellowcake in his speech to the U.N., focusing instead on the "aluminum tubes." Though still a lie, at least those tubes were supposedly part of a centrifuge, a device used to enrich uranium.


    Whatever I feel like I wanna do. Gosh!


    Target reinterprets 1964 Civil Rights Act to give religious bigots full rights against YOU

    from AmericaBlog:

    by John in DC - 10/24/2005 02:52:00 PM

    Target has just done what 40 years of religious right advocacy couldn't. They've now reinterpreted the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include permitting individual religious right bigots to discriminate against YOU in public accommodations so long as they claim that discrimination is based on their religion.

    What that means? Target is claiming the 1964 Civil Rights Act gives their employees the right to do whatever they want to any customer so long as the employee claims their actions are motivated by their religion. Funny, but when we studied civil rights in law school, I don't remember that section of the Civil Rights Act.

    Here's what Target is saying, then read my analysis below:
    Dear Dave,

    Target is extremely disappointed that Planned Parenthood is spreading misleading information about an alleged incident at a Target pharmacy in Missouri and our policies on emergency contraception. The accounts being reported are inaccurate and exaggerated. Our policy is comparable to that of many other national retailers and the recommendations of the American Pharmacists Association.

    Target consistently ensures that prescriptions for emergency contraception are filled. As an Equal Opportunity Employer, we also are legally required to accommodate our team members' sincerely held religious beliefs as required by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In the unusual event that a Target pharmacist's sincerely held religious beliefs conflict with filling a guest's prescription for emergency contraception, Target policy requires our pharmacists to take responsibility for ensuring that the guest's prescription is filled in a timely and respectful manner. If it is not done in this manner, disciplinary action will be taken.

    Target abides by all state and local laws and, in the event that other laws conflict with our policy, we will follow the law.

    We appreciate the opportunity to clarify our position and correct misinformation.


    Jennifer Hanson
    Target Executive Offices
    Now, the 1964 Civil Rights Act certainly does protect religious folks against discrimination in the workplace. But the kind of discrimination it refers to would be, for example, Target saying "we're not going to hire Christ killers," or, "man we hate those Baptists, none of them get promoted at Target." Yes, that would be illegal under the '64 act.

    But Target is now saying, outright, that the 1964 Act covers any action a Target employee takes so long as the employee claims the action is motivated by his or her religion. Though, then they turn around and say that their religious employees have no such rights at all (see further down).

    As mentioned before, Target's explanation above would appear to sympathize with Target Christian employees who don't want to serve Jews - or at the very least, the Jewish person's right to a public accommodation under the Civil Rights Act would be equaled in gravity to the employee's religious right to hate Jews. Could Target's fundamentalist employees who hate gays tell them to leave the store?

    And what's worse, the 1964 Act would, I'm pretty sure, pre-empt local civil rights laws that are in contradiction to it - so under Target's interpretation, Target may have just negated all local civil rights laws protecting gays in public accommodations. The federal law trumps the local law, and they say the federal law gives their religious bigot employees the right to not serve customers so long as they have a religious reason.

    Abomination, anyone?

    And even better, could a Target manager who is Baptist fire a gay employee simply for being gay, in violation of local civil rights laws protecting gays in employment, because such discrimination is religiously based and federal law protects such religiously-motivated discrimination, per Target's apparent interpretation of the law?

    Target needs to come clean. Does Target or doesn't Target give its employees carte blanche to discriminate against its customers so long as the employee claims their religion is offended? And if Target doesn't give its employees carte blanche, then what IS Target's standard for determining when their employees get to play the religion card, and when they don't?

    One final legal note to Target. You are going to get your asses sued by your religious employees, and you just gave them the document they need to nail your ass.

    At the end of your email above you write the following:
    In the unusual event that a Target pharmacist's sincerely held religious beliefs conflict with filling a guest's prescription for emergency contraception, Target policy requires our pharmacists to take responsibility for ensuring that the guest's prescription is filled in a timely and respectful manner. If it is not done in this manner, disciplinary action will be taken.
    Well, here's your problem. Your employee thinks abortion is murder and refuses to fill prescriptions that "assist in a murder." You say that his or her refusal to assist in a murder is covered by the '64 Act since it's against their religion. But then you say that your employee is required to assist in the "murder" anyway by making sure the prescription is filled in a timely and respectful manner. So, you're mandating that your religious employees assist be accomplices to murder, something that clearly violates their religious beliefs, yet you previously claim that coercing your employees to take such actions is illegal under the 64 Act. I think you've got a problem here.

    If it's assisting murder for your employee to put my pills in a plastic jar and hand them to me, then it's also assisting murder for your employee to pick up the phone and call another pharmacy to place my order for "murder pills." There's no difference. It's like saying it's against my religion for me to murder someone, but I have no problem handing a murderer a gun so that he can murder the pregnant woman standing in front of me. You honestly think your fundie employees are going to let you get away with this?

    Congratulations, Target. Just keep digging that hole.


    Bush To Appoint Someone To Be In Charge Of Country

    from The Onion:

    WASHINGTON, DC—In response to increasing criticism of his handling of the war in Iraq and the disaster in the Gulf Coast, as well as other issues, such as Social Security reform, the national deficit, and rising gas prices, President Bush is expected to appoint someone to run the U.S. as soon as Friday.

    "During these tumultuous times, America is in need of a bold, resolute person who can get the job done," said Bush during a press conference Monday. "My fellow Americans, I assure you that I will appoint just such a person with all due haste."

    The Cabinet-level position, to be known as Secretary of the Nation, was established by an executive order Sept. 2, but has remained unfilled in the intervening weeks.

    "I've been talking to folks from all across this country, from Louisiana to Los Angeles, and people tell me the same thing: This nation needs a strong, compassionate leader," Bush said. "In response to these concerns, I'm making this a top priority. I will name a good, qualified person as soon as possible."

    Among the new secretary's duties are preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution of the United States, commanding the U.S. armed forces, appointing judges and ambassadors, and vetoing congressional legislation. The secretary will also be tasked with overseeing all foreign and domestic affairs, including those relating to the economy, natural disasters, national infrastructure, homeland security, poverty, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The secretary will report directly to the president.

    For weeks, members of both political parties have been urging Bush to fill the post.

    "Every day the president waits is another day he's accountable for needless deaths at home and abroad, the stagnating economy, and the threat of terrorism," Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said. "This post is far too vital to be left vacant. Mr. President, there is no reason to delay."

    "I applaud the president's decision to find a strong leader for our country, but it's imperative that he make his selection soon," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), adding that he and all Democrats hope to work closely with the new national executive.

    "In the spirit of bipartisanship, we will welcome the new secretary," Reid said. "Together, we will strive for a new dawn of American politics, one unmarred by partisan bickering between Congress and the White House."

    According to a nationwide poll conducted by the Cook Political Report, the majority of U.S. citizens find the question of national leadership to be highly significant, with 61 percent of respondents "strongly" believing that the country is suffering from a leadership vacuum. Fifty-four percent said they trusted Bush to find an appointee who will be able to effectively manage the country.

    While many Beltway insiders have named senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and John McCain (R-AZ) as likely candidates, White House sources revealed that Bush may be leaning toward a stalwart loyalist. The list reportedly includes fellow Yale graduates, Midland, TX business associates, and various GOP fundraisers with connections to the Bush family.

    "Despite their inexperience in government, they've clearly passed the Bush character test," said a White House staffer who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "I think the president is looking for someone he's comfortable with and can trust, above all else. A [former FEMA director] Michael Brown type, or maybe even Brown himself."

    Bush said the creation of the Secretary of the Nation post directly addresses the increasingly complex and sometimes overwhelming challenges facing the executive branch in the 21st century. Although he acknowledged that the tasks facing the new appointee will be extraordinary, Bush ended his announcement on a positive note.

    "As your president, it is my duty to see this nation through any crisis, no matter how severe. And as your president, I pledge to you that I will find a man capable of doing just that," Bush said. "I will not—I repeat, I will not—let you down."

    ~This article received this reponse from the White House.


    Coulter Admits She's 'Not a Big Fan of the First Amendment'

    By E&P Staff

    Published: October 24, 2005 11:51 AM ET
    NEW YORK Newspaper columnist Ann Coulter confessed that she's "not a big fan of the First Amendment" during an Oct. 20 speech in Florida, according to a Oct. 21 story in the Independent Florida Alligator.

    The article -- linked on -- also noted that Coulter "criticized the media for being liberal and Democrats for whining about their rights under the First Amendment. 'They're always accusing us of repressing their speech,' she said. 'I say let's do it. Let's repress them.'"

    Many of the more than 800 people in the audience applauded Coulter's remarks, according to the Alligator story. The article said attendees paid between $25 and $75 to hear the conservative pundit -- with the money going to the Alachua County Republican Party, which paid Coulter $30,000 to speak.

    The Universal Press Syndicate columnist also called the Iraq War "a magnificent success," according to the story.


    Couldn't Resist!

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