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Friday, February 04, 2005

Attack on Iran 'Not on Agenda,' Rice Says

Rice Vows to Strengthen European Alliance


Bomb-grade Uranium traces found in Iran for civilian and military use...not on agenda.
Abysmal Iranian human-rights record...not on agenda.
Stopping terrorism at its source before it reaches the United States...not on agenda.

What is on our agenda?

1. Pre-emptively sending US troops into Iraq to find supposed WMD.
2. No WMD found? Okay then, we owe it to the Iraqi people to free them from their captivity under an "abysmal", terroristic government.

Maybe the US is waiting to see if our work in Iraq will influence the Iranian government to become a democracy...maybe the confirmation (provided by the International Atomic Energy Agency) of Uranium enrichment programs for the Iranian military that exists doesn't scare us...maybe all this "war on terrorism" stuff really isn't all that serious...

...or maybe we just don't have the man power to head into Iran and stop terrorism at its source because we wasted our troops in Iraq. US undersecretary for arms control John Bolton called "destroying the network through sanctions and other steps 'a priority objective for the United States' ". Do we really believe that sanctions are going to keep a country (who had a "massive deception and denial campaign aimed at preventing international inspectors from uncovering the country's 'robust' biological, chemical and nuclear weapons programmes") from using WHAT THEY ALREADY HAVE on other countries? And furthermore, if the United States is so concerned with the well-being of humankind, why would we not "save" the Iranian citizens as we "saved" the Iraquis?

So now we are faced with a real problem with no resources to solve it. It looks as if the Bush administration might learn a lesson in resource management and agenda planning this time around...in fact, this could actually make for a great episode of The Apprentice...

Rumsfeld Says He Offered to Resign Twice

Yahoo! News - Rumsfeld Says He Offered to Resign Twice

Donald Rumsfeld, Defense Secretary reports that during the Abu Ghraib torture scandal he submitted his resignation in writting to President Bush twice. Rumsfeld brought this up last night on CNN's "Larry King Live" program. President Bush however asked him to stay on and did not accept either of the written resignations.

Rumsfeld felt that the allegations of torture at Abu Ghraib were so promintent in the international community that he could no longer serve effectively. Rumsfeld was quoted as saying, "The problem is, this kind of thing occurs in prisons across the country and across the world," he said. "And you have to know it's going to be a possibility. And therefore the training and the discipline and the doctrine has to be such that you anticipate that risk. And clearly, that wasn't done to the extent it should."

In related news:

Reuters - Rumsfeld Debating Whether to Avoid Germany

The Defense Secretary is considering whether or not he will show up at a security conference in Germany next week. Rumsfeld had a criminal complaint filed against him on Nov. 30 in Germany where he was accused of war crimes also in connection with the Abu Ghraib scandal. Rumsfeld says, "I have not made a final decision on that (attendance). And there are several factors."

The complaint in queston was submitted by the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is a group of lawyers who are representing Iraqis from the scandal.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Yahoo! News - Vengeful Insurgents Ramp Up Iraq Attacks

Yahoo! News - Vengeful Insurgents Ramp Up Iraq Attacks

After last weekend's election success in Iraq insurgents have attacked yet again. In a flurry of attacks on Thursday, insurgents have killed at least 28 people including two Marines.

The methods used were mostly car bombs and gunning down of Iraqi police officers. In one case 12 Iraqi police officers were gunned down when a van stopped and members of the insurgency got out of the car and unloaded on them. Two of the Iraqi officers were let go so they could warn other Iraqis against joining the U.S. backed force.

Yahoo! News - Social Security Makeover Tops Bush Agenda

Yahoo! News - Social Security Makeover Tops Bush Agenda

Last night President Bush gave his State of The Union speech. As reported his "Social Security Reform" was the big topic during the talk. As he began to touch on the subject Democrats were screaming "No" as the Republicans were cheering the President on.

The Bush concept on Social Security is anything but secure. The reason for that is whenever he explains the idea he leaves out alot of details. This leaves the common viewer of his speech to express that he likes the idea of allowing people to manage their own social security money. And if that is all that is said, "You will get to be in charge of your own money," it would be hard not to agree.

Unfortunately the main problem with the idea is that the money we put in the program today is NOT our own money. The money is that of todays elder people and handicapped. Bush didn't explain some very integral things to the plan:

1. How much money will people be able to do their own investing with?
2. What will the age cutoff be for people to be able to do the investing?
3. What happens if someone messed up their investment and then needs help making ends meet?
4. Will their be any shortfall of benefits to the elder as the program starts? (Since the people would be paying in less)
5. Which types of stocks will be available to investors? All of them? Or just low risk ones?
6. How easy will it be to transfer ones money to another stock if the first stock starts to fail?
7. Will taking your money out of the investment program be an option?

None of these questions were answered during his Wednesday night speech. The whole point of this reform is to give people contorl of their own money. However, if the government picks how much you can invest, which stocks you can invest in, and when you can take your money out wouldn't they still be in control of it? Furthermore, does it seem that the wealthy politicians may just select stocks that could help them and their buddies on Wall Street out? Is this just another ploy to make Americans think they are getting something special when they're just helping line the pockets of already wealthy people? These questions will have to remain unanswered until someone actually explains what this program will entail.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Kidnapping CAN Be Funny

AP News Story

So some militants had claimed from a Web Site that they kidnapped an American solider. And would behead him if Iraqi prisoners were not released. The website included a photo of the victim. NOTE: The following photo is not for children.

So, now that you have seen the photo what do you think? That poor guy probably won't make it huh? Well, here's why kidnapping can be funny.

The image of the captured soldier is actually a toy.

Please compare the image on the AP site with the following image from www.monkeydepot.com, a full blown military miniatures site.

The sad part? Our mainstream media actually ran with the photo of the fake doll. I mean, it doesn't look like a real person by any means. Even worse is the cheapo fake gun in the corner kind of being "pointed" at the GI Joe.

Yahoo! News - Fed Raises Rates for Sixth Time

Yahoo! News - Fed Raises Rates for Sixth Time

As you see from the graphic our interest rates have gone up yet again. If you look at the chart from the months of 12/11/01 to 6/30/04 the rates were going down in an effort to rejump the economy. As you see the going down was rather slow, but at a certain point in 2004 the Fed realized... 'Uh Oh... its not working, we have to fix it and put it where it really needs to be. ' So, for the past 6 rate changes they have gone up.



Sunnis Question Iraq Election Legitimacy

Yahoo News Link

Sunni Muslim clerics in Iraq are questioning the elections legitimacy because most Sunnis did not vote this past weekend. The clerics had asked the Sunnis not to vote because the places were Sunnis live are the most violent insurgent strongholds. In these areas the insurgents had threatened to kill anyone who had voted.

Because of the lack of Sunni prescence at the polls it seems almost certain that the Shiites showed up big on the ticket. Al-Hakim, a Shiite cleric with close ties to Iran, said representatives of all Iraqi groups should participate in writing the new constitution.

Iran???? Sounds great to me. Lets hope it turns out EXACTLY like Iran, then we have to go in and fix their "Democracy" in 10-15 more years.

Democrat Race Narrows to Dean, 3 Others

Yahoo News Link

The race for the chairman of the DNC has pretty much come down to Dean and three "other guys." What this means is that Dean will win hands down. Go Dean!!

Videos Show Guantanamo Prisoner Abuse

Yahoo News Link

Here we go again. I'm not going to spend alot of time discussing this myself. But I suggest everyone read the link. Here is a little quote from said link.

A former Army linguist who served at Guantanamo as an Arabic translator from December 2002 to June 2003 wrote in a draft manuscript that female interrogators tried to break Muslim detainees by sexual touching, wearing a miniskirt and thong underwear and in one case smearing a Saudi man's face with fake menstrual blood. The draft written by former Army Sgt. Erik R. Saar was obtained by AP, which reported on its contents last week.

Nuff Said.

Bush Speech Sets Sights on Social Security

Yahoo Article Link

With The State of The Union Address coming up tonight President Bush has been rehearsing his speech using the teleprompters, as you can see in the above picture. The main topic of his speech this year will be, you guessed it, his magical plan for Social Security reform. Of course without his proposed reforms Social Security has enough money saved to give its stipends until 2042.

Other domestic topics that Bush will cover in his 40 minute speech include his energy bill, limits on medical malpractice lawsuits, immigrant guest worker programs, and his confirmations for federal judges. One might note that any programs dealing with election time hot-topic issues: gay marriage and abortion will not be discussed at all by the President. One wonders how long he can stall on these issues until the religious right, which showed up big time on election day, gets upset and demands action.

The President will then shift his speech to international issues. He will talk up the elections in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in Palestine. This will be his proof of the good he has done in office. He will also focus on the other two nations that he named a part of his "Axis of Evil" (No, this isn't from a Star Wars movie), Iran and North Korea. President Bush has no plans to discuss the withdrawel of U.S. troops from Iraq or Afghanistan in the speech tonight.

Group backed off from 9/11 info search by high costs

First Amendmend Center Article

The American Way Foundation has sued for the right to obtain information, under the Freedom of Information Act, about the arrests that were made after 9/11. They won the suit but now the Justice Department is estimating a cost of $373,000 to do their research.

The Foundation feels they are being discouraged from going ahead with their search.
“Unfortunately it’s part of a pattern of the Justice Department trying to foreclose access to this kind of information,” Elliot Mincberg, the group’s legal director, said yesterday.

“If that’s what it takes to track down secrecy in our court system, things are worse than I thought,” said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “They think if they put a really big price on it, maybe the group will back off.”