Tag Archives: George W. Bush

NSA: “EVERYONE !!”

Seems the NSA can, without a warrant, snoop on anyone within three degrees of someone that they may have some suspicion about.

…the rather startling news that came out of yesterday’s House Judiciary Committee on the NSA spying programs: NSA Director John Inglis revealed that the FISA Court permits the government to do three jumps from an initial number tied to a phone number reasonably believed to be tied to terrorism (or relevant to Iran, though that search criteria didn’t get mentioned at all in the parts of the hearing I watched).

Three degrees of separation!

Remember, some years ago, every single person in the US could be connected via six degrees — the old Kevin Bacon game. There’s some evidence that that number has become smaller — perhaps as small as 3 (I’ve seen more scientific numbers that say it is 4.5 or thereabouts).

In any case, if the US is using the excuse of terror to get three jumps deep into US person associations, then this program is even more intrusive then they’ve let on.

I imagine that would include everyone in our government, the Israeli government, the Palestinian authority, every head of state, every law enforcement officer, everyone who has ever been abroad, everyone who has ever interviewed a foreign person, everyone who knows anyone who knows anyone in:

Greenpeace,

the Quakers,

any demonstration of any kind,

anyone who has written a letter to an editor,

any person of color,

anyone who signed a petition, and

so on.

It’s basically EVERYONE. and what will they do with it? Wait til Karl Rove or one of the Cheneys gets back in power and you’ll see in short order. Or just some NSA guy who’s curious about who his ex girlfriend in dating. Or some NSA girl with a grudge against oh, well, ANYONE!

We have a constitution; that used to mean something.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

When basically the entire population is legally suspect, doesn’t that mean we’re doing something wrong?

 

video: Gary Oldman, in “The Professional.”

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The lengths to which Republicans will go to try to defeat Obama

Here's a guy you can trust with your reproduction

h/t The Rude Pundit.

That is Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Despite the unfortunate photo, which looks like the last thing an altar boy sees before being taken into a booth for some private confessin’, Lori actually co-wrote the zero tolerance policy for child-f****** priests or, as it’s known everywhere else, “Wait, You Mean There Wasn’t a Zero Tolerance Policy for Child-******* in the Catholic Church Already?”. He’s also a warrior for all things churchy in this vile, depraved secular nation.

… yesterday Bishop Lori testified, as part of an all-male panel, before the House Oversight Committee during its hearing on the Obama administration’s continuation of a Bush-era policy, already passed in 28 states, including being signed into law by Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee when they were governors, that employers who provide health insurance for their employees, including businesses and institutions run by religious groups, with the exception of houses of worship, must include female contraceptive coverage.

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FBI plots another fake terrorist attack, arrests some incompetent fool

without FBI entrapment: retarded man arrested for dumping manure

 

Here’s the best description yet of the FBI obsession with creating and then imprisoning looney people who would never had the slightest chance of bombing anything without the FBI.

I guess being the FBI means you never have to say you’re sorry for entrapment.

It’s good that they do this because the private prison industry is getting tired of paying legislators bribes to pass more laws to put more people in prison for victimless crimes. Meanwhile, ignoring all so called white collar crime, which only steals billions from citizens every year. Thank you, again, the fake Justice Department created by President George W. Bush.

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The Guantanamo “Suicides”: Truth will out.

Scott Horton at Atlantic:

According to the NCIS, each prisoner had fashioned a noose from torn sheets and T-shirts and tied it to the top of his cell’s eight-foot-high steel-mesh wall. Each prisoner was able somehow to bind his own hands, and, in at least one case, his own feet, then stuff more rags deep down into his own throat. We are then asked to believe that each prisoner, even as he was choking on those rags, climbed up on his washbasin, slipped his head through the noose, tightened it, and leapt from the washbasin to hang until he asphyxiated. The NCIS report also proposes that the three prisoners, who were held in non-adjoining cells, carried out each of these actions almost simultaneously.

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Klamath River dams to be removed in 2020; will there be any salmon left?

Salmon migrationFinally somebody is gonna do something about the catastrophic collapse of the salmon fisheries. Of course it won’t happen until 2020. And we still have the issue of how fish farms are affecting the wild population.

SAN FRANCISCO — A draft plan to remove four aging dams along the Klamath River in Oregon and California was released Wednesday, a long-awaited step toward ending a protracted dispute over the waterway….
The federal government has often played the unhappy role of referee. In 2002, environmentalists asserted that a significant die-off of fish had resulted from a diversion of water to farmers that was ordered by the Interior Department. Four years later, fishermen complained when low levels of salmon in the river led to government restrictions on commercial fishing.

Bush and his band of profiteers always sold out to whatever was the bigger corporate entity. The small businessmen who fish, and the consumer, and all those who appreciate wildlife, are the losers. Not to mention the tribes.

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The Bush years: an economic disaster

moneybushThe very rich got richer and the rest of us paid for it. Classic Republican success.

Thursday’s annual Census Bureau report on income, poverty and access to health care-the Bureau’s principal report card on the well-being of average Americans-closes the books on the economic record of George W. Bush.

It’s not a record many Republicans are likely to point to with pride.

On every major measurement, the Census Bureau report shows that the country lost ground during Bush’s two terms. While Bush was in office, the median household income declined, poverty increased, childhood poverty increased even more, and the number of Americans without health insurance spiked. By contrast, the country’s condition improved on each of those measures during Bill Clinton’s two terms, often substantially.

The Census’ final report card on Bush’s record presents an intriguing backdrop to today’s economic debate. Bush built his economic strategy around tax cuts, passing large reductions both in 2001 and 2003. Congressional Republicans are insisting that a similar agenda focused on tax cuts offers better prospects of reviving the economy than President Obama’s combination of some tax cuts with heavy government spending. But the bleak economic results from Bush’s two terms, tarnish, to put it mildly, the idea that tax cuts represent an economic silver bullet.

Consider first the median income. When Bill Clinton left office after 2000, the median income-the income line around which half of households come in above, and half fall below-stood at $52,500 (measured in inflation-adjusted 2008 dollars). When Bush left office after 2008, the median income had fallen to $50,303. That’s a decline of 4.2 per cent.

That leaves Bush with the dubious distinction of becoming the only president in recent history to preside over an income decline through two presidential terms…

the summary page on the economic experience of average Americans under the past two presidents would look like this:
Under Clinton, the median income increased 14 per cent. Under Bush it declined 4.2 per cent.

Under Clinton the total number of Americans in poverty declined 16.9 per cent; under Bush it increased 26.1 per cent.

Under Clinton the number of children in poverty declined 24.2 per cent; under Bush it increased by 21.4 per cent.

Under Clinton, the number of Americans without health insurance, remained essentially even (down six-tenths of one per cent); under Bush it increased by 20.6 per cent.

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Bush told French president that Iraq was mission from God

Why didn’t France join Bush’s “coalition of the willing,” to invade Iraq?Revelations2

Incredibly, President George W. Bush told French President Jacques Chirac in early 2003 that Iraq must be invaded to thwart Gog and Magog, the Bible’s satanic agents of the Apocalypse.

Honest. This isn’t a joke. The president of the United States, in a top-secret phone call to a major European ally, asked for French troops to join American soldiers in attacking Iraq as a mission from God.

Now out of office, Chirac recounts that the American leader appealed to their “common faith” (Christianity) and told him: “Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East…. The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled…. This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.”

This bizarre episode occurred while the White House was assembling its “coalition of the willing” to unleash the Iraq invasion. Chirac says he was boggled by Bush’s call and “wondered how someone could be so superficial and fanatical in their beliefs.”

After the 2003 call, the puzzled French leader didn’t comply with Bush’s request. Instead, his staff asked Thomas Romer, a theologian at the University of Lausanne, to analyze the weird appeal.

link

ex-President Chirac confirmed the nutty event in a long interview with French journalist Jean-Claude Maurice, who tells the tale in his new book, Si Vous le Répétez, Je Démentirai (If You Repeat it, I Will Deny), released in March by the publisher Plon.

a few months after his phone call to Chirac, Bush attended a 2003 summit in Egypt. The Palestinian foreign minister later said the American president told him he was “on a mission from God” to defeat Iraq.

Recently, GQ magazine revealed that former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld attached warlike Bible verses and Iraq battle photos to war reports he hand-delivered to Bush. One declared: “Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.”

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Bush kept evidence of climate change secret

Hi res images show loss of polar ice from 2006 to 2007

Hi res images show loss of polar ice from 2006 to 2007

The damage done by Bush in so many areas can never be totally undone. Thousands have died in the US, a million or more in Iraq, while he play-acted at being actor Ronald Reagan. His worst malfeasance may turn out to be obfuscating global warming/climate change.
Guardian:
Graphic images that reveal the devastating impact of global warming in the Arctic have been released by the US military. The photographs, taken by spy satellites over the past decade, confirm that in recent years vast areas in high latitudes have lost their ice cover in summer months.

The pictures, kept secret by Washington during the presidency of George W Bush, were declassified by the White House last week. President Barack Obama is currently trying to galvanise Congress and the American public to take action to halt catastrophic climate change caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

One particularly striking set of images – selected from the 1,000 photographs released – includes views of the Alaskan port of Barrow. One, taken in July 2006, shows sea ice still nestling close to the shore. A second image shows that by the following July the coastal waters were entirely ice-free.

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“24″ fictional character Jack Bauer important inspiration for Bush torture-makers

jack-bauer-epicThat’s right, Jack Bauer is more frequently cited than the U.S. Constitution. How pathetic.
link

The most influential legal thinker in the development of modern American interrogation policy is not a behavioral psychologist, international lawyer or counterinsurgency expert. Reading both Jane Mayer’s stunning “The Dark Side,” and Philippe Sands’s “Torture Team,” it quickly becomes plain that the prime mover of American interrogation doctrine is none other than the star of Fox television’s “24,” Jack Bauer.

This fictional counterterrorism agent—a man never at a loss for something to do with an electrode—has his fingerprints all over U.S. interrogation policy. As Sands and Mayer tell it, the lawyers designing interrogation techniques cited Bauer more frequently than the Constitution.

According to British lawyer and writer Sands, Jack Bauer—played by Kiefer Sutherland—was an inspiration at early “brainstorming meetings” of military officials at Guantánamo in September 2002. Diane Beaver, the staff judge advocate general who gave legal approval to 18 controversial interrogation techniques including waterboarding, sexual humiliation and terrorizing prisoners with dogs, told Sands that Bauer “gave people lots of ideas.” Michael Chertoff, the Homeland Security chief, gushed in a panel discussion on “24″ organized by the Heritage Foundation that the show”reflects real life.”

John Yoo, the former Justice Department lawyer who produced the so-called torture memos—simultaneously redefining both the laws of torture and of logic—cites Bauer in his book “War by Other Means.” [more on this excreble sycophant here.] “What if, as the Fox television program ’24′ recently portrayed, a high-level terrorist leader is caught who knows the location of a nuclear weapon?” Even Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, speaking in Canada last summer, shows a gift for this casual toggling between television and the Constitution. “Jack Bauer saved Los Angeles … He saved hundreds of thousands of lives,” Scalia said. “Are you going to convict Jack Bauer?”
U.S. interrogators rarely if ever encounter a “ticking time bomb,” someone with detailed information about an imminent terror plot. But according to the advocacy group the Parents Television Council (which has declared war on “24″), Bauer encounters a ticking time bomb an average of 12 times every season. Given that each season represents a 24-hour period, Bauer encounters someone who needs torturing 12 times per day. Experienced interrogators know that information extracted through torture is rarely reliable. But Jack Bauer’s torture not only elicits the truth, it does so before the commercial. He is a human polygraph who has a way with flesh-eating chemicals.

It’s no wonder high-ranking lawyers in the Bush administration erected an entire torture policy around the fictional edifice of Jack Bauer. He’s a hero. Men want to be him, and women want to be there to hand him the electrical cord. Yoo wanted to change American torture law to accommodate him, and Justice Scalia wants to immunize him from prosecution. The problem is not just that they all saw themselves in Jack Bauer. The problem was their failure to see what Bauer really represents within the legal universe of “24.”

For one thing, Jack Bauer operates outside the law, and he knows it. Nobody in the fictional world of “24″ changes the rules to permit him to torture. For the most part, he does so fully aware that he is breaking the law. Bush administration officials turned that formula on its head. In an almost Nixonian twist, the new interrogation doctrine became: “If Jack Bauer does it, it can’t be illegal.”

Bauer is also willing to accept the consequences of his decisions to break the law. In fact, that is the real source of his heroism—to the extent one finds torture heroic. He makes a moral choice at odds with the prevailing system, and accepts the consequences of the system’s judgment. The “heroism” of the Bush administration’s torture apologists is slightly less inspiring. None of them is willing to stand up and admit, as Bauer does, that yes, they did “whatever it takes.” They instead point fingers and cry “witch hunt.”

If you're a fan of "24," you'll enjoy "The Dark Side." There you will meet Mamdouh Habib, an Australian, captured in Pakistan, abused by American interrogators with an electric cattle prod and threatened with rape by dogs. He confessed to all sorts of things that weren't true. He was released after three years without charges. Jack Bauer would have known inside of 10 minutes he was not a ticking time bomb. Our real-life heroes tortured him for years before realizing he was innocent.

That is, of course, the punch line. These lawyers who were dead set on unleashing an army of Jack Bauers against our enemies built a whole torture policy around a fictional character. Bauer himself could have told them that one Jack Bauer—a man who deliberately lives outside the boundaries of law—would have been more than enough.

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Nestle to package products in Charmin?

New packaging for cookie dough?

New packaging for cookie dough?


Nestle seems to have gotten caught with its poop in the cookie jar:

Nestle USA Friday recalled its refrigerated cookies, one kind of Nestle’s famous Toll House products, after federal health officials linked the dough to infections from the bacteria in 66 people in 29 states, including five in Washington. The recall does not affect other Toll House products, including ice cream that contains raw Toll House dough.

Consumers were asked to throw away the dough or, to get a refund, return it to the store where it was purchased. The FDA advised against baking the dough because bacteria could be transferred to hands and preparation surfaces.

Gee, can’t “teh markets” take care of these poopy food issues? Oh, I guess that was something Bush thought up. I’m surprised the FDA still exists. Nestle seems to have brushed off the inspectors:

A WSJ report today says inspection reports covering the past five years show that officials at the company’s Danville, Va. plant, which made the suspect dough, “refused to allow a Food and Drug Administration inspector to review consumer complaints or inspect its program designed to prevent food contamination.”

Of course, no one wants someone watching while they “go number 2″…

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