Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Liby..Libbi..Oh What's The Difference If It's Used For Propoganda?

Reuters: Musharraf indicates Pakistan Qaeda bigwig with US

"Musharraf said al Liby had not provided any useful information that might help catch al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States in 2001."
Click here to read full article.

According to this article from London, they already had the guy in custody back in 2002.

The Sunday Times also reported on the mistaken identity and confusion between Al-Liby and Al-Libbi.

The reason they didn't get any useful info from this guy is because he doesn't have any. He's not they guy they claim he is. But hey, I guess it make for good PR if they say they got a high ranking bad guy. Nobody will notice that it's the second time he's been caught and that there are now two of the same person now in custody.

Pray or Pay?

Instead of serving jail time for their crimes, many have been given the option of attending "worship services." Unlike doing community service, this is essentially saying, either serve jail time or join the religious community. Although the article doesn't state which "worship service" they must attend, I have the sinking feeling that they are Christian based services since the judge is a "devout Christian" himself.

Judge Gives Offenders Option of Church

LONDON, Ky. - A Kentucky judge has been offering some drug and alcohol offenders the option of attending worship services instead of going to jail or rehab -- a practice some say violates the separation of church and state.

District Judge Michael Caperton, 50, a devout Christian, said his goal is to "help people and their families."

"I don't think there's a church-state issue, because it's not mandatory and I say worship services instead of church," he said..."
Click here to read the full article.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Nowhere To Run

You know it's a pretty sad day for your country when Amnesty International USA has called on the international community to arrest your leaders and investigate their crimes against humanity and the use of torture.
"Amnesty International USA has even taken the extraordinary step of calling on officials in other countries to apprehend Bush and Rumsfeld and other high-ranking members of the Administration who have played a part in the torture scandal...The Geneva Conventions and the torture treaty "place a legally binding obligation on states that have ratified them to exercise universal jurisdiction over persons accused of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions," Amnesty International USA said. "If anyone suspected of involvement in the U.S. torture scandal visits or transits through foreign territories, governments could take legal steps to ensure that such individuals are investigated and charged with applicable crimes."
The Progressive: Stripping Rumsfeld and Bush of Impunity.

In addition to all of this, Congressional Member John Conyers has taken his petition to investigate the Downing Street Memo to the people of this country. A previous letter sent by Conyers and 88 other members of Congress to the white House has gone unanswered. Now he plans on personally delivering a letter with at least 100,000 signatures to President Bush, preferably during a media event so the public will be made aware of it.
Click here to go to the petition.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Bush Walks The Walk and Talks The Talk ... Of a Dictator

Bush tries to persuade moderate Republicans to hop on the Radical Right Bandwagon, by ignoring their constituents and siding with him. What ever happened to government of the people, by the people, and for the people?

GREECE, New York (AP) -- President Bush, facing an uphill battle on Social Security in Congress, worked Tuesday to persuade moderate Republicans to resist pressure from constituents and support his ideas for changing the nation's retirement system.

Although the most frightening aspect of this article is where Bush says, “I think more and more people recognize there’s a problem and people are going to say `Go do something about it.’ And those who obstruct reform—no matter what party they’re in—will pay a political price, in my judgment.”

Basically what he’s said here is that if you don’t support his ideas of reform and what he wants to form the government into, then you will be judged and pay a price for not supporting him. There’s a big difference between an opinion and a judgment.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Filibuster Deal Reached ... Another Sad Day For The Republic

An agreement has been reached in order to prevent a showdown over the filibuster of a few of Bush's judicial nominees. The Republican controlled Senate was prepared to invoke what's been termed "The Nuclear Option," which would change Senate rules and prevent the use of the filibuster against the President's judicial nominees. In order to prevent the rule change, which would mean that the Republicans would get an unprecedented control of the Senate as well as the judiciary, the Democrats have agreed to cave on the issue.

This may have averted The Nuclear Option, but now the most controversial judicial nominees will move forward, and given the Republican control of congress, most likely receive appointments to the bench.

The looming vote on the changing the Senate rules was critical in showing just how far the Neo-Con controlled administration was willing to go in order to reshape the Nation, going from being a Republic where no single party had complete control, to that of a Fascism. Now some Democrats have instead agreed to pave the road for them.

I really have no words, short of a string of obscenities, that can describe the disgust I have with these Senators and their new agreement, which is nothing more than a pact with the Devil himself.

Click here to go to the signed document at BuzzFlash

Sunday, May 22, 2005

↓↓↓↓Things I've Read Today↓↓↓↓

Negroponte's Death Squads Up-and-Running in Iraq?

t r u t h o u t - Dahr Jamail | US Claims over Siege of Al-Qa'im Challenged

Uzbek refugees scared to return, fresh graves found - Yahoo! News

The Sun Newspaper Online - Bush probes Saddam's pants

The latest from Paul Craig Roberts: A Reputation in Tatters

The Raw Story | Senator concerned politics played role in base closings; Pentagon denies any outside role

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Nick & Jessica's Tour of Duty .... gag ... choke ... gag ... cough

I'm not against providing entertainment for the troops that have been sent overseas, but don't turn it into a propaganda event for the American people. They make the whole thing sound like a F@#%EN trip to Disneyland mixed with a little MTV for the hip young viewers. I just hope MTV didn't have any hand in producing this thing. We all know how good of a job they did on their last, and final, Superbowl show.

From the ABC website promoting their upcoming special, "America's sweethearts, Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson, multi-platinum artists known from their hit MTV series Newlyweds, put a modern twist on entertaining the troops overseas at the Ramstein Airbase in Germany and make a special trip to Iraq...on Nick & Jessica's Tour of Duty....Nick and Jessica take a lesson from the pros, as Nick trains to fly an F-16 fighter jet and goes for the ride of his life, while Jessica stops by the rifle range to learn how to shoot various weapons used by the military....Iraq is the last stop in their tour and a great surprise for the troops. Nick and Jessica visit a U.S. Army base in Tikrit and meet with hundreds of soldiers to shake hands, sign autographs and show their appreciation for all their hard work and dedication. Their trip is extended a bit due to mortar fire and a sandstorm, but all return safely from this experience of a lifetime."

On one hand, I'd rather choke on my own excrement infused vomit than watch this thing, but on the other hand, I'm curios as to just how much of a pro-military propaganda tool they're going to make of it.

They should have left them in Iraq for a year, brought them back then sent them for another year, then asked just how wonderful their whole "experience of a lifetime" had been.

Monday, May 16, 2005

How To Kill The Messenger and Get Away With It

White House draws blood in the media

Discrediting the press and shifting blame for failed government policy to the media

Newsweek has now issued a retraction regarding their (May 9 Issue) story about abuse at Guantanamo Bay (GITMO), including the desecration of the Koran by interrogators.

After mass rioting had broken out in Afghanistan, resulting in several deaths, the White House came down hard on Newsweek for the report. Newsweek initially issued a statement saying that they “may have erred” in their initial report.

What was the error? Well the statement regarding the Koran had come from a high-ranking government official citing a report that was soon to be released, and who had proven in the past to be a reliable source. Now he’s saying that he can’t remember where he had read it.

So is the story true? It’s not the first time that desecration of the Koran has made the news. Many of those that have now been released from GITMO have made the exact same claims. Even those currently being held have relayed this to their lawyers. The New York Times article Inquiry Finds Abuses at Guantánamo Bay supports the claims, as does a 2003 article in the Washington Post, Returning Afghans Talk of Guantanamo and a 2004 deposition by an inmate at GITMO.

But why has this only now caused the rioting in Afghanistan? Apparently it hasn’t, but they’re getting the credit for it from the White House.

According to Jacquelyn S. Porth, a Washington File Staff Writer, “Air Force General Richard Myers told reporters at the Pentagon May 12 that he has been told that the Jalalabad, Afghanistan, rioting was related more to the ongoing political reconciliation process in Afghanistan than anything else…an after-action report provided by U.S. Army Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, commander of the Combined Forces in Afghanistan, indicated that the political violence was not, in fact, connected to the magazine report.”

Has the MSM (Main Stream Media) picked up on this or included it in their reporting on Newsweek? No, and it’s doubtful they will. As a matter of fact, they didn’t even say anything about Newsweek’s initial report. They did however jump on the chance, as has the White House, to report that Newsweek’s article was wrong and led to the rioting and death in Afghanistan.

The initial report by Newsweek, in respect to the Koran being desecrated, is correct. It has happened and isn’t a new story. But it is a new chance for the White House to shift blame for their own failed policies to the media.

Media control is a big part of this administration. What’s the easiest way to discredit a truthful report? Easy, just offer a truthful statement that supports the story, and then lie about having told the truth in the first place. Then focus all the attention on the lie and claim the whole story is wrong.

The same thing happened during the past election regarding Bush’s service record, or lack of service (AWOL). The whole story was blown out of the water by one memo, which became more popularly known as “RatherGate.” Never mind that there was other supporting evidence, statements, and documents. The only thing needed was for a memo that supported the claims to be forged and sent off to the MSM. Then once it’s included in the story it’s debunked, essentially killing the whole thing and making the press look like schmucks in the process.

There’s more than one way to skin a cat, in this case the cat was Newsweek. And there’s more than one way to control the media and the American public.

© Copyright J. Ryan (Bravo411), 2005. All Rights Reserved

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Arizona Border Patrol Ordered To "Stand Down."

The protection of U.S. borders and the security of the Nation are of little importance if it's going to make the government look bad. The ordered “stand down” was done to offset the increase of arrests due to the Minuet Man Project. By keeping arrests low, the government could show that the project had no real impact, and that they (Border Patrol) were doing a good job at protecting the borders.
(World Peace Herald)Border Patrol told to stand down in Arizona

Apparently the security of the country boils down to a public relations issue for the Bush Administration. This administration is getting way out of hand. I’d like to see how they spin this while dealing with the backlash from the recently published report that interrogators at Gitmo were flushing copies of the Koran down toilets, which has caused massive and violent protests across Afghanistan and other Muslim nations.

(AFP)Afghan president blames anti-US forces for protests, promises shake-up

(AP)Reported Quran Desecration Sparks Outrage

Friday, May 13, 2005

Army now lets you sign up for only 15 months of active duty

In an apparent bid to bolster recruiting, the Army is now offering active duty enlistment of only 15 months. Until now the shortest active duty enlistment period was two years. Normally active duty would last for three to four years.

After serving their 15 months, they would be required to serve two years in the National Guard or Reserve. The remainder of their eight-year obligation would be served in the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, or the Individual Ready Reserve.
USAToday has more on the story.

Given the recent U.S. 9th Circuit of Appeals decision to uphold the military's current stop-loss program, allowing forced military extensions, it pretty much sounds like an eight year enlistment, where you'll probably spend most of the time fighting Bush's wars in some middle-eastern country which he feels needs to be liberated for freedom, democracy, and ...oh...let's not forget capitalism and corporate profit.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Big Brother says.... We want your pee

Update 05/13/05: Links to info at The Committee on Energy and Commerce added to the bottom of this post.

According to a recent Reuters article, "the Whizzinator and other products promising to help illegal drug users pass urine tests provoked U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday to take legal action with subpoenas of manufacturers."

A congressional subcommittee recently voted to subpoena records from three companies that manufacture products to help people get around their employers drug testing polices.

The subpoenas cover both operating records and financial records, which means records of anybody who's bought their products.

According to Rep. Ed Whitfield, "These companies seek through deception to make a buck by violating our trust and compromising our security...It is a risk we simply cannot tolerate. This panel will uncover how widespread these products are and recommend the necessary steps to end their use."

The manufacturers of cleansing supplements have also come under fire.

Read the full article online for more info on this story.
Reuters: Lawmakers object to fake penis for drug tests

So far all those who may take a toke on one of those evil marijuana cigarettes, but don't want to loose your job over it, BUY NOW!!!!

(Dead link)Committee Subpoenas Company Records, Owners On Devices that Subvert Drug Tests
May 11, 2005
(Above link refrenced from)http://energycommerce.house.gov/108/news.htm)I sent a request for the document.

Committee Correspondence
Letter to GNC, Inc. requesting information regarding products that claim to prevent detection by standard drug tests.
Letter to Robert DiNicola
General Nutrition Centers, Inc.
April 20, 2005

Committee Correspondence
Letter to BNG Enterprises requesting information regarding products that claim to prevent detection by standard drug tests.
Letter to Mr. Brad Grossman
BNG Enterprises
April 20, 2005

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Can anybody prove that Bush won the election?

There’s still a lot of talk about election fraud and whether fraud can be proven. Unfortunately it has become difficult to do because many of the electronic voting machines used in the past election provided no verifiable paper trail to validate their results.

Setting aside all the reports of voter infringement, polling tapes being lost or destroyed, and records being withheld, let’s just focus on being able to verify the vote.

Because of the lack of a verifiable paper record, it can not reasonably be proven that Bush lost the election. On the other hand, it can neither be proven that he won the election. So if the resulting outcome can not be proven and verified one way or the other, then it seems that the argument over whether Bush won or not becomes a moot point. The entire election should have been invalidated and a new election should have taken place. One in which there is a verifiable record of the vote count.

So to all the people screaming that the Libs can’t prove that Bush didn’t win the election, remember that you can’t prove that he did. The only thing Bush supporters have to support their claims is faith, which if fine for religion, but is worthless in the role of politics and government.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Marines Recall Body Armor

The latest breaking story about protective armor for our troops is the one about the Marines recalling some 19,000 Interceptor Body Armor Vests.

For the most complete details regarding this story, which includes links to the supporting documentations showing that they were waived and issued even though there were recommendations that they not be issued to the troops, read the story at The Marine Times:The Marines' flawed body armor - Corps recalls more than 5,000 vests that experts rejected - but some remain in the field. They're the ones that broke the story and their article is by far the most comprehensive of all the related articles on the net.

Technical Problems....

Damn, my 19" monitor just took a dump. I'm now stuck with using my old 15" monitor. I hope I can get the other one working. Maybe I'll get lucky and win the lottery so I can just buy a new one.

Update: Unlike your car telling you that your door is a jar, which is an easy fix, my 19" monitor is now toast.


While searching through the records on my page counter, I noticed that somebody at a computer at clayton.state.gov was nice enough to pay my blog a visit at 08 May, Sun, 23:29:41.

Under Windows Activie Directory, this is a sub-domain off of the state.gov root domain. If you go to www.state.gov it takes you to the U.S. Department of the State. Unfortunately, if you go to http://clayton.state.gov you get nothing, unlike going to http://foia.state.gov which takes you to the Freedom of Information sub-domain at the State Department.

The therawstory.com shows up as the corresponding web referrer for that time. What does that mean, well just that the people at the U.S. State Department use websites like therawstory.com to get their info. I guess Fox just doesn't keep them well enough informed.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

N. Korean Nukes or U.S. Scaretactics?

If anybody would be shitten bricks right now about North Korea getting ready to test a nuke, you would think it would be South Korea. But according to an article by ABC News, South Korea has dismissed the recent U.S. claims about North Korean nukes.

A recent ABC article states, "...that in August 1998, US media revealed military intelligence findings based on satellite photos that North Korea was constructing a tunnel at Kumchangri, 40 kilometres north of the Yongbyon nuclear complex, which could be a nuclear production and/or storage site...The Clinton administration responded to the disclosure by persuading North Korea to allow US inspectors to visit the underground facility in return for 500,000 tonnes of new US food aid."
ABCNews Online: S Korea skeptical North preparing for nuclear test

So is the U.S. acting on new intelligence? We know that during the last Democratic National Convention the administration raised the Terror Threat Alert based on photos discovered on a laptop that showed surveillance of financial institutions, but failed to mention that the info was a couple years old.

There's also been several recent statements about capturing Al-Queda's #3 man. I've seen several stories about how the guy hasn't talked, even after being interagated under severe pressure and even after being subjected to the use of truth serum. Well maybe it could be because they've got the wrong guy. He hasn't said anything because he doesn't know anything.

According to the article by the TimesOnline, "The capture of a supposed Al-Qaeda kingpin by Pakistani agents last week was hailed by President George W Bush as 'a critical victory in the war on terror'. According to European intelligence experts, however, Abu Faraj al-Libbi was not the terrorists 'third in command', as claimed, but a middle-ranker derided by one source as 'among the flotsam and jetsam' of the organization....Al-Libbi is just a 'middle-level' leader, said Jean-Charles Brisard, a French intelligence investigator and leading expert on terrorism finance. 'Pakistan and US authorities have completely overestimated his role and importance. He was never more than a regional facilitator between Al-Qaeda and local Pakistani Islamic groups'."
TimesOnline: Captured Al-Qaeda kingpin is case of "mistaken identity"

So given the current U.S. track record, one has to question the validity of its' claims and wonder just how old the info might be, given that none of us will ever be able to see the satellite photos since they're considered "classified."

Is there really a threat lurking in the near future? Personally, I hope that there isn't. Is there anything to really fear or is it true that "The only thing to fear is fear its' self", which Bush, Rove and the rest of them have become experts at exploiting.

Friday, May 06, 2005

USWeb remakes the art of the Shill into the art of the Shull.

Update 05/13/05:This article has been updated. The only changes made were to the editing so that it conforms to professional journalistic standards, and the third paragraph was re-written. It originally quoted the full text of the email. It now contains only a portion of the email quoted, with the rest being summarized. Thank you to Anthony Lappé, Executive Editor at GNN (Guerrilla News Network), and everbody else over there for working with me on the editing.

Blogging for dollars

Leading Internet marketing firm pays bloggers to shill

It looks like the folks at USWeb.com, a leading Internet marketing firm, have taken the idea of shilling one step further and could very well be in violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act.

While searching the online postings at CraigsList, I came across an interesting post, which read, “Get paid for blogging… We will pay you to post to your blog. We pay $5 via PayPal per blog posting. To start earning cash, email me with your name and blog URL. We are looking for people to pay today. If you don’t have a PayPal account, we can also send you a gift certificate for iTunes if you like.”

So I sent off an email requesting further information. The reply email came from Ed Shull (ed@uswest.com) and read, “This is pretty simple. I will provide a subject, you write a short (50 word min.) post, we pay you $5. The first subject is a flower site. You should give a favorable review of the flower site, Dot Flowers.” The rest of the email went on to explain that in the review I must link to the Dot Flowers website using the anchor text “buy flowers online.” It also included a list of things I could write; such as “they have better pricing,” and that their site loads faster than the competitors sites. There was also info about the technical aspects of the site, such as the code used behind the pages and that it’s “error free.” After completing the post, the instructions were simple, “…please send me a URL to the post and your PayPal address. Also, let me know how often you wish to post for us, and we will send over more subjects. Thanks, Ed.”

Being a poor unemployed tech worker hoping to get into writing as a way to make money, the first thing that came to mind was, Hey that’s a pretty good deal to make a quick five bucks, and possibly more while doing very little work. Being a one-time journalism major, the second thing that came to mind was, to go ahead and do something like this would be unethical and possibly illegal. The problem is that the posts are not reviews at all. They are in fact paid advertisements disguised to look like the actual view or opinions of the person or consumer writing the blog.

The blogger is not required to say anywhere in the post that the views presented have been paid for by the advertiser. Even though it’s common practice for advertisers to write copy that has the look and feel of a news story or a consumer endorsement, according to the FTC they are required to include that the information in the article or review is in fact a paid advertisement.

In section 255.2-(b) of the “FTC Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements and Testimonials In Advertising,” it clearly states that, “Advertisements presenting endorsements by what are represented, directly or by implication, to be “actual consumers’’ should utilize actual consumers, in both the audio and video or clearly and conspicuously disclose that the persons in such advertisements are not actual consumers of the advertised product.”

So who’s responsible for violating the FTC guidelines? Would it be the responsibility of the agency or company that approved and paid for the review (ad) or their client, and not that of the person writing and posting to their blog. In other words, the blogger is merely writing poor copy that amounts to a deceptive ad. Or does the responsibility rest on the shoulders of the blogger posting the paid review on their site without disclosing that the reviews are actually paid advertisements?

I phoned the FTC to ask how these rules apply to bloggers. Unfortunately they were unable to answer my question. I was told that they could not answer my question in regards to how the rule applies or offer any legal interpretations as to how it may be applied. In addition, I also sent the FTC an email asking the same question and stating that I was writing an article regarding bloggers and advertising on the Internet. I did receive a reply back from the senior press officer at the FTC, Claudia Bourne Farrell (CFARRELL@ftc.gov). She wrote me back to inquire as to whom I was writing the article for. I informed her that I was a freelancer and not working for any particular publication. After my reply I received no further emails from her regarding the matter and additional emails went unanswered.

As far as any legal issues, I can only surmise that if the opinion filed February 14, 2003 by The District Court of Appeal of Florida Second District which states, “the FCC’s policy against the intentional falsification of the news, which the FCC has called its “news distortion policy,” does not qualify as the required, law, rule, or regulation” under section 448.102,” sets any precedence, then the rules under the FTC Guidelines are also not applicable laws but are merely suggested guidelines, which leaves only the ethical issue.

So who is Ed Shull and what company does he represent? A quick search on the Internet and I found out just who he is. He is in fact the C.E.O. of USWeb. His profile on the USWeb website refers to him as a “marketing genius” and a leader in the field of online marketing and advertising who has been featured in publications such as The New York Times and Newsweek.

Shull was kind enough to answer some questions by email. According to Shull when asked if this was a new approach to advertising on the Internet or have they done this before, he replied, “We have been doing this for a few months now, but I do see it growing. The more people create and read blogs, the larger the opportunity to create buzz for our clients.”

When asked if he sees this form of advertising growing in the future and what kind of benefits their clients will have using this form of advertising, Shull replied, “With blogs we have seen the business of online publishing change. Some Bloggers have press credentials and get readership in the thousands. When most people think of blogs they think of a younger demographic, this is not a bad thing, but it’s also becoming less true everyday. I see a lot of blogs popping up in the area of financial advice and health.”

I went on to ask Shull how the response has been regarding the use of bloggers to promote their clients’ services? According to him most of their clients have had reservations regarding the type of exposure they would received and many of them insist on reviewing the postings before hand. Shull felt that doing this was “…counterproductive for the blogging idea. We want blogs that provide good information and speak in the candid, loose manor that makes blogs appealing to readers.”

In regards to the reactions of the bloggers, Shull says, “Bloggers have had mixed reactions to earning cash to blog. Some feel it’s a betrayal to their readers. We encourage bloggers to express themselves as much as they like. They don’t have to write about a particular blog if they choose not to. The blogger writes what they want to write, and how they want to write it. We simply ask them for their honest opinions and let them know some of the benefits we see in the service or product.” …”We just ask that the blogger review the site and let us know. If they find it to be a site they don’t like, we just move on to the next posting for them.”

Yet I have to question the part about asking for their “honest opinion” since in his reply to my original request for more info on getting paid to blog, Shull clearly stated that I should write a “favorable review.”

Just how much does a client of USWeb expect to spend to get reviews posted by bloggers? According to Shull, “Our blogging budget varies from client to client. Most start at around $5,000, with the expectation of getting 500 blog postings. We verify every blog posting to make sure that it followed the guidelines.”

To the reader of blogs, just remember that what you think may be the honest opinions of consumers could really be nothing more than paid-for advertisements.

© Copyright J. Ryan (http://bravo411.blogspot.com/), 2005. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Before you jump on the bandwagon....

be sure you know where it's heading. I've been seeing a lot of cyber chatter concerning the remarks made by the First Lady and her recent comedy routine. Although I thought her joke about George jacking off a horse was inappropriate for the venue, the Annual White House Correspondents' Association's dinner, it wasn't broadcast on the public air waves like the Janet Jackson SuperBowl titie-fiasco. The follow up to her remarks on the Daily Show were even more rude and vulgar and given it's venue, a comedy show geared towards adults, I laughed my ass off. Yet there seems to be a growing movement to voice complaints with the FCC.

First off, the thing to remember is that on both occasions it was done on cable television. It's not broadcast freely into the air waves and is something that a person pays money to receive. The FCC has no right to start governing what people can be allowed to view if they so choose to subscribe to it, so long as it doesn't violate decency laws (in other words, I'm NOT saying it's OK to buy or broadcast kiddie porn).

So before you go screaming for the FCC to come down on either Mrs. Bush or the Daily Show for what they've broadcast, look ahead because at the end of the journey you might see you're favorite shows being pulled off the air and Big Brother getting complete control over what you will and won't see on television.

It's almost like all the people screaming "don't let terrorists buy guns," referring to people on the list of "Suspected Terrorists" being allowed to purchase firearms. The thing to remember here is that just because they are classified as a Suspected Terrorists doesn't mean that they Are Terrorists.

If legislation were to be passed making it illegal for people on this list to purchase firearms, then they are being unduly striped of their Second Amendment right, not to mention that it would make it really easy for government to strip this Constitutional right from American citizens by putting the names of those that show dissent for the current administration on the list.

It's bad enough that you can get denied access to a taxpayer funded event for having a bumper sticker that says "No Blood For Oil", but having your Second Amendment right striped from you because of a bumper sticker or a blog is pure insanity. Good luck trying to find out how your name ended up on the list because I'm sure that it will be "Classified", let alone getting your name removed from it.

Even worse is we end up with a nation divided, with one side being striped of their right to posses the means necessary to defend against an apposition that's armed to the teeth.

So again I say, look down the road to where that wagon is headed, because it just might be to the end of the road for what's left of the ideals this nation was founded upon.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Downing Street Memo and Bringing Down Bush.

This memo not only proves that Bush & Co. lied to the American people, but that they knew the intelligence was faulty and fabricated to support a pre-emptive strike. This should not only be grounds for impeachment, but treason charges should also be filed against all those involved. What's the penalty for treason again?

----------Memo Below----------


From: Matthew Rycroft
Date: 23 July 2002
S 195 /02

cc: Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Attorney-General, Sir Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, CDS, C, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Alastair Campbell


Copy addressees and you met the Prime Minister on 23 July to discuss Iraq.

This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents.

John Scarlett summarised the intelligence and latest JIC assessment. Saddam's regime was tough and based on extreme fear. The only way to overthrow it was likely to be by massive military action. Saddam was worried and expected an attack, probably by air and land, but he was not convinced that it would be immediate or overwhelming. His regime expected their neighbours to line up with the US. Saddam knew that regular army morale was poor. Real support for Saddam among the public was probably narrowly based.

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action. (continued)
(Read the rest of the memo as reported in the Sunday Times.)

More Americans ready to invest in private S.S. accounts...?

According to Bush, more Americans are ready to invest in private Social Security accounts. Just how did he come to this conclusion? Well I doubt it has anything to do with polls. They've all shown that the majority of Americans are against this idea. Well, it's because of logic. Insane logic, but logic none the less.

While speaking to the Latino Small Business Economic Conference, Bush stated that people from all walks of life are investing in retirement (401K) accounts offered by their employers. Said Bush: "I went down to the Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi, (Tuesday) and it was a very diverse audience, a lot of assembly line workers ... And I said, 'How many of you all have got your own 401k?' I mean, the number of hands that went up was astounding."

Bush: Americans Ready to Invest S.S. Funds (AP/Yahoo)

Bush's logic is that since people are willing to invest in 401ks, then that must mean they support private retirement accounts, thus they must support my idea for creating private Social Security accounts. But what Bush fails to recognize is that 401ks are not guaranteed. If these people lose everything in their private retirement accounts, they would at least have the guaranteed Social Security benefits as a safety net of sorts.

Just ask any of the former Enron employees whether their faith in their employer's 401k program is an indication of their support for privatized Social Security. Somewhere along the line of Bush shoving his head up his ass while he was jerking off the horse, he managed to twist his sense of logic so that it is as perverse as the First Lady's jokes during the recent annual White House Correspondents' Association's dinner.

A shake-up on the House Ethics Committee.

Apparently two members of the House Ethics committee won't be investigating any wrong doings by Sen. Tom Delay. It's not so much a choice as it is a conflict of interest. You see, they've both previously contributed to his legal defense chairman.
(click here for more on the story.)

Monday, May 02, 2005

National Loyalty Day....

Apparently May 1st is now National Loyalty Day, by proclamation of the President of the United States.

The purpose of Loyalty Day is to pay honor to the men and women who serve and who have served in the armed forces and have sacrificed to keep this country safe. I think the idea is a good one, but he could have picked a better name, especially given the bad press about having to sign loyalty oaths to have had attended his presidential campaign appearances. Not to mention the screened and scripted "Town Hall" meetings to push his SS agenda.

Update 04/03/05
Note: I have just learned that in 1958 the act was passed by Congress and President Eisenhower signed it into law. Bush just felt the need to reiterate this. He does loves the loyalty thing.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Download the Official Army Report....

Download the Official Army Report investigating the shooting by U.S. forces in Iraq, which left the Italian intelligence agent Nicola Calipari dead and seriously injured Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena.

You can click on the link to newsday.com below to go to the official PDF version of the document.

After the document opens in Acrobat Reader, press "Ctrl A" to select all the text. Next press "Ctrl C", this will copy the entire report to the clipboard (including the text that has been blacked out). Next open new document in a text editing program such as Word or Word Pad, then press "Ctrl V", this will paste the entire report with the redacted portions restored.

You can also just click on the Bravo411 link. I have already copied the report to a word document and posted it online.

newsday.com -Official Redacted PDF version.

Bravo411 - .doc .rtf .txt documents with the redacted portions restored and the Official PDF file.

Update 05/03/05: Files moved to a free online ftp site. The Bravo411 link should work now. Please email me at bravo411(at)sbcglobal.net if you have any problems.

Pentagon doesn't like to put a face on the dead or those that honor them...

Although I personally feel that this is an unjust war and that Bush and the neo-cons in power have dishonored the country by going to war based on lies then refusing to accept any responsibility for this, I bear no grievance towards the men and women of the armed services. They have volunteered to put their life on the line in order to serve and protect this country. They have been put in a situation where they must honor their duty to serve and where they must either kill or be killed.

If the Pentagon feels that they must black out the faces of anybody, then they should black out Bush's face whenever he is shown, and not those who have given their lives, and their comrades in the Honor Guard who stand by their fallen brethren. For they have served with honor and dignity, remaining true to their commitment. It is Bush and not them that should be cloaked in a black veil of shame.

At this point, it would not surprise me in the least if the Pentagon decided to instead bury these fallen heroes in mass unmarked graves in order to save money and hide their own shame from the eyes of the world.

LA Times: Photos of War Dead Released by Pentagon

DoD link to all photos released by the Pentagon under the FOIA request.

A must read....

Warning: Not for the weak of mind or fortitude!
The Rude Pundit: George Bush and the Squirrel Monkey Press Conference.

(This link will open in a new window)

I wouldn't normally just link to another blog in my post, but in this case it would be a crime not to.