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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Last Throes

“The insurgency in Iraq is ‘in the last throes,’ Vice President Dick Cheney says, and he predicts that the fighting will end before the Bush administration leaves office.”
-CNN, May 31, 2005

“Let’s think about those innocent days of yore back when Mr. Cheney said that.. Ah, the last throes..”

“Mem’ries light the corners of my mind.

Misty water color mem’ries of the way we were.
Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind.
Smiles we gave to one another for the way we were.
Can it be that it was all so simple then,
Or has time rewritten ev’ry line?
If we had the chance to do it all again,
tell me, Would we? Could we?
Mem’ries may be beautiful, and yet, what’s too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget.”
-“The Way We Were”, Barbara Streisand

“I have quoted Streisand. Today I am a liberal. Hey, before I forget… How are those ‘last throes’ doing?”

“One year after Vice President Dick Cheney predicted that the Iraqi insurgency was in its ‘last throes,’ the United States military said it had had to reassign 1,500 troops from Kuwait to Anbar Province.”
-New York Times, May 31, 2006

“The troops are probably just being sent in to go to some big party the Iraqis are throwing for us thanking us for getting rid of Saddam. Cake and ice cream for everyone!”

“Average weekly attacks on coalition forces, Iraqi security forces (ISF) and Iraqi civilians climbed to 620 in the period between Feb. 11 and May 12, 2006, according to the latest security and stability report the Defense Department is required to send congressional lawmakers every quarter.
Only two other periods in Iraq’s post-Saddam history approach the recent numbers for violence, according to the report: the sovereignty period between June 29 to Nov. 26, 2004, which included the battle for Fallujah and major clashes with Shiite insurgents belonging to Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army; and the referendum/vote period between Aug. 29, 2005 to Feb. 10, 2006.
Each of those periods averaged about 550 weekly attacks, the report said.
Average daily casualties for coalition, ISF and Iraqi civilians also soared during the “government transition” period covered by the new report, reaching about 78 per day.
Until now, the highest number of daily casualties reported had been 59 per day, during Iraq’s pre-constitution period between Feb. 12 and Aug. 28, 2005, the report said.”
-Stars and Stripes, May 31, 2006

“Not a party, eh? I don’t understand this… Why don’t these people appreciate all that we’ve done for them? Why are the Iraqi people so ungrateful? I know who we can ask! Let’s ask Mr. Sumaidaie. He’s the new Iraqi ambassador to the United States, so I’m sure he has the answer.”

“BLITZER: But even months before the incident in November, you lost a cousin at Haditha in a separate battle involving United States Marines.

SUMAIDAIE: Well, that was not a battle at all. Marines were doing house-to-house searches, and they went into the house of my cousin. He opened the door for them.
His mother, his siblings were there. He led them into the bedroom of his father. And there he was shot.
BLITZER: Who shot him?
SUMAIDAIE: A member of the Marines.
BLITZER: Why did they shoot him?
SUMAIDAIE: Well, they said that they shot him in self-defense. I find that hard to believe because, A, he is not at all a violent -- I mean, I know the boy. He was [in] a second-year engineering course in the university. Nothing to do with violence. All his life has been studies and intellectual work.
Totally unbelievable. And, in fact, they had no weapon in the house. They had one weapon which belonged to the school where his father was a headmaster. And it had no ammunition in it. And he led them into the room to show it to them.
BLITZER: So what you're suggesting, your cousin was killed in cold blood, is that what you're saying, by United States Marines?
SUMAIDAIE: I believe he was killed intentionally. I believe that he was killed unnecessarily. And unfortunately, the investigations that took place after that sort of took a different course and concluded that there was no unlawful killing.
I would like further investigation. I have, in fact, asked for the report of the last investigation, which was a criminal investigation, by the way.
[Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq] is aware of all the details, because he's kept on top of it. And it was he who rejected the conclusions of the first investigation. I have since asked formally for the report, but it's been nearly two months, and I have not received it.”
-CNN, May 30, 2006

“Hey, this is just one little isolated shooting. I’m sure that they will find those responsible and hold them accountable right up the chain of command, just like they did in Abu Ghraib.”

“Pentagon investigations into the shooting deaths of Iraqi civilians are focused on about a dozen enlisted Marines and do not target their commanding officers, the lawyer for one of the officers said Tuesday.”
-Associated Press, May 30, 2006

“Yep. That’s just like they did it at Abu Ghraib.”

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: A Booming Free Press

“Newspaper headlines have borne much bad and frightening news lately: car bombs in Baghdad, missile fusillades launched at hotels, deadly attacks on U.S. soldiers, Iraqi police and governmental officials, and representatives of the international community. But there is plenty of good news, too, even though it doesn't as often make the papers. And that good news stems from a single irreversible and critical truth: the Iraqi people are free. . . . Real progress is being made on the ground that gives Iraqis hope that life will get steadily better. . . . We have renovated more than 1,500 schools.”
-Colin Powell, October 31, 2003

“People just aren’t seeing all of the good news put of Iraq. I mean, Powell said that back in 2003. Since conditions in Iraq have been improving ever since (I’ve listened to the Administration, and they’ve never said anything about it getting worse), I expect that things there are just about perfect now. I’m sure that the press is finally getting around to reporting the good news.”

“A CBS news correspondent who had reported on the deteriorating conditions in Iraq for three years was in critical condition at a U.S. military base in Germany, a day after a roadside bomb killed two of her colleagues.
Kimberly Dozier, a 39-year-old American, had undergone two surgeries for injuries from the bombing, said Kelli Edwards, a CBS news spokeswoman. By early Tuesday, doctors had removed shrapnel from Dozier's head but said she had more serious injuries to her lower body, CBS News reported on its Web site.
Dozier arrived at Ramstein Air Base in Germany early Tuesday and was headed to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, military officials said.
British cameraman Paul Douglas, 48, and British freelance soundman James Brolan, 42, were killed Monday when a car bomb exploded as they were working on a story about American troops in Iraq on Memorial Day, the network said. The U.S. military said an American soldier and an Iraqi interpreter were killed in the same blast and six American soldiers were injured.
‘Our deepest sympathy goes out to the families of Paul and James, and we are hoping and praying for a complete recovery by Kimberly,’ CBS News President Sean McManus said in a statement.”
-Associated Press, May 30, 2006

“Oh sure, there might still be the occasional bombing that might occasionally still inconvenience the press, but that doesn’t mean that things aren’t going well..”

“The Voice of America's bureau in Baghdad has been closed for the past six months, ever since the government-funded agency withdrew its only reporter in Iraq after she was fired upon in an ambush and her security guard was later killed.
All Western news organizations have struggled with the dangerous conditions in Iraq, which have led to such high-profile incidents as the kidnapping of Christian Science Monitor reporter Jill Carroll and the wounding of ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff. But for a federally funded information service to pull out of Baghdad for such a prolonged period raises questions about the Bush administration's insistence that conditions there are gradually improving.”
-Washington Post, May 23, 2006

“Well, I have to say that if the Voice of America (which is run by the Federal government) is closed due to the violence... um… Well, that might be a bad sign.”

Friday, May 26, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: PMITA Prison Blues

“Michael Bolton: If we get caught, we're not going to white-collar resort prison. No, no, no. We're going to federal POUND ME IN THE ASS prison.
Samir: I don't want to go to ANY prison!”
-Office Space

“Former Enron executives Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling have been found guilty of fraud and conspiracy.
Lay, 64, was convicted on all six counts against him, including conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud. He faces a maximum of 45 years in prison. Lay also faces 120 years in prison in a separate case.
Lay posted a $5 million bond secured with family-owned properties at a hearing following the verdict. He was ordered to stay in the Southern District of Texas or Colorado.
‘I firmly believe I'm innocent of the charges against me,’ Lay said following the hearing. ‘We believe that God in fact is in control and indeed he does work all things for good for those who love the lord.’"
-ABC News, May 25, 2006

“Well, it looks like justice is actually served for once. White collar criminals Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling are going to prison. Now we just need to seriously investigate their friends.”

“The criminal indictment of former Enron Corp. Chairman Kenneth L. Lay loomed Thursday as a new political minefield for President Bush, and the White House moved quickly to distance the president from the man he once affectionately called ‘Kenny Boy’ and who donated more than $500,000 to his campaigns over the years.”
-LA Times, July 9, 2004

“No, no, no.. Not Fearless Leader. He is beyond reproach. We need to investigate other people.”

“John Ashcroft, whose Justice Department launched its criminal investigation Thursday into Enron's fall — and the remarkable foresight of its top executives in parachuting out early and rich — recused himself and his chief of staff from the probe, just as designated attack Democrat Henry Waxman was dashing off a letter reminding Ashcroft that he'd received $25,000 from Enronites for a Senate re-election campaign. The exodus may not stop there; Bush SEC chairman Harvey Pitt once did some work for Arthur Andersen, the blind (and document-shredding) accounting watchdog in the drama, and could be next to eagerly recuse himself from ever having to give a press conference on his agency's investigation, either.
Even Dick Cheney is playing ball, sending word Wednesday from his undisclosed ballpark that yes, he'd met with Lay six times during the energy-policy formulations of last spring, but no, the influence-seeking Lay didn't happen to mention to the Vice President or anyone else around that he was chairman of a house of cards.”
-Time Magazine, January 10, 2002

“No, not Vice-Leader ‘Shoot First, Target Later’ Dick either. I mean sure, he met with Ken Lay half a dozen times while formulating his energy-policy, and sure, he still refuses to talk about how that energy policy was determined, and sure, Enron was found guilty of scamming the energy system and ridiculously overcharging for power, but that is just coincidence. Vice-Leader Dick sits at the right hand of Dubya. He is immune to criticism.”

“The only thing that surprises me more than all the Enron henchmen who ended up in your cabinet and administration is how our lazy media just rolled over and didn't report it. The list of Enron people on your payroll is impressive. Lawrence Lindsey, your chief economic advisor? A former advisor at Enron! Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill? Former CEO of Alcoa, whose lobbying firm, Vinson and Elkins, was the #3 contributor to your campaign! Who is Vinson and Elkins? The law firm representing Enron! Who is Alcoa? The top polluter in Texas. Timothy White, the Secretary of the Army? A former vice-chair of Enron Energy! Robert Zoellick, your Federal Trade Representative? A former advisor at Enron! Karl Rove, your main man at the White House? He owned a quarter-million dollars of Enron stock. Then there's the Enron lawyer you have nominated to be a federal judge in Texas, the Enron lobbyist who is your chair of the Republican Party, the two Enron officials who now work for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and the wife of Texas Senator Phil Gramm who sits on Enron's board.”
-Michael Moore, February 12, 2002

“Michael Moore! Obviously grasping at straws. To quote Michael Moore is to take all credibility from your argument, no matter how accurate he might be, because he is a crazy liberal. I know because they tell me that on TV all the time. No, this is a case of justice being served, and it has nothing to do with this Administration.”

“Q Tony, the President often mentions corporate crime in his speeches, as recently as yesterday. We've had the Enron convictions now over the noon hour. Any comment from the White House?
MR. SNOW: Well, any comment is that the Justice Department -- you know, we congratulate the Justice Department on successfully concluding a highly complex conviction, a set of legal proceedings that led to the convictions today in the Enron case. I mean, the administration has been pretty clear there is no tolerance for corporate corruption. And furthermore, the Justice Department has been going aggressively after those who are involved in corporate corruption.”
-White House Press Gaggle with Tony Snow, May 25, 2006

“Yep. Nothing to see here. All connections with the Administration are coincidental.”

“Dear Ken:
One of the sad things about old friends is that they seem to be getting older -- just like you!
55 years old. Wow! That is really old.
Thank goodness you have such a young, beautiful wife.
Laura and I value our friendship with you. Best wishes to Linda, your family, and friends.

Your younger friend,
George W. Bush “
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, Letter to Ken Lay, September 8, 1997

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Separation of Scandals

“The F.B.I. raided the Congressional offices of Representative William J. Jefferson, Democrat of Louisiana, on Saturday night as part of a corruption investigation focused on the lawmaker and on a Kentucky businessman who has pleaded guilty to trying to bribe him.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement that the unusual raid on a Congressional office began about 7:15 p.m., when agents entered Mr. Jefferson's suite of offices in the Rayburn House Office Building, and was being conducted as part of an ‘ongoing corruption investigation.’"
-New York Times, May 21, 2006

“Well… good. If the guy is a crook, then he deserves to be arrested. They apparently got the guy asking for cash on tape and found $90,000 dollars in his freezer at home. The guy has got to go. It seems that Mr. Jefferson has some support though coming from unusual corners.”

“In rare election-year harmony, House Republican and Democratic leaders joined Wednesday to demand the FBI return documents taken in a Capitol Hill raid that has quickly grown into a constitutional turf fight beyond party politics.
‘The Justice Department must immediately return the papers it unconstitutionally seized,’ House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement.
After that, they said, Democratic Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana must cooperate with the Justice Department's bribery investigation against him.
The leaders also said the Justice Department should not look at the documents or give them to investigators in the Jefferson case.”
-Associated Press, May 25, 2006

“Republican support! During a scandal that makes Democrats look bad! Look! A flying pig! What could be driving this sudden concern for privacy in the House (it isn’t like they’ve been all that concerned about our privacy during the recent NSA scandals)?”

“According to the Center for Responsive Politics, House Speaker Dennis Hastert is the No.1 individual recipient of money from Abramoff and his clients, with a total of $68,300 contributed to his campaign committee and leadership PAC from 1998 to 2004.”
-ABC News, May 24, 2006

“Bah! It means nothing. Just a coincidence. Nothing to see here.”

“The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert, is under investigation by the FBI, which is seeking to determine his role in an ongoing public corruption probe into members of Congress, ABC News has learned from high level official sources.

Federal officials say the information implicating Hastert was developed from convicted lobbyists who are now cooperating with the government.
Part of the investigation involves a letter Hastert wrote three years ago, urging the Secretary of the Interior to block a casino on an Indian reservation that would have competed with other tribes.
The other tribes were represented by convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff who reportedly has provided details of his dealings with Hastert as part of his plea agreement with the government.
The letter was written shortly after a fund-raiser for Hastert at a restaurant owned by Abramoff. Abramoff and his clients contributed more than $26,000 at the time.”
-ABC News, May 24, 2006

“Sure, but as soon as that article came out the Justice Department made a statement stating that it wasn’t true. Mr. Hastert was only defending Jefferson because he is worried (finally) about the separation of powers in the government.”

“Despite a flat denial from the Department of Justice, federal law enforcement sources tonight said ABC News accurately reported that Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is ‘in the mix’ in the FBI investigation of corruption in Congress.”
-ABC News, May 24, 2006

“Oh this should be fun.”

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: British Freedom (tm)

“Around 500 British police officers raided houses across the country on Wednesday in a major operation targeting people suspected of planning terrorist attacks overseas.
They arrested eight people in early morning raids, seven in Manchester, northern England, and one in Merseyside, the area around Liverpool in the north west, police said.
They later said they had arrested a ninth person and that one of the nine had been released.”
-Reuters, May 24, 2006

“Thank Heaven that the British are finally learning that we can’t leave dangerous terrorists on the street (and I do not doubt that most of those arrested were dangerous). It is about time they did something. The English just don’t understand terrorism (except for that little ‘Irish’ problem that went on for a generation or so).”

“The veteran peace activist Brian Haw was stripped of his anti-war banners and placards by up to 50 police officers in an early-morning raid in Parliament Square yesterday.
Mr Haw, who has camped in front of the Houses of Parliament since 2001, was incensed at the "raid" - and said he now intended to go on hunger strike. ‘It was shocking. I would not have believed they could stoop so low. I thought they going to do it decently, to do it through the courts, when they came like thugs in the night. They have completely destroyed all the expressions of people who opposed the war in Iraq,’ he said. ’It seems I am going to die in this place now because I'm going to be fasting and praying. What else can I do as a Christian? They have taken my means of showing people what is going on.’
The battle between police and the 57-year-old protester has been going on for some time. Last July, the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act came into force, bringing with it powers to halt demonstrations in Parliament Square and its vicinity, a provision widely seen as having been designed with Mr Haw in mind.
Human rights and anti-war groups criticised the police for heavy-handedness. David Wilson, of the Stop the War Coalition, said Mr Haw was ‘hardly a radical revolutionary. He is a Christian who has taken it upon himself to remind politicians that occupation and war mean death and destruction to men, women and children.’
Doug Jewell, campaigns co-ordinator for Liberty, said the raid showed the ‘Government's intolerance had reached fever pitch’.
Mr Haw is due to appear before Bow Street magistrates at the end of the month to answer charges of breaching conditions to demonstrate in the square.”
-Independent (UK), May 24, 2006

“Oh… So they’ve learned about how to deal with terrorism from us… Well, that’s not as comforting. At least they don’t have to deal with the Patriot Act.”

“Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, is facing an onslaught over the Government's anti-terror laws after figures showed nearly 36,000 people were stopped and searched under the emergency powers last year. The number of people stopped and searched each year has soared since the Act came into force in 2001, when 10,200 people were stopped. It rose to 33,800 in 2003-04.

Figures in a Home Office report showed that 35,776 searches of vehicles and people were recorded under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act, which was passed six years ago. Despite the high number of people stopped, only 455 were arrested. The newest statistics, which cover the 2004-05 financial year and do not include the aftermath of the July bomb attacks on London, represent a record use of the powers since the Act came into force.”
-Independent (UK), January 25, 2006

“Hmmm…. So Britain decided on Tuesday to finally round up people for terrorism, and on the same day they decide to clear the protestors out of the area around Parliament. What could be driving this sudden move to get tough against the enemies of the Queen?”

“US President George W. Bush will meet in Washington on Thursday with Prime Minister Tony Blair, for talks on Iraq's new government and the raging sectarian violence there, as well as other hot-button global issues.”
-AFP, May 23, 2006

“Ah… So this is the equivalent of hiding your porn before mom comes over to visit. It appears that Mr. Blair is making sure that when the All-Seeing Eye of Fearless Leader turns his direction he looks good (and that is difficult to do right now as Britain doesn’t have a lot of Mexicans to pick on). Good boy Mr. Blair. You deserve a biscuit.”

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: God Bless America

“God has truly blessed America. How do I know? I know because he has spent an awful lot of time talking to people here and getting to know Americans in a special and personal way. He apparently is the spiritual version of a nosy next-door neighbor who just can’t help gossiping. For example..”

“In another in a series of notable pronouncements, religious broadcaster Pat Robertson says God told him storms and possibly a tsunami will hit America’s coastline this year.”
-Associate Press, May 19, 2006

“God isn’t all about just threatening America with big disasters. He is also involved in America in a deep and personal level. And he votes Republican. Wait, maybe that’s redundant with the ‘disasters’ bit.”

“During an interview soon after on Fox News's ‘Hannity & Colmes,’ Ms. [Katherine] Harris made public her fresh resolve. ‘Let me just answer the burning question,’ she said. ‘I'm in this race. And I'm going to win.’ She pledged to spend up to $10 million of her own fortune to do so.
In private, Mr. Rollins recalls Ms. Harris saying God told her to stay in the race -- God wanted her to be a senator.”
-Wall Street Journal, May 10, 2006

“Apparently it is easier for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle than for a crazy rich woman to be elected Senator of the great state of Florida.
God cares about politics a lot. Not only is He working in the Senate race, he is also pushing His candidate for governor.”

“A reverend who introduced Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist during a breakfast with other pastors Monday said the Lord came to him in a dream two years ago and told him Crist would be the state's next governor.
The Rev. O'Neal Dozier said that before the dream he did not know Crist, nor had Crist made known his plans to run for governor.
‘The Lord Jesus spoke to me and he said 'There's something I want you to know,’ said Dozier, pastor of the Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach. 'Charlie Crist will be the next governor of the state of Florida.’
Since then, Dozier has spent time with Crist and talked with him at length about policy. He told the group that Crist would be uncompromising in his Christian faith.
‘I introduce to you, as the Lord Jesus has said, the next governor of the state of Florida, Charlie Crist,’ Dozier said.
-Associated Press, May 22, 2006

“Whatever happened to the good old days when a message from God would come with some special effects? You know, burning bush, pillar of fire, that kind of thing. No… Today God seems to have given up His wild youthful days when he’d create a world a week and now seems to spend an awful lot of time talking to people who have too much hair gel and distinctly conservative slants. Maybe He’s just getting old. He does, after all, seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in Florida. He also seems to spend a lot of time there talking to people who (I’m just guessing here) are getting the message wrong.”

“A man sentenced to 90 years in prison for attempting to set his Orlando home on fire with his family sleeping inside said God commanded him to sacrifice his wife and children, according to a Local 6 News report.
Hans Missal, 51, admitted to dousing his Orlando home with gasoline last March. Missal also duct-taped the doors shut and ran a hose from the house to a car tailpipe while his wife, son and daughter slept before he attempted to set the structure on fire.
Tuesday, Missal said he was following God's orders.
Missal compared himself to the Bible's Abraham, who was commanded by God to sacrifice his own son, and said he received a message from God to kill his entire family, Local 6 News reported.
"God had a plan for my family, I had no idea what that plan was," Missal said. ‘I trusted God and God was faithful to the end.’"
-Local6.com, April 26, 2006

Monday, May 22, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Beat the Press

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
-First Amendment of the United States Constitution

“Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Sunday he believes journalists can be prosecuted for publishing classified information, citing an obligation to national security.
The nation's top law enforcer also said the government will not hesitate to track telephone calls made by reporters as part of a criminal leak investigation, but officials would not do so routinely and randomly.
‘There are some statutes on the book which, if you read the language carefully, would seem to indicate that that is a possibility,’ Gonzales said, referring to prosecutions. ‘We have an obligation to enforce those laws. We have an obligation to ensure that our national security is protected.’
‘We don't engage in domestic-to-domestic surveillance without a court order,’ Gonzales said, under a ‘probable cause’ legal standard.
But he added that the First Amendment right of a free press should not be absolute when it comes to national security. If the government's probe into the NSA leak turns up criminal activity, prosecutors have an ‘obligation to enforce the law.’”
‘It can't be the case that that right trumps over the right that Americans would like to see, the ability of the federal government to go after criminal activity,’ Gonzales told ABC's ‘This Week.’"
-Associated Press, May 21, 2006

“Congratulations America. It just became illegal to tell the American public about things that the government does illegally. Woodward and Bernstein will be sent to Guantanamo as soon as possible, and the government will continue to tap everyone’s phone (for your own good of course). Despite all of the denials, Trent Lott says that the domestic surveillance IS happening.”

“Senator Trent Lott, a Mississippi Republican, told reporters he was briefed on the program and said the U.S. needs ‘to use modern technological tools’ to defeat terrorists. President George W. Bush, while not confirming or denying the effort, defended his administration's spying and said the government isn't ‘trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans.’

USA Today, citing anonymous sources with direct knowledge of the arrangement, reported today that the phone companies turned the records over to the NSA. The spy agency has compiled a massive database with the information, the newspaper reported.
Lott said the story ‘undermines' the program, which he called ‘legitimate and legal.’''
-Bloomberg News Service, May 11, 2006

“We could ask Fearless Leader some questions about this, but he is busy protecting the Fatherland in Arizona from the Hispanic Menace.”

“I think it helps to have the President out here, seeing the part of the area of the country that one time was overrun by people coming in here, that's beginning to get settled down because of a strategy that's being employed. And so I really want to thank you all for greeting me. Plus I liked riding in the dune buggy.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, May 18, 2006

“Aw shucks.. He’s so cute when he plays with his dune buggy. I can’t stay mad at him. Okay Dubya, you can defile the constitution and do away with civil rights. You had me at ‘Mission Accomplished’.”

Friday, May 19, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Yellow Menace to Society

“After a emotional debate fraught with symbolism, the Senate yesterday voted to make English the ‘national language’ of the United States, declaring that no one has a right to federal communications or services in a language other than English except for those already guaranteed by law.
The measure, approved 63 to 34, directs the government to ‘preserve and enhance’ the role of English, without altering current laws that require some government documents and services be provided in other languages. Opponents, however, said it could negate executive orders, regulations, civil service guidances and other multilingual ordinances not officially sanctioned by acts of Congress.”
-Washington Post, May 19, 2006

“Well, it looks like the War on Mexicans is continuing on its drunken stumble. Yes, the United States for the first time has a ‘national language’. I’m glad that our lawmakers took time out from their careful examination of the NSA spying and our ongoing conflict in Iraq to pass such essential legislation. America (especially such vulnerable states as California) hasn’t been in such a desperate situation since the turn of the last century when the dreaded Yellow Menace was coming aboard our fair shores.”

“MEN FROM CHINA come here to do LAUNDRY WORK. The Chinese Empire contains 600,000,000 (six hundred millions) inhabitants.

The supply of these men is inexhaustible.
Every one doing this work takes BREAD from the mouths of OUR WOMEN.
So many have come of late, that to keep at work, they are obliged to cut prices.
And now, we appeal to the public, asking them will they be partners to a deal which is only one of their many onward marches in CRUSHING OUT THE INDUSTRIES OF OUR COUNTRY from our people by grasping them themselves. Will you oblige the AMERICAN LAUNDRIES to CUT THE WAGES OF THEIR PEOPLE by giving your patronage to the CHINAMEN?
This is the one unvarying story everywhere. Let white men, in competition with Chinese, mark down wages and profits as they may, extend the hours of labor or reduce the food standard as they may, the Chinese, without seeming effort or privation, can at once get below them and work them out.”
-“China’s Menace to the World”, 1878

“You see, because this immigrant labor works hard and works cheap they are a threat to America and must be stopped. You can see what happened… The government did nothing, and now we all speak Chinese.”

"As long as California is white man's country, it will remain one of the grandest and best states in the union, but the moment the Golden State is subjected to an unlimited Asiatic coolie invasion there will be no more California."
-Asiatic Exclusion League, 1905

“Yes, that was written 101 years ago. Our inscrutable Asian overlords were obviously subtle in their conquest and only have used their immense power to make us east raw fish wrapped in seaweed in order to humiliate us. Sushi: proof of the fall of California.”

"They [Japanese] now occupy valleys in California by lease or purchase of land to the exclusion of not only whites but Chinese, and if this silent invasion is permitted by the federal government, they would at the rate at which they are coming, a thousand a month, soon convert the fairest state in the union into a Japanese colony. If they were naturalized they would outvote us.

But California is white man's country, and the two races cannot live side by side in peace, and inasmuch as we discovered the country first and occupied it, we propose to hold it against either a peaceful or a warlike invasion."
-James D. Phelan, Mayor of San Francisco, 1906

“Yes, they must be stopped from coming here, no matter how peaceful they are or how hard working, because they aren’t, you know, white. Stop me when any of this starts to sound familiar.”

“The Chinese have been largely employed in the fruit-packing business in San Francisco. That has been one of the largest, most useful, and most profitable of our industries. They have heretofore figured in it only as employees, but last year they began to operate extensively on their own account, and at a time of greater depression than ever before known in the business. There was such an over-supply of fruit that any one giving a large order could almost dictate the price. At such a crisis the Chinese entered the business, and they are now advancing rapidly in it. And they will continue to advance, for Chinese employers practice the co-operative system, and thus get much better work out of Chinese laborers than Americans possibly can. For the money they advance, Chinese employers charge two per cent a month, and they command, also, high salaries for the ir services. After these fixed charges have been provided for, then co-operation comes in. Chinese masters have the mental keenness to know that a co-operative laborer is a laborer with heart in his work, and that the heart is the very best spur to diligent hands.
The Chinese have recently secured a foothold in Lower California, 60 miles below the California State line, on a grant 125 miles square. No use was made of this land till some speculators at San Diego, while floating everything on paper there, transferred it to a joint-stock company. The shares had only a nominal value until a very sharp Chinaman appeared. He and his Chinese associates demanded and received a more than half of the shares, in order that the control should be in Chinese hands. All of the shares will finally be owned by them. The Chinese guarantee to build a canal 75 miles long the water of which is to be used for placer gold-washing and for irrigation. But much more important than that is a twenty years' concession, already granted by a Franciscan, of the sole rite to fish in the waters of the Gulf of California. He has turned this rite over to the Chinese. When the Chinese thus purchase territories, or get long leases of them, they pay but a trifle of money down. Payment of the great bulk of the purchase price is deferred until the amount can be taken out of the country, through profits from agriculture, mining, and fishing, made by the laborers, who will be imported from China. One of the parties interested in the scheme has gone to China to import 8,000 Chinese into that part of Mexico.”
-“China’s Menace to the World”, 1878

“Oh irony… Back in 1878 they were concerned about the Chinese immigrating to Mexico and taking over migrant farming. Many thanks to David Neiwert at Orcinus for today’s Quotes.”

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Hugging the Tar Baby

“Here's the unmentionable secret: Racism isn't that big a deal any more. No sensible person supports it. Nobody of importance preaches it. It's rapidly becoming an ugly memory.”
-Tony Snow, October 6, 2003

“Racism is gone! Gone I tell you! Anything that you see that resembles racism is an illusion. Of course, Mr. Snow said that years ago when he still worked for Fox News, the home of ‘fair and balanced’ reporting.”

“On May 10, the Washington Post ran a front-page story on a new census report that said 45% of the nation's children under the age of five are racial or ethnic minorities, and that the percentage is increasing primarily because the Hispanic population is growing so rapidly. If you read those facts carefully, you'd probably find them interesting, but not necessarily sufficient to draw any sweeping conclusions about the demographic and cultural future of the country.
If, however, you wanted to make a point about the dangers of illegal immigration, you might interpret the findings in your own particular way. On May 11, John Gibson of Fox News implored viewers to, ‘Do your duty. Make more babies... half of the kids in this country under five years old are minorities. By far the greatest number are Hispanic. You know what that means? Twenty-five years and the majority of the population is Hispanic. Why is that? Well, the Hispanics are having more kids than others. Notably the ones Hispanics call gabachos, white people, are having fewer.’"
-TIME.com, May 17, 2006

“Well… That’s just Fox News. Other news networks can actually be fair about this kind of thing.”

“MATTHEWS: How can conservatives go back to their basically gerrymandered Republican districts of people, our native Americans, who are upset about too much illegal immigration going on and say, yes, I signed the president‘s bill, he leaned on me a little bit, so I did it? How do you defend that?
MATTHEWS: What about the argument that Pat makes that they want the road not just to citizenship for the illegal immigrants but the road to membership in the Democratic Party.
FINEMAN: Well, of course they do. But they figure they are going to get that eventually. They would like to see, to use a phrase from the Nixon days, the Republicans twist in the wind for a while, divided between their business constituency and the pro-Hispanic outreach that Bush is trying and the native American who are concerned about.
BUCHANAN: Bush had such an opportunity. He could have come in with a strong border security...
MATTHEWS: Native Americans meaning European Americans generally. I was using your phrase, yes. That wasn‘t exactly my phrase.”
-Hardball with Chris Matthews, May 15, 2006

“You see ‘Native Americans’ are actually white people. I realize that this may come as a surprise for people. You will also notice that conservatives are going back to their districts of ‘Native Americans’. Apparently, and I’m just basing this in the Quote above, Republicans only represent white people. That might help explain Texas.”

“McLennan County [Texas, home of Crawford] commissioners on Tuesday declined to adopt a resolution apologizing for lynchings in the area in the 1800s and early 1900s.
At least two commissioners have said they oppose an apology because the lynchings happened before current leaders and residents were born. They also have said the murder or rape victims of the black men who were lynched should not be forgotten.
The current 800-word resolution says the city and county "apologize for the failure of past leadership to uphold and defend lynching victims' most basic rights to life, liberty, and due process under the laws of our cherished democracy."
It also mentions the 1916 lynching of 17-year-old Jesse Washington, who was dragged from the courthouse, cut with knives and dangled over a fire as half the town's population - some 15,000 people - cheered. Washington's trial and sentencing for killing a white woman were conducted in less than 90 minutes, and his lynching was one of the few photographed in progress.”
-Associated Press, May 16, 2006

“Yep. A 90 minute trial before they strung them up. And now two of the commissioners are concerned that people should remember the victims. Now, while I’m obviously not an expert in the case in question, I’m willing to believe that that trial was probably at least as rigged as Dubya’s military tribunals…
You see racism is only a problem if we have someone to hate. If we could just figure out some way to get rid of all of the Mexicans (and blacks, and Asians, and all of those other non-Anglos) we wouldn’t have all these people upset about them. We need a solution to this problem. Some kind of a final solution… Hmmm…”

“And he [Dubya] will be lying, again, just as he lied when he said: ‘Massive deportation of the people here is unrealistic – it's just not going to work.’
Not only will it work, but one can easily estimate how long it would take. If it took the Germans less than four years to rid themselves of 6 million Jews, many of whom spoke German and were fully integrated into German society, it couldn't possibly take more than eight years to deport 12 million illegal aliens, many of whom don't speak English and are not integrated into American society.”
-‘Vox Day’, WorldNetDaily, May 15, 2006

“So Tony, it certainly appears that there is such a thing as racism in the United States still. What do you have to say about that?”

“Tony Snow said he didn't want to ‘hug the tar baby,’ and then he did just that by using the expression in his first televised White House press briefing yesterday.
The tar-covered doll that Br'er Fox used to ensnare Br'er Rabbit in an 1881 Uncle Remus story is used as a metaphor for a sticky situation, but for some it also carries vague racist connotations — it has been used as a derogatory term for a black. In a society where a District of Columbia councilman can be accused of racism simply by using the word ‘niggardly,’ most politicians and TV commentators prefer to avoid tar baby references. When a reporter playfully asked him to explain the term, Mr. Snow mumbled that it could be traced to ‘American lore.’"
-New York Times, May 17, 2006

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Don't Stand So Close to Me (Mexico)

“Dubya is concerned with border security. Very, very concerned. I mean, every day Mexicans just walk into this country to break their backs doing sub-minimum wage work. They are obviously a threat, so the other day Dubya decided to send out the National Guard and ask for additional funds to deal with this Menace from the South.”

“In a prime time address to the nation Monday night, President Bush will acknowledge that U.S. Border Patrol does ‘not yet have full control of the border’ and call on Congress to provide the funding to do so.
‘Since I became president, we have increased funding for border security by 66 percent, and expanded the Border Patrol from about 9,000 to 12,000 agents. ... We have apprehended and sent home about 6 million people entering America illegally,’ the president will say, according to excerpts released late Monday.
‘Despite this progress, we do not yet have full control of the border, and I am determined to change that. Tonight I am calling on Congress to provide funding for dramatic improvements in manpower and technology at the border,’ the president will say.”
-Fox News, May 15, 2006

“Oddly enough there should be a little room for funding here.. If only to make up for cuts Dubya made previously.”

“A preliminary analysis of the President's fiscal year 2004 budget request reveals that, when compared with the fiscal year 2003 budget request, the President has cut $253 million from budgets of the agencies that make up the Department of Homeland Security's new Border and Transportation Security Directorate, a 1.5% reduction. The President's 2004 budget request for the Border and Transportation Security Directorate's is $16.653 billion.”
-Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, February 3, 2003

“But is adding the National Guard to the border really effective? Let’s ask the Secretary of Homeland Security…”

“CHERTOFF: Well, the National Guard is really, first of all, not trained for that mission. I mean, the fact of the matter is the border is a special place. There are special challenges that are faced there.
CHERTOFF: But to really deploy across the border, you'd have to deploy an enormous number of people. You'd have to supply them at the border, and you'd have to give them the kind of training to deal with people who are crossing the border. You don't necessarily want to put --
O'REILLY: You don't think you can do that? I think the Guard could do that.
CHERTOFF: I think it would be a horribly over-expensive and very difficult way to manage this problem.”
-Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, on putting the National Guard on the Mexican Border, the O’Reilly Factor, December 15, 2005

“So this may be over-expensive and very difficult, but that has never stopped Dubya before. At least the border patrol will have a bunch of extra people available for enforcement, right?”

“Bush's plan is for Guard units to primarily tackle surveillance and intelligence duties along the border, so the 10,000 U.S. Border Patrol agents now there can concentrate on law enforcement work, such as patrols and arrests.
Bush made clear the Guard units would not be involved in law enforcement, which the law prohibits.”
-Gannett News Service, May 17, 2006

"Hmmm… And Dubya has always had such a firm respect for the law. Ok Dubya, say something to clear this matter up…”

“And the objective is, on the one hand, protect our borders, and on the other hand, never lose sight of the thing that makes America unique, which is we're a land of immigrants, and that we -- we're not going to discriminate against people, that we don't think there ought to be an automatic path to citizenship. That's called amnesty. Amnesty would be wrong. Amnesty wouldn't say that somebody that stood in line legally is -- is mistreated, as far as I'm concerned.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, May 16, 2006

“Better luck next time.”

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: For Your Own Good

“Vice President Dick Cheney argued in the weeks after the September 11 attacks that the National Security Agency should intercept domestic telephone calls and e-mails without warrants as part of its war on terrorism, The New York Times reported in Sunday editions.
Cheney and his top legal adviser, David Addington, believed the Constitution permitted spy agencies to take such sweeping measures to defend the country, The newspaper said, citing two senior intelligence officials who spoke anonymously.”
-New York Times, May 13, 2006

“That can’t be right. Fearless Leader loves Dick like no other man. Dick is seated at his right side in the White Palace. Dick can’t have been working against America.”

“On Dec. 27, for example, about two weeks after the New York Times disclosed NSA eavesdropping on international calls to and from the United States, White House spokesman Trent Duffy said the effort was ‘a limited program.’
‘This is not about monitoring phone calls designed to arrange Little League practice or what to bring to a potluck dinner,’ Duffy said. ‘These are designed to monitor calls from very bad people to very bad people who have a history of blowing up commuter trains, weddings and churches.’"
-Washington Post, May 15, 2006

“Ok. I feel better about it now. Just very bad people need to worry. Good people will not be spied on.”

“When he was asked about the National Security Agency's controversial domestic surveillance program last Monday, U.S. intelligence chief John D. Negroponte objected to the question and said the government was ‘absolutely not’ monitoring domestic calls without warrants.
‘I wouldn't call it domestic spying,’ he told reporters. ‘This is about international terrorism and telephone calls between people thought to be working for international terrorism and people here in the United States.’"
-Washington Post, May 15, 2006

“Nope. Not monitoring at all, unless you consider recording exactly where every phone call that you have made or received in the last five years went ‘monitoring’. Then I guess we’d have to call that statement by Negroponte ‘lying’.”

“The FBI acknowledged late Monday that it is increasingly seeking reporters’ phone records in leak investigations.

‘It used to be very hard and complicated to do this, but it no longer is in the Bush administration,’ said a senior federal official.
The acknowledgement followed our blotter item that ABC News reporters had been warned by a federal source that the government knew who we were calling.
The official said our blotter item was wrong to suggest that ABC News phone calls were being ‘tracked.’
‘Think of it more as backtracking,’ said a senior federal official.
But FBI officials did not deny that phone records of ABC News, the New York Times and the Washington Post had been sought as part of a investigation of leaks at the CIA.
In a statement, the FBI press office said its leak investigations begin with the examination of government phone records.
‘The FBI will take logical investigative steps to determine if a criminal act was committed by a government employee by the unauthorized release of classified information,’ the statement said.
Officials say that means that phone records of reporters will be sought if government records are not sufficient.
Officials say the FBI makes extensive use of a new provision of the Patriot Act which allows agents to seek information with what are called National Security Letters (NSL).
The NSLs are a version of an administrative subpoena and are not signed by a judge. Under the law, a phone company receiving a NSL for phone records must provide them and may not divulge to the customer that the records have been given to the government.”
-ABC News, May 15, 2006

“And the best way to defend America is to monitor the calls made to the Press. That way we can root out all of the traitors in the Administration who have been leaking word of the illegal activities that the government has been engaging in.. You know, like the illegal secret prisons and illegal wiretapping and things like that. Telling the Press about the illegal things that the government does endangers our ability to fight the Terrorists. They are only throwing the Rule of Law out the window and creating a totalitarian government in order to protect us.”

”If this was a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, December 18, 2000

Monday, May 15, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Supporting the Troops - American Style

“Well, Iraq doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Our troops are wearing thin. Some of our National Guard divisions have been assigned multiple times (up to four) for combat duty in Iraq. It isn’t good, and it is apparently going to get tougher on the troops soon, as Fearless Leader has decided to escalate the War on Terror… um, I mean the War on Drugs… um, I guess I mean the War on Hispanics (since I sure as heck know I don’t mean the War on Poverty) to the next level and send the troops out to battle the most dangerous foe this nation has ever seen: The poor, the tired, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

“President Bush will call for thousands of National Guard troops to be deployed along the Mexico border in support of patrols aimed at keeping out illegal immigrants, White House officials said Sunday on the eve of an Oval Office address announcing the plan.
White House aides worked into the night Sunday to iron out details of the proposal and allay concerns among lawmakers that using troops to man the border would further burden an overextended military.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said he supported using the National Guard on the Mexican border. He said lawmakers who doubt that the National Guard, whose members have served for years in Iraq and went to the Gulf Coast after last summer’s hurricanes, could take on border patrol duty are ‘whining’ and ‘moaning.’”
-Associated Press, May 15, 2007

“Now you may say that it is short sighted to stretch the National Guard any further. You may think that adding another front to the War to Cause Fear is a bad move. You may remember this article from last week regarding military recruiting…”

“Jared Guinther is 18. Tall and lanky, he will graduate from high school in June. Girls think he's cute, until they try to talk to him and he stammers or just stands there -- silent. Diagnosed with autism at age 3, Jared is polite but won't talk to people unless they address him first. It's hard for him to make friends. He lives in his own private world.

Jared didn't know there was a war raging in Iraq until his parents told him last fall -- shortly after a military recruiter stopped him outside a Portland strip mall and complimented his black Converse All-Stars.
‘When Jared first started talking about joining the Army, I thought, `Well, that isn't going to happen,’’ said Paul Guinther, Jared's father. ‘I told my wife not to worry about it. They're not going to take anybody in the service who's autistic.’
But they did. Last month, Jared came home with papers showing that he had not only enlisted, but signed up for the Army's most dangerous job: cavalry scout. He is scheduled to leave for basic training Aug. 16.”
-Newhouse News Service, May 7, 2006

“But don’t worry… Like everything else that this Administration does, it can get worse.”

“U.S. military troops with severe psychological problems have been sent to Iraq or kept in combat, even when superiors have been aware of signs of mental illness, a newspaper reported in its Sunday editions.
The Hartford Courant, citing records obtained under the federal Freedom of Information Act and more than 100 interviews of families and military personnel, reported numerous cases in which the military failed to follow its own regulations in screening, treating and evacuating mentally unfit troops from Iraq.
Although Defense Department standards for enlistment disqualify recruits who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, the military also is redeploying service members to Iraq who fit that criteria, the newspaper said.
‘I can't imagine something more irresponsible than putting a soldier suffering from stress on (antidepressants), when you know these drugs can cause people to become suicidal and homicidal,’ said Vera Sharav, president of the Alliance for Human Research Protection, a New York-based advocacy group. ‘You're creating chemically activated time bombs.’
Commanders, not medical professionals, have final say over whether a troubled soldier is retained in a war zone. Col. Elspeth Ritchie, the Army's top mental health expert, and other military officials said they believe most commanders are alert to mental health problems and are open to referring troubled soldiers for treatment.
Ritchie acknowledged that some deployment practices, such as sending service members diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome back into combat, have been driven in part by a troop shortage.”
-Associated Press, May 13, 2006

“Eight months ago, Staff Sgt. Bryce Syverson, of Richmond, Va., was so unsteady that doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center wouldn't let him wear socks or a belt. Syverson, 27, had landed in the psychiatric unit after a breakdown that doctors traced to his 15-month tour in Iraq as a gunner on a Bradley fighting vehicle. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, and was put on suicide watch and antidepressants.

Today, Syverson is back in the combat zone, part of a quick-reaction force in Kuwait that could be deployed at any time.
But he hasn't quite managed to get his bearings.
Nearly died … out here on a nice and really mild night because of the medication that I am taking,’ he wrote in a recent e-mail to his parents and brothers. ‘Head about to explode from the blood swelling inside, the lightening storm that happened in my head, the blurred vision, confusion, dizziness and a whole lot more. Not the best feeling in the entire world to have after being here for two days.’
Dr. Arthur S. Blank Jr., a psychiatrist who helped to get post-traumatic stress disorder recognized as a diagnosis after the Vietnam War, said: ‘I'm concerned that people who are symptomatic are being sent back. That has not happened before in our country.’"
-LA Times, May 14, 2006

“Now ask yourselves this… Which one scares you more: The idea that these poor mentally ill soldiers are being sent back out into combat situations armed with guns and attitude, or that someday they are all going to be coming home to your community, and no one will have helped them?”

“The Pentagon has referred for further treatment only 22 percent of the soldiers it found in danger of developing post-traumatic stress disorder, a government report due out today says.
That means nearly eight out of 10 soldiers possibly at risk for the disorder were left to cope on their own.
The study by the Government Accountability Office said officials with the Department of Defense did not explain how they determined whether at-risk soldiers received further evaluation for combat stress or other mental health problems.
‘As a result, DOD cannot provide reasonable assurance’ that all of the Iraq and Afghanistan soldiers who needed more treatment got it, the GAO said in a draft of its report obtained by The Kansas City Star.
A Pentagon spokesman said he had not yet seen the report and could not comment. Veterans groups reacted swiftly.
‘We want to know how the secretary of defense has allowed this to happen,’ said Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of the nonpartisan Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, who also led an infantry platoon in Iraq. ‘Untreated PTSD and bad followup by DOD can have this country repeating many of the same mistakes the government made during the Vietnam War. PTSD can lead to homelessness, suicide and crime.’”
-Kansas City Star, May 11, 2006

“Now remember that about half of the soldiers in Iraq are National Guard. Sure, let’s give them their guns again and tell them to patrol a desert looking for ‘brown’ people. That won’t cause anything bad to happen.”

Friday, May 12, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: We Welcome Our NSA Overlords

“There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”
-1984, George Orwell

“The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.”
-USA Today, May 11, 2006

“Um… Whoa! That can’t be right. They wouldn’t be keeping tabs on TENS OF MILLIONS of Americans. They only want to go after terrorists. The rest of us don’t have to be worried. Set ‘em straight Dubya.”

“Neither Bush nor his subordinates denied any factual statement in the USA Today report, which said AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp. have provided customer calling records to the NSA since shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Together those companies serve about 224 million conventional and cellular telephone customers -- about four-fifths of the wired market and more than half of the wireless market. According to data provided by the research group TeleGeography, the three companies connected nearly 500 billion telephone calls in 2005 and nearly 2 trillion calls since late 2001.
Though he did not acknowledge particulars, the president complained that any leak about ‘sensitive intelligence’ methods ‘hurts our ability to defeat this enemy.’ Senate Select Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), who said he has been briefed on ‘all aspects of the NSA's activities,’ likewise said he is ‘increasingly frustrated with the release of sensitive data regarding our nation's best defenses’ against terrorist attack.
Government access to call records is related to the previously disclosed eavesdropping program, sources said, because it helps the NSA choose its targets for listening. The mathematical techniques known as ‘link analysis’ and ‘pattern analysis,’ they said, give grounds for suspicion that can result in further investigation.
‘Let's say lots comes in and we don't see anything interesting,’ said a source who helped develop the technology. ‘Tomorrow we find out someone is communicating with a known terrorist. When you go back and look at the past data, there may be information that you missed. A pattern that was meaningless suddenly makes sense."
-Washington Post, May 12, 2006

“But Dubya… You can’t be spying on America like that. I remember what you said before.”

“Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, April 20, 2004

“The Patriot Act helps us defeat our enemies while safeguarding civil liberties for all Americans. The judicial branch has a strong oversight role in the application of the Patriot Act. Law enforcement officers need a federal judge's permission to wiretap a foreign terrorist's phone, or to track his calls, or to search his property. Officers must meet strict standards to use any of the tools we're talking about. And they are fully consistent with the Constitution of the United States.”
-George ‘Dubya’ Bush, July 20, 2005

“But it sure doesn’t seem like there is a lot of oversight going on…”

“…Is it legal?

Then why did the Justice Department suddenly drop its investigation of the warrantless spying on citizens? Because the NSA said Justice Department lawyers didn't have the necessary security clearance to do the investigation.
Read that sentence again.
A secret government agency has told our Justice Department that it's not allowed to investigate it. And the Justice Department just says okay and drops the whole thing.
We're in some serious trouble here boys and girls.
Here's the question.
‘Does it concern you that your phone company may be voluntarily providing your phone records to the government without your knowledge or permission?’
If it doesn't it sure as hell ought to.”
-Jack Cafferty, CNN, May 11, 2006

“Wow. Imagine, a database of who everyone, like reporters and Democrats and people like that, has been talking to… No, they’d never abuse that. The White House has so far shown such restraint.”

“Counterterrorism agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have conducted numerous surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations that involved, at least indirectly, groups active in causes as diverse as the environment, animal cruelty and poverty relief, newly disclosed agency records show.”
-New York Times, December 20, 2005

“They’d never use this data against their political enemies. Never. Hmm… Who is the criminal mastermind behind this massive data-sifting program?”

“Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, nominated Monday by President Bush to become the director of the CIA, headed the NSA from March 1999 to April 2005. In that post, Hayden would have overseen the agency's domestic call-tracking program. Hayden declined to comment about the program.”
-USA Today, May 11, 2006

“Not to worry though… This huge database is only to be used to target the actual illegal wiretapping that the NSA is doing.”

“Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the former N.S.A. director who is now the second-ranking intelligence official in the country, was asked at a White House briefing this week whether there had been any ‘purely domestic’ intercepts under the program.
‘The authorization given to N.S.A. by the president requires that one end of these communications has to be outside the United States,’ General Hayden answered. ‘I can assure you, by the physics of the intercept, by how we actually conduct our activities, that one end of these communications are always outside the United States.’
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales also emphasized that the order only applied to international communications. ‘People are running around saying that the United States is somehow spying on American citizens calling their neighbors,’ he said. ‘Very, very important to understand that one party to the communication has to be outside the United States.’"
-New York Times, December 21, 2005

“Now someone is going to need to explain to me why they needed a database of every American phone call if the are only illegally spying on calls with one party outside of the United States. Don’t worry though. They are only spying on you for your own good.”

“Q If you're fiercely protecting Americans' rights to privacy, why would you need a database of tens of millions of American phone call records?
MS. PERINO: Well, not confirming or denying or acknowledging the substance of the story this morning in USA Today, what the President said today, all intelligence activities of the United States are limited and targeted and focused solely on al Qaeda and al Qaeda's affiliates. They are the enemy.
The government has no interest in knowing what innocent Americans are talking about on their domestic phone calls. So if you are calling to make reservations at a restaurant, and if you are calling your daughter at college, or if you are calling to plan your wedding, the government has no interest in knowing about those calls. The government is interested in finding out if al Qaeda is planning an attack in America -- you can bet that we want to make sure that we get ahead of that to prevent that and to save lives.”
-White House Press Gaggle with Dana Perino, May 11, 2006

“So just quit your doubting and support the Dictator.. um.. I mean the Decider.. um.. I guess I mean the President. Fearless Leader knows what’s best.”

“The White House continued to stand by its nominee for CIA director, Gen. Michael Hayden, amid new controversy over the surveillance programs he piloted as head of the National Security Agency.”
-Associated Press, May 12, 2006

“O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”
-1984, George Orwell

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: All About the Benjamins

“The House on Wednesday passed a bill sought by President Bush to deliver tax cuts to investors and to keep 15 million taxpayers from being hit by the alternative minimum tax.
The House passed the $70 billion tax-cut measure by a 244-185 vote. The Senate is expected to approve the bill Thursday.
The bill devotes $21 billion to a two-year extension of the reduced 15 percent tax rate for capital gains and dividends, currently set to expire at the end of 2008.
It would also extend, for this year, recent changes to the alternative minimum tax, originally aimed at making sure the wealthy pay at least some taxes to prevent it from hitting more upper middle-income families.
And it would keep 15 million families from being hit this year with the alternative minimum tax, which was designed to make sure the wealthy paid taxes but is ensnaring more upper middle-income families because it was not indexed for inflation. The cost of this one-year AMT ‘patch’ is $34 billion.”
-CBS News, May 10, 2006

“Hey, we can afford that $70 billion dollar tax cut right now. The economy is thriving, so obviously tax revenues are way up and we can afford to give out some cash to Americans to help them through the increased price of gasoline and things like that. I mean, a $70,000,000,000 tax cut sure seems like it will help more than that stupid $100 that Bill Frist was looking to hand out to everyone last week.”

“For those with income of $50,000 or less, the average saving is no more than $46. those with income of up to $100,000 average no more than about $400 saved; those with income of $100,000 to $1 million save anywhere from $1,300 to $5,500. Taxpayers with more than $1 million in income will average nearly $42,000 a year in savings, reports CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson.”
-CBS News, May 10, 2006

“Oh… Well I guess that it isn’t such a good deal for the disadvantaged. Less than $50. Still, the wealthy are the gears of the Great Machine of State (the poor are merely the grease), so helping them helps us all. I mean, it isn’t like we can’t afford it.”

“A $2.7 trillion budget plan pending before the House would raise the federal debt ceiling to nearly $10 trillion, less than two months after Congress last raised the federal government's borrowing limit.
The provision -- buried on page 121 of the 151-page budget blueprint -- serves as a backdrop to congressional action this week. House leaders hope to try once again to pass a budget plan for fiscal 2007, a month after a revolt by House Republican moderates and Appropriations Committee members forced leaders to pull the plan.”
-Washington Post, May 9, 2006

“Um… So we can’t afford it? The deficit has increased about $4,000,000,000,000 since Dubya came into power? Well, we’ll just have to make some cuts. Hmmm… That Iraq thing we’re doing isn’t all that popular. Why throw money at a show that isn’t getting good reviews? Let’s cut the funding for training Iraqi forces! What do you have to say about that Rummy?”

“In addition, cuts and delays in providing funds for the Iraqi security forces will delay what has been truly significant progress in turning over greater responsibility and territory to Iraq’s army and police. A slowdown in training and equipping the Iraqi security forces will have unacceptable harmful effects of postponing the day when our men and women in uniform can return home with the honor and appreciation they deserve.”
-Donald Rumsfeld, May 9, 2006

“Dang straight Rummy! Get r’ done! Sorry I doubted you. Don’t let these people take the money that you need to finish the job. Why, if our troops are being killed in Iraq, it’s probably because they aren’t being funded adequately!”

“The U.S. military has spent just 40 percent of the $7 billion appropriated in 2005 for the training of Iraqi and Afghanistan security forces, a top Pentagon priority that is lynchpin for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.”
-Associated Press, April 14, 2006

“Rummy, you’re a shmuck.”

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: CIA Catastrophe in Action

“Well, war is Hell, and it can be tough. Without a draft our troop levels are getting low. They’ve given extra incentives. They’ve lowered their standards, but I think that this shows how well that is going…”

“Jared Guinther is 18. Tall and lanky, he will graduate from high school in June. Girls think he's cute, until they try to talk to him and he stammers or just stands there -- silent.

Diagnosed with autism at age 3, Jared is polite but won't talk to people unless they address him first. It's hard for him to make friends. He lives in his own private world.
Jared didn't know there was a war raging in Iraq until his parents told him last fall -- shortly after a military recruiter stopped him outside a Portland strip mall and complimented his black Converse All-Stars.
‘When Jared first started talking about joining the Army, I thought, `Well, that isn't going to happen,’’ said Paul Guinther, Jared's father. ‘I told my wife not to worry about it. They're not going to take anybody in the service who's autistic.’
But they did. Last month, Jared came home with papers showing that he had not only enlisted, but signed up for the Army's most dangerous job: cavalry scout. He is scheduled to leave for basic training Aug. 16.”
-Newhouse News Service, May 7, 2006

“Enlisting the autistic. Makes me proud. And how did we screw up the intelligence on this war so badly? A lot of it seems to have been bad advice from the CIA. What do you do in a situation like that? Well, Tenent got a medal for his involvement, but, with a scandal involving hookers and bribes on the horizon, last week Porter Goss of the CIA stepped down. This week it is the third in command of the CIA, an old friend of Goss’ since high school. No, nothing to see here. Why do you ask?”

“The FBI is investigating whether a top-ranking CIA official who announced his resignation yesterday steered contracts to a boyhood friend at the center of a congressional bribery scandal, law enforcement officials said.
The investigation of CIA Executive Director Kyle ‘Dusty’ Foggo follows an ongoing investigation by the agency's inspector general, which is examining whether Foggo was involved in CIA contracts awarded to a firm owned by San Diego defense contractor Brent R. Wilkes.
In a brief e-mail to CIA employees yesterday, Foggo said he is stepping down as executive director. The e-mail did not say whether Foggo will leave the CIA, but people within the agency familiar with his plans said he is expected to retire.
The e-mail made no mention of the inspector general's inquiry or Foggo's relationship with Wilkes, officials said. Foggo could not be reached to comment.
Foggo was appointed executive director shortly after Porter J. Goss, who resigned Friday, became director in fall 2004. Foggo and Wilkes have been friends since they went to high school together.
Foggo's name surfaced in the Cunningham case again last week after reports that FBI agents had questioned a Washington limousine company's president about allegations that Wilkes provided prostitutes to Cunningham and perhaps other lawmakers. The CIA issued a statement last week in which Foggo acknowledged attending poker parties with Wilkes but denied any improprieties.
-Washington Post, May 9, 2006

“Hmm.. So that is number one and three at the CIA. How about the one in the middle, Deputy Director Albert M. Calland?”

“Under the plan, Vice Adm. Albert M. Calland III would be replaced as deputy director by retired CIA official Stephen R. Kappes, who quit in November 2004 in a dispute with then-Director Porter J. Goss.

The move was seen as a direct repudiation of Goss's leadership and as an olive branch to CIA veterans disaffected by his 18-month tenure, during which many other senior officials followed Kappes out the door.”
-Washington Post, May 9, 2006

“That’s great. We’re losing all three of the top people at the CIA. Stephen Kappes, by the way, is an ex-marine. He certainly seems sounds capable at doing the job asked. There is just one little problem…”

“(c) MILITARY STATUS OF DIRECTOR AND DEPUTY DIRECTORS. -(1)(A) Not more than one of the individuals serving in the positions specified in subparagraph (B) may be a commissioned officer of the Armed Forces, whether in active or retired status.
(B) The positions referred to in subparagraph (A) are the following:
(i) The Director of Central Intelligence.
(ii) The Deputy Director of Central Intelligence.
(iii) The Deputy Director of Central Intelligence for Community Management.”
-National Security Act of 1947

“So, unless Stephen Kappes is somehow neither active nor retired in the marines, it seems like putting General Hayden in charge of the CIA would be in violation of the National Security Act of 1947. Not really going that far out on a limb for a guy who doesn’t seem to like the Constitution that much anyway, but still… Hey, let’s ask Big Don what he thinks about it!”

“Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday he supports the nomination of a military general as the head of the CIA, and said the Pentagon is not trying to take more control of intelligence matters.
Hayden, who now is deputy director of national intelligence, formerly headed the National Security Agency and is a 37-year Air Force veteran.
Some members of Congress, voicing concern about having a military person in charge of the civilian CIA, have suggested that Hayden resign his commission.
Rumsfeld offered strong praise for Hayden.
‘He's an intelligence professional, is what he is,’ he said. ‘He did not come up through the operational chain in the Department of Defense and then at the last minute slide over into the intelligence business. He's a person who has had assignment after assignment after assignment in the intelligence business. And, clearly, that is what his career has been. And he's been very good at it. ‘"
-Associated Press, May 9, 2006

“For those of you playing the home game, let me explain… Donald Rumsfeld is the Secretary of Defense. He heads the Pentagon and reports directly to Dubya. By definition the entire military is under Rumsfeld. The CIA is a separate beast, reporting through John ‘Deathsquad’ Negroponte to the President. By placing an active commissioned military man as head of the CIA, Dubya is basically giving control of the CIA to Donald Rumsfeld, as Rumsfeld outranks any military officer (and thus the reason that all of the active generals support the big dufus, while all of the retired generals seem to be running away as fast as possible).
Well we’ve seen the Big Don at work, so I’m sure that he will only use his new power for good… Hey, if you can’t trust a cranky old homicidal maniac, who can you trust?”
Thanks go to Americablog and Vidiot Speak for some of this morning’s Quotes.”

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Quotes of the Morning: Gone Fishing

“A few days ago a German newspaper asked Dubya what his best moment was since taking office. It was a difficult question, but not a new one. When asked the same question Carter said the Camp David Accord and Clinton said dealing with the Kosovo crisis. Dubya took a slightly different view of things.”

“President Bush told a German newspaper his best moment in more than five years in office was catching a big perch in his own lake.
‘You know, I've experienced many great moments and it's hard to name the best,’ Bush told weekly Bild am Sonntag when asked about his high point since becoming president in January 2001.
‘I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound perch in my lake,’ he told the newspaper in an interview published on Sunday.”
-Reuters, May 8, 2006

“Rallying the nation after 9/11? Overthrowing the oppressive Taliban regime? Dealing with Saddam? Reading ‘My Pet Goat’? No, Dubya’s happiest moment happened while ignoring his job. Being President is hard work.
It turns out that the perch was a simple mistranslation. Apparently perch and bass are spelled the same in German. Good thing too… A 7.5 pound perch would have beaten the world record by about three pounds. Plus, we all know that Bush is a bass-man.”

“President Bush skipped a scheduled morning of fishing Saturday to deal with the Iraq crisis, but his catch the day before was something to brag about.
‘He took the biggest one of the day,’ a bass nearly four pounds, said Roland Martin, host of the Outdoor Life Network program, ‘Fishing with Roland Martin.’
The president and Martin released several big fish they caught Friday but kept the smaller ones for eating.
At about 5:30 p.m., Bush looked at his watch and said he had time to ‘make a couple casts, so we jumped into the boat real quick.’
Iraq didn't come up. ‘He didn't really talk about politics at all,’ Martin said. "He was just relieved to have a minute to fish.’
The TV host said Bush is ‘a very accomplished fisherman. He handled the tackle really well and caught three fish,’ Martin said. ‘He complains he doesn't fish there enough; so he misses that a lot.’
They floated on the pond for about 1½ hours. White House aides told Martin that ‘things were kind of calmed down’ in Iraq and that prospects were good for another session Saturday.
Martin believed that events in Iraq had forced Bush to cancel the Saturday shoot. ‘He alluded to it. He said, 'I've been busy, all these crises,'’ Martin recalled. Militants on Saturday threatened to kill and mutilate Thomas Hamill, an American civilian captured in an ambush of a convoy west of Baghdad.”
-Associated Press, April 10, 2004

“Yep. The President’s best times are those quiet hours that he can go fishing and not think about things like this that are happening at the time…”

“Medical officials in Fallujah said the number of Iraqis killed there since Tuesday had reached 450, with 1,000 wounded, news services reported.
Two American soldiers were killed in action in Iraq Friday. A roadside bomb and small arms fire killed a soldier with the 1st Cavalry Division at Camp Cooke, an Army base north of Baghdad, at 8:30 a.m.”
-Washington Post, April 10, 2004

“Take care of the Iraq issue? Sorry… Dubya’s gone fishing.”

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