November 2005 Archives
Two recent stories in the Washington Post reveal again the arrogant face of the Bush administration.
From the article Vice President's Office Keeps Travel Expenses Under Wraps:
Open-government advocates say that Vice President Cheney is to executive branch secrecy what darkness is to the night.
In 2001, Cheney famously refused to disclose the names of oil company executives and others who attended meetings of a White House energy task force that he headed, which helped draft a national energy policy.
More recently, a government watchdog group has called attention to less noticed records that Cheney has sought to keep private: travel costs.
Cheney's office says nothing is amiss. In three letters since 2002 to the Office of Government Ethics, which collects the travel reports, David S. Addington, then Cheney's general counsel, noted that the reporting requirement applies to the "head of each agency of the executive branch."
"The Office of the Vice President is not an 'agency of the executive branch,' and hence the reporting requirement does not apply," wrote Addington, who this month replaced I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby as Cheney's chief of staff.
Since 2003, President Bush's office has reported hundreds of thousands of dollars in such travel, the center noted. And all but one office within the Executive Office of the President -- the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board -- has done so.
From the article General: Americans Must Stop Iraqi Abusers:
WASHINGTON -- The nation's top military man, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, said American troops in Iraq have a duty to intercede and stop abuse of prisoners by Iraqi security personnel.
When Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld contradicted Pace, the general stood firm.
Rumsfeld told the general he believed Pace meant to say the U.S. soldiers had to report the abuse, not stop it.
Pace stuck to his original statement.
"If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to try to stop it," Pace told his civilian boss.
The unusual exchange occurred during a discussion at a news conference about the relationship between U.S. forces in Iraq and an Iraqi government considered sovereign by the United States.
A questioner asked whether the United States and its allies might be deemed responsible for preventing mistreatment of people under arrest in Iraq, given that the U.S. and its allies train Iraqi forces.
"There are a lot of people involved in this, dozens of countries trying to help train these Iraqi forces. Any instance of inhumane behavior is obviously worrisome and harmful to them when that occurs," Rumsfeld said. "Iraq knows, of certain knowledge, that they need the support of the international community. And a good way to lose it is to make a practice of something that is inconsistent with the values of the international community."
He added: "Now, you know, I can't go any further in talking about it. Obviously, the United States does not have a responsibility when a sovereign country engages in something that they disapprove of."
Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked what orders the troops have to handle such incidents. He responded: "It is absolutely the responsibility of every U.S. service member if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene, to stop it."
He said soldiers who hear of but don't see an incident should deal with it through superiors of the offending Iraqis.
That's when Rumsfeld stepped to the microphone and said, "I don't think you mean they have an obligation to physically stop it. It's to report it."
Pace then repeated to Rumsfeld that intervening when witnessing abuse is the order the troops must follow, not just reporting it.
Not that anyone should be shocked by this anymore ...
I took the quiz and frankly the results are right in some ways and very wrong in other, but it was fun anyway. How about you?
Excuse us, could you just put down that hammer for a minute and listen. You’re so busy getting things done you rarely take any time out just to relax. In fact, you’ve probably forgotten how to relax. That’s because you’re so anxious to prove that it’s possible to lead a good and moral life without religion that you have built a strict and forbidding creed all of your own.
You keep a compost heap, cycle to the bottle bank, invest in ethical schemes only and the list of countries you won’t buy from is longer than the washing line for your baby’s towelling nappies. You admire uncompromising self–sacrificers like Aung San Suu Kyi and Che Guevara, and would have liked the chance to be incarcerated for your principles like Diderot or Nelson Mandela.
You would never cheat on your partner, drink and drive, accept bribes or touch drugs. You never waste money though you give lots to charity. Living a good life? You’re a model to us all. But it wouldn’t hurt you to try a little happiness once in a while. Loosen up.
What kind of humanist are you? Click here to find out.
After thirty years as a reporter and columnist at the Los Angeles Times (link intentionally NOT provided), Robert Scheer will no longer appear on their op-ed pages. As Scheer explains in a post on the Huffington Post:
On Friday I was fired as a columnist by the publisher of the Los Angeles Times, where I have worked for thirty years. The publisher, Jeff Johnson, who has offered not a word of explanation to me, has privately told people that he hated every word that I wrote. I assume that mostly refers to my exposing the lies used by President Bush to justify the invasion of Iraq.
Fortunately sixty percent of Americans now get the point, but only after tens of thousand of Americans and Iraqis have been killed and maimed as the carnage spirals out of control. My only regret is that my pen was not sharper and my words tougher.
Starting Wednesday morning, my column will be appearing here on the Huffington Post.
This telling act follows a few months after the Times dismissed Michael Kinsley as editorial page editor. Kinsley as a commentator and an early innovator in the field of web magazine publishing at Slate as its founding editor, had a brought a sense of freshness and experimentation to the Times op-ed pages.
So, you can look for Scheer at HuffPo or listen to him on KCRW's Left, Right and Center, via KCRW's site if you are outside of its broadcast area. I also hear that Scheer will also resurface as founder of TruthDig. I'll keep you posted.
After all ... every word of the bible is true.
via Jesus' General
Bonus pontification from Pat Robertson:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Conservative Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson told citizens of a Pennsylvania town that they had rejected God by voting their school board out of office for supporting "intelligent design" and warned them Thursday not to be surprised if disaster struck.
"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city."
The problem is economic and having to do with economic and residential exclusionism, not with an "unassimilable" "immigrant" minority.
The erudite and sensible Juan Cole, is a scholar who has provided a running education for me on the realities in Iraq during the war. Here he gives an excellent, if somewhat lengthy, explanation on the background of the current rioting around Paris.
I've added a link to his Informed Comment site on my blogroll for your on-going edification.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Muhammad Ali, his hands shaking and eyes reflecting the White House chandeliers, accepted the nation's highest civilian award from President Bush on Wednesday.
Bush called him "the Greatest of All Time" and "a man of peace," and tied the Presidential Medal of Freedom around the former heavyweight champion's neck.