10 April 2007

A brilliant article... "Iraq: Why the media failed"

It's no secret that the period of time between 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq represents one of the greatest collapses in the history of the American media. Every branch of the media failed, from daily newspapers, magazines and Web sites to television networks, cable channels and radio. I'm not going to go into chapter and verse about the media's specific failures, its credulousness about aluminum tubes and mushroom clouds and failure to make clear that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11 -- they're too well known to repeat. In any case, the real failing was not in any one area; it was across the board. Bush administration lies and distortions went unchallenged, or were actively promoted. Fundamental and problematic assumptions about terrorism and the "war on terror" were rarely debated or even discussed. Vital historical context was almost never provided. And it wasn't just a failure of analysis. With some honorable exceptions, good old-fashioned reporting was also absent.

Full and excellent article here: http://www.salon.com/opinion/kamiya/2007/04/10/media_failure

Enjoy. and spread the word. 8-)

05 February 2007

Flaws found in firefighters' last line of defense

U.S. waited 5 years to heed expert's warning on ‘man down’ alarms

Worn by a million firefighters in the U.S., the PASS device is a motion sensor that makes an awful racket if a firefighter stops moving for 30 seconds while battling a blaze. It flashes its lights and lets loose a series of ear-splitting beeps — an urgent call to help a fallen comrade.

It’s a call that hasn't always been heard. Tests by federal and independent labs show that some PASS alarms can fail to perform as intended if they get too hot or wet — a serious problem for people who rush into burning buildings with water hoses. And federal investigative reports reviewed by MSNBC.com show that 15 firefighters have died since 1998 in fires where a PASS, or Personal Alert Safety System, either didn't sound or was so quiet that rescuers weren't given a chance to find the firefighter quickly.

Documents made public under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that nine of those deaths came after the federal government blocked an investigation by its own expert into possible failures of PASS alarms and other firefighting equipment. A manager for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal agency that is charged by Congress with investigating firefighter deaths, ordered an agency fire safety engineer on Feb. 14, 2000, to "minimize your fact gathering during investigations" and to restrict his investigations to issues relevant "for the prevention of future similar events."
For Rob Morrison's widow, who comes from a firefighting family in St. Louis, the lack of accountability is baffling.

"I just couldn't figure that out," Laura Morrison said, "when firemen are giving their lives everyday to help the community and save people — and companies knew about this and never told anybody what the problem was, and let them, still today, go into a burning building not knowing if their PASS device is going to work or not."

This is just crazy and unacceptable! Call or email your Senator or Representative now, and urge an investigation on this issue!

21 January 2007

Democrats: Buying Mideast oil gives cash to dictators

• Governor: Without energy independence, U.S. will fight wars in Mideast
• Montana's Gov. Schweitzer against embedding troops in Iraqi army
• Schweitzer: Energy independence would mean hundreds of thousands of jobs
• With it, "You'll never have to send children .. to war in the Middle East again"

HELENA, Montana (AP) -- Montana's Democratic governor says President Bush is wrong on Iraq and has failed to recognize the importance of energy independence.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who learned Arabic while building irrigation projects in the Middle East for six years, said political solutions are needed in the region.

"Mr. President, there are animosities between Sunni and Shiite people in the Middle East that have developed over centuries," Schweitzer said Saturday in the Democrats' weekly radio address. "Outsiders cannot resolve this conflict unless the Iraqi people want security and freedom at least as much as us."

A great position... More of the Democratic leadership should use this messaging.

15 January 2007

Bush's legacy: The president who cried wolf

Bush's strategy fails because it depends on his credibility

By Keith Olbermann
Anchor, 'Countdown'

Only this president, only in this time, only with this dangerous, even messianic certitude, could answer a country demanding an exit strategy from Iraq, by offering an entrance strategy for Iran.

Only this president could look out over a vista of 3,008 dead and 22,834 wounded in Iraq, and finally say, “Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me” — only to follow that by proposing to repeat the identical mistake ... in Iran.

Only this president could extol the “thoughtful recommendations of the Iraq Study Group,” and then take its most far-sighted recommendation — “engage Syria and Iran” — and transform it into “threaten Syria and Iran” — when al-Qaida would like nothing better than for us to threaten Syria, and when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would like nothing better than to be threatened by us.

This is diplomacy by skimming; it is internationalism by drawing pictures of Superman in the margins of the text books; it is a presidency of Cliff Notes.

And to Iran and Syria — and, yes, also to the insurgents in Iraq — we must look like a country run by the equivalent of the drunken pest who gets battered to the floor of the saloon by one punch, then staggers to his feet, and shouts at the other guy’s friends, “Ok, which one of you is next?”

Mr. Bush, the question is no longer “what are you thinking?,” but rather “are you thinking at all?”

Great commentary by Olbermann. Read it all here.

04 January 2007

Bush says feds can open mail without warrant

WASHINGTON — President Bush quietly has claimed sweeping new powers to open Americans' mail without a judge's warrant.

Bush asserted the new authority Dec. 20 after signing legislation that overhauls some postal regulations. He then issued a "signing statement" that declared his right to open mail under emergency conditions, contrary to existing law and contradicting the bill he had just signed, according to experts who have reviewed it.

Does this guy ever learn? He's still stepping all over the constitution... hopefully this new congress will slap him around some and restore the balance of power.

02 January 2007


Orders to Cater to Creationists Makes National Park Agnostic on Geology

Washington, DC — Grand Canyon National Park is not permitted to give an official estimate of the geologic age of its principal feature, due to pressure from Bush administration appointees. Despite promising a prompt review of its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood rather than by geologic forces, more than three years later no review has ever been done and the book remains on sale at the park, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Full Article here.
Um, what? This is absolutely ludicrous! How can the government do this?

30 October 2006

GAO chief warns economic disaster looms

Basically, that makes Walker the nation's accountant-in-chief. And the accountant-in-chief's professional opinion is that the American public needs to tell Washington it's time to steer the nation off the path to financial ruin.

What they don't talk about is a dirty little secret everyone in Washington knows, or at least should. The vast majority of economists and budget analysts agree: The ship of state is on a disastrous course, and will founder on the reefs of economic disaster if nothing is done to correct it.

There's a good reason politicians don't like to talk about the nation's long-term fiscal prospects. The subject is short on political theatrics and long on complicated economics, scary graphs and very big numbers. It reveals serious problems and offers no easy solutions. Anybody who wanted to deal with it seriously would have to talk about raising taxes and cutting benefits, nasty nostrums that might doom any candidate who prescribed them.


29 October 2006


Fact: - The Army Field Manual printed by the US DoD does not list waterboarding as an approved technique for interrogation, and is therefore not permitted for detainees under DoD control.

Fact: - In 2005, the US Department of State recognized waterboarding as a form of torture in its examination of Tunisua's human rights record.

Fact: - in 1947, a Japanese officer, Yukio Asano was tried and convicted of war crimes when he waterboarded a civilian American victim.

Fact: - In their January 21, 1968 issue, the Washington post published a photograph of American GIs waterboarding an enemy suspect in Da Nang. The soldier depicted in the photograph was court martialed and drummed out of the army.

Tell me, why is it suddenly okay now, when it was never okay before? What happened to our soul? Our moral superiority? I believe we are doomed as a people as long as we blithely traipse through life, ignorant of the horrors our government exercises in our names.

Shame on you if you don't vote on Tuesday.

Thanks Fraize!!!