Thursday, August 30, 2007
It's chief goals are:
1. Promote and enhances the system that protects the national security information that safeguards the American Government and its people.
2. Provide for an informed America public by ensuring that the minimum information necessary to the interest of national security is classified and that information is declassified as soon as it no longer requires protection.
3. Promotes and enhances concepts that facilitate the sharing of information in the fulfillment of mission-critical functions related to national security.
4. Provides expert advice and guidance pertinent to the principles of information security.
In June of 2007, Dick decided that he didn't have to hand over documents to the ISOO any longer. The head of the ISOO, Bill Leonard, told Rep. Henry Waxman that Cheney had asserted that his office was not part of the executive branch (!!!???) and was not required to follow certain rules, set forth in presidential orders, regarding the disclosure of classified documents or submit to routine required inspections. In a letter to Cheney, Rep. Waxman asserted that Leonard had inquired after the documents twice, after which Cheney attempted to get rid of the ISOO altogether.
Former Cheney aide Ron Christie said that the legal rationale employed by the Office of the Vice President is that it is not "an entity within the Executive Branch, " due to the fact that the Vice President also serves as the President of the Senate. At the same time, Cheney has used his "executive privilege" to deny congressional information requests. In late June–July of 2007, a number of mainstream media outlets such as TIME Magazine and CBS News began focusing on whether Cheney had created a "fourth branch of government" that was subject to no laws.
Well, isn't that great? Dick seems to think that laws don't apply to him. I wonder why that it is? And why is it that when it comes to the office of the VP turning over documents relating to the NSA wiretapping program that we see stuff like this?
The Vice President isn't in the Executive Branch.....please......what's next? Maybe he'll shoot someone and get away with it...
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Well, I think this quote sums it up. When asked in an interview in the April 5, 1989 issue of the Washington Post about his FIVE deferments he received in the 1960s during the Vietnam Era, he replied,
"I had other priorities in the '60s than military service."
Hmm. So basically Dick talks a good game about the necessity of military action but doesn't really want to place himself in harm's way. My buddy Matt, just back from Iraq this month, has a word for that. It's a word that folks in the military use quite a bit.
Click here for a further explanation.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
This week, I thought I would spotlight our Vice President. Each day I am going to put up a short post and/or video which will illustrate the glory, the power and the passion of Dick.It is my hope that kicking off the week with this video from 1994 will really get the ball rolling in the right direction.
I want to go on record and say that I am in complete agreement with everything Dick says in this clip. Not a hoax. Not a joke. Bobby Ewing will not be coming out of the shower and it’s all a dream.
This video is real and I stand with my Vice President shoulder to shoulder.
Friday, August 24, 2007
National Intelligence Estimate Report of August 23, 2007
And, purely for its comic value, here is the Daily Standard's (i.e. the Bushie's view) of the same report and situation in Iraq.
Daily Standard Joke of the Week
What color is the sky in their world? More importantly, how many more of our armed forces have to die because an ever shrinking group of single minded incompetents can't admit when they are wrong?
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Hmm....this all sounds familiar somehow.
Oh, and it's all the fault of the stinkin' liberals who wanted light rail.
Hmm....this all sounds familiar somehow.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
What's that I smell, though, on the grill? Could it be hamburgers? No. Could it be hot dogs? No. Is it corn on the cob? No, it is not. It is the sweet smell of vindication in the glorious form of our recent National Intelligence Assessment. The assessment, culled from the various intelligence agencies in our government (CIA, Homeland, DOD, FBI etc) basically states what I have been saying for the past five years: The Bush Administration's policies have failed to stop Al Qaeda. In particular, the administration's policy in Pakistan, a country long written about on this blog, has been so poor that Al Qaeda leadership has basically re-established itself with bases and operations, located in the largely autonomous and Federally Administrated Tribal Area (FATA) of Pakistan, fully capable of carrying out attacks on American soil. The report goes on to say that the United States is actually losing ground to extremism. In fact, "Al Qaeda has used the Iraq conflict to energize the broader Sunni extremist Community, raise resources, and to recruit and indoctrinate operatives, including for Homeland attacks."
Well, well well. That certainly puts a damper on things, doesn't it? People in President Bush's very own Executive Branch saying he has done a poor job? Ineffective? Al Qaeda is back? Wonderful...
And there are still some of you that think that our president is doing his best to protect us? That the war in Iraq is actually helping us? Good God....what in the hell is the matter with you people? Seriously, I want to have some of what you are smoking so I can be so mind numbingly retarded that life is that simple blur of an outmoded and narrow minded belief system. Remember all that talk a while back from President....."If you are a country that harbors terrorists, then you will be considered terrorists?"
Hmm..let's see here...Pakistan harbors terrorists...Saudi Arabia (15 9-11 hijackers from there) harbors terrorists....UAE (2 hijackers from there) harbors terrorists and oh, is also the new home of Haliburton...Egypt produced Mohammed Atta...Lebanon (1 hijacker from there) harbors terrorists. All are allies...all had Al Qaeda in their respective countries on 9-11-2001 and what did we do? We:
a. Did a half ass job in Afghanistan so we could
b. Do a worse ass job in Iraq, a country that had less Al Qaeda in it than Florida did in 2001.
But the best part, dear readers is this.
Fox News Story
Lovely! Let's give arms to all of these countries and give Pakistan 2 billion dollars a year (!) to "handle" the problem. More mind boggling than this is the 200 million dollars or so we have given tribal leaders in Waziristan in the hopes of winning them over. Hee hee. Sorry, I just have to stop here for a minute and laugh for a second. Bwah Ha Ha Ha !!! HEE HEE!! HOO HOOO! HO HO HO! Our government is giving money to people that are harboring the man behind the 9-11 attacks in the hopes that we win their hearts and minds? How mind-numbingly naive can our leaders be?
Apparently, their buffoonery knows no bounds because guess what else happened? The Defense Department has "lost" 194,000 AK-47 assault rifles in Iraq which now, according to Defense Secretary Robert Gates are in the hands of the people trying to KILL US!!! And they are trying to tell us that things are getting better over there.....good Lord.
Folks, help me out here, please. Is it possible to fire President Bush and Vice President Cheney for dereliction of duty? They have completely and utterly failed to protect us. They have made a bad situation worse and sadly, the only thing that is going to convince the 30 odd percent of you out there of this is another attack on our soil courtesy of the single minded baboons we have leading us.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Kauzlarich is the commander of a U.S. Army battalion called the 2-16 -- the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. He was the Army officer who directed the first official cover-up of the circumstances that led to the death of Pat Tillman.
Kauzlarich was the commanding officer who chose to split Tillman's unit in two, resulting in the fratricide. He was later the officer assigned to investigate Tillman's death. Later, when asked about Tillman's death in an interview, Kauzlarich said the reason Tillman's family was having a hard time dealing his death was that they were not Christians, and later referred to Tillman as "worm dirt."
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., suggested in an oversight hearing to military officials on April 25, 2007, that Colonel Kauzlarich's remarks should be punished as conduct unbecoming of an officer. The military has yet to take disciplinary action against Kauzlarich.
Finkel, David (2007-02-25). Washington Post-“Eleven days till Baghdad”
Fish, Mike. An Un-American Tragedy. ESPN.com. Retrieved on 2007-02-25.
The same reader also sent me a link to a very detailed report on Pat Tillman's death. Here it is.
Monday, August 13, 2007
He recently put up a post titled "It's Good To Know Our Hollywood's Back." He had just gone to see The Bourne Ultimatum and was outraged at the political bent of some of the films that were previewed befoe the film. Essentially, to him, Hollywood is filled with "America Haters" bent on destroying our country through their traitorous stories. Any film that depicts America in a negative light is another example of "civil suicide." In his piece, Kevin lamented the good ol' days of the films Sands of Iwo Jima and Strategic Air Command when men were men, loved their country, and never, ever questioned authority.
Aside from the usual frustrations I have with this line of thought, something in his words resonated with me. I wrote some of my usual responses to the "America Hater" rhetoric, trying vainly to grasp whatever it was that was nagging at me...gnawing at me like a festering wound. And then two words floated into my mind...
Pat Tillman was Sgt. John M. Stryker and Lt. Col. Robert 'Dutch' Holland all rolled into one. He walked away from millions of dollars in the NFL to join the armed forces and defend his country after the 9-11 attacks. Thing is though...ahem....small problem....Pat was a "liberal" who didn't go to church, read Noam Chomsky, and had hippie degenerates for parents. His entire life was spent on a journey or a quest, if you will, to become a man of knowledge (see Carlos Castenada). He would not be confined to the stifling, narrow mindedness of bigoted religions and political intolerance. He was a free thinker.
But he still went to fight because he believed, as did I and most Americans, in the war in Afghanistan. He believed our country was wrongfully attacked and that Al Qaeda was very dangerous to our safety as a nation. As time went on in Afghanistan, he began to notice that things weren't quite right. Why can't we finish the job here, he wondered? Why is our attention on Iraq? Why is Pakistan, our supposed ally, allowing bin Laden and Co. to flourish there?
Pat began to voice his concerns to his fellow troops. Even his commanding officer. He was quoted several times as saying that Iraq was a "fucking illegal war" and a distraction from the fight against the people who actually attacked us. He was, in the mind of some conservatives, an America Hater. As a result, on April 22, 2004, he was fragged.
In case you don't remember, I wrote about Pat last April on this blog. I speculated on the unanswered questions surrounding his death on the fateful day in April of 2004. First they said it was enemy fire, then friendly fire and now? Here is what has come out in the last two weeks.
1. On July 27 of this year, documents were released from the Army that plainly state that the doctors that performed the autopsy suspected that Tillman was deliberately murdered. These doctors told the investigators that Pat's wounds suggested murder and urged them to launch a criminal investigation. Supposedly, the Pentagon did launch an investigation but "quickly" found nothing.
2. It has been revealed that there were never-before-mentioned US snipers in the second group that encountered Pat's squad.
3. There has never been evidence of enemy fire found on the scene, and no members of Tillman's group had been hit by enemy fire.
4. The three-star general responsible for withholding details of Tillman's death from his parents for a number of months, told investigators "he had a bad memory, and couldn't recall details of his actions" on more than 70 occasions.
5. Army attorneys congratulated each other in emails for impeding criminal investigation as they concluded Tillman's death was the result of friendly fire, and that only administrative, or non-criminal, punishment was indicated.
Bottom line, on April 22, 2004 he was deliberately murdered by his fellow troops for being a "traitor." The commanders in charge of these men knew it was coming and let it happen. Or they simply turned a blind eye to what they knew happened because they didn't care. To put it simply, these men are actively engaged in furthering a warped sense of patriotism wrapped in a sea of lies. Pat was killed because, like any hero, he questioned the world in which he lived.
Our current leaders aren't interested in people like Pat Tillman defending our country anymore. They don't want heroes. They are interested in brainless golems or snivelling sycophants who say "Yes" no matter how damaging the results could be to our country. As I told Kevin in the comments section of that post, Sgt Stryker and Dutch Holland have gone the way of the dodo, to be sure, but it wasn't Hollywood that killed them. It was us.
We have allowed the people that are currently running our executive branch to tell the story, to frame the picture, and guide our feelings. It's easier that way. We have too much going on in our lives, right? Jobs, the cabin, and laying on our ass all day accomplishing nothing takes up a lot of time. Isn't it easier not to think, just download, and do as we're told.?
Sorry, Pat, but America isn't about heroes anymore.
Friday, August 10, 2007
The two of them are sitting on a golf cart talking about the differences between US Health Care and Canadian Health Care. The conversation went something like this.
Moore: So, how do you feel about your tax dollars going to help other people--with their health care?
Larry: Well, everyone needs help from time to time. That's kinda what our country is all about.
Moore: Wow. You sould pretty liberal there. I don't know how your attitude would fly in the US.
Larry: Well, actually, I'm conservative--and, y'know, people get sick. Who's going to help them? I don't mind. That's what being conservative is all about, right?
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Here is a scene from the film Sicko that we have been talking about all week. Pay attention to the couple that have just had the baby and how they chuckle about America.
I think the most telling part of this film is how people from other countries and Americans living in other countries bascially feel sorry for us that we have to pay so much for health care.
We see Americans living in Paris lamenting their insured relatives who get mammoth bills from their HMOs. We see citizens shaking their head in fear at our health care system--strangely in the same way we do when the subject of socializd medecine comes up.
It's a hard thing to swallow: We're aren't number one anymore.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
So, all of the nail biting fright being lobbed from the right about "forced" health care in these countries is just simply not true. I wonder why Moore left this out of the film as it would've helped his case immensely.
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Let the grand health care debate begin. Take it away, Crab.
Guest columnist this week is Senor Scratch who is still last in line. Thank you to Markadelphia for turning the reigns over for the time being. Moore makes entertaining pieces of work and I like his style of film making. There are very few documentary filmmakers nowadays who can open a film in a wide theatrical release and Moore is top dog at this point in time. The strength of Sicko is that he's arguing for most American citizens as opposed to his earlier movies when he was really arguing against any 1 narrow constituent of people.
Contrary to what many conservatives will say, this is not a left-wing propaganda piece. Everyone - liberal, conservative, and everything else - will come away outraged at the way insurance companies treat the people they claim to work for. Perhaps the coldest of capitalists will be able to rationalize insurance companies' practices as "good business sense," but one would have to be a seriously evil bastard to ignore how little sense those practices make from a medical perspective IMO.
Michael Moore takes aim at the US health care system, how damaged it is, some of the reasons why that came to be, as well as showcasing the successes of the universal systems in four other countries (Canada, England, France, and Cuba). If it works so well in Canada, England, France and Cuba, why can't it here? Well, the first answer would have to be that the insurance companies wouldn't allow it. The second would be that the lobbyists have all members of Congress in their pocket. Third may be lawyers. Mix and match to your heart's content. In my opinion, facts are indeed presented but it's not the whole truth. Did Moore even touch on the subject of the millions of dollars that illegal aliens cost our system? No, he just blames everything on drug companies and insurance companies. Illegals cost the system billions in unreimbursed care. That's not racism. It's common knowledge for those of us who work in the health care industry.
Moore reports that his research shows that Canadian, British and French citizens live longer, healthier lives than Americans but he doesn't say it is because a lot of people here are overweight, don't exercise, and have 15 things going on every night when they get off of work so the only time they find for dinner is driving their crumb crunchers through the drive-thru at McD's. Then you have the people who aren't happy with their lives for any number of reasons and many of those people look for the solution at the bottom of a bottle of booze or some pill. The only pill I ever take is a couple of Aleve if I am sore after a softball/volleyball tournament. Moore takes all the worst-case scenarios he can find in the United States and then compares them to all the best-case scenarios in all these other countries.
Imagine if you did a documentary on poverty and you found all the poorest people in America and then compared their situation to the most well-off people in, say, Afghanistan. I guarantee you the poor people would all universally say they'd rather live in Afghanistan.When Moore takes a look at the health care systems he loves in France and England, he interviews white, middle-to-upper class people (a common affliction of many Americans who travel to Europe - they tend to associate with people exactly like themselves). You wouldn't know that France has a very high unemployment rate or that there are thousands of Muslims burning buses in the outskirts of Paris or that, 2 years ago, the UK government "discovered" that about 1 million UK men had simply disappeared from the Island over a period of 10 or 20 years. That is 50,000 per year or 1,000 men per week moving to another country. When, just a couple years ago, a third of French voters demonstrated their willingness to vote for 80 year old Jean-Marie Le Pen's National Front - a party that makes the Ku Klux Klan seem like Human Rights Watch - all predictions of Europe going gently into that good night don't hold much weight with me. Europe has its own system of haves and have-nots and anyone who is saying otherwise is lying to you.
He shows protests in France where people are demanding free housing from the government. That type of garbage is where I draw the line...buy your own house/apartment because a government that is powerful enough to give you all that free stuff is also powerful enough to take it all away.Nope, only the upper-middle class in England and France get interviewed in this film. When he's in America, its working-class people, inner-city blacks, and one skid row patient who are interviewed. So America is seen right up from skid row, whereas when you go to England, you're now dealing with people who live in $200,000 homes. Yes, Moore found six people in the US who got denied health care. What about the six million who did get their care? I've never had a problem with an insurance company and no one in my immediate family has either. That being said, I know that if you deal with insurance companies often enough you will get burned eventually.All the Canadians, French and Cubans interviewed have nothing but praise for their national health care. There are no dissenting viewpoints, no investigations into the economics that make these systems possible. Moore interviewed the daughter of Che Guevara.she wonders why an impoverished island nation is able to provide free health care for its citizens while the United States cannot. Completely left out of this film was any mention of Cuba's massive Soviet subsidies in the 1970s and '80s of $4 billion to $6 billion annually, which kept the nation afloat and made this system possible.
Also not mentioned is Cuba's subsequent decline once these subsidies ended with the collapse of the USSR.
Go here - http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSN1936307620070719?feedType=RSS&rpc=22&sp=true
See where it says "But the hospital where SiCKO's patients were treated is an exception in Cuba, where patients of many other hospitals complain they have to take their own sheets and food" in the middle of the article? Again, you aren't and never will get the whole story from Moore.The rose-tinted stories about all the benefits French citizens get like 1 year off for maternity leave and 35 hour work weeks.those type of things are only affordable in a wealthy, capitalist system. Hell many of those countries don't even have to worry about their military.let someone else worry about Iran or North Korea I guess.He goes to Cuba and gets inhalers that cost $120 here for 5 pesos. I'm all for cheap stuff but that fact remains that there is very little oversight or regulation in pharmacies in the third world regarding the medication they sell. Hell I could have walked into that exact same pharmacy and walked right out the door with hundreds of bottles of steroids that would kill me off in no time.
The state of Wisconsin has been trying to get a universal health care bill passed recently. I hope John Waxey will stop by to tell us what he hears about that issue in his home state. From what I have read thus far the plan would cost an estimated $15.2 billion, or $3 billion more than the state currently collects in all income, sales and corporate income taxes!! Looks to me like one big problem is that we are paying a whole lot for health care. Wisconsin would do well to look at Oregon, a state that has malpractice caps as well as a three strike law on doctors who are sued for malpractice. Under the Oregon Plan there are no malpractice lawsuits until a proposed case is reviewed by an Administrative Panel of Health care professionals as well as legal professionals to determine if this is a whiplash Harry kind of case. Under the Oregon plan (written by Democrats), it is illegal for a lawyer to take a percentage of the winnings, thereby taking away the carrot for abuse. Does anybody on here think it is a coincidence that they have the lowest health care premiums in the nation? More lawsuits drive up malpractice insurance, which drives up health care costs, which in turn drives up your premiums for insurance.
With tort reform there would be fewer claims since the frivolous claims would be disposed with, the lottery mentality broken, and just like in Oregon, the costs for premiums would drop. Thought should also be given to capping medical malpractice at $250k. It does not cap actual medical claims, just the difficult to define "pain & suffering". Victims of malpractice would have all of their medical needs taken care of, yet they would not be bankrupting the system while doing it.
I favor a limited universal health care plan for this country that I have posted on this blog before. The bottom line is that, right now, Medicare is the best system we have going right now in this country. IMO there needs to be more of a balance between medicare, private insurance, and co-pay. Congress passed a law some time ago (not sure when) that stipulates that Medicare cannot negotiate prices with insurance companies. I would reverse that so Medicare is allowed to negotiate for prices like everybody else.Therefore I favor a medicare-style plan that everybody is on...sort of a National HMO if you will. 2 ways to go about this, and I'm not sure which way is the best...one way is to have basic hospitalizations covered 100%. Really expensive things like transplants and prescription drugs would not be covered under this. Everybody would have the option to purchase supplemental private insurance from insurance companies to cover such things based on their own or their families needs.
The other way is to have all catastrophic things covered and have the option to buy private insurance for basic hospitalization or whatever else you want you and your family to be covered for. US companies would drop medical insurance as a benefit and they would get to keep that money for their own bottom line. Increase payroll taxes to pay for the plan.Regarding co-pay, it is at about 20% now...increase it to 30% over a period of time...say 10 years or so...don't implement that change right away all at once. You have the option to buy private insurance from private insurance companies to help you out with co-pays.In terms of implementing any new plan, the free market will determine the next great health care plan. When it will be successful will be when there is a market demand for it, sooner rather than later I bet.
Maybe it will be something along the lines of what I typed. Maybe it will be some socialists wet dream, I don't know for sure. Whatever it is will come about because somebody has found a way to work with the free market and will allow people in the free market to sell services for a profit and the market has found that it is cheap, efficient, and is preferable to the current system. People have to want it, not be guilt tripped into accepting it. In other words, it can't be forced. The main problem I still have is that US politicians and US government bureaucrats will be running the plan and the service we will receive and the implementation of the plan will be absolutely horrible and corruption will be rampant. I mean, look at the areas that the government controls now - the post office, Department of Motor Vehicles, VA hospitals, Public Education.areas like those are horribly mismanaged with bureaucracies, corruption, overhead and waste as far as the eye can see, not to mention a poorly motivated workforce who all know it is impossible for them to get fired.
In conclusion, I have learned to take all of Moore's facts with a grain of salt. Sure, there is a ton of truth to what he says, but there is also a lot of editorial discretion in how the facts are presented, ensuring that they back his vision. There always needs to be a "this is the truth, just not the whole truth" clause attached to his work. Fortunately, I do not expect, nor require, all sides of the issue to be contained in Moores work. My main focus is the entertainment factor, the thought-provoking factor - does it succeed? The answer is yes in my opinion. I just have a gut feeling that Moores cure may be worse than the disease.
Thursday, August 02, 2007