Monday, October 30, 2006

And People Ask Why I'm Disgusted

St. Louis Is Most Dangerous City in U.S.
A surge in violence made St. Louis the most dangerous city in the country, leading a trend of violent crimes rising much faster in the Midwest than in the rest of nation, according to an annual list.

The city has long fared poorly in the rankings of the safest and most dangerous American cities compiled by Morgan Quitno Press. Violent crime surged nearly 20 percent in St. Louis from 2004 to last year, when the rate of such crimes rose most dramatically in the Midwest, according to FBI figures released in June.
The ranking, being released Monday, came as the city was still celebrating Friday's World Series victory at the new Busch Stadium. St. Louis has been spending millions of dollars on urban renewal* even as the crime rate climbs.

Mayor Francis Slay did not return calls to his office seeking comment Sunday.

Scott Morgan, president of Morgan Quitno Press, a private research and publishing company specializing in state and city reference books, said he was not surprised to see St. Louis top the list, since it has been among the 10 most dangerous cities for years.

*Disgusted that "millions of dollars" were spent on the new Busch Stadium, despite a public vote against the use of tax money, and prior to that "millions of dollars" of tax money on the Trans World Dome, now the Edward Jones Dome, for the Rams. Disgusted this gets called "urban renewal".

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The NSA uses "the Google"

Another day and another visit from my friends at the NSA. This time it's from their National Computer Security Center to check my enemy combatant status determined by President Bush for opposition to his policies and the War in Iraq.

This visit seems to have been prompted by this Google search:

This returns links to my blog archive, Disgusted in St. Louis: July 2006, and a post Pentagon Investigating My Ties to Terrorism.

The interesting thing here is they did the search on the IP Address 141.116.10.# from the Army Information Services Command-Pentagon, which is the visitor I wrote about in the post returned by the Google search.

Well, whatever their reasons for coming by I'm positive it is tax dollars being well spent on protecting our country from serious terrorist threats and I'm sure President Bush thanks them for their service.

Let's see, the National Computer Security Center is:
a U.S. government organization within the National Security Agency (NSA) that evaluates computing equipment for high security applications to ensure that facilities processing classified or other sensitive material are using trusted computer systems and components. NCSC was founded in 1981 as the Department of Defense Computer Security Center and changed to its current name in 1985. The organization works with industry, education, and government agency partners to promote research and standardization efforts for secure information system development. The NCSC also functions in an educational capacity to disseminate information about issues surrounding secure computing, most significantly through its annual National Information Systems Security Conference.

Perhaps they need a consultant and computer engineer with a background in secure data transactions from the business world to explain the benefits of anonymous IPs, proxy servers, and other means to conceal your IP Address and location. However, I wouldn't be interested in the job because I don't believe the government (or businesses) should be spying on US citizens. Also, I know the NSA is very familiar with the latest technologies and the reasons they leave these footprints probably lie in the area of intimidation or insiders disgusted with the Cheney Misadministration's shredding of our Constitution. Personally, I hope it is insiders joining me in disgust. Welcome guys!

Oh, yes! Before I forget, here are the screen captures of the latest visit recorded by Site Meter:

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Cheney: I'm the the brainless Vice President "for torture"

The Washington Bureau of McClatchy Newspapers has posted the story, Cheney confirms that detainees were subjected to water-boarding:
Vice President Dick Cheney has confirmed that U.S. interrogators subjected captured senior al-Qaida suspects to a controversial interrogation technique called "water-boarding," which creates a sensation of drowning.

Cheney indicated that the Bush administration doesn't regard water-boarding as torture and allows the CIA to use it. "It's a no-brainer for me," Cheney said at one point in an interview.

Cheney's comments, in a White House interview on Tuesday with a conservative radio talk show host, appeared to reflect the Bush administration's view that the president has the constitutional power to do whatever he deems necessary to fight terrorism.

The story links to the White House's own transcript of Interview of the Vice President by Scott Hennen, WDAY at Radio Day at the White House:
Q Would you agree a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: It's a no-brainer for me, but for a while there, I was criticized as being the Vice President "for torture." We don't torture. That's not what we're involved in. We live up to our obligations in international treaties that we're party to and so forth. But the fact is, you can have a fairly robust interrogation program without torture, and we need to be able to do that.

And thanks to the leadership of the President now, and the action of the Congress, we have that authority, and we are able to continue to program.

Pagegate Cartoon

Walt Handelsman, the Pulitzer-Prize winning editorial cartoonist at Newsday has this great animated cartoon, Congressional Page Scandal:

Bush "Surprise" Press Conference This Morning Just Another Rerun

Here are a few notable reviews of what has become both mentally and physically painful for the majority of Americans -- watching Bush attempt to speak and act coherently. (Transcript with high probability of scrubbing available here).

An Insufficient Explanation by Dan Froomkin at The Washington Post:
At a surprise press conference this morning, President Bush acknowledged the nation's grave concerns about the war in Iraq.

"I know many Americans are not satisfied with the situation in Iraq," Bush said, 13 days before a mid-term election that will in large part be a referendum on the war. "I'm not satisfied either."

"I think I owe an explanation to the American people," he said.

But Bush didn't have much new to say today, other than endorsing yesterday's already largely debunked announcement in Baghdad of a "new plan" that sounds very much like the old plan.

And after an hour of familiar sound bites, the public would be forgiven for feeling it still hasn't gotten that explanation he promised.

Digby has this to say about the Press Conference:
Did you know that the GWOT is harder and more challenging than any war in human history because the enemy are lethal cold-blooded killers? It is. Nobody has ever faced such a terrifying foe as George W. Bush and we should be grateful that he has courageously faced them down with nothing more than a prayer and a codpiece.

Glenn Greenwald delivers some deeper analysis with The President's vow today to stay in Iraq:
The President's Press Conference, devoted almost exclusively to Iraq, just concluded, and the internal contradictions and incoherent claims are literally too numerous to chronicle. But there really are only a few points worth making:

First, the President repeatedly defined "losing" as "leaving before the job is done" -- "the job" being the creation of a stable, unified Iraqi government that can defend itself. And we're not leaving before the job is done, which means that we are staying forever -- or at least as far as the eye can see into the future (or until the President leaves office).
In sum, it is clear from what the President said that we are staying in Iraq for the equivalent of forever, which means the next several years at least. And it is almost certain -- at least based on what he said -- that we will send more troops there and become more mired in the conflict, not less so (he said, for instance, that we will send more troops to Iraq if the Generals want them, and there can't be much question that once the election is done, we will learn that "the commanders on the ground" -- who know they aren't leaving any time soon -- will suddenly want more troops).

The Democrats should happily take this Press Conference and use it to drum home the point that the President's will -- if it remains unlimited by a rubber-stamping Republican Congress -- is that we are going to stay in Iraq forever and almost certainly become further mired in the disaster. That is exactly what Americans don't want to hear about Iraq, but it was the unmistakably clear message delivered by the President. We are staying forever because defeat means "leaving before the job is done."

It looks like the Democrats are starting to listen Greenwald:

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Worst Person in the World: Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh has launched the right wingnuts' attack on Michael J. Fox for his ads supporting stem cell research and Claire McCaskill claiming, "Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting" (audio and transcript at Media Matters):
LIMBAUGH: Now, this is Michael J. Fox. He's got Parkinson's disease. And in this commercial, he is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He is moving all around and shaking. And it's purely an act.

Last night, Keith Olbermann awarded Rush Limbaugh yesterday's 'Worst Person in the World':
But the winner, comedian Rush Limbaugh today criticizing the ad that actor Michael J. Fox did for a Democratic Senate candidate in which Fox, who has Parkinson‘s disease, calls again for stem cell research. Limbaugh says Fox was exploiting the shakes and convulsions of the disease possibly by not taking his palliative drugs. Says Limpbaugh (SIC), “I asserted when I saw the ad—stated when I was the ad—I was commenting to you about it that he was either off the medication or he was acting.”

Rush, given your history, maybe next time you just want to skip the phrase “off the medication!” Rush Limpbaugh (SIC), today‘s “Worst Person in the World.”

MyDD: Google Bomb The Elections!

Supporting Chris Bowers' effort, Google Bomb The Elections: Let's Do This:
In a separate diary, I have added the plain text format of the Google Bomb. All you need to do on your blog is to copy and past what you see there. You don't have to do it everyday. You don't even have to do it more than once (but feel free). All you need to do is copy and paste the code from the diary on your blog. When you discuss any of these races in the future, please, use the same embedded hyperlink when reprinting the Republican's name. Then, I suppose, we will see what happens. I'll try and take care of the ads today and tomorrow.

I added the text to the bottom of my blog's right side bar.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Arrogance and Stupidity: Well, Duh!

State Dept. official cites `arrogance´ and `stupidity´ in US effort:
A senior US diplomat said the United States had shown "arrogance" and "stupidity" in Iraq but was now ready to talk with any group except Al Qaeda in Iraq to facilitate national reconciliation.

In an interview with Al-Jazeera television aired late yesterday, Alberto Fernandez, director of public diplomacy in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department offered an unusually candid assessment of America's war in Iraq.

"We tried to do our best, but I think there is much room for criticism because, undoubtedly, there was arrogance and there was stupidity from the United States in Iraq," he said.

Well, DUH!

Look who's in charge!

Don't forget the lies that accompany the arrogance and stupidity:

Arrogance, Stupidity, Lies.
It's not just Bush, but the GOP!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Listen to Michael J. Fox

And Listen to the Veterans

Sunday, October 15, 2006

UK Desperate for Helicopters in Afghanistan -- US Refuses to Help

The British are in dire need of helicopters for operations in Afhganistan according to a reports in the The Daily Telegraph, Scotland on Sunday (The Scotsman) and The Independent.

MoD forced to hire civilian helicopters in Afghanistan

Britain is so short of helicopters in Afghanistan that military chiefs are being forced to scour the world for civilian aircraft to support its troops after the US rejected a plea to help plug the shortfall.

'Disbelief' at Chinooks shortage

In what is believed to be an unprecedented military move in modern times, ministers are preparing to rent non-military helicopters from private companies and foreign countries to help transport troops into and around the dangerous Helmand province.

Britain forced to use private helicopters in Afghanistan

Military commanders in Afghanistan have for the last three months been privately demanding more helicopters to help defeat the Taliban and provide supplies to troops in remote villages.

This is having adverse consequences for the UK's efforts in the mountainous area of southern Afghanistan.

The Independent on Sunday can also reveal that reconnaissance and intelligence missions in Afghanistan are being affected by the lack of smaller and more flexible helicopters. But senior military officials said that when UK commanders asked for temporary deployment of US helicopters in Afghanistan, they were told there were none to spare.

Interestingly, there doesn't seem to be any problem with helicopters for Kuwait as the Kuwait News Agency in an article last week announced:
First deputy Prime Minister, Defense and Interior Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah announced on Saturday that Kuwait would receive new combat Apache helicopters by the end of the year.
He added that 16 combat Apache helicopters would be received by Kuwait at the end of this year, praising competence of these fighter helicopters in hitting their targets precisely in addition to adapting to the various weather conditions in Kuwait.

The requirements for helicopters extends further than just reconnaissance and intelligence missions:
The entire UK contribution to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan relies on eight ageing and over-worked Chinook troop-carriers - barely half the number commanders deem necessary for the task of moving their troops around.

A further 12 extra helicopters provide vital attack capability, but they are too small to manage the job of carrying large amounts of men and supplies around a hostile terrain.

Brigadier Ed Butler, outgoing commander of UK forces in the south of the country, said: "If we had more helicopters, we could generate a higher tempo, not just of offensive operations, but also to crack on with reconstruction and development."

The shortage is hurting the much needed reconstruction and development or Afghans will support the Taliban:
NATO fears Afghans may turn toward Taliban

NATO's top commander in Afghanistan warned yesterday that a majority of Afghans would probably switch their allegiance to resurgent Taliban militants if their lives show no visible improvements in the next six months.

General David Richards, a British officer who commands NATO's 32,000 troops in the country, said he would like to have about 2,500 additional troops to form a reserve battalion to help speed up reconstruction and development efforts

Sure sign of desperation:
The military was also “doing everything we can” to bring into service eight special forces Chinook helicopters that have never been flown after they were certified unusable following mechanical changes made by engineers.

Meanwhile, during this past week US Chinook Helicopters Complete Aid Deliveries to Remote Pakistan:
They landed on the edge of high mountains in spots that were sometimes less than 16 meters wide. But the pilots and crews of the United States Army Chinook helicopters were determined to airlift vital supplies to as many parts of Pakistan as they could before the severe Himalayan winter cuts off the remotest regions of the country.

The weeklong operation that ferried building materials to the Allai, Kaghan and Neelum valleys was completed October 12. Construction of strong shelters to withstand coming storms now can continue thanks to the cement, iron sheeting and steel bars brought by the Chinooks, dubbed “Angels of Mercy” because of the swift and effective aid they facilitated after the devastating October 8, 2005, earthquake in South Asia.

Blair seems to have mismanaged and abused the British military as badly as the Cheney Misadministration has the US military:
News of the MoD's emergency measures provoked fury among opposition politicians, who claimed the approach to the private sector was "the ultimate humiliation". Tory defence spokesman Gerald Howarth said: "What on earth have we come to when the government has so mismanaged our operations that they have to go out to the private sector to find helicopters to fly in-theatre operations?

"It beggars belief - but ministers cannot say they weren't warned. Ourselves and the military have consistently told them that they were likely to encounter such serious difficulties, but when they decided to do something about it, it was too late."

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I Voted Today!

I chose to avoid the entire GOP driven unconstitutional voter ID BS as well as the new Diebold touch screen voting machines in my district by voting absentee.

There is still time to request an absentee ballot for yourself or help someone you know request one, especially if they are elderly, have health problems, or have time constraint problems due to work/family/school.

You can get a form online from the Missouri Secretary of State's website to print out, fill in, and mail or drop off at their local election authority (a list of them is provided at the link above). They will send you the ballot with a pre-paid State of Missouri official business election return envelope.

NOTE (from the website):
Mail in or faxed absentee ballot requests must be received by the election authority no later than the 5:00 p.m. on the Wednesday prior to any election. Voters can vote by absentee in the office of the local election authority until 5:00 p.m. the night before the election.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Must see TV: The War of the Words

Visit the "The War of the Words" website and watch the documentary!

Another Episode in the Callousness of Caligula Bush

The Chimperor has outdone his previously callous "comma" statement, which he made during an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer on September 24:
WOLF BLITZER, HOST, CNN'S "LATE EDITION": Let's talk a little bit about Iraq.

BUSH: Sure.

BLITZER: Because this is a huge, huge issue, as you know, for the American public, a lot of concern that perhaps they are on the verge of a civil war, if not already a civil war.

BUSH: Yeah.

BLITZER: I'll read to you what Kofi Annan said on Monday. He said, "If current patterns of alienation and violence persist much further, there is a grave danger the Iraqi state will break down, possibly in the midst of a full-scale civil war." Is this what the American people bought in to?

BUSH: You know, it's interesting you quoted Kofi. I'd rather quote the people on the ground who are very close to the situation, and who live it day by day, our ambassador or General Casey. I ask this question all the time, tell me what it's like there, and this notion that we're in civil war is just not true, according to them. These are the people that live the issue.

BLITZER: We see these horrible bodies showing up ...

BUSH: Of course you do.

BLITZER: ...tortured, mutilation. The Shia and the Sunni, the Iranians apparently having a negative role. Of course, Al-Qaida in Iraq's still operating.

BUSH: Yes, you see -- you see it on TV, and that's the power of an enemy that is willing to kill innocent people. But there's also an unbelievable will and resiliency by the Iraqi people. Twelve million people voted last December.

Admittedly, it seems like a decade ago. I like to tell people when the final history is written on Iraq, it will look like just a comma because there is -- my point is, there's a strong will for democracy.

Yesterday, in response to a question during a press conference (via Think Progress), Bush expressed his "amazement" of Iraqi's because he believes they're willing to tolerate the level of violence in Iraq:
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN: Thank you, Mr. President. Back on Iraq, a group of American and Iraqi health officials today released a report saying that 655,000 Iraqis have died since the Iraq war. That figure is 20 times the figure that you cited in December at 30,000. Do you care to amend or update your figure and do you consider this a credible report?

PRESIDENT BUSH: No, I don’t consider it a credible report, neither does General Casey and neither do Iraqi officials. I do know that a lot of innocent people have died and it troubles me and grieves me. And I applaud the Iraqis for their courage in the face of violence. I am, you know, amazed that this is a society which so wants to be free that they’re willing to — you know, that there’s a level of violence that they tolerate.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Bush Condemns North Korea Nuclear Test

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Did the U.S. Provoke North Korean Nuclear Weapon Test?

North Korea Appears to Have Conducted a Nuclear Test
South Korean government officials said North Korea performed its first-ever nuclear weapons test Monday, the South's Yonhap news agency reported.

South Korean officials could not immediately confirm the report.

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun convened an urgent meeting of security advisers over the issue, Yonhap reported.

The North said last week it would conduct a nuclear test as part of its deterrent against a possible U.S. invasion.

Newsweek argues that the Cheney Misadministration is responsible for provoking the North Korean test:

North Korea: A Nuclear Threat

On Sept. 19, 2005, North Korea signed a widely heralded denuclearization agreement with the United States, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea. Pyongyang pledged to "abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs." In return, Washington agreed that the United States and North Korea would "respect each other's sovereignty, exist peacefully together and take steps to normalize their relations."

Four days later, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sweeping financial sanctions against North Korea designed to cut off the country's access to the international banking system, branding it a "criminal state" guilty of counterfeiting, money laundering and trafficking in weapons of mass destruction.

The Bush administration says that this sequence of events was a coincidence. Whatever the truth, I found on a recent trip to Pyongyang that North Korean leaders view the financial sanctions as the cutting edge of a calculated effort by dominant elements in the administration to undercut the Sept. 19 accord, squeeze the Kim Jong Il regime and eventually force its collapse.
During six hours of intensive give-and-take with Kim Gye Gwan, both in his office and in two one-on-one dinners with only an interpreter present, he said over and over to me, "How can you expect us to return to negotiations when it's clear your administration is paralyzed by divisions between those who hate us and those who want to negotiate seriously? At the very time when we were engaged in such a long dialogue last year, your side was planning for sanctions. Cheney did this to prevent further dialogue that would lead to peaceful coexistence. So many of your leaders, even the president, have talked about regime change. We have concluded that your administration is dysfunctional."

Time Magazine: The End of the GOP

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Write your own caption

"Congressman Mark Foley (R-FL) explains the meaning of 'dissemble' to President George Bush and Director of FEMA Michael Brown during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina"