Friday, November 30, 2007

The FISA Bill in the Senate Continues to advance and has reached another critica juncture, Lets see is something can be done!

The FISA bill in the Senate continues to advance and has reached another critical juncture. The Judiciary and
Intelligence Committees have passed different versions of the bill. One includes dangerous amnesty provisions for telcos and one does not. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will now decide which version will advance to the floor, and he needs to hear that any form of amnesty is unacceptable.
You'll notice a new format in the action alert below because ActForChange is changing its name to CREDO Action. We changed our name on November 4, 2007 -- one year to the day before the presidential election of 2008.
For more on why we changed our name, visit our blog. To send an urgent message to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, please read the CREDO Action alert below.
Will EastonActivism Manager, CREDO Action

No amnesty for law-breaking telecom companies!

Tell Majority Leader Reid: No Amnesty for AT&T and Verizon
In past weeks, the U.S. Senate has crafted legislation to update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The Intelligence Committee passed a version that would grant retroactive amnesty to big telecom companies who colluded in Bush's illegal program to spy on Americans.
In response to citizen outcry, the Judiciary Committee passed a version that did not include the amnesty provisions. Now, Senate Majority Leader Reid will decide which version gets put up for a final vote by the whole Senate. He has the power as Majority Leader to stand up for civil liberties and protect the constitutional privacy rights of all Americans -- or he could cave in to the White House's demands to let its telco cronies off the hook. Tell Senator Reid to keep amnesty for telcos out of FISA
Why amnesty? Bush wants retroactive amnesty for the telecom companies to thwart civil liberties lawsuits that threaten to expose his own violations of the original FISA law. If these lawsuits aren't allowed to go forward, we may never know the extent of the Bush administration's illegal efforts to spy on American citizens without the required warrants.
Click here to tell Senator Reid to fix FISA without telco amnesty
Thank you for working to build a better world. Will Easton, Activism ManagerCREDO Action

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an average patriot said...

I am afraid nothing will keep this idiot from creating his damage and I have given up hope that Congress really wants to stop him but you and I can not stop trying

an average patriot said...

For the last week we have been preparing for an Estate Sale that will be tomorrow. I atleast wanted to do something concrete and I will later tommorow God willing! Not Bush's God, please!

an average patriot said...

Tomorrow I will do an exciting post or so I think, about a Democratic Presidency if the election isn't stolen away from us one way or the other as many of us expect.

an average patriot said...

I am keeping tabs on the hostage situation at Hillary's campaign Headquarters in Rochester New Hampshire. I just heard the guy had road flares attached to him and was talking about a Government conpsiracy, come on! Why doesn't he go after Bushco?

Larry said...

Deja Screwed Again: Bushies Overstating Iran's Weapons Capabilities and Locked in Dance Where it's 'Extremism Feeding Extremism'

Iran's extremists battling America's extremistsMcClatchy, November 30th, 2007
The Iranians may have some longer-range missiles. Or maybe their arsenal contains little more than faulty North Korean, Russian and Chinese knockoffs, some of which are descendants of Germany's World War II V-2.

President Bush repeatedly has pointed to an Iranian ballistic missile threat as the main reason for building a billion-dollar missile-defense system in Eastern Europe to protect Europe and the United States.

As international concern spreads over the American-Iranian game of brinkmanship, it remains difficult to say with any certainty what weapons Iran possesses or how well they'd perform. The only time such arms are seen in public is during Tehran's carefully orchestrated military reviews, where they sit on trucks.

"It's all based on conjecture and news stories and leaks from the intelligence community, and quite a bit of that might be right," said Philip Coyle, a former director of the Pentagon's weapons-testing office and now a consultant to the Center for Defense Information. "But I don't think that means what the administration says it means, namely that Iran is preparing to attack the United States or Europe."

Nevertheless, the president has warned that Iran could create better and longer-range missiles within the next decade that could reach most any Western target.

"Our intelligence community assesses that, with continued foreign assistance, Iran could develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States and all of Europe before 2015," Bush said last month.

A recent publication by the Congressional Research Service, which provides nonpartisan reports on political issues to members of Congress, however, suggests that Bush is overstating what U.S. officials know.

The CRS report, dated Nov. 8, said there's no international consensus on the range, number or effectiveness of Iran's ballistic missiles. It underscored the paucity of real, or at least unclassified, intelligence on Iran's missile program.

"Some observers argue that although the U.S. position may be based upon a realistic assessment, it is also a worst-case analysis of the potential threat from Iran. They argue that 'with rare exception, this level of threat has rarely turned out to be the historical reality,'" the report said.

Critics of the U.S. proposal to build a ballistic missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic describe the project as, in Coyle's words, "a system that doesn't work for a threat that doesn't exist." They say the shield would stop only an "unsophisticated threat," meaning one or two missiles that were launched without decoys.

"Do you think Iran would attack Europe or the United States with just one missile and sit back and see what happens?" Coyle said.

"The Iranians overstate their current capabilities, but we all know this is done for internal propaganda more than for telling the people outside," said Wael al Assad, the senior disarmament specialist at the Arab League in Cairo. "But, at the same time, this kind of language they are using is being used in turn by the American administration to overblow the necessity of a preemptive strike on the Iranians. It's extremism feeding extremism."

The Bush administration's fixation on Iran also worries Western officials eager to avoid the embarrassment of another Iraq-style preemptive strike based on incomplete or bogus intelligence, some of it from exile groups with obvious agendas.

Iran is four times larger than Iraq and has three times the population of its war-torn neighbor. It has close relations with armed groups sprinkled throughout the Middle East and enjoys the support of large Shiite communities in Sunni-ruled Gulf states such as Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Those countries in particular are worried about the fallout from a potential U.S. strike on Iran.

Both Western and Arab officials fear a U.S. strike on Iran — based on little hard intelligence and without broad international support — could plunge the region into chaos and send oil prices, already nearing $100 a barrel, through the roof. Any overt Israeli involvement in such an operation could unleash what one senior Egyptian official called "the Armageddon scenario, when Iran would arm Hamas to the sky and suicide bombings would become hourly events."

"Nobody is going to believe that hogwash about WMDs, not anymore, not after Iraq," the senior Egyptian diplomat continued, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss Iran publicly. "The U.S. would be alone on this one. Nobody can afford another such dangerous adventure."

Larry said...

Check this out Jim:

Back before our splendid little war in Iraq erupted, Bob Dole created a major event in the history of political debate by trying to take down Walter Mondale during a vice-presidential candidate discussion in 1976. Mondale attempted to pin the legacy of Watergate on Dole, so Dole shot back a nasty quip about the legacy of "Democratic wars". He could point to his own injury sustained during the second world war, one of those many wars undertaken by Democrats. The comment seemed low to some, but it stuck and was used again. At least it was historically accurate. Simply align the major wars with their presidents: the first world war (Wilson), the second world war (Roosevelt), Korea (Truman) and Vietnam (LBJ). Democrats all.

Until now of course. The Iraq war is America's first Republican war, wrapped in red state glow. And something about the way we do war has changed drastically. We can't assess the damage by simply focusing on military or strategic miscalculations in Iraq. We need to understand how conservatives have transformed the way that war relates to our country's domestic ideals as well as to the nation's image projected abroad. Now with a good four-year track record, the outlines of a Republican way of war can be delineated.

Normally, wars prompt an examination of the inherent marriage between rights and responsibilities - a central balancing act in democratic political theory. After all, when you ask a young person to sacrifice life, you usually realise that you owe that young person something in return. And from there, you realise the general principle of social obligation. That's why, as the political scientist Theda Skocpol has shown, America's rather weak welfare state grew out of the civil war, from the benefits and pensions given to veterans and bereft mothers of fallen soldiers. To recognise the human catastrophe of war forced politicians and citizens to recognise and generalise civic bonds.

The history of Democratic wars holds to this pattern. Woodrow Wilson merged progressive legislation with the war to "save democracy", creating, in the words of one historian, "high wages and improved working conditions" at home. The second world war saw the quintessential marriage of sacrifice and rights. Few will forget FDR's support for the GI bill and his famous call for a "second bill of rights" that would provide "a new basis of security and prosperity for all." Some probably remember Truman's fight for national health insurance (albeit a failure) and civil rights for African-Americans, alongside his commitment to contain communism in Korea. And who could forget LBJ's twinning up Vietnam with his Great Society programmes? No matter what one thinks of the justice of those wars - and there's plenty of room to disagree - they all sought balance between rights and responsibilities to fellow citizens.

But now this: The Iraq war is the first bereft of public obligation. As many have pointed out before in their critiques of how this war has been waged, it has not gone poorly just because of practical mismanagement but because of the ideological assumptions that led us into it in the first place. It would be a quick and easy war, we were told, because Americans would be greeted as liberators, flowers placed in our guns and all that. There's a domestic analogue to this rosy view of world affairs. For this war has been the first war to be twinned up with an ideology that denies our obligations toward one another, an ideology equally astounding in its naïvete.

Just step back and consider some of the major events that historians will discuss years from now. The war's major headline could easily read: "Bush trumpets the war while slashing taxes at home." The ideological message behind the Republican way of war is captured above all in rushing ahead to renew tax cuts. Message: sacrifice from the soldiers, yes, but no one else. Or think of the scandals at Walter Reed Army Medical Centre. They cannot be laid directly at Bush's doorstep, but the atmosphere that denigrates obligations to those who have sacrificed certainly can. After all, this is a war fought alongside an attack against social security - both as programme and ideal. Or consider the recent scandal over the private military contractor Blackwater, now found guilty of misconduct by the FBI. This is really a scandal about the conservative principle of privatisation and its resulting lack of accountability, that is, the logical consequence of an ideological principle put into practice. And, finally, as we hear the growing roll call of dying soldiers, we can't help recognise that this war has weighed most heavily on our poorest citizens.

All of these things add up to one overriding principle: we seem willing to ask for military sacrifice without balancing it with other forms of sacrifice. That's because public obligation isn't a part of the conservative worldview. And it's not just that President Bush was born rich and didn't serve in any war himself. It's that he doesn't believe government has any right to ask anything of citizens besides military service - period. That's his party's political thought in a nutshell. This was the president, after all, who encouraged Americans to go shopping after 9/11 in order to show resolve to the terrorists, as if private acts of self-indulgence nurture civic strength. When I tell my students today about "meatless" and "wheatless" days during previous wars or how my mom used to crush cans in her backyard during the second world war, they look at me nervously. When I ask them what they've done to help out in our present war, they scratch their heads.

Let's go one step further: The Iraq war's damage is intentionally hidden. The White House made it clear from the get-go that coffins were never to be photographed or filmed coming off the planes. And when Bush talked about the horrors of war during the presidential debates of 2004, he sounded annoyed and flustered, blurting out that he too saw the bad news on television. Bush's brusqueness is more than a character flaw. It possesses its own political and intellectual history. Conservative intellectuals (neo and otherwise) spent a long time arguing against the Vietnam legacy. They concluded that toughness of will - what we lost sometime during the tumultuous decade of the 1960s - is the necessary element for American military victory in the future. Full-throated resolve rather than recognition of war's sacrifice and costs will get us through. This, like privatisation and denial of public obligation, is a central tenet in the new Republican way of war.

Which gets to the image we project abroad during war, one that flows from the views of our political leaders. American propaganda was at its best when it was forthright about America's strength and weaknesses at the same time. Perhaps the most successful propaganda project was the CIA-funded Congress for Cultural Freedom, a group of intellectuals and artists who tried to trumpet the American way of life abroad during the cold war. The participants admitted that America's popular culture could be coarse and ugly, but they pointed to the country's rich tradition of literature and artistic expression as well as its democratic ideals of individual freedom. They recognised that injustices - especially those toward African-Americans - needed to be corrected if America was to trumpet the cause of democracy abroad. Their vision of national greatness was one of humility as much as pride.

Now, while words like "liberty" and "freedom" roll off Bush's lips with ease, they sound hollow. That's because they are wrapped in the ideological confusions of the right. If America is great and resolve and will are what can carry us through the war, our self-image sheds any sense of humility or openness. Why bother explaining what you stand for when what you stand for is so incredibly self-evident and obvious? This explains why Karen Hughes's attempts at public diplomacy have fallen flat on their face and why she recently resigned from the state department. When she went on her famous "listening tour" throughout the Middle East and talked up the "important role that faith plays in Americans' lives" and touted the virtues of her boss, there was little surprise her words bounced into an empty echo chamber. Assuredness about virtue is no recipe for public diplomacy.

In the end, we are witnessing the failure not just of the war's execution abroad but also of how the war has married itself to a conservative philosophy at home. War used to provoke a sense of tragedy and guilt on the part of leaders who were asking young people to sacrifice their lives, no matter how just the cause. That's no longer the case. The Republican way of war prevents us from trying to make war less brutal than it naturally is. It reminds me of Thomas Hobbes's famous analogy between life in the state of war and in the state of nature; both were "nasty and brutish" but also, necessarily, "short".

This war is nasty and brutish but, unfortunately, not short. It asks too much and gives back too little. It is a war made on the cheap without recognition of its damage. It balances itself on the backs of the poorest members of our community and doesn't pay them back. The Republican way of war makes the natural horror of war that much more horrible.

Larry said...

Here is one for you Jim:

In 2005 the United States consumed roughly 21 million barrels of oil daily compared to the global daily consumption of about 84 million barrels. Contrast these numbers with the 2002 daily statistics of 19 and 75 million barrels respectively. From 2002 to 2005 the United States oil production dropped from 8.1 to 5.1 million barrels per day, a production decrease of roughly 3 million barrels per day! Although we have approximately 20 billion barrels left under our feet this oil is of a lesser grade and much harder to pump thus driving the cost per barrel higher. Where does the rest of this oil come from and what will happen when that supply is no longer available.

Oil production peaked in the United States in 1970. This means from that point it cost more and more to pump oil with diminishing returns. The oil that is left in the ground is harder to reach and of a lesser grade. Additionally new reserves are not being found because they do not exist. This has forced the United States to import the majority of its oil.

In 2002 oil cost roughly twenty five dollars a barrel. Estimates show that the global production of oil peaked somewhere between 2005 and 2007. Current prices around one hundred dollars a barrel certainly bare this out. Not only has production peaked but global consumption is skyrocketing with the emergence of a strong middle class in India and China.

The invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction. Additionally, Iraq was not invaded to guarantee the American people an uninterrupted supply of high quality oil. The invasion and subsequent occupation were conducted to secure the last stock of cheap oil for corporate interests. Due to unending war and frugality on Saddam Hussein part Iraq’s oil production is not set to peak until 2020 this means they have very cheap oil. Saudi Arabia and Iran’s oil production have both peaked in 2007 and 1998 respectively. Iran is running out of cheap oil this is why they are a threat to stability in Iraq. They are loosing their one resource and are just as desperate as the United States to secure an uninterrupted cheap oil supply. The companies that control the cheap oil will control the world. The United States armed forces will be protecting corporate interests in Iraq until the last drop of cheap oil is removed from the ground. It does not matter which party controls the White House our troops are there to stay.

The United States lives on oil. Every product you consume every trip you take requires oil. Anything plastic takes oil to make, all food produced in this country requires tractors and transportation that run on gasoline or diesel, both oil derivative. As the cost per barrel continues to climb what will happen to the cost of oil dependent products? Sixty eight percent of the oil consumed in the United States is for transportation. $100 a barrel oil will translate into roughly four to five dollar a gallon gas. It is estimated that $200 a barrel oil will bring eight to ten dollar a gallon gas. That’s $160 to $200 to fill up the twenty gallon tank on your SUV!

These escalating prices will not come down. It is taking more and more money to pump the oil out of the ground and as long as there is a demand these costs will be pushed onto the end consumer. Very few people in the United States can afford a mortgage payment equivalent in gas every month. The urban sprawl that we have created is not conducive to walking; very few subdivisions even have sidewalks. What is going to happen when the majority of Americans can not afford to drive to work let alone the grocery store? Will they sit quietly while they try to decide between the children getting feed or driving to work? They won’t sit quietly and the government knows it.

Population Control

The War on Terror is a front for placing surveillance and police control mechanisms in America. Billions have been funneled into local police departments to beef up intelligence gathering and detainment facilities. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) maintains in-depth records on every American including purchases, travel and web activities. DHS monitors all communications through involvement with telecommunications companies and maintains a national privatized police force through contracts with mercenary groups like Blackwater USA. These private mercenaries can be called upon any time the local officials fail to carry out government orders.

DHS routinely conducts mass arrests in coordination with local police department. These are conducted under the name Operation Falcon and are dress rehearsal for future crackdowns on potential enemies of the state. The three Operation Falcon exercises conducted in April 2005, April 2006 and October 2006 netted 30,110 fugitives. Why does the DHS need to practice coordinated mass arrests and detentions. Who provides the detainees names? Is this the ultimate goal of the Terror Watch Lists which as of this writing contains 750,000 American names? If this is truly a foreign terrorist threat why so many American citizens.

It is interesting that the bulk of the money spent on deterring terrorists in the United States is directed towards surveillance and tracking of American citizens. If DHS was truly interested in foreign terrorists then they would secure the boarders and inspect the tons of cargo coming into our ports. A person with a vial of small pox could walk across our northern or southern boards at any time. A large nuclear device could easily be smuggled into an American city in a cargo shipping container from anywhere in the world. Why not invest these billions on a border fence or border surveillance system. Perhaps hire inspectors to investigate the millions of cargo containers coming into the country.

Clearly there is no foreign terrorist threat. The real threat comes from a displaced and unhappy population of American citizens, forced onto the streets by a lack of jobs, foreclosures and runaway gas prices. Up to this point in American history the government has never needed to track their own citizens. What has changed?

Controlled Economic Collapse

The United States is in a controlled economic collapse. For a global economy to work the playing field must be equal. Regions must compete with each other for the small amount of wealth shared by the corporate elite. Profits can only be maximized if this competition takes place. This cannot happen in a country with a strong wealthy middle class. The middle class in the United States is disappearing and the dollar is being devalued and eliminated so a more profitable North American Union can be established on the ruins of this once great empire. The wealth has been reallocated from this county to other nations and global corporations through trade deficits and government contracts. The American way of life must be destroyed for Globalization to work and for the United States to transition to a post oil economy.

Nice paying jobs in the technology and manufacturing fields are outsourced to countries with slave labor. This has destroyed the middle class in America. The service industry is replacing the higher end jobs at a salary of roughly one quarter. This was temporarily offset by the artificially inflated housing market; a well laid trap many Americans are now caught in. Hundreds of thousands of jobs were created in the real estate, construction and banking markets. These jobs helped slow the economic decline while control mechanism were established.

It also stuck home owners with mortgages considerably larger than the value of their home essentially tying them to their property. If they loose their jobs in this environment it is game over for the family; they will be on the street or squatting in their repossessed home.

You will be cold and trapped in your five thousand square foot McMansion trying to convert your decorative natural gas fireplace into something that will burn your $4000 oak dining room table for heat. The children are hungry; apparently that card board soaked in the last of the Wesson oil was not very filling. And you are dreading tomorrows ten mile hike through the snow to stand in the ration line at the local Salvation Army shelter.

Rather than helping the citizens of the country with direct support the congress will pass a Debt Relief Act. This bill will “protect” your family and home by allowing you to work off your debt as a laborer bound to the lending institution. Rather than starve, most will accept this “compassionate” option. Corporate profits skyrocket and the people become a commodity as the Globalists had envisioned. The Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005, for all practical purposes, has already established this. You can only declare bankruptcy if you are below the median income level. If everyone is jobless and broke then no one qualifies for bankruptcy and you are forced to repay under a court order. The banks and corporate elite saw the end coming and have been planning for their continued profitable existence for many years.

In the very near future our farms and remaining oil infrastructure will be maintained with debt laborers. Your debts will not be erased with the collapse of our society, this is where that immaculate record keeping and tracking systems come in. Debt labor will be traded like oil is traded today. A corporate farm in Kansas needs 6000 workers to bring in the wheat crop. They call the Bank of America debt laborer department and arrange to have the indentured workers brought in on a train. For your work on the farm Bank of America credits your small earnings, less a processing fee of course, against the owed debt. The debt labor program allows your family to stay in the five thousand square foot McMansion you purchased plus a small food stipend redeemable at Wal-Mart. Fuel can be diverted from farming to policing and war efforts.

Trouble makers, perceived trouble makers, free thinkers and those who refuse to work will be labeled as radicals; rounded up and relocated to detention facilities. These detention camps are already built and ready to receive laborers.

As far as the cities go marshal law will be established with the flipping of a switch. The government will simply shut down the Visa network and close the gas pumps. They can then round up the radicals at their leisure. Private security personal, desensitized during their training in the carnage of Baghdad, will have no trouble shooting looters or anyone out after curfew. The citizens, after hearing of the roundups and killings, will quietly settle into their new way of life.

an average patriot said...

You have read my stuff on this! Whether the MDS works or not it will work for Bush. It is part of his plan to goad the rest of the world to war so he can force his new order on the world.
Attacking Iran is necessary and why he attacked Iraq to get into the miiddle east. He will do it and no one will stop him.
He will keep using excuses as he did with Iraq until he finds one the world will rally behind as they did when he allowed 9/11 to happen.
He will attack Iran and Russia China and others will come to their aid and through Bush's militancy and bullying diplomacy he will look forced into his planned Forever war.
And we are powerless to stop him. it peeves me because it is dead obvious what he is doing and he will laugh, deny it, and continue on. He is the lone decider. His danger dwarfs Hitlers because of the immense power he posesses.
I have been trying to tell people since 9/11 but people laughed or told me I was crazy no President would do this. They are not laughing anymore and it is too late to stop this!

an average patriot said...

that was all right but as you point out this is a Republican war. most peoplr do not realize it but this is just beginning.
I didn't coin Bush's Forever war for nothing. He will bankrupt us financially and morally to persecute the wars. Nothing will stop him now.
He will take on the world and no one will stop him as there are too many outside influences set in motion now and Bush will appear to look forced to fight but he caused it all.
average Americans are only important until Bush gets what he wants. He doesn't care about the soldiers, the citizens, the states, or our america, as long as he prosecutes his wars and creates his new societal and world order. I have to laugh, people just don't friggen get it and it is too late now.

an average patriot said...

Jesus larry!
In a nutshell you just said everything i said many times and that is that we are the enemy. We are the ultimate goal and he is closing in on us.
The so called terrorists he needs and are only the toll to control us and our America as he creates his and he is almost done. we are in serious trouble and as I keep saying, His greatest damage is yet to come!

an average patriot said...

Larry I almost forgot. It's funny you mentioned the DHS because I have been holding an Estate sale today and just got in. I was trying to put a story together on Bush planning to cut State funding by 50%. Man think about that Bud!