Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Thursday, November 2nd, 2006.


Karma Wins Again

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Bush Administration, Religion

If I believed in a personal God, I’d think she was trying to send America’s Christians a message.

You can cheat in love, and you can cheat in politics, but you can’t cheat the Tao.

Update: Church leader admits to some indiscretions.

Update update: See also Mr. Wolcott.

… it confirms my suspicion that all Republican men are privately, passionately, exceedingly gay. According to this exciting morsel, Haggard took part in weekly conference calls with President Bush–“he and the president like to joke that the only thing they disagree on is what truck to drive.”

‘What truck to drive’–I wonder if that is some kind of cryptic butch gay Western lingo. It’s a shame Will & Grace is no longer on the air to provide enlightenment on such matters, leaving us to forage on our own.

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Alyssa Peterson

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Bush Administration, Iraq War, torture

Roxanne emailed this story yesterday, and now I see Greg Mitchell at Editor & Publisher is commenting:

Now we learn that one of the first female soldiers killed in Iraq died by her own hand after objecting to interrogation techniques used on prisoners.

She was Army specialist Alyssa Peterson, 27, a Flagstaff, Az., native serving with C Company, 311th Military Intelligence BN, 101st Airborne. Peterson was an Arabic-speaking interrogator assigned to the prison at our air base in troubled Tal-Afar in northwestern Iraq. According to official records, she died on Sept. 15, 2003, from a “non-hostile weapons discharge.”

She was only the third American woman killed in Iraq so her death drew wide press attention. A “non-hostile weapons discharge” leading to death is not unusual in Iraq, often quite accidental, so this one apparently raised few eyebrows. The Arizona Republic, three days after her death, reported that Army officials “said that a number of possible scenarios are being considered, including Peterson’s own weapon discharging, the weapon of another soldier discharging or the accidental shooting of Peterson by an Iraqi civilian.”

Then Kevin Elston of Flagstaff public radio KNAU filed a Freedom of Information Act request to find out more. This is from Elston’s story:

“Peterson objected to the interrogation techniques used on prisoners. She refused to participate after only two nights working in the unit known as the cage. Army spokespersons for her unit have refused to describe the interrogation techniques Alyssa objected to. They say all records of those techniques have now been destroyed….”

Peterson was reassigned to a base gate and sent to suicide prevention training, but in September 2003 she killed herself with her service rifle. Greg Mitchell:

The Army talked to some of Peterson’s colleagues. Asked to summarize their comments, Elston told E&P: “The reactions to the suicide were that she was having a difficult time separating her personal feelings from her professional duties. That was the consistent point in the testimonies, that she objected to the interrogation techniques, without describing what those techniques were.”

Elston said that the documents also refer to a suicide note found on her body, revealing that she found it ironic that suicide prevention training had taught her how to commit suicide. He has now filed another FOIA request for a copy of the actual note.

Peterson was a devout Mormon who had volunteered to go to Iraq.

Via Daou Report, see also Classically Liberal.

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Like We Didn’t Know

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Bush Administration

Robert Reiner and Richard Bangs write in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

The gas prices crushing consumers dropped 80 cents a gallon since August. President Bush said, “That’s good news for the American consumer.” But there is more to the price changes than meets the eye.

Something Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward said two years ago while prices were going higher sends chills: “They could go down very quickly. That’s the Saudis’ pledge.” According to Woodward, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, “told President Bush that the Saudis would cut oil prices to ensure a strong economy for Election Day.” This prediction has come to fruition.

U.S. oil company executives also possess the power to allow price drops for the election. They have enough room to play — including last year’s collective $100 billion in record profits and Exxon Mobil’s own near record $10.6 billion profits this past quarter.

As I said — like we didn’t know.

Oil executives are full of fear over new leadership in a Congress that would investigate them.

They are particularly afraid of Rep. Charles Rangel chairing the Ways and Means Committee. Rangel could ask: Why do companies that generate record profits from U.S. consumers receive $7.2 billion in government subsidies? Why was U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, then Republican House leader, allowed to hold open a five-minute floor vote in the House for 48 minutes until some $2.6 billion in tax breaks for the major oil companies were approved by a two-vote margin? Just this week we learned of the administration’s refusal to pursue hundreds of millions in fees for offshore drilling. Why?

Those policies defy basic logic until we look at the $32 million in contributions from oil representatives given to Republican congressional and presidential campaigns and the Republican Party during the 2004 and 2006 elections (versus $7 million to Democrats), according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Like we didn’t know.

NBC News Anchor Brian Williams pointed out, “There are skeptics and cynics out there who say there’s nothing to make voters happier than paying less for gasoline, and they’re going to wonder: Did somebody just open a big spigot?”

An “improved” economy is a political boon to incumbent legislators. The Dow Jones high has appeared when gas prices on average dropped nearly 80 cents. It’s as though the U.S. doesn’t want to know why the prices are declining; we’re just too happy about it to care.

If I could draw, I’d draw a worm on a hook and label it “temporary oil price reductions.” And then I’d draw Bush with an oil company robber baron and a sheik holding the fishing rod, and the fish would be labelled “voter.”

The U.S. could again be frustrated when the Saudis and oil executives close the spigot after the upcoming elections. Maybe then we’ll want to know why the gas prices arbitrarily fluctuate.

Like maybe more of news media ought to be investigating this phenomenon before the election, hmmmm?

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Good morning!

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Bush Administration, Iraq War

Stuck in Iraq.

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