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Postby Dardedar » Mon Nov 12, 2007 8:41 am

Venezuelans scramble for food amid oil opulence

By Brian Ellsworth Sun Nov 11, 11:14 PM ET

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan construction worker Gustavo Arteaga has no trouble finding jobs in this OPEC nation's booming economy, but on a recent Monday morning he skipped work as part of a more complicated search -- for milk.

The 37-year-old father-of-two has for months scrambled to find basic products like cooking oil, beef and milk, despite leftist President Hugo Chavez's social program that promises to provide low-cost groceries to the majority poor.

"It takes a miracle to find milk," said Arteaga, who spent two hours in line outside a store in the poor Caracas neighborhood of Eucaliptus. "Don't you see I'm here slaving away to see if I can get even one or two of those (containers)?"

Venezuelan consumers are increasingly facing periodic shortages of basic food products as the economy shows signs of overheating amid record revenues from an oil boom.

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Postby Dardedar » Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:30 am

FBI Says Blackwater Guards Killed 14 Iraqis Without Cause

David Johnston and John M. Broder report for The New York Times,
"Federal agents investigating the Sept. 16 episode in which Blackwater
security personnel shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians have found that at
least 14 of the shootings were unjustified and violated deadly-force rules
in effect for security contractors in Iraq, according to civilian and
military officials briefed on the case."

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Postby Dardedar » Wed Nov 14, 2007 8:22 pm

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Postby Dardedar » Sun Nov 18, 2007 7:17 pm

Tony Benn gives an excellent summary of how universal health care arose in Britain after the war. Must see video clip from "Sicko." Go here and click on the first picture:

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Postby Dardedar » Tue Nov 20, 2007 12:30 am

Good news, the administration is now poised to hold a major Middle East peace conference. The bad news...

[N]o conference date has been set. No invitations have been issued. And no one really agrees on what the participants will actually talk about once they arrive at the Naval Academy for the meeting, which is intended to relaunch Bush’s stillborn “road map” plan to create a Palestinian state.

“No one seems to know what is happening,” one senior Arab envoy said last week, speaking on condition of anonymity to avoid appearing out of the loop. “I am completely lost.”


A senior administration official, described by the WaPo as being “deeply involved in the preparations” for the conference, conceded that he or she “can’t connect the dots myself.”

Washington Post
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Postby Dardedar » Tue Nov 20, 2007 8:09 pm

DAR
If there was any doubt that the people at the very top of this government are goddamn liars...

"In an excerpt from his forthcoming book, McClellan recounts the 2003 news conference in which he told reporters that aides Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby were "not involved" in the leak involving operative Valerie Plame.

"There was one problem. It was not true," McClellan writes, according to a brief excerpt released Tuesday. "I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest-ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice president, the president's chief of staff and the president himself."

Bush's chief of staff at the time was Andrew Card.

The excerpt, posted on the Web site of publisher PublicAffairs, renews questions about what went on in the West Wing and how much Bush and Cheney knew about the leak. For years, it was McClellan's job to field — and often duck — those types of questions.

Now that he's spurring them, answers are equally hard to come by.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said it wasn't clear what McClellan meant in the excerpt. "The president has not and would not ask his spokespeople to pass on false information," she said."

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Postby Savonarola » Tue Nov 20, 2007 10:37 pm

Darrel wrote:White House press secretary Dana Perino said it wasn't clear what McClellan meant in the excerpt. "The president has not and would not ask his spokespeople to pass on false information," she said.

That should say, "From her position as one of the president's spokespeople who passes on information, Perino said..."
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Postby Dardedar » Sun Nov 25, 2007 1:57 pm

Combat brain injuries multiply

20,000 not listed in Pentagon tally

At least 20,000 U.S. troops who were not classified as wounded during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan have been found with signs of brain injuries, according to military and veterans records compiled by USA TODAY.

The data, provided by the Army, Navy and Department of Veterans Affairs, show that about five times as many troops sustained brain trauma as the 4,471 officially listed by the Pentagon through Sept. 30. These cases also are not reflected in the Pentagon’s official tally of wounded, which stands at 30,327.

Soldiers and Marines whose wounds were discovered after they left Iraq are not added to the official casualty list, says Army Col. Robert Labutta, a neurologist and brain injury consultant for the Pentagon.

More than 150,000 troops may have suffered head injuries in combat, says Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., founder of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force."

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Postby Dardedar » Thu Nov 29, 2007 9:13 pm

"If you’re planning to vote in Virginia’s February Republican presidential primary, be prepared to sign an oath swearing your Republican loyalty.

The State Board of Elections on Monday approved a state Republican Party request to require all who apply for a GOP primary ballot first vow in writing that they’ll vote for the party’s presidential nominee next fall."

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Postby Dardedar » Sun Dec 02, 2007 10:12 pm

Predictions:

I watched Huckabee on ABC this morning and wow did he do a smooth job. Romney is a phony and going no where. Ditto I think Guliani (not nearly as obviously as Romney). Huckabee is the one to watch. I was saying this months ago and wish I had written it down earlier. Darn.
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Postby Doug » Sun Dec 02, 2007 11:10 pm

Darrel wrote:Predictions:

I watched Huckabee on ABC this morning and wow did he do a smooth job. Romney is a phony and going no where. Ditto I think Guliani (not nearly as obviously as Romney). Huckabee is the one to watch. I was saying this months ago and wish I had written it down earlier. Darn.


DOUG
I saw Huckabee on George Snuffleupagus this morning too, and Huckabeen is also not going to go anywhere. He'll do well in Iowa, but the fundies have lost their clout nationwide, and Huckabee is just too fundy to get elected now. He looks too much like "more of the same": a Southern, fundy, George W. Bush type.

Plus, his skeletons in the closet have just now begun to come out and dance. His Willie Hortonesque secret will not play well nationwide either.
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Postby Dardedar » Mon Dec 03, 2007 9:10 pm

Report contradicts Bush on Iran nuclear program

By Matt Spetalnick

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A new U.S. intelligence report says Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and it remains on hold, contradicting the Bush administration's earlier assertion that Tehran was intent on developing a bomb.

The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released on Monday could undermine U.S. efforts to convince other world powers to agree on a third package of U.N. sanctions against Iran for defying demands to halt uranium enrichment activities.

The rest

Also:

Cheney tried to hold up the report from coming out.

A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran has been held up for more than a year in an effort to force the intelligence community to remove dissenting judgments on the Iranian nuclear programme, and thus make the document more supportive of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney’s militarily aggressive policy toward Iran, according to accounts of the process provided by participants to two former Central Intelligence Agency officers.

unsourced claim from Common dreams

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Last edited by Dardedar on Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Dardedar » Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:58 pm

DAR
I find this absolutely hilarious. Romney still has illegals cleaning his yard:

"Republican Mitt Romney, ridiculed by rival Rudy Giuliani for employing illegal immigrants at his "sanctuary mansion," said Tuesday he had fired the landscaper for his suburban Boston home after learning for a second time about undocumented workers laboring on the property.

[snip...]

The former Massachusetts governor has made combatting illegal immigration a core theme of his White House run.

His three-point plan includes building fences along the U.S.-Mexico border; developing a tamperproof ID card so only legal immigrants can work and cutting off federal money to "sanctuary cities" providing safe haven to illegal immigrants.

During a debate last week in St. Petersburg, Fla., Romney chastised Giuliani for continuing sanctuary status for New York while he served as the city's mayor. That prompted Giuliani to accuse Romney of owning a "sanctuary mansion" after The Boston Globe reported last year his landscaper employed illegal workers.

Romney denied the charge, saying he wasn't responsible for a legal company hiring illegal workers. He also grew indignant, trying to turn the criticism against Giuliani.

Romney said it would "not be American" to check the papers of workers employed by a contractor simply because they have a "funny accent."

Yet the paper, in a follow-up report, said it observed at least two illegal workers on Romney's property the morning after the debate, raking leaves from the grass and debris from the tennis court. The newspaper said it had also observed the same workers during the prior two months.

The Globe said it interviewed the two workers and one said he had paid $7,000 to a smuggler to escort him across the desert into Arizona. The other said he had come to the country with a student visa that has since expired.

[snip...]

Katie Levinson, speaking for Giuliani's campaign, said of the recurrence: "I think it speaks for itself."

Todd Harris, speaking for rival Fred Thompson, said: "First Mitt Romney was for illegal immigrants working on his lawn, and then he was against it, then for it, and now I guess he's against it again. Sounds like his position on amnesty."

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Postby Dardedar » Fri Dec 07, 2007 12:00 am

"By 57 percent to 23 percent, more Hispanic registered voters say they favor Democrats than Republicans, according to a survey by the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center.

That 34 percentage point Democratic edge — which includes people who said they lean toward either party — has grown since July 2006, when a Pew poll measured a 21 point difference. Then, 49 percent of registered Hispanic voters said they favored Democrats and 28 percent chose Republicans."

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Postby Dardedar » Tue Dec 11, 2007 11:04 pm

"In August of 1998, Huckabee was one of 131 signatories to a full page USA Today Ad which declared: “I affirm the statement on the family issued by the 1998 Southern Baptist Convention.” What was in the family statement from the SBC? “A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.”

BeliefNet rates Huckabee a perfect 10 on the theocrat scale.

C & R
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Postby Dardedar » Wed Jan 16, 2008 12:30 pm

Mocking John Edward's often stated concern for homeless veterans, Bill O'Reilly said on his show last night:

"Well, we’re still looking for all the veterans sleeping under the bridges, Ed, so if you find anybody, let us know,..."
"Ed, Ed. If you know where’s a veteran, sleeping under a bridge, you call me immediately, and we will make sure that man does not do it. Is not there." --Bill O'Reilly, last night

The National Alliance to End Homelessness analyzed data from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Census Bureau to report on homelessness and severe housing cost burden among veterans. They found:

* In 2006, approximately 195,827 veterans were homeless on a given night—an increase of 0.8 percent from 194,254 in 2005. More veterans experience homeless over the course of the year. We estimate that 336,627 were homeless in 2006.
* Veterans make up a disproportionate share of homeless people. They represent roughly 26 percent of homeless people, but only 11 percent of the civilian population 18 years and older. This is true despite the fact that veterans are better educated, more likely to be employed, and have a lower poverty rate than the general population.
* A number of states, including Louisiana and California, had high rates of homeless veterans. In addition, the District of Columbia had a high rate of homelessness among veterans with approximately 7.5 percent of veterans experiencing homelessness.
* We estimate that in 2005 approximately 44,000 to 64,000 veterans were chronically homeless (i.e., homeless for long periods or repeatedly and with a disability).

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See also:

Next Wave of Homeless Vets Emerging
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Postby Dardedar » Sun Jan 20, 2008 8:31 pm

Ronald Reagan Is Still Dead

By Frank Rich
The New York Times
Sunday 20 January 2008

Excerpt:

"...the Republican candidates have largely clung to illegal immigration as Domestic Crisis No. 1, to no particular point beyond alienating Hispanic voters.

The election is more than nine months away, and already this obsession is blowing up in the G.O.P.’s face with non-Hispanic voters, too. Far from proving the killer app of 2008, illegal immigration is evaporating as a national cause. In the nearly identical findings of The New York Times/CBS News and ABC News/Washington Post polls this month, it ranks near the bottom, the top issue for a mere 4 to 5 percent of voters. The economy (at 20 to 29 percent) leads in both surveys, closely followed by the total of those picking some variant of “war” and “Iraq.”

As if it weren’t crazy enough for Republicans to lash themselves to the listing mast of immigration, they are nonplayers on the issues that do matter most to voters. The more the economy tanks and steals Americans’ attention from a relatively less violent Iraq, the more voters learn that the Republicans have little to offer beyond their one-size-fits-all panacea of extending the Bush tax cuts."

The rest.
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Postby Dardedar » Mon Jan 21, 2008 10:07 pm

Richard Stengel, the managing editor of TIME gives a chilling new report that the Pentagon is releasing about the serious head injuries troops are sustaining in Iraq.

Stengel:

When we got into the Iraq war we didn’t know how long it would last. When we got into the Iraq war we didn’t know how much it would cost. It’s lasted longer, it’s cost more than we ever expected. The real toll is coming out now. The Pentagon is releasing a report saying, one in five American serviceman and women who have been in Iraq are coming back with brain injuries. Mild, traumatic brain injuries. More than 250,000 people. That legacy of that will last all of our life times and it’s incalculable.


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Postby Dardedar » Wed Jan 23, 2008 8:42 pm

US Given Poor Marks on the Environment
By Felicity Barringer
The New York Times

Wednesday 23 January 2008

Washington - A new international ranking of environmental performance puts the United States at the bottom of the Group of 8 industrialized nations and 39th among the 149 countries on the list.

European nations dominate the top places in the ranking, which evaluates sanitation, greenhouse gas emissions, agricultural policies, air pollution and 20 other measures to formulate an overall score, with 100 the best possible.

The top 10 countries, with scores of 87 or better, were led by Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and Finland. The others at the top were Austria, France, Latvia, Costa Rica, Colombia and New Zealand, the leader in the 2006 version of the analysis, which is conducted by researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities.

"We are putting more weight on climate change," said Daniel Esty, the report's lead author, who is the director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy. "Switzerland is the most greenhouse gas efficient economy in the developed world," he said, in part because of its use of hydroelectric power and its transportation system, which relies more on trains than individual cars or trucks.

The United States, with a score of 81.0, he noted, "is slipping down," both because of low scores on three different analyses of greenhouse gas emissions and a pervasive problem with smog. The country's performance on a new indicator that measures regional smog, he said, "is at the bottom of the world right now."

He added, "The U.S. continues to have a bottom-tier performance in greenhouse gas emissions."

the rest
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Postby Dardedar » Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:28 am

Another disadvantage of having a weak and foolish president:

Allies fall short on Iraq aid pledges

By Matt Kelley, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — Nearly five years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, allied countries have paid 16% of what they pledged to help rebuild the war-torn country, according to a report scheduled for release today.

Foreign countries have spent about $2.5 billion of the more than $15.8 billion they pledged during and after an October 2003 conference in Madrid, according to a new report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.

The biggest shortfalls in pledges by 41 donor countries are from Iraq's oil-rich neighbors and U.S. allies: Saudi Arabia spent $17.4% and Kuwait 27% of the $500 million each had pledged more than four years ago, according to a separate report released last month by Congress' Government Accountability Office. Spokesmen at both countries' U.S. embassies did not respond to repeated messages seeking comment.

The United States, so far, has spent $29 billion to help rebuild Iraq, the inspector general's report says. Congress has approved an additional $16.5 billion.

USA Today
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