Hartsongs <$BlogRSDUrl$>

Monday, February 27, 2006

Another rendition 

of No Bravery

Who Benefits? 

Trying to create a rift where none existed

No Bravery 

Break out the kleenex.

Sunnis and Shia have been showing solidarity these last few days in a big way

Shia and Sunni Iraqis ask the Occupation to Leave

Autistic man denied entrance to White House tour 

Considered to be a security threat.

But can he chew gum and walk at the same time? 

Bush demonstrates a typical lack of regard for others and seems to find harming others hilarious.
approached the junction at speed on the bicycle. The road was damp at the time. As the President (Bush) passed the junction at speed he raised his left arm from the handlebars to wave to the police officers present while shouting 'thanks, you guys, for coming'.

"As he did this he lost control of the cycle, falling to the ground, causing both himself and his bicycle to strike [the officer] on the lower legs. [The officer] fell to the ground, striking his head. The President continued along the ground for approximately five metres, causing himself a number of abrasions. The officers... then assisted both injured parties."
At the time Bush laughed off the incident, saying he should start "acting his age".
John Scott, a human rights lawyer, said: "There's certainly enough in this account for a charge of careless driving. Anyone else would have been warned for dangerous driving.
The issue of how long the police officer was out of action for is also important. He was away from work for 14 weeks...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Empty Wheel 

wonders what Dick Cheney was hiding.

Care for a little CO 

on your steak?

Sunday, February 19, 2006


describes an all too typical raid on a typical Iraqi household.

Well said 

Even if Dick Cheney is blameless in this matter in any deep moral sense, let's not forget that his immediate reaction was to send out his surrogates to publicly blame what happened on the victim.

Actually, that may afford him too much credit since it wasn't actually his 'immediate' reaction. It was his considered reaction after the 24 hour cooling off period he gave himself between the shooting and when he chose to make it public.

28 Gauge 


Speaking of clowns... 

In one particularly scathing section, Google's lawyers ridiculed the government's belief that a list of search requests would help it understand the behavior of Web surfers.

"This statement is so uninformed as to be nonsensical," the lawyers wrote.

Well Said 

If the United States wants to survive as a country—$450 billion mistakes like Iraq and obviating the rule of law will take anyone down—Bush, Cheney and the Republicans have to be stopped in 2006 by Democrats taking Congress. Our elected Democrats have a unique, historical duty to save the country or be forever, irrevocably known as the clueless clowns who stood there and let it happen.
there's more

Whittington Apologizes 

The Ballad Of Dick Cheney 

Friday, February 17, 2006

I am an innocent man 

The accused is an innocent man
Much of the evidence against the detainees is weak. One prisoner at Guantanamo, for example, has made accusations against more than 60 of his fellow inmates; that's more than 10 percent of Guantanamo's entire prison population. The veracity of this prisoner's accusations is in doubt after a Syrian prisoner, Mohammed al-Tumani, 19, who was arrested in Pakistan, flatly denied to his Combatant Status Review Tribunal that he'd attended the jihadist training camp that the tribunal record said he did.

Tumani's denial was bolstered by his American "personal representative," one of the U.S. military officers -- not lawyers -- who are tasked with helping prisoners navigate the tribunals. Tumani's enterprising representative looked at the classified evidence against the Syrian youth and found that just one man -- the aforementioned accuser -- had placed Tumani at the terrorist training camp. And he had placed Tumani there three months before the teenager had even entered Afghanistan. The curious U.S. officer pulled the classified file of the accuser, saw that he had accused 60 men, and, suddenly skeptical, pulled the files of every detainee the accuser had placed at the one training camp. None of the men had been in Afghanistan at the time the accuser said he saw them at the camp.

The tribunal declared Tumani an enemy combatant anyway. ...

Even as the CIA was deciding that most of the prisoners at Guantanamo didn't have much to say, Pentagon officials were getting frustrated with how little the detainees were saying. So they ramped up the pressure and gave interrogators more license...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Which one is it? 

§ 37.03. AGGRAVATED PERJURY. (a) A person commits an
offense if he commits perjury as defined in Section 37.02, and the
false statement:
(1) is made during or in connection with an official
proceeding; and
(2) is material.
(b) An offense under this section is a felony of the third

Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974.
Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, § 1.01, eff. Sept. 1,

Mr. Cheney told me he and Pam Willeford had walked approximately 100 yards from the first location and met up with Oscar Medellin and the hunting guide Bo Hubert. There was a single bird that flew behind him and he followed the bird by line of sight in a counter clockwise direction...Mr. Cheney told me the reason Harry Whittington sustained the injuries to his face and upper body was that Mr. Whittington was standing on ground that was lower than the one he was standing on
Covey is flushed, we’ve shot, and each of us got a bird. Harry couldn’t find his, it had gone down in some deep cover, and so he went off to look for it. The other hunter and I then turned and walked about a hundred yards in another direction.

Hume: Away from him?
Cheney: Away from him — where another covey had been spotted by an outrider. I was on the far right
Hume: There was just two of you then?

Cheney: Just two of us at that point. The guide or outrider between us, and of course, there’s this entourage behind us, all the cars and so forth that follow me around when I’m out there —but bird flushed and went to my right off to the west. I turned and shot at the bird, and at that second, saw Harry standing there. Didn’t know he was there.
Hume: Was anybody drinking in this party?

Cheney: No. You don’t hunt with people who drink. That’s not a good idea. We had —
Hume: So he wasn’t, and you weren’t?

Cheney: Correct. We’d taken a break at lunch — go down under an old — ancient oak tree there on the place, and have a barbecue. I had a beer at lunch. After lunch we take a break, go back to ranch headquarters. Then we took about an hour-long tour of ranch, with a ranch hand driving the vehicle, looking at game. We didn’t go back into the field to hunt quail until about, oh, sometime after 3:00 p.m. The five of us who were in that party were together all afternoon. Nobody was drinking, nobody was under the influence.

Parks & Wildlife reports:
Type of cover;light

The invesigation reveals that there was no alcohol or misconduct involved in the incident

It's the Little Orange Vest Project! 


There once was a man named Dick Cheney,
Who wanted to prove that he wasn't a weenie;
He had some beer with his lunch, his finger went crunch,
And instead of the quail he shot Harry.

Go join the fun @ Firedog Lake or Crooks & Liars

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Buck Shot's Here 

or I Thought He Was A Quail

Once again Cheney considers himself to be above the law. Hunting without a license is the least of his offenses. Now it's been reported that sheriff deputies were turned away from the site of the hunting 'accident' when they went to investigate and question him about the incident.

Any regular citizen would have been cited and probably arrested for obstructing an officer, yet Cheney walks away with impunity and the promise to mail in $7.00. Taylor Marsh has some good takes on this issue:

"If Cheney was shooting at a bird and he loses sight of it because a hunter was standing between him and the bird, you have to have your head up your ass to pull the trigger."

Armstrong said she was watching from a car while Cheney, Whittington and another hunter got out of the vehicle to shoot at a covey of quail.
(Does he use his headlights to blind his prey when he goes deer hunting from the car?)

The bottom line is you just don't pull the trigger unless you know who is there, period. ...he wasn't practicing good hunter safety by any stretch of the imagination. The NRA will give him a pass but that doesn't make it safe. It also doesn't mean you should shoot with the guy. He's obviously dangerous with a gun.

As an aside, how someone could lose his hunting partner, who just got out of a car, is beyond us, my husband and me, that is.

...Whittington taking two hundred pellets at 30 yards just didn't seem right. In fact, after reading about it I had my husband get out a shell before he left to finish his evening work so I could count out pellets of a 12 gauge, just to give me a reference point.

After he got home, out in front of our house, we walked off 30 yards. Walk it for yourself, it's around 7 average car lengths or so.

Now picture shooting a 28 gauge shotgun filled with approximately 350 tiny pellets. About 50 tiny pellets make up the diameter of a penny. The reason for 350 pellets is one or two hitting a bird would down it.

As soon as the pellets leave the shotgun barrel they start to spread out. By the time they get to 30 yards, only a few are going to hit a target that is 6' tall by 2 foot wide, give or take. ..

Again, over half the shotgun pellets wound up hitting Whittington, at a distance away the vice president's office is saying was around 30 yards.

I'm not buying it and neither is my husband.

Why did the vice president's office and the White House pick the 30 yard marker for how far away Whittington was from Dick Cheney? Simple, as my husband said yesterday, the killing zone for a shotgun, without knowing the barrel length, is roughly 30 yards. Thirty yards is a safe alibi for hunter negligence, which is the very definition of Cheney shooting his hunting partner.

The spin coming out of the Administration, but especially the vice president's office didn't happen by accident...
The story coming out of the vice president's office just doesn't add up.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

See what God is saying to us today through the transition of Coretta Scott King is that we, here in this world right now, are suffering from complications, of cancer from materialism and greed and selfishness and arrogance, and elitism, and poverty, and racism, and perversion, and obscenity, and misogyny, and idolatry, and militarism, and violence, and it is a cancer that's eating away at the very essence and nation of what God created of human kind to be-- for he created us! To have ruler ship and dominion in the Earth and not allow the Earth to dictate to us. But now what has happened is that the very Earth, the very creation that he put us in charge of is now controlling us. And instead of us reproducing other people who look like God, who talk like God, who act like God, who think like God, who do business like God, who govern like God, who entertain like God, we are not reproducing anything because the cancer is eating away at us.

Bernice King

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Republican Pledge of Allegiance 

I pledge allegianceto the lobbyists
Of the corporations of America
And to the financing for which they stand;
One nation, plundered with fraud, I will swindle,
With disdain and contempt for all.

Small World 

Before joining Seattle-based Preston Gates & Ellis, Jack Abramoff had been involved with South Africa's apartheid regime, Col. Oliver North's campaign to arm Nicaraguan contras, Zaire's dictator Mobutu Sese Seko and Angolan rebel leader Jonas Savimbi, who reportedly had his opponents burned at the stake.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Fishin' Blues 

I'm a goin' fishin'
Yes, I'm goin fishin'...

Oh, Wait! I didn't mean that.... 

One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn't mean it literally.

via The Functional Ambivilant.

And in a related story...Democrats accidentally kill Clean Air bill.

Anyone else would be fired for incompetence.

Good posts on the NSA hearings 

Glen Greenwald

Firedog Lake

Stopping short of taking the fifth 

Gonzalez treated the Senators at todays hearing with blatant condescension, refusing to answer any of the questions put before him, yet in some of his non-answers revealed that indeed, there is a program of surveillance upon ordinary Americans.

At several points during the hearing Gonzalez was visibly frustrated, sighing in disapproval, and trying to 'explain' his position as though felt he was speaking to a group of idiots.

After many requests for answers, Senator Leahy, also visibly frustrated, tried in vain to obtain a response from Gonzalez:

LEAHY: Let me just ask you a few questions that could easily be answered yes or no.
I'm not asking about operational details, I'm trying to understand when the administration came to the conclusion that the congressional resolution authorizing military force again Al Qaida, where we had hoped that we would actually catch Osama bin Laden, the man who hit us -- but where you came to the conclusion that it authorized warrantless wiretapping of Americans inside the United States.
Did you reach that conclusion before the Senate passed the resolution on September 14th, 2001?

GONZALES: Senator, what I can say is that the program was initiated subsequent to the authorization to use military force.

LEAHY: Well, then, let me...

GONZALES: And our legal analysis was completed prior to the authorization of that program.

LEAHY: So your answer is you did not come to that conclusion before the Senate passed the resolution on September 14th, 2001?

GONZALES: Sir, I certainly had not come to that conclusion. There may be others in the administration who did.

LEAHY: Were you aware of anybody in the administration that came to that conclusion before September 14th, 2001?

GONZALES: Senator, sitting here right now I don't have any knowledge of that.

LEAHY: Were you aware of anybody coming to that conclusion before the president signed the resolution on September 18th, 2001?

GONZALES: No, sir.
The only thing that I can recall is that we had just been attacked and that we had been attacked by an enemy from within our own borders and that...

LEAHY: Mr. Attorney General, I understand. I
was here when that attack happened. And I joined with Republicans and Democrats and virtually every member of this Congress to try to give you the tools that you said you needed for us to go after Al Qaida, and especially to go after Osama bin Laden, the man that we all understood masterminded the attacks, the man who's still at large.

LEAHY: Now, back to my question: Did you come to the conclusion that you had to have this warrantless wiretapping of Americans inside the United States to protect us before the president signed the resolution on September 18th, 2001? You were the White House counsel at the time.

GONZALES: What I can say is that we came to a conclusion that the president had the authority to authorize this kind of activity before he actually authorized the activity.

LEAHY: When was that?

GONZALES: It was subsequent to the authorization to use military force.

LEAHY: When?

GONZALES: Sir, it was just a short period of time after the authorization to use military force.

LEAHY: Was it before or after NSA began its surveillance program?

GONZALES: Again, the NSA did not commence the activities under the terrorist surveillance program before the president gave his authorization.

Before the president gave the authorization, he was advised by lawyers within the administration that he had the legal authority to authorize this kind of surveillance of the enemy.

LEAHY: So NSA didn't do this until the president gave them the green light that they could authorize warrantless wiretapping of Americans inside the United States, under the circumstances you described in your earlier testimony.

GONZALES: Of course, Senator, the NSA has other authorities to engage in electronic surveillance, and I'm told that they...

LEAHY: I understand that. But I'm talking about the specific program.

GONZALES: ... and I'm told they took advantage of those authorities.

But it's my understanding -- and I believe this to be true --
that the NSA did not commence in the kind of electronic surveillance which I am discussing here today prior to the president's authorization.

LEAHY: The president has said publicly that he gave about 30 of these authorizations, having held off for a period of time, I think when the administration heard the New York Times was looking into it.

But you were White House counsel: Did the president give his first authorization before or after Attorney General Ashcroft met with us and gave us the proposals from the administration which ultimately went into the USA Patriot Act?

GONZALES: Sir, I don't know. I don't know when he gave you those proposals.

LEAHY: Well, we enacted the USA Patriot Act in October 2001. And you were there at the signing ceremony. We tried to encompass those things that the administration said they needed.

Was the first one of the president's authorizations done before he signed the USA Patriot Act?

GONZALES: I'd have to go back and check. I don't know.

LEAHY: OK, you're going to back here this afternoon. Please check because I'll ask you this question again, and you'll have a chance to ask. I'm looking around the room, you've got an awful lot of staff here. Let's have that answer before.

You were there when he signed the act. Let us know when his first authorization -- whether it was before or after he signed that act.

GONZALES: Sir, may I make a statement?

We believe the authorization to use military force constituted statutory grant of authority to engage in this kind of surveillance and therefore...

LEAHY: Did you, with the first...

GONZALES: ... wouldn't be necessary to seek an amendment to FISA through the Patriot Act.

LEAHY: OK. My question still remains, and I, like Senator Specter, I want -- I'm trying to ask these basic things you could answer yes or no.

You talk about authorization for use of military force. We have a chart up over there; says that, "The president is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations of persons that he determines planed, authorized, committed or aided the terrorists attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations of persons, in order to prevent future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons."

Now, basically, what you're saying is that Congress must have understood to have authorized the president to do it: not that we actually did but that we must have understood it.

Now, this authorization is not a wiretap statute.
I was a prosecutor, Senator Specter was a prosecutor, a lot of prosecutors here, we know what a wiretap statute looks like. This is not it.

So let me ask this: Under that logic,
is there anything that stops you from wiretapping without a warrant somebody inside the United States that you suspect of having Al Qaida connections?

GONZALES: Clearly, Senator,
that is not what's going on here, first of all.

The president had authorized a much more narrow program.

GONZALES: We are always, of course, subject to the Fourth Amendment. So the activities of any kind of surveillance within the United States would, of course, be subject to the Fourth Amendment.

LEAHY: Well, Mr. Attorney General,
we're getting the impression that this administration's, kind of, picking and choosing what they are subject to.

an you show us in the authorization for use of military force what is the specific language you say that's authorizing wiretapping of Americans without a warrant?

there is no specific language, but neither is there specific language to detain American citizens. And the Supreme Court said that the words "all necessary and appropriate force" means all activities fundamentally incident to waging war.

LEAHY: But there wasn't a law -- they didn't have a law specifically on this.

GONZALES: Sure they did, sir.

LEAHY: Using the Jackson test, they have a law on wiretapping. It's called FISA. It's called FISA. And if you don't like that law, if that law doesn't work, why not just ask us?

GONZALES: Sir, there was a law at question in Hamdi. It was 18 USC 4001(a). And that is: You cannot detain an American citizens except as authorized by Congress.

And Hamdi came into the court saying, "The authorization to use military force isn't such a permission by Congress to detain an American citizen."

And the Supreme Court -- Justice O'Connor said -- even though the words were not included in the authorization, Justice O'Connor said: Congress clearly and unmistakably authorized the president to detain an American citizen. And detention is far more intrusive than electronic surveillance.

SPECTER: Well, then, let me ask you this.

Under your interpretation of this, can you go in and do mail searches? Can you go into e-mails? Can you open mail? Can you do black-bag jobs?

And under the idea that you don't have much time to go through what you described as a cumbersome procedure, what most people think is a pretty easy procedure, to get a FISA warrant, can you go and do that of Americans?

GONZALES: Sir, I've tried to outline for you and the committee what the president has authorized, and that is all that he has authorized.

Did it authorize the opening of first-class mail of U.S. citizens? That you can answer yes or no.

There is all kinds of wild speculation about...

Did it authorize it?

SPECTER: Let him finish.

here is all kinds of wild speculation out there about what the president has authorized and what we're actually doing. And I'm not going to get into a discussion, Senator, about...

Mr. Attorney General, you're not answering my question. I'm not asking you what the president authorized.

Does this law -- you're the chief law enforcement officer of the country -- does this law authorize the opening of first-class mail of U.S. citizens, yes or no, under your interpretation?

GONZALES: Senator, I think that, again,
that is not what is going on here.

We're only focused on international communications where one part of the communication is Al Qaida. That's what this program is all about.

You haven't answered my question..

Well, Mr. Chairman, I'll come back to this. And the attorney general understands there's some dates he's going to check during the break, and I'll go back to them.
Naturally, Gonzales did not have the information after the break...

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Long War 

"I think it will end. The Cold War ended. No one knew when it would, or if it would. It took 45 years, but it did end."

"It is unknowable how long that conflict will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."

Watch what they do, not what they say.

Nice try. 

Alienating Allies 

Reminiscent of the incident of firing upon the Italians, in keeping with the policy 'shoot first, ask questions later', U.S. soldiers attacked Canadian diplomats in Iraq.

The diplomat said the Canadian vehicle – which had a Canadian flag symbol on its dash – waited for a U.S. convoy of five Humvees to pass. Then it followed at a safe distance at about 20 to 25 km/h for about five minutes. She said Canadian officials often share the road with U.S. military vehicles and saw nothing unusual about the situation.

Unlike the version offered by the U.S. military, the Canadian diplomat told CBC News that the American convoy had pulled entirely off the road and into a staging area behind a barrier.

"Again this kind of thing has happened all the time, according to this official, so the Canadian vehicle now carried on down the road after the convoy had pulled all the way over and off to the side," Sorensen said.

That's when they heard a loud noise as dust flew up around their vehicle.

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