30 September 2006

Amnesty International press release on detainee legislation

As expected, human rights watchdog Amnesty International has issued a scathing press release in reaction to the Senate's passage of the heinous Military Commissions Act.

Below is the full text of the press release.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Amnesty International Profoundly Disappointed By Congress' Passage of Detainee Legislation

Bill Provides More Confusion -- Not Clarity

(Washington, DC) -- Amnesty International is deeply concerned that today's passage of legislation by the U.S. Senate calls into question the United States' commitment to fundamental principles of justice and fair trials. The "Military Commissions Act," first approved by the House on Wednesday, fails to provide clarification of basic standards for treatment of persons in detention. Instead the bill adds more confusion where illumination was sought.

"Many have looked to the United States, as the world's sole superpower, to set the standard for human rights," said Larry Cox, Amnesty International USA Executive Director. "However, today Congress has sent the wrong message by refusing to affirm basic, universal standards recognized under human rights and humanitarian law. Rather than steering a clear course to uphold established standards of U.S. and international law, the bill creates new standards that appear to fall short and raise questions about the U.S. government's commitment to American values of due process and integrity.

"Amnesty International commends the Senators and Members of Congress who voted against this legislation. They took a principled stand by casting an important vote in favor of human rights, the rule of law and our nation's standing in the international community," added Cox.

The bill strips persons held in the U.S.-controlled detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba -- many for almost five years without charge or meaningful judicial review -- and other alleged "enemy combatants" in U.S. custody of yet another right: the ability to file a writ of habeas corpus. It also would bar anyone in detention from going to court to protect his or her rights under the Geneva Conventions.

"By cutting off any opportunity for meaningful judicial review, Congress today chose to rely on an honor system in which the 'trust us' promises of the president and his administration are considered sufficient to ensure that people in U.S. custody and control are treated humanely and detained properly," said Jumana Musa, Amnesty International USA Advocacy Director for Domestic Human Rights and International Justice. "Past practices have proven that such assurances do not constitute a guarantee that people will be treated in accordance with U.S. and international law."

Anyone determined to be an "unlawful enemy combatant" could be detained by the U.S. government anywhere in the world for an act as minor as writing a check in a country far from any battlefield. This far-reaching definition twists on its head the concept of what constitutes a combatant.

An "unlawful enemy combatant" is defined as anyone determined by the U.S. government to have engaged in hostilities, to have "purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States or its cobelligerents," or anyone deemed as such by a "Combatant Status Review Tribunal" or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense. This characterization allows the U.S. government to use a law of war rationale in place of a human rights framework to detain people -- on or off a battlefield -- indefinitely without charge or access to judicial review.

Amnesty International is also concerned about other provisions in the legislation including:

• Creation of a new tribunal system to try a wide variety of people in a military commissions system that is discriminatory and lacks fundamental due process protections because it establishes a dual track system of justice, one for Americans and another for foreign nationals that has minimal safeguards.

• Redefinition of fundamental areas of the law; returning to an outdated definition of rape and sexual abuse increases the difficulty of prosecuting individuals responsible for such acts.

• Retroactive immunity for those who have been implicated in creating policies or participating in abuse and other acts long believed to be torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

"The Supreme Court's decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld was a distinctive opportunity for setting the United States back on course to affirm American principles of justice and reverse years of flawed and failed policies. Unfortunately, the Congress turned bad administration policy into bad law," said Musa.

"Instead of focusing on accountability and providing clarity, the days ahead will be spent muddling through a deeper mess, striving to interpret the bill, reestablishing adherence to international human rights and humanitarian law and, sadly, more time arguing the legislation in court," said Cox. "The administration and Congress put the American people through a maze that led to a faulty policy and, in the process, lost a little more of its standing with the global community and the American public."

"Amnesty International will focus on holding the administration accountable -- not only to upholding its obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law, but also to fulfilling the expectations of Americans who believe in justice for all. The America we believe in leads the world on human rights," added Cox.


29 September 2006

The Senate votes against human rights

Yesterday, as feared, the U.S. Senate passed a detainee treatment bill that undermines some of this nation's most cherished and basic values, such as habeas corpus rights. [Read story.]

Here's what this means:

The U.S. has thumbed its nose at international law.

The U.S. can no longer call itself a protector of human rights.

The U.S. can no longer claim to stand for freedom, liberty, and the rule of law.

The U.S. can no longer claim the moral high ground in any sense.

And the measures are now in place to defend the Bush administration from any accountability for its egregious behavior in case the Congressional party makeup shifs to the left with this November's elections.

Political power grabs have trumped the U.S. Constitution.

We're now officially the kind of outlaw rogue nation that we used to criticize.

[See how your senators voted.]

28 September 2006

House passes horrendous detainee bill

Shame on the U.S. House of Representatives. Yesterday they passed a bill allowing cruel and inhumane treatment of detainees. The bill also allows the admission of coerced testimony in trials in some circumstances. [Read story.] (Never mind the fact that coerced evidence, by definition, can't be considered reliable.)

The bill now goes to the Senate, where they are expected to follow along in lockstep, probably along clear party lines. They talk about "compromise", but they don't have the guts to stand up for basic human rights and force Bush to compromise where it counts.

It's hard to believe that this is happening in America.

Shame on everyone in Congress who voted for this. You have thrown away the long-established American values that made us special.

[See how your representative voted.]

27 September 2006

An Iraq war vet weighs in on the importance of upholding the Geneva Conventions

Paul Rieckhoff is a veteran of the current war in Iraq, and currently serves as the Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Monday's New York Times featured an excellent op-ed by Rieckhoff regarding the importance of upholding the Geneva Conventions. [Read it.]

Rieckhoff fought in Iraq, so he surely understands war, and all its workings, much better than does chickenhawk Bush.

So what's McCain's excuse?

26 September 2006

Will your vote count?

A few months ago, Rolling Stone magazine published an excellent (although grim) article by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., in which he explored the possibility that the 2004 election was stolen in Ohio. [Read it.]

Now, in its October 5th issue, Rolling Stone is following up with another Kennedy article that explores another aspect of the voting crisis - hackable voting machines with no paper trail. [Read the new piece.]

The right to vote is at the center of our democracy. But our votes will count only if they are accurately counted.

Most Americans wouldn't dream of making a store purchase without obtaining a receipt. Isn't your vote more important than anything you can buy in a store?

25 September 2006

Philly goes smokefree

Finally, after years of fighting in City Hall, Philadelphia's restaurants and most bars went smokefree effective at midnight. [Read story.]

Many smokers are grumbing about how it interferes with their "right" to smoke. But, as I always point out, one person's rights end where the next person's rights begin. They do NOT have the "right" to force me to inhale their toxic, smelly smoke.

It's so good to know that I can now relax in Philly's restaurants and bars without the itchy eyes and scratchy throat, and without leaving there smelling like an ashtray.

For information on smokefree laws worldwide, click here.

24 September 2006

Who would Jesus shoot?

Earlier this morning, I was out in my car doing errands. I stopped at a traffic light and started reading the bumper stickers on the pickup truck in front of me:

"NRA - Sportsmen for Santorum"

"Christians for Santorum"

"Protect your guns. Protect your bible. Vote Santorum."

And it occurred to me that I cannot picture Jesus shooting anything for sport -- especially those AK-47s and 50-caliber rifles that the NRA wants everyone (even terrorists) to be able to purchase without question.

Those things were NOT designed for harmless Sunday afternoon target shooting.

What's so Christian about an AK-47?

23 September 2006

Is Osama dead? Is Bush off the hook?

A French newspaper today is reporting that Saudi Arabian sources believe that Osama bin Laden died of typhoid last month in Pakistan. [Read story.]

If true, then we can rule out a bin Laden capture as the "October surprise".

And, if true, will the Bush administration try to spin it into a victory? Will they be off the hook?

22 September 2006

Who would Jesus torture?

A recent column by the great Molly Ivins revealed to me that "the Rev. Louis Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition is so in favor of torture he told McCain that the senator either supports the torture bill or he can forget about the evangelical Christian vote."

Wow. So evangelical "Christianity" supports a must-torture policy?

Since when is torture a Christian value?

I think that if Jesus Christ came back to earth today, he would point out that he was the torturee, not the torturer.

The gospels tell us that Jesus was the guy who went around easing people's suffering, not causing it.

So what have they been putting in that evangelical Kool-Aid?

21 September 2006

Bill Frist, the torture doctor

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is threatening a filibuster against a bill that doesn't give Bush enough permission to torture people. [Read story.]

Bill Frist is a medical doctor. So he supposedly took the Hippocratic oath, swearing to do no harm.

I guess it's OK if he doesn't do the harm himself, but just authorizes the CIA to do it for him.

I'm guessing that he became a doctor for the money, not because he wanted to alleviate human suffering.

20 September 2006

AP photographer held by U.S. without charges for 5 months (and counting)

... Anything to keep the truth from getting in the way of the spin.

Committing journalism appears to be a high crime under the Bush administration -- so much so that they've been holding an Associated Press photographer for five months now. They won't charge him with any crime, and he has no legal recourse. They just tell us that he was too close to insurgents. [Read story.]

Journalists are no longer supposed to practice real journalism -- which involves exploring and presenting ALL sides of a story. Now it's Bush's side only, lest you be aiding the enemy.

Kathleen Carroll, AP's executive editor, makes a good point in saying: "How can you know what a conflict is like if you're only with one side of the combatants? Journalism doesn't work if we don't report and photograph all sides."

The Bush administration would disagree. Their carefully spun reality is the only reality that the world should know about.

To Bush, the truth is too much of a threat.

19 September 2006

Debunking Bush's ticking time bomb

Whenever I speak out against torture, some people invariably try to justify it with the ticking time bomb scenario. That's the hypothetical situation in which a bomb is ticking and you have to get the information from the bomber to stop it in time. When time is of the essence, as the theory goes, wouldn't it be better to hurry up and torture the information out of that one person in order to save the lives of many?

This theory has so many holes in it. And a recent piece by Alfred W. McCoy in The Progressive does a very good job of dismantling this justification for torture. [Read it.]

18 September 2006

Worse than Watergate: What John Dean told me about the Bush administration

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet John Dean, former White House Counsel in the Nixon administration, and a major figure in the Watergate scandal. Dean was in Philadelphia to commemorate Constitution Day at a rally held across the street from Independence Mall, where that precious (and now endangered) document was signed on September 17, 1787. The rally was organized by the American Civil Liberties Union, and co-sponsored by my own organization, Amnesty International, and about a dozen other groups.

Dean was charming and very well spoken. He shared several talking points from one of his most recent books, Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush, and noted that nobody died from Nixon's crimes.

Dean observed that the secrecy under which the Bush administration operates, along with its blatant corporate favoritism, is a huge warning sign that we're heading towards out-of-control fascism. He places most of the blame on Dick Cheney, with help from Donald Rumsfeld. (Dean doesn't seem to think that Bush is smart enough to have much say of his own in all this, although he's certainly culpable for going along with it.)

Dean had thought that Nixon had written the book on how low an administration could go. But, he said, Bush and Cheney have taken that book and added several more chapters.

According to Dean, Nixon would never have condoned torture. But, as I write this, Bush is lobbying for it.

Dean is correct. This truly is worse than Watergate.

17 September 2006

Bush admits that he doesn't know the meaning of human dignity

In a press conference in the White House rose garden last Friday, the so-called leader of the free world told us that he needs Congress to pass his pro-torture legislation because the Geneva Conventions are "too vague".

Specifically, George W. Bush said the following:

"This debate is occurring because of the Supreme Court's ruling that said that we must conduct ourselves under the Common Article III of the Geneva Convention. And that Common Article III says that there will be no outrages upon human dignity. It's very vague. What does that mean, "outrages upon human dignity"? That's a statement that is wide open to interpretation. And what I'm proposing is that there be clarity in the law so that our professionals will have no doubt that that which they are doing is legal."

There you go.

The President of the United States does not know what "human dignity" means. He needs clarification.

By the way, the Geneva Conventions really are quite clear. [Read them and see for yourself.]

16 September 2006

Condi does a good thing - stops transfer of cluster bombs

I don't hesitate to call attention to human rights violations by the powers that be. But, at the same time, I like to give credit where it's due.

This week I received a report from my human rights group, Amnesty International, indicating that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has complied with Amnesty's request for the U.S. to suspend the transfer of cluster bombs to Israel and to investigate Israel's allegedly illegal use of previously supplied cluster munitions.

Amnesty believes that the use of cluster bombs in civilian populated areas is a violation of human rights, as unexploded "bomblets" from these clusters are notorious for causing civilian casualties. So I am beyond pleased to learn that we're making some progress in this particular case.

For more info about this issue, read Amnesty's info sheet: PDF

15 September 2006

Finally, some conservatives are growing a conscience and a backbone

Hopefully these are signs that the tide is starting to turn. Maybe even the Republicans have finally had enough.

Yesterday, four key Republican Senators joined with Democrats to reject Bush's attempt to legislate torture, secret evidence, and other violations of the U.S. Constitution and international law. [Read story.]

Also encouraging is a collection of articles in the Washington Monthly by conservatives who are fed up with the Bush administration's nonsense. [Read them.]

Thanks to Paul G. for alerting me to the Washington Monthly articles. And thanks to all the Republicans and conservatives who are finally taking a stand against the insanity.

14 September 2006

Mark Fiore: Knuckles goes to Washington

This week's big issue that has me on edge is Bush's attempt to have Congress pass laws that would legitimize his illegal policies of rendition, torture, unlawful detentions, and other gross violations of the U.S. Constitution and international law, and redefine what constitutes a war crime -- all in order to protect the guilty. [Read story.]

Political cartoonist Mark Fiore nails it with his latest animation. [Check it out.]

13 September 2006

27 die in mass Iraqi execution

United Press International recently reported that the Iraqi authorities have executed 26 men and one woman in that country's first mass execution since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. And where do you suppose they erected the gallows? Abu Ghraib! [Read story.]

Hundreds more are supposedly on Iraq's death row, awaiting their turn.

Given the current political issues in Iraq, I wonder how many of these death row prisoners got a truly fair trial.

This is the Texas-style "democracy" that Bush wanted to spread to that part of the world.

Extraordinary rendition: Amnesty vs. Bush

Most politically aware Americans have likely heard by now of the Bush administration's practice of "extraordinary rendition", which involves sending prisoners abroad for interrogation in other countries that are known to practice torture.

In a recent article at AlterNet, my Amnesty International colleague Margaret Satterthwaite profiles two innocent victims of extraordinary rendition, and then examines the legal issues surrounding the practice.

To read Margaret's piece, click here.

Then, for a video of Bush defending this stuff (and dissing Amnesty International) while being questioned by Matt Lauer, click here. Bush's body language says so much more than his lame talking points.

12 September 2006

GOP officials say they'll resort to attack ads

An article in last Sunday's Washington Post said that the Republicans are planning to launch a massive mud-slinging campaign over the 60 days leading up to the November elections. [Read story.]

They are planning to go hard and personal.

This is a sign that the Republicans know that they can't run on their records. They can't run on the issues. So their best bet is to "swift boat" the competition.

Can Middle America see through the mud?

11 September 2006

Instead of true leadership, five years of this

As I write this on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, my heart goes out to the families of the victims. And my heart goes out to all my fellow Americans. We have so many reasons to be sad on this day, as we mourn not only the loss of those 2,973 innocent lives, but also the loss of the America that I was so proud to be a part of.

Five years ago, we looked to our leaders to defend us. Instead, what did we see?

We saw a President who sat frozen in a classroom as the Twin Towers burned.

We saw a premature withdrawal from Afghanistan, with Osama bin Laden still on the loose, and the Taliban (and poppy fields) growing back bigger, stronger, and more dangerous than ever.

We saw our troops sent off to fight a war of aggression, a war based on lies, in a country that never posed a threat to us. And they didn't even have enough armor to protect them.

We saw the torture of human beings, done in our name and with our tax dollars.

We saw the steady erosion of our civil liberties, which our founding fathers had defined as unalienable.

We saw right-wing pundits calling on us to be suspicious of anyone who looks or sounds Middle Eastern. In this new America, you are guilty until proven innocent (if you even get a chance to prove your innocence).

We saw the good will of the world, which was ours for the days and weeks following 9/11, morph into disappointment, and then fear, and then disgust, and then hatred, as the Bush agenda unfolded.

Osama probably couldn't be happier.

Indeed, there is much to mourn today.

But there is some good news (for some): Halliburton has made a fortune in profits.

I miss the world as it was before 9/11. But, most of all, I miss my America.

10 September 2006

Bush declares war on human rights

This past week, George W. Bush used his "war on terror" to escalate his war on human rights.

In the words of Amnesty International, "President Bush on national television defended cruel and humiliating treatment of detainees, asked Congress to support an illegal secret detention regime, and then proposed legislation that would legalize the sham military commission that the Supreme Court has repudiated."

In other words, Bush is trying to legalize lawlessness to suit his agenda.

The agenda is all that matters to him. Humanity doesn't matter.

This is not the America that our founding fathers fought for.

09 September 2006

ABC's 9/11 mockudrama: It gets worse

It's bad enough that ABC is still planning to air The Path to 9/11, a misleading 9/11 work of partisan fiction posing as a documentary, this Sunday and Monday nights. Now I have learned that the Monday night episode will be interrupted at 9:00 pm for a speech by George W. Bush commemorating the fifth anniversary of 9/11.

Part 2 of the miniseries will begin at 8:00 eastern time on Monday night, pause at 9:00 for an 18-minute Bush speech, followed by the remainder of the movie.

This will give the sheep even more reason to believe that it's a true, patriotic documentary.

This isn't "free speech". This is our public airwaves being used for partisan propaganda -- conveniently timed with the mid-term elections only two months away.

08 September 2006

New video of Osama with the 9/11 hijackers: Where's Saddam?

The big news story yesterday was about a videotape aired by Al-Jazeera which allegedly shows Osama bin Laden with the 9/11 hijackers as they were being trained for their mission. [Read story.]

Saddam Hussein did not appear in that video, as far as I know. So where was he?

Oh, yeah, that's right -- Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 or any other terrorist attack on this country.

So why are we there, Mr. President? Oil, perhaps?

07 September 2006

Senate votes to kill more innocent civilians

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate voted to continue using cluster bombs, and selling them to other countries. [Read story.]

Cluster bombs are notorious for posing a danger to to civilians. Each cluster contains numerous "bomblets", at least 5% of which do not explode upon impact. They therefore become defacto anti-personnel mines. What's worse is that the little bomblets look like brightly colored toys, which attract curious children. Boom! Dead child.

This is our government.

06 September 2006

Taking the "docu" out of ABC's 9/11 "docudrama"

TV viewers beware:

This coming Sunday and Monday, September 10 and 11, ABC will air a two-part, six-hour "docudrama" about 9/11. I put "docudrama" in quotes because the "docu" part suggests that it's a factual documentary. But experts in the field say that it's much more a politically biased work of fiction.

Those experts include Richard Clarke, former counter-terrorism adviser to Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.

In other words, the people who were actually there are telling us that this ABC flick is a pack of partisan lies.

And here is perhaps the most ironic aspect of this thing: Richard Clarke now serves as a counterterrism analyst for ABC. But apparently they didn't feel they should run this thing past him while it was still on the editing table. Gotta wonder why.

[Read a disturbing article about this.]

[Read Richard Clarke's debunking of the movie.]

05 September 2006

Santorum defends malpractice

With the campaign season heating up, we're once again finding ourselves besieged by TV and radio ads by candidates slinging political mud at their opponents.

Here in Pennsylvania, ultra-conservative Republican Senator Rick Santorum has wasted no time filling the airwaves with attacks aimed at his slightly less conservative Democratic challenger Bob Casey.

The Santorum campaign ad that most caught my attention so far this season is one in which Casey is criticized for opposing tort reform.

Of course, Santorum's ad uses very carefully crafted wording. The ad talks about how Santorum stands up for the rights of doctors who are being driven from the state by money-hungry trial lawyers. Move over, Mother Teresa.

For years, Santorum has campaigned against high awards for plaintiffs in medical malpractice suits, and has called for a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages for pain and suffering. But wait! Santorum forgets to mention that he supported his wife's attempts to win $500,000 in damages in a malpractice case against her chiropractor in 1999. That's twice the limit that Santorum would like to impose on everyone else.

Hypocrisy aside, let's take a look at what the issue is really all about - and what it's NOT about.

It's not about lawyers. It's not about greed. It's about the rights of everyday people who suddenly find themselves victims of preventable medical errors.

It's about the man who had the wrong leg amputated.

It's about the woman who had an unnecessary mastectomy because of a false cancer diagnosis.

It's about the baby who will have to live with cerebral palsy and mental retardation because of a mismanaged labor and delivery.

And it's about the more than 100,000 patients who are killed each year due to medical negligence or wrongdoing.

Santorum is apparently too busy pandering for votes from the physicians' associations to care about the victims.

And he is apparently too busy pandering for votes to care about the real problems at the core of the issue.

Santorum blames the issue on the lawyers who represent the victims and win large awards. He blames them for driving up the malpractice insurance premiums that doctors must pay. And he blames them for driving the physicians out of Pennsylvania in search of states with lower liability costs. That's just the kind of political rhetoric that raises emotions and wins votes, but obfuscates the real nature of the problem. And the real nature of the problem is two-fold.

First, the economy is partially to blame. Insurance companies typically invest their capital in the stock market and interest-bearing investments. When the stock market and interest rates are down, insurance companies have a harder time paying malpractice awards. So premiums go up, the doctors complain, and Rick Santorum jumps.

Which leads me to to the second cause of the problem: malpractice itself. By campaigning for tort reform, Santorum is trying to do away with the last resort of average American people against physicians who do them harm. He is, in effect, telling us that "malpractice happens," and that physicians shouldn't have to pay so much for their mistakes. The victims should just get over it.

The physicians who support tort reform need to remember the Hippocratic Oath, by which they swore to do no harm.

And the medical community and our lawmakers should be working together to address the real cause of malpractice - incompetent physicians - and not just the symptoms.

04 September 2006

What are we celebrating on this Labor Day?

Today is Labor Day in the USA, a day set aside each year as a tribute to the American worker.

But what is there to celebrate this year?

Our jobs are being shipped to India and China, where employees are willing to work for a fraction of what their American counterparts would be paid, and where labor laws are much looser.

Corporations are engaging in extreme union busting, so they can retain only non-union employees who are so desperate for work that they'll accept poverty-level wages.

The gap between the rich and the poor in this country grows ever wider.

The middle class is shrinking, and the American dream has become a pipe dream.

America is being sold to the lowest bidders.

But there is some good news: If you're already rich, you're getting even richer.

Happy Labor Day.

03 September 2006

The new Johnny Walker: American al-Qaida mugs for the cameras (and offers further proof that racial profiling is a dangerous waste of time)

I've long preached that racial profiling is a waste of time and resources (in addition to being blatantly discriminatory).

John Walker Lindh, the California-raised "American Taliban" was the first to prove my point.

Then Richard Reid, the British shoe bomber of West Indian ancestry.

Then Jose Padilla, an Hispanic gang member and alleged "dirty bomber".

Now we have an American kid (called the "American al-Qaeda") showing up on our TV screens calling on all Americans to convert to Islam "before it's too late." [Read story.]

Bottom line: Bush's foreign policy is creating terrorists of all races.

Best for the officials to worry about what people are doing, not what they look like. And start addressing the true roots of terrorism.

02 September 2006

What mission accomplished?

My blood continues to boil.

On 01 May 2003, George W. Bush stood on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, under a banner that read "Mission Accomplished", and had the hubris to declare, "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed."

That was 1,220 days ago.

Since then, 2,505 more U.S. troops have died, bringing this morning's total up to 2,642.

Think about it:

Three and a half years ago, Bush said we won. Yet people keep dying on both sides. The occupation is far more costly, in so many ways, than Bush's initial "victorious" battle of Iraq.

Just check out this week's day-by-day dead U.S. troop count:

• Sun 27 Aug: 2,621
• Mon 28 Aug: 2,624
• Tue 29 Aug: 2,630
• Wed 30 Aug: 2,637
• Thu 31 Aug: 2,639
• Fri 01 Sep: 2,641
• Sat 02 Sep: 2,642

This morning I was actually pleased for a moment to find that the count had increased by only 1 for a change.

And the civilian body count is in the tens of thousands (at least). That's tens of thousands of innocent iraqi men, women, and children.

How many more must die for Bush's agenda?

01 September 2006

I wish they all could be California pols

I'm no fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger, aside from the first Terminator film, and maybe the second. But I always try to give credit where it's due.

On Wednesday, Governor Schwarzenegger made a deal with California's Democratic-controlled legislature to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent by the year 2020. [Read story.]


In doing so, the aptly-nicknamed Golden State thumbed its legislative nose at the Bush administration's refusal to accept the virtually unanimous agreement by the peer-reviewed scientific community that we really, really, really need to curb our emissions.

And, in doing so, California thumbed its legislative nose at the Bush administration's disdain for the Kyoto Treaty which, if signed, would inconvenience Bush's corporate bedpartners by forcing them to spend some pocket change to reduce their emissions.

I want to see 49 other states following California's lead on this issue.