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but, .....I repeat myself.
Suppose you were a heartless bastard, and suppose you were a Republican, but, .....I repeat myself. Mark Twain
Sunday, February 22, 2004
European integration continues

Reuters Alternet - European Greens unite to boost election hopes
ROME, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Europe's green parties united under a single banner on Saturday, forming a continent-wide party which they hope will strengthen their showing in June's European elections.
They want "to green Europe", phasing out nuclear energy, promoting renewable energy and campaigning against genetically modified food.
Politicians with green stripes currently hold 44 of the 626 European Parliament seats in a loose federation but with their united approach under the slogan "Europe, let's have a party!" they hope to reap bigger gains.
"I have no shame in saying that today we're making history -- we're the first party to have a European structure," Daniel Cohn-Bendit, co-president of the Greens in the European Parliament, told the launch conference on Saturday.

European integration continues, I wonder how long it will take for the Socialist & Communist to create a single Pan-European political party. This process as it continues can only lead to a single European foreign policy.

Sunday, February 15, 2004
And the Shrub Misadministration racks up another success
US infant-mortality rate increases for first time in 40 years
WASHINGTON -- The number of US babies dying shortly after birth has crept up for the first time in more than four decades, federal health officials reported yesterday.
The cause of the small but disturbing rise remains unclear, but it may be a combination of the surge in older women having babies, the popularity of fertility treatments, and, paradoxically, advancements in identifying and saving fetuses in distress, specialists said.
Nevertheless, the surprising increase has raised alarm because the infant mortality rate is considered a fundamental measure of a society's well-being.
"It's always a matter of concern when an important measure of public health such as infant mortality increases," said Joyce Martin of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which released the new numbers. "It's so basic. The saving of young lives is important to everyone."

I am not sure why these people think that the cause is unclear, Poverty is up, unemployment is up, Median wages are down, the number of Uninsured is up.

The United States has long had one of the highest infant mortality rates among developed countries, and the rate had either declined or remained steady every year since 1958. So government scientists were caught off guard when a preliminary analysis of the most recent data showed that the infant mortality rate had inched up 3 percent, climbing from 6.8 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2001 to 7.0 deaths in 2002.

Here is a table ranking countries by Infant mortality rate

Sunday, February 08, 2004
New York Times - Interactive Graphic: Race for the White House

Washington * 76 delegates
Kerry 48.4%
Dean 30.0%
Kucinich 8.2%
Edwards 6.7%
Clark 3.3%
Sharpton 0.1%
99% Reporting ·Full Results

Michigan * 128 delegates
Kerry 51.7%
Dean 16.6%
Edwards 13.5%
Sharpton 6.9%
Clark 6.7%
Kucinich 3.2%
100% Reporting ·Full Results

Stick a fork in Dean, he 's done. I hate to say this since I have been a supporter, and for the first time in my life I have actually given money to a political campaign.
Now, ideologically, I am to the left of Dean, so why did I support him? Simple, he was the only Democrat who was willing to stand up to Shrub and his party of right wing reactionaries in the House and Senate. While I believe that Kerry would undoubtly be far better President than Shrub could ever be, I am not sure that he is willing or able to stand up to the Propaganda/Smear machine that the republicans have built over the last twenty plus years.

I' am an ABB (anybody but Bush) so I'll vote for Kerry and encourage any and everyone that I meet to vote for him to, and if he actually fights back and stands up for himself, I'll toss in a couple of bucks.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004
IOL - 'Israel knew Iraq had no nuclear weapons'
Jerusalem - A government critic said on Tuesday that Israel was aware before the war against Iraq that Saddam Hussein did not possess weapons of mass destruction, but Israel did not inform the United States.
Israel put itself on war footing before the US invasion last year, passing out gas mask kits to its citizens and then ordering them to open the kits, a step that eventually will cost millions, since components would have to be replaced.
But lawmaker Yossi Sarid, a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, said on Tuesday that Israeli intelligence knew beforehand that Iraq had no weapons stockpiles and misled US President George Bush.
'Israel didn't want to spoil President Bush's scenario'
In contrast, a lawmaker from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Likud Party said Israel had shared its doubts with the Americans.

The Guardian - Special report: politics and Iraq Intelligence assessment queried danger from Saddam's weapons
A secret intelligence assessment issued immediately before Britain invaded Iraq indicated that Saddam Hussein's weapons posed much less of a threat than its published dossier implied, the government has admitted.
It has also admitted that intelligence on any chemical and biological weapons Iraq might have deployed was "sparse".
The admissions come in the government's response to the parliamentary intelligence and security committee's report last year which severely criticised the dossier but cleared Downing Street of "sexing it up".

The Telegraph- Blair admits ignorance on WMD
Tony Blair admitted yesterday that when he asked MPs to vote for war he had been unaware that the claim that Iraq could deploy weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes referred only to battlefield weapons, not missiles.
The Government did nothing to correct the impression given by the September 2002 dossier that the claim referred to longer range weapons, including ballistic missiles, which could deliver chemical or biological warheads.

So basically, the Israelis knew that Saddam didn't have any WMDs, Tony the Poodle deliberately misinformed himself and Shrub just wanted his little war. If it wasn't for the fact that we have 500 + dead CPA troops, a few thousand wounded CPA troops and lord know how many dead Iraqis, this would make for a most hillarious farce. Unfortunatly farce has turned into tragedy, as it often does.

Monday, February 02, 2004
Rights Groups Overseas Fight U.S. Concerns in U.S. Courts
The New York Times
June 26, 2003


LA LOMA, Colombia — In March 2001, during what union members describe as a labor dispute, two union leaders were pulled off a company bus after it left the coal mining compound here and were shot dead by paramilitary gunmen. Six months later another union leader was also assassinated.
For Colombia, such killings are routine; nearly 90 percent of union leaders reported killed worldwide die here. Few of the murders are ever resolved.
But the company involved, Drummond, is American, and last year an American labor rights group filed suit in a United States district court charging that the killers "were acting as employees or agents" of the company.
Drummond, based in Birmingham, Ala., denies any involvement. "We're not disputing the plaintiffs' claim that it was paramilitary terrorists," said William Jeffress, a Washington lawyer representing the company. "But we do dispute the outrageous accusations that these people were working with Drummond."
The case is one of a growing number of lawsuits that are stirring a fierce debate over whether American companies should be liable — in American courts — for rights abuses committed on or near their foreign installations.

This is the kind of crap that creates anti-americanism, and is never reported on the TV news or discussed by the punditocracy , whether it's Cable or Broadcast, which is why Americans end up asking stupid questions like Why do they hate us? to which Shrub can then tell us that "They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other."(-- George W. Bush, Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, September 20, 2001)

The Price of Empire
Mercury News - Iraq, Afghanistan funds not part of defense budget
WASHINGTON - President Bush is asking Congress for $401.7 billion in military spending for 2005, including huge outlays for new manned and unmanned aircraft, advanced ships, missile defense and precision weapons.
The proposal represents a 7 percent increase over fiscal 2004.
American military budgets have increased steadily for the past six years. The Bush administration plans for military spending to grow $20 billion a year over the next five years. The current defense-budget proposal projects that spending will reach $487.7 billion by 2009.
The 2005 proposal represents 3.6 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, according to Pentagon estimates. Defense spending is up from 2.9 percent of GDP in fiscal year 2000, but down from 8.9 percent during 1968, at the height of the Vietnam War, according to Pentagon figures. Spending is also down from 6 percent of GDP during the military buildup of the Reagan administration, according to Pentagon figures.
Noticeably absent from next year's request is money for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. White House budget director Joshua Bolten estimated that another $50 billion would be needed to cover those costs next year. The White House expects to cover the war costs with supplemental funds after next fall's elections.

Reuters - Bush Wants Steady Increases in Military Spending
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush on Monday proposed a $401.7 billion U.S. defense budget for next year in a plan that would steadily increase military spending to $487.8 billion in five years despite growing federal budget deficits.
The proposal for financial 2005 beginning next Oct. 1 is a 7 percent increase over current defense spending and is sure to stir bitter debate in Congress over Bush's call to boost funding for missile defense by $1.2 billion next year.
It would also nearly double current funding to modernize the Army and increase spending on unmanned spy planes for use in Iraq and to help fight the U.S.-declared war on terrorism.
The five-year U.S. defense plan beginning next year includes anticipated boosts to $422.7 billion in fiscal 2006, $443.9 billion in 2007, $475.7 billion in 2008 and $487.7 billion in 2009.

3.6% of GDP on the military, and this does not include the $50 billion to keep our little wars in Eurasia going. This money is obviously not enough to keep us safe from the various boogie men that the military industrial complex has created for us, therefor we will increase the military budget untill we drive the country into total Bankrupcy. If we, the American people do not start getting a grip on reality, our media created paranoia will send us the way of the USSR. We are spending more on defense than all of our Allies (the ones we still have) and all of our ennemies combined.

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