10/04/07 Get This
1. Double Indemnity: Lieutenant Ehren Watada's second court martial gets underway next Tuesday at Fort Lewis, Washington. Ironically, Watada, the first Army officer to actually refuse to obey an illegal order to go to Iraq and kill Iraqis, has drawn the old "double jeopardy" card. This, while a Blackwater USA employee (Also a Washington resident) who went a booze-fueled rampage on Christmas Eve in Baghdad's Green Zone and killed the Iraqi VP's security guard - this guy is going to Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free. (He should at least write a nice 'thank you' note to Paul Bremer, Viceroy of Baghdad during the reign of the Coalition Provisional Authority, for passing a law making Americans immune to prosecution in Iraq... .)
2. 'Can I Top That Off For You?' Like some creaky Soviet behemoth, Operation TopOff-4 gets underway next week (Maybe we can have a tractor show and beet-pulling contest afterwards... ). And now it's official: The weird "terrorism" exercises have been formally announced. And it's about time the general populace was informed that the Steele Bridge "could come in the form of a mushroom cloud." (Stock up on toilet paper: You're going to need it... )
3. ID Fixee: The Guv is still agonizing over the Real ID conumdrum: It's going to be expensive to implement and people are going to hate it. It is going to cause legal snafus up the kazoo and tie up the courts and cost the State untold millions in wrongful prosecution lawsuits. It's a no-win situation, but it's got your picture and fingerprints all over it... Kulongoski is going to punt and let the 2008 legislative session cope with it.
4. Do The Math: About 25 percent of Oregon's school districts are going to use a new law allowing them to tax new residential and industrial development. (Presumably the other 75 percent are the ones that flunked math and don't understand what a sweet deal this is... )
5. Texas Hold'em, DC-Style: Most of Oregon's congressional delegation will support an override of Bush's S-CHIP veto. (Bush doesn't care: He'll be glad if he can just get through these last months without being smoked by the thuggish underlings working for the Real power brokers... )
6. Quid Est Demonstrandum: How is it possible that a Blackwater USA employee can get drunk in Baghdad, shoot an Iraqi security guard, evade justice in Iraq, get his ass shipped home, and avoid prosecution stateside because he got fired and is no longer in Iraq? Good question! Let's drive to Seattle and ask the US Attorney's Office - quick, before he too gets sacked...
7. Said it before and I'll say it again: What happens in Baghdad Stays in Baghdad. So Congress, the Senate and the 'American People' all are outraged at the freewheeling mercs of Blackwater, et al, and they are demanding an investigation. So the intrepid Feds get their tickets stamped and are off to Iraq to see whazzup with these Blackwtaer guys. But Baghdad is a dangerous place and they're going to need weapons-grade protection. So, 'Who ya gonna call?' That's right: Blackwater is protecting the Blackwater investigation.
8. The ACLU wants the Supreme Court to take another look at Bush's warrantless wiretapping program. Earlier this year the Civil Liberty's suit was dismissed by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which said the plaintiffs couldn't sue the government because they couldn't prove their communications were intercepted. "Speak into the lampshade, please... "
9. ICE-capades: In California, more than 13 hundred foreign nationals from at least 30 nations were rounded up in the biggest immigration sweep yet. (Mind you, some of this "sweeping" was easy since the immigrants were already incarcerated... )
10. Coincidence? Los Angeles County Sheriffs' deputies have been competing in organized contests to see who could make the most arrests, who could impound the most vehicles, and who could question the most gang members in a 24-hour period. "Operation Any Booking" looked like a real winner until the general public got wind of it and raised an eyebrow or two and Sheriff Lee Baca admitted the idea promoted "the wrong values."
11. The Oklahoma Attorney General is putting a hold on executions (To let Burma catch up?)
12. Amnesty International has helpfully pointed out that Execution American-style has resulted in at least - at least - nine horrific situations in which convicts did not go gentle into that good night. One fellow reportedly yelled, "It don't work." five times before expiring. How many times does a man have to tell these people that they just aren't trying hard enough?)
13. The Senate Judiciary Committee is trying again to tackle a bill that would shield reporters from being forced to reveal their sources. (Next up: a bill preventing journalists from experiencing mysterious car accidents, "suicides", falls off cliffs and out of hotel windows and assorted other calamities... )
14. So far, rescue workers have managed to get about two thousand workers out of a South African gold mine where they were trapped when a pipe broke off and fell down a shaft. Only one thousand five hundred to go... And they say that safety standards in African mines are top notch...
15. The World Bank has been encouraging logging companies to rape and pillage forests in the Congo that are - in point of fact - supplying the world's breathing populations with air. (But that's okay: When supplies run low, the World Bank can sell air to the highest bidders. Or maybe we can make it out of soybeans or toxic algae.)
16. Six Palestinians are dead as a result of genocidal Israeli violence in Gaza.
17. And Russia says that if Bush wants to militarize Space, Putin will see that and raise him ten...