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Topics - TrojanChispas

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General Off-Topic Board / Military Commissions Act of 2006
« on: October 23, 2006, 09:17:58 AM »
Well?  Has anyone heard of this?  Is due process a right that should be extended to people ACCUSED of terrorism?


Calamitous presidents, faced with enormous difficulties -- Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Hoover and now Bush -- have divided the nation, governed erratically and left the nation worse off. In each case, different factors contributed to the failure: disastrous domestic policies, foreign-policy blunders and military setbacks, executive misconduct, crises of credibility and public trust. Bush, however, is one of the rarities in presidential history: He has not only stumbled badly in every one of these key areas, he has also displayed a weakness common among the greatest presidential failures -- an unswerving adherence to a simplistic ideology that abjures deviation from dogma as heresy, thus preventing any pragmatic adjustment to changing realities. Repeatedly, Bush has undone himself, a failing revealed in each major area of presidential performance.


On September 10th, 2001, he held among the lowest ratings of any modern president for that point in a first term. (Only Gerald Ford, his popularity reeling after his pardon of Nixon, had comparable numbers.) The attacks the following day transformed Bush's presidency, giving him an extraordinary opportunity to achieve greatness. Some of the early signs were encouraging. Bush's simple, unflinching eloquence and his quick toppling of the Taliban government in Afghanistan rallied the nation. Yet even then, Bush wasted his chance by quickly choosing partisanship over leadership.

No other president -- Lincoln in the Civil War, FDR in World War II, John F. Kennedy at critical moments of the Cold War -- faced with such a monumental set of military and political circumstances failed to embrace the opposing political party to help wage a truly national struggle. But Bush shut out and even demonized the Democrats. Top military advisers and even members of the president's own Cabinet who expressed any reservations or criticisms of his policies -- including retired Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni and former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill -- suffered either dismissal, smear attacks from the president's supporters or investigations into their alleged breaches of national security.

All the while, Bush and the most powerful figures in the administration, Vice President male private part Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, were planting the seeds for the crises to come by diverting the struggle against Al Qaeda toward an all-out effort to topple their pre-existing target, Saddam Hussein. In a deliberate political decision, the administration stampeded the Congress and a traumatized citizenry into the Iraq invasion on the basis of what has now been demonstrated to be tendentious and perhaps fabricated evidence of an imminent Iraqi threat to American security, one that the White House suggested included nuclear weapons. Instead of emphasizing any political, diplomatic or humanitarian aspects of a war on Iraq -- an appeal that would have sounded too "sensitive," as Cheney once sneered -- the administration built a "Bush Doctrine" of unprovoked, preventive warfare, based on speculative threats and embracing principles previously abjured by every previous generation of U.S. foreign policy-makers, even at the height of the Cold War. The president did so with premises founded, in the case of Iraq, on wishful thinking.

He did so while proclaiming an expansive Wilsonian rhetoric of making the world safe for democracy -- yet discarding the multilateralism and systems of international law (including the Geneva Conventions) that emanated from Wilson's idealism. He did so while dismissing intelligence that an American invasion could spark a long and bloody civil war among Iraq's fierce religious and ethnic rivals, reports that have since proved true. And he did so after repeated warnings by military officials such as Gen. Eric Shinseki that pacifying postwar Iraq would require hundreds of thousands of American troops -- accurate estimates that Paul Wolfowitz and other Bush policy gurus ridiculed as "wildly off the mark."

The heart of Bush's domestic policy has turned out to be nothing more than a series of massively regressive tax cuts -- a return, with a vengeance, to the discredited Reagan-era supply-side faith that Bush's father once ridiculed as "voodoo economics."

While wiping out the solid Clinton-era federal surplus and raising federal deficits to staggering record levels, Bush's tax policies have necessitated hikes in federal fees, state and local taxes, and co-payment charges to needy veterans and families who rely on Medicaid, along with cuts in loan programs to small businesses and college students, and in a wide range of state services. The lion's share of benefits from the tax cuts has gone to the very richest Americans, while new business investment has increased at a historically sluggish rate since the peak of the last business cycle five years ago. Private-sector job growth since 2001 has been anemic compared to the Bush administration's original forecasts and is chiefly attributable not to the tax cuts but to increased federal spending, especially on defense. Real wages for middle-income Americans have been dropping since the end of 2003: Last year, on average, nominal wages grew by only 2.4 percent, a meager gain that was completely erased by an average inflation rate of 3.4 percent.

General Off-Topic Board / Social Security [Rate a Joke]
« on: April 19, 2006, 03:25:18 PM »
A retired gentleman went to the social security office to apply for Social Security.
The woman behind the counter asked him for his driver's license to verify his age. He looked in his pockets and realized he had left his wallet at home. He told the woman that he was very sorry but he seemed to have left his wallet at home. "I will have to go home and come back later." The woman says, "Unbutton your shirt." So he opens his shirt revealing curly silver hair. She says, "That silver hair on your chest is proof enough for me" and she processed his Social Security application.
When he gets home, the man excitedly tells his wife about his experience at the social security office. She says, "You should have dropped your pants. You might have gotten disability too."

And now, ladies and gentlemen, we can add another reason this administration will go down in infamy.

Indicted ex-Cheney aide told grand jury of White House approval

APRIL 6--A former top aide to Vice President male private part Cheney told a federal grand jury that President George W. Bush authorized him to leak information from a classified intelligence report to a New York Times reporter. Details of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's testimony were included in a court filing made yesterday by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, who is prosecuting Libby for perjury, obstruction of justice, and making false statements in connection with the probe into the leaking of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity. According to Fitzgerald's filing, an excerpt of which you'll find below, Libby, 55, testified in 2003 that he provided reporter Judith Miller with information from a classified National Intelligence Estimate after being told by Cheney that Bush "specifically had authorized" him to "disclose certain information in the NIE." Libby also testified that Cheney specifically directed him to speak to other reporters about information in the classified NIE (which addressed Iraq's purported weapons of mass destruction programs) as well as a cable authored by Plame's husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson. The leaking of the classified material was apparently done in an effort to counter claims made by Wilson regarding the White House's justification for invading Iraq. The Fitzgerald filing also notes that Libby told grand jurors that he conferred with David Addington, Cheney's counsel, about the leak directive and that Addington told him "that Presidential authorization to publicly disclose a document amounted to a declassification of the document." While both Bush and Cheney have been interviewed by Fitzgerald, it is unknown whether they confirmed or disputed Libby's assertion that he was authorized to disclose findings in classified reports. Libby, Cheney's former chief of staff, resigned his White House post last October following his indictment on five felony counts.

Well?  I'm just curious what people think, because I cannot tell if this guy is actually crazy or just pretending to be.  It seems like a collision between the US and Iran is becoming more inevitable everyday.  Maybe Iranian state television didnt show the firework show that was Iraq in the begining of the invasion, but if I were him, I wouldnt tempt Cheney & Co. to remodel Iran and send the people to the hills.  Dude should just take a look around at his country and then try and imagine it with bombs raining like they dont cost thousands of dollars a piece. 

General Off-Topic Board / The Situation with Iran
« on: February 14, 2006, 07:06:33 PM »
It looks like Iran presents a much greater threat to the US and it's allies.  The US is in a quandry because either course of action is totally screwed
1. diplomacy will be fine until Iran has a bomb and decides to actually wipe Israel off the map
2. attacking in the near future will open up a whole quarry of worms.

What should the US do?

General Off-Topic Board / Funny Joke Thread
« on: February 11, 2006, 12:30:15 AM »
A third grade teacher wanted to give a taste test to her students.  She brought little Timmy to the front, blindfolded him and put a Hershey's Kiss in his mouth but he didnt know what it was.  She says, "I'll give you a hint: it is something that daddy wants from mommy before work everyday."  Little Susy stands up in the back of the class and shouts, "Spit it out! It's a piece of ASS!"

General Off-Topic Board / Shabbat Shalom!
« on: February 11, 2006, 12:19:14 AM »
This week's parsha:

Exodus 13:17-17:16

 17 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not by the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said: 'Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt.'  18 But God led the people about, by the way of the wilderness by the Red Sea; and the children of Israel went up armed out of the land of Egypt.  19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him; for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying: 'God will surely remember you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you.'  20 And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness.  21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; that they might go by day and by night:  22 the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night, departed not from before the people. {P}

1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying:  2 'Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn back and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, before Baal-zephon, over against it shall ye encamp by the sea.  3 And Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel: They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in.  4 And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he shall follow after them; and I will get Me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD.' And they did so.  5 And it was told the king of Egypt that the people were fled; and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned towards the people, and they said: 'What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?  6 And he made ready his chariots, and took his people with him.  7 And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over all of them.  8 And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel; for the children of Israel went out with a high hand.  9 And the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.  10 And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians were marching after them; and they were sore afraid; and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD.  11 And they said unto Moses: 'Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to bring us forth out of Egypt?  12 Is not this the word that we spoke unto thee in Egypt, saying: Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it were better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.'  13 And Moses said unto the people: 'Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will work for you to-day; for whereas ye have seen the Egyptians to-day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.  14 The LORD will fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.' {P}

15 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Wherefore criest thou unto Me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward. 16 And lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thy hand over the sea, and divide it; and the children of Israel shall go into the midst of the sea on dry ground. 17 And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall go in after them; and I will get Me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. 18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten Me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.' 19 And the angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud removed from before them, and stood behind them; 20 and it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud and the darkness here, yet gave it light by night there; and the one came not near the other all the night. 21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all the night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. 23 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 24 And it came to pass in the morning watch, that the LORD looked forth upon the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of cloud, and discomfited the host of the Egyptians. 25 And He took off their chariot wheels, and made them to drive heavily; so that the Egyptians said: 'Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians.' {P}

26 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Stretch out thy hand over the sea, that the waters may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.' 27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, even all the host of Pharaoh that went in after them into the sea; there remained not so much as one of them. 29 But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. 30 Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea-shore. 31 And Israel saw the great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians, and the people feared the LORD; and they believed in the LORD, and in His servant Moses. {P}

1 Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spoke, saying: I will sing unto the LORD, for He is highly exalted; the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea.  2 The LORD is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation; this is my God, and I will glorify Him; my father's God, and I will exalt Him.  3 The LORD is a man of war, The LORD is His name.  4 Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath He cast into the sea, and his chosen captains are sunk in the Red Sea.  5 The deeps cover them--they went down into the depths like a stone.  6 Thy right hand, O LORD, glorious in power, Thy right hand, O LORD, dasheth in pieces the enemy.  7 And in the greatness of Thine excellency Thou overthrowest them that rise up against Thee; Thou sendest forth Thy wrath, it consumeth them as stubble.  8 And with the blast of Thy nostrils the waters were piled up--the floods stood upright as a heap; the deeps were congealed in the heart of the sea.  9 The enemy said: 'I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.'  10 Thou didst blow with Thy wind, the sea covered them; they sank as lead in the mighty waters.  11 Who is like unto Thee, O LORD, among the mighty? who is like unto Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?  12 Thou stretchedst out Thy right hand--the earth swallowed them.  13 Thou in Thy love hast led the people that Thou hast redeemed; Thou hast guided them in Thy strength to Thy holy habitation.  14 The peoples have heard, they tremble; pangs have taken hold on the inhabitants of Philistia.  15 Then were the chiefs of Edom affrighted; the mighty men of Moab, trembling taketh hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan are melted away.  16 Terror and dread falleth upon them; by the greatness of Thine arm they are as still as a stone; till Thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over that Thou hast gotten.  17 Thou bringest them in, and plantest them in the mountain of Thine inheritance, the place, O LORD, which Thou hast made for Thee to dwell in, the sanctuary, O Lord, which Thy hands have established.  18 The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.  19 For the horses of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought back the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel walked on dry land in the midst of the sea. {P}

Ex-Cheney Aide Testified Leak Was Ordered, Prosecutor Says

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 I. Lewis Libby Jr., the former chief of staff to Vice President male private part Cheney, told a grand jury that he was authorized by his "superiors" to disclose classified information to reporters about Iraq's weapons capability in June and July 2003, according to a document filed by a federal prosecutor.

The document shows that Mr. Libby, known as Scooter, was actively engaged in the Bush administration's public relations effort to rebut complaints that there was little evidence to support the claim that Saddam Hussein possessed or sought weapons of mass destruction, which was used to justify the invasion of Iraq.

The document is part of the prosecutors' case against Mr. Libby, who has been indicted on charges that he lied about his role in exposing the identity of a C.I.A. operative to journalists.

The prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, said in a letter to Mr. Libby's lawyers last month that Mr. Libby had testified before the grand jury that "he had contacts with reporters in which he disclosed the content of the National Intelligence Estimate ('NIE')," that discussed Iraq's nuclear weapons capability. "We also note that it is our understanding that Mr. Libby testified that he was authorized to disclose information about the NIE to the press by his superiors."

Mr. Libby was indicted on five counts of perjury and obstruction of justice last October in what Mr. Fitzgerald has charged was a willful misleading of investigators about his role in exposing Valerie Wilson as an officer of the Central Intelligence Agency. Ms. Wilson is the wife of Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former ambassador who had accused the administration of twisting intelligence about Iraq's efforts to buy uranium from the government of Niger.

Ms. Wilson's identity was first disclosed in a column by Robert D. Novak in July 2003, just after Mr. Wilson wrote an Op-Ed column in The New York Times saying he had investigated the Niger claim and found little evidence to support it. Mr. Wilson charged that destroying his wife's undercover status was a way to discredit him and his assertions.

The prosecutor's note of Jan. 23 does not, however, make any reference to Mr. Libby's involvement in the disclosure of Ms. Wilson's identity. It seems, rather, to be part of an effort by the prosecutor to demonstrate that Mr. Libby was engaged in using secret information to press the administration's case at the same time that Ms. Wilson's identity was leaked to reporters.

The letter was first reported Thursday by the National Journal, which said its sources had identified that one of the superiors was Mr. Cheney.

The National Intelligence Estimate, which was done in October 2002, said that Iraq "will probably have a nuclear weapon during this decade," but it included some dissenting views. The report was classified.

But amid doubts about the rationale for the invasion of Iraq some of which were attributable to Mr. Wilson's Op-Ed article, the administration declassified the report on July 18.

Mr. Fitzgerald said in his letter that Mr. Libby discussed the contents of the classified report in a July 8 meeting 10 days before it was declassified with Judith Miller, then a reporter at The Times. Ms. Miller, who spent 85 days in jail before agreeing to testify in the leak case, has told the grand jury that Mr. Libby told her about Ms. Wilson at the same meeting.

Mr. Fitzgerald said that Mr. Libby's testimony showed how Ms. Wilson's status was disclosed. "Our anticipated basis for offering such evidence is that such facts are inextricably intertwined with the narrative of the events of spring, 2003, as Libby's testimony itself makes plain," he wrote.

Mr. Libby's lawyers have already suggested they will mount a defense in which they will not challenge the charge that he made misstatements about how he learned of Ms. Wilson's identity and whether he shared that information with reporters. They have said that any statements he made to investigators that might have been untrue were the result of his preoccupation with many serious matters of national security at the time.

General Off-Topic Board / Muslim Outrage?
« on: February 07, 2006, 10:46:38 AM »
It seems hypocritical to approve of anti-semitic cartoons, but violently protest Mohamad being portrayed as a terrorist.

BUT free expression of both ideas is protected, however unnecessary both sets of cartoons are.

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