Just read between the lines...

Red Text is the real story hiding between the lines.
Violet Text is a notable quote from a specific blogger.
Blue Text is my own personal commentary.
Gold Text is a link to the original sources.

One word of advice I would offer to everyone who reads this blog;

....Each and every day, take just a moment of your precious time to pray for Peace and Justice.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thursday; Another wet and cloudy day...

Red text is the"real" headline buried in the news.
Blue text is my own commentary.
Violet text is the blog quote of the day.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday issued subpoenas to the White House, Vice President Dick Cheney’s office and the Justice Department after what the panel’s chairman called “stonewalling of the worst kind” of efforts to investigate the National Security Agency’s policy of wiretapping without warrants. The move put Senate Democrats squarely on a course they had until now avoided, setting the stage for a showdown with the Bush administration over one of the most contentious issues arising from the White House’s campaign against terrorism. Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who is chairman of the committee, said the subpoenas seek documents that could shed light on the administration’s legal justification for the wiretapping and on disputes within the government over its legality. In addition, the panel is seeking materials on related issues, including the relationship between the Bush administration and several unidentified telecommunications companies that aided the N.S.A. eavesdropping program. The panel’s action was the most aggressive move yet by lawmakers to investigate the wiretapping program since the Democrats gained control of Congress this year. (I would guess Cheney already gave his "Pat" answer a while back in the Senate when he advised Leahy to go "f" himself, no doubt the entire White House crew will have a similar response to this subpoena. The constitutional crisis that began with Bush V. Gore has now come to its inevitable conclusion, a "constitutional collision.")

And just why DOES our system of government demand
three separate branches?
It isn't just a management construct, it is an outline applied to naturally occurring divisions between vested social and economic interests that exist inherently in any organized, cultured civilization, (especially meaningful to a delusional culture that might fancy itself as a lone world superpower.)

Here's Montesquieu, from his 1748 "Spirit of the Laws."
My own commentary is, as usual, in blue text.

"When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person.... there can be no liberty, because apprehensions may arise, lest the same monarch or senate should enact tyranical laws, (Patriot Act, domestic wiretaps, this basically describes the 107th, 108th and 109th Congresses) to execute them in tyranical manner. Again, there is no liberty if the judiciary be not separated from the legislative and the executive. Were it joined with the legislative, the life and liberty of the subject (citizen) would be exposed to arbitrary control; for the judge would then be the legislator (Bush V. Gore, conservative activist judges, trumped-up political charges). Were it joined to the executive power, the judge might behave with violence (shock and awe, renditions and torture) and oppression." (habeas corpus delecti).

The project started in 2003 with a $2 million contract to help the new Department of Homeland Security quickly get an intelligence operation (what, we need another one?) up and running. Over the next year, the cost of the no-bid arrangement with consultant Booz Allen Hamilton soared by millions of dollars per month, as the firm provided analysts, administrators and other contract employees to the department's Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection offices. By December 2004, payments to Booz Allen had exceeded $30 million -- 15 times the contract's original value. When department lawyers examined the deal, they found it was "grossly beyond the scope" of the original contract, and they said the arrangement violated government procurement rules. The lawyers advised the department to immediately stop making payments through the contract and allow other companies to compete for the work. But the competition did not take place for more than a year.

During that time, the payments to Booz Allen more than doubled again under a second no-bid arrangement, to $73 million, according to internal documents, e-mail and interviews. (there's the money line...)

The arrangements with the McLean consulting firm, one of the nation's largest government contractors, illustrate a transformation in the way the federal government often gets its work done: by relying on private, sometimes costly consultants to fill staffing shortfalls in federal agencies.

Which brings us to the blog quote of the day,
from Dave in MA at The Daily Kos, crossposted from his Accountable Strategies Blog
"...a lack of centralized authority, ineffective internal controls, poorly drawn contracts, insufficient oversight, and staffing shortages. DHS is far from an agency created and operating according to a sense of national purpose, in response to a national emergency." (more like a gravy-train for Halliburtonish executives and some of the newly formed Maryland/Virginia-based [read "D.C."] Bush-bubba firms...)

Angry drivers set fire to at least two gas stations overnight in Tehran after the government announced that gasoline rationing would begin Wednesday just after midnight.
The state television news said Wednesday that “several gas stations and public places had been attacked by vandals.” While there were some reports that a large number of gas stations had been set on fire, only two fires were confirmed. The government had been planning for a year to put rationing into effect but held off because of concerns that it could cause unrest. Some officials indicated it might have been started now because of the threat of stronger economic sanctions by the United Nations over Iran’s nuclear program. Iran contends that its nuclear enrichment program is for civilian energy purposes, while the United States and some other Western nations contend that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Under the new regulations announced by the Oil Ministry on Tuesday evening, private cars will be able to buy a maximum of 26 gallons of gasoline a month at the subsidized price of 34 cents per gallon. Taxis will be allowed 211 gallons a month. Parliament would have to determine whether individuals would be allowed to buy more at market rates. (at least the Iranian consumers know how to protest higher prices... but at 34 cents per gallon, even rationed out, it still seems like a bargain, ours is nearly 10 times costlier.)

Opinion from the Seattle PI
As if four years of fighting in Iraq hadn't already made this point clear, here it is again: We're not getting anywhere over there. And this "surge," this acceleration of fighting the Bush administration has been ballyhooing as a critical step in turning our failures in Iraq into some sort of glowing democratic success, is futile. (Futile...now there is the best one-word description of this war ever put to page. Futile, that is, unless you are a KBR/Halliburton Executive, raking in all that no-bid cash, then you're probably pretty happy with this war's chaos. it is a perfect cover for your profiteering and corruption.) Senior military officers say that despite tossing at least 30,000 more human beings (aka "troops") into the fray, Iraq won't be more secure. Why? Because no matter how many people we send in to fight, the second we leave, things will go to hell, yet again. Iraqis don't have the soldiers and police to deal with the remaining insurgents. The places American forces "secure" in critical areas, such as Baghdad, will represent only temporary gains. Staying in Iraq, then, becomes virtually meaningless in any tactical sense. (unless you are a KBR/Halliburton Executive, raking in all that no-bid cash) Things might get worse there if/when we leave. But they're already unfathomable: NPR reported on Wednesday that Iraqis now actually celebrate deaths that result from natural causes as "blessings," because they're becoming increasingly rare. Perhaps concentrating our resources on building an Iraqi security force -- trained and paid -- would yield better results. But this administration's stubborn stance is impervious to common sense. (unless you are a KBR/Halliburton Executive, raking in all that no-bid cash) As Stephen Colbert (the snarkmaster) told anti-war activist Tom Hayden on "The Colbert Report" Monday night, "(The war) is only lost if we leave. The president has said so. We can only lose if we leave. If we never leave, we never lose."
What a jacked up way to measure success. (unless you are a KBR/Halliburton Executive, raking in all that no-bid cash) http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/321508_surgeed.html

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