Friday, June 01, 2007

It's the Final Countdown

Hot Links

The Economist Sledgehammers and hard drives Zapping files from computers is harder than it Rover will soon find out, Prissy predicts.

Experts say there’s only one way to drive a stake through a hard drive’s heart. First, run the low-level destruction routine called Secure Erase that’s hidden inside most hard drives these days (but never mentioned in the manuals because it’s such a loaded gun). Second, blast the drive with a humongous magnetic field. Third, grind the platters to dust.

But even this may be not enough. Scientists at the Centre for Magnetic Recording Research at the University of California, San Diego, have put shards of ground-up platters under a scanning magneto-resistive microscope and reconstructed traces of the original data. And despite the crew’s valiant efforts to destroy all the hard drives aboard the EP3 spy plane after an emergency landing on Hainan island in 2001, to this day no one knows whether the Chinese were able to reconstruct the aircraft’s highly sensitive information. You have to assume they did.

That said, what allows most cloak-and-dagger folks to sleep easy at night is knowing that, though fragments of confidential data can always be recovered from hard drives, it takes an inordinate amount of time and effort to achieve anything worthwhile. That’s what spooks mean when they talk about “security by exotic time-consuming technology”.

Guardian Marcy Wheeler aka blogger Emptywheel To kill a mocking blog

In preparation for the upcoming sentencing of Scooter Libby - the Bush administration official convicted of perjury in the Valerie Plame scandal - his defense team solicited his friends and associates to write letters to the judge arguing that Libby deserves a reduced sentence. Last Friday, Libby's lawyer Bill Jeffress submitted a filing [PDF] opposing the release of those letters to the public. In it, he writes: "Given the extraordinary media scrutiny here, if any case presents the possibility that these letters, once released, would be published on the internet and their authors discussed, even mocked, by bloggers, it is this case."

Bloggers, mock? Geez, Mr. Jeffress is so moody.

And let Prissy tell you, that Jeffress can pull off the "used car salesman" look, with no problem!

So let's take a look see at those letters, Prissy is sure they will provide hours of entertainment...Judge Walton decides on the letters next week.

Here's a Bush legacy from a patriot now at peace.Thank you to Prissy's friend Valerie for sending that along.

Financial Times Europe furious at US climate call

Germany and the European Commission reacted angrily to President George W. Bush’s apparent change of heart on climate change on Friday, setting the stage for a stormy G8 summit of rich industrialised countries next week.

A spokesman for Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor and current G8 president, said Germany’s stance that climate talks should take place within the United Nations was “non-negotiable”. Stavros Dimas, the EU environment commissioner, dismissed the proposals for climate talks as vague and “the classic US line”.

Mr Bush on Thursday appeared to suggest a parallel process to the UN, by which the world’s 15 biggest emitters of greenhouse gases would within 18 months “establish a new framework on greenhouse gases when the Kyoto protocol expires in 2012” and “set a long-term global goal on reducing emissions”.

His proposal marked a reversal of the US policy of refusing to discuss emissions cuts and rejecting a global framework such as Kyoto.

Maybe Prissy's Granny wasn't kidding when she said Dubya was enough to make the Pope himself cuss.(Granny is Catholic, or used to be)

Prissy liked this Pope better than the new one...he didn't like Dubya, either.

TBR News The Voice of the White House

Since Tehran only laughs at his ineffectual noise, Bush, in the growing perception that he is an ineffectual twit, has now committed a very serious error by sending a large naval task force, including carriers, to the Persian Gulf. Instead of terrifying Tehran into submission, he has put the bulk of America’s naval strike forces in very serious harms way.

The Iranians, it is very well known (except by the American press who only prints what the Pentagon and the White House tells them to ) have a significant number of the newest Russian missiles emplaced in the mountains bordering the Gulf. They, and the Russians, have constructed fake positions to fool the overhead satellites, whose paths and schedules have been known for some time to just about everyone except the Pentagon, but they also have real positions filled with missiles.

If an American or an American/Israeli attack were to be launched on Iran, they would retaliate, not with atomic weapons but with Russian-supplied missiles. Anyone taking the trouble to look on the Internet about these new weapons, will know that they cannot be deflected by our electronic missile defenses and all it would take would be for one missile to plow into an aircraft carrier, well within range, and blow a hole in it big enough to run a train through.

The Persian Gulf is not that deep but if a carrier sinks to the bottom of it, the loss of life would be very high, there being ca 6,000 men on board. And we are speaking here of just one enormous ship and not the dozens of other large naval units now on station and also easy targets. A big fleet, confined in the relatively narrow Persian Gulf and easily within the range of Iranian/Russian missiles, could, in theory, be virtually obliterated with terrible consequences.

War games conducted several years ago, indicated this is a very possible scenario.

Swiss Info Top Bush aide Dan Bartlett resigns

Bartlett said he was leaving for no other reason than to get a job in the private sector and concentrate more on his family. He has retained Washington lawyer Robert Barnett to help him in his search.

"I've had competing families. And unfortunately, the Bush family has prevailed too many times, and it's high time for the Bartlett family to finally prevail," Bartlett said.

After a tenure dominated by the Iraq war, and with Bush under pressure to change course, the rest of Bush's presidency could be difficult.

Asked if he had any regrets about his time in the White House, Bartlett demurred. "A lot of us will have time to look back and look at decisions. I'm not going to spend a lot of time thinking about that right now."

C'Mon Dan- take one last trip to Baghdad- since you and Tony had so much fun last time

LA Times Flashback New Memos Detail Early Plans for Invading Iraq British officials believed the U.S. favored military force a year before the war, documents show.

Although British officials said in the documents that they did not think Iraq's weapons programs posed an immediate threat and that they were dubious of any claimed links between the Iraqi government and Al Qaeda, they indicated that they were willing to join in a campaign to topple Hussein as long as the plan would succeed and was handled with political and legal care.

The documents contain little discussion about whether to mount a military campaign. The focus instead is on how the campaign should be presented to win the widest support and the importance for Britain of working through the United Nations so an invasion could be seen as legal under international law.

Portions of the new documents, all labeled "secret" or "confidential," have appeared previously in two British newspapers, the Times of London and the Telegraph. Blair's government has not challenged their authenticity.

They cover a period when reports had begun appearing that the Bush administration was forming plans to go after Hussein in the next phase of its "war on terrorism." A Feb. 10, 2002, article in the Los Angeles Times, for instance, said that the U.S. was considering action against Hussein that might require a massive number of U.S. troops.

Forbes U.S Economy Claws Ahead

With the unemployment rate holding steady at 4.5% and wages up, there's no indication that consumer spending will retreat in the months ahead. A Reuters and University of Michigan Survey on Consumers, also released on Friday, reported consumer sentiment jumped 1.3%, to 88.3 in late May, from 87.1, at the end of April. However, a weak housing market and high gasoline prices could put some downward pressure on consumer spending.

"It's all falling into place in a good way," Credit Suisse's Soss said. "Capital spending is up and the consumer has plenty of firepower-- all that happening in the context of good inflation levels is very reassuring."

Apparently no one from Credit Suisse has passed through Ohio lately...

Naples News Tropical Storm Barry headed this way

Southwest Florida has its first tropical storm to coincide with the start of hurricane season.

Tropical Storm Barry formed out of the disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico that is bringing rain to the area. A tropical storm warning was in effect from Bonita Beach north to the Panhandle.

This is the beginning of hurricane season and weather forecasters are predicting a lot of them. Another reason to demand your own states National Guard stay in the states.

Bush is angered our Governor dares to question his judgment, hence another Guard call up before the families,command structure or even the Guard Bureau in Washington is notified. We're all onto this ruse...

This is the second time someone in the Bush administration has "leaked" an Ohio National Guard call up to the press.

Gosh Dubya and Rover, Prissy almost takes it personally...Memorial Day weekend, ya don't say. This always seems to happen when notable Ohioans make a little noise to end the war...or keep our Guard home.

But it will all be okay.

And for some reason, Prissy keeps wanting to hum that old 50's tune, My boyfriend's back and there's gonna be trouble...

Indeed, Prissy thinks Guard call-ups and tangles with governors will be the least of Bush and Rover's problem, very soon.

Blog the Dispatch Strickland: No coincidence in Memorial Day mobilization announcement

The Pentagon announced Saturday night that an Ohio National Guard unit will be mobilizing this fall. It was the Memorial Day weekend.

Coincidence? Gov. Ted Strickland doesn’t think so.

“I don’t think it was a surprise that this latest call-up was announced Saturday evening on the weekend of a holiday, when there wasn’t likely to be a lot of press covering that additional call-up,” Strickland said this afternoon.

Strickland made the comments to reporters today after sending a second letter to President Bush yesterday seeking assurances that Ohio National Guard troops are being given the most up-date-equipment and adequate training.

The governor is angry Bush has not responded to him directly.

Our Governor Strickland is no Bob Taft, he's not going to roll over for Dubya.

San Jose Mercury News Rice: No war plans against Iran

MADRID, Spain- The U.S. is not preparing for war against Iran and Vice President Dick Cheney supports that policy, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says, taking a swipe at a U.N. official who says he's worried about "crazies" who want to start bombing.

"The president of the United States has made very clear what our policy is. That policy is supported by all the members of his Cabinet and by the vice president of the United States," Rice said Friday.

"The president has made clear that we are on a diplomatic course," she said in regard to U.S. opposition to Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Rice, in Spain at the close of a European visit, was asked about the comments of the chief of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency. Mohamed ElBaradei was quoted by the BBC as warning against the views of "new crazies who say 'let's go and bomb Iran.'"

Inside Iraq A Look Through Square Windows McClatchy Baghdad Bureau, giving Iraqi's free speech-worth a regular read to know what is going on in Iraq.

Here they come. A couple of minutes earlier than usual, I haven't got the car out of the garage yet. I stand outside, and stare. I used to be too embarrassed to do that at first, but not any more. The first Hummer vehicle turns the corner and comes towards me. There are usually four. As soon as they are close enough I look straight into the vehicle's square windows – straight at the china-doll faces inside.

At first they were too embarrassed to stare back. Then they started staring back – and then mostly ignored me. I became fascinated with them when they first made it a practice to pass by my door every morning as I drive out my garage – so that it became a matter of "who does it first".

Every time I look, I see young men – so young, some younger than my student daughter – with difficulty I see their faces, old disillusioned expressions on their surprisingly young faces; the baby fat still lingering in some.

I can't help remembering my son. He was the same age.

Capitol Hill Blue 'When are we going to get out of here?' Soldiers express frutration during Lieberman photo-op

Williams told Fadel that the night before, some 30 of his fellow soldiers in the 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, N.C., gave him questions to ask the Senator.

Topping the list from each was the question of when they could come home.

Writes Fadel: The rest was a laundry list. When would they have upgraded Humvees that could withstand the armor-penetrating weapons that U.S. officials claim are from Iran? When could they have body armor that was better in hot weather?

Remember this Joe...Comcast NewsAP Finds 5 Vulnerable Hurricane Areas

That could mean 1.6 trillion gallons of polluted water from the nation's second-largest freshwater lake spilling out on a lakeside population of 45,000 _ many of them poor blacks and Hispanics with few resources to escape.

Federal officials initially downplayed this scenario, but more recently they have taken steps to prepare for it _ and prevent it.

Under a FEMA contract, consultant Innovative Emergency Management has asked officials in counties along the lake to measure their disaster plans against the possibility of a Category 5 storm making landfall just north of Fort Lauderdale, heading west over the lake.

Early estimates put most of south Florida under 1 to 4 feet of water or more for up to 22 days, says IEM's Wayne C. Thomas. A million people are homeless; four million are without power.

If you think that's bad, read about the other potential sites, like NYC.

CNN FDA: Throw away toothpaste made in China

•Consumers warned of potentially tainted toothpaste from China •Suspect products may contain diethylene glycol, or DEG, used in antifreeze • DEG found in Cooldent Fluoride, Cooldent Spearmint , Cooldent ICE • FDA unaware of any poisoning from toothpaste in the United States

Is it lax rules or do they just love us so?

Uh, Oh...from the National Review It's Divorce

That's what has happened between President Bush and his party over this immigration bill. And if they insist on pursuing it, I fear it is what will happen between the Senate GOP leadership and the party base as well. The issue has already all but killed the McCain candidacy. A letter from a reader expresses the sadness and anger I see in so much of my mail:

I voted twice for this man and his abdication of the most fundamental executive responsibility, to protect our country from foreign invasion, is cause for regret.

Oh my, voted for Dubya twice. That is something they have in common with the new influx of Military Families Speak Out members...Prissy says don't thrash yourselves over voting for him twice, your vote didn't really count since the race was already predetermined.

Sons and Daughters in Touch. Organization for children of fallen soldiers from the Vietnam War. Many never met their fathers or were too young to remember them when they were killed. Children of Those on "the Wall" Revisiting their fathers footsteps in Vietnam.

Will children of Iraqi veterans find themselves in a similar situation twenty-five years from now?

NZ Scoop and why Prissy isn't crazy about KOS

Drat KOS Diary is of the latter. He (she/them/it?) has mounted a full-scale assault on the seven-year-long effort of my BBC and Guardian team investigating systematic suppression of the minority vote by the Republican Party and our latest revelation: ‘caging voters.’ His “evidence” is 100% limited to snippets of my conversations on talk radio or phone interviews, second-hand reports on websites and some musings of one of my good researchers, Zach Roberts, posted to this site.

Nowhere does he suggest he’s bothered reading the one hundred-page description of the attack on voters, including caging, in the new edition of Armed Madhouse. Shame that. Law professor Robert F. Kennedy Jr., using the book as a source, verified by his own corroborative work, found the matter therein convincing enough to call for putting Rove’s right hand man, Tim Griffin, “in prison, not in office.”

Picking up a book won’t hurt you, Mr. Drat, at least until Patriot Act IV goes into effect...

Drat also fails to consult the obvious and original source of the BBC report: the BBC. On the website is an elucidating exchange between the Republican Party and BBC producer, Meirion Jones — who placed his substantial reputation, and that of the British Broadcasting Corporation, on the line in the defense of our ‘caging’ story based on his complete and close-up knowledge of the facts.

Is there anything in this government Rover didn't slime?

Time Rove Linked to Prosecution of Ex-Alabama Governor

In an interview with TIME, Simpson confirmed that the "Karl" cited in her sworn statement was Karl Rove. "There's absolutely no question it was Karl Rove, no doubt whatsoever," she said. She also said she has phone records to back up the date and duration of her phone calls.

And...In her interview with TIME, Simpson said the participants in the conference call expressed growing concern that Gov. Siegelman would refuse to give up his challenge to the vote count. According to Simpson, Rob Riley said, "Siegelman's just like a cockroach, he'll never die, what are we going to do?" At that point Canary offered reassurance by citing Rove's news from Justice Department.

Simpson said she had long been troubled by the conference call conversation, and even consulted an official of the Alabama State Bar Association to determine whether she could disclose it publicly without violating her obligations as a volunteer working for the Riley campaign. She was told, she said, that she was free to speak of the matter.

Simpson said she grew more concerned about the matter after Siegelman's conviction last June. She says she told several friends about the conference call ; one of them, Mark Bollinger, a former aide to a Democratic attorney general in Alabama and in the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, has given his own affidavit, obtained by TIME, swearing that Simpson had told him of the conference call and Rove's alleged statements.

Salon A Senate panel rejects Bush's secret interrogations As administration lawyers scramble to find a new legal underpinning for "tough" interrogation techniques, the Senate Intelligence Committee slams a once-secret CIA program and its methods.

The rebuke to the White House was delivered in written comments that were passed by the committee last week and released Thursday to accompany the annual bill authorizing intelligence activities. Military intelligence experts and human rights advocates have already slammed the abusive techniques purportedly employed by the CIA -- sleep deprivation, stress positions, slapping, induced hypothermia and simulated drowning, or "waterboarding" -- for producing unreliable intelligence from subjects who will say anything to make the pain stop. Now the senators on the intelligence panel, which has direct oversight over the CIA, seem to agree, according to the testy language passed last week. "The Committee believes," wrote the senators, "that consideration should be given to whether it is the best means to obtain a full and reliable intelligence debriefing of a detainee."

This skeptical view comes months after Bush endorsed the "tough" techniques as particularly effective in a Sept. 6 White House press conference, during which he also revealed the existence of the previously secret CIA program. And the Intelligence Committee said in these new comments that the skepticism might have come much earlier, if only the White House hadn't kept all the panel members except the chair and the ranking minority member in the dark for the past five years. "The administration's decision to withhold the program's existence from the full committee membership for five years was unfortunate in that it unnecessarily hindered congressional oversight of the program."

The committee also dumped cold water on the White House argument that the CIA should operate under separate, special rules that would allow tougher interrogation methods that are clearly off limits to the military. (The same day that Bush announced the existence of the CIA program, Pentagon officials held their own press conference to disavow coercive interrogations and announced the release of a revised interrogation manual tailor-fitted to the Geneva Conventions.) The intelligence panel's statement frowns on any special arrangement to allow the CIA to use what Bush has referred to euphemistically as "an alternative set of procedures."

"Both Congress and the administration," wrote the panel, "must continue to evaluate whether having a separate CIA detention program that operates under different interrogation rules than those applicable to military and law enforcement officers is necessary, lawful, and in the best interests of the United States."

Quotes of the Day

Justice is the constant and perpetual will to allot to every man his due.--Domitus Ulpian (100 AD - 228 AD)

“Nothing is to be preferred before justice.”--Socrates quotes (Ancient Greek Philosopher, 470 BC-399 BC)

“Justice in the life and conduct of the State is possible only as first it resides in the hearts and souls of the citizens”--Plato

“The administration of justice is the firmest pillar of government”--George Washington,American commander in chief of the colonial armies in the American Revolution (1775-83) and subsequently 1st US President

“Where there are too many policemen, there is no liberty. Where there are too many soldiers, there is no peace. Where there are too many lawyers, there is no justice.”--Lyn Yutang,Chinese prolific writer and editor, 1895-1976