The Bush administration is catching and punishing far fewer polluters than the two previous administrations, according to a Knight Ridder analysis of 15 years of environmental-enforcement records.
Some current EPA enforcement officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid retaliation from their bosses, say they're getting the signal to slow down enforcement cases.
"It's very discouraging," said one official. "We're concerned about people's health. We have a job that we're supposed to be doing and we're not doing it. And we should be."
[E]nvironmental benefits increased an estimated 131 percent over FY2002. Estimated pollutants reduced, treated or properly managed totaled approximately 600 million pounds, compared to 260 million in the previous year.Note the subtle difference. The EPA said "environmental benefits" and "estimated pollutants", not "enforcement actions", meaning fines. Now, I have to admit that calculating successful enforcement by counting the number of fines issued is likely not the best technique - rather like counting speeding tickets to decide whether speed limits are being enforced. The real issue is whether people are polluting more or less, and whether the EPA is responsible for any change. But what I want to know is, are the EPA's estimates and new tools for assessing its own work better or worse than the old ones? Judging the quality of supposedly objective information which this administration puts out, and their history of messing with the data of the EPA and other 'independent' agencies, I'd have to guess not.
In each of its annual budget requests to Congress, the Bush administration has called for dramatic cuts in money and staffing for EPA enforcement, only to be rebuffed by Capitol Hill.
Asked about his plan for economic growth for next year, the "president" talks about passing an energy bill and various 'class-action' reforms that should make it less risky for corporations to screw the public. Then he drops this line: "We certainly need to send a signal to the capital markets that we're going to maintain spending discipline." I have one comment: "maintain"??? Bush and his congressional singalong have been spending the country's money like its going out of style. Which it is -- the next thing he mentions is his "strong dollar policy" because the US dollar has been going out of style. The thing is, he mentions this as if this were a separate issue. But it's largely because of their profligate spending that the dollar has been driven down... Okay, maybe that was two comments.
Asked about this exact issue - the dollar's fall because of Wall Street's being "increasingly worried" about the deficit - Bush mentions his 'deficit reduction' plan (let's not even get into that) and he observes that the deficit is due to, "one, a recession; two, a war", and later he mentions homeland security. But did he leave one or two things out there? Like his ridiculous tax cuts? Or the other war? Or the massive increase in pork-barrel spending by his buddies in Congress? Oh, wait. He mentions the tax cuts. This is what he says:And then of course, there was the tax relief -- a stimulus package which was necessary to make sure that we had ample revenues coming into the Treasury in the first place.Right. That makes sense.
See, without the tax relief package, there would have been a deficit, but there wouldn't have been the commiserate -- not "commiserate" -- the kick to our economy that occurred as a result of the tax relief. And the tax relief is working.
This last point (I promise) is not a criticism of Bush. A reporter asks:Mr. President, it's been nine months now, and still there is relatively little evidence of WMD in Iraq. In retrospect, if you think back over the year, would you have been better to make more of your -- of the argument that you've made in recent times, that democratization in the Middle East was the reason to go to war, rather than WMD?Do you see what's wrong with this question? Let's paraphrase: Mr. "President", given that you wanted so badly to attack Iraq, do you think that selling the war to the American people on false - but verifiably false - pretenses was less strategic then selling the war on false and unverifiable pretenses would have been?
Okay, I lied. But this is the last point, I double promise. Bush, at his most despicable, responds to that last question with one of the most torrential torrents of crap I've ever seen him spew (not that he hasn't spewn worse crap, it's just that this crap goes on for so long). You can read the whole thing for yourself if you care to (just don't do it unless you've got time to shower afterwards), but I'll quickly draw your attention to just three points. First, the pot calls the kettle black when Bush observes that Hussein was a "unique" threat because he "just treated the U.N. as an empty debating society, as if their resolutions meant nothing." Then there are these two statements:Well, if that doesn't just take the cake. David Kay has reported back that he had weapons programs that would have put him in material breach of 1441. What that means, of course, is that had David Kay been the lead inspector, and had done the work that he did prior to our removal of Saddam, he would have reported back to the U.N. Security Council that Saddam was, in fact, in breach of the Council resolutions that were passed. Secondly, North Korea -- one of the things, David, I think you've seen about our foreign policy is that I'm reluctant to use military power. It's the last choice, it's not our first choice.
My main antagonist on the panel was none other than Richard Perle, who ended up in person being about as gentlemanly and fair-minded as his view of foreign affairs and America's posture on the world stage would lead you to expect.
BRIT FEATHERSTON, ASST. U.S. ATTORNEY: This was a huge, absolutely a huge arsenal of military-style weapons.I'm glad to see that CNN has at least mentioned this case, even if just briefly. I'll take my Media Counter down later when I've got the energy. But we should keep looking for news about this issue. Hopefully other stations will pick up on it, or CNN will do more extensive coverage. Maybe if we email them, they'll do something more extensive.
LAVANDERA: There were hundreds of weapons. The inventory list of what was found is extensive but the most startling discovery was the combination of high grade sodium cyanide, acid and gunpowder.
Mixed together it becomes a lethal chemical bomb capable of killing everyone inside a 30,000-square-foot building. Authorities suspect Krar might have been part of a criminal scheme to violently attack the U.S. government.
FEATHERSTON: We have yet to figure out the actual destination of any of the bombs or any of the devices. You know I don't think you possess these weapons for a defensive reason.
Dec. 14, Suleimaniya, Iraqi Kurdistan -- I first received the news when my former student [...], who I brought with me to conduct research in Iraq, called me on the phone. He said the students at the local university where he is teaching English were celebrating they had just heard rumours that Saddam had been captured in Tikrit. Then I began to hear car horns outside, louder and more insistent than the usual Middle Eastern traffic cacophony. By the time I went outside, the shop owners behind my apartment building had begun firing their automatic rifles in the air, the surest sign of celebrations in the Middle East.
Although Saddams capture is good news for the vast majority of Iraqis, the event has a special resonance here in the Kurdish north. The Kurds suffered genocide at the hands of his regime, round-ups and massacring of whole villages, the use of chemical weapons on towns like Halabja and Khanequin.
I headed to nearby hotel with a satellite television connection. They had announced a news conference for 3 p.m., which would hopefully confirm the news. As I sat with some American, French, Canadian, and Kurdish friends, they showed the first images of a bearded, very disheveled Saddam, undergoing a medical examination. The Iraqi Kurds in the room burst into cries of recognition and joy, slapping each other on the back and hardly
believing their eyes.
Once I headed outside again, the streets had completely filled up with celebrating people, holding up British, American and Kurdish flags, photos of Bush and Blair, and playing music and dancing. The owner of a photocopy store was distributing copies of the photo of captured Saddam, printed from the Internet. Everyone from old men in their 80s, to children hardly past 5 years old, was dancing and holding up the pitiful photo of what was once the incarnation of dread in the Republic of Fear.
Mistaken for an American or a Brit, I received handshakes and smiles all around. The pure joy in the streets is palpable, electric. The word on the street is that today has just been declared a national holiday, and the next three days have also been declared holidays, so that the celebrations can continue. Iraqs Kurds have waited a long time for this particular holiday.
Because a guerrilla wars primary weapon and target always remains psychological, the huge importance of this day for the people of Iraq can not be over emphasized. Because Saddam was captured and not killed, the effect will be even greater. Kurds I spoke with here insisted that they are happy he was taken alive he has a lot to answer for, and they are hoping he will be made to answer at an international court of justice. They want to see a humiliated Saddam interrogated for his crimes. In any case, the few thousand insurgents, the Saddam die-hards and jihadists who have been mounting attacks across the country, have been dealt the most critical of blows.
But will this end the terrorism in Iraq? Perhaps not in the very short term, since the insurgents may well make a last push to demonstrate their ongoing capacity and relevance. Todays events will, however, help us to determine if the insurgency in Iraq is truly spearheaded by Saddams loyalists. If it is, then today we caught our first glimpse of the light at the end of Iraqs tunnel -- from the grimy basement of a home in Tikrit.
My wife, Shahin Cole, suggested to me an ironic possibility with regard to the Shiites. She said that many Shiites in East Baghdad, Basra, and elsewhere may have been timid about opposing the US presence, because they feared the return of Saddam. Saddam was in their nightmares, and the reprisals of the Fedayee Saddam are still a factor in Iraqi politics. Now that it is perfectly clear that he is finished, she suggested, the Shiites may be emboldened. Those who dislike US policies or who are opposed to the idea of occupation no longer need be apprehensive that the US will suddenly leave and allow Saddam to come back to power. They may therefore now gradually throw off their political timidity, and come out more forcefully into the streets when they disagree with the US. As with many of her insights, this one seems to me likely correct.I'll take door number 2, please.
Across the nation, Mr. Hussein's capture seemed to change few peoples' minds about Iraq. Those who supported the war said the capture was crucial proof of strength for President Bush and evidence of the administration's wise handling of the situation. Those opposed to the war said apprehension of the Iraqi leader was positive, but that President Bush's political benefit would be short-lived, and that they would have been more impressed had soldiers found something different in the hole where Mr. Hussein was hiding: chemical or biological weapons.
The US Defence Department refused to confirm the report but in Baghdad, a spokeswoman for the US-led occupation forces said a "very important" announcement will be made at a news conference scheduled for 3pm (1200 GMT) but did not say who would be the speaker.AP says:
In Iraq, a separate rumor that Saddam was captured or killed near Tikrit sent hundreds of exultant people into the streets of this northern Iraqi city Sunday. They fired in the air in celebration and congratulated each other. ... In Tikrit, rumors that the former dictator was in custody were making the rounds, but reporters attached to the 4th Infantry Division, the U.S. unit in charge of security in the area, said there was no unusual activity there overnight or early Sunday.Can't wait for that news conference.
''We are celebrating like it's a wedding,'' said Mustapha Sheriff, a resident of Kirkuk. ''We are finally rid of that criminal.''
Americans should question whether the Justice Department is making America's far-right fanatics a serious priority. And with the F.B.I. still struggling to get up to speed on the threat posed by Islamic extremists abroad, it is questionable whether the agency has the manpower to keep tabs on our distinctly American terror cells. There is no accurate way of analyzing the budgets of the F.B.I., Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security to discern how much attention is being devoted to right-wing extremists. But in light of the F.B.I.'s poor record in keeping tabs on the militia movement before the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, one wonders whether the agency has the will to do so now.
"Unfortunately, keeping track of right-wing and neo-Nazi hate groups isn't necessarily a path to career advancement in the Bureau," a Justice Department official told me not long after the Oklahoma City attack. "Agents get ahead by solving real crimes, like bank robbery, espionage and murder."
He and his common law wife worked out of Noonday Storage, whose owner thought the couple made money selling odds and ends.
"They worked here most of the day," said Teresa Staples, "but what we saw them unloading was clothing, swimsuits and garden tools."
Found in Noonday were hundreds of bombs and machine guns, and 500,000 rounds of ammunition. The inventory list of what was found is extensive. But the most startling discovery was the combination of sodium cyanide, acid and gunpowder. Mixed together it becomes a lethal chemical bomb capable of killing everyone inside a 30,000 square foot building. Authorities believed Krar a threat to national security, suspecting him of being a part of a "criminal scheme" to violently attack the U.S. Government.
"We have yet to figure out the actual destination of any of these bombs or any of the devices," said [Assistant U.S. Attorney] Featherston, "but I don't think you possess these weapons for defensive reasons." ... Krar remains in the Smith County jail, waiting to be sentenced. His lawyer says part of the agreement in exchange for his guilty plea means he will not be prosecuted for anything else in connection with this arrest.
"There's nothing I am worse at than long-term planning. I have never run my life that way. I believe that serendipity or fate or divine intervention has led me to a series of wholly implausible steps in my life. And I've been open to those twists and turns because I didn't have a long-term plan."
-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice
Now, I'm not too optimistic about Martin. I'll grant there are a few reasons for optimism, but my guess is he's going to be a disappointment. The first indication of which is that when I read about his new cabinet, I read that Allan Rock was being appointed Ambassador to the United States. Which would rock. Pardon the pun. But now I see I was mistaken. He'll be Ambassador to the UN. Which is OK, but way less cool.
A native cleansing ceremony preceded the swearing in by Gov. Gen. Adrienne Clarkson at Rideau Hall.
Neatly perched between signs for theme parks and gas stations is the yellow sign. In a field filled with cows of all colors, it poses the question, "Who Rules Amerika?" Note the "k" in America. ... There's a web site listed below the big yellow question. It's a web site for a neo-Nazi hate group that advocates war on non-whites. ... The "club" is for anyone, as long as you're white, but not Jewish, homosexual or interracially married.
The project received a lift two years ago when a large London family with barely intelligible speech was found to have mutations in a gene called FOXP2.
This is not how warriors behave but how thugs operate. If the Iraqi man was indeed laying in ambush or setting an IED, then it is entirely appropriate to shoot him and to shoot him until he is no longer a threat. Once he ceased combat operations however, it became the soldiers' job to treat him and give him the same aid they would have one of our wounded soldiers receive.
That's how the Law of Land Warfare works.
With degrees from good universities and fluent English, the four Iraqi friends should have their pick of jobs. Instead, they sat in an auditorium in Baghdad on Tuesday to watch a US military instructor show them and more than 200 other well-educated Iraqis how to write a resume during a half-day job fair organised by American troops.
"We know this already," complained Lara Nabhan, 29, an irrigation engineer who lost her job as an administrative assistant with the United Nations a month ago.
"It's miserable. It's never been as bad as this. Even the UN has left."
Eight months after Saddam Hussein's downfall, finding work worries ordinary Iraqis just about more than anything else.
Because the Justice Department failed to turn over a key piece of evidence to defense attorneys in a high profile, post 9/11 terrorism trial, the CONVICTIONS MAY BE OVERTURNED!
Q Scott, Mr. Wolfowitz has issued this directive saying that for contracts in Iraq, certain countries will be excluded, only coalition partners will be allowed access to the U.S. money for contracts. And he based that on a national security interest. Why is it in the national security interest of the United States to restrict countries like France and Canada from contracts?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think you're referring to a specific wording in a memo. You might want to ask the Department of Defense about some of the specific wording in the memo. But I would point out that this was something that has been previously announced. [...] But in that memo, it also talks about the importance of encouraging expansion of international cooperation in Iraq and in future efforts, and it talks about encouraging people that are involved with the United States and others to continue to cooperate.
But I think that the bigger picture here is that all of us have a shared goal, and that is helping the Iraqi people build a better and brighter future. All of us have the same goal of making the world a safer and better place. And there are a number of ways for countries to participate in the efforts going on in Iraq right now, to help us realize that, help the Iraqi people realize a brighter future.
Q You're saying if they agree to send troops, they would then qualify for contracts?
MR. McCLELLAN: I'm saying if countries want to participate with those efforts that are going on in Iraq, that circumstances can change. And we will explain that to them.
Q So what would qualify as sufficient cooperation?
MR. McCLELLAN: That's why I said that if countries want to participate in the efforts and join the efforts of the coalition forces in Iraq, then circumstances can change. And we would be glad to discuss those matters with countries.
Q Scott, one of the reasons for the decision is to ostensibly protect U.S. security. Could you explain what security threat Canada poses, and why would countries like Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Colombia be allowed to bid on contracts?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think you should look at the entire context of the memo. I mean, specific language that you are referencing, I was asked earlier about. This memo was put out by the Pentagon; you should talk to them about this specific language.
[...] And I think it's only appropriate that those countries that have been involved with the United States from the beginning and the Iraqi people and those who are contributing forces to the efforts in Iraq would be the ones that would be eligible for the prime contracts funded by U.S. taxpayer dollars. But those countries are fully welcome to go to firms in other countries and involve them in subcontracts.
Q The incoming Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin says he simply cannot understand the decision, given that Canada has already contributed millions of dollars to the rebuilding effort.
MR. McCLELLAN: And we appreciate the contributions that they have made and we will be glad to discuss this matter with them. Again, some of this is based on some of the media reporting, and we welcome the opportunity to talk to countries about the reason for this decision, and about, if they want to participate in other ways, that circumstances can change, too.
Q Scott, does that mean you will reconsider the decision?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, no. This decision has been made. It was made through an interagency process and we fully support it. I'm saying that if countries want to participate in the coalition efforts in Iraq, then circumstances can change. We can discuss that with them if that is the case.
Q Senator Biden has said that this is a totally gratuitous slap that does nothing to protect our security. He also says, at a time when we're trying to get help from NATO, not only in Iraq, but in Afghanistan, we're sticking a finger in the eye of those whose help we are trying to seek.
MR. McCLELLAN: That's not at all the way I would look at it. I would look at it for the reasons I described it, and I would point you back to what it says in the memo that was put out essentially implementing this by Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. It talked about every effort must be made to expand international cooperation in Iraq, and that limiting competition for prime contracts will encourage the expansion of international cooperation in Iraq and in future efforts. And then it went on to say that coalition partners share in the U.S. vision of a free and stable Iraq. The limitation of sources to prime contractors from those countries should encourage the continued cooperation of coalition members. These are countries that have been with us from day one. These are countries that are contributing forces, that have been making sacrifices. And that's why this decision was made.
Q Scott, can I clarify one thing? You're saying it was the people who are with us. You've got Albania, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Honduras on here.
Q Why not Canada, though?
MR. McCLELLAN: Again, as I pointed out, there have been a number of countries that have been with us from the beginning and there have been countries that have been contributing forces. There are countries that have been helping and sacrificing to build a free and prosperous Iraq for the Iraqi people to make the world a safer and better place. And I think the American taxpayers appreciate this decision and understand this decision, as well.
Q In the case of Canada, Canada contributed troops to Afghanistan, lost troops in Afghanistan in an accident by U.S. troops, which politically made it very difficult for them to contribute to Iraq. And they're being punished for not being able to provide --
MR. McCLELLAN: In the war on terrorism, there are a lot of countries participating in those efforts, and we appreciate that. There is a very large coalition of countries across the world that are fighting the war on terrorism and making sacrifices. There were -- there was a decision made by coalition forces on Iraq and there are a number of countries that have been helping from the beginning. There are a number of countries that have been sacrificing on the ground in defense of freedom and in an effort to build a better and safer world. And we're talking just about the U.S. taxpayer funding here, which is a significant amount of money from the U.S. taxpayers.
MR. McCLELLAN: We all share the same goals here. That's one point I'm trying to make to you all in this room.
Q That's clear with regard to, let's say, Russia, Germany and France. But, on the other hand, Canada is actually contributing in Afghanistan. They're actually doing something with the coalition there, and it seems like they're being punished for participating in one country, but not participating in the other.
MR. McCLELLAN: I would hope that they wouldn't look at it that way. I would hope that they would look at it the way that I described it. And that's why I said we welcome the opportunity to talk with these countries about any concerns they may have. And we will explain to them what I've been trying to explain to you all in this room here.
Q Can you just explain for us why over a quarter of a billion dollars and leading the NATO forces in Afghanistan is not considered participation for these --
MR. McCLELLAN: I think I've already addressed this, about how we appreciate the efforts of the large coalition of more than 90 nations that have been participating in the broader war on terrorism. We appreciate all those contributions.
Q What specifically would the White House like to say to Paul Martin, specifically, that he could do to improve U.S.-Canada relations right now?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we've worked together on a number of common areas. And we look forward to his assuming his new role. And we look forward to working closely with him on future efforts.
Q What specifically can he do, especially given this contract issue? What specifically do you want from Canada right now?
MR. McCLELLAN: Again, as with any country, if they have concerns they want to discuss with us, we look forward to doing that, and we will do that.
Q One more on Canada, Scott?
MR. McCLELLAN: Dana hasn't had a question.
Q The Vice President on Monday shot 70 pheasants and an unspecified number of ducks. And I'm wondering how many of these were Canadian. (Laughter.)
MR. McCLELLAN: Ask the Vice President's office. Next question.
Q How concerned is the White House about the rising number of civilians that are dying in Afghanistan, and what is the White House doing about it?
MR. McCLELLAN: One, our thoughts and prayers are always with the families of any innocent person who loses their life. The United States military goes out of their way to make sure that that doesn't happen. And there's been a couple of unfortunate incidents, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives.
In Ottawa, incoming Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin said the decision was difficult to understand because Canada had already spent $300 million to support Iraq and also had troops in Afghanistan.
"I find it really very difficult to fathom," said Martin, who will take the helm of Canada's government Friday from outgoing Prime Minister Jean Chretien.
Iraq (news - web sites)'s Health Ministry has ordered a halt to a count of civilians killed during the war and told its statistics department not to release figures compiled so far, the official who oversaw the count told The Associated Press on Wednesday. [...]
"We have stopped the collection of this information because our minister didn't agree with it," she said, adding: "The CPA doesn't want this to be done."
The Pentagon yesterday banned Canadian companies from bidding for contracts worth $18.6 billion (U.S.) to help reconstruct Iraq because of Canada's opposition to the U.S.-led war in the Persian Gulf nation. [...] The memo justifies banning Canada and others by saying the move is "necessary for the protection of the essential security interests of the United States to limit competition for the prime contracts of these procurements to companies from the United States, Iraq, coalition partners and force-contributing nations."
The directive doesn't specify why allowing Canadian companies to bid would hurt American security interests.
And the world responds:
Canada would still be eligible to work in Iraq as a subcontractor of one of the prime contractors, said Major Joe Yaswa, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Defense.
"We have very tight relations with Canada," Yaswa said. "Canada is actively participating in Afghanistan, which is all of one country over."
The EU's executive arm said it would examine if the ban was in line with US obligations under world trade rules. [...]
And in Canada, Deputy Prime Minister John Manley suggested that such a ban would make it difficult for his country to give any more money for rebuilding Iraq.
"To exclude Canadians just because they are Canadians would be unacceptable if they accept funds from Canadian taxpayers for the reconstruction of Iraq," he said.
Canada has to date contributed more than $190m to the reconstruction effort.
Apparently reacting to the US ban, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said Moscow did not intend to write off Iraq's $8bn debt - despite earlier statements by Russian officials that they might consider restructuring it.
"You understand, you will probably go to prison for around 10 years,"
U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith Guthrie told Krar, as he nodded in
"I hope after you serve your time and are back in society, you'll find
peace to be here," Judge Guthrie said.
In focus groups held this fall in four U.S. cities where the [Canadian]government is opening consulates, Americans acknowledged they don't know much about Canadians.
"Some participants expressed a certain amount of annoyance at what is perceived as a systematic attempt by Canadians to make the statement that they are not Americans by sporting the maple leaf," said the recently released report. "This underscores the American sensitivity at feeling rejected by the rest of the world ...."
For instance, an American from San Diego is quoted saying: "What bugs me about Canadians, if I may, is that they wear that damn patch on their bags, the Canadian flag patch. That way, they differentiate themselves from us."
Hoping to spend as much as it wants on next year's elections, the National Rifle Association is looking to buy a television or radio station and declare that it should be treated as a news organization, exempt from spending limits in the campaign finance law. ... The nation's gun lobby is talking with potential investors about an NRA broadcast outlet and is considering all possible funding sources, including gun manufacturers, LaPierre said.
If the NRA were to be considered a media organization, it would be free to say what it wanted about candidates at any time and spend corporate money to do so, such as for commercials.
The group, financed in part with corporate money, is now banned under the campaign finance law from running ads, just before elections, that mention federal candidates who are on states' ballots. ... The finance law, which took effect in November 2002, bars interest groups financed with corporate or union money from airing television and radio ads the month before a primary and two months before a general election if the ads identify federal candidates, are paid for with corporate or union money and target candidates' districts.
News organizations are exempt from the restrictions. That allows them to cover the news, write editorials endorsing or opposing candidates, and air interviews.
Here's the original video story. The link is to Information Clearing House, "News you won't find on CNN". No kidding. Information Clearing House also has a copy of the radio show Democracy Now's coverage. Apart from the original CBS11 story, this is the most important coverage; check it out. It's an interview with, notably, an assistant US attorney in Texas who was involved with the investigation and the CBS11 reporter who broke the story. There's a good discussion of why the major networks aren't covering the story. Amy Goodman says she hopes to change that fact. From what I can see, she has, sadly, failed. The attorney says two really important things at the end of the interview: 1. the case is still open; 2. we can blame only the media (not, say, John Ashcroft) for failing to pick up the story. [Update: here's a link to KPFA, which has both the audio and a transcription of the show.] There is a discussion of this going on here. Also, here's the FBI/DOJ press release about Krar from November 13th. And here's a story from the Anti-Defamation League which adds a little information about Krar's reading habits. Orcinus has a very good post about the story, including the observation that it is the second such case this year.
But the Medicare legislation comes on top of a federal spending increase of 23.7 percent since Bush took office. 'In the last three years we've had the biggest farm bill, the biggest education bill, the biggest foreign aid bill and now the biggest health care bill in 30 years,' said Moore of the free-market Club for Growth. 'There's now not any pretense that Bush is committed to smaller government.'
-I've caught a bear.
-Then bring it here.
-It won't come.
-Then come here yourself.
-It won't let me.
The guy with the sodium cyanide bomb has been sentenced to ten years in prison, the same as that kid got for having consensual sex. Here's more:
Three people linked to white supremacist and anti-government groups are in custody. At least one weapon of mass destruction - a sodium cyanide bomb capable of delivering a deadly gas cloud - has been seized in the Tyler area.
Investigators have seized at least 100 other bombs, bomb components, machine guns, 500,000 rounds of ammunition and chemical agents. But the government also found some chilling personal documents indicating that unknown co-conspirators may still be free to carry out what appeared to be an advanced plot. And, authorities familiar with the case say more potentially deadly cyanide bombs may be in circulation.
Since arresting the three people in May, federal agents have served hundreds of subpoenas across the country in a domestic terror investigation that made it onto President Bush’s daily intelligence briefings and set off national security alarms among the country’s most senior counter-terror officials.
I'll join Ezra in wondering why this isn't getting more coverage. WorldNetDaily, which is a bad and generally stupid news source, has about the only coverage so far. It reported last week that US authorities have been worried that Al-Qaida may be planning a cyanide gas attack. In fact, according to the same CBS piece, they basically caught this guy by accident.
Terrorism investigators suspect that Krar, who has paid no federal income taxes since 1988, made his living as a traveling arms salesman who pedaled illicit bomb components and other weapons to violent underground anti-government groups across the country.
Sources familiar with the investigation say authorities especially fear that Krar may have manufactured more than one sodium cyanide bomb and sold them. After a traffic stop earlier this year while Krar was traveling through Tennessee, state troopers seized sodium cyanide among other weapons, one government source confirmed.
The whole article is worth reading for some insight into how these guys operate and portents of things to come.
Federal investigators were not looking for white supremacist groups when they stumbled across Krar by accident.
He drew the FBI’s attention when he sent a package of counterfeit ID’s for the United Nations and Defense Intelligence Agency to Feltus’ New Jersey home earlier this year. The package was mistakenly delivered to a Staten Island man, who opened it and called police.
A note found inside and signed by Krar stated, “Hope this package gets to you O.K. We would hate to have this fall into the wrong hands.”
Also via Eschaton, this Texan letter-to-the-editor from an idiot. Make that, idiot doctor. The paper put this under the headline Executions would halt killings:
"He can't even teach the history of anti-Semitism (or the) history of ancient Greece," said Cole's lawyer, A.J. Greif of Bangor [Maine].
"How can you explain the evolution of democracy in the Western world without talking about ancient Greece? He can't talk about all the influences of the Indian, Japanese or Chinese cultures."
We can stop the murders of American soldiers in Iraq by those who seek revenge or to regain their power. Whenever there is an assassination or another atrocity we should proceed to the closest mosque and execute five of the first Muslims we encounter.
After all this is a "Holy War" and although such a procedure is not fair or just, it might end the horror.
Machiavelli was correct. In war it is more effective to be feared than loved and the end result would be a more equitable solution for both giving us a chance to build a better Iraq for the Iraqis.
- EMORY METZ WRIGHT JR., M.D.
Until recently, the EPA was on track to issue new rules this month requiring the nation's 1,100 coal- and oil-fired power plants to install equipment to achieve the maximum possible reductions in mercury and nickel emissions, which can cause severe neurological and developmental damage in humans. ... "At a time when 41 states have fish-consumption advisories due to mercury poisoning, it is unconscionable that EPA is proposing to postpone and weaken regulatory protection," Becker [executive director of two bipartisan associations of state environmental officials] said.
I think self-confidence in a man is the hottest. My latest fantasy men are Anderson Cooper and Bill Maher who both are very comfortable in their own skin. In some ways they kind of look alike. Plus while full of self-confidence they are not threatening.
Votes in the House usually last 15 minutes plus a traditional two-minute cushion, but because the leadership did not have the votes to prevail, this vote was held open for a record two hours and 51 minutes as bribes and special deals were offered to convince members to vote yes.His commentary continues with a good account of why the Medicare bill is bad.
I was targeted by lobbyists and the congressional leadership to change my vote, being a fiscal conservative and being on record as a "no" vote.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert talked to me for a long time about the bill and about why I should vote yes.
Other members and groups made offers of extensive financial campaign support and endorsements for my son, Brad, who is running for my seat. They also made threats of working against Brad if I voted no.
A Republican fundraiser is a Chinese spy! Sink into that! It's got all the elements of the bogus Clinton stories, and the best part is, there's something to investigate.
No? Well, could you at least cover the Republican Congressman who killed a guy the same way you covered the Democratic Congressman who was romantically linked with the dead staffer? No? Could you cover holiday toys and the funnest, bestest ones?
I knew you could.