kiwi tint trees wallpaper, condi rice learned nothing from rehab, scotus full frontal assault on basic rights

kiwi tint trees wallpaper

Just as a memory refresher Condoleezza Rice was Bush’s National Security Advisor during his first term  ( during 9-11) and Secretary of State during Bush’s second term. This Q&A is a recent article from the NYT, Nobody Puts Condoleezza Rice in a Corner

Rumsfeld also implied that you were unfit for office. He wrote that you had “modest experience in the federal government and management.”
First of all, I didn’t have modest experience in management. Managing Stanford University is not so easy. But I don’t know what Don was trying to say, and it really doesn’t matter. Don can be a grumpy guy. We all know that.

I wouldn’t ask Donnie Rumsfeld or rely on him to give me the exact time, much less than who he thinks is competent. Though he like most people, if Donnie swings his hammer enough times he will eventually hit a nail now and then, Claim vs. Fact: Rice’s Q&A Testimony Before the 9/11 Commission

CLAIM: “I was certainly not aware of [intelligence reports about planes as missiles] at the time that I spoke” in 2002. [responding to Kean]

FACT: While Rice may not have been aware of the 12 separate and explicit warnings about terrorists using planes as weapons when she made her denial in 2002, she did know about them when she wrote her March 22, 2004 Washington Post op-ed. In that piece, she once again repeated the claim there was no indication “that terrorists were preparing to attack the homeland using airplanes as missiles.” [Source: Washington Post, 3/22/04]

CLAIM: There was “nothing about the threat of attack in the U.S.” in the Presidential Daily Briefing the President received on August 6th. [responding to Ben Veniste]

FACT: Rice herself confirmed that “the title [of the PDB] was, ‘Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.'” [Source: Condoleezza Rice, 4/8/04]

CLAIM: “One of the problems was there was really nothing that look like was going to happen inside the United States…Almost all of the reports focused on al-Qaida activities outside the United States, especially in the Middle East and North Africa...We did not have…threat information that was in any way specific enough to suggest something was coming in the United States.” [responding to Gorelick]

FACT: Page 204 of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 noted that “In May 2001, the intelligence community obtained a report that Bin Laden supporters were planning to infiltrate the United States” to “carry out a terrorist operation using high explosives.” The report “was included in an intelligence report for senior government officials in August [2001].” In the same month, the Pentagon “acquired and shared with other elements of the Intelligence Community information suggesting that seven persons associated with Bin Laden had departed various locations for Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.” [Sources: Joint Congressional Report, 12/02]

CLAIM: “If we had known an attack was coming against the United States…we would have moved heaven and earth to stop it.” [responding to Roemer]

FACT: Rice admits that she was told that “an attack was coming.” She said, “Let me read you some of the actual chatter that was picked up in that spring and summer: Unbelievable news coming in weeks, said one. Big event — there will be a very, very, very, very big uproar. There will be attacks in the near future.” [Source: Condoleezza Rice, 4/8/04]

Like doctors and police officers, national security advisers are held – or should be held – to a higher standard when it comes to screw ups. Even if one gave Rice some generous leeway on what constitutes competence in terms of being up to speed on security threats, she not only failed, but did so repeatedly and then lied to Congress about her failings. Rice is intelligent. Sometimes intelligent people are distinguished from the average because they tell more plausible lies. Also from the NYT Q&A,

I’ve read that people consider you almost incapable of admitting a mistake. What do you consider to be the biggest of your career?
You know, I’ve done pretty well. I don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on the past that way.

You can’t think of just one?
I’m certain I can find many. It’s just not a very fruitful exercise.

One of humanity’s remarkable features is the ability to use our knowledge, experience and fact gathering skills to make reasonable assumptions about future events. Weather forecasters, ecologists and market analyst use these skills all the time. Looking back and learning from mistakes is equally as valuable  human trait – OK dogs, dolphins and birds do it too. Rice, according to the first part of her testimony is not too great at taking intelligence and making reasonable assessments and has little regard for evolving in terms of wisdom based on experience as well,

CLAIM: “The decision that we made was to, first of all, have no drop-off in what the Clinton administration was doing, because clearly they had done a lot of work to deal with this very important priority.” [responding to Kean]

FACT: Internal government documents show that while the Clinton Administration officially prioritized counterterrorism as a “Tier One” priority, but when the Bush Administration took office, top officials downgraded counterterrorism. As the Washington Post reported, these documents show that before Sept. 11 the Bush Administration “did not give terrorism top billing.” Rice admitted that “we decided to take a different track” than the Clinton Administration in protecting America. [Source: Internal government documents, 1998-2001; Washington Post, 3/22/04; Rice testimony, 4/8/04]

CLAIM: “There was a discussion of Iraq. I think it was raised by Don Rumsfeld. It was pressed a bit by Paul Wolfowitz.”

FACT: Rice’s statement confirms previous proof that the Administration was focusing on Iraq immediately after 9/11, despite having no proof that Iraq was involved in the attack. Rice’s statement also contradicts her previous denials in which she claimed “Iraq was to the side” immediately after 9/11. She made this denial despite the President signing “a 2-and-a-half-page document marked ‘TOP SECRET'” six days after 9/11 that “directed the Pentagon to begin planning military options for an invasion of Iraq.” [Source: Condoleezza Rice, 3/22/04, 3/22/04; Washington Post, 1/12/03]

We know what happened to many animals from the Jurassic period. Rice seems to have a lot in common with them, especially the inability to evolve. I wonder if Condi is related to Mel Gibson.

The end of class action rights?

Advocates: Consumers ‘betrayed’ by high court ruling on class-action suits

Fine print in everyday consumer contracts can include provisions that require Americans to surrender their rights to file class-action lawsuits, the U.S Supreme Court ruled Wednesday, overturning a lower court ruling.

The ruling could have immediate impact on consumers’ ability to fight against companies when they feel their rights have been violated. It also raises questions about the future of class-action cases.

Consumer advocates roundly criticized the decision.

“(The ruling) is a devastating and far-reaching betrayal of the most fundamental principles of American justice,” said Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice, a civil rights advocacy organization. “(The court) has effectively removed any incentive for corporations to behave within the law.”

When consumers sign up for everything from cell phone service to rental cars, terms of the contracts signed often compel them to forgo traditional legal mechanisms when a dispute arises, forcing them to mandatory binding arbitration instead.  Such provisions have been struck down in many state cases as “unconscionable,” with various courts deciding consumers could not be compelled to surrender basic legal rights granted by the state. That is especially true in what are known as “contracts of adhesion” — standard form contracts offered on a “take it or leave it” basis, where consumers have little bargaining power, the courts have said.

When most of us have a billing despite with a company we’ll make some effort to recover small amounts – file a compliant with the BBB or your state’s office of consumer affairs, but will generally let it go once it takes up too much time or becomes too aggravating. Class action suits are frequently those small amounts and small disputes applied to hundreds and sometimes thousands of people. We all benefit because it causes corporations to watch themselves – thus saving us individually those small unfair or illegal charges for which we cannot get satisfaction. The Robert’s Supreme Court basically says that is over. You take what the company fells like giving you, if anything. Studies have found that forced arbitration only finds in favor of the consumer about 4% of the time. So arbitration is not going to be some last grasp savior of fair remedy. Corporations can no longer be held to account for shady, unethical or blatantly dishonest business practices because hey, it says in the fine print, you agree to their services on the condition they cannot be held liable. This ruling may also apply to an upcoming decision in Wal-Mart v. Dukes “the company is asking the justices to dramatically limit the ability of potential plaintiffs to band together to pursue common claims based upon allegedly illegal conduct”. It may apply to situations where coal companies endanger their employees. The SCOTUS ( the five conservative Justices) have doubled down on the corporation as a person point of view. They have decided that a corporation is actually more like a medieval prince, above the law.

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