Saturday, July 22, 2006

The State of Our Nuclear World

This article is a must read for anyone oncerned with nuclear issues, but one who doesn't lose one's mind when speaking about the subject.

OneWorld U.S. Home / Today's News / OneWorld US Daily Headlines - The State of Our Nuclear World:

The following global scan was written as a follow-up to the May 2005 edition of Perspectives Magazine: The Nuclear Weapons Debate.

Over the last year, debate about nuclear non-proliferation has centered on Irans nuclear ambitions, which has dominated headlines. Iran maintains that it aims solely to develop nuclear energy for peaceful civilian purposes, which it is allowed to do under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of 1970 (NPT). Others are critical of this intent and, the United States in particular, insist that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons and must be stopped.

Dick Cheney would go after the NYT before Iran ro N. Korea

Wingnuttia is home to some very sick individuals.

I think that people are beginning to see them as a very malignant force in this country; as threatening to a number of people and groups of people.

Sometimes scary people get clobbered. They might want to think about that, because they issue too many more threatening tirades.

Pre-emptive strikes are all the rage!

Haven't you heard?

The BEAST: America's Best Fiend:

Forget North Korea. Iran can wait. America faces a much more clever and powerful enemy: the elitofascists at the New York Times. If you listen to the insistent, unavoidable blabber of right-wing opinion, the Gray Lady is a commie terrorist, doing whatever she can to help the Jihadists destroy America.

Radio talker Melanie Morgan said that if the New York Times, executive editor were tried and convicted for the article, she 'would have no problem with him being sent to the gas chamber.' These sentiments were more or less echoed by Michelle Malkin, Cal Thomas, Bill Kristol, and the usual gang of idiots, including a few congressmen and the White House itself. The charges are the usual bullshit: treason, sedition, espionage. The one thing these various accusers have in common, besides an abiding devotion to the Bush administration, is that they all have a troubled relationship with the first amendment, and have now grown to despise it.

Bush to Maneuver Around Supreme Court Decision Adhering to Geneva Conventions

Or so he thinks. The Congress would be very unwise, indeed, to find themselves complicit in war crimes.

Bush to Maneuver Around Supreme Court Decision Adhering to Geneva Conventions:

Top White House officials took a harder line yesterday on a new system to try terrorism suspects, telling Republican senators that President Bush will soon formally propose a tribunal structure with only minor changes from the military commissions that were ruled unconstitutional last month.

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley met with Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John W. Warner (R-Va.) and Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), offering views on a new tribunal structure that they said could pass constitutional muster with a Supreme Court that rebuked the White House in June. The senators said Bush will give Congress a proposal soon.

But Senate Republican aides familiar with the discussion said that the White House position has hardened since a White House meeting earlier this month, when Hadley assured the same senators the White House could accept tribunals based largely on existing military law, known as the Uniform Code of Military Justice. That could place Bush on a collision course with the Senate, where a bipartisan group of lawmakers is preparing legislation that would hew closely to military law in outlining more rights for defendants than the administration wants to grant.

'They prefer starting with the commissions as currently structured, and adding a few changes,' said a senior Senate Republican aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity because no proposal has been formalized. 'Clearly, some [senators] believe that we have to take more from the UCMJ than the administration, at this time, wants.'

Bush Loses First Round in Wiretap Suit

Vrey good, now let's see what the Supremes will do.

Bush Loses First Round in Wiretap Suit:

Administration argues defending case threatens to reveal state secrets.

San Francisco - A federal judge Thursday refused to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the Bush administration's domestic spying program, rejecting government claims that allowing the case to go forward could expose state secrets and jeopardize the war on terror.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker said the warrantless eavesdropping has been so widely reported that there appears to be no danger of spilling secrets.

Dozens of lawsuits alleging that telecommunications companies and the government are illegally intercepting Americans' communications without warrants have been filed. This is the first time a judge has ruled on the government's claim of a 'state secrets privilege.'

'It might appear that none of the subject matter in this litigation could be considered a secret given that the alleged surveillance programs have been so widely reported in the media,' Walker said.

Bush can't stop his own Pentagon from selling arms to terrorrists

This man is the worst excuse for a president in American history!

Report raps Pentagon for equipment sales - Yahoo! News:

WASHINGTON - Undercover government investigators purchased sensitive surplus military equipment such as launcher mounts for shoulder-fired missiles and guided missile radar test sets from a Defense Department contractor.

Much of the equipment could be useful to terrorists, according to a draft report by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.

In June, two GAO investigators spent $1.1 million on such equipment at two excess property warehouses. Their purchases included several types of body armor inserts used by troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, an all-band antenna used to track aircraft, and a digital signal converter used in naval surveillance.

'The body armor could be used by terrorists or other criminal activity,' noted the report, obtained Friday by The Associated Press. 'Many of the other military items have weapons applications that would also be useful to terrorists.'

Sen. Inhofe::Gore Is Full of Crap. All Recent Science�Confirms This Thing Is A Hoax�

If this isn't a classic example of projection, I don't know what is, because Inhofe is as full of crap as anyone I have ever known.

He is a fool who has no idea how stupid he really is.

Think Progress � Sen. Inhofe: �Gore Is Full of Crap,� �All Recent Science�Confirms This Thing Is A Hoax�:

Yesterday, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) attacked Al Gore and global warming science, claiming that Gore was 'full of crap' on global warming.

Appearing on Glenn Beck's radio show and CNN television program, Inhofe said that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which concluded that global warming was real and caused by humans, used 'one scientist.' Inhofe added: '[A]ll of the recent science'it confirms that I was right on this thing. This thing is a hoax.'

Gabriel Kolko: Why a Global Economic Deluge Looms

The bottom is going to fall out.

Gabriel Kolko: Why a Global Economic Deluge Looms:

People who know the most about the world financial system are increasingly worried, and for very good reasons. Dire warnings are coming from the most 'respectable' sources. Reality has gotten out of hand. The demons of greed are loose.

What is that reality? It includes a number of factors. Alone they would be exceedingly serious; combined, they are very likely to be lethal.

First of all, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been undergoing both a structural and intellectual crisis. Structurally, its outstanding credit and loans have declined dramatically since 2003, from over $70 billion to a little over $20 billion today, leaving it with far less leverage over the economic policies of developing nations--and even less income than its expensive operations require. It is now in deficit.1

A large part of the IMF's problems are due to the doubling in world prices for all commodities since 2003 -- especially petroleum, copper, silver, zinc, nickel, and the like -- that the developing nations traditionally export. While there will be fluctuations in this upsurge, there is also reason to think it may endure because rapid economic growth in China, India, and elsewhere has created a burgeoning demand that did not exist before, when the balance-of-trade systematically favored the rich nations.

Making the Case for Impeachment

If the Democrats do not win back the House and Senate, there will be no chance in hell of holding this administration acountable, until they leave office.

If the Democrats do not seek to hold Bush, Cheney and compnay accountable, once the have the majority, we should tear the Democratic Party apart.

Gary Leupp: Making the Case for Impeachment:

The just-published The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office by CounterPuncher Dave Lindorff and Barbara Olshansky is more than a manual for the members of Congress---those who under the constitution are empowered to impeach high officials---who might consider Bush's impeachment after the November elections. It's a compact (275 pages, including 60 pages of appendices and footnotes) catalogue of administration deceit and criminality that should encourage any honest still-unconvinced person to join the movement to drive out the Bush regime. As the authors observe, it will require a growing movement to force the politicians, who've been characterized so far by abject cowardice, to move forward on the procedure. If they do, we'll be able to thank the authors for helping them make the right choice. If they don't, the work will stand as an implicit indictment of them while continuing to inform those serious about real 'regime change' in this country.

In their preface the authors declare optimistically, 'If a Democratic majority is elected to the House in November 2006, we are confident that a bill of impeachment will be introduced early in the next Congress.' (p. xi).

srael's Shameful Attack on Gaza

What insane brutality by the state of Israel; even the PMs daughter protests her father's policies.

Mike Whitney: Israel's Shameful Attack on Gaza: (Full Artcile)

'We are sure that Israel is using a new chemical or radioactive weapon in their operation. When we try to X-ray dead bodies, we find no trace of shrapnel that hit the person killed.' Dr. al-Saqqa, Shifa hospital, Gaza; following the examination of the 'completely burnt' bodies of dead Palestinians killed in Israeli air raid.

Question: How many editorials or op-ed columns have appeared in American newspapers defending the rights of Palestinian civilians to live in peace without the constant threat of being invaded or shelled by the world's forth largest military?


How many editorials or op-ed columnists have defended the Geneva Conventions or international laws against collective punishment, the willful destruction of critical infrastructure, or military maneuvers that deliberately put civilians in imminent danger?


Then how many editorials or op-ed columnists have presented the recent flurry of events (including the capture of Israeli soldier Galid Shalit) in the broader context of Israel's ongoing boycott of food and medical supplies, as well as the 50 or so Palestinian civilians who have been killed in Israel's regular incitements in the occupied territories?


Roberts: The Unfolding Horror Show

Americans join the Lebanese, Iraqis and Palestinians, as victims of the NeoCons.

It is time we fight back!

Roberts: The Unfolding Horror Show:

What explains the indifference of the Bush administration to the slaughter of civilians in Iraq, Lebanon, and Gaza?

As of the morning of July 19, Israeli bombardments of Lebanese civilian residential districts and public infrastructure have murdered 300 Lebanese, wounded 1,000, and displaced 500,000. The Lebanese prime minister said that Israel's attack has caused 'unimaginable losses' and that his government will seek compensation from Israel.

In Gaza, Israel has murdered scores of Palestinian civilians in the past few days.

In Iraq the civilian daily death toll has risen above 100.

These dead are not Hezbollah militia. They are not Hamas militia. They are not al Qaeda or Sunni insurgents. They are civilians.

Frustrated by Hezbollah, Israel is lashing out at hapless civilians, knowing that the US will protect Israel from UN Security Council condemnation.

Frustrated by Sunni insurgents, the US has instigated sectarian strife.

Bush has stonewalled the UN, our European allies, and the Lebanese prime minister, all of whom are calling and pleading for Bush to pressure the Israelis to stop their cowardly slaughter from the air of Lebanese civilians.

Robert Fisk: Elegy for Beirut

Robert Fisk: Elegy for Beirut:

BEIRUT -- In the year 551, the magnificent, wealthy city of Berytus - headquarters of the imperial East Mediterranean Roman fleet - was struck by a massive earthquake. In its aftermath, the sea withdrew several miles and the survivors - ancestors of the present-day Lebanese - walked out on the sands to loot the long-sunken merchant ships revealed in front of them.

That was when a tidal wall higher than a tsunami returned to swamp the city and kill them all. So savagely was the old Beirut damaged that the Emperor Justinian sent gold from Constantinople as compensation to every family left alive.

Some cities seem forever doomed. When the Crusaders arrived at Beirut on their way to Jerusalem in the 11th century, they slaughtered every man, woman and child in the city. In the First World War, Ottoman Beirut suffered a terrible famine; the Turkish army had commandeered all the grain and the Allied powers blockaded the coast. I still have some ancient postcards I bought here 30 years ago of stick-like children standing in an orphanage, naked and abandoned.

Paul Krugman: The Price of Fantasy

According to Colin Powell, the NeoCons are known far and wide as the 'effing crazies.'

Why is Junior such and idiot?

It is said that he came into the W.H. as the unClinton.


But he is also the un-George Bush I.

Rozius: Paul Krugman: The Price of Fantasy:

Today we call them neoconservatives, but when the first George Bush was president, those who believed that America could remake the world to its liking with a series of splendid little wars, people like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, were known within the administration as 'the crazies.' Grown-ups in both parties rejected their vision as a dangerous fantasy.

But in 2000 the Supreme Court delivered the White House to a man who, although he may be 60, doesn't act like a grown-up. The second President Bush obviously confuses swagger with strength, and prefers tough talkers like the crazies to people who actually think things through. He got the chance to implement the crazies, vision after 9/11, which created a climate in which few people in Congress or the news media dared to ask hard questions. And the result is the bloody mess we're now in.

This isn't a case of 20-20 hindsight. It was clear from the beginning that the United States didn't have remotely enough troops to carry out the crazies' agenda, and Mr. Bush never asked for a bigger army.

A Conflict Viewed Through Very Different Lenses - World Opinion Roundup

So, what else is new?

Reporting in the U.S. is always vey different from that of the rest of the world, even Britain.

When I spent the first week or so of the Iraq war overseas and came back, I was shocked by the difference.

A Conflict Viewed Through Very Different Lenses - World Opinion Roundup:

Are Americans being given a very different view of the Israel-Hezbollah conflict than their counterparts in Europe and elsewhere?

Yes, according to commentators in Muslim and European media.

The editors of the Jordan Times are especially critical of the U.S. television coverage. 'Not only the Lebanese and Arabs but any educated, broad-minded person equipped with the necessary tools that do not allow him to succumb to the mighty propaganda machine have, over the past few days, all the reasons to be furious at the coverage by major US networks of the tragedy unfolding in Lebanon.'

Heat, Rain, No Power

My Way News - St. Louis Suffers: Heat, Rain, No Power:

National Guard troops stepped up their search for people in hot homes without power to run air conditioning Friday as heavy rains and tree-toppling winds added to the misery of the worst power outage in the city's history.

'We have 55 percent of the residents without power. Our biggest fear is that the number will go up,' said Jeff Rainford, spokesman for Mayor Francis Slay.

A heat wave that has baked much of the nation this week has been blamed for at least 28 deaths, three of them in Missouri.
The death toll in Oklahoma alone rose to seven. The state medical examiner's office said the heat caused the deaths of four elderly people on Thursday, including one in Oklahoma City, where the high that day was 107.

Waas: Bush blocking of investigation


TPMmuckraker July 21, 2006 09:00 AM:

Over at National Journal, Murray Waas has been burrowing into the Justice Department probe of how its own officials handled the NSA domestic spying program. In fact, he broke the news of the foiled investigation, prompting the revelation on Tuesday that President Bush himself blocked the probe by refusing to grant security clearances to investigators from DoJ's Office of Professional Responsibility.

I talked with Waas on Wednesday to get his thoughts on the importance of the story, and how various media outlets, including the New York Times, chose to report the story:

Friday, July 21, 2006

Fieingold: Iraq is a great concern among voters

He also aknowledges that voters have other concerns as well, and Democrats need to be aware of that. The Waterloo Cedar-Falls Courier Online!:

Feingold said voters are looking at politicians' positions on the war as a fundamental statement.

'It really suggests whether people have the judgment to make the right calls not only to fight terrorism but not make the kind of mistakes the Bush administration has made,' Feingold said.

Feingold said Democrats traditionally focus more on domestic issues. But unrest over the war has changed that.

'What will be different about this is that foreign policy and the whole international set of issues will be very important,' Feingold said.

Feingold cautioned that Democrats must address other issues, even given the elevated importance of the war.

'There's no way that the only thing that people are going to be interested in is the war,' Feingold said. 'I don't think the election is going to be just a referendum on the war, but I think people are going to be looking for clear leadership in terms of getting us out of that situation.'

Bush pulls plug on probe

Thanks to the Globe forr covering this. There is not much, we, the people can do about the continuinng tragedy going on in the middle east, but there is something we can do about the double felon in the White House.

Bush pulls plug on probe - The Boston Globe:

IN THE BUSH administration's campaign to consolidate power that had once been exercised by Congress or the courts , it has taken one step after another to avoid congressional and judicial review. Now it turns out that President Bush himself blocked an internal Justice Department inquiry into the administration's decision to eavesdrop on domestic phone calls without a warrant from a judge, as required by a 1978 law. The short-circuiting of that investigation makes it all the more important that Congress act.

Who Will Prosecute Bush for a Double Felony? | BuzzFlash

Who, indeed.

Perhaps a citizens arrest is in order.

Who Will Prosecute Bush for a Double Felony? BuzzFlash:

We just wanted to repeat again -- because the mainstream press, with few exceptions, is letting it pass, as are the Democratic leaders on the Hill -- that Bush has now committed a double felony.

This is no exaggeration.

Bush himself admitted to violating the law when he authorized illegal domestic spying and bypassed the special court that is legally empowered to oversee such spying. Then, the Attorney General of the United States testified to Congress that Bush personally prohibited Justice Department staff from investigating the illegal spying.

That's called obstruction of justice.

In essence, it's a double felony.

Yet, the American mainstream press and the nattering nabobs on Capitol Hill have hardly uttered a word of objection.
What happens when you are a criminal who keeps breaking the law and getting away with it?

We're finding out, aren't we?

Just keep your eyes on the White House, home of the double felon.

Summary of Findings: Democrats More Eager to Vote, But Unhappy with Party

Maybe the Democrats have their own October surprise; like something, anything, that makes sense. Maybe they will do something really unheard of in Washington and tell the damn truth.

Maybe they will stop acting like this is politics as usual, as the country slips into a soft fascism.

Summary of Findings: Democrats More Eager to Vote, But Unhappy with Party:

With less than five months to go before Election Day, Democrats hold two distinct advantages in the midterm campaign that they have not enjoyed for some time. First, Americans continue to say they favor the Democratic candidate in their district, by a 51% to 39% margin. Second, the level of enthusiasm about voting among Democrats is unusually high, and is atypically low among Republicans. In fact, Democrats now hold a voter enthusiasm advantage that is the mirror image of the GOP's edge in voter zeal leading up to the 1994 midterm election.

Public anger with Congress continues to rise, and anti-incumbent sentiment has reached new highs, according to the latest survey of 1,501 Americans conducted June 14-19 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. The sour public mood currently favors the minority party, as 46% of Democratic voters say they are more enthusiastic about voting than usual, compared with just 30% of Republicans. In October 1994, Republicans held a comparable advantage on this measure (by 45%-30%).

But Democratic zeal is mostly driven by anger toward President Bush and Republican leaders, not support for Democratic leaders. Just half of Democrats approve of the job performance of Democratic leaders in Congress; by contrast, 58% of Republicans give positive ratings to GOP leaders. And 64% of Democrats say their party is doing only a fair or poor job in standing up for its traditional positions on such things as protecting the interests of minorities and helping the poor.

Mideast Conflict Boosts Chances of Iran-US Showdown

Mideast Conflict Boosts Chances of Iran-US Showdown:

The week-old Israeli-Hezbollah conflict is likely to boost the chances of U.S. military action against Iran, according to a number of regional experts who see a broad consensus among the U.S. political elite that the ongoing hostilities are part of a broader offensive being waged by Tehran against Washington across the region.

While Israel-centred neo-conservatives have been the most aggressive in arguing that Hezbollah's Jul. 12 cross-border attack could only have been carried out with Iran's approval, if not encouragement, that view has been largely accepted and echoed by the mainstream media, as well as other key political factions, including liberal internationalists identified with the Democratic Party.

'In my reading, this is the beginning of what was a very similar process in the period, between (the Sep. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against New York and the Pentagon) and the Iraq war,' according to Gregory Gause, who teaches Middle East politics at the University of Vermont.

'While neo-cons took the lead in opinion formation then, eventually there was something approaching consensus in the American political class that war with Iraq was a necessary part of remaking the Middle East to prevent future 9/11s,' he said.

'That strong majority opinion was bipartisan �and) crossed ideological lines -- neo-cons supported the war, but so did lots of prominent liberal intellectuals,' he went on. 'I think it is very possible that a similar consensus could develop over the next few years, if not the next few months, about the necessity to confront Iran.'

AlterNet: EnviroHealth: The Return Of Nazi Oil

Appropriate, though dumb as hell.

AlterNet: EnviroHealth: The Return Of Nazi Oil:

A costly coal-to-liquid process some call 'Nazi fuel' is back, thanks to high oil prices and lobbying by groups that stand to profit by its use.

RFK Jr. Blows the Whistle on Diebold

Hey, Bobby, get the other crooked EVM makers too!

There can be no more serious a crime in a Democracy than election tampering.

AlterNet: RFK Jr. Blows the Whistle on Diebold:

The environmental lawyer-turned voting-rights advocate has found Diebold employees who may link the company to election fraud.

Don't Let the Neocons Call It a 'War on Terror'

There is no such thing as a war on terror, because if there was, Bush, Cheney and the rest of the NeoCon egg-heads would have been shot be now, since they are two of the biggest terrorist around.

This so-called war is BOGUS; but people are getting killed and terrorized, nonetheless.

AlterNet: Don't Let the Neocons Call It a 'War on Terror':

If we don't challenge the 'war' narrative, the hawks may just get the existential Clash of Civilizations they've spent decades working for.

Ohio's Coming Electoral Meltdown

We must invoke the 1% Doctrine. If there is a 1% chance that an election has been stolen, we must go psychotic on their asses.

AlterNet: Ohio's Coming Electoral Meltdown:

Anyone wondering where America's next electoral meltdown will take place -- and it can only be a matter of time -- might do well to turn back to the scene of the last one. Ohio was, of course, ground zero of the 2004 presidential election, and now it's the battleground of one of the most hotly contested governor's races in the country.

The Republican candidate this November is none other than Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio's Secretary of State, a man vilified by voting rights activists for a string of baffling and, to all appearances, nakedly partisan rulings in the 2004 presidential race, when he also doubled as co-chair of George Bush's state re-election campaign. Now he's at it again -- issuing draconian guidelines on voter registration that carry the threat of felony prosecutions against grassroots get-out-the-vote groups, especially in Democratic-leaning urban areas, for even the slightest procedural irregularity.

To Save a Revolution

Not only has Israel jumped the shark, this time, but the U.S. had as well, AGAIN!

What has happened to Lebanon is an outrage and everyone invloved should be hauled up to the Hague for war crimes!

To Save a Revolution:

You could sense the hurt and anger as Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora pleaded this week to the U.S. ambassador and other diplomats in Beirut for a halt to Israeli attacks on Lebanese targets. 'The country has been torn to shreds,' he said. 'I hope you will not let us down.'

The challenge for the Bush administration as the Lebanon war explodes into its second week is just that -- to keep faith with Siniora and his Cedar Revolution, even as it stands by its close ally Israel. This isn't simply a question of appearances and public diplomacy. Unless Siniora's government can be strengthened, there is little hope for achieving the U.S. and Israeli goal of bringing Hezbollah's guerrillas under lasting control.

Robert D. Kaplan: The Taliban's silent partner -

Bush is an idiot, chapter 998

Opinion - Robert D. Kaplan: The Taliban's silent partner -

"STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. - When the American-led coalition invaded Afghanistan five years ago, pessimists warned that we would soon find ourselves in a similar situation to what Soviet forces faced in the 1980s. They were wrong, but only about the timing. The military operation was lean and lethal, and routed the Taliban government in a few weeks. But now, just two years after Hamid Karzai was elected as the country's first democratic leader, the coalition finds itself, like its Soviet predecessors, in control of major cities and towns, very weak in the villages, and besieged by a shadowy insurgency that uses Pakistan as its rear base.

Our backing of an enlightened government in Kabul should put us in a far stronger position than the Soviets in the fight to win back the hinterland. But it may not, and for a good reason: The involvement of our other ally in the region, Pakistan, in aiding the Taliban war machine is deeper than is commonly thought.

The NeoCons Hawks are revving up for more violence in the Middle east

Speaking of which, has Hillary Clinton gone absolutely bonkers.

She will never get our support with this thinly veiled racism!

Nevermind Dershowitz. He always comes unhinged where Iarael is concerned; kind of like Lieberman.

Americans are being whipped into a new war frenzy with simplistic visions of evil villains, much like occurred four years ago before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

Just as Saddam Hussein was cast as the monster whose elimination would transform Iraq into a democratic oasis, Hezbollah and its allies in Syria and Iran are presented now as the crux of all evil in the Middle East whose military defeat will bring a new day.

Inside the United States, many of the same politicians and pundits who stampeded the nation into Iraq are back again urging the application of even more violence. While George W. Bush and his neoconservative advisers may be leading the herd, influential Democrats, like Hillary Clinton and Alan Dershowitz, are running with this pack, too.

But the ease with which these Middle East hawks tolerate the slaughter of Arabs in Lebanon, as well as in Iraq and in the Palestinian territories, has a flavor of racism that has poisoned U.S. policy as far as many Muslims are concerned and indeed has strengthened popular support for Islamic extremists on the Arab street.

Some of Novak's Fellow Columnists Don't Buy Plame Explanation

Novak is nothing but a sniveling, suck-up to power, who allows himself to be used by White House criminals to do untold damage to the national security.

He should not have a job in any kind of Journalsim. Let him serve out his days at Faux News, where he doesn't have to worry about stupid things like facts.

Some of Novak's Fellow Columnists Don't Buy Plame Explanation:

NEW YORK - Robert Novak received a lot of criticism and some support when he outed CIA operative Valerie Plame in his column of July 14, 2003. But what do people think about Novak's actions since then?

That question became especially germane when the Chicago Sun-Times/Creators Syndicate commentator wrote a column last Wednesday designed to explain his behavior during special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation of the Plame case. So E&P asked various columnists what they thought of Novak's July 12 piece.

Clinton to help Lieberman against rival - Yahoo! News

Those DLCers really stick together, eh?

Maybe Clinton is trying to be a statesman. Instead, he always comes off looking like a big bufoon.

Clinton to help Lieberman against rival - Yahoo! News:

"HARTFORD, Conn. - Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman is enlisting help in his re-election campaign from former President Clinton, the man he criticized in 1998 for 'disgraceful behavior' in a sex scandal with a White House intern.

Attacks Qualify as War Crimes, Officials Say - New York Times

Don't forget Iraq!

Attacks Qualify as War Crimes, Officials Say - New York Times:

"UNITED NATIONS, July 19 - The United Nations' top human rights official said Wednesday that the killing and maiming of civilians under attack in Lebanon, Israel and Gaza and the West Bank could constitute war crimes.

'The scale of killings in the region, and their predictability, could engage the personal criminal responsibility of those involved, particularly those in a position of command and control,' said Louise Arbour, the high commissioner for human rights.

Ms. Arbour is a former justice of Canada's Supreme Court who, as chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, indicted the former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic.

'International humanitarian law is clear on the supreme obligations to protect civilians during hostilities,' she said. That same obligation exists, she added, in international criminal law, which defines war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Buhs is an embarrassment and a disgrace

After this presidency, I will personally trottle anyone who says he will vote for Candidate x, because he would like to have a beer, spit and kick tires with him.

Does this country deserve to survive, united, if the electoral results are Bush? (Yeah, yeah, we know. He has yet to win a national election without cheating, but there are enough pin heads in the electorate to get him close enough to steal elections.)

tbe Progressive American:

Mr. Bush may resent the sophistication required of a president. But when the world is going to hell, he should stop chewing and start thinking.

The Boomerang Effect

Why can't the Doves, with strickingly good ideas, never win in this crazy world?

Why do these men, who run the nations always have to have a testosterone fit, and start bombing the crap out of innocent people?

tbe Progressive American:

One of the broader tragedies in the Middle East is 'the boomerang syndrome.'

Impatient Arabs backed violence and thus put Ariel Sharon and now Ehud Olmert into power, while utterly discrediting Israeli doves. Some Arabs seethed at their daily discomforts, and so they backed provocations that are now vastly multiplying the suffering in Gaza and Lebanon alike.
I'm afraid that impatient Israelis may now be falling into the same trap. Israelis, outraged by attacks and kidnappings, have escalated the conflict by launching an assault on Lebanon that may make life in Israel far more dangerous for many years to come.

It's easy to sympathize with Israeli outrage, particularly since the attacks on it follow its withdrawals first from Lebanon and then from Gaza. But the winners in this conflict, in the medium to long term, are likely to be hard-liners throughout the Islamic world.

The Iranian and Syrian regimes are illegitimate, incompetent and unpopular, but they may be able to exploit anger at the television images from Lebanon into a longer lease on life for themselves. Pakistani extremists will be strengthened in their calls for jihad. In Sudan, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir will rally popular anger to resist U.N. peacekeepers in Darfur. In Iraq, sympathy for Lebanese Shiites may strengthen Iraq's own extremist Shiite militias.

Bush 'out of touch' on stem cells

If I were a scientist working in this field, I would move to a country that isn't so religiously insane.

BBC NEWS Science/Nature Bush 'out of touch' on stem cells:

Scientists have reacted with anger to US President George W Bush's decision to veto a bill allowing federal funding for new embryonic stem cell research.

They argue it will damage a promising field of medical research.

Leading researchers labelled Mr Bush 'hypocritical', 'out of touch' and 'selfish' over his decision not to sign into law a bill approved by Congress.

Mr Bush argued that the law 'crossed a moral boundary that our decent society needs to respect'.

Polls suggest most Americans back the research, which scientists hope will lead to cures for serious illnesses such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and diabetes.

Voting Rights Act headed to Bush's desk - Yahoo! News

You wouldn't know it be looking at the vote, but this took a pitched battle with Southern Congress-critters objecting to the extension because they said it was directed primarily at them, and made them look bad, or some such crap.

Damn, these people get on my last freakin' nerve!

Of course this extension doesn't mean very much, in states where Rethugs are in charge of elections. They will always find a way to disenfranchize voters, unless we are prepared to make them pay a very high price.

Voting Rights Act headed to Bush's desk - Yahoo! News:

WASHINGTON - The 1965 Voting Rights Act, which opened polls to millions of black Americans, is on its way to President Bush's desk after winning a 25-year extension from Congress.

The president promised to sign it even before the 98-0 vote, eager to improve the GOP's standing with minorities.

'The Voting Rights Act is one of the most important pieces of legislation in our nation's history,' Bush said after the Senate approval on Thursday. 'It has been vital to guaranteeing the right to vote for generations of Americans and has helped millions of our citizens enjoy the full promise of freedom.'
A centerpiece of the 1960s civil rights movement, the law ended poll taxes, literacy tests and other devices that had been used for decades to keep blacks from voting.

Israel preparing Lebanon ground offensive - Yahoo! News

Do the Israelis believe that everyone, who possibly can, hasn't already gotten as far away from the insanity as possible?

Unfortunately, everyone does not have a way to leave.

Israel preparing Lebanon ground offensive - Yahoo! News:

BEIRUT, Lebanon - Pitched battles raged between Israeli forces and Hezbollah fighters on the border Thursday, and Israel warned hundreds of thousands of people to flee southern Lebanon 'immediately,' preparing for a likely ground offensive to set up a buffer zone.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Cover-Up Exposed?

Isn't this a little like the "Saturday Night Masacre" with a silencer.

This imperial presidency has got to stop. Now.

It is the job of the Congress to stop it.

If they cannot or will not, it falls to the people.

Cover-Up Exposed?:

Amid all the other news yesterday, the attorney general's startling revelation that President Bush personally blocked a Justice Department investigation into the administration's controversial secret domestic spying programs hasn't gotten the attention it deserves.

Bush's move -- denying the requisite security clearances to attorneys from the department's ethics office -- is unprecedented in that office's history. It also comes in stark contrast to the enthusiastic way in which security clearances were dished out to a different group of attorneys: Those charged with finding out who leaked information about the program to the press.

US accuses Iran over North Korean missile tests |

Maybe I am just the world's biggest optimist, which I have never been accused of (trust me), but isn't this good news.

So, some Iranians watched N. Korea's big dud firecrackers. I doubt they were all that impressed.

If the Iranian Shahab is anything like what N. Korea has, I think we can all breathe a little easier.

US accuses Iran over North Korean missile tests |

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran accused the United States on Thursday of trying to obstruct talks to end a standoff over Tehran's nuclear programme, while Washington said its fears had risen because Iranians had witnessed North Korean missile tests.

Both sides traded the accusations as the U.N. Security Council wrangled over a resolution to make legally binding demands Iran halt uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for power stations or bomb material. Iran again rejected international calls for it to scrap nuclear fuel production.

A senior U.S. official said on Thursday U.S. worries about Iran's nuclear capabilities had deepened because one or more Iranians witnessed missile tests on July 4 in North Korea, which experts say is a key partner in Tehran's missile programme. (This makes no sense.)

John W. Dean | Triumph of the Authoritarians

Dean Nails it!

They learned a lot from the Nazis.

John W. Dean | Triumph of the Authoritarians:

For almost half a century, social scientists have been exploring authoritarianism. We do not typically associate authoritarianism with our democracy, but as I discovered while examining decades of empirical research, we ignore some findings at our risk. Unfortunately, the social scientists who have studied these issues report their findings in monographs and professional journals written for their peers, not for general readers. With the help of a leading researcher and others, I waded into this massive body of work.

What I found provided a personal epiphany. Authoritarian conservatives are, as a researcher told me, 'enemies of freedom, antidemocratic, antiequality, highly prejudiced, mean-spirited, power hungry, Machiavellian and amoral.' And that's not just his view. To the contrary, this is how these people have consistently described themselves when being anonymously tested, by the tens of thousands over the past several decades.

Authoritarianism's impact on contemporary conservatism is beyond question. Because this impact is still growing and has troubling (if not actually evil) implications, I hope that social scientists will begin to write about this issue for general readers. It is long past time to bring the telling results of their empirical work into the public square and to the attention of American voters. No less than the health of our democracy may depend on this being done. We need to stop thinking we are dealing with trditional conservatives on te modern stage, and instead recognize that they've been supplanted, often, by authoritarians.

Walter Pincus | Fighting Back Against the PR Presidency

To not cover PR events should be the least of their bravery. The West Wing is the closest thing I want to see to a Hollywood produced presidency, again, ever!

Walter Pincus | Fighting Back Against the PR Presidency:

Veteran Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus thinks that Washington editors and reporters should be brave enough not to cover any statements made by the president or any other government official that are designed solely as a public relations tool, offering no new or valuable information to the public.

Military analysts question Israeli bombing - Yahoo! News

Seems to us that everyone should be questioning the indiscriminate bombing of Lebanon and it's civilian infrastructure.

Military analysts question Israeli bombing - Yahoo! News:

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Thousands of Israeli bombs have fallen on Lebanese homes, roads, bridges, ports, broadcasting towers and even a lighthouse.

Nearly 300 people, mainly civilians, have been killed, Lebanon's prime minister said.

Analysts say Israel's targeting of civilian and government infrastructure overshadows its strikes on the offices and rocket launchers of Hezbollah guerrillas, whose capture of two Israeli soldiers triggered the attacks.

'This is a classic strategic bombing campaign,' said Stephen Biddle, a former head of military studies at the U.S. Army War College now at the Council on Foreign Relations. 'What the Israelis are trying to do is pressure others into solving their problem for them, hence the targeting of civilian infrastructure.'

But the growing list of civilian casualties, despite Israel's use of U.S.-designed precision-guided bombs, could turn Arabs and others against the Jewish state and its key ally, the U.S., and still not fatally wound Hezbollah, said military analysts.

Corruption Issue Comes to Fore

Forget concern about corruption; Americans should be outraged. We should be at Home Depot buying pitch-forks and torches!

In all of my 57 years I have never seen anything like what is going on in DC these days.

Throw the efing bums and crooks out, especially the hypocrites, like Ralph Reed, for example.

I the elections are stolen again this year, there is always Home Depot

Corruption Issue Comes to Fore

Bush Uses Frozen Embryo Children As Props But Says They Are Not �Spare Parts�

Get ready! Pop the corn, chill the wine, whatever....

God is about to smite Junior and his team of miscreants.

Pensito Review: Politics & Media � Bush Uses Frozen Embryo Children As Props But Says They Are Not �Spare Parts�:

The event today at the White House to announce that the president had vetoed a bill that would have allocated federal funds for embryonic stem cell research was one of the most obscenely crass political displays of the Bush presidency, and that is saying a lot.

To shift attention from the reality that only discarded embryos would be used in the research, the president's political operatives filled the room with children who were born from frozen embryos.

The craven use of used these children as political props became acutely ironic when Bush said of them, 'These boys and girls are not spare parts.' (We are sure that these kids and their parents enjoyed hearing this.)

Cameras weren't allowed in the room when President Bush actually signed the veto, which was the first of his six-year presidency. With midterm elections just four months away, Karl Rove and the political team didn't want clips of the signing showing up in Democrats' campaign ads. (It will be used anyhow, fools)

US orders nine warships to waters off Lebanon - Yahoo! News


US orders nine warships to waters off Lebanon - Yahoo! News:

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States ordered nine warships to waters off the Lebanese coast amid fears of possible terrorist attacks on ships evacuating US nationals, officials said.

Florida's Fear of History: New Law Undermines Critical Thinking

The dumbing down of America gets kicked up a notch or two in Jebistan.

Parents in Florida ought to burn down the Governor's mansion, unless they just want their kids to be stupid, automatons!

Florida's Fear of History: New Law Undermines Critical Thinking:

One way to measure the fears of people in power is by the intensity of their quest for certainty and control over knowledge.

By that standard, the members of the Florida Legislature marked themselves as the folks most terrified of history in the United States when last month they took bold action to become the first state to outlaw historical interpretation in public schools. In other words, Florida has officially replaced the study of history with the imposition of dogma and effectively outlawed critical thinking.

Although U.S. students are typically taught a sanitized version of history in which the inherent superiority and benevolence of the United States is rarely challenged, the social and political changes unleashed in the 1960s have opened up some space for a more honest accounting of our past. But even these few small steps taken by some teachers toward collective critical self-reflection are too much for many Americans to bear.

So, as part of an education bill signed into law by Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida has declared that 'American history shall be viewed as factual, not as constructed.' That factual history, the law states, shall be viewed as 'knowable, teachable, and testable.'

James Carroll Concludes the Pentagon Is Our Out-of-Control 'House of War' | BuzzFlash

Out-of-control to say the very least.

The conduct by the Bush civilian leadership is criminal!

James Carroll Concludes the Pentagon Is Our Out-of-Control 'House of War' BuzzFlash:

It isn't that the United States shouldn't exercise power in the world. It's that it only knows how to exercise one kind of power -- the hard brutal power of military force.

We've totally neglected the soft power of diplomacy. The State Department should be at the center of American government expenditure and
energy. It isn't.

... And we neglect what really threatens us.

Author James Carroll is a winner of the National Book Award and an astute columnist for The Boston Globe. He talks here with BuzzFlash about his newest book, House of War: The Pentagon and the Disastrous Rise of American Power. He connects the dots, gets the big picture, and provides insights that can help us all grasp the reasons for war -- and see how we can find alternatives.

Gods Among Ordinary Men; dangerous, indeed

The worst kind of idolatry is self-idolatry!

Gods Among Ordinary Men:

When a man abuses the power that was entrusted to him by the people there is clearly a void between what the people want and what they receive. Such abuse stems not only from immense hubris, but from contempt for the people and for civil law. The president, we will recall, is a man who referred to the Constitution to one of his Whitehouse aides as '...just a god-damned piece of paper.' Bush and his cacophony of neo-conservative fascists clearly hold the most sacred institutions of this nation in contempt, including the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The Bush regime's contempt for human rights and their disdain for the earth are systemic. They have resulted in a litany of abuses that would rival those of Hitler and Mussolini combined. Most of the key players cut their teeth in the Reagan regime where they perfected the dark arts. These abuses occur equally at home and abroad. Characterized by hypocrisy without bounds, they are reflected in a foreign policy that is putting the world in peril as never before. Those policies have resulted in imprisoning people indefinitely without criminal charges and without access to legal council, widespread torture, extraordinary rendition, unprovoked attacks upon sovereign nations, occupation, and unprecedented secrecy and domestic spying on law abiding citizens on a broad scale.

IAF busts bunker believed to shield Nasrallah and top terror leaders

Would they be using the bunker-buster bombs we sold them a couple of years back?

Israelinsider: security: IAF busts bunker believed to shield Nasrallah and top terror leaders:

The Israeli military said warplanes dropped 23 tons of explosives late Wednesday on a south Beirut bunker where top Hezbollah figures, possibly including leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, were thought to be hiding.

Three unusally large explosions rattled south Beirut shortly after sunset, a time when Israeli strikes have hit in past days.

Early Thursday the Israeli military said its warplanes dropped bombs hours earlier on a bunker in south Beirut where senior Hezbollah leaders were thought to be.

IDF officials told Ynet that dozens of Air Force fighter jets participated in the massive air strike on a south Beirut target, acting on IDF intelligence.

Intelligence stating that Nasrallah was staying in the bunker was received Wednesday night, and numerous IDF jets were dispatched to the place shortly after. Following a brief discussion, IDF officials decided that the information was credible enough to warrant a massive bombardment on the structure.

REPORT: Oman Trade Pact Permits Foreign Ownership of U.S. Nat�l Security Assets

Here we go again.

Does Bush work for the gulf states, or what?

Sirotablog: REPORT: Oman Trade Pact Permits Foreign Ownership of U.S. Nat�l Security Assets:

In an explosive report tonight, top House Democrats discovered provisions in the controversial Oman Free Trade Agreement that would permit foreign ownership of U.S. ports and other key national security assets. Three Democrats and one Republican held an emergency press conference today to expose the provisions just before the House is scheduled to vote on the Oman pact on Thursday. As Reuters reports, 'Rep. John Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat who serves on the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee, said the pact would allow companies such as Dubai Ports World to acquire U.S. port operations by establishing a shell company in Oman.' Those provisions might also allow foreign ownership of other key national security assets, considering just after the recent Dubai Ports controversy, that country went ahead with plans to purchase a major U.S. defense contractor.

Last month, lawmakers from both parties in the U.S. Senate joined hands to pass the Oman Free Trade Agreement - which is being pushed aggressively by the Bush administration and its largest corporate donors. Lawmakers ignored major labor, human rights and environmental objections to the pact put forward by more than 400 union, religious and consumer groups. Among those voting for the pact in the Senate were Mike DeWine (R-OH) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT), two Senators facing tough re-election bids who could face renewed criticism in their home states that they have sold out their constituents.

Gallup: 4 in 10 Republicans Find McCain 'Unacceptable'

Even Republican don't want anymore Bushes.

The Crusading-crackpots will have a stroke about Rudy's life-style.

Gallup: 4 in 10 Republicans Find McCain 'Unacceptable':

NEW YORK - A new Gallup poll asking Americans their views of 25 leading candidates for president in 2008 found that one of the Republican frontrunners, Sen. John McCain, is judged 'unacceptable' by 41% of those in his own party.

A bare majority, 55%, find him 'acceptable.' In contrast, 73% of Republicans give their okay to rival Rudy Giuliani. Condoleezza Rice got the thumb's up from 68%.

Most of the opposition to McCain comes from conservatives, possibly explaining his moves in that direction lately.

Interestingly, the Republicans with the highest 'unacceptable' ratings are Vice President Cheney (61%) and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (52%).

On the Democratic side, the surpise leader in the acceptable column is former Sen. John Edwards, with 71%, followed closely by Sen. Hillary Clinton and Al Gore. Their 'not acceptable' tags are fairly low and not all that different, at 25%, 29% and 31% respectively.

Sen. John Kerry had the fourth best rating. Howard Dean comes in with 54% unacceptable, however.

Democracy in Crisis - An Exclusive BRAD BLOG Interview with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

When RFK was shot down in LA in June of '68, hope faded for many of us. Now, his son has lit the lamp again. Thank you, Bobby.

The BRAD BLOG : Democracy in Crisis - An Exclusive BRAD BLOG Interview with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.:

The Republican Party, the Republican National Committee, has been using old-fashioned, Jim Crow, apartheid-type maneuvers to steal the last two national elections.'

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Alabamians Make History by Electing Patricia Todd, First Open Lesbian to Serve in State Legislature

What's this? In my old home state? Never thought I would see the day....

Wingnuttia is probably having a melt down, and old Roy Moore is due for a stroke, any minute!.

HRC Alabamians Make History by Electing Patricia Todd, First Open Lesbian to Serve in State Legislature:

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign applauded the combined efforts of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, Equality Alabama and hundreds of Alabama Human Rights Campaign members as voters elected Patricia Todd to serve as the state representative in District 54. Todd becomes the state's first open lesbian to serve in the Alabama state Legislature. Todd won the race by razor-thin margin of 70 votes which underscores that every call, every e-mail and every conversation mattered and made a difference.

'From big cities to small towns, from blue states to red states ' equality is winning,' said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. 'We were proud to join the efforts of Equality Alabama and the Victory Fund in helping fair-minded voters get out to the ballot box. Representative Todd was supported by an intense ground effort that involved a broad group of supporters.'

Solmonese continued, 'We knew this election would be close and we reached out to our local network of supporters. More than 200 Human Rights Campaign members alone live in the 54th district and HRC staff called every one of them. We also contacted our members in Alabama and urged them to call their friends and families in Birmingham to remind them to vote.'

Experts challenge White House line on Iran's influence - Financial Times -

The Bushites are so freakin' transparent. You can always tell when they are spinning. Everyone says almost the same thing, word for word, as if it has been rehearsed for days.

Experts challenge White House line on Iran's influence - Financial Times -

From the moment last Wednesday when Hizbollah fighters seized two Israeli soldiers, the Bush administration immediately held Iran and Syria responsible.

The White House mounted a systematic campaign on the US airwaves to get that message across while seeking to put pressure on the G8 summit to unite in confronting those two governments.

Attack Iran, Ignore the Constitution

Don't do it, Junior.

If you do, you will be one sorry SOB! That is a promise.

Attack Iran, Ignore the Constitution:

During the 2004 election, George W. Bush famously proclaimed that he didn't have to ask anyone's permission to defend America. Does that mean he can attack Iran without having to ask Congress? A new Congressional resolution being drafted by Representative Peter DeFazio, a Democrat from Oregon, can be a vehicle to remind Bush that he can't.
Bush is calling news reports of plans to attack Iran 'wild speculation' and declaring that the United States is on a 'diplomatic' track. But asked this week if his options included planning for a nuclear strike, he repeated that 'all options are on the table.'

The President is acting as if the decisions that may get us into another war are his to make and his alone. So the Iran crisis poses not only questions of military feasibility and political wisdom but of Constitutional usurpation.

The Pincer Strategy

Now there's a mental image for us: Bush and Cheney trapped in the pincers of a giant Lobster.

What a way to start the day!!!!

The Pincer Strategy:

Pincer: A movement in which two columns are driven, one on each side of an enemy
stronghold, so as to be able to converge like the jaws of pincers to isolate and
crush the stronghold.

Echoing calls from the left, Senator Arlen Specter recently announced plans to hold hearings on what he has described as the executive branch's blatant encroachment on Congressional authority. At the same time, the libertarian Cato Institute has issued a report condemning what its authors describe as the Bush Administration's ceaseless push for power and its disdain for constitutional limits. And the American Bar Association has just set up a bipartisan all-star legal panel to investigate whether George W. Bush is violating the Constitution by claiming the right to ignore laws passed by Congress. What's needed now is for those from different points on the political spectrum to cooperate to put effective checks and balances on the presidential power grab.

Lawyers Challenge Bush

Someone sure as hell needs to! Who does this monnkey think he is?

Well, until this is resolved, the American people should have their own signing statements.

Congress passes legislation we don't like, we just say, screw them, we don't have to do anything we don't want to do, and we will doas we damn well please. There are way too many stupid laws in this country to begin with.

Lawyers Challenge Bush:

For millions of Americans, liberal and conservative, the battles over Bush Administration policies, from the war in Iraq to the shape of the federal tax code, revolve around questions of political ideology or partisan preferences. For many others, the central issue is not the Administration's policies but its competence. For the American Bar Association, and for some other organizations as well, including the Washington-based Constitution Project, the matter is much simpler: It's a question of legality.

It was this concern--whether or not the President of the United States was involved in a systematic attempt to evade the law--that prompted both the ABA and the Constitution Project to appoint special bipartisan task forces (I'm a member of both) to look into the extraordinary ways in which the President has turned to the use of presidential signing statements not only to signal his disagreement with Congressional actions but to make clear his intent to disregard them.

In Break With Bush, Iraqi Leader Assails Israel - New York Times

So much for the new Iraqi government being friendly to Israel.

In Break With Bush, Iraqi Leader Assails Israel - New York Times:

BAGHDAD, Iraq, July 19 - Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq on Wednesday forcefully denounced the Israeli attacks on Lebanon, marking a sharp break with President Bush's position and highlighting the growing power of a Shiite Muslim identity across the Middle East.

The Israeli attacks and airstrikes are completely destroying Lebanon's infrastructure,' Mr. Maliki said at an afternoon news conference inside the fortified Green Zone, which houses the American embassy and the seat of the Iraqi government. 'I condemn these aggressions and call on the Arab League foreign ministers' meeting in Cairo to take quick action to stop these aggressions. We call on the world to take quick stands to stop the Israeli aggression.'

The American Embassy did not answer a reporter's request for a response.

Israelis clash with militia inside Lebanon - Africa & Middle East - International Herald Tribune

Israel has gone to far this time.

My hunch is, it won't be the last time, if they are allowed to get away with this.

Israelis clash with militia inside Lebanon - Africa & Middle East - International Herald Tribune:

Israelis clash with militia inside Lebanon

BEIRUT Israeli soldiers and Hezbollah militants clashed inside Lebanon Wednesday, as new air and artillery strikes killed 55 people, the highest toll in the conflict so far.

The Israeli air force and navy shelled targets in and around Beirut, including a residential neighborhood in the Lebanese capital, and bombed civilian infrastructure through the country. In southern Lebanon, 21 people from a single village were killed during an airstrike.

Since the Israeli assault began last week, according to the Lebanese government, more than 310 Lebanese, mostly civilians, died in Israel's attempt to crush Hezbollah's military capacity in Lebanon and gain the release of two kidnapped soldiers.

The Lebanese government once again called for an immediate cease-fire and said it was facing a humanitarian crisis. A government representative said that Lebanese had two months' worth of essential supplies, but that some regions were essentially cut off from the rest of the country.

In Geneva, the International Committee of the Red Cross said it had 'serious questions' about Israel's assault, citing the large numbers of Lebanese civilians killed and the extensive damage to the country's infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah launched about 120 rockets into Israel, firing constant waves of Katyushas and various rockets against Northern Israel towns, including Haifa, Kiriyat-Shmona, Tiberias, and Carmiel. Rockets fired by Hezbollah also killed two children in the northern city of Nazareth, home to the country's largest Arab community, medics said.

ACLU suggests US may be spying on three other financial services

The Raw Story ACLU suggests US may be spying on three other financial services:

The New York-based American Civil Liberties Union has fired another salvo in its ongoing battle with the Bush Administration over domestic surveillance, all but accusing the Administration of spying on three additional financial service systems.

According to a release, 'ACLU research indicates' that the three named systems are 'likely targets.' The group said Wednesday they had filed new requests under the Freedom of Information Act to ascertain whether the systems were being surveilled.

The three systems are: (Read On ^)

NeoCon Dreams Slow to Fade

The NeoCons are big fools.

Either way they try to go now, will leave 130,000 of our troops like sitting ducks in a shooting gallery.

The Israel-Lebanon conflict has opened up a possible route for George W. Bush and his neoconservative strategists to achieve a prized goal that otherwise appeared to be blocked for them; military assaults on Syria and Iran aimed at crippling those governments.

After the fall of Baghdad in April 2003, after only three weeks of fighting, the question posed by some Bush administration officials was whether the U.S. military should go, left or right, to Syria or Iran. Some joked that 'real men go to Tehran.'

According to the neocon strategy, 'regime change' in Syria and Iran, in turn, would undermine Hezbollah, the Shiite militia that controls much of southern Lebanon, and would strengthen Israel's hand in dictating peace terms to the Palestinians.

But the emergence of a powerful insurgency in Iraq, and a worsening situation for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, stilled the neoconservative dream of making George W. Bush a modern-day Alexander conquering the major cities of the Middle East, one after another.

Terror database tracks UC protests

If I was a parent on one of these kids, I would raise
mortal hell with this government!

CALIFORNIA / Terror database tracks UC protests / U.S. agent reported on '05 rallies against military recruitment: "

A Federal Department of Homeland Security agent passed along information about student protests against military recruiters at UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz, landing the demonstrations on a database tracking foreign terrorism, according to government documents released Tuesday.

The documents were released by the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a Freedom of Information Act request on behalf of student groups that protested against recruiters who visited their campuses in April 2005.

The students were angry when they turned up in the database of a Pentagon program called Threat and Local Observation Notice, or TALON, which the government started in 2003 as a way to collect data that could help stop terrorist attacks. Officials have acknowledged that the reports on protests should not have been included.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Dangers and Glories of Manipulating Reality

A very interesting piece. Must read.

The Dangers and Glories of Manipulating Reality:

Normally, I'd be writing about the dangerous, quickly-expanding conflict between Israel and its neighbors - both sides apparently spoiling for a final reckoning - that easily could provide the spark for a full-scale war in the region, and beyond. (As should have been expected, the clueless Bush Administration is doing nothing to stop the slaughter, indeed chooses to look the other way as Israel totally over-reacts to a bad decision by Hezbollah.)

But I'm holding off for three reasons: 1) The blogosphere is inundated with commentary that covers the ground well, including the likelihood of a spreading Middle East conflict involving Syria and Iran, in addition to the ongoing disaster that is Bush's war in Iraq. 2) I've written much in recent months about the Israel/Palestine mutual-destruction society. 3) Things are happening so fast in that Middle East cauldron that by the time my piece appears, large sections of it could be out of date. (The dangers of writing a once-a-week column.)

Instead this week, I want to talk about photography: both the political implications of its new technology, and as a metaphor for the discovery of truth.

Colors of fear disappear, after they serve their purpose

JABBS: Has Homeland Security's Color Coding Of Terror Threats Been Scrapped? A Closer Look Suggests Yes, After Serving Its Purpose (To Get Bush Re-Elected):

Americans may be surprised to learn that we still have the Homeland Security Advisory System.

Even Americans who don't know it by name are familiar with the color-coded system (if not, check the graphic at right). When former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge announced the system in 2002 -- before the department itself was created -- he stressed the need to provide a 'clear' indication of a terror threat to the nation, but 'flexible to apply to threats made against a city, a state, a sector, or an industry.'

From the get-go, critics of the Bush Administration suggested that it was using the terror threat system for political gain, in part because President Bush's popularity always seemed to rise after a change in the terror threat system. As the New York Times reported in August, 2004, a terror threat announcement by Ridge earlier that month was used to 'repeatedly praise President Bush's leadership.'

Conservatives no doubt reject the argument, but after Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff reacted to the Mumbai train bombing earlier this month by saying 'there are no plans to raise the nation's threat level,' just four days after failing to mention the terror threat system at all when announcing the U.S. had helped end 'a terrorist network that was in the planning stages of an attack against the transportation system in the New York-New Jersey area,' I had to wonder, what happened to the 'flexibility' of the terror threat system?

An Imperial Defeatist-- And Proud of It

Empire; the very idea of Empire should be executed and buried deep in a 50' foot grave.

An Imperial Defeatist-- And Proud of It:

Just recently, I was accused by a writer for the ultra-Right Washington Times of being a 'defeatist' when it comes to America's expansionist military policy abroad. The giveaway, it seems, is that I penned a book for the American Empire Project -- a series of critical volumes published by Metropolitan Books. Contributors to the series, the article claimed, want 'a retreat from Iraq to be the prelude to a larger collapse of American preeminence worldwide.' My initial response on reading this was to insist -- like so many anxious liberals -- that no, I am not opposed to American preeminence in the world, only to continued U.S. involvement in Iraq. But then, considering the charge some more, I thought, well, yes, I am in favor of abandoning the U.S. imperial role worldwide. The United States, I'm convinced, would be a whole lot better off -- and its military personnel a whole lot safer -- if we repudiated the global-dominance project of the Bush administration and its neo-conservative boosters.

Supposedly, the U.S. military has expanded its presence and combat role around the world to foster democracy and prevail in the President's War on Terror; and, without a doubt, many brave Americans have risked their lives -- and some have died, in the pursuit of these noble objectives. But this is not, I believe, what has motivated Messrs. Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld in their pursuit of global supremacy. Rather, they appear driven by a messianic determination to impose American dominance on large swaths of the planet and to employ this hegemonic presence to gain control over global energy supplies. In attempting to do so, they are bankrupting the nation and exposing American citizens to a higher, not lower, risk of terrorist attack.

Can Al Gore Be Trusted?

Yes. I believe he can be trusted.

For one thing, times have changed. This country and the world have changed, and not for the better, in the last 5 years.

I believe that Gore has changed as well. Gore is uniquely qualified to be president. He has served in Congress and in the White House. Since the Supremes stole the election for Der Monkey, Gore has been a citizen, much like the rest of us, watching the disaster unfold, but with more knowledge about what is really happening.

I don't know if he will run, but if he does, he is my man. Furthermore, I may have to shoot any political consultant, who inserts him/herself into his campaign, in the face.

Please, no Donna Brazile. ( Is she dating Bay Buchanan?)

Gore is the right man at the right time.

Can Al Gore Be Trusted?:

Many solid progressives want Gore to be the Democratic presidential candidate in 2008. A recent AlterNet reader survey (in which Noam Chomsky won the MVP for 'Most Valuable Progressive') showed Gore way in front of the pack -- with Russ Feingold second and corporate media 'front-runner' Hillary Clinton way back.

If Gore does run in 2008, big questions will nag: Didn't he fool a lot of us once before? Can we trust him?
Don't misunderstand (or mis-underestimate) me: I'd love to see Gore run.

Like many progressives, I've grown to appreciate the new Gore. Beginning in 2002 when leading Democrats had lost their voices, a reborn Gore spoke out loudly against Bush policies (and irritated mainstream pundits) through a series of speeches on Iraq, foreign policy, economics and the assault on our precious Constitutional freedoms.

Gore broke with former allies in the party establishment, worked closely with grassroots groups like MoveOn and endorsed the upstart Howard Dean in the primaries. He even spoke haltingly in favor of single-payer national health insurance.

Israelis See Their Own Nation As "Neighborhood Bully"

We know how they feel. It is a horrible thing when your own government goes psychotic and starts killing randomly and without conscious.

Wehen that happens, it is up to the people of a democracy to do all in their power, legally, to bring down that government.

If all legal recourse is blocked, then you are no longer living in a Democracy and all bets are off.

Do whatever the hell you have to do.

Israelis See Their Own Nation As "Neighborhood Bully":

You can see Lebanon from my sister's backyard. She and her family and thousands of others in northern Israel live with a constant roar of gunfire -- mostly from Israeli cannons aiming to kill Lebanese, occasionally from a Hezbollah shell that might land on them.

But the real threat to Israel doesn't come from Lebanese rockets. The real threat comes from the Israelis themselves -- and the rest of the world -- forgetting how and why this war started.

Israel does not go to war just to retrieve kidnapped soldiers. In the past, it has been ready to ransom them by returning Palestinian and Lebanese captives that it holds, just as the kidnappers ask. So why war now? For answers I've turned to Jewish writers in Israel's top newspaper, Ha'aretz.

US Has No Idea of 'War on Terror' Cost: Watchdog

Bogus wars always cost more than anyone is willing to admit. Just look at the war on drugs.

US Has No Idea of 'War on Terror' Cost: Watchdog:

The US government has lost track of the cost of the 'war on terror' unleashed after the September 11 attacks and which is now taking up tens of billions of dollars a year in Iraq and Afghanistan, a Congress watchdog warned.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) said that neither the Defence Department nor Congress had any accurate idea how much the war has cost since the attacks on New York and Washington in 2001.

It said Congress has appropriated about 430 billion dollars for 'war on terror' spending, which includes military operations and reconstruction costs in Iraq, but raised concerns about the way the money was being accounted for.

The GAO said it had already found 'numerous problems' with Defence Department 'processes for recording Global War on Terror (GWOT) costs'. It said that the Pentagon had not done enough since the previous criticism in September to overcome the problems.

It said there was too much use of estimates instead of real cost data and a lack of documentation.

'As a result, neither DoD (Defence Department) nor the Congress reliably know how much the war is costing and how appropriated funds are being used or have historical data useful in considering future funding needs,' said the report.

Temperature Set to Hit 100 Degrees - and Global Warming is to Blame

Anyone who thinks that this has nothing to do with Climate change is a stupid fool.

Temperature Set to Hit 100 Degrees - and Global Warming is to Blame:

Think before you enjoy it. The near-record temperatures expected today are a sign of things to come, and will become commoner and hotter in future years as man-made global warming takes hold, scientists predict.

United States to Israel: You Have One More Week to Blast Hizbullah


United States to Israel: You Have One More Week to Blast Hizbullah:

The US is giving Israel a window of a week to inflict maximum damage on Hizbullah before weighing in behind international calls for a ceasefire in Lebanon, according to British, European and Israeli sources.

The Bush administration, backed by Britain, has blocked efforts for an immediate halt to the fighting initiated at the UN security council, the G8 summit in St Petersburg and the European foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels.

'It's clear the Americans have given the Israelis the green light. They [the Israeli attacks] will be allowed to go on longer, perhaps for another week,' a senior European official said yesterday. Diplomatic sources said there was a clear time limit, partly dictated by fears that a prolonged conflict could spin out of control.

The Ugly Truth About the President

Not only is he an imbecile; he is an arrogant, pre-pubescent, entitled brat, who apparently takes pride in being dumber than a box of rocks.

AlterNet: The Ugly Truth About the President:

The transcript of the President's latest mishap with a microphone reveals the undeniable fact that Bush is an imbecile.

Middle East Violence: Neocons' Fantasy

No more NeoCons Fantasies!

We cannot affrod them, morally or economically.

AlterNet: Middle East Violence: Neocons' Fantasy:

Though the neocons' dream of American global empire has failed, they're still pushing for an expansion of the conflict in the Middle East.

Evidence Chicago police tortured suspects

Why are we not surprised?

Evidence Chicago police tortured suspects - Yahoo! News:

CHICAGO - Special prosecutors investigating allegations that police tortured nearly 150 black suspects in the 1970s and '80s said Wednesday they found evidence of abuse, but any crimes are now too old to prosecute.

Evidence Chicago police tortured suspects

Why are we not surprised?

Evidence Chicago police tortured suspects - Yahoo! News:

CHICAGO - Special prosecutors investigating allegations that police tortured nearly 150 black suspects in the 1970s and '80s said Wednesday they found evidence of abuse, but any crimes are now too old to prosecute.

Abu Ghraib Rewarded - New York Times



Abu Ghraib Rewarded - New York Times:

William Haynes II, the Pentagon's general counsel, has been closely involved in shaping some of the Bush administration's most legally and morally objectionable policies, notably on the use of torture. The last thing he is suited to be is a federal judge, but that is just what President Bush wants to make him. The Senate has been far too willing to rubber-stamp the president's extreme judicial nominees. But there is reason to hope that strong opposition to Mr. Haynes, including from the military, may block this thoroughly inappropriate choice.

Mr. Haynes has been nominated for a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, based in Richmond, Va., a court that has heard some of the most important cases about the constitutional limits on the war on terror. This is a subject on which Mr. Haynes has no business posing as an impartial jurist. He has for years been part of a small group of insiders who have mapped out the Bush administration's policies on questioning detainees and declaring American citizens to be 'enemy combatants.' The administration's policies in this area have been indecent and lawless, and the Supreme Court has repeatedly had to step in to rein them in.