Saturday, August 05, 2006

Plan fort Israel and Lebanon, posible ceasefire?

Sorry...we will believe it when we see it.

Daily Kos: State of the Nation:

Let's pray this works:

France and the United States reached agreement Saturday on a Security Council resolution to halt the fighting in Lebanon and lay out plans for a permanent cease-fire and a long-term political settlement, a French official said Saturday.

. . . Under the terms of the diplomatic agreement, a Security Council resolution will call for an immediate cessation of attacks by Hezbollah and of 'offensive military operations' by Israel, according to a French diplomatic official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement had not yet been made public. The official said that the text of the resolution would be released later on Saturday and that the Security Council had scheduled a meeting on Saturday afternoon to consider the matter.

A vote cannot occur in the Security Council until 24 hours after the formal introduction of a resolution. And it is far from clear whether Israel or Hezbollah would abide by the terms.

US Intel: No Evidence Iran Involved

Oh, WOW!

Another big surprise!

Daily Kos: US Intel: No Evidence Iran Involved:

(Via Greg Sargent at The Horse's Mouth)

It's in a story buried on the bottom of an inside page, and though this is critical info indeed, it wasn't even the main focus of the story, which was more concerned with the politics driving the United States's decision to 'stop short of accusing Iran of inciting the crisis,' as the piece puts it.
Practically everyone in official Washington insists Syria and Iran were arming and encouraging Hezbollah during this latest crisis.

Crackpot Punditry and the Re-Crucifixion of Christ on the Altar of Godlessness

Crackpot Punditry and the Re-Crucifixion of Christ on the Altar of Godlessness:

Every day there is another pundit who thinks that the source of all the grief in the world and everything wrong with their lives can be blamed on those who claim the mantle of Christianity. Never mind if the 'crackpots' in question actually follow the teachings of Christ. Who cares as long as you can slam God?

Specifically today I am speaking of the article on this site by Walter Uhler which can be found here:

The problems contained in this piece are varied. The first quote that stands out is:

'These Crackpot Christians are largely responsible for placing one of their own, George W. Bush, in the White House.'

Really? Bush allegedly had over 50 million votes in 2004. Is Mr. Uhler seriously suggesting that the majority of these voters were 'crackpot Christians? What about the fact that the election was probably stolen? Was it those dastardly Christians who perpetrated that as well? What about the media who clearly sided with Bush during the run-up, where slime like the Swift Boat Veterans for Lies were given excessive air time despite their being debunked and there was a different standard for Bush, where all he had to do was make a coherent sentence in order to get praise?

We know how you feel, Gene

When questioning Israeli and American policy in the Middle east becomes ani-semetic, I give up trying to please manipulative jackases, then I get angry. :: Northwest Arkansas' News Source:

Many journalists pretend that receiving abuse from persons on both ends of the political spectrum proves their even-handedness.

No, it doesn't. This column makes no pretense of neutrality, only accuracy. Even so, it's hard to ignore the irony of being denounced as an agent of the International Zionist Conspiracy one week and an unrepentant anti-Semite the next. Lord knows, the current Middle Eastern catastrophe in the making isn't about me. Even so, Im persuaded that these things need to be talked about. Recently, I wrote that right-wing slurs against 'liberals,' as promulgated by Ann Coulter and others, 'are basically identical to the crimes of the Jews as Hitler saw them.' My point wasn't that anybody's planning a pogrom, but that the Coulter / Limbaugh / Hannity message is a kind of homogenized Fascism Lite.

In response, I received several messages from somebody who sounded like Mel Gibson's spiritual adviser. Jews run the world, but 'you don't dare admit it because you know damn well who schmaltzes your bagel, you condo-pink chicken ****.'
I don't know what 'condo-pink' means, either, but like all adepts of this ancient superstition, my correspondent's logical skills lacked precision. Can you name three Jewish leftists ? OK, that proves the worldwide Jewish / communist conspiracy. Dreary, predictable, stupid stuff.

Warfare intensifies in southern Lebanon - Yahoo! News

O, Sweet, Jesus, what is wrong with these people, including the Bushites who encourage the insanity?

Warfare intensifies in southern Lebanon - Yahoo! News:

BEIRUT, Lebanon - Israel and Hezbollah sharply intensified fighting with a blitz of airstrikes, dozens of rocket attacks and brutal ground combat on Saturday, each apparently trying to inflict as much damage as possible to strengthen their bargaining positions.

In a sign of progress on the diplomatic front, the United States and France agreed on a U.N. Security Council resolution that calls for the fighting to end but would let Israel defend itself if attacked.

Israeli commandos battled Hezbollah guerrillas in a raid on an apartment building in the southern port city of Tyre, while warplanes blasted south Beirut. The fighting across Lebanon killed at least eight Lebanese and an Israeli soldier, while a Hezbollah rocket volley killed three women in northern Israel.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Welch also met with Lebanese officials in Beirut for talks focused on establishing a lasting political framework and an international force to support the Lebanese army in moving into the south.

The Sound of One Domino Falling

Rummy is deranged!

Who in hell dosn't know that?

The Sound of One Domino Falling - New York Times:

It's been obvious for years that Donald Rumsfeld is in denial of reality, but the defense secretary now also seems stuck in a time warp. You could practically hear the dominoes falling as he told the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday that it was dangerous for Americans to even talk about how to end the war in Iraq.

"If we left Iraq prematurely," he said, "the enemy would tell us to leave Afghanistan and then withdraw from the Middle East. And if we left the Middle East, they'd order us and all those who don't share their militant ideology to leave what they call the occupied Muslim lands from Spain to the Philippines.' And finally, he intoned, America will be forced "to make a stand nearer home."

No one in charge of American foreign affairs has talked like that in decades. After Vietnam, of course, the communist empire did not swarm all over Asia as predicted; it tottered and collapsed. And the new "enemy" that Mr. Rumsfeld is worried about is not a worldwide conspiracy but a collection of disparate political and religious groups, now united mainly by American action in Iraq.

Ambassador claims shortly before invasion, Bush didn't know there were two sects of Islam

My God, what a dunce!

The Raw Story Ambassador claims shortly before invasion, Bush didn't know there were two sects of Islam:

Former Ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith is claiming President George W. Bush was unaware that there were two major sects of Islam just two months before the President ordered troops to invade Iraq, RAW STORY has learned.
In his new book, The End of Iraq: How American

Incompetence Created A War Without End, Galbraith, the son of the late economist John Kenneth Galbraith, claims that American leadership knew very little about the nature of Iraqi society and the problems it would face after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

A year after his 'Axis of Evil' speech before the U.S. Congress, President Bush met with three Iraqi Americans, one of whom became postwar Iraq's first representative to the United States. The three described what they thought would be the political situation after the fall of Saddam Hussein. During their conversation with the President, Galbraith claims, it became apparent to them that Bush was unfamiliar with the distinction between Sunnis and Shiites.

Galbraith reports that the three of them spent some time explaining to Bush that there are two different sects in Islam--to which the President allegedly responded, 'I thought the Iraqis were Muslims!'"

The Chavez Code: Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela (Paperback)

The Chavez Code: Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela (Paperback): Buy the book

If you had any doubt that the U.S. was a player in the attempted coup agains Hugo Chavez in 2002, this book will remove all doubt.

Why, because it is based on U.S. government documents pursued primarily through FOIA by Eva Golinger, an attorney who is the author.

Forget whether or not you like Chavez as a person, just remember he was democratically elected and reconfirmed as the leader of Venezuela in a referendum. In short, he is the choice of the Venezuealan electorate.

The U.S. has a history of overthrowing democratically elected leaders in Latin America and elsewhere if they represent the poor. Then they are called leftists. It is always odd to us that someone like Obrador in Mexico or Chavez in Venezuela is considered 'leftist' for speaking out on behalf of the majority of their populations.

It isn't just Bush. The U.S. has long defined democracy as meaning U.S. style corporate leaders who play ball with the World Bank and and International Monetary Fund.

Americans, Iraqis and Congress Serve Rumsfeld Notice: Quit!

Could be that Cheney and Rummy are the only ones who know where all the bodies are buried so to speak.

Junior knows just enough to be in deep do-do should the truth ever out in a way that only one of these two could out it.

Americans, Iraqis and Congress Serve Rumsfeld Notice: Quit!:

The shifty and euphemistic Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, is now starring down a trifecta of oppostion to his woeful negligence involving Iraq. As Americans grows ever colder to the ethereal war on terror, Iraqis turned out in mass numbers in a show of solidarity to announce their resistance to the U.S. occupation.

The message was clear; time for Rumsfeld to line up for his pink slip!

Bluntly said, Donald Rumsfeld should resign or be fired immediately. He has completely miss-managed a failed occupational overthrow of a once sovereign nation, with a blundering plan that has cost us the lives of nearly 2,600 Americans, wounded over 18,000 more and killed tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians. Rumsfeld's glib demeanor and rigid demands, along with his refusal to change tactics or to admit defeat, now has the U.S., our soldiers and the world staring down an anarchical, civil war in Iraq.

The heavy-handed Secretary of Defense, who claims '[he] never painted a rosy picture' about invading Iraq, during a recent Senate hearing, has done precisely the opposite. Among the many prevarications in the past about his now less than sanguine portrait of Iraq, Rumsfeld stated in February of 2003, 'There is no question but that they (American forces) would be welcomed'. The boom in bloodshed, the unhappy majority of Americans with the handling of the war and the recent calls from two, prominent Senators for Rumsfeld to resign, all suggest its time for Rummy to go.

Chain of Deceit: From the Pentagon to the 9/11 Commission to the Public

How many warnings were there in the summer of 2001?

Why all the obstacles and subterfuge?

Why did Junior need Vice to testify with him and not be underoath?

Would you have interviewed Bonnie and Clyde togather?

Chain of Deceit: From the Pentagon to the 9/11 Commission to the Public:

Astonishing as it sounds, a conference featuring the 9/11 Scholars for Truth was aired on C-SPAN.

-- In his Washington Post article, '9/11 Panel Suspected Deception by Pentagon,' Dan Eggen reported, 'Some staff members and commissioners of the Sept. 11 panel concluded that the Pentagon's initial story of how it reacted to the 2001 terrorist attacks may have been part of a deliberate effort to mislead the commission and the public. . .'

'We to this day don't know why NORAD told us what they told us,' Commission Chair Thomas H. Kean said. 'It was just so far from the truth.'

-- According to a new Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll, 'More than a third of the American public suspects that federal officials assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so the United States could go to war in the Middle East.'

Still more surprising, 16 percent think the collapse of the World Trade Towers was expedited by controlled demolition while 12 percent suspect the Pentagon was struck by a missile, not Flight 77.

Eye-opening as these results are, they're not unprecedented. According to Scripps/Howard, 'The level of suspicion of U.S. official involvement in a 9/11 conspiracy was only slightly behind the 40 percent who suspect 'officials in the federal government were directly responsible for the assassination of President Kennedy.''

Kean's colleague, 9/11 Commisssion vice chair Lee Hamilton, conceded the results of the poll. 'A lot of people I've encountered believe the U.S. government was involved.' But he remains unmoved. 'Of course, we don't think the evidence leads that way at all.'"

Crackpot Christianity and America's Current Moral Degeneration

What else can I say, except; AMEN!

Crackpot Christianity and America's Current Moral Degeneration:

No one should decidedly adhere to an exposition of Scripture that with sure reason is ascertained to be order that, from this, Scripture not be derided by the infidels. ----- St. Thomas Aquinas [from Lev Shestov, Athens and Jerusalem, p. 300]

With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil -- that takes religion. ----- Steven Weinberg

History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes. ----- Thomas Jefferson

Israeli PM hurt by his own bombast

Sounds to me like he is ranting NeoCon talking points and spinning like a top.

Israeli PM hurt by his own bombast - World -

THOUGH his wartime bombast may not yet be in the same league as that of Saddam Hussein's information minister, Ehud Olmert's inflated accounts of Israel's progress has attracted growing criticism.

While trying to deliver a consistent message about Israel's imminent victory, the Prime Minister has demonstrated one of his most glaring weaknesses as leader: he is unable to refrain from overstating his aims and raising expectations of improbable triumphs.

On Wednesday, a day after declaring Israel's military successes 'unparalleled' and 'unprecedented', Hezbollah achieved milestones of its own, firing a record 200-plus missiles across northern Israel.

Hillary tells Rumsfeld to resign

I have a gut feeling that Hilary knows a lot more than she is saying right now, but the Bushites just received a big shot over the bow of their happy little ship of fools.

I mean, good lord, we have all known that Rummy has not had a strong grip on reality for some time. Numerous people, Republican and Democrat have called for Rummy's resignation.

Why is this such a big news story? Well, #1, it was Hillary, this time but, also, this was done in a polite but aggressive way.

Above all else, professionally, Hilary is a lawyer. She just morphed into a prosecutor. UhOh.

Hillary tells Rumsfeld to resign - World -

NEW York Democratic senator Hillary Clinton has called on US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign, after accusing him of 'presiding over a failed policy in Iraq'.

I just don't understand why we can't get new leadership that would give us a fighting chance to turn the situation around before it's too late,' Senator Clinton, a possible 2008 Democratic presidential candidate, said.

'I think the President should choose to accept Secretary Rumsfeld's resignation.'

At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday, Senator Clinton ripped into Mr Rumsfeld for his handling of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Arab disquiet over Hezbollah

Leave it to Junior to rekindle a 1500 years old feud, between, essentially, the Persians and the Arabs, Sunni and Shia.

What's next, Georgie? Catholics v. Protestants, or everybody v. Jews and Americans?

Arab disquiet over Hezbollah - World -

THE faint echo of Israeli bombs exploding in the lower Bekaa Valley brings two fears to a Damascus University professor.

He said he recoiled at the destruction across the border, less than 16 kilometres from his village home. But deeper down, he worries that any Hezbollah triumph would come at the expense of his own Sunni branch of Islam.

'Since the Americans invaded Iraq, we have all become aware of the danger from the Shiites,' said the professor, who asked not to be identified because discussing sectarian rivalry is taboo in authoritarian Syria.

Specter's NSA Plan Hits Snag

It should hit a snag!

This idea of legalizing actions that BushCo lied about, repeatedly, even when not asked, and deliberately hid from most of Congress and the American people, is just stupid.

What was done is done, and Bush and compnay must be held accoubtable, not let off the hook by passing news laws making what they did legal.

Doesn't anyone give a damn about the Bill of Rights anymore?

....and what about the obstruction of justice? Bush shut an investigation down by refusing to give OPR lawyers security clearances they needed to conduct an investigation. (Meanwhile, Rove, the leaker, continues to have his.)

This is like the Saturday Night Masacre using a silencer.

Of course, we have heard little about this, since the TeeVee news media is again obsessed with something else, the Israeli/Lebanon war which we can do absolutely nothing about, unlike a criminal president, which we should be doing something about.

This country is rapidly becoming an open-air mental institution and the inmates have the keys.

Specter's NSA Plan Hits Snag:

A White House-endorsed plan to formally legalize the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance program ran into more political problems yesterday in the Senate, as Democrats successfully maneuvered to block a committee vote on the proposal.

In addition, three of the committee's leading Democrats announced that they would block the confirmation of a senior Justice Department official in protest of a recent move by President Bush. The president effectively stopped a probe into the NSA program by denying security clearances to Justice Department investigators.

David Brooks and the DLC: Best Friends Forever?

Brooks wants to go into a closet with his fellow NeoCons?

We have a better idea. How about you all go to hell now and avoid the rush.

AlterNet: David Brooks and the DLC: Best Friends Forever?:

So David Brooks wants to go into the closet with his fellow neocon incrementalists. And I thought The New York Times was a family newspaper!

There are many people out there who are baffled by the career of David Brooks, but I am not one of them. Any man willing to admit in print that he can get a boner surveying the 'awesome resumes' of marrying Ivy Leaguers on the New York Times wedding page ('you can almost feel the force of mingling SAT scores,' he coos in his book Bobos In Paradise) is always going to occupy an important spot in the American media landscape; the ruling class always needs its house bumlickers. And Brooks does the job well, although at times I think he's so craven that he does his masters a disservice. I mean, seriously -- a mansion of conservatism? Why not go all the way: The yacht of Republicanism has a great many berths ...

AlterNet: Things Get Ugly When Bush 'Trusts His Gut'

Things got ugly when the Supremes voted 5 to 4 to give the White House to a moron, who, if his name was George Smith, would be a used car salesman.

AlterNet: Things Get Ugly When Bush 'Trusts His Gut':

More proof that under George W. Bush, U.S. policies are governed mainly by impulse and fantasy.

War on Iraq: Bechtel Takes a Hit for War Profiteering

Will anyone really pay for this?

Will anyone go to jail for this?

Is there any relief for taxpayers who are being bilked?

AlterNet: War on Iraq: Bechtel Takes a Hit for War Profiteering:

A comprehensive U.S. government audit of a Bechtel project in Iraq has exposed gross mismanagement by the company. As a result, the $50 million contract has been canceled.
As the auditors plan to expand their investigations to all of Bechtel's $2.85 billion in Iraq contracts, they are sure to discover a pattern of failure. Not only should Bechtel be dropped from all of its failing contracts, but the company should be required to refund all misspent U.S. taxpayer and Iraqi funds so that Iraqi contractors can get to work and real reconstruction can finally begin.

But time is running out.

Book: Sept. 11 panel doubted Pentagon

We can't help but wonder, why now?

Book: Sept. 11 panel doubted Pentagon - Yahoo! News:

The book, a behind-the-scenes look at the investigation, recounts obstacles the authors say were thrown up by the Bush administration, internal disputes over President Bush's use of the attacks as a reason for invading Iraq, and the way the final report avoided questioning whether U.S. policy in the Middle East may have contributed to the attacks.

Kean and Hamilton said the commission found it mind-boggling that authorities had asserted during hearings that their air defenses had reacted quickly and were prepared to shoot down United Airlines Flight 93, which appeared headed toward Washington.

In fact, the commission determined, after it subpoenaed audiotapes and e-mails of the sequence of events, that the shootdown order did not reach North American Aerospace Command pilots until after all of the hijacked planes had crashed.

The book states that commission staff, 'exceedingly frustrated' by what they thought could be deception, proposed a full review into why the FAA and the Pentagon's NORAD had presented inaccurate information. That ultimately could have led to sanctions.

Senator Pins Lieberman Hope on Primary -

Lieberman needs to go away, somewhere. Maybe Israel. He could join the Likudniks. He would fit right in.

Senator Pins Lieberman Hope on Primary -

A Democratic senator said Friday that if Sen. Joe Lieberman loses his primary Tuesday by a significant margin, he expects the Connecticut lawmaker to abandon plans to run as an independent.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, who just days ago campaigned with Lieberman, said a decisive win by anti-war challenger Ned Lamont would probably drive Lieberman off the ballot in the November general election.

Lieberman has come under fire from Democrats who criticize his support for the war and perceived closeness to President Bush. The three-term senator and 2000 vice presidential nominee has said he would run as an independent if he loses the primary.

'I frankly believe that if there is a significant margin of victory, if Mr. Lamont wins, I find it hard to believe that Joe Lieberman would challenge that, but it's his decision. I am going to support the Democratic candidate,' Lautenberg said in an interview with National Public Radio.

Dehumanizing others is no virtue

That is so true, Father, but it is as much as part of war as bullets and guns are.

That is why war should never be entered into lightly, much less because of lies and twisted Intel.

Are Americans responsible for the continuing carnage in Iraq? Generally, yes, I believe. The exceptions would be those who have spoken out against this criminal war and voted against Bush in 2004.

By November, 2004 Americans should have known that they were lied to about the excuses to prosecute a war in Iraq. By 2004 Americans also knew about torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody. Wars of aggression and torture are war crimes of the highest maginitude.

Ignorance is no excuse. There was plenty of evidence in the public domain; irrefutable evdence of high crimes an misdemeanors.

There is no way that Americans who followed Bush over this cliff are anything but guilty. The U.S. is still billed as a Democracy, and as such, it's citizens are responsible for staying informed and taking right action against their own government when it commits crimes. When it comes to this administration the list of crimes is too long for one post.

Dehumanizing others is no virtue:

To hate other humans or to feel no pain at their suffering, it is necessary to dehumanize them, to write them off as less than human. The Nazis are the classic example of this dehumanization. Germans were the obermensch, the master race. Jews, Slavs, Gypsies were the untermensch, the inferior peoples who barely had the right to exist.

The Puritans dehumanized Native Americans, white Americans dehumanized African Americans, Irish Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland dehumanized one another, as do Jews and Arabs in the Mideast, and Shiite and Sunni Muslims. In every case, one attributes to the 'other' characteristics that prove that they are not fully human by the use of stereotypes -- 'illegals,' for example. The American soldiers who tortured, beat, raped and murdered Iraqis dismiss their victims as 'rag heads.' The rest of us are able to ignore the pain and the grief of ordinary Iraqis, as I learned from responses to my last column, by arguing that Iraq was involved in the Sept. 11 attack or that Saddam Hussein killed far more than have died under our inept and unplanned 'occupation.'

Geneva report highly critical of U.S. commitment to human rights

No surprise here. MoJo Blog - Social Issues and Political Commentary: Geneva report highly critical of U.S. commitment to human rights:

The Geneva hearings are over and the final report has been released. It is not pretty, insofar as the U.S. and human rights are concerned.

Every four years, nations representing the Conventions against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights meet to review meet to review compliance of ICCPR nations. An official report is issued, along with a 'shadow report,' what The Raw Story refers to as 'a rebuttal from non-government organizations (NGO), advocacy groups, and citizen representatives. The US 'shadow report' was prepared by The Coalition for Human Rights at Home, a coalition of 142 not-for-profit groups.'

This year's 456-page shadow report describes over a hundred instances of human rights violations, in a response to the official report issued by the United States. Also, the U.S. was a mere seven years late in developing its report, which it is obligated to prepare as an ICCPR signatory nation.

Constitutional Crisis

Rep Conyers' report of the Bush administration, identifying over 20 laws that have been broken by BushCo.

Iraq Report 109th Congress:

The Constitution in Crisis;

The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, and Coverups in the Iraq War, and Illegal Domestic Surveillance

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Constitution in Crisis Final Report Released

This is not news to any of us really, but when you see it all written out, in a report, it is truly stunning!

Daily Kos: The Constitution in Crisis Final Report Released:

Final 'Constitution in Crisis' Report

Six Years of Unchecked Abuses -- Had Enough?
Cross Posted at Huffington Post

Today, I am releasing the final version of my report, the 'Constitution in Crisis.'

The report, which is some 350 pages in length and is supported by more than 1,400 footnotes, compiles the accumulated evidence that the Bush Administration has thumbed its nose at our nation's laws, and the Constitution itself. Approximately 26 laws and regulations may have been violated by this Administration's misconduct.
Our Constitution established a tri-partite system of government, with the notion that each branch of government would act as a check on the other two. Unfortunately, for the last six years, the Republicans in Congress have largely viewed themselves as defenders of the Bush Administration, instead of a vital check on overreaching by the Executive Branch. By doing so, I believe they have acted to the detriment of our Constitutional form of government.

Chuck Hagel on the Mes-O-Potamia

The United States needs to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq within the next six months, Sen. Chuck Hagel said Thursday, rather than ratcheting up its military commitment now.

With Iraq exploding in sectarian violence and 'moving closer and closer to a straight-out civil war,' Hagel said, the Bush administration's decision to transfer nearly 5,000 additional U.S. troops into Baghdad is 'only going to make it worse for us.'

In the end, he said, 'feed(ing) more American troop fodder into the fight' could result in 'even a worse defeat.'
Iraqis are 'going to have to step up' and assume responsibility for defense of their country, Hagel told a telephone news conference from Washington.
Hagel said he believes increasing U.S. troop strength in Iraq by extending military tours while cycling in new troops is a mistake.

'Eventually, we need to start pulling people out of there,' said the Nebraska Republican, who is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

With violence 'out of control' and militias in charge, Hagel said, U.S. troops increasingly are 'seen as occupiers.'
If Iraqis themselves do not assume control of their country's fate, he said, the nation may dissolve into a civil war that splits it into three countries.

It's also possible Iraq may evolve into some kind of Islamic republic, he said.

Asked what the United States could do, Hagel said: 'Ask the president. Ask Secretary (of Defense Donald) Rumsfeld.
They're the ones who got us into this.

Don't forget the Dick!

Hail Mary Attempt #1: Lieberman's New Thug Strategy

Sounds like elections are about to get really interesting.

It also seems like Lieberman has gone totally Bushite, with his thuggery.

One of these days, somone is going to give these thugs what they deserve.

MyDD :: Hail Mary Attempt #1: Lieberman's New Thug Strategy:

So I just tracked this down with several sources, and something really strange is going on. Lieberman's campaign seems to arming his supporters with aggressive talking points in order to pick fights at Lamont events. There were two separate events today where this happened. At a Machinists union endorsement event for Ned, some Lieberman supporters (probably paid) started arguing with union members, and a sign got torn.

Later in the day, Ned was ambushed at a diner stop. At 5pm, Ned was scheduled to stop at a cheeseburger joint in Meridan (Ted's Cheeseburgers). The burgers were really good, apparently, and the place is famous for delicious cheeseburgers. Mmm. As I write this it's dinner time.
Anyway, Lamont was going to the restaurant for a scheduled stop to do a meet and greet. The field organizer got there 20 minutes ahead of schedule. A bunch of Lieberkidz were already inside, but they were disguised because they weren't wearing their standard white T-Shirts. They were just sitting in the booths, in the smallish restaurant.

Gonzales pushes lenient hearsay rules - Yahoo! News

Lil Alberto sould get prick of the year award

Gonzales pushes lenient hearsay rules - Yahoo! News:

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration wants a new system for trying terror suspects to let prosecutors withhold classified evidence from the accused, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Wednesday, holding to a hard line on detainee policy despite concerns by senators and military lawyers.

'We must not share with captured terrorists the highly sensitive intelligence that may be relevant to military commission proceedings,' Gonzales told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Gonzales said detainee legislation also should permit hearsay and coerced testimony, if deemed 'reliable' by a judge. These approaches are not permitted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or UCMJ, which is used for military courts-martial.

The administration's plans have sounded alarms in the military's legal corps and on Capitol Hill, who say the UCMJ is a tried-and-true body of law that is well-regarded around the world.

How to Inspire (Even More) Fear and Loathing in the Press Room

A little humor is in order:

True Blue Liberal � How to Inspire (Even More) Fear and Loathing in the Press Room:

It's hard not to be somewhat skeptical of the Bush Administrations move to revamp the White House Press Room. Yes, the old one was clearly decrepit and out-of-date, but one cant help but suspect that Karl Rove is already in a super-secret bunker in Bethesda scheming with GOP architects and interior designers about ways to use the new rooms design to further neuter the Washington reporters the administration has so successfully managed, spun, and blamed for the past five-and-a-half years.

Perhaps because there is no shortage of bad news to spin, PR spending has more than doubled under Bush; one can bet that, in designing a new dungeon for the despised press, Rove and co. will be similarly liberal in lavishing taxpayer dollars to make the room as administration-friendly in its design as possible.

Afghanistan deports Christian Koreans - Yahoo! News

Here we go again. How many more way can the Bushites screw up every damn thing they touch?

Wonder if the Koreans have anything to do with the Rev. Sun Myung Fool?

How do Muslims account for all the prostitution in the Gulf States?

Other than that, it seems to me that people who go to another country to lend aid, should leave their personal and religious agendas behind.

Afghanistan deports Christian Koreans - Yahoo! News:

KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghanistan ordered hundreds of South Korean Christians to leave the country, accusing them Thursday of seeking to undermine its Islamic culture.

The group's leader, Choi Han-woo, denied the 1,200 South Koreans, who had gathered in Afghanistan for relief work and a cultural festival, took part in any religious activities.
Interior Ministry spokesman Yousef Stanezai said the Koreans entered the country with tourist visas, but their activities showed they had a different agenda.

'The program was against the Islamic culture and customs of Afghans,' he said, adding that the South Koreans had been told to leave the country as soon as possible.

The accusations come amid increasing intolerance and violence against foreign troops in Afghanistan, a crackdown in the capital on drinking and prostitution linked to foreign influences, and the recent announcement of a plan to reinstate the Vice and Virtues Ministry, which enforced its harsh version of Islamic morality under the ousted Taliban government.

Au revoir freedom fries

Taters free to be French, again, eh?

The Last Chance Democracy Cafe � Blog Archive � Au revoir freedom fries:

This almost makes me sad, what with it being the end of an era and all. It's sort of like when The Gong Show was canceled: There's just no way of avoiding at least a small degree of grief over the passing of something so profoundly stupid; the retirement of freedom fries from the congressional cafeterias leaves us all with one less thing about which to feel superior to our political leaders (happily we can count on the GOP Congress to quickly find ways to fill the void).

It's been so obvious for so long that the French were right and the US was wrong on the Iraq War, that this whole thing has somewhat the same feel as when Pope John Paul
II apologized to Galileo a mere 359 years after the church condemned him: Its nice and all that, but perhaps just a bit tardy.

Still, I suppose this is progress, sort of.

GOP Senators Support Implementation of Official Secret's Act | BuzzFlash

Holy Crap!

We are becoming the Soviet States of America!

NSWBC: GOP Senators Support Implementation of Official Secret's Act BuzzFlash:

GOP Senators Support Implementation of Official Secret's Act; Bill Eliminates Government's Burden to Prove Damage in Prosecuting Whistleblowers"

Bush's fondness for fundamentalism is courting disaster at home and abroad

The author of this article, Karen Armstrong, is one of the best religious scholars of our time, and shoud be read by anyone who wants to understand the current nightmare, from a religious prespective..

Guardian Unlimited Comment is free Bush's fondness for fundamentalism is courting disaster at home and abroad:

From the very beginning, the conflict between religion and modern science was couched in extreme, even apocalyptic rhetoric. Thomas H Huxley, who popularised the Origin of Species, insisted that people had to choose between faith and science; there could be no compromise: 'One or the other would have to succumb after a struggle of unknown duration.' In response, conservative Christians launched a crusade against Darwinism. After the first world war, the Democratic politician William Jennings Bryan claimed that there was a direct link between evolutionary theory and German militarism: the notion that only the strong could or should survive had 'laid the foundation for the bloodiest war in history. The same science that manufactured poisoned gases to suffocate soldiers is preaching that man has a brutal ancestry.'

The struggle continues - nowhere more so than among the Christian right in the US, who still regard the evolutionary hypothesis as surrounded by a murderous nimbus of evil. In 1925, they tried to ban the teaching of evolution in public schools and developed creation science, based on a literal reading of the first chapter of Genesis. More recently, they have tried to introduce into the school curriculum the teaching of intelligent design (ID), which claims that the irreducible complexity of micro-organisms could not have evolved naturally but must be the result of a single creative act. The issue splits the nation down the middle: fundamentalists want to win a battle for God; liberals and secularists are fighting for truth and rationality.

Bush's fundamentalism seen as a decisive, negative factor in his policies

Negative isn't the word for it; insane is more the term I would use.

The news media has been AWOL on this issue and they should not be, not if they care about their chilfren growing up in a sane, free and Democratic world.

Nieman Watchdog > Commentary > Bush's fundamentalism seen as a decisive, negative factor in his policies:

There is an alien influence, mostly unpublicized, running like an undercurrent beneath the Bush administration's Middle East policies. It may help explain George W. Bush's single-mindedness, his oblivious inability to face reality as his war in Iraq, his war against terror and his policies towards Arabs and Israeli have collapsed.

I say 'alien,' because I believe this to be the first time in modern American history that a president's religion, in this case his Christian fundamentalism, has become a decisive factor in his foreign and domestic policies. It�s a factor that has been under-reported, to say the least, and that begs for press attention.

Bush, who says he reads the Bible daily, acknowledges his fundamentalist beliefs. Biblical and Middle East scholar Karen Armstrong writes in The Guardian, 'Whatever Bush's personal beliefs, the ideology of the Christian right is both familiar and congenial to him. This strange amalgam of ideas can perhaps throw light on the behavior of a president who, it is said, believes God chose him to lead the world toward Rapture, who has little interest in social reform, and whose selective concern for life issues has now inspired him to veto important scientific research.

Robertson feeling the heat

Jeebus, I figured it would take an iceberg up his butt, for this clown to notice climate change.

Crooks and Liars: (More on the Mullah Robertson's revelation)

Conservative Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson said Thursday the wave of scorching temperatures across the United States has converted him into a believer in global warming.

'We really need to address the burning of fossil fuels,' Robertson said on his '700 Club' broadcast. 'It is getting hotter, and the icecaps are melting and there is a buildup of carbon dioxide in the air.'

This week the heat index, the perceived temperature based on both air temperatures and humidity, reached 115 Fahrenheit in some regions of the East Coast. The 76-year-old Robertson told viewers that was 'the most convincing evidence I've seen on global warming in a long time.'

What's that old saying? 'Even a broken clock is right twice a day.'

Is moderation necessary?

Not anymore!

I case you haven't noticed, this is war, folks!

The Anonymous Liberal:

In an article for the American Prospect, Scott Winship weighs in on the debate over whether the 'netroots' (i.e. liberal bloggers and activists) are ideologues intent driving the Democratic party leftward or pragmatists intent on helping the party win. Winship writes:

Reading the major blogs oriented toward the netroots community, it is difficult to discern issue priorities or positions that are shared and
emphasized by a strong majority of
netroots members, with two important
exceptions to which I will return later.

In this sense, the netroots really are
non-ideological. Moulitsas and others have repeatedly described themselves as primarily concerned with winning and building a

Hence, they will generally support relatively moderate candidates in red states. Their only litmus test, they claim, is that Democrats must not shy away from or undermine the party.

That pretty much squares with my sense of what animates the netroots, and it flies squarely in the face of know-nothings like David Brooks and Marshall Wittman who insist that the liberal bloggers are a bunch of far-left 'McGovernites with modems.'

Minimum Wage Bill Blocked In Major Defeat For Bill Frist

This atrocious Bill should have been blocked.

When the Dems regain the majority, they should cram a $10.00 and hour minimum wage down the Rethugs throats and tax any inheritance over 5 million, unless the inheritance is wrapped up in a family farm or business.

Inhertiances of less than two million, should be given back all taxes levied for the last decade.

The Moderate Voice - Minimum Wage Bill Blocked In Major Defeat For Bill Frist:

Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked legislation tying the first minimum wage increase in almost a decade to a decrease in the federal estate tax, denying Republicans a legislative victory as lawmakers head into a crucial month of campaigning before the November elections.

Republican backers of the measure, dubbed the trifecta for its three chief elements, fell 4 votes short of the 60 needed to cut off debate. Democrats had argued that it was a bad bargain to exchange a $2.10 wage increase for struggling workers for a costly tax cut for the country's wealthiest families.

'This trifecta is a high-stakes gamble with America's future,' said Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat. 'This is the worst special-interest bill I have seen in my time in Congress.'

So it's clear the partisan lines were drawn here partially because past minimum wage increases didn't come with so major conditions super-glued onto them.

Rangel: I may quit, if GOP maintain conrol of House

I hear you, Charlie.

I may quit too, this country, that is.

If the Bushites cannot be held accountable, it is either time for an all out revolution or taking leave of my homeland, which has turned to crap.

New York Daily News - Politics - Rangel: I may quit:

Rep. Charles Rangel, dean of the city's congressional delegation, said yesterday he may quit Congress if Democrats don't win back the House in November.

The 76-year-old Rangel is the ranking Democrat on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee and is in line to become chairman - but only if Democrats pick up at least 15 seats to regain control of the House this November.

'I don't know what positive role I can play sitting on the bench in the minority,' Rangel told the Daily News yesterday. 'It's like being in a ballgame and never getting a chance to be up at bat.'

Rangel has represented Harlem and upper Manhattan for 35 years, and his departure - whenever it comes - would roil the city's political establishment.

Preaching for Crank, Pounding the Christian Coalition

Good lord, I am so sick of these christan coalition fruitcakes I could scream, or worse.

Colorado Confidential :: Preaching for Crank, Pounding the Christian Coalition:

The acrimony between the campaigns of 5th Congressional Republican candidates Jeff Crank and Doug Lamborn is reaching a zenith, with the two camps continuing to skirmish over a Christian Coalition mailer that accused Crank, along with Lionel Rivera, of being aligned with the 'radical homosexual agenda.'

The charismatic leader of the 14,000-member New Life megachurch has even entered the fray. During his July 23 Sunday sermon, Pastor Ted Haggard, who is also the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, accused the Christian Coalition of being un-Christian, practicing yellow journalism and twisting the facts.

Haggard stopped just short of outright endorsing Jeff Crank from the pulpit, which would have been a violation of federal law that prohibits churches from endorsing specific political candidates.

Devastating acount of CIA kidnapping and torture

BushCo should all be in prison, in Egypt.

village voice > news > Liberty Beat by Nat Hentoff:

Three years ago, a CIA kidnapping ring was in Italy to snatch a radical imam, Hussan Mustafa Nasr, from a street in Milan. Flown on a CIA plane to his native Egypt, Nasr was held in a dungeon where he was given electric shock treatments, hung upside down, and tortured in various positions. Released and then rearrested, Nasr disappeared in the bowels of the Egyptian prison system.

While in Milan setting up the kidnapping, the CIA crew made many calls from their top-of-the-line hotel rooms, but these were not, as the spying trade puts it, on 'secure phones.' So, Italian intelligence agents had no difficulty tracking them, leading to arrest warrants for these CIA spooks for violating the sovereignty of Italy and its laws.

I was sure that our Justice Department would never extradite the members of this gang because the president and his team continuously assure the world that we never ever send suspects to countries where they'd be tortured. But I have kept wondering whether, in Italy, the case of the CIA criminals has been closed.

Centrism Is for Suckers

Because the good old days of personal integrity and putting country ahead of party are over in the GOP.

Rozius: Paul Krugman: Centrism Is for Suckers:

But while this principle might once have made sense, it's just naive today. Given both the radicalism of the majority party's leadership and the ruthlessness with which it exercises its control of the Senate, Mr. Chafee's personal environmentalism is nearly irrelevant when it comes to actual policy outcomes; the only thing that really matters for the issues the Sierra Club cares about is the 'R' after his name.

Put it this way: If the Democrats gain only five rather than six Senate seats this November, Senator James Inhofe, who says that global warming is 'the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,' will remain in his current position as chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. And if that happens, the Sierra Club may well bear some of the responsibility.

The point is that those who cling to the belief that politics can be conducted in terms of people rather than parties, a group that also includes would-be centrist Democrats like Joe Lieberman and many members of the punditocracy, are kidding themselves.

The fact is that in 1994, the year when radical Republicans took control both of Congress and of their own party, things fell apart, and the center did not hold. Now we�re living in an age of one-letter politics, in which a politician�s partisan affiliation is almost always far more important than his or her personal beliefs. And those who refuse to recognize this reality end up being useful idiots for those, like President Bush, who have been consistently ruthless in their partisanship.

Tapes show confusion in U.S. military on 9/11 - Americas - International Herald Tribune

Very strange, eh?

Tapes show confusion in U.S. military on 9/11 - Americas - International Herald Tribune:

WASHINGTON - Newly disclosed tapes offer evidence of the widespread confusion within the military as the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were being carried out, further undermining contentions by the Pentagon that it moved quickly to try to intercept and shoot down one or more of the hijacked jets.

When matched with the timeline of the attacks, the tapes make clear that information about the hijackings was slow to reach the military and that much of the information that did reach air force commanders was faulty.

The tapes were provided under subpoena to the independent commission that investigated the attacks, and parts of them had previously been made public by that commission.

But the full collection of nearly 30 hours of tapes from the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or Norad, were released by the Pentagon last year to Michael Bronner, a producer of the recent film 'United 93,' who described them in detail in an article posted this week on the Web site of Vanity Fair magazine, The Web site includes links to excerpts from the actual tapes.

The tapes demonstrate that for most of the morning of Sept. 11, the airspace over New York and Washington was essentially undefended and that jet fighters scrambled to intercept the hijacked planes were involved in a fruitless chase for planes that had already crashed.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Lieberman and hell


The Crazies

At the end of a mostly reasonable analysis Stu Rothenberg concludes:

Lamont's victory, however, would not be without its downside for Democrats, since it would only embolden the crazies in the party, a consideration not lost on other Democratic elected officials and strategists.

Lieberman's defeat is likely to add to the partisanship and bitterness that divides the country and Capitol Hill, and to generate more media attention to grassroots bomb-throwers who, down the road, are likely to make the party less appealing to swing voters and moderates.

I'm not quite sure who these crazies are, but it got me thinking about what crazy is and who actually is crazy. Consider Will Marshall of the DLC.

Thanks be to God!



Run Away

I think Kevin Rennie's just writing liberal porn to attract hits at this point. There's nothing wrong with enjoying ourselves - we don't get many chances - but aside from the entertainment value it all means nothing until we get the results on Tuesday.

Also, credit where credit is due - Senate Democrats killed the estate tax bullshit today and Ted Stevens' attempt to turn the internets into a truck is dead for the moment as well.

Thanks be to God!



Run Away

I think Kevin Rennie's just writing liberal porn to attract hits at this point. There's nothing wrong with enjoying ourselves - we don't get many chances - but aside from the entertainment value it all means nothing until we get the results on Tuesday.

Also, credit where credit is due - Senate Democrats killed the estate tax bullshit today and Ted Stevens' attempt to turn the internets into a truck is dead for the moment as well.

Thanks be to God!



Run Away

I think Kevin Rennie's just writing liberal porn to attract hits at this point. There's nothing wrong with enjoying ourselves - we don't get many chances - but aside from the entertainment value it all means nothing until we get the results on Tuesday.

Also, credit where credit is due - Senate Democrats killed the estate tax bullshit today and Ted Stevens' attempt to turn the internets into a truck is dead for the moment as well.

Video: Pat Robertson sweats and switches on Global Warming

Please do read on!

Especially interational visitors, as you need to know what we have to deal with over here.

AlterNet: Blogs: Video: Pat Robertson sweats and switches on Global Warming:

AlterNet's top story explores the eschatological fantasies of the religious right with respect to war in the Middle East. Or: why they want this conflagration to spread in order to bring about the End of Days.

Conservative Christian environmental statements have followed a similar pattern of tilting toward destruction -- reflected in its widespread rejection of Global Warming.
Sweating in the heat, however, seems to be clearing the good reverend's mind a bit. Watch as Pat Robertson becomes a Global Warming believer.

Conservative Christian news outlet Agape Press, which often runs anti-global warming reports, has already picked up the statement and run it uncritically.

Video: U.A.E. TV: Syria in 'secret talks' with U.S. and Israel

Well, we do not really have a comment.

We invite Arab/Muslims to comment....

AlterNet: Blogs: Video: U.A.E. TV: Syria in 'secret talks' with U.S. and Israel:

This clip, a news report from Abu Dhabi TV in the U.A.E., elaborates on 'secret talks' going on between Syria and Western countries to reach a 'political deal.'

The 'secret talks' entail Syria being asked to stop backing groups that the West sees as terrorist groups, and also break its alliance with Iran, in exchange for economic assistance and security from the West.

However, this report notes that, 'there is still a possibility that the war may spiral out of control and extend to other countries, especially Syria.' and goes on to state:

'According to Israeli sources, there are several reasons at the present time preventing Washington and Tel Aviv from attacking Syria. Some of these reasons are the situation in Iraq and the absence of an alternative leadership in case the Syrian regime collapses.'

The Syrian army has been on high alert since the attacks on Lebanon began about three weeks ago.

This clip is a segment of the LinkTV series 'Mosaic: Daily news from the Middle East'

Jennnifer Fox is an AlterNet intern.

Video: Goodman plays Hardball: war not the answer

It is time for all violence to stop!

We cannot survive as the human race unlesss the violence stops. NOW!

AlterNet: Blogs: Video: Goodman plays Hardball: war not the answer:

Amy Goodman stays true to her Democracy Now! roots by denouncing the Israeli/Hezbollah war, defending the rationale of a ceasefire and schooling fellow guest Michael Smerconish.

Smerconish: 'How do you negotiate with folks who are going to send missiles in your direction from the middle of a civilian neighborhood? I mean it's unfortunate, it's terrible what transpired but the reality is there's no other way to combat terrorism, and that's who we're combating.'

Goodman: 'You don't negotiate with your friends, you negotiate with your enemies; you come up with viable solutions that both can live with...what we're talking about is not even Hezbollah, we're talking about more than 700 Lebanese civilians, overwhelmingly civilians. Did they deserve to die over these last few weeks?'

Oddly enough, Hardball was broadcast live in Rockefeller Center as part of the 10th anniversary of, and features a crowd of confused looking tourists. Maybe they thought they were there for Good Morning America.

International Law?

Good God, is there no human decency anymore?

Another challenging report from ITN, this time on ITV. This one on the Israeli attack on ambulances in Tyre Lebanon.

Israel, not Hizbullah, is putting civilians in danger on both sides of the border

Israel has really become the 51st state.

Where in hell are the taxes?

Israel, not Hizbullah, is putting civilians in danger on both sides of the border:

"08/03/06 'Information Clearing House' -- -- Here are some interesting points raised this week by a leading commentator and published in a respected daily newspaper:

'The Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert embeds his soldiers in Israeli communities, next to schools, beside hospitals, close to welfare centres, ensuring that any Israeli target is also a civilian target. This is the practice the UN's Jan Egeland had in mind when he lambasted Israel's 'cowardly blending ... among women and children'. It may be cowardly, but in the new warfare it also makes macabre sense. For this is a propaganda war as much as a shooting one, and in such a conflict to lose civilians on your own side represents a kind of victory.'

You probably did not read far before realising that I have switched 'Israel' for 'Hizbullah' and 'Ehud Olmert' for 'Hassan Nasrallah'. The paragraph was taken from an opinion piece by Jonathan Freedland published in Britain's Guardian newspaper on 2 August. My attempt at deception was probably futile because no one seems to seriously believe that criticisms of the kind expressed above can be levelled against Israel.

Freedland, like most commentators in our media, assumes that Hizbullah is using the Lebanese population as 'human shields,' hiding its fighters, arsenals and rocket launchers inside civilian areas. 'Cowardly' behaviour rather than the nature of Israel's air strikes, in his view, explains the spiralling death toll among Lebanese civilians. This perception of Hizbullah's tactics grows more common by the day, even though it flies in the face of the available evidence and the research of independent observers in Lebanon such as Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch Accuses Israel of War Crimes

When will the interantional community listen?

Human Rights Watch Accuses Israel of War Crimes:

08/02/06 'IPS' -- -- In systematically failing to distinguish between Hezbollah fighters and civilian population in its three-and-a-half-week-old military campaign in Lebanon, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have committed war crimes, according to a report released by Human Rights Watch Wednesday.

The 50-page report, 'Fatal Strikes: Israel's Indiscriminate Attacks Against Civilians in Lebanon,' detailed nearly two dozen cases of IDF attacks in which a total of 153 civilians, including 63 children, were killed in homes or motor vehicles.
In none of the cases did HRW researchers find evidence that there was a significant enough military objective to justify the attack, given the risks to civilian lives, while, in many cases, there was no identifiable military target. In still other cases cited in the report, Israeli forces appear to have deliberately targeted civilians.

'By consistently failing to distinguish between combatants and civilians, Israel has violated one of the most fundamental tenets of the laws of war: the duty to carry out attacks on only military targets,' according to the report.

'The pattern of attacks during the Israeli offensive in Lebanon suggests that the failures cannot be explained or dismissed as mere accidents; the extent of the pattern and the seriousness of the consequences indicate the commission of war crimes,' it concluded.

Entire Lebanese family killed in Israeli attack on hospital

Entire Lebanese family killed in Israeli attack on hospital:

"08/03/06 'The Independent' -- -- An attack on a hospital, the killing of an entire Lebanese family, the seizure of five men in Baalbek and a new civilian death toll - 468 men, women and children - marked the 22nd day of Israel's latest war on Lebanon.

The Israelis claimed that helicopter-borne soldiers had seized senior Hizbollah leaders although one of them turned out to be a local Baalbek grocer. In a village near the city, Israeli air strikes killed the local mayor's son and brother and five children in their family.

The battle for Lebanon was fast moving out of control last night. Lebanese troops abandoned many of their checkpoints and European diplomats were warning their colleagues that militiamen were taking over the positions. Up to 8,000 Israeli troops were reported to have crossed the border by last night in what was publicised as a military advance towards the Litani river. But far more soldiers would be needed to secure so large an area of southern Lebanon.

The Israelis sent paratroopers to attack an Iranian-financed hospital in Baalbek in the hope of capturing wounded Hizbollah fighters but, after an hour's battle, got their hands on only five men whom the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, later called 'tasty fish'. The operation suggests what Hizbollah has all along said was the purpose of the Israeli campaign: to swap prisoners and to exchange Hizbollah fighters for the two Israeli soldiers who were captured on the border on 12 July.

AP Wire | 08/03/2006 | Hezbollah leader threatens Tel Aviv

Is this guy bluffing or what?

I guess we shall see.......

AP Wire 08/03/2006 Hezbollah leader threatens Tel Aviv:

BEIRUT, Lebanon - Hezbollah's leader offered Thursday to stop rocket attacks on northern Israel in return for an end to airstrikes throughout Lebanon.

However, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah also vowed to fire rockets into Tel Aviv if Israel strikes Beirut proper. Israeli warplanes have repeatedly bombarded Hezbollah strongholds in southern suburbs of Beirut.

If you bomb our capital Beirut, we will bomb the capital of your usurping entity... We will bomb Tel Aviv,' he said in a taped televised speech.

In issuing the threat, Nasrallah offered his first opening toward diminishing the three-week-old conflict, which has taken more than 500 Lebanese lives and killed more than 50 Israelis.

'Anytime you decide to stop your campaign against our cities, villages, civilians and infrastructure, we will not fire rockets on any Israeli settlement or city,' he said in a taped video statement broadcast on Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV and carried simultaneously on all other Lebanese and Arab satellite channels.

Speaking directly to Israelis, Nasrallah said, 'The only choice before you is to stop your aggression and turn to negotiations to end this folly.'

Parts of the speech were carried on Israeli television channels, with Hebrew translation.
Nasrallah said his forces were succeeding in inflicting 'maximum casualties' on Israeli ground troops, and that his guerrillas are '

Hezbollah Leader Threatens Tel Aviv

Hezbollah Leader Threatens Tel Aviv:

BEIRUT, Lebanon -- Hezbollah's leader offered Thursday to stop rocket attacks on northern Israel in return for an end to airstrikes throughout Lebanon.

However, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah also vowed to fire rockets into Tel Aviv if Israel strikes Beirut proper. Israeli warplanes have repeatedly bombarded Hezbollah strongholds in southern suburbs of Beirut.

A group of displaced Lebanese watch a taped television speech by Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on a large screen at a shelter in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2006. Hezbollah's leader threatened to send rockets into Tel Aviv if Beirut proper was attacked, but offered a cease-fire in the air war, pledging to halt rocket attacks if Israel stops airstrikes.

Accused U.S. Soldiers Refuse to Testify | Chicago Tribune

If they refuse to testify, hold them in contempt and jail them until the war on terror is over.

Accused U.S. Soldiers Refuse to Testify Chicago Tribune:

TIKRIT, Iraq -- Four U.S. soldiers accused of murdering Iraqi detainees refused to testify Thursday at a military hearing, where witnesses described how one of the victims spat blood as he lay dying and another was covered in brain matter.

The four invoked their right not to testify for fear of incriminating themselves at the hearing to determine if they should be court-martialed for the May 9 shooting deaths. Instead, their attorneys submitted sworn statements and rested their case on the third day of the hearing.

The defendants -- Pfc. Corey R. Clagett, Spc. William B. Hunsaker, Staff Sgt. Raymond L. Girouard and Spc. Juston R. Graber -- initially said the three detainees were killed because they tried to escape, but military prosecutors have said they were freed before being shot.

The shootings have raised questions about the Army's rules of engagement during combat and dealt another blow to the reputation of U.S. soldiers, fueling anger against the coalition presence. The U.S. military's conduct has also come under criticism from international human rights groups.

In his testimony, witness Cpl. Brandon Helton said he was the last man off the helicopter that brought the accused and other soldiers to a corner of a marshy island outside Samarra, about 60 miles north of Baghdad, in search of suspected al-Qaida operatives.

Iraq Moving Toward Civil War, Top U.S. Commanders Say

Oh for Christ's sake, they are already in civil war, if there is ever such a thing as "civil" war.

What will it take for U.S. journalists to recognize it? Maybe the Shias should wear blue and the Sunnis can wear gray....

Iraq Moving Toward Civil War, Top U.S. Commanders Say:

The top U.S. commander in the Middle East told a Senate panel today that the recent wave of sectarian violence in Iraq threatens to push the country toward an all-out civil war.

Army Gen. John P. Abizaid, commander of the U.S. Central Command, also said U.S. forces could take more casualties as they carry out a new plan to reinforce Baghdad, and he cast doubt on earlier predictions that the U.S. troop level in Iraq could be drawn down this year.

DNC Releases 'Expanded National Voter Protection Effort' Plan�

If the DNC can't handle this threat to Democracy, we will!

Do you hear us?

You really should.

The BRAD BLOG : DNC Releases 'Expanded National Voter Protection Effort' Plan�:

DNC Releases 'Expanded National Voter Protection Effort' Plan:

Sets Up 'Voter Protection Hotline', Calls for Paper 'Trails' and Lawyers in 15 'Key States'

But We're Gonna Need Much More Than That....

Blogged by Brad on the long, hot road:

The DNC Media Office released information on their planned 'Expanded National Voter Protection Effort' today. I'll avoid my knee-jerk reaction to say 'Expanded' from what?! Their full media release is posted below.

As I've got to get in the car and head up to St. Paul for a PBS TV show taping (Mental Engineering) over the weekend, I don't have much time to comment on the strategy and release for now. As you may guess, I have some feelings on both. You'll simply have to guess at those feelings for now. Suffice to say, we need more than paper 'trails' and attorneys on Election Day.' I applaud the tireless efforts of Greg Moore, heading up the DNC Voting Rights Institute. He 'gets it' , but the rest of the DNC still seems to be burying their head in the sand about the seriousness of the problem.

To that end, and by way of example, we could also use their help in dealing with issues like the Busby/Bilbray U.S. House special election in CA50 now if they are serious about protecting the ballot box in November everwhere! (An essay I posted some weeks ago describing how what happens now in CA50 affects the vote everywhere this November is right here: 'A Line in the Sand')

The full release from the DNC as issued within the past hour follows:

: Bush's talent -- subverting the truth - Hardball with Chris Matthews -

Bush is a con-man. He always has been

How difficult is it to figure this out?

He has never succeeded at a damn thing in his entire life. Why in hell should the presidency be any different.

As Americans, providing we are blessed with another chance, we might want to look at the candidates' C.V.s

Hardblogger: Bush's talent -- subverting the truth - Hardball with Chris Matthews -

In case you hadn't noticed, President Bush has a tendency to say things that aren't exactly true. This is a longstanding habit. Remember, he was all for restricting greenhouse gasses, until he took office. Iraq posed a 'grave' threat to the U.S., only it didn't.

We've found weapons of mass destruction there, except we haven't. His tax cuts have reduced income inequality, in truth, well, don't get me started.

Mr. Bush's latest diversion into the realm of the forked tongue involves our prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In June, standing in the Rose Garden, Bush said, 'I'd like to close Guantanamo,' leaving the impression he might actually be planning to do such a thing.

At that moment, his statement left room for hope that the administration was not entirely impervious to reality. 'Gitmo' had already become a travesty, an affront to democratic principles, a source of national shame. The Supreme Court, which had already rejected a 'blank-check' wartime presidency, was about to declare Bush's planned military tribunals unconstitutional. Our own officers were admitting that most of the detainees were likely guilty of nothing more than bad luck.

Now, we learn that while Bush mused about closing down the infamous facility, plans were being realized to expand the prison, the contract having been awarded to - who else? - a Halliburton subsidiary.

Isn't it past time we realized that whenever Bush or his allies seem to admit an uncomfortable truth, it's only a tactical retreat. They're really just trying to get through the day......

Stewart to President: 'I Give Up., You're F---ing Insane!

Get a load of this insanity!

Truthdig - A/V Booth - Stewart to President: �I Give Up.� You�re F---ing Insane�:

After Tony Snow announced the results of Bush's recent physical, 'The Daily Show' host seized the opportunity to mock the president's weight gain. Snow declared that the president was 'fit for duty' although he'd gained five pounds, prompting Stewart to remark, 'Mr. President, I know things are tough right now, but you can't eat your way to happy.'

Stewart also took issue with Snow's choice of words, following the news that yet another Arabic-speaking soldier had been discharged for being gay. 'Clearly, as a gay man, Bleu is utterly unfit to serve his country by translating the enemy's language. But while we may have lost Bleu Copas, another man was declared ready to serve.'

But when Bush, in a speech, began talking about eating crabs with the 1972 Miami Dolphins, Stewart decided that the president had, finally, gone off the deep end.

The End of American Legitimacy

If we cannot change the tide in November, we, the Lantern Brigade, are out of here.

We will not live under a criminal, democracy stealing, corrupt regime., and that is that!

village voice > news > Liberty Beat by Nat Hentoff:

Three years ago, a CIA kidnapping ring was in Italy to snatch a radical imam, Hussan Mustafa Nasr, from a street in Milan. Flown on a CIA plane to his native Egypt, Nasr was held in a dungeon where he was given electric shock treatments, hung upside down, and tortured in various positions. Released and then rearrested, Nasr disappeared in the bowels of the Egyptian prison system.

While in Milan setting up the kidnapping, the CIA crew made many calls from their top-of-the-line hotel rooms, but these were not, as the spying trade puts it, on 'secure phones.' So, Italian intelligence agents had no difficulty tracking them, leading to arrest warrants for these CIA spooks for violating the sovereignty of Italy and its laws.

I was sure that our Justice Department would never extradite the members of this gang because the president and his team continuously assure the world that we never ever send suspects to countries where they'd be tortured. But I have kept wondering whether, in Italy, the case of the CIA criminals has been closed.

The Plural of "Fiasco"

This is by McGovern. Need we say more?

Ray McGovern: The Plural of "Fiasco" BuzzFlash:

The word does not require an 'E,' but the world desperately needs one-E for EXIT from the march of folly toward wider war brought on by plural US policy blunders: in Iraq, Israel, and Lebanon, for starters, and now threatening to spread to Syria and Iran. Fortunately, Webster's does allow the insertion of an 'E' and that's precisely what we must do now.

We need to make a prompt exit from the policy fiascoes that have brought violence and chaos to the Middle East.

If we do not look beyond the carnage of the last few weeks, weigh the reaction of others in and outside the region, and reflect on Washington's role in precipitating the violence, I fear there will be no exit. A brief review may be instructive. Who led our march into this modern-day Valley of Death?

Senator Seeks to Fix Damage Over Remarks -

Some people should actually be taken out-back and horse-whipped.

Mr. Burns is one of them!

Senator Seeks to Fix Damage Over Remarks -

Sen. Conrad Burns' recent verbal attack on a firefighting team for its work on a Montana blaze angered some firefighters, drew harsh criticism in state newspapers and has left the three-term Republican scrambling to repair the political damage.

Burns, one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the fall elections, confronted members of a firefighting team at the Billings airport on July 23 and told them they had done a 'piss-poor job,' according to an official state report and the U.S. Forest Service.

The Hotshot crew had traveled 2,000 miles from Staunton, Va., to help dig fire lines for about a week around a 143-square-mile wildfire east of Billings.

The crew was awaiting flights home when Burns made his comments. The senator, who has a house in Billings, said he was expressing the frustration of ranchers who were critical of the way the fire was handled. He later apologized for his harsh remarks.

Rummy, Top Generals Reveal Worsening Conditions in Iraq, Despite Their Better Efforts | BuzzFlash

Rummy, Top Generals Reveal Worsening Conditions in Iraq, Despite Their Better Efforts BuzzFlash:

As hard as they struggled this morning, three top defense officials could not ease concerns about the worsening situation in Iraq in the wake of increased violence and troop deployments to Baghdad. Donald Rumsfeld made a last second determination that he in fact wasn't too busy to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee, and was joined by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Peter Pace and Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East.

The witnesses were all too happy to agree with Republican fluff questions about how leaving Iraq would embolden the terrorists, but were forced to admit to harsh realities when their feet were put to the fire. 'I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I've seen it, in Baghdad in particular,' Abizaid conceded. 'And that if not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move towards civil war.'

While it is obvious to many that Iraq is already in a civil war, the fact that Abizaid, as well as Pace, publicly recognize its potential shows just how bad the situation really is. More troubling is that its likelihood in their minds is only getting stronger. When asked if he anticipated the mere possibility of a civil war just one year ago, Pace responded 'No, sir.' 'It was clear to see that sectarian tensions were increasing,' added Abizaid. 'That they would be this high, no.'
Even Rumsfeld was forced to backtrack under grilling from Sen. Hillary Clinton. 'I have never painted a rosy picture about Iraq,' he said. However, Think Progress already has an excellent challenge to this suggestion, offering just a few of his absurdly optimistic statements. For example, he once doubted the war would last as many as six months. That was on February 7, 2003.

Blogworld goes into hyperdrive over Lebanon conflict - Yahoo! News

The Blogosphere. if it lives up to its potential, will make war less and less possible, and that wil be God's true miracle!

Blogworld goes into hyperdrive over Lebanon conflict - Yahoo! News:

PARIS (AFP) - The three-week conflict in Lebanon has sent the international blogworld into hyperdrive, with a litany of personal experiences, explanations and exhortations crisscrossing the Internet along with disturbing pictures of the violence.

Two days after the air-strike at Qana that killed more than 50 civilians mainly children, the international blog search engine Technorati showed that Qana is its second most requested key-word -- as thousands tune in for alternative views and accounts.

A hell of a morning! Israelis breakfast a la carte: rare, medium and well done children and women in one of South Lebanon's villages, Qana. An order large enough to feed an entire battalion and to make the Lebanese roar,' reads a blog from Beirut-based Pamela Chrabieh Badine.
Above is the picture of a battered child's corpse lying on a stretcher.

From the other side of the border comes the version of 'Aussie Dave,' a 31 year-old Australian who immigrated to Israel in 2000.

'While I am sure everyone will be quick to condemn Israel, Hezbollah is fully responsible for this tragic loss of life,' he writes.

Defense Department News Briefing; someone get the Haldol!

The man is deranged.

God help us !

Defense Department News Briefing:

"RUMSFELD: Good afternoon, folks.

Over the past few weeks we've seen U.S. military personnel conduct a wide range of missions with skill and professionalism.

On very short notice, halfway across the globe, U.S. ships and thousands of servicemembers undertook the voluntary evacuation of some 14,000 Americans from Lebanon.
Here at home, at the president's direction, some 6,000 National Guard personnel have no deployed to our southern border to assist the Department of Homeland Security with the border protection, on a temporary basis, as the Department of Homeland Security recruits and trains additional border personnel.

In Afghanistan, coalition troops are helping the Afghan security forces fight off Taliban and Al Qaida, and NATO is taking on the additional responsibility for the southern section of the country as of, I guess, yesterday.

Court rules GOP can't replace DeLay on ballot


We may well have Dem. victory in Delay Sugar Land!!!! - Court rules GOP can't replace DeLay on ballot:

AUSTIN - A federal appeals court panel today in a bipartisan order ruled that former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay cannot be replaced on the November ballot for the congressional seat he vacated in June.

The Republican Party said it will quickly file an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, but if it loses, DeLay will have to decide whether to actively campaign for office. He has hinted that he might.

Texas Republican Chair Tina Benkiser had ruled DeLay was ineligible to serve because he had moved to Virginia, opening the door for Republicans to replace him on the ballot.
The Texas Democratic Party sued, saying it was a subterfuge and that he had not really moved to Virginia.
The three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals found in the Democrats' favor and upheld an injunction preventing the Republicans from replacing DeLay. The panel said the U.S. Constitution's only requirement for office is that DeLay be a resident of Texas on election day.

'When Benkiser reviewed the public records sent by DeLay and concluded that his residency in Virginia made him ineligible, she unconstitutionally created a pre-election inhabitancy requirement,' said the opinion written by Judge Pete Benavides for himself and Judges James L. Dennis and Edith Clement.

Benavides and Dennis were appointed to the court by former President Bill Clinton. Clement was appointed by President Bush, and he has considered the conservative jurist for an appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.
'Five judges have now looked at this, two of them appointed by conservative presidents,' said Democratic lawyer Chad Dunn. 'It's time to move on, and Mr. DeLay needs to decide whether he wants to be in the race.'

Bush Admin Tries to Cover Up Repeated Failures to Meet Targets for Small Business Contracts | BuzzFlash

These bastards need to be hung!

Bush Admin Tries to Cover Up Repeated Failures to Meet Targets for Small Business Contracts BuzzFlash:

The Bush Administration misrepresented data to meet contract allocation requirements, according to a report released by Democrats of the House Small Business Committee. The government is required to give at least 23% of its contracts to small business, but has failed the past six years. The Small Business Administration (SBA) claimed to have exceeded this threshold in 2005, but actually fell short because $12 billion it said was given to small businesses was in fact given to large ones.

Some of the miscategorized contracts went to some of the biggest companies in the world, including Microsoft, Rolls-Royce, Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobil, Google, and Lockheed Martin. Among others were large media companies like the Associated Press, The New York Times, USA Today, Bloomberg, and PBS.

What we are seeing is a sheer lack of accountability from the administration that is resulting in these large businesses receiving small business awards,' said Rep. Nydia Vel�zquez, the committee's ranking Democrat. 'As a consequence, entrepreneurs are getting less and less contracting opportunities each year.'