Saturday, February 24, 2007

We Win Award For Crass, Narcissism in the extreme

Big gun Dick armed for Sydney
By Kate Sikora
February 22, 2007 02:00am

HE shot his best mate in the head, now US Vice-President Dick Cheney wants to make sure his bodyguards can carry guns in Sydney.

The NSW Government has urgently changed its gun laws to allow Mr Cheney to bring armed Secret Service agents to the city this week.

For three days, the bodyguards will have permission to use their own weapons to protect Mr Cheney, who arrives in Sydney late today.

The Federal Government last week made an urgent request for NSW to amend its laws after it was discovered Mr Cheney might have been forced to skip Sydney.
Roads in the CBD are likely to be overwhelmed for the second time this week, with Mr Cheney's visit coming on the back of the frenzy during the visit of superships Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth 2.

Mr Cheney's itinerary remained a secret last night on security grounds, but the RTA urged motorists to avoid the CBD.

A spokesman said people should prepare for "significant delays".

Deputy Police Commissioner Terry Collins said inner-city roads would be closed during Mr
Cheney's visit while he was driven through the city. A police escort would provide a "green light corridor" through intersections.

The major closures affect the area bounded by Cumberland, Gloucester and Essex streets in The Rocks, where Mr Cheney is making a number of appearances.
Hundreds of police will take part in the operation, led by the police commander of the Counter Terrorism Command.

"This is a very large-scale operation brought about by the fact that Dick Cheney is certainly high risk in regard to a terrorist-related type threat," Mr Collins said.
Under the changes allowing Mr Cheney's bodyguards to carry their own weapons, visiting foreign dignitaries can now bring armed bodyguards on a trip.
The changes - secretly gazetted by the Government on Friday - give Police Commissioner Ken Moroney power to grant permission allowing foreign armed guards for close personal protection.
It is understood the changes were rushed through specifically for Mr Cheney and will again apply when world leaders arrive in September for the Asia-Pacific Economic Convention.
A spokesman for Police Minister John Watkins said it was not a blanket law and would only be applied for specific occasions.
Mr Cheney made international headlines last February when he accidentally shot a friend during a hunting trip in Texas.
Harry Whittington, 78, was peppered with birdshot by Mr Cheney, who used a 28-gauge Perazzi shotgun.

....and the truth shall set us free.

Oh Jeebus, not another 9/11 hero!

Rudy Giuliani is not a hero.

In fact, even The New York Times today is a little surprised that Giuliani is so scared on the campaign trail that he handpicks who gets to come see him. On the stump? Yes. Off the cuff real questions? No chance.

Could it be he doesn't want anyone asking about why he shipped Bernard Kerik out of the country or about his marriage to his cousin or his decision to put the New York City Command and Control Center next to the World Trade Center against the wishes of the FBI?

....and the truth shall set us free.

The Clintons Do Lie!

Please God! No More Clintons or Bushies

We have had about all we can take!

We need authenticity!!!!

Hollywood mogul David Geffen touched a raw nerve with Hillary Clinton when he told New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd that “everybody in politics lies, but they [the Clintons] do it with such ease, it’s troubling.”

The Clintons’ trouble with truth, however, is not just the petty political lying nor is it their quibbling over what “is is” or what “mistake” means. It’s that they have never shown any real reverence for the truth. Too often, they see it as something to be traded away for a transitory tactical advantage.

If a future historian is ever to understand what happened to the United States in this era – how the world’s greatest power so disastrously lost its way – that scholar should look back to the first Clinton-Bush transition in 1992-93, when Bill Clinton could have grasped a unique historical moment but didn’t.

Clinton was the first U.S. President to take office after the end of the Cold War. He could have ordered a long-needed historical review of what nine U.S. presidents had done, often behind opaque cloaks of government secrecy.

This review also could have assessed what damage those decades of secrecy, propaganda and deception had done to the core values of the American Republic. By revealing the truth, both the good and the bad, Clinton could have helped restore vibrancy to the democratic process by giving the voters the means to again be an informed electorate.

Yet, even if Clinton didn’t want to spend the political capital that creation of a grand truth commission might have required, he still could have cooperated with three key investigations that were underway at the end of 1992.

Special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh was still battling the cover-up that had surrounded the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s; Democratic congressmen were digging into the “Iraqgate” scandal, the covert supplying of dangerous weapons to Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in the 1980s; and a House task force was suddenly inundated with evidence pointing to Republican guilt in the “October Surprise” case, alleged interference by the Reagan-Bush campaign in 1980 to undermine President Jimmy Carter’s efforts to free 52 American hostages then held in Iran.
Combined, those three investigations could have rewritten the history of the 1980s, exposing serious wrongdoing by Republicans who had held the White House for a dozen years. The full story also would likely have terminated the presidential ambitions of the powerful Bush family, since George H.W. Bush was implicated in all three scandals.

After winning in November 1992, however, Bill Clinton and the leaders of the Democratic majorities in Congress didn’t care enough about the truth to fight for it. Heeding advice from influential fixers like Vernon Jordan, Clinton and the congressional Democrats turned their backs on those investigations.

Easy Exit

Clinton agreed to let George H.W. Bush retreat gracefully into retirement despite Bush’s brazen attempt to destroy Walsh’s criminal investigation by issuing six pardons to Iran-Contra defendants on Christmas Eve 1992.

In his 2004 memoirs, My Life, Clinton wrote that he “disagreed with the pardons and could have made more of them but didn’t.” Clinton cited several reasons for giving his predecessor a pass.

“I wanted the country to be more united, not more divided, even if that split would be to my political advantage,” Clinton wrote. “Finally, President Bush had given decades of service to our country, and I thought we should allow him to retire in peace, leaving the matter between him and his conscience.”

By his choice of words, Clinton revealed how he saw information – not something that belonged to the American people and that had intrinsic value to the democratic process – but as a potential weapon that could be put to “political advantage.”

On the Iran-Contra pardons, Clinton saw himself as magnanimously passing up this club that he could have wielded to bludgeon an adversary. He chose instead to join in a cover-up in the name of national unity, presumably with the hope of some reciprocity from the Republicans when his own secrets might need sweeping under the rug.

Similarly, the Democratic congressional leadership ignored the flood of incriminating evidence pouring into the “October Surprise” task force in December 1992.

Chief counsel Lawrence Barcella urged task force chairman Lee Hamilton to extend the investigation several months to examine this new evidence of Republican guilt, but Hamilton ordered Barcella simply to wrap the probe up.

Some of that evidence – including an unprecedented report from the Russian government about its knowledge of illicit Republican contacts with Iran – was simply hidden away in boxes that I discovered two years later and dubbed “The October Surprise X-Files.”

The “Iraqgate” investigation met a similar fate under the Clinton administration, as evidence of covert shipments of dangerous war materiel to Saddam Hussein in the 1980s was ignored or treated with disdain.

When former Reagan administration official Howard Teicher came forward with an affidavit describing secret U.S.-backed arms shipments to Iraq, Clinton officials went on the offensive – against Teicher, bullying him into silence.

Clinton seemed so determined to prove his mettle to the insider crowd in Washington, as a guy who knew how to keep the secrets, that his cover-ups of Reagan-Bush-era misdeeds were almost as aggressive as those mounted by the Republicans when they held the White House. [For details, see Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege.]

No Radar

Early in Clinton’s presidency, I approached then-deputy White House chief of staff John Podesta and other senior officials to ask about their plans for pursuing important historical investigations that had been left undone in 1993. I was told those issues simply weren’t “on the radar scopes.”

However, if Clinton thought that his collaboration in keeping the Reagan-Bush secrets from the American people would earn him a measure of protection from Republicans, he was mistaken.
Freed from having to defend Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, right-wing media outlets went on the attack against Clinton, seizing on petty issues like his Whitewater real estate deal and launching endless investigations designed to cripple his presidency.

Only during his second term did Clinton agree to declassify limited quantities of Cold War records, such as those pertaining to the brutal U.S.-supported counterinsurgency campaigns in Guatemala. A Guatemalan truth commission had requested the documents, which revealed U.S. complicity in genocide against Mayan Indians in the 1980s.

But Bill Clinton never ordered a major declassification project, nor did he establish any U.S. truth commissions to put the Cold War history in a meaningful context. To Clinton, truth never seemed to be a high priority, either in his private life or in his public duties.

Ironically, Bill Clinton’s protection of the Reagan-Bush administrations didn’t protect him. Clinton saw his prized domestic agenda, including Hillary Clinton’s health care reform, defeated; his party lose control of Congress in 1994; the House vote to impeach him; and his Vice President, Al Gore, have the 2000 election stolen from him.

Then, once the Bush family again controlled the White House, one of the first acts of the new President, George W. Bush, was to sign an executive order ensuring that Reagan-Bush-era historical records, scheduled for release in 2001, stayed locked up, possibly forever.

Based on this pattern of events, it could be said that Republicans value the power of information – even as they work to hide or distort it – while Democrats may say they appreciate reality but then act as if truth were a mere chip to be bargained cheaply away.

David Geffen may not have had Bill Clinton's sacrifice of historical truth in mind when he chastised the Clintons for their ease with political lying. The direct context of his remark was President Clinton’s decision before leaving office in 2001 to forego a pardon for American Indian activist Leonard Peltier while granting one to international businessman Marc Rich.

“Marc Rich getting pardoned? An oil-profiteer expatriate who left the country rather than pay taxes or face justice?” Geffen fumed in his interview with Maureen Dowd. “Yet another time when the Clintons were unwilling to stand for the things that they genuinely believe in.

Everybody in politics lies, but they do it with such ease, it’s troubling.” [NYT, Feb. 21, 2007]

While Geffen's remark may have been harsh, it does appear to be the case that the Clintons value truth only to the degree that it doesn’t require them to show political courage.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at It's also available at, as is his 1999 book, Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth.'
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....and the truth shall set us free.

U.S. Mistakes in Mideast?

Sometimes I wonder about those "mistakes." Can one person, let alone a whole Executive branch full of people, really be this stupid?

Is it posssible that everyone in the administration reached the profound effects of the "Peter Principle" all at once.

Is something a mistake, when the person making said mistake is getting filthy rich off it, as are a whole bunch of his friends and family?


Who decides what success means? Certainly not the soldiers or their commanders, contrary to what we have been told for 4 years. Certainly not the people of Iraq or America. Apparently, not the Congress of the U.S. either.

by the Chicago Sun-Times

US Keeps Making Mistakes in Mideast

by Andrew Greeley

The collapse of the shah in Iran was the beginning of American troubles in the Middle East. The shah was "our guy," an absolute ruler who was secularizing the country and freeing his people from the shackles of religious superstition and obscurantism. It never occurred to our foreign policy thinkers and experts that the people of Iran wanted their obscurantism and old-fashioned religion.

The American leadership did not see the ayatollah coming and was unprepared for the defeat of the shah. Educated as they were in the great secular universities, our foreign policy gurus did not have a clue about the importance of religion in Middle Eastern countries.

The same gurus or their successors have made the same mistake again. They expected the Iraqis to welcome our appearance on the horizon, like the 7th Cavalry riding to the rescue in the old Western movies. They expected the various factions in Iraq to band together in the formation of a stable democracy that would be a beacon of hope to the Middle East. As Paul Wolfowitz, the leader of the neocons, remarked, too much was made of the difference between Sunnis and Shiites.

A few other scholars ominously predicted a civil war between these two largest religious factions. The Shiites were the majority but had been ruled for centuries by the minority Sunnis.

Indeed, the avowed followers of Ali (the Prophet's son-in-law) and his grandson never ruled in any Arab country till the arrival of the Americans in 2003, when our leaders in the name of democracy in effect turned the country over to the Shiite majority. The Sunnis, followers of Saddam Hussein, who had kept them in charge, began the insurgency against Shiite rule.

The other Arab nations, with their own internal Shiite minorities, could not help but wonder why the United States was following such a stupid and dangerous policy. The Iranians, who are Persians, not Arabs and right next door to Iraq, rejoiced. It was natural for them to ally themselves secretly with their Shiite brothers across the border. They wondered why the United States was following such a foolish policy, yet were delighted that the Americans had eliminated the two most serious threats to Iranian security: Saddam on their western side and the Taliban on their eastern side.

The great victory for American democracy was in fact a great victory for Iran. Now the president and his babbling secretary of state are shocked that Iranian power has increased, apparently unaware that American foreign policy is responsible for that increase.

The neocons are apparently gone from Washington, but there are still some of them around, still writing memos, and still influencing policy. The memos for the so-called surge came from William Kristol and Robert Kagan, lesser lights than I. Lewis Libby and Douglas Feith and Paul Wolfowitz, but still neocons.

Despite all their mistakes in understanding the importance of religion in that part of the world, the president still is apparently willing to listen to them.

Now he is doing all he can to prepare the public for a shooting war with Iran. He certainly has no illusions about the 1st Cavalry riding into Tehran to a flower-tossing welcome while statues of the ayatollah are pulled down for American television. All he needs to build up his reputation for toughness and to restore some of his popularity among the nutmeg segment of the population is to "take out" a couple of Iranian bases.

You can't believe he would be dumb enough to try that?

He was dumb enough to get us into the Big Muddy in Iraq, wasn't he?

In the meantime, Iran, noting how reasonable the United States has been in its most recent conversations with North Korea, is sending out signals that it might be nice to sit and talk. The babbler-in-chief keeps telling us that the Iranians know what they have to do.

That's what passes for foreign policy in Washington these days. Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent protest against American unilateralism -- albeit a case of the pot calling the kettle black -- seems eminently reasonable.

....and the truth shall set us free.

Cheney Hasn't Been Right About A Damn Thing.....

The man still thinks there was a tie between Al Qaeda and Saddam, fer chrissakes. He's toons!

He believes there have been enormous successes in Iraq, or so he says.

Maybe he is looking at his own portfolio when he says that or maybe he is just delusional as hell.

Either way, he needs to be gone; to Leavenworth.....or.... hey, maybe Gitmo.

Gitmo should be emptied of all curent prisoners, since they are either inoccent of any wrong-doing or are so mentally unhinged from psychological torture that they don't know where the hell they are anyhow.

That lovely piece of Real Estate, haunted forever by the the evil of the unspeakable acts that have no doubt been committed there, can serve as the world's prison for wayward, criminal leaders, like Bush, Cheney, Rummy......

by The Nation

Cheney's New Front in War on Reality

by John Nichols

When the Bush administration was asking in 2002 for Congressional approval of a resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq, Vice President Cheney told the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars that Saddam Hussein had "resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons." He then claimed that, "Armed with an arsenal of these weapons of terror, and seated atop 10 percent of the world's oil reserves, Saddam Hussein could then be expected to seek domination of the entire Middle East, take control of the world's energy supplies, directly threaten American friends throughout the region, and subject the United States or any other nation to nuclear blackmail."

As it turned out, Cheney was proven wrong.

Several months later, just prior to the launch of the war he had conjured, the vice president appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" and said of Saddam Hussein, "We know he has reconstituted these (chemical weapons) programs. We know he's out trying once again to produce nuclear weapons, and we know that he has a long-standing relationship with various terrorist groups, including the al-Qaeda organization."

As it turned out, Cheney was proven wrong.

During his "Meet the Press" appearance on the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the vice president announced that, "We will be greeted as liberators."

As it turned out, Cheney was proven wrong.

Now, the vice president says of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's support for moves to extract U.S. troops from the quagmire that is Iraq: if we adopt the Pelosi policy, that then we will validate the strategy of al-Qaeda.``

It is only a matter of time until Cheney is proven wrong again.

Indeed, as former President Jimmy Carter said during the taping of an appearance on ABC's This Week program, which will air Sunday, "If you go back and see what Vice President Cheney has said for the last three or four years concerning Iraq, his batting average is abysmally low. He hasn't been right on hardly anything in his prediction of what was going to happen."
When Pelosi challenged the vice president's over-the-top rhetoric this week, Cheney shot back,

"She accused me of questioning her patriotism. I didn't question her patriotism. I questioned her judgment."

Remarkable as it may be for Cheney, at this point in his tenure, to raise the issue of judgment, he has in so doing provided an appropriate opening for a discussion of his own tenuous ties to reality.

Were Cheney a run-of-the-mill vice president, his inability to identify the line between fact and fantasy – or is it: truth and fiction – would be the stuff of comedy sketches. But, of course, Cheney is no ordinary second in command. Indeed, when it comes to foreign policy, he has for six years now been the real "decider." Only the most delusional observer of Washington fails to recognize that the Bush White House does what it does "because," as former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill explained, "this is the way that Dick likes it."

So as the vice president, with his attacks on Pelosi, launches a new front in his war on reality, isn't it time to talk ask whether American can survive another two years of his misrule. Or, to be more precise: Hasn't he earned the sanction proposed by the bumper stickers that read:

"Impeach Cheney First"?

John Nichols, The Nation's Washington correspondent, has covered progressive politics and activism in the United States and abroad for more than a decade. He is currently the editor of the editorial page of Madison, Wisconsin's Capital Times. Nichols is the author of two books: It's the Media, Stupid and Jews for Buchanan.

....and the truth shall set us free.

American Redemption Depends On Impeachment

....and prison, we might add.

These people, the Bushites, cannot be allowed to walk away from this mess. It is that damn simple.

the Capital Times (Madison, WI)

US Redemption Mandates Impeachment of Bush

by Mike Konopacki/Kathy Wilkes

The war in Iraq gets worse every day. Americans want to end it, but how? Cut and run? Partition the country? Bring in the U.N.?

We've heard the politicians' spin, but it seems that's all they do. And as they spin and bob and weave and cover their political behinds, people continue to suffer and die.

We sent politicians a message in the 2006 election. We have their attention. Now is the time for us - as citizens, as voters - to capitalize on our clout and tell them what they must do: impeach, convict, imprison. It's the only way we can begin to end the war.

Unless the Bush regime is stopped, Iraq will get even worse. We might also end up in a deadly conflict with Iran. Bush & Co. have already deployed the same scare tactics they used to launch their illegal war against Iraq. Yes, illegal. It's not a "mistake" or "blunder." It's a crime, a violation of U.S. and international laws. No one's being prosecuted for it. It can happen again.
President Bush said he takes "responsibility" for "mistakes" in Iraq. So what? No one's holding him accountable; he can go on and make more "mistakes." Illegal war, warrantless wiretaps, "extraordinary rendition," torture - all illegal, all unpunished. Bush et al. are literally getting away with murder. It's the perfect crime.

A recent poll shows that 71 percent of Iraqis want foreign troops out of their country. "They told us they would bring democracy, life would be better than it was under Saddam," one said during a fiery street battle, "but they brought us nothing but death and killing. They brought mass destruction to Baghdad."

Death, destruction, opposition - none of it matters to the Bushies. When asked what would happen if the Senate passed a resolution against Bush's "troop surge" (i.e. war escalation), Vice President Dick Cheney said, "It won't stop us." What will?

Impeach, convict, imprison. It's harsh; it has to be. We must demonstrate that we take responsibility for what our government did and are willing to punish the government for doing it. We must deter future governments from more illegal wars. Think about it: If Richard Nixon had been imprisoned for war crimes instead of just resigning over Watergate, would we be in this quagmire now?

The Bush regime has severely damaged America's reputation. The world no longer sees America as a defender of human rights, a bastion of freedom; no longer the victim of terrorism, it is the architect of it.

Our government

- in our name - has lied us into war, tortured innocent people, created chaos and new generations of insurgents and terrorists, and destroyed a sovereign nation of 24 million people. Iraq's civil society and infrastructure are decimated. Unemployment is over 50 percent. Less than 30 percent of Iraqi students can go to school. Most of Iraq's middle class, professionals and their families have fled, leaving behind the poorest of the poor. Fear and violence rule their daily lives.

The U.N. estimates that 34,000 Iraqis died in 2006. Iraq Body Count calculates up to 60,000 dead since the war began. In short, Iraq has suffered 20 9/11s. Thousands of Iraqis have been executed for a crime they didn't commit.

Stephen Kinzer's book, "Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq," observes that the U.S. invasion of Iraq "was the culmination of a 110-year period during which Americans overthrew 14 governments that displeased them for various ideological, political and economic reasons. ... Most of these adventures have brought them, and the nations whose histories they sought to change, far more pain than liberation."

And disgrace to Americans.

In 1902, William H. Walker's cartoon about hypocrisy during the Philippine-American War showed Americans torturing a Filipino as five European empires stood behind. The caption: "Chorus in Background: Those Pious Yankees Can't Throw Stones at Us Anymore."

The end to war - and our disgrace - requires that we first redeem ourselves in the eyes of the world. We must lead our leaders and demand that they stop America's century-old rampage of empire. We must prove that we honor the right of all people to live in peace. And we must, at first and at least, prosecute the Bush regime for its crimes. If we don't, we are no less than accomplices. If we don't, we are no more than "Pious Yankees."

Mike Konopacki is a freelance labor cartoonist. Kathy Wilkes is a retired editor. Both live in Madison.

....and the truth shall set us free.

Justice Stalling Conyers on U.S. Attorney Firings

Could be they'e been caught, again, at something illegal.

So, delay, delay, stall stall....until we are all dead and in our graves.

Conyers: Justice Stonewalling on U.S. Attorney Report

By Paul Kiel - February 22, 2007, 5:51 PM

The Justice Department has "refused to cooperate" with a congressional analysis of whether the administration's recent firing of U.S. attorneys is unprecedented, according to House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI).

Conyers and Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) requested the analysis from the Congressional Research Service to see whether prior administrations had done anything like fire seven United States attorneys abruptly and without stated justification as the administration did in December.

But because "the Administration has refused to cooperate with CRS in their examination," Conyers office says in a press release, the CRS analysis is incomplete. Nevertheless, CRS issued an interim analysis to Conyers and Sanchez, which you can read here.

In the report, the analyst writes that despite contacting the DoJ for information needed to perform his study a month ago, he's still waiting:

In order to determine how many U.S. attorneys had served less than four years with tenure uninterrupted by a change in presidential administration, CRS began by contacting the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA), which serves as the liaison between U.S. attorneys and the Department of Justice. CRS first contacted the EOUSA January 24, 2007, to seek records on the appointment and termination dates for U.S. attorneys. As of February 20, 2007, EOUSA had not provided the requested data.

The analyst doesn't say explicitly in his report that the Justice Department has refused to cooperate, and efforts to reach him were unsuccessful. I also placed a call to the Justice Department, to see if there's an explanation for the delay, but my call was not immediately returned.

The initial results of the analysis, which, again, is incomplete, show that since 1981 only three U.S. attorneys were dismissed without apparent cause during the first four years of their terms, making the administration's recent purge unprecedented.

....and the truth shall set us free.

Press Failing, Again.

Springfield News-Leader (MIssouri)

Press Failing, Says Critic.
Acclaimed media expert addresses Drury audience
by Steve Koehler

A national media critic said Thursday that talk of the Bush administration facing war-crime charges is being avoided because the national media "licks the boots of those in power in Washington."

Norman Solomon, author of "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death," spoke at Drury University on Thursday as part of the university's yearlong convocation titled "Liberty & Security in a Post-911 World."

Solomon, a media critic for the watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, gave a soft-spoken but blistering 50-minute analysis of the national media's role in the runup to the Iraq war four years ago and of its reporting since.

"There was deception and activities (by President Bush and Vice President Cheney) led up to the war. The media ... is afraid of looking at the elephant in the living room. Are they guilty of war crimes?" he asked an audience of about 100 students, faculty and the public.

"The news media should be part of the discourse and encourage us to think, not shut it down."
Solomon contends the news in the months leading up to the war was spun "by those who wanted to go to war."

And the media, he said, "functioned as stenographers" by putting out information the government wanted to public to know.

Solomon said in the years since the war started, disclosure of unclassified documents showed that Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction. He said everyone from the president to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell misled the public about the credibility of the information and evidence they had to prove their reasons for going to war with Iraq.

"The news media was part of perpetuating the illusion of war," he said.

Solomon is concerned that the national media's attention continues to be distracted from the war by other, less important events.

"It helps explain why there was so much about Anna Nicole Smith's body on cable news today and so little about the eighth helicopter in the last month falling from the sky in Iraq," he said.

"News matters when it can make a difference."

Brenda Nolard, a freshman from Mexico, said she learns more about Iraq from reading international news Web sites.

"I grew up in Mexico. (Solomon's) very accurate," said Nolard, who has a cousin who served several tours in Iraq. "I get more information in Mexico about Iraq than I do here. In my high school, they questioned things more."

Jessica Langston, another freshman from Arkansas, bought Solomon's book in the foyer of Clara Thompson Hall where Solomon gave his talk.

"I liked it a lot. It was very informative," she said, adding that she's wary when it comes to reading and watching the news.

"I don't know who to trust anymore. I watch a little of everything."

Before his speech, Solomon said that Bush's credibility was shot with the deceptions that led up to the Iraq war and that now Bush is having trouble convincing the public and the rest of the world that Iran is aiding terrorists in Iraq.

"The Texas boy has been caught crying wolf. What goes around, comes around," he said.
When Solomon asked the audience who knew of someone in Iraq, more than half raised their hand.

One of those was Rebecca Denton, an education professor at Drury whose brother is serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq.

"He thinks like I do," Denton said of Solomon. "It was something good for me to hear. We are used to being spun."

Solomon said that the press "vilifies anyone who wants to bring the troops home."
But in order to change things, Solomon said: "It's up to us as to what we do about it."

© 2007 Springfield News-Leader.

....and the truth shall set us free.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Hillary Doesn't Have A Leg To Stand on

Clinton's Iraq Vote Haunts Her on Campaign Trail

Reuters Thursday 22 February 2007

Washington - It is the vote that will not die, no matter how often Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton explains, defends or takes responsibility for her 2002 decision to back the use of military force in Iraq.

And whether it turns out to be a short footnote or a dead weight on Clinton's White House campaign could be the biggest question in the 2008 Democratic presidential race.

Despite pressure from anti-war Democrats, Clinton has refused to apologize for her U.S. Senate vote authorizing the use of force in Iraq or call it a mistake. The mistakes, she says, were committed by President George W. Bush.

She tells campaign crowds she would not have cast the vote if she knew then what she knows now. She says she meant to authorize the return of U.N. inspectors to Iraq rather than the launch of pre-emptive war.

But while the New York senator and former first lady has become a strong critic of the war and promises to end it if elected, she cannot shake questions about the vote or put the issue behind her.

It flared again on Wednesday, when Hollywood mogul David Geffen criticized her refusal to call the vote a mistake and Democratic rival John Edwards drew a comparison with Bush's reluctance to admit mistakes in Iraq.

For Clinton's front-running campaign for the Democratic nomination, the biggest unknown is whether voters ultimately question her judgment or credit her resolve. Is it a classic political calculation or a gutsy stand?

Clinton aides and supporters say the issue is overblown and most voters are looking ahead. But some party strategists say the longer the issue lingers, the more it hurts her.

"The left in our party is not going to give her a pass until she says it was a mistake," Democratic consultant Dane Strother said.

"If she'll just say that, people will hear her say other things as well. But right now no one hears anything other than she won't say her vote was a mistake," he said, adding Clinton's stance plays into her image as a politician who can at times be too calculating.

"We Want Emotion"

"We don't want calculated on this issue, we want emotion because we are emotional about it," Strother said of Democrats.

Doug Schoen, a White House pollster for former President Bill Clinton, said she had nothing to apologize for given the faulty intelligence offered by the White House before the Iraq invasion.

"You don't apologize when you have been given what appears to be deliberately rigged intelligence," Schoen said, adding poll numbers for Clinton, who leads the Democratic field in national surveys, show no sign of erosion over the issue.

"There is a small cadre of activists who probably weren't with her initially who want her to apologize. That is a narrow segment of the Democratic Party, it certainly is not broadly representative of the national electorate," Schoen said.

The other Democratic White House hopefuls who voted for the Senate authorization - Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina, and Sens. Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Joseph Biden of Delaware - have called the vote a mistake.

At a Wednesday forum in Nevada and again in a television interview on Thursday, Edwards said Clinton's stance raised questions about her judgment and prompted comparisons to Bush.

"We've had six-plus years of a president who never acknowledges a mistake unfortunately, and there's been huge negative consequences from that," Edwards said on NBC's "Today" show.

"The real question is, if we make a mistake, do we have a good sense and the judgment and the honesty to admit it and to acknowledge what's happened and to change course," he said.

Clinton's other top-tier rival, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, was an early opponent of the war but was not in the Senate at the time of the vote.

Clinton said she would rather lose the support of Democrats concerned about her vote than adopt an approach she is not comfortable with.

"If the most important thing to any of you is choosing someone who did not cast that vote or said his vote was a mistake, then there are others to choose from. But for me, the most important thing now is trying to end this war," she said last weekend in New Hampshire.

Gore and the BFEE

Feb. 5, 2007 -- This editor discussed some troubling aspects of George W. Bush's criminal personality with Democratic Party insiders at this past week's Democratic National Committee Winter meeting in Washington, DC.

The subject was Bush's conversations with Vice President Al Gore on election night in 2000. It will be recalled that when Florida was declared for Bush after having been declared for Gore, the Vice President, who was at his Nashville, Tennessee campaign headquarters, phoned Bush at his hotel venue in Houston and conceded. Just prior to Gore making a public concession, the returns showed Florida as being too close to call -- a mere 600 votes separated Bush and Gore in Florida -- and Gore phoned Bush back. Bush responded to Gore, "Let me make sure if I understand.

You're calling me back to retract your concession?"

Reports at the time stated that Bush was "not happy" to receive Gore's phone call. However, according to Democratic Party sources who were were with Gore in Nashville and could hear Bush on the phone, the conversation became menacing towards Gore and his family. In what amounted to a tantrum, Bush reportedly called Gore a "son of a bitch," spoke about the presidency as being part of Bush's "legacy," and made veiled threats against Gore and his family. Bush victory celebrations were already underway at the Houston hotel and at the Governor's Mansion in Austin at the time the phone calls were made.

Did Bush threaten Gore in 2000? If so, Bush committed a felony.

Section 871 of the U.S. Code prohibits knowing and willful threats to kill, kidnap, or inflict bodily harm against successors to the president, including the Vice President. Section 879 of Title 18 U.S. Code prohibits knowing and willful threats to kill, kidnap, or inflict bodily harm against categories of persons who are protected by the United States Secret Service, including members of the immediate family of the Vice President.

From press reports, it was revealed that Gore responded to Bush by stating, "You don't have to to get snippy about it . . . Let me explain something, your brother [Jeb Bush, the Florida Governor] is not the ultimate authority on this."

A Gannett reporter who was at the Houston campaign headquarters told this editor that there was definitely an aura in the suite where the Bush family was gathered that the "fix" was in and nothing could be done to prevent a Bush victory. However, if Bush, in any way, threatened the safety of the Vice President and/or his family, that would constitute a federal crime.

Gore surprised a number of election observers in 2004 when he told Lesley Stahl on CBS's 60 Minutes that he decided not to run for the office many felt was robbed from him in 2000:

Stahl: "You know, you’ve been all over television, all over the newspapers for this last week. You’ve given back-to-back interviews. You’ve answered virtually every question except one (laughs) and that is, are you or are you not gonna run in 2004? Are you gonna run?"

Gore: "Well, I’ve decided not to run. And I--"

Stahl: "You’ve decided not to run?"

Gore: "I’ve decided that I will not be a candidate for president in 2004 ... And I found that I’ve come to closure on this. I don’t think it’s the right thing for me to be a candidate in 2004."

Stahl: "The ambition to be the commander in chief, the ambition to sit in the Oval Office, that’s gone?"

Gore: "Well, I personally have the energy and the drive and the ambition-- to make another campaign. But I don’t think it’s the right thing for me to do. I-- I think that a campaign that would be a rematch between myself and President Bush would inevitably involve a focus on the past that would in some measure distract from the focus on the future that I think all campaigns have to be about."

Stahl: "You say you had the ambition. You still have it even you said. Still have the dream?"

Gore: "Well, you know never say never. But I-- I-- I make this decision in the full knowledge and-- and awareness that-- if I don't run this time, which I'm not gonna run (CHUCKLES) in 2004, that-- that's probably the last opportunity I'll ever have to run for President. Don't know that for sure, but probably it is."

Stahl: "You think you could beat the President?"

Gore: "Look, I think I could."

Stahl: I'm still trying to understand why you're not gonna run.

Gore: "The last campaign was an extremely difficult one. And while I have the energy and drive to go out there and do it again, I think that there are a lot of people within the Democratic Party who felt exhausted by that. Who felt like, okay, I don't wanna go through that again. And I'm frankly sensitive to that-- to that feeling."

Stahl: "Now I've heard you say a couple of times, 'this time.' You said, 'I'm not gonna be a candidate this time.' What about 2008?"

Gore: "Well, I've also said that I-- I make this decision in-- in the full awareness that it probably means that I will never have another opportunity to run for President. Now I'm not-- I'm not-- planning on some-- some future race."

At the time of Gore's 60 Minutes interview, in which he ruled out a presidential run in 2004 and 2008, many Washington observers commented that Gore seemed frightened of running -- and not because he was afraid of losing. If Mr. Bush and his crime family in any way threatened Gore or his family, it is one more reason why this dangerous sociopath and his political operatives within the administration should be immediately removed from office by the Democratic Congress.

....and the truth shall set us free.

Patrick Leahy on Iraq

The War in Iraq

Remarks Of US Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

t r u t h o u t Statement

Thursday 15 February 2007

Mr. President, a week ago the distinguished Majority Leader tried every which way to provide the Senate with an opportunity to debate a bipartisan resolution on Iraq. That effort failed because it was blocked by some in the Minority party, who insisted on a separate vote that was nothing more than a political ploy. Instead of a debate on the President's policy, they wanted the debate to be about who "supports" the troops.

As has so often been the case when anyone has asked a question, expressed reservations, or outright opposed the President's failed policy in Iraq, his defenders accuse his detractor of not being patriotic or of not supporting the troops.

As one who for years has fought for veterans benefits, for fair treatment for the National Guard, for armor for our troops who were sent into battle unprepared, and for replacing the depleted stocks of essential equipment that our troops need and depend on, the absurd accusation that it is unpatriotic to disagree with a policy that has resulted in the deaths of thousands of American soldiers and created a terrorist haven in a country that before posed no threat to the United States, has worn thin.

It reminds me of my days as a prosecutor. When a defendant was caught red-handed, the predictable response was to attack the accuser. That is what has been going on here since President Bush, Vice President Cheney and former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, ignoring all advice to the contrary, led us into this costly fiasco. These flawed policies have thrust our troops into the maw of a bloody civil war. Our troops are not responsible for the mistaken policies they have been asked to implement. Policymakers in Washington are responsible for that. And only decision makers in Washington can change those policies.

The polls show unmistakably that a majority of the American people wants the Congress to debate and vote on the President's policy in Iraq. They know that Iraq is the key issue of today, they see that it is a widening civil war, and they want their sons and daughters out of there, in as sensible a timeframe and as sensible a plan as we can muster. It is that simple, and that is what we should be debating.

The costs of this misadventure have not just been onerous; they have been catastrophic. More than 3,000 Americans killed, and more than 20,000 wounded. Tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis have lost their lives. In material terms we are fast approaching the one trillion dollar mark, throwing money out the door at a rate of more than $2 billion per week to fund this war. Our international reputation and the influence it brings, including among our allies, has been badly tarnished and diminished.

Where are we in Iraq? We are in the midst of a civil war among religious and ethnic factions, an insurgency that shows no sign of diminishing, and out-of-control organized crime. It is hard to say that we have made any real progress toward the larger objectives of bringing democracy to Iraq or the Middle East. It is time we face the grim reality, and it is time we deal with it. Our soldiers' lives are in the balance.

I made a brief statement on Tuesday about an column in last Sunday's Washington Post by retired Lieutenant General William Odom. General Odom has one of the most distinguished military intelligence careers, and he continues to provide powerful insights on national security. In his piece entitled "Victory in Not an Option," he outlines how this Administration's entire policy on Iraq, including the so-called surge strategy, is based on a self-defeating inability to face reality.

The reality, according to the general, is that we are not going to make Iraq a democracy and that the longer we stay, the more likely Iraq will be anti-American at the end of our intervention.

Our invasion made civil war and increased Iranian involvement in Iraq inevitable, and no amount of military force - especially after so many errors of judgment - will prevent those outcomes.

Meanwhile, our presence is only stoking al Qaeda's involvement in Iraq. The reality is that supporting our troops does not mean keeping them there to carry out a failed strategy. It means pursuing a course that protects the country's interests and prevents more Americans from dying in pursuit of an ill-defined, open-ended strategy that cannot succeed.

General Odom knows that we need to begin an orderly withdrawal from Iraq. He argues that we should join with other countries in the region - those whose input this Administration has often ignored - and seek to stabilize the region through sustained, high level diplomacy.

These views are in line with those of some our senior military officers, other national security experts, many of us in Congress, and a majority of the American people.

Yet look at what the Administration and it defenders in the Minority party offer instead. We get filibusters that stymie a debate on our Iraq policy. We get the same old rhetoric about not supporting the troops. And we get a bill from the President for another $100 billion to send 20,000 more troops and continue the war.

If the President cannot face the reality that even members of his own party increasingly have come to accept, then it is our responsibility, our patriotic duty, our moral duty, to act. A non-binding resolution that sends a clear message in opposition to an escalation of troops is better than years of the silence of a rubberstamp Congress. But we know the President will ignore it; he has already said so. It is only a first step.

I support binding legislation by Senator Obama and Senator Feingold to begin a phased redeployment of our troops out of Iraq. It is not our role to choose sides in a civil war. It is not our troops' role to die trying to force these warring factions to settle their age-old differences.

We need to continue to fight the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan. We need to deploy sufficient forces and intelligence assets to track down international terrorists around the world. We need to do a lot better job of policing our borders without denying entry to innocent people who are fleeing persecution.

General Odom is right. Keeping our troops in Iraq is not making us safer. We should begin bringing our troops home. Congress has it in its power to force the President to change course. That is what the American people want, and that is what we should be debating.

....and the truth shall set us free.

Bush and Al Qaeda

Bush and Al Qaeda - International Herald Tribune:

Recent descriptions by intelligence officials of Al Qaeda's renewed control of terrorist networks and training camps in the tribal areas of Pakistan contrast with previous administration depictions of isolated leaders reduced to acting as little more than a source of ideological inspiration. The new picture seems to belie the triumphalist tone of President George W. Bush, who said a few days before last November's congressional elections, 'Al Qaeda is on the run.'

Which is it, then, a hounded, faltering Al Qaeda or an enemy that has regrouped and become a greater threat than ever? The answer is crucial not only for national security but for America's open society.

An obvious part of the answer is that Bush has played politics with the Qaeda threat. When it suits his needs, he inflates the stateless band of Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri into an existential threat. At other times, Bush boasts about routing bin Laden, passing over in silence his administration's failure to send enough U.S. forces to capture him the caves of Tora Bora five years ago.

National Guard May Undertake Iraq Duty Early

Here comes Iran!

National Guard May Undertake Iraq Duty Early - New York Times: "WASHINGTON, Feb. 21 — The Pentagon is planning to send more than 14,000 National Guard troops back to Iraq next year, shortening their time between deployments to meet the demands of President Bush’s buildup, Defense Department officials said Wednesday."

Peter Phillips: Impeachment Is Not Off the Table | BuzzFlash

We have said, "ENOUGH."

Someone had better start listening before none of them have jobs, and are in desperate search of flack vests!

Peter Phillips: Impeachment Is Not Off the Table | BuzzFlash:

Nancy Pelosi declared on national television 'impeachment is off the table.' Impeachment, it seems, is too divisive for a 2008-oriented Democratic Party leadership and will interfere with the business of Congress over the next two years.

The Democrats seem to be giving a pardon to Bush and Cheney without even having a trial. Impeachment is the people's option to end corrupt government. According to the Lancet Medical Journal 650,000 civilians have died in Iraq since the start of the US invasion. US aerial bombing in civilian neighborhoods have caused over a third of these deaths including whole families-children, grandparents, moms and dads.

We now know that Bush and Cheney lied about the weapons of mass destruction. According to the Downing Street Memos from July 2002, 'Military action was [in order to justify the invasion of Iraq] seen as inevitable ... justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD ... the intelligence facts were ... fixed around the policy.' Bush and Cheney misled the American people, frauded Congress, violated their constitutional oaths of office. Impeachment has never been more warranted. Yet the Democrats say it is off the table, and can only muster a mild non-binding rebuke in the House as the surge goes on. How many more thousands of people must die before Americans say 'enough'?

Study: Bush's U.S. Attorney Firings "Unprecedented"

We are being set up for a major crackdown on dissent!

Study: Bush's U.S. Attorney Firings "Unprecedented" | BuzzFlash:

President Bush recently fired seven U.S. Attorneys for political reasons and replaced them with members of his 'inner circle.'

Today, a new report concludes that Bush's actions were completely unprecedented. The study was conducted by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) and released by House Judiciary Chairman Rep. John Conyers and Subcommittee Chairwoman Rep. Linda Sánchez.

The CRS found that of the 486 U.S. Attorneys confirmed in a president's initial term since 1981, 54 left voluntarily before completing a full four-year term. Of those, no more than three had been forced out under circumstances similar to the current situation.

The examination is ongoing because the Bush Administration has refused to cooperate with the CRS' investigation. 'I intend to do everything within my power to obtain the necessary information and get to the bottom of this growing scandal,' Conyers said.

WAR! Good God Yall, What Is It Good for.....

....absolutely nothin', say it again, now.

Political Cortex: Brain Food for the Body Politic:

Waging Peace, Part 2: Morons and Oxymorons

By ddjango
02/14/2007 03:59:13 PM EST

There are many causes I would die for. There is not a single cause I would kill for . . .

I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent . . .

Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary. -- Mohandas Ghandi

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. --
Dwight Eisenhower

War does not end strife - it sows it. War does not end hatred - it feeds it. For those who argue war is a necessary evil, I say you are half right.

War is evil (where strife, there every evil work: Bible, James 3:16).

But it is not necessary. War cannot be a necessary evil, because non-violence is a necessary good. The two cannot co-exist. -- Congressman John Lewis

CIA: Dictatorial Abuse

Political Cortex: Brain Food for the Body Politic:

A Study of CIA Dictatorial Abuse

By Bill Hare


One night last week, when I felt like watching a movie, I opted for a film I had not seen for quite some time starring two performers I genuinely admire, Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway. I was interested in the theme of CIA intrigue what with so much focus on that concern today in a violent world where that agency has left so many hand and footprints.

The spy adventure film 'Three Days of the Condor' was released in 1975. The movie was made during the Watergate period about the time that Richard M. Nixon became the first American president to resign his office.

This was a turbulent period of uncertainty when the American government and the commercial sector were in a panic over our access to oil. President Gerald Ford, mindful of the power of the Oil Producing Export Countries, announced that in the future we might take oil by force if it should be denied to America.

The Watergate Scandal ultimately undid Nixon. That story was also brilliantly depicted by Hollywood with 'All the President's Men.' That film also starred Redford with fellow progressive Dustin Hoffman.

There's More..." ^

Countering the Fraudulent Religious Right

Now is the Time!

Political Cortex: Brain Food for the Body Politic:

Countering the Religious Right and Reenergizing the Religious Left in Cambridge, MA

By Frederick Clarkson


* Teach Peace The World Peace Village is just one of the many kits, books, games, curriculum, DVD's, music and posters available from Reach And Teach, the peace and social justice learning company.

This weekend, a small event at a big church in Cambridge, Massachusetts may be remembered as a turning point in the struggle with the religious right -- and in the reinvention of the once-dynamic religious left.

For much of the 20th century, progressive religious ideas, organizations, and eventually institutions advanced major movements for social justice in the United States and around the world. Since the end of the Vietnam war, the voice and more importantly, the political and cultural influence of progressive religious communities has declined. Parallel to this, has been the rise of the well-organized religious right political and social movement, accompanied by efforts to sew dissent and division among the historic churches of mainline protestantism.

There's More... ^

Economic Inequality Is Real (Bad)

The 4th Way Is Better

Political Cortex: Economic Inequality Is Real (Bad):

By statusquobuster

02/22/2007 10:34:03 AM EST

Rising American economic inequality has received attention by Senator Jim Webb, presidential candidate John Edwards, CNN's maverick Lou Dobbs, and others. The middle class has not shared in rising national prosperity, because the nation's wealth has been siphoned off to the richest Americans. Some elites are nervous.

They have attacked what are pejoratively called 'neopopulists' - people who say the middle class is under siege.

Surprisingly, the attack and economic propaganda have come from the relatively unknown Third Way group that is associated with the Democratic Leadership Council. Why would self-proclaimed progressives and centrists put out a report that says the whole economic inequality story is bogus?

They favor continuation of the free trade globalization policies of recent Democratic and Republican administrations. They want no restraints on international trade, despite mounting U.S. trade deficits and loss of manufacturing and many professional jobs to low wage nations.

Of Third Way's 18 board members, 14 are current or former CEOs or investors, including several hedge fund managers and the co-head of global equity trading at Goldman Sachs.

A World of Confuision

From the events of 9/11 to the ever worsening state of Iraq; from global warming to the pending end of public television, the damage being done to the world at the hands of the Bush administration, or under the watchful eyes of the Bush administration is real. Does it really matter whether or not the Bush cabal is causing these problems on purpose or as a result of unwavering ideology? Does it matter whether or not they believe that their actions will result in good things for us or if they are trying to destroy us on purpose? Do we have to believe the Downing Street Memos or the mounting evidence of 9/11 complicity at this point or can we just simply stop this nightmare regardless? At this point people need to stop the madness; we can not wait for the results of “investigations”; it will be too late for all of us!

Think about it!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Carter says majority in U.S. support views in book

Carter is right-on.

A majority of Americans do agree with him.

Carter says majority in U.S. support views in book - Yahoo! News:

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Jimmy Carter defended his new book on the Middle East on Thursday against sharp criticism from Jewish groups and said a majority of U.S. citizens including many Jews supported its main proposals.

Letters he received since the publication in November of 'Palestine: Peace not Apartheid' were largely supportive and included support from many readers who described themselves as U.S. Jews, said the former president.

Jewish groups have expressed outrage at the book, arguing that its title and contents could undermine perceptions of
Israel's legitimacy.

Carter, 82, was addressing a forum at Atlanta's Emory University in which he detailed his involvement in the Middle East culminating in the Camp David Accords in 1978. He gave a robust defense of the book and responded to written questions.

'Israel will never find peace until it is willing to withdraw from its neighbor's land and to permit the Palestinians to exercise their basic human and political rights,' he said.

Neither will we, Jimmy.

Prison Growth Could Cost Billions Over the Next Five Years, Report Finds

Could it be, we have too many stupid laws, that most people have no intention of actually obeying, in the first place, unless they just want to.

It is time for this crap to stop! We could save gazillions if prisons were reserved for violent offenders and offenders who hurt children; not pot smokers.

Prison and punishment have become big business, and we all know what happens when the bottom-line feeders get involved in anything, especially when they get government contracts. It's like winning the damn lottery!

PND - News - Prison Growth Could Cost Billions Over the Next Five Years, Report Finds:

By 2011 America will have more than 1.7 million men and women in prison, costing taxpayers as much as $27.5 billion more than what is currently spent on prisons, a new report from the Public Safety Performance Project at the Pew Charitable Trusts finds.

Public Safety, Public Spending: Forecasting America's Prison Population 2007-2011 (52 pages, PDF), estimates that without policy changes by the states, one in every 178 U.S. residents will live in prison by 2011. In particular, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, and Vermont can expect to see their prison systems grow by a third or more over that period unless they change their sentencing and release practices. And barring reforms, Colorado, Nevada, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming can expect their inmate populations to increase by about 25 percent.

Prepared by the D.C.-based JFA Institute, the report estimates that new inmates will cost states an additional $15 billion for prison operations over the five-year period, while construction of new prison beds will cost as much as $12.5 billion. A significant driver of the expected prison population increase is the cumulative impact of state policy decisions such as mandatory minimum prison sentences, reduced parole grant rates, and high recidivism rates, especially among people on parole or probation.

Small Towns Bear Biggest War Death Burden

We already knew this, but it is nice to have a study that confirms common sense.

Small Towns Bear Biggest War Death Burden - News:

The Census Bureau said 56 percent of the population in 2005 lived in towns under 25,000 and in unincorporated areas, but it could not provide the number of people living only in communities of less than 25,000. The 2000 census showed 16 percent of the population lived in unincorporated rural areas.

Many of the hometowns of the war dead aren't just small, they're poor. The AP analysis found that nearly three quarters of those killed in Iraq came from towns where the per capita income was below the national average. More than half came from towns where the percentage of people living in poverty topped the national average.

Some are old factory towns like McKeesport, once home to U.S. Steel's National Tube Works, which employed 8,000 people in its heyday. Now, residents' average income is just 60 percent of the national average, and one in eight lives below the federal poverty line.

On a per capita basis, states with mostly rural populations have suffered the highest fatalities in Iraq. Vermont, South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Delaware, Montana, Louisiana and Oregon top the list, the AP found.

The New GOP Attack Machine

Oh, it's going to get a lot worse than this:

The New GOP Attack Machine -

If you suddenly start hearing a lot about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., having a “calculating nature” and “political baggage,” or being a “lifelong liberal,” it won’t be a coincidence. Similarly, get ready to see Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., strafed for his “short political timeline” (a euphemism for “rookie”), for being “arrogant and insulated” and a liberal rubberstamp. John Edwards? “New negative tone,” “running to the far left” and “hypocritical.”

The put-downs – some clever, some blunt -- are part of an attack-o-matic that the Republican National Committee is encouraging its supporters to use in preparing for their appearances on cable television and talk radio. The 69-page playbook, posted on the national party’s Web site ( on Wednesday as “Meet the Real Dem Candidates,” devotes 10 pages each to Clinton, Edwards and Obama; nine each to Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware and Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut; and seven each to New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack.

Sen. Edwards: If Iraq War Vote Was Wrong, 'Be Honest About It'

Right on, John!

Sen. Edwards: If Iraq War Vote Was Wrong, 'Be Honest About It' -

John Edwards said today that he apologized for his 2002 vote approving the invasion of Iraq because he realized about two years ago he should not have given George W. Bush the authority to wage war.

“I thought it was important, if I believed that, to take responsibility for it and take that responsibility publicly,” the Democratic presidential candidate said in a telephone interview.

Edwards, who finished fourth in the 2004 New Hampshire Democratic primary and was John Kerry’s running mate in the general election, spoke to on his way to private meetings in Knoxville, Tenn.

Lieberman Says War Vote Could Prompt Party Switch

Let him go, and take away his Committee assignments, now!

Lieberman Says War Vote Could Prompt Party Switch -

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut told the Politico on Thursday that he has no immediate plans to switch parties but suggested that Democratic opposition to funding the war in Iraq might change his mind.

Lieberman, a self-styled independent who caucuses with the Democrats, has been among the strongest supporters of the war and President Bush’s plan to send an additional 21,500 combat troops into Iraq to help quell the violence there.

'I have no desire to change parties,' Lieberman said in a telephone interview. 'If that ever happens, it is because I feel the majority of Democrats have gone in a direction that I don't feel comfortable with.'

Jeb Bush says the truth is useless; valued only by the poor.

Even after all these years of the Dark Dynasty, they are still shocking in their utterances. They open their mouths and their true colors come out like projectile vomit.

I have to wonder if their heads spin around while they spit this crap out of their mouths?

Wasn't it Poppy who once opined that the U.S. could actually win a "limited nuclear war?"

Tony Snow and White House Reporters Slam The Blogosphere //

The truth is useless. You have to understand this right now. You can't deposit the truth in a bank. You can't pay rent with the truth. You can't buy groceries with the truth. The truth is a useless commodity that will hang around your neck like an albatross-all the way to the homeless shelter. And if you think that the million or so people in this country that are really interested in the truth about their government can support people who would tell them the truth, you got another thing coming. Because the million or so people in this country that are truly interested in the truth don't have money.

Jeb Bush 1986"

Tony Snow and White House Reporters Slam The ‘Hateful,’ ‘Polarized’ Blogosphere

Did anyone believe that the establishment types like the blogosphere?

Of course, they don't.

It has become competition, on one level, in that there are some serious journalists at work in the sphere, and others are far more entertaining than anything the MSM could possibly pull off.

Tony Snow thinks the blogosphere is hateful? Damn, does he ever read Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin?

Think Progress » Tony Snow and White House Reporters Slam The ‘Hateful,’ ‘Polarized’ Blogosphere:

In a press round-table at the National Press Club tonight, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow led a discussion with White House correspondents about the impact of the internet on their respective jobs. Their conclusion? They don’t like being challenged by blogs.

NBC News’ David Gregory bemoaned how political coverage has “become so polarized in this country…because it’s the internet and the blogs that have really used this White House press conferences to somehow support positions out in America, political views.” Tony Snow admitted he sometimes reads blogs (”I’ll occasionally punch it up”) only to find “wonderful, imaginative hateful stuff that comes flying out.”

Newsweek’s White House correspondent Richard Wolffe added, “[Bloggers] want us to play a role that isn’t really our role. Our role is to ask questions and get information. … It’s not a chance for the opposition to take on the government and grill them to a point where they throw their hands up and surrender.”

Brits: Mission Unaccomplished; We are out of here!

In other words, Cheney is still delusional

The Washington Monthly:

The British military is approaching 'operational failure,' former defense staff chief Charles Guthrie warned this week.

'Because the British army is in essence fighting a far more intensive counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan, there's been a realization that there has to be some sort of transfer of resources from Iraq to Afghanistan,' said Clive Jones, a senior lecturer in Middle East politics at the University of Leeds, who has closely followed Britain's Iraq deployment.

'It's either that, or you risk in some ways losing both,' he said. 'It's the classic case of 'Let's declare victory and get out.'

As Nuclear Deadline Passes, US and Iran Trade Accusations of Bombing Involvement

We are at the most dangerous peak we have ever been, since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

This is a serious as it get, folks.

Democracy Now! | As Nuclear Deadline Passes, US and Iran Trade Accusations of Bombing Involvement:

The White House has dismissed a suggestion from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Iran would close its nuclear facilities as long as Western nations did the same. His comments came as a deadline set by the UN for Iran to freeze its uranium enrichment program expires today. Meanwhile Iran has accused the US of backing a bomb attack that killed 11 Revolutionary Guards, just one week after the US accused Iran of supplying bombs targeting US troops in Iraq. We speak with retired Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner. [includes rush transcript]

CNN POLL: Strong majority of Americans want Congress to cut off funding for Iraq escalation

A Clear Majority!

Sirotablog: CNN POLL: Strong majority of Americans want Congress to cut off funding for Iraq escalation: "CNN POLL:

Strong majority of Americans want Congress to cut off funding for Iraq escalation

I don't yet have the details or cross-tabs of the poll itself, but anchor John Roberts just said this on CNN this morning:

'Is Congress willing to cut off funding in order to end the war in Iraq? The latest CNN-Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 60 percent of Americans want Congress to block money from going to war -- President Bush's planned troop increase, the 21,500 new troops for Iraq. Thirty-eight percent are against the resolution, or at least believe that Congress should vote against the resolution.'

So now we know that the strong majority of Americans want the U.S. Congress to use its real power - not non-binding charades - to stop the escalation of the war in Iraq. We have state legislatures moving forward aggressively demanding that Congress use its real power. So the questions are simple: why is Congress refusing to even debate binding legislation? Why is the debate only about non-binding measures? And why do Democrats keep going out of their way to say they won't do anything real when it comes to funding the war, when in fact the majority of America wants them to use the power of the purse to stop the madness

Military amputee uninvited from Bush event because the press would see him with no legs


Military amputee uninvited from Bush event because the press would see him with no legs:

Perks and stardom do not come to every amputee. Sgt. David Thomas, a gunner with the Tennessee National Guard, spent his first three months at Walter Reed with no decent clothes; medics in Samarra had cut off his uniform. Heavily drugged, missing one leg and suffering from traumatic brain injury, David, 42, was finally told by a physical therapist to go to the Red Cross office, where he was given a T-shirt and sweat pants. He was awarded a Purple Heart but had no underwear.

David tangled with Walter Reed's image machine when he wanted to attend a ceremony for a fellow amputee, a Mexican national who was being granted U.S. citizenship by President Bush. A case worker quizzed him about what he would wear. It was summer, so David said shorts. The case manager said the media would be there and shorts were not advisable because the amputees would be seated in the front row..

'Are you telling me that I can't go to the ceremony 'cause I'm an amputee?' ' David recalled asking. 'She said, 'No, I'm saying you need to wear pants.' '

David told the case worker, 'I'm not ashamed of what I did, and y'all shouldn't be neither.'

When the guest list came out for the ceremony, his name was not on it.

Perjury Libby hearing casts cloud over Cheney

That cloud is the equivalent of a political mushroom cloud!

....and it had damn well better not be ignored!

Perjury Libby hearing casts cloud over Cheney - Financial Times -

As a Washington jury starts its deliberations on Thursday on whether Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, the former chief of staff of Dick Cheney, the US vice-president, is guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice, he is not the only one whose reputation has come under suspicion.

'There is a cloud over the vice-president,' Patrick Fitz­gerald, special prosecutor, told the jury on Tuesday. 'He sent Libby off to the meeting with Judy [Judith Miller, a New York Times reporter] where Plame was discussed. That cloud is something that we just can't pretend isn't there.'

Bush and Al Qaeda

More Bushlies........

Bush and Al Qaeda - International Herald Tribune:

Recent descriptions by intelligence officials of Al Qaeda's renewed control of terrorist networks and training camps in the tribal areas of Pakistan contrast with previous administration depictions of isolated leaders reduced to acting as little more than a source of ideological inspiration. The new picture seems to belie the triumphalist tone of President George W. Bush, who said a few days before last November's congressional elections, 'Al Qaeda is on the run.'

Which is it, then, a hounded, faltering Al Qaeda or an enemy that has regrouped and become a greater threat than ever? The answer is crucial not only for national security but for America's open society.

An obvious part of the answer is that Bush has played politics with the Qaeda threat. When it suits his needs, he inflates the stateless band of Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri into an existential threat. At other times, Bush boasts about routing bin Laden, passing over in silence his administration's failure to send enough U.S. forces to capture him the caves of Tora Bora five years ago.

Cheap solar power poised to undercut oil and gas by half

Ok,, but what do we do in the meantime?

Monday view: Cheap solar power poised to undercut oil and gas by half | Monday View | Columnists | Business | Money | Telegraph:

Within five years, solar power will be cheap enough to compete with carbon-generated electricity, even in Britain, Scandinavia or upper Siberia. In a decade, the cost may have fallen so dramatically that solar cells could undercut oil, gas, coal and nuclear power by up to half. Technology is leaping ahead of a stale political debate about fossil fuels.

Anil Sethi, the chief executive of the Swiss start-up company Flisom, says he looks forward to the day - not so far off - when entire cities in America and Europe generate their heating, lighting and air-conditioning needs from solar films on buildings with enough left over to feed a surplus back into the grid.

The secret? Mr Sethi lovingly cradles a piece of dark polymer foil, as thin a sheet of paper. It is 200 times lighter than the normal glass-based solar materials, which require expensive substrates and roof support. Indeed, it is so light it can be stuck to the sides of buildings.

Big Brother is Watching You II

A Must Read:

Texas Kaos :: Update: Big Brother is Watching You II:

Key findings in PBS's report:

- The government is intercepting most emails sent domestically.

- AT&T is collecting most emails and sharing them with the government, specifically the NSA (this is backed up by Klein's documents).

- The NSA spy room at AT&T's San Francisco facility is only accessible to the NSA and AT&T employees cleared by the NSA

- The NSA's interest seems to be in MAE WEST, *the* major hub of American and international internet traffic on the West Coast

- The device installed in San Francisco is capable of intercepting 10 GIGBYTES of data per second. In layman's terms, that means it could go through all the information in all the books in the Library of Congress in 15 minutes.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

What We Can Learn from Heroes Like Bobby Kennedy

There is no single human being, who has lived in my lifetime, I miss more than Bobby Kennedy, right now.

The light grew bright and then, flickered for a time...

Who killed our heroes?

Everything else has gone to hell. Perhaps, it is time we examine at the real truth about our generation and our times.

If a generation is judged by its heroes, then my generation has little of which to be ashamed.

What We Can Learn from Heroes Like Bobby Kennedy:

Did anyone actually see 'Bobby'?

I must admit that I did not. I may yet. Right
now, I just can't bear it.

When I think of Bobby, it is as though my heart has been pierced and darkness is approaching.

I have work to do, which I hope will honor him, and the other two of my heroes, long gone from this treacherous dimension.

Heart piercing, while good to a point, cannot be all that helpful when one is busy fighting the good fight, which isn't a fight at all. really, but taxing at times, nonetheless.

In the midst of Oscar buzz, there's little more than a whisper about the film. The critics were, well, critical of the movie for not digging deeper into the character of Robert F. Kennedy, the man my 60-year-old friend called 'the last politician who gave me hope.' But the cinematic story behind the fateful events at Los Angeles' Ambassador Hotel (where presidential hopeful Kennedy was shot on June 4, 1968) provoked a powerful conversation between my friend and me.

I'm 24. I'm new at this political thing, trying to absorb the current scene like a saturated sponge sweeping across a greasy stove. There's so much, and not much that seems real. And if anything, my generation longs for authenticity.

This is why I was so drawn to my older friend, who had proudly marched in demonstrations, fought for equality in education, and even started a grass-roots women's advocacy organization.

She didn't just bemoan the mistakes of the day. She did stuff, and believed that doing stuff could change the world, in part because Bobby told her it could. His visits throughout the nation -- from rural Mississippi towns to inner-city hovels--had unveiled civil injustices, organized crime, and the national poverty crisis, opening the eyes and hearts of a young generation.

US 'Iran Attack Plans' Revealed

In Case you missed it........

US 'Iran Attack Plans' Revealed:

US contingency plans for air strikes on Iran extend beyond nuclear sites and include most of the country's military infrastructure, the BBC has learned.

It is understood that any such attack - if ordered - would target Iranian air bases, naval bases, missile facilities and command-and-control centres.

The US insists it is not planning to attack, and is trying to persuade Tehran to stop uranium enrichment.

The UN has urged Iran to stop the programme or face economic sanctions.

But diplomatic sources have told the BBC that as a fall-back plan, senior officials at Central Command in Florida have already selected their target sets inside Iran.

That list includes Iran's uranium enrichment plant at Natanz. Facilities at Isfahan, Arak and Bushehr are also on the target list, the sources say.

Will the United States Attack Iran?

W.H spokespeople and aligned punditry have been careful to say that there are no plan for an invasion of Iran.

They haven't said that there is no plan, at all. anywhere, for strikes on Iran.

Will the United States Attack Iran?: "

Will the United States use armed force against Iran? Hardly any foreign policy issue is hotter right now. American planes are reported to be patrolling along the border between Iraq and Iran, and U.S. forces have been authorized to kill Iranian agents in Iraq.

Two U.S. aircraft carriers are in the Gulf and missile defenses have been installed in Gulf states. The military buildup is either to scare Tehran or to prepare for American attacks on Iran.

Many remember that there was a U.S. military buildup in the Gulf during the autumn of 2002 and the first months of 2003 and that the U.S. attack on Iraq followed in March. Is something similar underway now?

Most commentators note that a large part of the American people would disapprove of more military adventures. Yet many worry that the Bush administration might be tempted to play up Iran's activities as an important reason for the anarchy in Iraq and to reduce the attention to the debacle in Iraq by opening a new front through bombings in Iran.