|| Please call Nancy Pelosi and tell her to
impeach Bush and Cheney and arrest Gonzales, et al: (202) 225-4965.
Breathtakingly barbaric nominee for
judgeship will be considered by Senate
||Excerpt: Why are so many unions opposed to Southwick? Because Southwick voted against the interests of injured workers and consumers in divided decisions 89 percent of the time. Why are civil rights groups opposed? Because he also voted overwhelmingly — 54 of 59 times — against defendants alleging juror discrimination.
That prompted his own colleagues on the Mississippi Court of Appeals to accuse him of “establishing one level of obligation for the State, and a higher one for defendants on an identical issue.” Southwick, they charged in a dissent, placed his “stamp of approval on the arbitrary and capricious selection of jurors.”
Comment: Among numerous other shockingly callous and cruel decisions, Leslie Southwick is the judge who declared a mother unfit to raise her 8-year-old child solely because she’s a lesbian. And I dare you to read through a few of the other lowlights on his résumé. This man is such a monster I’m a little surprised he’s not running for the Republican Presidential nomination.
I know it’s tiresome, and I know you’ve done it before, but please, call your Senator and politely remind him or her that you’ve got tar and feathers in your garage. Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK
Foreign policy experts: Iraq “surge” makes U.S. less safe
||Excerpt: The US is losing the war on terror. That’s the assessment of the nation’s top foreign-policy, intelligence, and national-security leaders from across the ideological spectrum.
In this year’s Terrorism Index, a survey released Monday by Foreign Policy magazine, 84 percent of these experts believe the nation is losing the war on terror, while more than 90 percent say the world is growing more dangerous for Americans.
“The main reason for this pessimism appears to be events on the ground,” says Mike Boyer, senior editor of Foreign Policy. “[Fifty-three] percent of the experts say the surge of troops into Baghdad is having a negative impact on the war effort, an increase of 22 percent from just six months ago.” The sentiment crosses party lines, he says. So, too, does a desire to disengage from Iraq.
Intel report: “Surge “is making Iraq even more sectarian, unstable
||Excerpt: The number of Iraqis fleeing their homes has soared since the American troop increase began in February, according to data from two humanitarian groups, accelerating the partition of the country into sectarian enclaves.
The assessment, known as a National Intelligence Estimate, casts strong doubts on the viability of the Bush administration strategy in Iraq.
Comment: The Bush administration is trying to spin this news (and most of the media is going along) to say that it actually BOLSTERS their argument that we absolutely can’t leave Iraq anytime soon, because of how unstable it is. This is similar to a person with a can of gasoline refusing to stop pouring it on a fire and walk away, because look how awful the fire’s getting! Madeline Zane PERMANENT LINK
Number of Iraqi refugees doubles during “surge”
||Excerpt: The number of Iraqis fleeing their homes has soared since the American troop increase began in February, according to data from two humanitarian groups, accelerating the partition of the country into sectarian enclaves.
Despite some evidence that the troop buildup has improved security in certain areas, sectarian violence continues and American-led operations have brought new fighting, driving fearful Iraqis from their homes at much higher rates than before the tens of thousands of additional troops arrived, the studies show.
Statistics collected by one of the two humanitarian groups, the Iraqi Red Crescent Organization, indicate that the total number of internally displaced Iraqis has more than doubled, to 1.1 million from 499,000, since the buildup started in February.
Sheehan urges action on Iraq refugee crisis
Excerpt: Ms Sheehan announced the launch of a coalition between the people of Iraq and the Camp Casey Peace Institute and the Hip Hop Caucus, which they hope will have global reach.
She said: “There is a humanitarian crisis in the Middle East that is destabilizing the entire region. It started in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s spread to especially Syria and Jordan, who have taken the brunt of the refugees who are displaced outside the country.”
U.S. wants U.N. to address Iraq refugee crisis
Excerpt: One in ten Iraqis has left the country. Baghdad’s elite are trying to make ends meet in neighboring Jordan and Syria. Washington wants the United Nations to address the refugee crisis. In the meantime, the country is losing its best minds — the very people needed to rebuild Iraq.
Comment: We made the mess, you get to clean it up! E13 PERMANENT LINK
Cheney’s office has subpoenaed documents on warrantless
surveillance, but won’t turn them over to Senate investigators
||Excerpt: Vice President Cheney’s office acknowledged for the first time yesterday that it has dozens of documents related to the administration’s warrantless surveillance program, but it signaled that it will resist efforts by congressional Democrats to obtain them.
Comment: Apparently, there’s nothing but air in Patrick Leahy’s pants. Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK
Bush offers to comply IF Congress quickly rewrites law
Excerpt: The Bush administration yesterday signaled to Senate Democrats that it will provide the legal rationale for its domestic surveillance program if Democrats reciprocate by permanently updating the key law governing foreign spying.
| Iran — Run-up to the next war:
Former CIA analyst sees our insane president attacking Iran soon
||Excerpt: “With the propaganda buildup we have seen so far, what seems most likely, at least initially, is an attack on Revolutionary Guard training facilities inside Iran, and that can be done with cruise missiles.
With some 20 targets already identified by anti-Iranian groups, there are enough assets already in place to do that job. But the while-we’re-at-it neocon logic referred to above may well be applied after, or even during, that kind of attack from the air.”
U.S. general says Iran trains enemy in Iraq
||Excerpt: A senior U.S. general said Sunday that about 50 members of an elite Iranian military unit are training Shiite militias south of Baghdad, the first time the U.S. military has alleged that Iranians are aiding insurgents from inside Iraq.
Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, who commands U.S. operations south of Baghdad, said the men were sent by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps — a military branch that the U.S. government has decided to label a “specially designated global terrorist” — to train Shiite insurgents in firing mortar rounds and rockets.
Comment: Just for the heck of it, I searched on-line for other comments from Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, to help gauge his reliability. It took me about three minutes to decide he’s either a little dim, flat-out delusional, or just another liar:
“What we’re finding is indeed the people of al-Anbar — Fallujah and Ramadi, specifically — have decided to turn against terrorists and foreign fighters.” [February 2006]
“We’re not seeing civil war igniting in Iraq,” Lynch said at a news briefing in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad. “We’re not seeing 77, 80, 100 mosques damaged. We’re not seeing death in the streets.” [February 2006]
“We can confirm based on our investigation that individuals dressed like this, in chocolate-chip desert combat uniforms, riding in eight vehicles, drove up and kidnapped 50 local nationals,” US military spokesman Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch said Thursday, referring to his combat fatigues. “We don’t know who did that. In our conversations with Iraqi authorities, they don’t know either.” [March 2006] Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK
Robert Greenwald and Bernie Sanders warn
news nets not to follow Fox News to another war
||Excerpt: The video and an accompanying “open letter” to ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC and CNN — viewable at www.FoxAttacks.com— urge news organizations to ask tough questions about administration policy on Iran and say citizens should pressure them to do so.
Famed CIA operative sees war with Iran within six months
||Excerpt: “I’ve taken an informal poll inside the government,” [Bob] Baer told Fox. “The feeling is we will hit the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.” His Time column also suggested that “as long as we have bombers and missiles in the air, we will hit Iran’s nuclear facilities.”
Bush moves to stop states from insuring middle income kids
||Excerpt: The Bush administration, continuing its fight to stop states from expanding the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program, has adopted new standards that will make it much more difficult for California, New York and other states to extend coverage to children in middle-income families.
In interviews, they said the changes are designed to return the Children’s Health Insurance Program to its original focus on low-income children and to make sure the program does not become a substitute for private health coverage.
After learning of the new policy, some state officials said Monday that it could cripple their attempts to cover more children and would impose standards that could not be met.
Before making such a change, states must demonstrate that they have “enrolled at least 95 percent of children in the state below 200 percent of the federal poverty level” who are eligible for either Medicaid or the child health program.
Deborah Bachrach, a deputy commissioner in the New York State Health Department, said, “No state in the nation has a participation rate of 95 percent.”
CIA dropped the ball on Al Qaeda — but not until Bush took office
||Excerpt: George Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, rang the Qaeda alarm. He sent a memo to the entire intelligence community saying that he wanted no effort spared in the “war” with Osama bin Laden. He took on the president’s closest advisers to agitate for a strike on a Qaeda base in Afghanistan.
The disturbing thing was that this all happened under President Bill Clinton. When George W. Bush won the White House, Tenet seems to have shifted his priorities. …
Another disturbing aspect of the report released this week was its date, June 2005, which neatly sums up Bush’s policies on transparency and accountability — he doesn’t believe in either. Perhaps it’s not surprising that the report wasn’t released in 2005. Bush had just given Tenet the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his “pivotal” role in fighting Al Qaeda.
Federal Reserve props up Bank of America,
Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, and
Wachovia with half a billion bucks each
||Excerpt: Four major banks said Wednesday they each borrowed $500 million from the Federal Reserve’s discount window, lending weight to the central bank’s efforts to restore liquidity to tight markets.
Comment: If there is ever a Museum of Spin this article will be engraved on the door.
The Associated Press has turned a story about four huuuge banks turning to our country’s financial last resort, to the tune of two billion dollars, into a story about those institutions’ bravely leading the way in an effort to improve the image of the Fed’s discount window. … MORE …
HappySysiphus PERMANENT LINK
Top Swiss banker attacks US lending standards as ‘unbelievable’
||Excerpt: Jean-Pierre Roth, president of the Swiss National Bank, said market turmoil was far from over as tremors from the sub-prime debacle continued to rock the world.
“We’re certainly not at the end of the story. There are question marks surrounding the development of the American economy,” he said. “Something unbelievable happened. People who had neither income nor capital got credit with very attractive conditions. Now reality is striking back,” he said.
Fed bends rules to help two big banks
||Excerpt: In a clear sign that the credit crunch is still affecting the nation’s largest financial institutions, the Federal Reserve agreed this week to bend key banking regulations to help out Citigroup (Charts, Fortune 500) and Bank of America (Charts, Fortune 500), according to documents posted Friday on the Fed’s web site.
The Aug. 20 letters from the Fed to Citigroup and Bank of America state that the Fed, which regulates large parts of the U.S. financial system, has agreed to exempt both banks from rules that effectively limit the amount of lending that their federally-insured banks can do with their brokerage affiliates. The exemption, which is temporary, means, for example, that Citigroup’s Citibank entity can substantially increase funding to Citigroup Global Markets, its brokerage subsidiary. Citigroup and Bank of America requested the exemptions, according to the letters, to provide liquidity to those holding mortgage loans, mortgage-backed securities, and other securities.
FEC complaint filed against “testing the waters” candidate Thompson
||Excerpt: “As I understand the law, a “testing the waters” fund is only legitimate for the purpose of helping an individual decide whether he should become a candidate. Once someone has decided to become a candidate, the exemption no longer applies, and 11 CFR 100.72 lists five factors to determine when that has taken place.
On three of these factors, the examples are numerous that indicate that Mr. Thompson has gone far beyond the activities and speech allowable under the law. These examples do not come from personal knowledge, but rather from numerous accounts in the press, some being direct quotations from Mr. Thompson or his staff. Other facts reported are from public documents available on the internet.”
Magic “Petraeus report” scheduled for 9/11
||Comment: We already know that this report is being written by the White House instead of General Petraeus, whether his name is on it or not. Now we find out that it is scheduled to be released on 9/11 for maximum propaganda value.
So instead of the factual account of the war’s progress that we have been promised, we’re going to get a pre-scripted advertisement for the war, based in part on the Giant Lie that Iraq has any connection to 9/11. And this is how we’re supposed to decide what to do next about Iraq? America would do better basing its foreign policy on tarot cards than on this so-called “report.” Madeline Zane PERMANENT LINK
Democratic Party takes hard line
against earlier and earlier primaries
||Excerpt: Members of a Democratic National Committee panel voted to give Florida 30 days to amend its plan to hold a binding primary on Jan. 29. Under DNC rules, only Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina may hold a primary election or nominating caucus before Feb. 5.
If the state doesn’t submit a new plan for selecting delegates, it will lose all of its 210 delegates to the party’s national convention in Denver next year — the harshest possibly penalty.
“We have 49 other states as important as Florida is to our democratic process and to our country,” said Alexis M. Herman, co-chair of the DNC rules committee. “There is a fairness principle here.”
Comment: Inside party politics usually bores me, but the ongoing shuffling of primary dates is dangerous and dumb and ought to be stopped. The rules are there, enforcing them to the letter makes sense. Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK
Efforts to crack down on lead paint
thwarted by China, Bush administration
||Excerpt: The Bush administration has hindered regulation on two fronts, consumer advocates say. It stalled efforts to press for greater inspections of imported children’s products, and it altered the focus of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), moving it from aggressive protection of consumers to a more manufacturer-friendly approach.
“The overall philosophy is regulations are bad and they are too large a cost for industry, and the market will take care of it,” said Rick Melberth, director of regulatory policy at OMBWatch, a government watchdog group formed in 1983. “That’s been the philosophy of the Bush administration.”
Jose Padilla sues Bush officials for unlawful detainment, torture
||Excerpt: Jose Padilla is seeking to hold former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and 59 other US officials responsible for what his lawyers say were abusive and unconstitutional tactics used against Mr. Padilla while he was held in military custody as an enemy combatant from 2002 to 2006.
Lawyers working on Padilla’s behalf filed the civil lawsuit earlier this year in federal court in South Carolina. It was publicly disclosed by the lawyers this week.
Analysts say that regardless of the guilty verdict in Miami, significant constitutional and other legal issues surrounding Padilla’s treatment by the military remain unresolved.
Chief among them is whether a US citizen, like Padilla, who was arrested on American soil, can be stripped of most of his constitutional rights while being held in military custody and interrogated as an enemy combatant.
| In BushCheneyWorld, no search or seizure is unreasonable
Democrats say wiretap approval could grant Bush extra powers
||Excerpt: Congressional Democrats are acknowledging President Bush’s broad new spying powers approved this month could be even more extensive than initially claimed. Ambiguous language defining “electronic surveillance” means the so-called Protect America of 2007 Act could go well beyond wiretapping to permit physical searches and financial record-gathering — all without court approval.
The admission comes amidst news the Bush administration has privately said it won’t be held to those limits the legislation does set on surveillance activities. The New York Times reports Justice Department officials refused repeated entreaties to commit to following Congressional rules at a private meeting last week. Participants in the meeting say assistant attorney general for national security Ken Wainstein told former Justice Department lawyer Bruce Fein the administration does not consider itself bound by Congressional restrictions.
Spy chief confirms AT&T, Verizon, other
telcom companies help government with wiretaps
||Excerpt: [National Intelligence Director Mike] McConnell confirmed for the first time that the private sector assisted with President Bush’s warrantless surveillance program. AT&T, Verizon and other telecommunications companies are being sued for their cooperation. “Now if you play out the suits at the value they’re claimed, it would bankrupt these companies,” McConnell said, arguing that they deserve immunity for their help. …
McConnell said it takes 200 hours to assemble a FISA warrant on a single telephone number. “We’re going backwards,” he said. “We couldn’t keep up.”
Comment: Good luck trying to parse any truth out of anything Mike McConnell says — he works for George Bush, so ipso facto, he’s a liar.
For example, stop and ponder his claim that it takes 200 hours to fill out the forms for a FISA warrant on a single telephone number. That’s simply absurd — anyone who’s ever worked in law enforcement knows that’s a lie — and FISA warrants are notoriously much easier to get than ordinary (Constitutional) search warrants. FISA has issued thousands and thousands of these unconstitutional but at least somewhat legal warrants, with about half a dozen rejections — and we’re supposed to believe it takes five work-weeks of one employee’s time to obtain each rubber-stamp surveillance warrant?
Sweet jeebers, as American taxpayers, don’t we at least deserve lies that are somewhat plausible? So bear in mind that McConnell is a bald-faced liar, as he further lies that “fewer than 100 people inside the United States are monitored under FISA warrants”. Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK
ACLU again calls on bush administration to stop
using “classified information” as a political weapon
||Excerpt: The American Civil Liberties Union today condemned recent comments of Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, regarding the administration’s warrantless surveillance activities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The comments, made to the El Paso Times, continue a pattern under which government officials strategically and selectively disclose classified information in order to advance the administration’s legislative agenda or broader political goals. Since McConnell’s comments included specific references to previously classified court rulings from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), the ACLU also renewed its call for the release of those orders and legal opinions.
Discussing Bush’s illegal wiretaps will cause
Americans’ deaths, says intelligence honcho
||Excerpt: Earlier this month, Congress caved to President Bush and passed legislation updating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, vastly expanding Bush’s powers to wiretap American citizens without court oversight. In an extensive interview with the El Paso Times, National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell decried continued public discussion of the wiretapping program, claiming Americans, particularly in Iraq, would “die” because of the debate.
Defense Dept says it’s shutting down
program that spies on anti-war protesters
||Excerpt: TALON was a Pentagon program that was originally designed to track possible threats to military bases, but expanded in scope to include reports about non-violent demonstrations and anti-war rallies. It has always been a wonder to me how this happened — how a group of Santa Cruz students, along with Quaker and church groups, found itself on a terrorist monitoring database. This was not only ridiculous, but wrong.
Comment: Over the past several years the Pentagon has become a full-fledged arm of the Bush-Cheney all-lie administration, and at this point no official pronouncements from the Defense Dept should be taken at face value. In that spirit, we offer two points:
First, the TALON (Threat and Local Observation Notice) database can’t easily and simply won’t be destroyed. And second, if TALON is “dead”, you can count on its resurrection under some new silly acronym, quite probably one we won’t hear about for several years. Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK
Leaders meet to discuss secret second phase of NAFTA
||Excerpt: Faced with opposition from the left and the right, George W. Bush, Felipe Calderon, and Stephen Harper met August 20-21 in Montebello, Canada to discuss the little-known second phase of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Since the SPP [Security and Prospertiy Partnership] is not a law or a treaty or even a signed agreement, there are no formal mechanisms of accountability built in. It is essentially a “gentleman’s agreement” between the executive branches and major corporations in the three nations.
Although rarely identified as such, some SPP recommendations have already popped up in policies and regulation reforms. These include accelerating environmentally damaging oil production in Mexico and Canada, and “harmonizing” national standards so they sing to the tune of corporate profits rather than consumer protection.
Police use provocateurs at Quebec summit
||Excerpt: Protesters are accusing police of using undercover agents to provoke violent confrontations at the North American leaders’ summit in Montebello, Quebec.
Such accusations have been made before after similar demonstrations but this time the alleged “agents provocateurs” have been caught on camera.
“These three guys are cops!“
Comment: Watch as big, burly, bandana-wearing cops — you can almost tell they’re cops, just by their bodies — try to turn a peaceful protest into a riot — and are outed by one outspoken but peaceful protester. Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK
Quebec police admit sending undercover agents
to protest, but deny they were agent provocateurs
Excerpt: The Quebec provincial police will not comment any further on the affair, a spokeswoman in Montreal said.
Quebec Justice Minister Jacques Dupuis was made aware of the news, but a spokesman from his office said he will not comment on the matter either.
Comment: Yeah, no further comment indeed — ‘cuz it’s better to shut the hell up than to continue stating obvious lies.
If these cops weren’t agent provocateurs, then what’s with the bandanas over their faces and the big ol’ rock in one cop’s hand? Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK
Australia will become temporary police state
during Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit
||Excerpt: The details come as NSW Police admit they are preparing for ”mass arrests” during the meeting. They plan to quarantine at least 500 beds in jail cells ready for protesters who will be denied bail during the week-long forum.
At least 200 prisoners will be allowed to sleep in their own beds over the APEC long weekend of September 7-9 to free up cells after federal and state police asked the NSW Government to make space for the hundreds who might be arrested during the summit in Sydney.
Comment: Sometimes I have to stop and read something twice to make sure I’ve read it right: Australian officials will send real criminals home from their jails, to make room for “mass arrests” of protesters, who’ll be held for the duration of the week-long summit, to make sure they have no chance to be heard — and there’s no mention that protesters will have to do anything violent to be arrested. Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK
| Republicans use Justice Department to subvert justice
White House is not subject to Freedom of Information Act,
says Justice Dept in attempt to hide five-million emails
||Excerpt: The suit was brought by the advocacy group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. It was based on estimates that there are at least five million missing White House e-mails from March 2003 to October 2005.
While the Justice Department says the White House Office of Administration is not subject to the disclosure requirements of the Freedom of Information Act, not everyone agrees. A lawyer for the National Security Archive says the Office of Administration should be subject to public disclosure rules.
Bush cronies who sabotaged Justice Dept’s civil rights division resign
||Excerpt: The department said that the resignation of the official, Assistant Attorney General Wan J. Kim, had nothing to do with the recent controversies over Mr. Gonzales’s performance, and that Mr. Kim had been planning his departure for months.
His departure was announced on the same day that department officials confirmed that a senior official who preceded Mr. Kim in running the civil rights division, Bradley J. Schlozman, had also resigned.
In Senate testimony two months ago, Mr. Schlozman, who was interim director of the division in 1993, acknowledged that he had actively recruited conservative Republican applicants to work in the division and that he had rewritten the performance evaluations of career lawyers who were not considered loyal to the Bush administration.
Former Justice Dept attorney sues Rove over her firing
||Excerpt: Elizabeth Reyes, an “attorney fired from the Texas secretary of state’s office for talking publicly about presidential adviser Karl Rove,” has “filed a lawsuit, saying she is the victim of political pressure.” In 2005, Reyes spoke to a Washington Post reporter about voter residency in Texas. Her quotes then showed up in a story about whether Rove was still eligible to vote in the state. Reyes was dismissed after Rove called Secretary of State Roger Williams, a large GOP donor, about her quotes.
New Bush rules on “detainees” make
Swiss cheese of Geneva Conventions
||Excerpt: But the JAGs told the senators that a key part of the order opens the door to violations of the section of the Geneva Conventions that outlaws “cruel treatment and torture” and “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment,” officials familiar with the discussion said.
The JAGs cited language in the executive order in which Bush said CIA interrogators may not use “willful and outrageous acts of personal abuse done for the purpose of humiliating or degrading the individual.” As an example, it lists “sexual or sexually indecent acts undertaken for the purpose of humiliation.”
Bush invokes lessons of Vietnam (that he never learned)
to argue for extending Iraq slaughter
||Excerpt: “The price of America’s withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens,” he told war veterans in Missouri. Mr Bush said the Vietnam War had taught the need for US patience over Iraq.
Comment: Our Moron-in-Chief thinks the big mistake of the Vietnam war was retreating after only ten years of full-fledged war and 50,000 dead Americans. Sweet Jesus, it’s hard to write this without profanities.
The lesson of Vietnam is that even people who aren’t white will fight off foreign invaders, that America shouldn’t slaughter foreigners who pose no threat to Americans, that a war ought to have some purpose that makes it worth even one American soldier’s life let alone 50,000, and that when there’s no worthy purpose to a war Americans will eventually grow tired of funerals for their brothers, fathers, sons, and other loved ones. The lesson of Vietnam is that America ought to grow a frickin’ conscience, and that soul-less monsters like GW Bush shouldn’t be allowed to visit the White House on a guided tour, let alone sit in the Oval Office.
And as for Bush’s empty-headed claim that lots of Iraqis will die if the American military leaves, that’s true — and it’s been true ever since Bush decided to topple the tyrant Saddam, and it’ll be true whether the American military leaves in 2007 or 2107. Bush is to blame for those corpses, along with the 750,000 or so he’s killed already. And of course, an increasing portion of the blame belongs on the shoulders of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK
Bush’s analogy bewilders Vietnamese people
Excerpt: President Bush touched a nerve among Vietnamese when he invoked the Vietnam War in a speech warning that death and chaos will envelop Iraq if U.S. troops leave too quickly.
People in Vietnam, where opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq is strong, said Thursday that Bush drew the wrong conclusions from the long, bloody Southeast Asian conflict.
“Doesn’t he realize that if the U.S. had stayed in Vietnam longer, they would have killed more people?” said Vu Huy Trieu of Hanoi, a veteran of the communist forces that fought American troops in Vietnam. “Nobody regrets that the Vietnam War wasn’t prolonged except Bush.”
He said U.S. troops could never have prevailed here. “Does he think the U.S. could have won if they had stayed longer? No way,” Trieu said.
Expert offers a lesson on Vietnam war history
to America’s extraordinarily ignorant President
Excerpt: “My understanding of the history of the Vietnam war and the lessons of that differs rather dramatically from Mr. Bush’s,” Robert Hathaway, an Asian expert at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, told Agence France-Presse.
Hathaway said that despite the eight-year US military involvement and its heavy casualties in Vietnam, Washington was still unable to create popular support in the south for a government that was widely considered to be corrupt and unpopular.
South Vietnam collapsed in 1975 not because American forces had withdrawn, but because the South Vietnamese and their army simply did not care enough about their government to fight in its defense, he said. The North Vietnamese simply walked almost unopposed into Saigon.
Historian quoted by Bush calls President’s outlook “perverse”
Excerpt: MIT professor John Dower [said], “They [war supporters] keep on doing this. They keep on hitting it and hitting it and hitting it and it’s always more and more implausible, strange and in a fantasy world. They’re desperately groping for a historical analogy, and their uses of history are really perverse. …”
US defenses will move from secure under-
granite location to nearby office building
||Excerpt: The move will shift more than 100 people responsible for detecting attacks on North America from a facility that sits under 2,000 feet of granite to a basement in an office building on the base that officials concede offers lower protection.
Comment: They sure did a bang-up job detecting the attacks on Sept 11. That sarcastically said, moving the defense crew from their famous under-granite location to an office building reminds me of Giuliani’s ridiculous decision to put New York’s anti-terror center in the World Trade Center. Even in the Bush-Cheney era of stupidity, this is top-notch stupidity. Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK
Bush lies about Al-Qaeda captures in Iraq
||Excerpt: Some distortions are so massive and so deliberate as to constitute outright lies. See if you can spot the dishonesty in this line in President Bush’s speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ national convention today:
“U.S. forces have killed or captured an average of more than 1,500 al Qaeda terrorists and other extremists every month since January.” …
Since the surge began, the U.S. has had between 17,000 and 23,000 Iraqis in custody each month, according to the Brookings Institution’s Iraq Index. Last month, Ned Parker of the Los Angeles Times reported that of the 19,000 detainees in U.S. custody in Iraq, only 135 were foreigners — the most likely indicator of membership in al-Qaeda.
DIA proposes another billion dollars for outsourced spying
||Excerpt: The Defense Intelligence Agency is preparing to pay private contractors up to $1 billion to conduct core intelligence tasks of analysis and collection over the next five years, an amount that would set a record in the outsourcing of such functions by the Pentagon’s top spying agency.
The proposed contracts, outlined in a recent early notice of the DIA’s plans, reflect a continuing expansion of the Defense Department’s intelligence-related work and fit a well-established pattern of Bush administration transfers of government work to private contractors.
U.S. government threatens retaliation against states that reject REAL ID
||Excerpt: The cards would be mandatory for all “federal purposes,” which include boarding an airplane or walking into a federal building, nuclear facility or national park, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told the National Conference of State Legislatures last week. Citizens in states that don’t comply with the new rules will have to use passports for federal purposes.
Media finally notices:
Mine safety chief is Bush crony, recess appointee
||Excerpt: And even though Richard Stickler does have considerable mining experience [Note: A lie; he’s a former mining executive, with no experience mining.], he is now acquiring a new not-so-favorable nickname.
Among many bloggers, he is now being referred to as the “new Brownie.” That in reference to Michael Brown who headed FEMA during Hurricane Katrina.
Documents show Utah mine owner is lying, repeatedly
Excerpt: Robert Murray insists that his company did not change the mining plan at Crandall Canyon after purchasing a joint interest in the mine last August.
But documents obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune clearly contradict Murray’s assertion, and show that Murray’s company sought and received approval from federal regulators to make a significant, and, experts say, risky change to the mining strategy.
White House manual advised how to stifle anti-Bush protests
||Excerpt: It has been revealed that the White House published a manual in 2002 detailing how to deter protests at President Bush’s public appearances.
The manual urged rally organizers to take a number of the following steps: Tightly control who gets tickets to the event. Screen everyone entering to search for secret political signs. Station so-called ‘rally squads’ at strategic locations inside the event to shout down any anti-Bush demonstrators who manages to get inside. And if that does not work, remove protesters from the event. The manual also directs the White House advance staff to ask local police to designate a so-called protest area where demonstrators can be placed, preferably not in the view of the event site or motorcade route.
The manual was released under subpoena as part of a lawsuit filed on behalf of Jeffery and Nicole Rank who were arrested in 2004 for refusing to cover their anti-Bush T-shirts at a Fourth of July speech at the West Virginia State Capitol. Last week the federal government settled the First Amendment case for $80,000, but with no admission of wrongdoing.
Waxman confirms existence of Rove’s illegal politicization ‘teams’
||Excerpt: In practical terms, that meant Cabinet officials concentrated their official government travel on the media markets Rove’s team chose, rolling out grant decisions made by agencies with red-carpet fanfare in GOP congressional districts, and carefully crafted announcements highlighting the release of federal money in battleground states.
NRC kept 2005 nuclear accident secret
||Excerpt: The leak turned out to be one of nine violations or test failures since 2005 at privately owned Nuclear Fuel Services Inc., a longtime supplier of fuel to the U.S. Navy’s nuclear fleet.
The public was never told about the problems when they happened. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission revealed them for the first time last month when it released an order demanding improvements at the company, but no fine.
Ohio’s e-voting system seems to drop ballot secrecy
||Excerpt: Ohio law permits anyone to walk into a county election office and obtain two crucial documents: a list of voters in the order they voted, and a time-stamped list of the actual votes. “We simply take the two pieces of paper together, merge them, and then we have which voter voted and in which way,” said James Moyer, a longtime privacy activist and poll worker who lives in Columbus, Ohio.
FBI divulges secrets in Sibel Edmonds case
||Excerpt: For months, the FBI and Congress openly discussed the details of former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds’ case in unclassified settings, with participants who did not have security clearances. That is, none of the participants, including high level Counter-Intelligence agents, considered that the information was ‘secret.’
It was only later that Attorney General John Ashcroft decided that he needed to protect certain criminals (high level US officials at the Pentagon and State Department), and he slapped the State Secrets Privilege across the case.
In an apparent about-face, attorneys from the FBI and Dept of Justice have been discussing previously-classified elements of the case and placing it on the court record.
Ex-CNN News Chief defends vetting commentators with Pentagon
||Excerpt: The former news chief of CNN is defending his decision to seek the Pentagon’s approval of prospective CNN news analysts during the lead up to the Iraq war. Eason Jordan’s comments have come under renewed scrutiny after being featured in Norman Solomon’s film War Made Easy.
… “I think it’s important to have experts explain the war and to describe the military hardware, describe the tactics, talk about the strategy behind the conflict. I went to the Pentagon myself several times before the war started and met with important people there and said, for instance — ‘At CNN, here are the generals we’re thinking of retaining to advise us on the air and off about the war’ — and we got a big thumbs-up on all of them. That was important.”
Jordan, who now runs the IraqSlogger website, defended his actions last week. He said: “Employers routinely vet prospective employees with their previous employers. In these cases, we vetted retired generals to ensure they were experts in specific military and geographic areas. The generals were not vetted for political views.”
Comment: Eason Jordan was the CNN exec who said he was surprised that Army PsyOps interns worked at his network. He later quit at CNN after suggesting that the U.S. military might be targeting journalists in Iraq, and then backpedaling to say he’d never meant that.
Beyond that, I know little about Eason, but I’m not surprised that an old-time, mainstream face runs IraqSlogger. We’re skeptical when a new publication pops up seemingly from nowhere, and is almost immediately cited widely, indicating almost instant acceptance and respect. Sounds paranoid, I know, but from years on the fringe dating back to the on-paper era, trust me, it’s utterly common to see well-funded, essentially corporate products try to falsely position themselves as independent or counterculture efforts.
I have to assume that’s what’s behind the name IraqSlogger— it almost shouts “outside the mainstream,” but it is the mainstream… Launched just last December, it announces its goal is to be “the world’s premier Iraq-focused information source.” When I went to poke around their website just now, I couldn’t get to the content, as my way was blocked by pitches for subscriptions at $59.95 per month (and that’s a special discount price).
IraqSlogger ain’t the worst at this game, but it’s a company with a business strategy based on selling $60-a-month subscriptions to news about the Iraq war. It’s a company that’s literally profiting from war — and has a vested interest in seeing that war extend onward. Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK
Poll shows Californians lean toward dividing electoral votes
(i.e., handing Republicans White House in 2008)
||Excerpt: The Field Poll found that 47 percent of registered voters back a change to California’s system for electoral votes, with 35 percent opposed. Republicans generally support the change more than Democrats.
When pollsters explained the political implication that Democratic presidential candidates might lose some electoral votes under a proportional system, the numbers changed: 49 percent supported the change and 42 percent opposed it. Opposition from Democrats and independent voters rose when the issue was put this way.
Schwarzenegger cool to Republicans’ effort to
rig election through splitting California’s electoral votes
Excerpt: “In principle, I don’t like to change the rules in the middle of the game,” the Republican governor told reporters.
Schwarzenegger added he wasn’t versed in details of the ballot proposal and stressed he wasn’t taking a definitive position. But his uneasy response is likely to make it harder for supporters to build momentum and could chill fundraising.
Army drops two most serious charges against Abu Ghraib officer
||Excerpt: A military judge dismissed two of the most serious charges yesterday against the only officer charged with abusing detainees at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, after an investigator [changed his earlier testimony to say that] he failed to read the defendant his rights.
In court yesterday morning, the prosecutor, Lieutenant Colonel John P. Tracy, announced that the investigator, Major General George Fay, had contacted prosecutors Sunday to say that he “misspoke” when he testified during a pretrial hearing that he advised Jordan of his rights during an interview in 2004.
Fay interviewed many other soldiers during his investigation. In his report, he concluded that Jordan’s tacit approval of violence during a weapons search on Nov. 24, 2003, “set the stage for the abuses that followed for days afterward.”
Comment: I had to revise the AP’s first paragraph — they buried the fact that this investigator suddenly changed his testimony at the last minute in paragraph six. Most stories I saw on the court martial didn’t mention this at all. Madeline Zane PERMANENT LINK
Video shows Iraqi prisoners crowded into wire cages
||Excerpt: Rare footage from inside a Baghdad prison camp shows hundreds of inmates packed into wire-mesh tents, protesting their innocence.
“I have been jailed for two years and have never been put before a judge or court!” one prisoner is shown shouting.
The footage showed row upon row of outdoor tents made of wire mesh and covered with white plastic sheeting, each about the size of a basketball court and housing dozens of inmates.
U.S. forces and Iraq’s own security forces have imprisoned tens of thousands of detainees without charge in the four years since the fall of President Saddam Hussein.
Only 1,500 armored vehicles to reach Iraq before ’08
||Excerpt: Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said Wednesday that while defense officials still believe contractors will build about 3,900 of the mine-resistant, armor-protected vehicles by year’s end, it will take longer for the military to fully equip them and ship them to Iraq.
Comment: These bastards don’t have any interest in all in protecting U.S. soldiers. Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK
ACLU report details post-Katrina civil and human rights violations
||Excerpt: The American Civil Liberties Union today released a report revealing continuing incidents of racial injustice and human rights abuses on the Gulf Coast since Hurricane Katrina devastated the area two years ago.
In its report, Broken Promises: Two Years After Katrina, the ACLU exposes numerous civil rights violations that have occurred in Louisiana and Mississippi since the storm, including reports of heightened racially motivated police activity, housing discrimination, and prisoner abuse.
Two years after Katrina, billions in relief funds are missing
||Excerpt: When pressed on the slow pace of recovery in the Gulf Coast, President Bush insists the federal government has fulfilled its promise to rebuild the region. The proof, he says, is in the big check the federal government signed to underwrite the recovery — allegedly more than $116 billion. But residents of the still-devastated Gulf Coast are left wondering whether the check bounced.
Whistleblowers who expose war profiteering are
fired, demoted, shunned, arrested, even tortured
||Excerpt: “If you do it, you will be destroyed,” said William Weaver, professor of political science at the University of Texas-El Paso and senior advisor to the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition.
“Reconstruction is so rife with corruption. Sometimes people ask me, ‘Should I do this?’ And my answer is no. If they’re married, they’ll lose their family. They will lose their jobs. They will lose everything,” Weaver said.
NIH agency suppresses whistleblowers by forcing
them to record all contact with Congress
||Excerpt: For the past several months, House and Senate committees have been investigating David Schwartz, the director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), which is a branch of NIH. They are examining whether Schwartz “disregarded conflict-of-interest guidelines,” broke government spending rules, and violated ethics rules. Since Schwartz’s arrival in 2005, three top institute officials have left. One NIEHS official stated, “Morale is just horrible” at the agency.
Under Schwartz, the agency is now requiring all of its employees to fill out a form to document all their contacts with Congress. The form, obtained by ThinkProgress, appears to be an attempt to discourage employees from cooperating with congressional investigators.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs will urge Iraq troop reductions
||Excerpt: The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is expected to advise President Bush to reduce the U.S. force in Iraq next year by almost half, potentially creating a rift with top White House officials and other military commanders over the course of the war.
Comment: We’re mostly including this item because seven people sent it to us, but really, I doubt it’s true and I doubt it matters in the slightest what anyone says. All the evidence suggests that experts’ advice, intelligence reports, blue-ribbon panels, and public opinion mean nada to Bush or Cheney. They’ll do what they want, the world be damned. Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK
Joint Chiefs Chair Pace denies reports
he might say something vaguely intelligent
Excerpt: “The story is wrong. It is speculative. I have not made nor decided on any recommendation yet,” Pace said in a statement.
Judge orders Bush to release suppressed assessment of global warming
||Excerpt: The Bush administration must release a climate-change research plan and scientific assessment report that are as much as two years overdue, a federal judge ruled, rejecting a White House claim that compliance with a law requiring the studies is discretionary.
U.S. District Judge Saundra Armstrong in Oakland, California, said yesterday that the administration violated a 1990 U.S. law requiring the government to produce the research plans every three years and the assessments every four years. She ordered a summary of the research plan to be produced by March and the assessment by May.
| Life in liberated Afghanistan & Iraq
Military “surge” leads to huge increase in Iraqi detainees
||Excerpt: The number of detainees held by the American-led military forces in Iraq has swelled by 50 percent under the troop increase ordered by President Bush, with the inmate population growing to 24,500 today from 16,000 in February, according to American military officers in Iraq.
The detainee increase comes, they said, because American forces are operating in areas where they had not been present for some time, and because more units are able to maintain a round-the-clock presence in some areas. They also said more Iraqis were cooperating with military forces.
Comment: And ain’t it something how that Orwellian word “detainee” no longer needs quote marks. It’s fully slipped into the vocabulary, a word coined to sidestep the word “prisoner” because prisoners, after all, have legal rights. Detainees don’t. Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK
Militias seizing control of Iraqi electricity grid
||Excerpt: Armed groups increasingly control the antiquated switching stations that channel electricity around Iraq, the electricity minister said Wednesday. That is dividing the national grid into fiefs that, he said, often refuse to share electricity generated locally with Baghdad and other power-starved areas in the center of Iraq.
Maliki, in Syria, tells US it has no right to impose timetables
||Excerpt: Iraq’s prime minister lashed out Wednesday at U.S. criticism, saying no one has the right to impose timetables on his elected government and that his country “can find friends elsewhere.”
Regulations keep life-saving Silly String from troops in Iraq
||Excerpt: [Marcelle] Shriver got the idea from her son, a soldier in Ramadi. Before entering a building, troops squirt the gooey substance, which can travel about 10 to 12 feet, across an area. If it falls to the ground — that’s an indication there are no trip wires. If it hangs in the air, troops know they may have a problem. …
Capt. Anthony Duggan, a spokesman for McGuire Air Force Base, said the Department of Defense forbids the transportation of items that don’t meet certain guidelines. For example, items sent must be in direct support of the military mission, he said.
Army cover-up of black soldier’s murder
gets almost no media coverage VIDEO
||Comment: PFC LaVena Johnson was severely beaten, couldn’t have inflicted the wound that killed her, and after her death her body was burned. And it was a suicide, the Army decides. Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK
Matt Cooper says, sure, it was Karl Rove
who blew Valerie Plame’s cover
||Excerpt: “Karl Rove told me about Valerie Plame’s identity on July 11th, 2003. I called him because Ambassador Wilson was in the news that week. I didn’t know Ambassador Wilson even had a wife until I talked to Karl Rove and he said that she worked at the agency and she worked on WMD. I mean, to imply that he didn’t know about it or that this was all the leak…”
Terror suspect list yields few arrests
||Excerpt: The government’s terrorist screening database flagged Americans and foreigners as suspected terrorists almost 20,000 times last year. But only a small fraction of those questioned were arrested or denied entry into the United States, raising concerns among critics about privacy and the list’s effectiveness.
Levin calls for Maliki’s ouster
||Excerpt: Declaring the government of Iraq “non-functional,” the influential chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said yesterday that Iraq’s parliament should oust Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his cabinet if they are unable to forge a political compromise with rival factions in a matter of days.
“I hope the parliament will vote the Maliki government out of office and will have the wisdom to replace it with a less sectarian and more unifying prime minister and government,” Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) said after a three-day trip to Iraq and Jordan.
Comment: I’m no fan of Maliki, but he’s not the man ripping America to shreds. If Carl Levin wants to decide who should be Iraq’s Prime Minister, then Levin ought to run for the Iraqi Parliament. Sen Levin should open his eyes and look at his own country, and give a damn about what’s going on here. Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK
Doomed Iraqi Prime Minister snaps at American criticism
||Excerpt: “There are American officials who consider Iraq as if it were one of their villages, for example Hillary Clinton and Carl Levin,” Maliki told a news conference.
“This is severe interference in our domestic affairs. Carl Levin and Hillary Clinton are from the Democratic Party and they must demonstrate democracy. I ask them to come back to their senses and to talk in a respectful way about Iraq.”
Iraqi with CIA ties hires D.C. lobby firm to
push himself as next puppet Prime Minister
||Excerpt: On the same day U.S. intelligence officials briefed reporters on their lack of confidence in Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to solve the problems facing his country, the U.S. Justice Department released documents showing that Dr. Ayad Allawi, a Maliki rival with close ties to the CIA, was paying the GOP firm Barbour Griffith & Rogers (BGR) more than a quarter-million dollars to lobby on his behalf.
Surge in U.S. home repossessions
||Excerpt: Falling sales and decreasing prices have made it harder for homeowners who have hit difficulties to sell their homes and clear their debts.
The RealtyTrac data showed there were 179,599 foreclosure — or repossession — filings in July. This equates to one for every 693 households.
California, Florida, Ohio, Michigan and Georgia accounted for more than half of the cases. Borrowers with sub-prime loans have been particularly hard hit.
Comment: I was driving through Winter Park on my way to a camera store. Through, not the most posh section, but one right up there. Older houses in what is known as “Old Winter Park”.
I could not believe it. It seem as if every other house was up for sale and those not fore sale were for rent. Even a few under construction but nearly complete were for sale and people do not build in this section to sell, they build to live there.
If anyone thinks that the economy is just fine, they must be on some heavy hallucinogens. Chris M. PERMANENT LINK
ACLU sues DEA on behalf of trucker whose $24,000 was seized
||Excerpt: Anastasio Prieto of El Paso gave a state police officer at the weigh station permission to search the truck to see if it contained “needles or cash in excess of $10,000,” according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the federal lawsuit Thursday.
Prieto told the officer he didn’t have any needles but did have $23,700.
Officers took the money and turned it over to the DEA. DEA agents photographed and fingerprinted Prieto over his objections, then released him without charging him with anything.
Comment: Sigh. Pay attention please: Whether you have something to hide or not, never, ever submit to a “voluntary” search. Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK
| There are more than three stooges
(and one of them will be America’s next President)
Giuliani hires the company that made racist “Call me, Harold” ad
||Excerpt: The firm’s client roster has included Sens. John Thune of South Dakota, Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas. Clients who lost 2006 Senate races include former Rep. Mark Kennedy of Minnesota, former Sen. Jim Talent of Missouri and Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard in Michigan.
Comment: Yeow, that’s a pretty impressive list, ‘cuz every name the article mentioned triggers my scumbag alarm, except Sheriff Bouchard, who’s suspect just by being on the list. Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK
Edwards isn’t sure whether Cuba has a
government-run health-care system
||Excerpt: “I’m going to be honest with you — I don’t know a lot about Cuba’s healthcare system. Is it a government-run system?”
Ron Paul says the NAFTA Superhighway is real
(it’s not) and will be built by Spaniards (it won’t)
||Excerpt: “The chief project thus far of the SPP is the so-called NAFTA superhighway which would connect Mexico, the United States and Canada, cutting a wide swath through the middle of Texas and up through Kansas City,” warned Republican Congressman Ron Paul in a statement read at one of the morning news events in Ottawa yesterday.
“Millions would be displaced by this massive undertaking which would require the eminent domain actions [expropriations] on an unprecedented scale. … A Spanish construction company, it is said, plans to build the highway and operate it as a toll road.”
Dodd and Bush agree: Impeachment would be a bad idea
||Excerpt: Dodd said Democrats could lose control of Congress in the 2008 elections if they pursued that course, because many Americans would object to Congress spending 14 months on impeachment proceedings rather than focusing on other problems facing the nation.
Comment: Well, I’ll certainly be willing to donate whatever I can afford if an Democrat wants to run against this lipflapper Dodd next time around. Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK
Giuliani would require all foreigners
in America to carry biometric IDs
||Excerpt: Giuliani … announced last week that all foreigners, including holiday-makers, would be obliged to carry a “tamper-proof” biometric card, which could be issued at ports of entry.
“If you don’t have that card, you get thrown out of the country,” Giuliani said. He intends to call it a Safe card (for secure authorized foreign entry).
Three life terms for 1964 murder of two black activists
(co-conspirator gets immunity for cooperation)
||Excerpt: James Ford Seale, a reputed Ku Klux Klansman, was sentenced Friday to three life terms in prison for his role in the 1964 abduction and murder of two black teenagers in southwest Mississippi.
Seale, 72, was convicted in June on federal charges of kidnapping and conspiracy in the deaths of Charles Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee, two 19-year-olds who disappeared from Franklin County on May 2, 1964.
Former White House Spokesliar Ari Fleischer fronts
$15-million ad campaign for more, longer war
||Excerpt: Freedom’s Watch — which is planning to spend $15 million in television and radio advertising through mid-September — counts among its board members and donors several longtime friends of the Bush White House. Prominent among them is Ari Fleischer, President Bush’s first press secretary, who left Washington and politics four years ago, seemingly never to return.
Comment: Over the past few years, several different soft-spoken ad campaigns for peace have been refused by TV networks un-willing to air such “controversial” ads. Do you think you’ll read any news about any networks rejecting what’s literally an ad campaign for war? Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK
Rep Renzi (R-Arizona), under investigation, announces retirement
(to spend more time with his family, no doubt)
||Excerpt: Three-term Rep. Rick Renzi, an Arizona Republican facing a federal inquiry into his family’s insurance business, said Thursday he will not seek re-election next year. …
Renzi paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes while settling charges that his businesses improperly paid for his first congressional campaign.
Al-Sadr says “exclusive interview” in
London’s Independent was fabricated
||Excerpt: Sheikh Ahmed al-Shibani, the official spokesman for al-Sadr’s office in Najaf, denied that Sadr had given an interview to the British newspaper The Independent on Monday. “The interview published by the paper was fabricated and groundless. His Eminence (Sadr) has never granted this paper any interviews,” Shibani told VOI by telephone. “We will sue any newspaper, TV station or web site that publishes fabricated news about His Eminence Muqtada al-Sadr or his office,” affirmed Shibani.
In response, The Independent says nothing
Excerpt: Dear Editor, … Once again, today too I’ve tried to find in your newspaper something on that denial about the Muqtada al-Sadr’s interview the Independent gave so much space on Monday. Nothing. Not even two words on that denial coming from Sheikh Ahmed al-Shibani, the official spokesman for al-Sadr’s office in Najaf.
Planned Parenthood sues over Missouri law
aimed at shutting down abortion service
||Excerpt: “This onerous legislation has nothing to do with protecting women’s health and safety,” said Peter Brownlie, chief executive officer of the Planned Parenthood branch. “This is a blatant attempt to close down clinics and deny women their right to health care.”
New federal law raises price for birth control on campus
||Excerpt: The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, which went into effect in January, changes the calculation used by drug companies to determine Medicaid-related state rebates.
Before the law went into effect, drug companies offered colleges substantial discounts on birth control. The new law makes it too expensive for drug companies to continue offering those discounts.
National Guard cheers as Governor calls for withdrawal from Iraq
||Excerpt: A call by Puerto Rico’s governor for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq earned a standing ovation from a conference of more than 4,000 National Guardsmen.
Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila said Saturday that the U.S. administration has “no new strategy and no signs of success” and that prolonging the war would needlessly put guardsmen in harm’s way.
Iraq war coverage declines sharply
||Excerpt: U.S. media reporting of the war in Iraq fell sharply in the second quarter of 2007, largely due to a drop in coverage of the Washington-based policy debate, a study [the Project for Excellence in Journalism] released Monday said.
The bulk of the fall took place after May 24, when Congress approved war funding without including troop withdrawal timetables. This was widely viewed by the media as a victory for President George W. Bush in a political battle with Congress sparked by his January 10 troop ‘surge’ announcement.
News from inside Iraq in the media surveyed became even more focused on Americans rather than Iraqis in the second quarter, the study found.
Comment: Nothing to see here. Move along, move along. Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK
U.S. paid arms merchant and international trafficker $60-million
||Excerpt: The U.S. government paid a wanted international criminal roughly $60 million to fly supplies into Iraq in support of the war effort, a new book alleges.
Tesco grocery stores come to America’s store-less neighborhoods
||Excerpt: The world’s third-largest food retailer is seeking to woo U.S. shoppers with smaller convenience stores of around 10,000 square feet emphasizing ready-to-eat meals and fresh produce in areas that are underserved by supermarket and grocery store chains.
Gay-rights group will publicize signers of anti-rights petition
||Excerpt: A coalition of conservative Christians is circulating petitions to put the two measures before voters in the November 2008 election. That would enable Oregon voters to decide whether to grant marriage-style rights to same-sex couples via domestic partnerships, and whether to ban discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people.
Comment: Sounds odd and awkward at first, but the more I think it over, the more I think it’s a brilliant strategy. Petitions for a ballot referendum are public records, and people who sign a petition to repeal other people’s civil rights should be publicly outed and shamed. Helen & Harry PERMANENT LINK
Bush OKs blowing up mountains for mining companies
||Excerpt: The new rule will loosen a 1983 law which prohibits disturbing soils within 100 feet of streams (in the past, companies have been sued under the Clean Water Act for dumping mining waste into streams), essentially giving coal companies the go-ahead.
NPR stands for Nuclear Paid Rallying
||Excerpt: In the six stories NPR has broadcast over the past 90 days about the future of nuclear power production in the U.S., NPR’s sources included only three opponents of nuclear power plants, versus eight sources touting the safety, environmental friendliness and financial benefits of nuclear energy.
One factor that is relevant to NPR’s cheerleading for nuclear power is its own financial links to the industry. According to NPR’s website, between 1993 and 2005, the public radio service received between $250,000 and $500,000 from Constellation Energy, which belongs to Nustart Energy, a 10-company consortium pushing for new nuclear power plant construction. During the same period, another nuclear operator, Sempra Energy, donated between $50,000 and $100,000 to NPR.
Windows Genuine Advantage suffers worldwide outage
||Excerpt: We contacted our sources at Microsoft, who told us off the record that the company is aware of a major WGA server outage affecting users across the globe.
Comment: Windows Genuine Advantage is an anti-piracy device: so the main people hurt by its problems are law-abiding, paid customers — NOT pirates.
Lord knows Windows users have plenty enough problems without Microsoft adding a demented software sheriff to their machines too.
An older version of WGA gave me some error messages in an automatic update on one of my PCs a year or two ago (and I am NOT a pirate). So recently, when yet another update to WGA was going to try to install itself on my PCs, I didn’t allow it.
Now it appears I may have saved myself a lot of trouble — as that particular update seems to be the subject of this article. JR Mooneyham PERMANENT LINK
Most Palestinians don’t trust U.N.
||Excerpt: An overwhelming majority of Palestinians does not trust the United Nations because they are convinced that it is dominated by the US, according to a new public opinion poll.
Out of 16 populations included in the poll, only the Palestinians rejected the idea that governments should be “more willing to make decisions within the UN” if this means going “along with a policy that is not its first choice.” An overwhelming 81% of Palestinians think their leaders should not be more open to such concessions.
Bush Ag undersecretary faces contempt charges
||Excerpt: A federal judge in Montana has ordered the Bush administration’s top forestry official to explain why he should not be held in contempt of court for the U.S. Forest Service’s failure to analyze the environmental impact of dropping fish-killing fire retardant on wildfires.
If found in contempt, Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey, who oversees the U.S. Forest Service, could go to jail until the Forest Service complies with the court order to do the environmental review.
Kurds flee homes as Iran shells villages in Iraq
||Excerpt: Iraqi Kurdish officials expressed deepening concern yesterday at an upsurge in fierce clashes between Kurdish guerrillas and Iranian forces in the remote border area of north-east Iraq, where Tehran has recently deployed thousands of Revolutionary Guards.
Bush will visit Seattle to boost re-election campaign of “Bush clone”
||Excerpt: Rep. Dave Reichert’s office declined to provide further information, referring callers to the White House, which also declined to provide further details. A spokesman for the Washington State Republican Party also declined to comment.
Democrats said the Republicans’ reluctance to speak indicated embarrassment at hosting the president, whose approval rating in the state is dismal. Democrats portrayed Reichert as a virtual Bush clone in the 2006 campaign and regularly ridiculed the president’s June 2006 visit to the Seattle area on Reichert’s behalf.
||Lightning round news
Brits investigate after U.S. drops 500-lb. bomb
on troops who called them for help
Talcum powder ‘poses cancer risk to women’
Hackers liberate iPhone from AT&T
A yogurt a day keeps the runs away
U.S. women dying in childbirth at highest rate in decades
Terror law puts Britons at risk of surveillance by US agents
Diabetic rushed to hospital after airline seizes insulin
“Renegade” Republican Senator wants to bring home
5,000 troops from Iraq, some day … but only if it’s OK with Bush
Dukakis predicts election loss for Democrats in 2008
Spain pulls live bullfights off state TV
Brainiacs say they can test sewer water
to track community’s meth, cocaine use
Scientists wonder, where have all the dolphins gone?
Eggheads predict artificial life within ten years
Bush concerned about hurricane victims (in Mexico —
he still doesn’t give a damn about Katrina victims)
FDA dumps flamboyantly stupid plan to close food-testing labs
More Republicans quit as party faces election disaster
Rep Bob Filner (D-California) allegedly gets pushy at the airport
We’ve spent 36 years and billions of dollars
fighting it, but the drug trade keeps growing
Putin says U.S. wants to dominate world
| At least 832,962 people have
been killed in Afghanistan & Iraq
I will not defend them
by Leon Fisher, Unknown News
||Excerpt: Have our fellow human beings, our friends and neighbors, become overwhelmed by the course of events these last six years, so they’re burying their heads in the sand? Or have they become closet fascists, who privately support the dictatorship in Washington?
Give the gift economy a chance
by Herb Ruhs, MD, Unknown News
||Excerpt: Concentration of wealth causes war. When the concentration of wealth decreases in a country, when wealth is more evenly shared, every health statistic of that country improves.
A three-alarm heads-up!
by Mr. Chuckles, Unknown News
||Excerpt: All of this money market/commercial paper horror must be solved immediately — within a month, maximum, and preferably this week.
If the short-term corporate paper markets remain illiquid then the U.S. faces its own Shock And Awe — destruction of unimaginable scale as the System implodes, as people start demanding all of their money back — which is impossible because it does not exist (remember It’s A Wonderful Life?).
Bush connects the dots
using the Neo-Domino Theory
by Kevin Good, Unknown News
||Excerpt: Bush went on to say that if we leave before the job is done; the Iraqi domino will fall, causing all the other Middle East dominos to fall. These domino countries will become terrorist strongholds, killing all the people trying to colonize their countries and resources. If this happens, the terrorists will follow us home just like the communist Vietcong and North Vietnamese Army did when we stopped killing them in their country so we wouldn’t have to kill them here.
You’re sloppy, you’re
irresponsible, and you
refuse to change
by Kathy Fisher, Unknown News
||Excerpt:I have no time because I have to work to pay my bills, so leave me alone. No, you stupid asses, don’t say bills. Say debt.
There are no Nazis in
Karl Rove’s family tree
by Helen & Harry Highwater, Unknown News
||Excerpt: Karl Rove is a monster. He has spent his entire adult life telling lies, exploiting bigotry, abusing Christianity, and fanning false fears, all to build Republican electoral victories. He is complicit in starting a war that’s killed thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of other people. By ordinary, un-spun standards, he is guilty of treason, having revealed the name of an undercover CIA agent (a specialist in preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction) to further the lie that led to war, the lie that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Karl Rove is clearly, obviously, unmistakably a man of no principles, no scruples, no character, and no patriotism.
But claims that Rove is a Nazi or the grandson of Nazis are simply untrue — and the real Rove is an abominably awful human being whose evil needs no exaggeration.
Libertarians’ blind spot
by HappySysiphus, Unknown News
||Excerpt: Paying your taxes to a BIG GOVERNMENT like they do in Europe is an investment in adequate health care for you and your loved ones, unions with balls that can make sure you get paid more than a poverty wage, an infrastructure that doesn’t dump you in the river to die on your way to work, and a realistic adversary to the government that governs you the most —The Corporation that holds your children hostage with the threat of abject poverty.
Our entire political
establishment is complicit
by Raymond R., Unknown News
||Excerpt: The main result of the surge has been to move the end date of the Iraq War further into the future. … Voting for either party or lending any of them your support means that you voluntarily accept your share of the guilt of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Know Nothing Party, Part Deux
by Michelle L., From Reason to Freedom
||Excerpt: 157 years ago, Know Nothings were anti-immigration and pro-Bible in the classrooms, and today Know Nothings are advocating the same freaking things.
It’s deja vu all over again.
Why I’ve returned my award to the
American Psychological Ass’n
by Mary Pipher, OpEdNews
||Excerpt: I cannot accept the August 19, 2007 Reaffirmation of APA’s Position Against Torture (Substitute Motion Three.) Under this motion, psychologists will be allowed to continue working on interrogation teams that are not subject to the Geneva Conventions. This motion places our organization on the side of the CIA and Department of Defense and at odds with the United Nations, The Red Cross, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Medical Association. With this reaffirmation we have made a terrible mistake.
Once upon a time, we
used to expect our Presidents
to have some idea
what they were talking about
by hilzoy, Obsidian Wings
||Excerpt: Once upon a time, when a President said something completely ludicrous, people were shocked and worried. For instance, when Gerald Ford said that “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, and there never will be under a Ford administration”, no-one just chuckled and thought: ha ha ha, isn’t that funny. They had the quaint, old-fashioned idea that our country’s leader ought to know better.
Under George W. Bush, of course, we have come to expect much less. …
We should never allow ourselves to get used to the idea that our President, the man who commands our armed forces and deploys our diplomats, has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about.
That’s why it’s worth dwelling on the speech he gave yesterday. It was an absolutely appalling mishmash of error, illogic, and slander.
Death by altruism
by Randy Balko, Reason
||Excerpt: I was struck by the ease with which [warmonger Frank] Gaffney could transition between the incompatible arguments of “we need to stay in Iraq because the Iraqi people need us,” and “we’re fighting Al-Qaeda over there so we don’t have to fight them over here.” President Bush also often makes both of these arguments, usually in the same speech.
Imagine how this sounds to the average Iraqi. “America is fighting this war for your freedom and safety. Also, we’re drawing all the world’s worst terrorists into your backyard so they blow up your markets and police stations, and steer clear of ours.”
Pat Tillman’s murder:
The terror war in a nutshell
by Herb Ruhs, MD, Unknown News
||Excerpt: The tremendous power in the hands of those who control the U.S. government seems to create an irresistible urge on the part of this degenerate leadership to manufacture perfect crimes.
If you look at history since WWII it is possible to discern a great trail of covert action in support of U.S. political and, most importantly, transnational commercial goals, each one of which can be seen as a perfect crime.
Pat Tillman’s murder is a small scale version of this more grandiose theme.
Karl Rove’s new website
by Kevin Good, Unknown News
||Excerpt: A questionable photo of your opponent with a farm animal is only $175. Turning war heroes into cowards and cowards into war heroes, just $200 for each military commendation, AWOL incident, and draft deferment.
One more catastrophically stupid war
by Helen & Harry Highwater, Unknown News
||Excerpt: Bush and Cheney clearly want another war. In our fine democracy, what these two schmucks want is all that matters. They’ve gotten everything they’ve wanted — with the eager cooperation of media, Congress, Democrats, and the American citizenry — from the day they secured the 2000 Republican nomination. And now they want war against Iran.
Hillary Clinton has leadership experience? Where?
by Mr. Chuckles, Unknown News
||Excerpt: Perhaps Hillary Clinton learned a lot watching her husband in the Oval Office, but that didn’t teach her how to charm voters, or how to lead the country.
To the contrary, she is famous for “triangulating” — for never taking the lead on any issue until a middle path is defined by people who are willing to lead.
An open-book test
and current events
by Herb Ruhs, MD, Unknown News
||Excerpt: “The early 20th century American social critic and humorist H. L. Mencken, known for his “definitions” of terms, defined a demagogue as “one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.”
What’s the first name that comes to mind?
You cannot go against nature
by HappySysiphus, Unknown News
||Excerpt: We can’t deny what we are. Either we are going to leave this place and seek our greater destiny or we are the agents of Death come to destroy it. …
by Ace, Unknown News
||Excerpt: Personally, I never thought America was such a great idea in the first place. I mean, come on, we stole someone else’s land and slaughtered them! Nice beginning, patriots!
Honesty is the best policy
by Michelle, From Reason to Freedom
||Excerpt: There’s a term for this type of thinking: ethnocentricity. We are so damn sure that our way is the right way, that we make no allowance for cultures and traditions; many of whom have existed far longer than ours. Our political and military leaders have for decades labored under the assumption that we can, in fact, police the world and deliver stability and democracy to every single corner of the planet. At least, democracy and stability as we define it — and if it protects and expands our interests.
So why aren’t we
manning the barricades?
by Murph, Cyclone’s Real Deal
||Excerpt: As long as the carrot is dangled in the face of the slave population, they will not rebel. Until they realize that they can’t get to the carrot, they will not rebel. So until the really big pinch comes on the average Joe in the street, there isn’t going to be any French type barricades in the street, or active rebellion. Few people, including myself, are willing to be martyrs for a population that likes and defends their slavery.
Will there be a
run on the banks?
by Mike Whitney, Smirking Chimp
||Excerpt: In truth, the “free market” means nothing to the men who run the system. It’s just a public relations scam designed to dupe investors into plunking their money into a system that’s rigged for the carnivores at the top of the economic food-chain.
Does anyone really believe that the market-commissars would allow the system to operate according to the arbitrary swings in investor confidence and random speculation?
This is THEIR SYSTEM and they run it THEIR WAY.
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