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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Dinner 

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WALLACE: So when you see Amnesty International talking about the U.S. as the Soviet gulag of our time, where you're the leading purveyor of torture, or a leading purveyor...

MYERS: I think it's irresponsible. I think it's absolutely irresponsible.

If you look back at the policy of this government, what we said we treat people -- the president said, and we've all said -- humanely and where military necessity permits, and in accordance with the Geneva Convention, we're doing that. And I just outlined a number of incidents. And it's very small compared to the population of detainees we've handled.

But here's the question that needs to be debated by everybody, and that is: how do you handle people who aren't part of a nation- state effort, that are picked up on the battlefield, that if you release them or let them go back to their home countries, they would turn right around and try to slit our throats, our children's throats?
I mean, these are the people that took four airplanes and drove them into three buildings on September 11th. They're the same folks with the same mentality.


COSTELLO: So, Viveca, who are these people at Guantanamo Bay?

NOVAK: Well, I guess about 750 people have been through there at this point. There's about 520 now. Many of them are Saudis, Afghans or Pakistanis or Yemenis. And they're people who were, you know, picked up not really on the battlefield -- some on the battlefield, but some as far away as Bosnia and some of them, you know, with ties that seem extremely tenuous, if they exist at all, to the Taliban and Northern Alliance.

My coauthor of a recent book, "Inside The Wire," my coauthor, former Army Sergeant Erik Saar, believes that only a few dozen of the people who he saw down there were really people who should have been there, really, you know, among the worst of the worst.

General Myers earlier was saying, you know, these are the very people who drove airplanes into the Twin Towers. But, well, those people are dead, as we know. And the masterminds behind it are not the people we're keeping down at Guantanamo.


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Impeach?

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Pat Tillman Senior Still Pissed That Army Used His Son’s death For Their Own PR Purposes.


The Army reported that information "was slow to make it back to the United States." To the contrary, the information was sent almost immediately, but there was one set of "facts" for the military and another for my family.

As to the military's claim that it kept the family informed, I was briefed three times with a sales pitch of made-up "facts" and assurances of investigative integrity.

With respect to the Army's reference to "mistakes in reporting the circumstances of [my son's] death": those "mistakes" were deliberate, calculated, ordered (repeatedly) and disgraceful -- conduct well beneath the standard to which every soldier in the field is held.

I have absolute respect and admiration for Army Rangers acting as such. As to their superior officers, the West Point-Army honor code is: "I will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those that do." They should reissue the booklet.

PAT TILLMAN SR.




Wahdyaknow? A SECRET Amendment allows US to drill in pristine wilderness in case alert level goes to orange.



"Catapulting the propaganda" would explain his performance at the press opportunity that same day at which he appeared surrounded by babies born from frozen embryos. He used the phrase "culture of life" at least 27 dozen times (I think I exaggerate, but maybe not). "The use of federal dollars to destroy life is something I simply do not support," he said to the press the following day.

Meanwhile, back in Baghdad, federal dollars are being used to destroy life at pretty good clip because Bush decided to wage an entirely elective war against a country that presented little or no threat to us. And according to the Downing Street memo, he damn well knew it, too.

The destruction of life in Iraq is more dramatic than taking a blastocyst smaller than a pinpoint out of a petri dish. The 1,600 American dead so far -- not much culture of life there. The 15,000 wounded, many of them irreparably -- not so good there, either. Estimates of Iraqi civilian deaths are all over the lot: a British medical journal claimed 100,000 last year, the Iraq Body Count website says between 21,000 and 25,000. The U.S./U.N. sanctions are widely believed to have killed hundreds of thousands, most of them babies, even after the Oil for Food Program was instituted.

The New York Times reports that the doctors in Iraq are now being threatened by insurgents and so are fleeing what was a showcase system under Saddam. I think we'd all have to agree, so far there's no progress on bringing a culture of life to Iraq.

What I don't get is the disconnect in Bush's mind. One must assume he figures in Iraq, "You gotta break eggs to make an omelette," or something akin. He said at the photo-op with the adorable children who had been produced from frozen embryos and adopted by other parents, "The children here today remind us that there is no such thing as a spare embryo."

Nonsense. Fertility treatments that help couples to have children leave far too many excess embryos for all of them to be adopted. They are simply discarded by the laboratories, thrown out. What in the world is he talking about?
Molly Ivins to Bush- Culture of Life My Ass





Cheney: Insurgency In Its Last throes.

Basra out of control, says chief of police





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Afternoon 

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Just when I thought that Arnold could go no further in his disconnect from reality (I mean making teachers, firemen, cops and nurses the enemy is quite an accomplishment), he's now had a perfect moment for the blooper reel of his brief stay in office... He paid for a pothole to be dug so he could then go fill it, with Hollywood-style lights and TV crews following him and stooping to new lows. Think about it for just a second: Someone is elected to a real job, being governor of the biggest state in the Union, but because of his background in the world of fantasy, he constantly confuses fantasy and reality. And now the ultimate....a fake pothole, so he can have a fake photo op, filling the fake pothole. Ah, media manipulation. To see it in freefall is a sight to behold.



Arnold Digging Himself a Deeper Pothole




Yeah, what would Amnesty International Know About Torture?



“I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag, and to the Savior for whose kingdom it stands. One Savior, crucified, risen and coming again, with life and liberty for all who believe.”



Neal Boortz Still Obsessed With Hillary


We Got from point A to Point B with them by torturing people. Next question

If throwing around the term "gulag" wasn't enough, the organization has also called for the arrest of a number of high ranking United States government officials including Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Alberto Gonzales, and many others. Given the apparent lack of clarity in this area of international law, I don't know how Amnesty got from Point A (decrying an arguably illegal or immoral policy toward detainees) to Point B (talking about gulags and arresting Donald Rumsfeld et al.).
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Good Morning 

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Cheney Says Insurgency In Last Throes.






How President Cheney Tortures People.



Not because they are foolish or superstitious. Rather, the official version of reality is fraying around the edges, and millions of people have chosen to opt out of the official version of truth. While the news continues to recycle the past, the future is gathering strength far away from the glare of publicity, which is where reality has always been born.
Dude, Now Deepak Is Pissed



In Kunstler's world, a teenager will be better off learning how to yoke up a horse-drawn buggy than how to change the oil in a car. Woodshop will be more important than computer literacy. Among Kunstler's predictions: The South will devolve into agricultural feudalism and the Pacific Northwest will be beset by a plague of pirates from Asia. Forget about sleek hydrogen-powered cars coming to the rescue. For that matter, quit tilting your hopes toward wind power.

Kunstler displays a kind of macabre wit about the unpleasantness and strife that await us all. Talking to him is like trying to argue with a prophet. His assertions have a neat way of doubling back to anticipate your critiques. If you express doubt about his views, then you may well be among the deluded masses too addicted to your McSUV and McSuburb to accept the reality that lies ahead.

Salon spoke to Kunstler at his home in upstate New York, mindful that in the future such an hour-long, cross-country telephone call, undertaken so casually, could be a remote luxury, a quaint remnant of a bygone era rich in the splendors of oil.



Best Comeback ever…


There really is a class war (though Brooks doesn't believe in it)! But it's not between the moneyed classes and everybody else; it's between those latte-sipping liberals in their ivory towers and everybody else.

I'd rather sip latte then koolaid
emeldir | Email | Homepage | 05.29.05 - 3:05 pm | #



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Monday, May 30, 2005

happy holiday 

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Ditto This


As this bloody month of car bombs and American deaths -- the most since January -- comes to a close, as we gather in groups small and large to honor our war dead, let us all sing of their bravery and sacrifice. But let us also ask their forgiveness for sending them to a war that should never have happened. In the 1960s it was Vietnam. Today it is Iraq. Let us resolve to never, ever make this mistake again. Our young people are simply too precious.






Brilliant and Hilarious


As a Republican, I'll say goodbye to "old Jesus" and hello to "new Jesus. " Sure Christ started out as a liberal Jew, and look where that got him. Compassion, love and diatribes against the rich only encourage the weak and punish the most successful among us. The Jesus that Republicans worship is a muscular, decisive, pro-war crusader hard at work cleansing the world of evildoers, not, God forbid, turning the other cheek.

My decision to become a Republican didn't come easily. For years I clung to the idea that the foundation of a democratic society was our implied social contract, each of us committing some level of personal sacrifice to the common good of all.

I regarded taxes as dues we pay for better roads and schools, safe inspection of meat and dairy products, maintenance of parks and protection of wilderness areas. I see now that looking out for the common good resulted in shortchanging the most important element in this formula -- me.

Let Democrats continue promising the "greatest good for the greatest number." Republicans clearly have my number -- No. 1.

I'm sure a lot of my friends reading this will ask me, "How can you sleep?" My answer will be, "Who's got time? I'm busy earning money." While they're bellyaching about rising deficits, the outsourcing of jobs and casualties in Iraq, I'll be marveling at the march of freedom in the Middle East, upticks in the GDP and the president's plan to link Social Security to the magic of the marketplace.

As a Republican, I simply won't listen to bad news anymore. Bad news doesn't get me or my family anywhere. If you don't have anything good to say about somebody, don't say anything at all -- unless it happens to be about a Democrat, of course.






We are not the governor's dumbbells.

I'll repeat: I wanted to be rooting for Arnold, but he'd have to take some of that bombastic marketing and market the right thing -- telling rich people like me the truth: that with a state debt of $18 billion caused by energy deregulation and the dot-com bust, our taxes are going to have to be a little higher on the rich. No matter what that group of advisors say. And maybe only temporarily. Which is what both Ronald Reagan and Pete Wilson did.

And tell them, Governor, just as your advisor Warren Buffet told you before you told him to be quiet and do 500 sit-ups, that Proposition 13 has to tax businesses the same as homeowners, and that'd raise about $5 billion a year. It won't make business leave California. And that the Bush tax cuts for the upper 1 percent in California alone amount to about $12 billion a year, so what's the point of ruling out all new taxes on the rich other than to make sure they continue to finance your nonstop campaign advertising?

And what is the sense in running to Wall Street and borrowing $15 billion, raising the debt to over $30 billion, and then coming back here and trying to cut programs and obligations to nurses, firemen, teachers, cops, students, schools, the elderly, the blind and disabled, and then denigrating these good people as special interests? Please. These are the people you should be especially interested in.






48 Filibusters by Republicans Against Clinton

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Breakfast 

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The Bill We Will Have To pay Eventually

I would suppose that were we able, (or inclined), to poll the planet, we would discover that America is now more intensely disliked than ever before in its history. After all, the distance between what we are, and what we, ever-fulsomely, claim to be, makes us out to be something of a rather monumental fraud. The truth is, we have never cared much about what others thought of us, largely because there never before existed any meaningful prospect for exacted consequence until now.

Owing to hubris, we have been maneuvered into a murderous insurgency in Iraq. And so, a small fraction of those who dislike America now has American soldiers precisely where they want them.

My fear is that the Iraq war, which American leaders tragically misunderstood from the very beginning, may mark the opening of a horrific chapter in human history with painful implications for the entire planet.

Terrorism, put simply, is war, privatized. It is vastly more mobile, and easier to mount and prosecute successfully, than state-mounted war.

We must face the fact that our country has done hurtful things in the world that the vast majority of Americans know little to nothing about. The victims remember, however, even if we cannot.




Infotainment Trumps Reality

On the last day of April, a Saturday morning, I awoke to alarming cable news. It seems that Jennifer Wilbanks, a Georgia woman, had disappeared on the eve of her wedding. According to the pundits on the cable news channel, she was very likely a victim of foul play. Maybe, they wondered, it was her fiance. It was on CNN, Fox and MSNBC. It must have been terribly important.

In the meantime, a story was breaking in Great Britain. A top secret British memo had been leaked to the Sunday London Times. The memo, comprising the minutes of a July 2002 meeting between Prime Minister Tony Blair and top government officials, in which they described recent conversations with their counterparts in the United States.

At the time, President Bush was telling the Congress and the American people that he was "willing to look at all options" and that military action was not "unavoidable." He was singing a different tune to our friends across the Atlantic, though. According to the minutes of the Blair meeting, "Bush had made up his mind to take military action" by the summer of 2002.




Plus Ca Change Plus Ca La Meme Chose

In the 1980s, reporters who dug up hard stories that challenged the Reagan administration’s messaging found themselves under intense pressure, both externally from well-funded conservative attack groups and behind their backs from senior editors. Any false step – if it offended the Reagan-Bush White House – could prove fatal for a career.

The New York Times’ Central America correspondent Raymond Bonner was perhaps the highest profile journalist pushed out of a job because his reporting angered the neoconservatives, but he was far from alone. The Reagan administration even organized special “public diplomacy” teams to lobby bureau chiefs about ousting reporters who were deemed insufficiently supportive of government policies.




Cracks In the Armor

In the case of the errant plane, White House officials said Mr. Bush was never in danger, suggesting that his staff had adopted a narrow interpretation of whether he needed to be informed as the event was unfolding. When speaking with reporters last week, Mrs. Bush did question the failure to brief the president, and the decision puzzles some management experts. "Suppose the plane had to be shot down: Can you imagine how much criticism the president would have gotten for not knowing about it?" said Jay Lorsch, a Harvard University professor who studies management. "Sure, you've got to decide what's important, but I can't think of a single reason not to tell him."





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Saturday, May 28, 2005

My Response to Orson Scott Card 

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A letter is quoted here from Orson Scott Card about the Newsweek Article


The Riots of the Faithful

So Newsweek prints an uncorroborated allegation about American interrogators flushing Qurans down the toilet in order to get fanatical Muslim prisoners to talk, and there's rioting and death all over the Muslim world.

There are several lessons to be learned from this incident, some trivial, some quite important.

1. The courts have given the news media carte blanche, in the name of the First Amendment -- but the media are no better than government at exercising unchecked power. When it's known that no one can punish you, a certain kind of person stops caring whether he hurts anybody. And such people tend to rise within any organization that doesn't work hard to have a conscience.

Personally, I think there should be legal consequences for editors and publishers and reporters so abysmally selfish and stupid that they would run with a story that they knew would provoke outrage in Muslim lands, without first making sure it was true.

Pick up a newspaper Mr Card. Turned out the riots had nothing to do with the Newsweek article (as told to us by General Richard Myers Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), and the Quran desecrations were reported to and by the Pentagon and the FBI several times since 2002.

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2. Too many people in the "American" media have lost any concept of loyalty to their country -- if they even consider it their country, rather than just their residence.

No, Mr. Card. The problem is that too many people like you completely forget that once a country is misled by their government into concocted war, they may only be led out with a free press. No Mr Card, it’s not that anyone else forgot that they are loyal to their country. The problem is that people like you equate loyalty with blind obedience. The single most unpatriotic thing an American can do today is blindly and unquestioningly back Bush’s policies which hurt America, my country, in every way one can hurt a country.

You do not define loyalty and patriotism for anyone else but you.


**

3. Muslims in Muslim countries can dish it out, but they can't take it. They had no problem expelling all the Jews from their countries in an ethnic cleansing every bit as vicious as anything the Spaniards did in 1492. They desecrated Torahs left and right. Nowadays they blow up babies and call it a heroic act, because they were Jewish babies.

But let somebody start a rumor that somebody dunked a Quran in the toilet, and they go insane and riot and kill people.

Your racism is showing. Like lots of racists, you have a selective memory. Think back about a century ago, or even more recently for some areas of the world and see what White Christians wrought: institutionalized slavery, lynching, suppressing Black voters and other rights, WWII, the Holocaust, over 11 million human beings destroyed in human slaughter houses, the urges of Stalin that killed 30 million people, Srebrenica… I could go on. But White Western Christians have committed the exact same crimes and riots and misdeeds as have Arabs.



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5. A house divided against itself cannot stand. The greatest asset that Osama and his tribe have going for them is not the tantrumlike behavior of their supporters. It's the fact that the West is deeply divided, as a new religious movement -- politically correct puritanism -- is perilously close to seizing control of the governments of most of the major nations of the West.

In other words, if you believe what liberals bvelieve, then you are helping the…Islamic terrorists!!!!!!


**

Already large numbers of Americans seethe over the puritanical laws imposed on us by anti-democratic judges, who cannot wait for compromise and the political process to "purify" us. Already we are outraged by the propaganda they foist on our children in the schools, without reference to the values of the community or the roots of the American culture.

Yes, how horrible that Janet Jackson’s tit and that faggot Spongebob was forced upon your kids. My suggestion is that like a good American parent, you won’t let the remote control parent your children. In fact, you block the channels and tell them what they are allowed and not allowed to watch. Allow me, a middle aged man to watch what I want because after all,. This was supposed to be a free country.

Let’s not even get into the fact that your government won’t let us see the carnage of the war we are inflicting upon the Iraqis and our own brave children. Let’s not discuss the consequences of a whole generation of American kids who will spend 8 years of their lives under a president that they suspect got us into a war with a big lie.

The problem Mr Card is that you think you’re right and everyone else is wrong. I enjoyed Enders Game. But you’re dead wrong on this issue.












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Friday, May 27, 2005

Breakfast 

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The difference between Limbaugh and Moyers is as profound as the difference between FOX and PBS. One man plays by the "rules of the game," the other sticks to principle. One man defends a corrupt status quo, the other seeks to expose it. One is a master propagandist, the other wants to break the stranglehold of "The Big Lie." One fears the damage done by the practice of journalism, the other knows that great journalism is the essential element in the making of great nations. One is a Tory who serves his King George, the other is a rebel against the throne.

It is not a fair fight. On one side are Limbaugh and his Tories, with all of their economic and political might. On the other are Moyers and his media reformers, with only the truth -- and the echo of Tom Paine crying across the centuries: "O Ye that love mankind! Ye that dares oppose not only the tyranny but the tyrant, stand forth!"






Human rights groups have criticised the US military for not being restrained enough in its use of force, particularly at checkpoints when vehicles sometimes approach at speed and US soldiers, fearing a car bomb attack, open fire.




This is why I always get the feeling that we’re just improvising.

"We will divide Baghdad into seven main areas, and the number of the forces who will take part in the operation from the interior and the defense ministry will be more than 40,000 security men," he told a news conference.

Dulaimi said it would be the first phase of a security crackdown that could eventually cover the whole country.

"We will also impose a concrete blockade around Baghdad, like a bracelet around an arm, God willing, and God be with us in our crackdown on the terrorists' infrastructure. No one will be able to penetrate this blockade," Dulaimi said.





The most absurd aspect of the Newsweek scandal was the whole idea of a "media out of control." Many people, even allegedly responsible people like Peretz, took the position that the post-Watergate American press is now so sick with self-love and power-lust that it reflexively sheds its ethics whenever it smells blood.

In Santa Maria, California this week, I am one of over 1500 media personnel accredited to cover the Michael Jackson trial, one of the most pointless and idiotic news stories of all time. By the thousands, we chase tornadoes, wring our hands over Brad and Jennifer, film babies fallen in wells, do one-hour interview specials with Scott Peterson's cellmate. Once every year or so, one or two of us steps out of line to cover some serious matter involving war or corruption or torture. If that's "out of control," what would we be if we were really working?





This is going to bite us in the ass in more ways, economically, politically, and militarily than anyone of us ever expected


The FBI does its own questioning of prisoners at Guantanamo, and those agents have been writing emails, classified secret, to FBI headquarters. They detail abuse by military interrogators. The agents wrote of finding prisoners “chained hand and foot in a fetal position” for up to 24 hours at a time, and of prisoners who had “urinated or defecated on themselves."

Another FBI document says an interrogator grabbed a detainee’s thumbs and “bent them backwards” and “grabbed his genitals.” One FBI agent reported that he saw a detainee had been “gagged with duct tape that covered much of his head.” The interrogator explained that the prisoner had been “chanting the Koran and would not stop.”

60 Minutes ran the emails and Saar’s story past one of the nation’s most experienced military intelligence experts.

"Unimaginable to me, I just can not imagine what people think they were doing," says Army Col. Patrick Lang, who was head of human intelligence gathering at the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency.

Lang, who’s now retired, wrote the Arabic and Middle-East studies curricula for West Point. "I mean, what is this?" asks Lang. "A scene from Dante's Inferno? I mean, what level of hell are we on to? Imagine that we could do such things to people? This is just absolutely wrong."

60 Minutes asked Lang to review some of the written statements of prisoners who claim to have been beaten.

"If people were really beaten and kicked and knocked around, and their heads beaten against the floor, and had, you know, deprived of treatment for broken bones and teeth resulting from this," says Lang. "If these things really happened in fact, to me, that's a lot more serious than this silliness with having these girls go in and rub themselves all over these prisoners."

"There is a lot of discussion about precisely what the word "torture" means," says Pelley. "You've been at the top of defense military intelligence. Based on what you've seen and heard, is all of this torture?"

"I think that a lot of this behavior which has been allowed is so far outside the pale, that I think that it would have to be considered to be something not allowed in international law or U.S. military law," says Lang.

But is it torture? "Yeah," says Lang. "I think it's torture."

And one of the FBI agents at Guantanamo thought so, too. He warned FBI headquarters the military was using “torture techniques.” The FBI emails were uncovered and declassified in a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union. The head of the ACLU, Anthony Romero, says that the FBI agents were worried that military interrogators were ruining any chance of getting reliable intelligence.








knock off bags and designer purses are financing terrorism




Thus, eight Iraqi public opinion polls reveal that:


** Iraqis strongly opposing the US presence in Iraq greatly outnumber those who strongly support it.

** US troops in Iraq are viewed broadly as an occupying force, not as peacekeepers or liberators.

** Iraqis do not trust US troops and hold them responsible for much of the country's violence.

** There is significant popular support for attacks on US forces, which grew larger during the course of 2004, at least among Sunni Arabs.

** A majority of Iraqis want coalition forces to leave within a year or less, especially after the formation of a permanent government in 2006.





Juan Cole insists that sometimes you are just screwed



The Iraqi guerrillas are given tactical support by foreign jihadi fighters. There are probably only a few hundred of them, but they are disproportionately willing to undertake very dangerous attacks, and to volunteer as suicide bombers.

There are simply too few US troops to fight the guerrillas. There are only about 70,000 US fighting troops in Iraq, they don't have that much person-power superiority over the guerrillas. There are only 10,000 US troops for all of Anbar province, a center of the guerrilla movement with a population of 820,000. A high Iraqi official estimated that there are 40,000 active guerrillas and another 80,000 close supporters of them. The only real explanation for the successes of the guerrillas is that the US military has been consistently underestimating their numbers and abilities. There is no prospect of increasing the number of US troops in Iraq.

The guerillas have enormous advantages, of knowing the local clans and terrain and urban quarters, of knowing Arabic, and of being local Muslims who are sympathetic figures for other Muslims. American audiences often forget that the US troops in Iraq are mostly clueless about what is going on around them, and do not have the knowledge base or skills to conduct effective counter-insurgency. Moreover, as foreign, largely Christian occupiers of an Arab, Muslim, country, they are widely disliked and mistrusted outside Kurdistan.

US military tactics, of replying to attacks with massive force, have alienated ever more Sunni Arabs as time has gone on. Fallujah was initially quiet, until the US military fired on a local demonstration against the stationing of US troops at a school (parents worried about their children being harmed if there was an attack). Mosul was held up as a model region under Gen. Petraeus, but exploded into long-term instability in reaction to the November Fallujah campaign. The Americans have lost effective control everywhere in the Sunni Arab areas. Even a West Baghdad quarter like Adhamiyah is essentially a Baath republic. Fallujah is a shadow of its former self, with 2/3s of its buildings damaged and half its population still refugeees, and is kept from becoming a guerrilla base again only by draconian methods by US troops that make it "the world's largest gated community." The London Times reports that the city's trade is still paralyzed.



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Thursday, May 26, 2005

Appetizers 

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Kraft Foods To Right Wing Bigots (Is that redundant?)


Thanks to AZnomad at Kos, this is a letter from Kraft Foods to the Right Wing Bigots who criticize them for supporting the Gay Games.


From: Marc Firestone, Executive Vice President, Corporate Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Kraft Foods Inc.

Subject: Kraft's Contribution to 2006 Gay Games

The true test of any commitment is how you respond when challenged. Kraft is experiencing this to a degree right now, as a result of our decision to be one of several contributors to the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago. The games will bring together thousands of athletes in a competition that will take place in our corporate hometown.

In recent days, the company has received many e-mails, the majority of them generated through the America Family Association, which objects to our sponsorship. We also have received calls and e-mails - - not as many, but equally passionate - - thanking us for supporting this event. A member of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's team said, "We applaud the businesses that are sponsors of the Gay Games, including Kraft Foods."

You may have questions or might have had questions from friends and family about our contribution to this event. While Kraft certainly doesn't go looking for controversy, we have long been dedicated to support the concept and the reality of diversity. It's the right thing to do and it's good for our business and our work environment.

Diversity makes us a stronger company and connects us with the diversity that exists among the consumers who buy our products.

Diversity is more than a word many people like to say. At Kraft we truly respect all kinds of differences. And diversity is not a selective concept. By definition, it's nothing if not inclusive. We respect diversity of ethnicity, gender, experience, background, personal style and yes, sexual orientation and gender identity. Recognizing, respecting and valuing these differences helps us be a more successful business and a workplace where all employees can realize their full potential.

For more than a decade, we have had employee councils that promote our awareness of diversity. The newest of our nine diversity councils is the Rainbow Council, which strives to provide a forum for support and networking among gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender employees; raise awareness within Kraft and promote involvement in the community. Each council has an executive sponsor and I have been the Rainbow Council's sponsor since last year.

Through all of our councils, we support various initiatives that demonstrate how strongly we believe in diversity, through involvement in the community. Our sponsorship of the 2006 Gay Games is one of almost 1,700 cash and in-kind grants we make annually.

It can be difficult when we are criticized. It's easy to say you support a concept or a principle when nobody objects. The real test of commitment is how one reacts when there are those who disagree. I hope you share my view that our company has taken the right stand on diversity, including its contribution to the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago.



In an example of the smaller Republican government to come, a judge has ruled which religions a parent can expose their children to.

An Indianapolis father is appealing a Marion County judge's unusual order that prohibits him and his ex-wife from exposing their child to "non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals."

The parents practice Wicca, a contemporary pagan religion that emphasizes a balance in nature and reverence for the earth.

Cale J. Bradford, chief judge of the Marion Superior Court, kept the unusual provision in the couple's divorce decree last year over their fierce objections, court records show. The order does not define a mainstream religion.


The Culture of Lie Administration



Warfare, when absolutely unavoidable, is one thing. But it's a little difficult to understand how these kinds of profoundly dehumanizing practices - not to mention the physical torture we've heard so much about - could be enthusiastically embraced by a government headed by men who think all life is sacred. Either I'm missing something, or President Bush, Tom DeLay and their ilk are fashioning whole new zones of hypocrisy for Americans to inhabit.

There's nothing benign about psychological torture. The personality of the victim can disintegrate entirely. Common effects include memory impairment, nightmares, hallucinations, acute stress disorder and severe depression with vegetative symptoms. The damage can last for many years.

Torturing prisoners, rather than making the U.S. safer, puts us all in greater danger. The abuses of detainees at places like Guantánamo and the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq have come to define the United States in the minds of many Muslims and others around the world. And the world has caught on that large percentages of the people swept up and incarcerated as terrorists by the U.S. were in fact innocent of wrongdoing and had no connection to terrorism at all.

Bitterness against the U.S. has increased exponentially since the initial disclosures about the abuse of detainees. What's the upside of policies that demean the U.S. in the eyes of the world while at the same time making us less rather than more secure?

The government, like an addict in denial, will not even admit that we have a problem.

"We're in this Orwellian situation," said Leonard Rubenstein, the executive director of Physicians for Human Rights, "where the statements by the administration, by the president, are unequivocal: that the United States does not participate in, or condone, torture. And yet it has engaged in legal interpretations and interrogation policies that undermine that absolutist stance."




“Police….drop that blastocyst NOW!!!!


These blastocysts, as they are called, bear none of the attributes we associate with humanity and, sitting outside the womb, have no chance of developing into babies. Some people consider them clumps of cells no different than other biological research materials. Others would grant them special respect but still make them available for worthy research. But Mr. Bush is imposing his different moral code on both, thereby slowing research that most consider potentially beneficial.



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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Entree 

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Remember when this was called terrorism?


McNamarra called for an end to Nuclear Weapons




supporting dictators in return for oil rights


Our Lazy Fucking Press

This would seem to be one of those moments in American history when satire becomes obsolete. It's because our national dialogue has itself become a full-blown, round-the-clock farce. The White House and the press are major players. Exhibit A: Newsweek made a telling error recently by publishing a story that lacked proper confirmation—about American military jailers desecrating the Koran to break down their Muslim prisoners. A week or so later, Islamic protest riots partly related to the story left at least 15 people dead in Afghanistan.

The Bush White House, suffering a yawning credibility gap from the Iraq war plus a global wave of anti-American sentiment, leaped on the press mistake and, even after a Newsweek apology and retraction, said the magazine should go further and "repair the damage" by "speaking out" about American values to the Muslim world. "The values that the United States stands for . . . the values we hold so dearly," as Bush spokesman Scott McClellan put it.

Reasonable citizens could not be blamed for rolling their eyes at such an exhortation. Indeed, what values has the Bush administration stood for and paraded before the world? For one, it can no longer be sanely disputed that this president led the nation into the Iraq war on a platform of false information. No stockpiles of "weapons of mass destruction" were found in Iraq. There was no imminent threat. Bush hailed our soldiers as heroes, but he sent them into battle without proper body armor or armored vehicles and without a large enough force or any real plan for restoring order after Saddam Hussein was ousted. Avoidable casualties have been the result. And the continuing scandal about the torture of Muslim prisoners needn't have happened at all if the White House had sent properly trained and disciplined units to run the detention centers.



The War We Don’t Have To Look At

Images of thousands of dead U.S. soldiers helped to turn the tide of public opinion against the Vietnam War, but now photo-journalists are even banned from military funerals at Arlington national cemetery. A report this weekend in the Los Angeles Times documented the extremely rare publication of photos of American casualties in six major newspapers during a sixth month period. Readers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Washington Post never saw a single picture of a dead serviceman or servicewoman in their morning papers. [includes rush transcript] Violence continues in Iraq on a daily basis. A car bomb in central Baghdad killed at least nine Iraqis on Tuesday. Meanwhile the death toll from a string of attacks on Monday has risen to at least 54. Over 130 people were wounded. Over 600 Iraqis have been killed in just over a month.


As Mary Tillman told the Post, "Pat had high ideals about the country; that's why he did what he did. The military let him down. The administration let him down. It was a sign of disrespect. The fact that he was the ultimate team player and he watched his own men kill him is absolutely heartbreaking and tragic. The fact that they lied about it afterward is disgusting."



US Citizens Beaten With Whips and Rods


So much for breaking the back of the insurgency



There seemed to be no "viable exit strategy" for foreign troops.


Nun imprisoned for painting a bomb

Amnesty International: The US is one of the biggest torturers


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The Cost of this War Amortized from 3/19/03 to today. 

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Minimum Iraqi Death Count = 21795

US Death Count = 1647

Coalition Forces Death Count = 88 + 92 = 180

Reported Wounded = 12350

Possibly 20,000 additional wounded medevaced cases

= 55972 total casualties in the 793 days the war has raged, or about 70 Casualties a day.

Total estimated Deaths caused by war = 23177 or about 29 deaths a day
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Continental Breakfast 

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"Basically, we've got all the toys, but not enough boys."




A little good news


Another diplomatic tour de forced




What’s a few antiquities when you consider the purple fingers?


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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

To everyone who thought this invasion was a good idea 

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63 dead in 25 days


All of you who couldn't wait for the flower pedals to fall and Bush Square to be dedicated in downtown Bagdhad, all you who called John Kerry a traitor while you did not serve, all of you, link to this website everyday.

and if you don't read the names


at least count the numbers.


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Entree 

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Bill O Reilly Does 25 shows on Ward Churchill and Complains That Abu Gharaib Has Been Overexposed.


Bush Forbids Scientifioc Studies To Get In The Way of Development

WASHINGTON, May 23 - The southwestern regional director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has instructed members of his staff to limit their use of the latest scientific studies on the genetics of endangered plants and animals when deciding how best to preserve and recover them.



We Are All FGuilty

The Times, although it does not care to spell this out, is charging the president, vice president, secretary of defense and various military officials with sanctioning torture and murder. The facts are unambiguous. In reality, the entire political and media establishment (including the Times itself), which endorsed and supported the invasion of Iraq, is implicated.




Preachers Gone Wild

A Baptist minister refuses to apologize for a church sign saying the Muslim holy book should be flushed.


Fuck Content, We’re After Ratings

For the past few weeks with hundreds of people being killed in Iraq, the “nuclear-option” threat from Republicans on judicial nominations, and an uncertain world economy, NBC's “news” magazine Dateline has chosen to focus on snake-handling religious sects, visions, revelations and other mystical religious subjects.

Why? Because the network needs to boost its ratings fortunes and it is sweeps and the show leads into a miniseries, Revelations. Or at least that's what it looks like from here.

NBC points out that it has some serious news specials in the works, including a Tom Brokaw take on global terrorism and a hidden-camera report working condictions in Bangladesh, but admits it would be “a missed opportunity on many levels not to take advantage of the time period” and the Revelations lead-out opportunity.

OK, but we are still troubled by the escalating trend toward prime time news that flacks for other entertainment programming and by story choices driven by synergy rather than news.



Stop The Insanity

Rarely are the words of one state legislator worth national attention, but when Senfronia Thompson, a black representative from Houston, stalks to the back mike with a certain "get-out-of-my-way" look in her eye, it's, Katie, bar the door. Here is Thompson speaking against the Legislature's recent folly of putting a superfluous anti-gay marriage measure into the state constitution:

"I have been a member of this august body for three decades, and today is one of the all-time low points. We are going in the wrong direction, in the direction of hate and fear and discrimination. Members, we all know what this is about; this is the politics of divisiveness at it's worst, a wedge issue that is meant to divide.

"Members, this is a distraction from the real things we need to be working on. At the end of this session, this Legislature, this leadership will not be able to deliver the people of Texas fundamental and fair answers to the pressing issues of our day.

"Let's look at what this amendment does not do: It does not give one Texas citizen meaningful tax relief. It does not reform or fully fund our education system. It does not restore one child to CHIP [Children's Health Insurance Program] who was cut from health insurance last session. It does not put one dime into raising Texas' Third World access to health care. It does not do one thing to care for or protect one elderly person or one child in this state. In fact, it does not even do anything to protect one marriage.

"Members, this bill is about hate and fear and discrimination... When I was a small girl, white folks used to talk about 'protecting the institution of marriage' as well. What they meant was if people of my color tried to marry people of Mr. Chisum's color, you'd often find the people of my color hanging from a tree... Fifty years ago, white folks thought interracial marriages were 'a threat to the institution of marriage.'

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Monday, May 23, 2005

Late Entree (Kitchen Was Very Busy) 

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Galloway’s Damning Testimony Scrubbed From Homeland Security Website. Chicken.Shits.

Us PR Outreach To Muslim World Is Quite Pathetic

US Soldier Disciplined For Defacing A Koran Way Back In 2002


Spinning Tillman




So, on May 20, you may reflect upon the euphoria that swept the United States and many other countries, even the vanquished in a very real sense, and resign yourself to the fact that "terror" will not surrender on that day, nor on any day no matter how much blood and treasure are squandered in misbegotten crusades to "defeat" it. Or, you might train yourself to believe the endlessly repeated lie about the perpetual war that ran through George Orwell's 1984: "We have always been at war with . . . [the current enemy]."


A history of being duped into war



"Few commentators, when they mention such news [of car bombs targeting convoys in Baghdad], point out the obvious. The United States military does not control Baghdad. It doesn't control the major roads leading out of the capital. It does not control the downtown area except possibly the heavily barricaded "green zone." It does not control the capital. The guerrillas strike at will, even at Iraqi notables who can afford American security guards (many of them e.g. ex-Navy Seals). If the US military does not control the capital of a country it conquered, then it controls nothing of importance. Ipso facto, Iraq is a failed state."



Recruiting For Insurgency



Military Claims 5100 AWOL- Call in Centers Getting 3000 Calls A Month



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Starters 

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Attacks Delaying Rebuilding. Which Costs Us More. You Get The Idea.


A look inside the Green Zone

A look at how the invasion has eroded our soft power.


NYTs calls Bush’s bullshit about being truthful and transparent in the abuse scandals which are still going on.


Bob Herbert asks how a guy can make this many mistakes and keep a job?



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Sunday, May 22, 2005

Okrent Leaving The Times. Good. 


Saturday, May 21, 2005

The Hits Keep A Coming 

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Just How Bad Is It?

You know the situation has to be really bad when military leaders feel the need to turn to the New York Times.

Kind Of Makes You Wonder

Second, I was struck by the officer’s statement in the article that “We believe in the [mission] because we’re in it; and if we let go of the insurgency and take our foot off its throat, then this country could fall and go back into civil war and chaos.” That is startling as well – the country has become totally reliant on our military to avoid “war and chaos”? Doesn’t it make any of us wonder whether we would have been better off not to invade Iraq in the first place?


Closing Your Eyes Does Not Make It Disappear.

When was the last time you saw combat footage of American soldiers wounded or dead? When was the last time you saw footage of Iraqi civilians inadvertently killed by American fire? Of course, such images are deeply painful. But they are critical to the proper functioning of a self-governing society. Such images do not exist, however, in the American media. Surely, the embeds must be seeing something in Iraq other than military vehicles bouncing their way through the desert.

These images do exist, of course. You can see them on European television and on the Internet. But not on American television. Why is this so? Who is making these decisions? This is one of the great mysteries of this war. And it is deeply troubling. We know how far the Bush White House has gone to prevent us from seeing coffins. How far has it gone to prevent us from seeing the casualties of war? This is, indeed, a war "conducted on lies." And where, or where, is the press?


George W. Orwell

How do they explain "a culture of life" that supports the death penalty? Freedom that denies "choice"? "Free elections" in Iraq where not everyone gets to vote? An American culture that allows for prison torture and spying on its own populace? Cut backs in Social Security and health care. Compliments for vigilantes at the border. Add it up.


Seymour Hersch Sticks another finger in the eye of the Bush Administration.

Despite Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo - not to mention Iraq and the failure of intelligence - and the various roles they played in what went wrong, Rumsfeld kept his job; Rice was promoted to secretary of state; Alberto Gonzales, who commissioned the memos justifying torture, became attorney general; deputy secretary of defence Paul Wolfowitz was nominated to the presidency of the World Bank; and Stephen Cambone, under-secretary of defence for intelligence and one of those most directly involved in the policies on prisoners, was still one of Rumsfeld's closest confidants. President Bush, asked about accountability, told the Washington Post before his second inauguration that the American people had supplied all the accountability needed - by re-electing him. Only seven enlisted men and women have been charged or pleaded guilty to offences relating to Abu Ghraib. No officer is facing criminal proceedings.

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Friday, May 20, 2005

idiots!!!! 

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Bush’s Social Security Tour is more like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic





US Overstates China’s Defense Spending by 50%.

Who can we blame?


Army recruiter Warns Your Chance of Death Is Greater Here Than In Iraq.

Recruiter: "You have more chance of dying here in the United States at, what is it, 36-percent die, kill rate here in the United States, people here just dying left and right, you have more chance of dying over here than you do over there."



Operation Matador

Should be called Operations Bull In A China Shop

Turns out we killed people fighting on our side- just trying to defend themselves against the Insurgents.




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Midnight Snack 

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Bolton Didn’t get His Last Job Done

"I submit that Mr. John Bolton, who has been assigned to negotiate this, has a very heavy responsibility, and I hate to say that I am not sure to this point that he is up to it.



Our Democratic Senate leader is – again – smeared and targeted as an obstructionist.

For what? For leading the minority party's lawful and proper dissent to the policies and practices of the majority, as though the expression of dissent on the floor of the Senate were improper or un-American - or, now we are even being told - un-Christian. When, in fact, it is the intolerance of dissent that is improper, undemocratic, and the charges that political or policy disagreements here are actions “against people of faith” are the slurs of charlatans.






Uzbekistan Is So Unstable And Radioactive With Torture That Despite Billions in US dollars, We Cannot Use The Airbase Anymore


Pot, This is kettle. Kettle, Meet Pot.

It's understandable that the administration might want to flush Newsweek down the toilet and pawn off the blame for its own mistakes. How cathartic it must be to have something other than those famous photos from Abu Ghraib to blame for rampant anti-Americanism. How comforting, after Ahmad Chalabi, to have someone other than the CIA or White House publicly burned by a bad source.

No one excuses Newsweek. But in its long adventure in the Arab world, the administration has hatched few strategies as hollow as holding a magazine responsible for its own failings.

The White House Lecturing On Journalism Is Like Stalin Lecturing On Ethics.

But deeper in the administration, that cause has been undermined. The Abu Ghraib abuses might seem minor to some Americans, particularly in the context of the 9/11 atrocities and the brutality of Saddam Hussein. But in the Muslim world, they were the equivalent of handing arms to terrorists.


You Know What? British Statesman Galloway Mentions 8.8 Billiob dollars are missing, and it turns out it’s missing in the news too.

so bad even Halliburton ain’t stayin



Di Rita, Italian For Hypocrite

When Newsweek's source admitted that he had misidentified the government document in which he had seen an account of Quran desecration at Guantánamo prison, Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita exploded, "People are dead because of what this son of a bitch said. How could he be credible now?"


Di Rita could have said the same things about his bosses in the Bush administration.

Tens of thousands of people are dead in Iraq, including more than 1,600 U.S. soldiers and Marines, because of false allegations made by President George W. Bush and Di Rita's more immediate boss, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, about Saddam Hussein's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction and equally imaginary active nuclear weapons program. Bush, Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice repeatedly made unfounded allegations that led to the continuing disaster in Iraq, much of which is now an economic and military no man's land beset by


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Thursday, May 19, 2005

What made me think I would avoid this? 

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I am the son of immigrants. Without giving too much away, I will tell you that for my Mom, and all of my family beyond, my Dad’s parents and uncles and cousins, my Mom’s entire family all suffered under the collapse of Europe during World War II. The world for each of them quite literally fell around their ears between 1939 and 1945.

There are people at work who emigrated here from other parts of the world they too have lived through complete and total personal and national tragedies. They have also lost their families and their possessions and have even seen their governments become quite repressive.

All of them grew up free people in different countries. All of them grew up in countries comprised of a reasonably sized population of educated people, and reasonable leadership.

Each of them saw a train coming and let it hit them. Just like we are. Each of tem saw their own governments taken over and subverted and each of them saw their neighbors, just like our neighbors, stand idly by with hands in pockets, and let it happen.

We are literally watching America become a facist state, where the government lies and manipulates. The central US government is a ruthless heartless group who wage war, profit from it and lie with every breath they take. They are smashing the institutions and protections we have always trusted and we are watching them. They are neither Republican nor Conservative. They are extremists in every sense of the word and they have quite literally taken over.
They stole the 2000 election, the 2004 election and have completely taken over the media.

I have lived to see rights plucked from us and many of my neighbors cheer. I have seen bloodlust championed and a complete and utter loss of sympathy for anyone in the world other than Americans, and even so we love to se Americans suffer as well.

I am living through this. Unbelievable as it is, it is happening.

What made me think my world wouldn't also collapse?

What made me think the halcyon days opf the Kennedy's and Civil Rights would live? The country I grew up in is history. This is a new country, concieved in liberty a long time ago and currently dedicated to the proposition that a free world market economy is a panacea for the ills of the world despite the enormous evidence otherwise.



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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

late meal 

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Buchanan Makes Sense. That’s How bad It Is.

"I say, look, the kind of immigrants we want are people who want to come here and become part of the American family ... not just to work and then go back home."
He warns of long-term consequences.
"Look, you're going to have 100 million people of Hispanic, primarily Mexican, descent in the American Southwest by the middle of this century, and I think you are in danger of losing the American Southwest, de facto. I think this country is risking coming apart, like other countries in the world, over issues of language, culture and ethnicity."


Thank You Jeb

Even state officials were surprised at how quickly money flowed to Florida.




Pakistanis are double dealing. They created the Taliban and used them to rule Afghanistan



BTW- Story From BBC Months Ago----"When I wanted to pray, they would burst into my cell with police dogs to terrorize me and prevent me from praying," he said. "They also would trample the Koran underfoot and throw it in the urine bucket. We staged protests in the prison about the desecrating of the Holy Koran, so the management promised us that they would issue orders to the American soldiers not to touch the copies of the Koran again."


(This one from BBC)



Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Of Staff Explains The Riots Had NOTHING To Do With The Newsweek Story




The Things They Owed

Walker put U.S. debt and obligations at $45 trillion in current dollars -- almost as much as the total net worth of all Americans, or $150,000 per person. Balancing the budget in 2040, he said, could require cutting total federal spending as much as 60 percent or raising taxes to 2 1/2 times today's levels.


But since the press has largely ceded control of the story to the White House, administration spinners have been able to twist it. Consider another central issue: whether Newsweek's premature report actually spurred the riots. Thanks to the White House spin, and the media's lazy reporting, the conventional wisdom is now that it did. But the reality is that it probably did not, at least in any significant sense. According to a statement last Thursday by General Richard Myers, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, after hearing from commanders on the scene in Afghanistan, the "rioting was related more to the ongoing political reconciliation process in Afghanistan than anything else." As we've noted, that makes sense, based on the Taliban's past patterns and the fact that previous reports about Koran desecration at Guantanamo spurred no such riots. But the press has repeatedly failed to make that clear. (One conspicuous exception to this mass sin of omission has been New York Times reporter Katharine Q. Seelye, who for two days in a row now has taken pains to point out Myers' observation that his senior commander in Afghanistan "thought [the rioting] was not at all tied to the article in the magazine.")





Snippets of Awakened Journalists


Q With all due respect, though, it sounds like you're saying your single anonymous sources are okay and everyone else's aren't.

Q Well, let me ask two questions about what you just said. Where in the Constitution are judicial nominees guaranteed an up or down vote? And what about the impact of this whole so-called "nuclear option" on this idea of equal representation in the Senate?

Q Let me just go back to the constitutional idea here. You said it again today, and you've said it many times in the past, that the Senate has a constitutional obligation to give these nominees an up or down vote. Can we agree that the constitutional requirement of the Senate is for advice and consent, but nowhere in the Constitution does it --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the Constitution --

Q -- but nowhere in the Constitution does it say that nominees are guaranteed an up or down vote.




The Three Profiteers


When the president's publicly stated rationale for the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq was revealed as a pack of lies designed to deceive the American people, the occupation and those actively involved in it necessarily became somewhat suspect even though many of them doubtlessly trusted their president and believed the false and misleading statements with which he and his administration and its media operatives took the nation to war. Photographs of U.S. troops and private contractors engaged in the brutal abuse, torture, and sexual humiliation of Iraqis and others at Abu Ghraib revealed America's ill-conceived foray into Iraq as something other than the noble effort to democratize the Middle East advertised by the Bush administration as the search for weapons of mass destruction proved fruitless. Several subsequent investigations, even as they have sought to absolve higher-ups in the chain of command, have revealed persuasive evidence of systematic, wide-spread abuse and torture as an integral element of the Bush administration's war on terror. (2) By absolving the civilian leadership in the Pentagon of responsibility and rewarding the authors of the policies that led to torture and abuse, including former White House counsel and now Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Bush has protected the generals and his loyal political appointees by shifting blame and suspicion to the rank-and-file, those who actually risk their lives day after day in the war zones in behalf of his deeply-flawed policies.

On the face of it, privatized war is an inherently evil and fundamentally un-American enterprise. There is little that is noble about war. Ask any combat veteran. There is even less that is noble about the Bush administration's war-for-profit scheme that has, by some estimates, taken the lives of over 100,000 Iraqis since the 2003 invasion began. Private companies have always been allowed to make a reasonable profit from defense contracts, but the Bush administration has turned war into a get-rich-quick scheme in which "no-bid (3) and "cost-plus (4) contracts worth millions and billions of tax dollars go with minimal supervision to corporations such as Blackwater USA, CACI, Custer Battles, and Kellogg, Brown & Root, the engineering arm of Halliburton, which was formerly headed by vice-president Cheney, who is widely reported to have been the driving force behind the neoconservative cabal's determined effort to manufacture intelligence findings favorable to the administration's plans for war. (5)

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has outsourced many military duties to private security firms that offer a wide variety of services, allowing the Bush administration to increase the size and scope of its military operations without resorting to a politically unpopular draft. Private security firms provide highly-skilled and experienced former military personnel for especially risky operations, for which some former U.S. special forces soldiers and officers trained at taxpayer expense reportedly charge as much as $1,500 per day. Many of some 35 private security firms with contracts in Iraq employ foreign nationals, including former members of the apartheid-era South African military and police forces. Blackwater USA, a major private security firm, reportedly employs about 60 ex-commandos trained by the regime of former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet, now under indictment for human rights crimes. (6)

In the era of privatization, private security firms, which operate behind a veil of secrecy (7), wield substantial influence in official Washington not least because of the huge sums of money they are able to demand for their services. No less an American hero than Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th president and the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe during WWII, so intensely distrusted what is euphemistically called the defense establishment that he offered this prescient warning to Americans as he left the White House:







It’s Hard To Face What You’re Not Allowed To See


"History," Hegel said, "is a slaughterhouse." And war is how the slaughter is carried out.

If we believe that the present war in Iraq is just and necessary, why do we shrink from looking at the damage it wreaks? Why does the government that ordered the war and hails it as an instrument of good then ask us to respect those who died in the cause by not describing and depicting how they died? And why, in response, have newspapers gone along with Washington and grown timid about showing photos of the killing and maiming? What kind of honor does this bestow on those who are sent to fight in the nation's name?

The Iraq war inspires these questions.


The government has blocked the press from soldiers' funerals at Arlington National Cemetery. The government has prevented the press from taking pictures of the caskets that arrive day after day at the Dover Air Force Base military mortuary in Delaware, the world's largest funeral home. And the government, by inferring that citizens who question its justifications for this war are disloyal Americans, has intimidated a compliant press from making full use of pictures of the dead and wounded. Also worth noting: President Bush's latest rationale for the war is that he is trying to "spread democracy" through the world. He says these new democracies must have a "free press." Yet he says all this while continuing to restrict and limit the American press. There's a huge disconnect here.




Bush Is Radioactive


America's reputation is so damaged that not even our puppets can stand the heat. Anti-American riots, which have left Afghan cities and towns in flames and hospitals overflowing with casualties, have forced Bush's Afghan puppet, "president" Hamid Karzai, to assert his independence from his US overlords. In a belated act of sovereignty, Karzai asserted authority over heavy-handed US troops whose brutal and stupid ways sparked the devastating riots. Karzai demanded control of US military activities in Afghanistan and called for the return of the Afghan detainees who are being held at the US prison in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.





Galloway Spanks Senate

"The biggest sanctions busters were not me or Russian politicians or French politicians," Galloway said. "The real sanctions busters were your own companies with the connivance of your own government."

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Main Course 

Dirty Fighting As A Substitute For Journalism

So, why the focus on the Newsweek story? It's part of the tried-and-true strategy of demonize, disguise, and divert. Demonize the news media to disguise the real causes of the resistance to occupation and divert attention from failed U.S. policies.

White House Lecturing On Journalism Is The Equivalent Of Swamp Thing Lecturing On Hygeine


Bill Van Auken writes: "This from an administration whose 'standards' include relentlessly planting false stories in the media, covertly paying columnists to promote its policies and passing off government-funded propaganda as news."


The Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff Says The Riots Were Not Caused By Newsweek Article. Oh Well…journalism Today in America In A Nutshell

General Myers also told reporters at the Pentagon Thursday that the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General Carl Eichenberry, disagrees with the reports that protests in the city of Jalalabad were caused by anger over the alleged Koran incident.

"It is the judgment of our commander in Afghanistan, General Eichenberry, that in fact the violence that we saw in Jalalabad was not necessarily the result of the allegations about disrespect for the Koran, but more tied up in the political process and the reconciliation process that President Karzai and his cabinet are conducting in Afghanistan. He thought it was not at all tied to the article in the magazine," he explained.




Downing Street memo here

Cause of the Insurrection Might be…um…er….us.

An examination of Iraqi public opinion data and interviews suggests that coalition military activity may be substantially contributing to Iraqi discontent and opposition. A "vicious circle" is indicated, whereby actions to curtail the insurgency feed the insurgency.

Public discontent is the water in which the insurgents swim. Polls show that a large majority of Iraqis have little faith in coalition troops and view them as occupiers, not liberators. There is significant support for attacks on foreign troops and a large majority of Iraqis want them to leave within a year. But attitudes about the occupation vary significantly among communities.

The Bullet To The Head Of Responsible Journalism


"It mystifies me," says Geneva Overholser, a Washington-based University of Missouri journalism professor who served as the Washington Post's ombudsman from 1995 to 1998. "What in the world does it mean to have two? It makes no sense." She argues that ombudsman responsibilities are specifically designed to be carried out by just one person as way to demonstrate that a single journalist can be open-minded and listen to all sides of a dispute. By setting up a sort of left-vs.-right, "Crossfire" approach, Overholser says, the CPB model "participates in the ideological charade that journalists can't be fair. This is a perversion of the ombudsman. I'm surprised Ken Bode would feel comfortable with this."




Today's Special: Nancy Grace

Nancy grace, the embittered Bitch Goddess of Revenge and Accusation.

Guess what. Turns out she bent the rules when she was a prosecutor.

I mean this ass made a career out of calling John and Patsy Ramsey “cold blooded murderers” and “remorseless psychopaths.” Every TV defendant that out Orwellian News programs decides to humiliate gets to suffer because someone killed her husband in Atlanta.

Shit, if she is this bitter, he most probably would have killed himself long ago.

Turns out, by the fucking way, that the couple the Bitch railed at are not even suspects anymore.

Where that apology?



The Foxification of the Legal System

There's something alarming about Nancy Grace, the preternaturally angry prosecutor turned television personality, who now fumes through a prime-time hour on CNN's stolid but usually respectable Headline News channel.

It isn't just the habitual snarl, the narrowed eyes or the improbably arched brows. It isn't the name-calling; God knows, that's become as ubiquitous a feature of cable news as that irritating crawl. It isn't even the sneer, though that deserves special attention as the rhetorical equivalent of a black hole, an aberration in the fabric of normality, where the awful weight of absolute certainty seems to overpower mere gravity.

What's alarming isn't so much what happens on her nightly broadcast but what's absent — things like balance, sobriety, fairness and independent judgment, qualities that used to rate at least a passing nod from the employees of mainstream news organizations. Even Fox's Bill O'Reilly has a mind flexible enough to turn in an unexpected direction now and then.

Nancy DisGrace


How many citations of ethical misconduct will it take before CNN feels some obligation to at least inform its viewers of these facts concerning its star commentator's credentials? We know it's not three, but what about five? How about 10? Maybe 25? Does that number exist? As long as they remain silent on this question, it's fair to assume that, like Nancy Grace the prosecutor, the executives at CNN Headline News play "fast and loose" with their ethical obligations.


More on the Bitch Queen Accuser.

The Atlanta defense bar, however, was not so enamored. Defense lawyers accused her of intimidating witnesses and withholding evidence. They also lambasted her for her behavior in the courtroom, which blended the sacred (the Atlanta defense lawyer Jack Martin says Grace would ostentatiously thumb through a Bible while the defense was cross-examining one of her witnesses) with the profane (another Atlanta attorney, Dennis Scheib, complains that she would wear low-cut blouses and provocatively lean over into the jury box). "You needed three lawyers to try a case with Nancy Grace--two to watch her and one to argue the case," says Scheib, who represented a man Grace successfully prosecuted for murder in 1996. Grace vehemently denies all of these charges, dismissing such complaints as "sour grapes" from the very people she repeatedly bested in the courtroom. But, in at least two instances, the Georgia Supreme Court also took issue with her prosecutorial tactics. In 1994, the Court overturned a drug-dealing conviction she had won on the grounds that she improperly inflamed the jury by mentioning in her closing arguments an unrelated triple homicide and a serial rape case. And, in 1997, the Court reversed a murder and arson conviction Grace had secured, chastising her for "an extensive pattern of inappropriate and, in some cases, illegal conduct," including her decision to allow a CNN camera crew to film her inside the defendant's house, to which she had gained entry through a search warrant.





If there’s Any Question What The World Thinks About Us, Here is it.




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Starters 

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Scott McClellan Murders Irony: Olbermann Calls For His Resignation


But Monday afternoon, while offering himself up to the networks for a series of rare, almost unprecedented sit-down interviews on the White House lawn, Press Secretary McClellan said, in effect, that General Myers, and the head of the after-action report following the disturbances in Jalalabad, Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, were dead wrong. The Newsweek story, McClellan said, “has done damage to our image abroad and it has done damage to the credibility of the media and Newsweek in particular. People have lost lives. This report has had serious consequences.”

Whenever I hear Scott McClellan talking about ‘media credibility,’ I strain to remember who it was who admitted Jeff Gannon to the White House press room and called on him all those times.

Whenever I hear this White House talking about ‘doing to damage to our image abroad’ and how ‘people have lost lives,’ I strain to remember who it was who went traipsing into Iraq looking for WMD that will apparently turn up just after the Holy Grail will - and at what human cost.


***

Firstly, the principal reporter on the Gitmo story was Michael Isikoff - “Spikey” in a different lifetime; Linda Tripp’s favorite journalist, and one of the ten people most responsible (intentionally or otherwise) for the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Spikey isn’t just a hero to the Right - the Right owes him.

And larger still, in terms of politics, this isn't well-defined, is it? I mean Conservatives might parrot McClellan and say ‘Newsweek put this country in a bad light.’ But they could just as easily thump their chests and say ‘See, this is what we do to those prisoners at Gitmo! You guys better watch your asses!’

Ultimately, though, the administration may have effected its biggest mistake over this saga, in making the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs look like a liar or naïf, just to draw a little blood out of Newsweek’s hide. Either way - and also for that tasteless, soul-less conclusion that deaths in Afghanistan should be lain at the magazine’s doorstep - Scott McClellan should resign. The expiration on his carton full of blank-eyed bully-collaborator act passed this afternoon as he sat reeling off those holier-than-thou remarks. Ah, that’s what I smelled.





Citizens doing the work of professional “journalists”


These are dark times. Our government has engaged in acts so vile, so inhumane, and so shameful, that we cannot allow the truth to be published without it causing an international crisis.

When Newsweek published an account that "interrogators, in an attempt to rattle suspects, flushed a Qur'an down a toilet and led a detainee around with a collar and dog leash", they were not breaking any news.

Accounts of this sort have been in the public square for over two years (see below).



The only novelty to Newsweek's report was that a `senior U.S. government official', who was knowledgeable about Southern Command's investigation into Gitmo abuse, verified it. This anonymous source has since backtracked on a very specific aspect of the story.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Random Wisdom From Adam Felbar 

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It’s no secret that I enjoy bashing the mainstream media. Particularly the cable news networks, where news stories are mere placeholders between Misbehaving Celebrities, White Women In Peril, and Partisans Screaming At Each Other Without A Capable Moderator. The media is too credulous, too easily cowed, too revenue-driven, and they’ve bowed to a decade’s worth of bashing by completely abdicating judgement, even when it comes to unambiguous things like scientific fact. It’s safe to say that I’ve created a web persona based in no small part on telling you what a bunch of silly, clueless bunglers the mainstream media really are…

…We lefties have even taken to employing the infamous Coulter Fallacy, wherein a newspaper is criticized for something that appeared on its Op-Ed page as if it were part of the paper’s news content. These columnists are mercilessly hounded as though they were the living embodiment of What’s Wrong With That Paper, when in fact they’re just bloggers of the print world. The fact that they’ve discovered a way to get paid for writing down every passing thought really shouldn’t be held against them (damn them to hell).

*****

See, here in America we understand that our values are the Microsoft Windows of morality. Sure, there may be other systems out there. But unless you make sure you’re compatible, you don’t get to play. Tolerated prostitution in your country is a deal-breaker, because it’s incompatible with our system, which works perfectly.
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National Review Says We’re …er…uh..winning

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Uh....er...no 

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“People are dead because of what this son of a bitch said," Pentagon spokesman Lawrence DeRita said, apparently referring to Newsweek's source.


A reminder actually people are dead because we invaded for no reason.

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Rice: Newsweek Story Damaging 

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really?

dumbass. so was the invasion of Iraq.

so was abu gharaib

all of a sudden the wingnuts are worried about their image.

bull.

shit.

this isn't about their image, it's about knocking down Newsweek.
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The News Under Our Nose. 

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So Bush was in a wildlife refuge on a day when a plane burst through the no fly zone.

He was not informed.

Yet witnesses say they saw Cheney’s Hummer motorcade tearing out of the city, bristling I’m sure with Skeletor mercenaries from one of his subsidiaries, Avenger missiles pointed out of specially armored vehicles.

This tells us something that requires no more than the most rudimentary logic.

Bush is not in charge. He is the acting president. Dick Cheney is the President.

This really has been a beer hall putsch. We’ll all look back one day and wonder how it all happened. Then again, we know what happened and we all let it happen. And my guess is that the real truth about this administration is probably much much worse than we have imagined. It is probably eclipses Abu Gharaib. That’s one reason they have to stay in power. They have to keep a lid on. Comforted with our easy lifestyle and false optimism about the righteousness of our government and the systems of checks and balances in place, we could not conceive of a take over.

Even Tom Ridge admits he didn’t know who was pushing some of the Red Alerts. OK. I guess it was Karl Rove or Dick Cheney. It certainly wasn’t W.

If you want to know what it’s like to have Dick Cheney as president, look around. He is the President, today.

Imagine had this happened and the shoe had been on the other foot, and Clinton had been unaware and bicycling out in the open. He would have been laughed out of office. Just listening to Bush’s obvious fear of extemporaneous speech tells me he is managed, not managing. Better said, someone else is driving.

It is a hollow presidency. No real mandate. Squandered power. This administration bears little resemblance to authority that has been given, rather it smacks of authority that has been grabbed and manipulated and bought and sold.

I jusr read Apres La Chute, by Emmanual Todd, the French political theorist. He points out that the United States military prowess is quite overstated, particularly now when the public takes little notice at how the rest of the world has literally ignored our exhortations.

The Organization of American States just elected a president who is a socialist and we bitterly opposed. They thumbed their noses at us. Over the last year, China became South America’s most significant trading partner. Again, a trade pact without us. The President of Venezuela pointed a finger at us and said we tried to stage a coup and it failed. Last I looked Venezuela pumps 15% of our oil.

The Bush Administration sabre rattles at North Korea but largely due to their own stumbling, we have no real options. The Chinese and South Koreans are defying us. Our Army is tied down in Iraq. It seems as if the North Koreans really came after us, would we have the strength to stop them? Sure we have forces in place, but the North Kmoreans are not the Iraqis. North Korea is also not Iraq. NK has a big air force and a modern navy and a quarter of a million men and armored battalions on the border. Not to mention the thousand of artillery tubes it has pointed at Soeul.

This would definitely not play well on CNN.

Think about this imagery. This is not a free country where diplomats walk around without fear. Condileeza Rice has to dress in combat gear and armor and come down in a C-130 in the middle of the night because we have no control over the landscape.

In other news it is also painfully obvious that the insurgency, which has confused Western media sources, is quite alive and they have a plan.

Of course this is just a guess but it seems so obvious what the mad bombers in Iraq are doing.

1. De-legitimize the new government. They are saying you will reign over chaos. They are denying sovereignty to the new leaders by showing them that they cannot stabilize the government.

2. De-legitimize the occupation. They are saying to the Americans that you too will occupy a country that you cannot control.

3. Bleed the US. We are already running the war on supplementals. Christ even Vietnam was financed. The irony of it is that for each great thing we have done, the insurgency has managed to inflict an equal degree of death and destruction. So after $300 billion, they now have less electricity than before the occupation. So nothing has been accomplished and we are already bankrolling this with money that does not exist.

4. Cutting off Baghdad. The insurgency is turning the Sunni Triangle into the Gaza Strip. Administration officials don’t understand that we can never win here with 150,000 troops and no help. We are already holding upwards of 30,000 insurgents in jails there after we said there were at maximum 20,000 there attacking us. Additionally, the insurgency listens to our own news reports. They allow troops and citizens a few minutes to actually believe that they are defeated and will go away. Then they come back in new and devious ways. Our military forays near the Syrian border seem more like a game of whackamole with a patient and angry group.

This is the problem of having a lazy media. They can’t risk printing stories that simultaneously anger administration officials and bore us to death with tedious foreign policy.
Besides, the Michael Jackson trial isn’t over yet.

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