Sunday, July 16, 2006

WW.III?

Picks of the Week:

Death by video: Mexico's election fraud is coming undone - Video and audio evidence, an outraged citizenry, and panic from the White House are converging to make Lopez Obrador the next Mexican president

"Nine days after the fact, neither the IFE, nor President Vicente Fox, nor his National Action Party (PAN), nor their candidate Felipe Calderón, nor the Commercial Media at their service, have been able to reassert control over the juggernaut of facts, audio and video evidence, and public outrage that today tramples their anti-democratic gambit. The Fraud of 2006, and those who attempted it, are drowning under an authentically democratic tide. Take, for example, what just occurred in the Tabasco town of Comalcalco."

I wonder if an authentic democratic tide could reach this far north?

Why Democrats don't count by Greg Palast

"Recently, Al Gore was asked if the election of 2000 was stolen. 'There may come a time when I speak on that, but it’s not now,' said the beta dog. (I suspect that if Al Gore were found bleeding in an alley, he’d answer the question, Who shot you? with 'There may come a time when I speak on that…').

"Lopez Obrador is of a different breed. At the rally last Saturday in Mexico City, he played video and audio tapes of the evidence of fraud on a screen eighty feet tall. Imagine if Gore had projected the 'scrub sheets' of purged Black voters on a ten-story-high screen in front of the White House."

DNC Voting Rights Institute on CA-50 special election (San Diego)

"This is no longer about whether or not Busby or Bilbray won the election on June 6th. This is about the importance of verifying the facts related to election and voting machine irregularities in this race and the need to ensure an accurate count of all votes cast in this election so that the electorate may have confidence in the announced results in future elections.

"The VRI will continue to monitor facts as they become available and will call for a swift and verifiable “manual count” of all 150,000 ballots cast in California’s 50th District’s 'bellwether' June 6th special election in order to ensure the integrity of November 7th general elections and the overall integrity of our country’s voting systems in this still-untested age of computerized voting."

Activists sue to block electronic voting

"Lawsuits have been filed in at least nine states, alleging that the machines are wide open to computer hackers and prone to temperamental fits of technology that have assigned votes to the wrong candidate."

Harper congratulates Calderon while election results disputed

"Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper called Mexican presidential candidate Felipe Calderón to congratulate him on his victory on Friday. Harper joins George Bush and Spanish Prime Minister Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in recognizing the reported election results, which have been the focus of a major controversy in Mexico.

"According to Mexican law, however, Calderón cannot be declared the winner until allegations of election fraud are investigated."

The two norte Americanos neocons circle the corporations.

Mexico mobilizes to protest controversial vote count

"Mexico’s left began a series of countrywide demonstrations to support the bid of the defeated presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to challenge election results in the courts and force a vote-by-vote recount of the ballots. During the week, followers of the Party of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) will march in Mexico City and in the provinces, to finally gather on Sunday at the historical center of the country’s capital where Lopez Obrador will address crowds for a second time, after his rousing speech before some 200,000 demonstrators last Saturday."

Remember in 2004 how Kerry said he would turn his boat into the shore rather than run away? He turned . . . he ran. As did Gore in 2000.

Welcome to Bush's America

"In case anyone disputes the increasingly fascist nature of US federal anti-terror efforts, they should to check out the 7/11/06 front page Wall St. Journal article (left column) titled 'A Muslim’s Choice: Turn US Informant or Risk Losing Visa.' This chilling story details what happened to a legal immigrant green card visa holder who found himself in the clutches of what can only be described as the FBI’s version of a cartoonish Gestapo-style recruitment effort."

Triumph of the authoritarians by John Dean

"For more than 40 years I have considered myself a 'Goldwater conservative,' and am thoroughly familiar with the movement's canon. But I can find nothing conservative about the Bush/Cheney White House, which has created a Nixon 'imperial presidency' on steroids, while acting as if being tutored by the best and brightest of the Cosa Nostra."

A good overview of the theme of Dean's new book.

Global Eye

"Hundreds, possibly thousands of neo-Nazis and 'white power' extremists have infiltrated U.S. forces in a deliberate strategy to get training in weapons, urban warfare and covert operations, the Pentagon's own investigators report. These homegrown terrorists -- avowed enemies of democracy, committed to sparking the same kind of horrific civil war in America that President George W. Bush has spawned in Iraq -- have wormed their way into some of most elite military units, as well as filling up the ordinary ranks with cretinous 'race warriors.'

"This infestation is being actively abetted by the Bush regime. Who says? Well, Defense Department investigator Scott Barfield, for one. 'Recruiters are knowingly allowing neo-Nazis and white supremacists to join the armed forces, and commanders don't remove them from the military even after we positively identify them as extremists or gang members,' Barfield told the Southern Poverty Law Center in a report issued last week."

Legislating under the influence: Up close and personal with the House Appropriations Committee

"When I was hired to work on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee in 2001, I was told by many in Washington that the panel was one of last remaining places in Congress where things actually get done. By the time I left Capitol Hill some two and a half years later, I had learned what all Americans are now realizing: The panel certainly does get things done, but not for the people who elected its members. It gets things done almost exclusively for those lobbyists and corporate interests that buy influence through campaign contributions. The committee has become, in short, the breeding ground of congressional corruption."

The primary enemy of democracy is unregulated corporate power and influence.

Powerful GOP activist sees his influence slip over Abramoff dealings

"Over the past six years, Norquist has been a key cheerleader and strategist for successive White House tax cuts, extracting ironclad oaths from congressional Republicans not to even think about tax increases. And even before President Bush's election, he positioned himself as a gatekeeper for supplicants seeking access to Bush's inner circle.

"But in the aftermath of reports that Norquist served as a cash conduit for disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the irascible, combative activist is struggling to maintain his stature as some GOP lawmakers distance themselves and as enemies in the conservative movement seek to diminish his position."

Abramoff and 4 others sued by tribe over casino closing

"An Indian tribe sued the former superlobbyist Jack Abramoff and Ralph Reed, a candidate for lieutenant governor in Georgia, on Wednesday, seeking millions of dollars in lost revenues from a casino that the Texas tribe said had been fraudulently closed."

New House Majority Leader keeps old ties to lobbyists

"And far from trying to put the brakes on lobbyists and the money they channel into Republican coffers, Mr. Boehner, who has portrayed his ties to Washington lobbyists as something to be proud of, has stepped on the gas.

"He has been holding fund-raisers at lobbyists’ offices, flying to political events on corporate planes and staying at a golf resort with a business group that has a direct stake in issues before Congress."

Abramoff lobbying of White House probed
"The House Government Reform Committee has subpoenaed the former law firm of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff for records of any contacts he or members of his lobbying team had with the Bush White House."

Reclaiming the issues: "Why is Bush spying on Democrats?!?"

"Republicans in the Senate - including a staffer for Republican Senator Orrin Hatch - hacked into the computers of several Senate Democrats, including Ted Kennedy and Dick Durbin. Reading Kennedy's and Durbin's correspondence, the Republican operatives discovered the strategy the Democrats intended to use to attack Republican high court nominees. They leaked fifteen bits of Kennedy's discussions to The Wall Street Journal and other Republican-friendly sources, who used the information to successfully trash and thwart the Democratic plans."

Chill of govt. surveillance grips activists, Muslims

"With revelations surrounding government spying now regular fare in the media, government agencies – including the FBI, the National Security Agency, the Department of Defense and local police departments – are coming under increased scrutiny for both the scope and the legality of their tactics in the so-called 'war on terror.'"

Come one, come all, join the terror target list

"It reads like a tally of terrorist targets that a child might have written: Old MacDonald’s Petting Zoo, the Amish Country Popcorn factory, the Mule Day Parade, the Sweetwater Flea Market and an unspecified “Beach at End of a Street.” . . . .

"The National Asset Database, as it is known, is so flawed, the inspector general found, that as of January, Indiana, with 8,591 potential terrorist targets, had 50 percent more listed sites than New York (5,687) and more than twice as many as California (3,212), ranking the state the most target-rich place in the nation."

Why would one of the reddest states get so much funding? Can you spell p-o-r-k?

Private firm revealed to be spying on antiwar groups in California

"The Los Angeles Times recently revealed that a private corporation, SRA International, contracted by the California Office of Homeland Security (OHS), has compiled reports on demonstrations staged by political protest and antiwar groups in the state. The state monitoring of political opposition in California is representative of the broader assault on democratic rights taking place throughout the United States."

Another secret US intelligence program?

"The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said the White House briefed his committee on another "significant" intelligence program only after it was brought to his attention by a government whistleblower."

Republicans criticize lack of briefings on bank data

"The lawmaker, Representative Sue Kelly of New York, chairwoman of the House Financial Services subcommittee on oversight, was joined by members of both parties in accusing the administration of being too secretive and unaccountable to Congress about the program. Its existence was disclosed last month by The New York Times and other newspapers."

Why your bank thinks you're a terrorist

"A government program designed to track down terrorists and money launderers is frightening bank customers, frustrating financial institutions and inundating federal agencies with secret reports of dubious value."

Bush 'will be given more power to eavesdrop' in bill

"But Democrats said the proposed new legislation merely required the White House to behave in a way it was already legally obliged to in exchange for giving it greater flexibility over the eavesdropping. Other campaigners said the proposed legislation would allow the Bush administration to continue surveillance of US citizens without a warrant."

Police state.

Meanwhile in Iraq . . .

"The Boston Globe reported Monday that conservatives, 'on the defense over the unpopular war in Iraq, are hoping this week to shift the national security debate to the North Korea missile crisis and to countering terrorism.' While much of the recent media and administration attention has indeed been focused on the North Korean missile tests, violence around Iraq has spiked and 'politicians across the country's political spectrum said months of sectarian killings have turned into civil war.' Events in Iraq cannot be ignored for long. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld made an unannounced visit to Iraq on Wednesday morning, acknowledging 'there certainly has been an upsurge in sectarian violence.' Shortly after he arrived in the capital city, a suicide bomber walked into a Baghdad restaurant and blew himself up, killing seven people and wounding twenty. A recent attempted security crackdown on Baghdad has instead inflamed tensions. 'Sectarian violence has escalated as rival Shiite and Sunni militias have turned entire neighborhoods into no-go zones.' The Washington Times reported, 'The formation of Iraq's new government and the elimination of terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi have failed to produce the hoped-for decrease in violence in Baghdad, as officials try to deal with increasingly deadly Shiite militias.' President Jalal Talabani warned that the nation stood 'in front of a dangerous precipice.'"

The Iraq war is over - The inconvenient truth is: it is an occupation

"The war was over when Bush said 'Mission Accomplished.' A war has one army fighting another army over territory. US fighting men and women defeated Saddam's military machine three years ago. Then the occupation began. Our troops were trained to fight a war, not to occupy a country where they don't know the language and culture; where they lack enough troops, where they face an anti-occupation insurgency by the Iraqis themselves; where most of the population wants them out; where they are being shot at and killed by the very Iraqis they are training; and where the US has given up on reconstruction and can't do much positive good there."

Militarism and the corporate welfare state

"Of course, what businessmen really mean by getting government off our backs is preventing government from regulating commerce, as if there were some connection between capital and democracy, democracy and freedom. In corporate speak democracy and free trade has nothing to do with human beings and their freedoms. What Bush and his kind are really talking about is absolute corporate rule and continued Plutocracy." . . . . "Under the imposed dictatorship of Paul Bremmer granted under the Coalition Provisional Authority during the first months of the occupation, all of Iraq's 192 state-owned enterprises were privatized and divided among 150 U.S. corporations that have so far realized more than $50 billion in profits. Every aspect of the Iraqi economy was dismantled, privatized, and divided up among corporate America with no benefit to the Iraqi people."

Ken Lay's memorial attracts power elite

"The Reverend Dr. Bill Lawson compared Lay with civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesus Christ, and said his name would eventually be cleared.

"'He was taken out of the world right at the right time,' he said. 'History has a way of vindicating people who have been wronged.'"

10 ways Ken Lay is not like Martin Luther King Jr. and/or Jesus Christ

"9. Jesus' disciples not caught on tape snickering at the prospect of grandma baking to death during an induced power outage"

Could Bush be prosecuted for war crimes?

"From the massacre of more than 100,000 people in the Philippines to the first nuclear attack ever at Hiroshima to the unprovoked invasion of Baghdad, U.S.-sponsored violence doesn't feel as wrong and worthy of prosecution in internationally sanctioned criminal courts as the gory, bload-soaked atrocities of Congo, Darfur, Rwanda, and most certainly not the Nazis -- most certainly not. Howard Zinn recently described this as our 'inability to think outside the boundaries of nationalism. We are penned in by the arrogant idea that this country is the center of the universe, exceptionally virtuous, admirable, superior.'"

For all but the brain dead and/or the heartless, that train has left the station.

Justice Department lawyer to Congress: 'The president is always right'

"The Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday heard testimony from Steven Bradbury, head of the Justice Department’s office of legal counsel. When questioned by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on whether the President’s interpretation of the Hamdan case was right or wrong, Bradbury replied, 'The President is always right.'"

Silly us; we think Evil Moron is always wrong.

Rethinking the rubberstamp

In its Hamdan majority opinion, the Supreme Court struck down the Bush administration's system for trying suspected terrorists because its 'structure and procedures violate both the (Uniform Code of Military Justice) and the Geneva Conventions.' The court said Congress should 'decide what kind of trials to set up for detainees and what protections they should be granted in interrogations and handling before trial,' and gave Congress guidance for creating a workable legal framework. The opinion pointed to Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which states that detainees must be tried by a 'regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.' 'The commentary accompanying a provision of the Fourth Geneva Convention,' the court wrote, 'defines 'regularly constituted' tribunals to include 'ordinary military courts' and 'definitely exclud[e] all special tribunals.' To be in compliance with Geneva, Congress should look to military justice procedures for guidance, rather than simply rubberstamping the administration's old tribunals. It remains to be seen when Congress will agree on a system. (Rep. Joel Hefley (R-CO) said yesterday's hearings on the issue left him 'struggling with whether we're going to be able to get anything done this year.') American Progress's Ken Gude suggests Congress and the administration should 'return to the proven, effective, legitimate, and fair procedures established by the Uniform Code of Military Justice.'"

Bush urges Congress to ratify military tribunals

"Bush administration officials yesterday asked Congress to endorse the special military tribunals established by the president to try prisoners captured in the war on terror, but Republicans and Democrats alike balked at giving the White House quick legislative approval to a controversial system that the Supreme Court invalidated just two weeks ago."

Merchants of death in Iraq

"'This force is not totally unknown to us here in Fallujah,' Ahmed, who witnessed the incident from a nearby house told Inter Press Service (IPS). 'They are a special force of Americans that assassinates more people than it arrests.'

"Ahmed described the force from the helicopters as 'big men with long hair and beards, some wearing earrings, and others with little black caps on the top of their heads at the back'."

Baghdad starts to collapse as its people flee a life of death

"I returned to Baghdad on Monday after a break of several months, during which I too was guilty of glazing over every time I read another story of Iraqi violence. But two nights on the telephone, listening to my lost and frightened Iraqi staff facing death at any moment, persuaded me that Baghdad is now verging on total collapse."

Gunmen kidnap 30 at Olympics committee meeting

"In one of the most brazen kidnappings in recent memory in Iraq, about 60 masked gunmen wearing government-style camouflage uniforms stormed a meeting here of the country’s top sports administrators on Saturday, abducting more than 30 people, including the president of the National Olympic Committee of Iraq, the authorities said."
Kindasleezie was all over the Sunday morning talk shows. To hear her one would think the Olympic games will soon be coming to the democratic paradise that is now Iraq.
Brazen daytime violence continues in Baghdad

"Two bombings in a Shiite enclave killed at least 10 people and injured dozens today, while gunmen executed seven civilians in a bus in a Sunni Arab neighborhood, plunging Baghdad into another round of daytime sectarian violence.

"At least 13 Iraqis died in other shootings and bombings around the country, bringing the day’s death toll to at least 30 and highlighting the immense challenges facing the new government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. Such attacks have become the hallmark of what many Iraqis now call a low-level civil war."

Dozens die as sectarian attacks escalate in Iraq

"Iraq moved further towards all out sectarian civil war yesterday after Shia gunmen attacked a Sunni district in Baghdad, killing at least 42 people. Many were dragged from their cars at two fake police checkpoints and shot dead."

Wave of violence in Baghdad puts 3-day death toll past 100

"Many of the attacks, particularly those in neighborhoods primarily populated by one religious group or another, bore the hallmarks of sectarian militias, both Sunni Arab and Shiite. Militias now appear to be dictating the ebb and flow of life in Iraq, and have left the new government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki and his American counterparts scrambling to come up with a military and political strategy to combat them."

Not to worry; this unpleasantness is in its last throes.

Iraqis call for timetable, America cracks down

"The U.S. military launched an assault last week on the movement of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, conducting separate raids in Baghdad and Babylon and killing and arresting dozens of people.

"'We asked them to put a timetable on their withdrawal, and they think that they should stay. This is the main reason of the conflict,' explained Sadr movement spokesman Fadil el-Sharra, adding it was Sadr's representatives in Parliament who had put forward the resolution demanding a timeline on a U.S. troop withdrawal."

War veterans denied GI Bill benefits

"But Rowe soon realized that, despite his time in a combat zone, he didn't qualify for those education benefits unless he remained in the Reserves or Guard.

"It's the same for tens of thousands of National Guard and Army Reserve troops mobilized since 9/11 — the largest deployment of reservists since World War II."

Army to end expansive, exclusive Halliburton deal

"The Army is discontinuing a controversial multibillion-dollar deal with oil services giant Halliburton Co. to provide logistical support to U.S. troops worldwide, a decision that could cut deeply into the firm's dominance of government contracting in Iraq."

Uh oh, The Dick is going to be unhappy.

Speak loudly and carry no stick

"By virtually every measure, the Bush administration's North Korea policy is a failure. Diplomatic efforts have broken down, missiles are being test fired, and plutonium production has resumed. Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow unveiled the administration's new strategy: bash Clinton. At the press conference, Snow accused the Clinton administration of going to North Korea with 'flowers and chocolates' and 'light water nuclear reactors.' Snow said that the Clinton administration policy had "failed" and the Bush administration had 'learned from that mistake.' The reality is that the Bush administration is now scrambling to return to where the Clinton administration left off: meaningful diplomatic engagement that puts North Korea's nuclear program on ice."

Now that BushCo's failed military expedition into Iraq has broken the US ground forces, Evil Moron has no option but to feign diplomacy and blame everyone but himself.

Time up for Iran's answer on weapon

"The Bush administration is poised to press the U.N. Security Council to begin the process of imposing punitive action against Iran, after signals over the weekend that Tehran will not provide the straightforward acceptance or rejection today of a U.S.-backed proposal designed to prevent it from developing a nuclear weapon, U.S. and European officials said yesterday."

Perhaps it's time for punitive sanctions on the US.

US blames Iran, Syria for Hizbollah capture

"The White House on Wednesday demanded the immediate release of two Israeli soldiers captured by Lebanon's Hizbollah guerrillas and blamed Syria and Iran for the attacks.

Of course!

Israel blames attacks on Syria-Iran axis

"Israel is pointing to this week's Hezbollah raid as proof of its contention that Syria and Iran are leading a coordinated terror front, which includes Hamas and Hezbollah."

Isn't it time for the US to stop having its foreign policy controlled by Israel? Instead of inflaming hatred in the Middle East, both countries should have considered diplomacy as the best way to build cooperation. Now, it's too late.

Wildly disproportionate attack on Lebanon seems like pretext to confront Iran

"The U.S. and Israel, on the other hand, are very keen to attack Iran. In a recent series of articles in New Yorker magazine, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has detailed Washington's plans to attack Iran. Israel has called Iran a 'major threat' that 'must be stopped' from developing nuclear weapons.

"But the U.S. and Israel don't want to look like aggressors. They insist their intentions are purely defensive. Recall that Washington also claimed its invasion of Iraq was purely defensive — to protect itself from Iraq's arsenal of deadly weapons, which, it turned out, didn't exist."

Drawn back into the Gyre

"What seems to be unfolding is an acid test of Israel’s recent strategy of seeking to extricate itself from conflict by building a barrier and generally going it alone, rather than negotiating with its adversaries. On two fronts, its antagonists have found a way to draw Israel back into the gyre. And the Israelis are again trying to extricate themselves — by making the fight even more painful than its enemies had thought it could be."

Bush rejects Lebanon's call for cease-fire

"President Bush rejected Lebanon's calls for a cease-fire in escalating Mideast violence on Friday, saying only that Israel should try to limit civilian casualties as it steps up attacks on its neighbor."

Aggression under false pretenses

"The current Gaza invasion is only the latest effort to destroy the results of fair and free elections held early this year. It is the explosive follow-up to a five-month campaign of economic and diplomatic warfare directed by the United States and Israel. The stated intention of that strategy was to force the average Palestinian to 'reconsider' her vote when faced with deepening hardship; its failure was predictable, and the new overt military aggression and collective punishment are its logical fulfillment. The 'kidnapped' Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shalit is only a pretext for a job scheduled months ago."

Fleeing Lebanon villagers caught in Israeli inferno

"The child was holding a sandwich when an Israeli missile killed him and 19 other people fleeing their Lebanese border village in a van.

"Two little blackened hands could be seen still clutching the bread to the child's chest when U.N. peacekeepers recovered the corpse along with the bodies of some of the others. "

Half the passengers were children or teenagers, according to medical sources."

(Russian) Black Sea fleet may move to Syria

"Over the past two years, partly as a consequence of the war in Iraq, Russia has been carefully cultivating ties with Turkey, Iran and Syria. After losing the Mid-East foothold provided by Saddam Hussein's Iraq, the Russians have been building a new axis of power based on those three key countries. Russia is now Turkey's second-largest trading partner, with a volume of $10 billion in trade per year; Russia strengthened ties with Iran by supplying it with nuclear-related technologies; and last year Russia and Syria made plans to increase diplomatic and military cooperation. Russia wrote-off approximately 10 billion dollars of Syria’s Soviet-era debt and has supplied Syria with Russian made SA-18 surface-to-air missiles."

The beginning of the end for Israel - mad dog style

"Before you bedrock Zionists accuse me of anti-semitism, this is not MY prediction but that of Martin van Creveld, professor of military history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem as quoted in an article by David Hirst and published in the Observer on Sunday September 21, 2003:

"'We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets for our air force.' Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: 'Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.' 'I consider it all hopeless at this point. We shall have to try to prevent things from coming to that, if at all possible. Our armed forces, however, are not the thirtieth strongest in the world, but rather the second or third. We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen before Israel goes under.'"

Most of us have grown up knowing there will be news of Israeli - Palestinian tensions every day in the paper, on the radio, on television. The Israeli policy is a failed policy.

"Never again" gone mad in Israel

"In the name of forcing the release of a single soldier, Israel has seized members of a democratically elected government; bombed its interior ministry, the prime minister's offices and a school; threatened another sovereign state (Syria) with a menacing overflight; dropped leaflets from the air, warning of harm to the civilian population if it does not 'follow all orders' of the Israel Defense Forces; loosed nocturnal 'sound bombs' under orders from the Israeli prime minister to 'make sure no one sleeps at night in Gaza'; fired missiles into residential areas, killing children; and demolished a power station that was the sole generator of electricity and running water for hundreds of thousands of Gazans."

Isn't it time to stop financing Israeli terrorism?

"Attention deficit Americans are being misled into war terrible thing is happening, and not enough Americans are aware to be able to do anything about it. Zionists in Israel and in the Bush administration are leading America into war with Iran, Syria, Hizbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine. The consequences for America, Israel and the Middle East will be disastrous, but as long as Washington is in thrall to Zionist paranoia, nothing can be done about it. Bush made this clear on July 14 when he rejected the plea from Lebanon’s prime minister to pressure Israel to stop its attack on Lebanon."

Chris Hedges: Mutually assured destruction in the Middle East

"This has been a long time coming. The Bush administration never had any interest in helping to broker Middle Eastern peace agreements. This willful negligence was seen as befriending Israel, along with the bizarre demands of the Christian right. In fact, the administration befriended only an extreme political wing in Israel that, since the death of Yitzhak Rabin, has done a pretty effective job of endangering the Jewish state by dismantling all mechanisms for peace and turning Israel into an international pariah. As the machinery of Middle Eastern diplomacy rusted shut with disuse it was gleefully replaced by harsher Israeli closures, curfews, shelling and airstrikes. Palestinians have, since Bush arrived in office, been reduced by Israel to a subsistence existence matched only by Africans’. And the tools of repression against Palestinians now match those once imposed on South African blacks by the apartheid regime, with the exception that the South Africans never sent warplanes to bomb the townships."

From those wonderful folks who gave you 'Axis of evil'

"The Bush doctrine was a doctrine in name only, a sales strategy contrived to dress up the single mission of regime change in Iraq with philosophical grandiosity worthy of F.D.R. There was never any serious intention of militarily pre-empting either Iran or North Korea, whose nuclear ambitions were as naked then as they are now, or of striking the countries that unlike Iraq were major enablers of Islamic terrorism. Axis of Evil was merely a clever brand name from the same sloganeering folks who gave us 'compassionate conservatism' and 'a uniter, not a divider' — so clever that the wife of a presidential speechwriter, David Frum, sent e-mails around Washington boasting that her husband was the 'Axis of Evil' author. (Actually, only 'axis' was his.)

US and Japan exploit "missile crisis" to heighten tensions in north east Asia

"For all the furore over its missile tests, North Korea has not actually breached any international law. In fact, on Sunday, India tested a new Agni-3 long-range ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and reaching deep into Pakistan or China. Of course, the Bush administration did not denounce New Delhi with which it is seeking a “strategic partnership” as a counterweight against China—a move that is far more of a threat to 'world peace' than North Korea’s very limited military capacity."

Japan mulling early - stage interception of Nodong missiles

"Japan's Defense Agency has begun considering whether it can introduce a system to intercept missiles in their initial flight, or 'boost,' phase, amid tensions over North Korea's missile launches, it was learned Tuesday."

Hmmm, will a missile named "Nodong" ever reach the boost phase?

Germans locked down for Bush visit

"The security concerns surrounding the World Cup pale compared with the ring of steel and firepower thrown up to protect Mr Bush in a country where 84 per cent of the population loathe him."

I was surprised last Sunday to see Bill Clinton in the stands at the World Cup final. Had it been Evil Moron, the fans would've used him for a futbol.

Boared with serious questions

"A German reporter had a question for Bush: 'And apart from the pig, Mr. President, what sort of insights have you been able to gain as regards East Germany?''

"'I haven’t seen the pig yet,'' said Bush, sidestepping the question about insights gained from the two-day visit to this region of Germany that Merkel calls home and once rested within East Germany."

No wonder he is loathed. And at some point Thursday, Evil Moron ate a creature who was smarter than he is. Seeking nourishment up the food chain.

Canadian oil policy not in the public interest: Harper and Bush agendas are alike, so what are they really up to?

"One thing we know Harper and Bush are up to is further integrating our economies. Under something called the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), they're redesigning our economies to reduce the regulatory power of government and enhance the power of business. And who better to make up the new rules than business itself?"

Bad news for the majority of Canadians and Americans. Corporate freedom is on the prowl in North America. SPP stands for Suckers Plucked and Plundered.

Study: American dream slipping away

"Even though 81 percent of those surveyed agree the United States is the land of opportunity, they also said the concept is not being achieved and is abstract. The study indicated 61 percent of Americans say they are not living the dream and nearly two-thirds of those who are not living it don't believe they will achieve the dream in their lifetime, the study that Dr. Douglas E. Schoen, a nationally renowned pollster, conducted for the institute showed."

Global fightback: Workers overturned IMF and WTO demands in countries around the world

"All over the world trade unions and their allies in community and social action groups are fighting back against globalization and its chief promoters, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). We may not hear a lot about these battles in Canada or North America because the corporate media does not really publicize their successes. But workers across the globe are fighting back, and winning against some of the biggest and most powerful corporations that ever existed."

Many years ago, I read an interesting article (it may have been by Peter Drucker) saying there has to be a balance of power between trade unions and corporations. Too much power in either direction, the writer said, leads to economic dysfunction. Too bad things always seem to have to get worse before they get better.

A dated carbon approach

"These days almost nobody asserts that global warming isn't happening. Instead, we are confronted with a new lie: that we can respond to climate change without taxing and regulating carbon.

"The Bush administration -- and many Democrats, too -- promise technological salvation: hydrogen fuel cells, ethanol distilled from grass, solar power, windmills, whatever. It's more fun to call for whiz-bang technologies than regulations and taxes. But it's also dishonest."

Russia and Iran lead the new energy game

"Whatever the West may have thought about it, Russian President Vladimir Putin has already spectacularly preempted this weekend's Group of Eight (G8) summit in St Petersburg with his own bit of Pipelineistan news. Putin announced in Shanghai on June 15 that 'Gazprom is ready to support the construction of a gas pipeline from Iran to Pakistan and India with financial resources and technology'."

Administration again pushing anti-environmental court nominee

"Indeed, argued the Haynes brief, conservationists would actually benefit from the destruction of such birds, because it makes the birds rarer - and 'bird watchers get more enjoyment spotting a rare bird than they do spotting a common one.' Moreover, Haynes noted, the bombing is good for the birds, too - because it keeps the island free of other 'human intrusion.'"

Interesting, though insane, reasoning. So, if we bomb the world's brown and black people to near extinction, we'll learn to appreciate them all the more because they'll be less common. . . Look Momma, there's one of those colored people you told me about.

GOP senator criticizes appeals court nominee

"A key Senate Republican clashed yesterday with President Bush's pick for a federal appeals court, taking aim at the nominee's past support for harsh interrogation methods at the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."

Hell, I think this Haynes should be on the Supreme Court!

4th Circuit nominee Boyle: 'Missed' appearance of conflict in four cases

"President Bush's nominee to an appellate judgeship acknowledged missing the appearance of a conflict of interest in four cases in which he is accused of ruling on litigants in whose companies his family held stock."

Shouldn't it be asked why Evil Moron chooses these types for promotions in the legal system?

Hillary Clinton "woos Wall Street" and health industry

"Two days later, the New York Times carried a piece entitled, “Once an enemy, health industry warms to Clinton.' The article noted that Clinton has received $854,462 in campaign funding from the health care industry, the largest amount that the pharmaceutical giants, HMOs and hospital groups have doled out to any politician, with the exception of Senator Rick Santorum, the right-wing Republican from Pennsylvania."

A recent article in a local right wing paper said that Hillary and other centrist Dems were going to meet in Colorado. The last thing the Democratic party needs is a Republican nominee for president. Liberal Democrats tend to be right of center. Under normal circumstances, I favor centrism; however, when the pendulum swings too far in any direction, it must be countered with a force to gain the momentum back. We don't need a centrist agenda. We don't need a moderate liberal agenda. We need a flaming liberal agenda to highlight the errors of the neofascists.

The Failed States Index

This report is interesting to browse through.

Deficit's good news less than meets the eye

"But the apparent good news will not strike some economists as surprising: This will be the third year in a row that the administration put forth relatively gloomy deficit forecasts early on, only to announce months later that things had turned out better than expected. To some skeptics, it's beginning to look like an economic version of the old 'expectations' game."

A smoking gun: President's claim that tax cuts pay for themselves refuted by administration's own analysis

"Economists and budget analysts outside of the administration have explained that these claims are not supported by data or economic theory.[3] Now a Department of Treasury analysis presented in the Mid-Session Review itself confirms what outside experts have consistently said — tax cuts do not come remotely close to paying for themselves."[4]

Unlike the first George W., the latest iteration cannot tell the truth.

US trade deficit widened to $63.8 billion in May

"The $63.8 billion gap in goods and services trade widened from April's $63.3 billion, the Commerce Department said in Washington. The widening in May reflected more crude oil shipments. The shortfall with China widened."

Foreign companies buying US roads, bridges

"WASHINGTON Roads and bridges built by U-S- taxpayers are starting to be sold off -- and so far foreign-owned companies are doing the buying.

"On a single day in June, an Australian-Spanish partnership paid nearly four (b) billion dollars to lease the Indiana Toll Road. An Australian company bought a 99-year lease on Virginia's Pocahontas Parkway, and Texas officials decided to let a Spanish-American partnership build and run a toll road from Austin to Seguin for 50 years."

US 'could be going bankrupt'

"Prof Kotlikoff said that, by some measures, the US is already bankrupt. 'To paraphrase the Oxford English Dictionary, is the United States at the end of its resources, exhausted, stripped bare, destitute, bereft, wanting in property, or wrecked in consequence of failure to pay its creditors,' he asked.

"According to his central analysis, 'the US government is, indeed, bankrupt, insofar as it will be unable to pay its creditors, who, in this context, are current and future generations to whom it has explicitly or implicitly promised future net payments of various kinds'."

Quotes from www.bartcop.com:

"Saddam is on trial for killing 148 people 24 years ago, while militias loyal to our new government kill that many people every few days." - James Hider, Link

"The administration has fought tooth and nail for four years to say Common Article 3 does not apply to Al Qaeda. Having lost that fight, I'm afraid they're now saying, 'Never mind, we've been in compliance with Article 3 all along.'" --Martin S. Lederman, a former Justice Department official, Link Bush gets away with these blatant lies because the press and the Democrats remain silent.

"So what does the return to Geneva standards really mean? Americans have abused, tortured and even killed detainees in their custody. Is that behind us now?" -- Dan Froomkin, "More Ambiguity About Torture", WaHoPo

"We could electrify this wire with the kind of current that would not kill, but it would be a discouragement for them to be fooling around with it. We do that with livestock all the time." --Rep. Steve King (R-IA), equating Mexicans to livestock, politicalwire.com

"So much of that stuff was overblown... - Jeff Gannon, asked about his gay-sex service. He visited the White House over 200 times. Link

"Let’s forget about global warming and talk about flag burning and gay marriage. I don’t know how long you can milk that old cow." -- Bill Clinton, 'GOP strategy is weak', politicalwire.com
"Let's be sure we count every vote in our elections. This country deserves to have an electoral system that has integrity. I know there's been a problem here in Ohio, and I hope everybody from Ohio is watching this election like a hawk. Don't let them pull anything over your eyes again. One of the people running for high office is actually running the election. It's a conflict of interest...We've got to take back our democracy.'' -- Hillary Clinton, turning the heat on Ohio's crooked Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, Link

"The war in Iraq is shameful. You've got to admit it: Bush lied. And he continues to do so. I can't understand why he's just not run out on a rail. To send somebody's kids off and have them killed for no good reason - he's going to have his day in hell for that. I wouldn't want that karma." --Tom Petty, nydailywhore

"President Bush and Jessica Simpson were born in the same week, maybe there is something to this astrology stuff." -- Jimmy Kimmel

"This just in, breaking news from Hell, Ken Lay has just swindled Zarqawi out of his 72 virgins." -- Dave Letterman

"The true things that bind us together are the American flag and our common language. And when McDonald’s sends a different message, that causes resentment." --Mayor Steve Lonegan (R-Ass) of Bogota, New Jersey, calling for a McDonald’s boycott if they don't take down a Spanish-language billboard advertising iced coffee, Link

"Yo Soy El Army." --Tagline for the U.S. Army Spanish-language ad campaign,
thinkprogress.org The mayor's right - we should all boycott the Army for "causing resentment."

"After the invasion of Iraq failed to reveal any WMDs, the focus shifted to Bush's lofty pledge to fight terror by spreading democracy. That hasn't worked very well either. And now the White House faces new or growing challenges across the globe without a consistent approach -- or, for that matter, a good sense of who's in charge." -- Dan Froomkin, WaHoPo

"The biggest mistake we could make is to underestimate her. She's smart and she's tough. She's very disciplined in all ways -- unlike her husband -- and I think she's formidable. Plus, she already has $20 million in the bank." -- McCain, afraid of a girl, Link

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