Picks Commentary

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Getting darker

Picks of the Week:

Harper's Weekly Review

America's corporate-controlled media: garbage disguised as news

"During the course of writing this article, I reached for my handy thesaurus to find appropriate synonyms to describe the profession of 'cable television news journalist.'

"There were three: 1). Pseudo-journalist, a.k.a. professional liar; 2). Bottom feeding scum sucker who regurgitates garbage; 3). A coward often known to hawk unjust and illegal wars from the safety of television studios while avoiding military service."

Are FOX news employees really "noncombatants"?

"It would be hard, if not impossible to draw a line of separation between the US military and FOX News. Their anchors may shun the camouflage fatigues and jack-boots, but that is where the difference ends. FOX is a fully-integrated cog in the corporate/state media apparatus; faithfully reiterating the official statements of Pentagon Big-wigs and administration powerbrokers. Their "'embedded' news team provides the splashy graphics and right wing chatter which energize their base and marshal public support for American aggression. They carefully create a narrative which makes deliberate acts of unprovoked warfare appear necessary and (even) humanitarian."

A new week: US media frenzy over JonBenet murder carries on

"Despite the serious doubts that have been raised regarding the involvement of John Mark Karr in the Christmas 1996 murder of six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey in Boulder, Colorado, the US media frenzy provoked by his arrest and 'confession' continues unabated. If anything, it intensified Monday morning."

A friend told me many other children were murdered in the US in 1996. Name one.

Britain: questions remain over alleged terror plot

"Throughout the current terror scare the mass media has acted as the propaganda arm of the state, repeating every allegation, no matter how lurid, without making any effort to substantiate them, and quickly burying those that turned out to be bogus. And whereas in the first days of the arrests, the media was filled with supposed details of the alleged plot, the suspects involved and possible connections to Al Qaeda, 9/11 and the July 7, 2005 attacks in London, now there is virtual silence."

The liquid bomb hoax: The larger implications

"The arrests were followed by the search for evidence, as the August 12, 2006 Financial Times states: 'The police set about the mammoth task of gathering evidence of the alleged terrorist bomb plot yesterday.' (FT, August 12, 2006) In other words, the arrests and charges took place without sufficient evidence -- a peculiar method of operation -- which reverses normal investigatory procedures in which arrests follow the 'monumental task of gathering evidence.' If the arrests were made without prior accumulation of evidence, what were the bases of the arrests?"

To plant evidence?

An outlaw state: Israel breaks ceasefire, threatens to assassinate Hezbollah leader

"Both Lebanese and United Nations officials denounced the raid. Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora issued a press statement in Beirut calling the attack a 'flagrant violation' of the UN ceasefire resolution, while UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said he was 'deeply concerned about a violation by the Israeli side of the cessation of hostilities.'"

Israel is 'preparing for more fighting'

"Any chance of long-term peace between Lebanon and Israel all but vanished last night after Amir Peretz, the Israeli defence minister, said his country was preparing for another round of fighting.

"Mr Peretz spoke only hours after Israeli commandos mounted a raid deep inside Lebanon. Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary general, said it was a violation of the week-old UN ceasefire."
Israeli soldiers attacking Palestinian with Nasrallah screen savers on their mobile phones

"On Saturday morning Israeli soldiers attacked a group of young men and broke their mobile phones at the southern entrance of Jenin for having pictures of Hassan Nasrallah on them.

"The young man, Mahmoud Ibrahim, was among them, and reported to PNN that the soldiers imposed a barricade along the main road between Jenin and Nablus in the northern West Bank. The concern was not to check identification, but rather to check cell phones. Anyone with a Nasrallah photo was detained, and that meant a lot of cars lined up in the detention area."

Uncomfortable truths about Israel

"Having helped transform Hizbullah from a band of terrorists into the rock stars of the Muslim world, Israel persists with being stupid. Ehud Olmert either never learned or forgot the first rule of crisis management--i.e., when you're in a hole, stop digging. With the reputation of the Isreali Defense Force in tattters after the debacle in Lebanon, Israeli leaders apparently decided to go all out to secure their reputation as the supreme rogue state in the Middle East. How else to explain the following?"

Sales of US arms hit record levels

"So far this year contracts worth $21.7 billion (£11.5 billion) have been passed to the US Congress for ratification, 76 per cent more than agreed during all of 2005, when America is believed to have lost market share in the global weapons trade to Europe."

Scientists suspect Israeli arms used in South contain radioactive matter

"Mohammad Ali Qobeissi, a member of the National Council for Scientific Research, said on Sunday that a crater caused by an Israeli munition in Khiam contained 'a high degree of unidentified radioactive materials.' Qobeissi, along with Ibrahim Rashidi from the Faculty of Sciences at the Lebanese University, have inspected the crater - which is 3 meters deep and has a diameter of 10 meters - in the Jlahiyyeh quarter in Khiam, with a Geiger-Muller radioactivity counter and nuclear material detector."

Israel and the US focused on the wrong issues

"The constant clashes between Israel and Lebanon since the late 1960s derived heavily from the unresolved Palestinian-Israeli conflict that started with the 1948 war. Since Iran's 1979 revolution Islamist revolutionary zeal has found effective expression in its close association with Hizbullah, which Iranian revolutionary guards were instrumental in establishing and training. Tehran's assistance to Hamas today follows a similar pattern. A non-Arab power such as Iran exploits the resentment against Israel and the US throughout the Arab world to make political inroads into Arab regions. If the Arab-Israeli conflict had been resolved decades ago, Iran would not have this opportunity."

US extends credit line to Israel

"Bush administration agrees to extend by three-year loan guarantees for Israel given to Israel in 2003; Israel has used USD 4.9 billion of a total USD 9 billion."

Loans, the "Cranston Amendment," and loan guarantees

"Currently, Israel owes the U.S. government almost $3 billion in economic and military loans. Direct government-to-government loans are included in the above numbers for total aid, because repayment of several loans has been “waived” by the U.S. Israeli officials are fond of saying that Israel has never defaulted on a loan from the U.S. Technically, this is true. The CRS report, however, notes that from FY 1994 through FY 1998 $29 billion in U.S. loans have been waived for Israel. Therefore, it is reasonable to consider all loans to Israel the same as grants."

So who is paying for this? We are, of course.

AIPAC. the religious right and American foreign policy

"Nobody can understand what's going on politically in the United States without being aware that a political coalition of major pro-Likud groups, pro-Israel neoconservative intellectuals and Christian Zionists is exerting a tremendously powerful influence on the American government and its policies. Over time, this large pro-Israel Lobby, spearheaded by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), has extended its comprehensive grasp over large segments of the U.S. government, including the Vice President's office, the Pentagon and the State Department, besides controlling the legislative apparatus of Congress. It is being assisted in this task by powerful allies in the two main political parties, in major corporate media and by some richly financed so-called 'think-tanks', such as the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, or the Washington Institute for Near East Policy."

Blair 'feels betrayed by Bush on Lebanon'

"A senior Downing Street source said that, privately, Mr Blair broadly agrees with John Prescott, who said Mr Bush's record on the issue was 'crap'."

I believe Prescott said that "Bush was crap." More encompassing . . . and more accurate.

Lebanon's month-old oil slick sinks

"An oil slick caused by Israeli bombing has begun sinking to the floor of the Mediterranean, blanketing marine life with sludge, according to a Greenpeace video that shows dead fish along the sea bottom.

"The scuba diver's videotape, released Tuesday by Greenpeace, also shows the sunken slick sliding ominously toward a lone red sea urchin rooted in the sand, its tentacles waving in the current. The footage graphically details some of the environmental destruction a month after the oil spill began sinking, creating what has been called Lebanon's worst-ever environmental disaster."

Giving death a chance.

'Non-combatant" Lieberman won't back Democratic candidates

"Lieberman -- who after losing an Aug. 8 Democratic primary to Ned Lamont has launched a third-party bid to hold onto his seat in the Nov. 7 general election -- was asked whether he still endorses Diane Farrell, Joe Courtney and Chris Murphy, three Democrats looking to unseat endangered Republican incumbents Chris Shays, Rob Simmons and Nancy Johnson.

“'I’m a non-combatant,' Lieberman declared. 'I am not going to be involved in other campaigns. I think it’s better if I just focus on my own race.'"

His loyalties are to BushCo and AIPAC.

Shocking election-theft testimony

"If you can watch this entire video, and still use an electronic voting machine, you deserve the government you get. If your state or district has decided to use electronic voting machines this November demand an absentee ballot today. Watch this video. Then join those of us who have decided that since paper was good enough for our constitution, it's good enough for our vote too."

Fourth defeat seals Bush's war legacy

"But when one examines the record of the self-professed "war leader", the results are pretty dismal. As of now, President Bush is in the process of losing all four wars that he started."

Is the US planning a coup in Iraq?

"The New York Times article, which had all the hallmarks of a planted story, did not of course speak openly of a coup against Maliki. Nevertheless it constituted an unmistakable threat to the Baghdad regime that its days were numbered if it did not toe the US line. Prior to his trip to Washington last month, Maliki publicly condemned the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. While his comments were just a pale reflection of popular sentiment in Iraq and throughout the Middle East, they soured the Bush administration’s plans to use the visit as a much-needed boost prior to mid-term US elections."

Putting the Iraq war on trial

"When he refused to deploy to Iraq in June, Army Lt. Ehren Watada said he was following his conscience and upholding his duty not to obey illegal orders. But that didn't impress military officials, who promptly charged him with violating Army rules and sent him on a path toward a likely court-martial.

"In doing so, they set up an unusual collision between a man who is believed to be the first officer to refuse duty in Iraq and a military justice system that is now effectively being asked to rule on the war's legality."

The best war ever

"Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber have a new book, which is always a good thing; but this one is especially good. It's called 'The Best War Ever: Lies, Damned Lies, and the Mess in Iraq.' It's 206 pages, and you'll read it in one sitting, because it's more entertaining than the corporate media whose infotainment is the book's focus. While this book is every bit as well researched as Congressman John Conyers's 350-page report, 'The Constitution in Crisis,' it's written as a compelling narrative rather than a list of evidence or a draft indictment. I recommend reading these two works together."

Bush press conference on Iraq: "We're not leaving so long as I'm president."

"So great has been the turn in public opinion against the war that Bush himself was compelled to admit the extent of the mass opposition. He made several comments on this theme, clearly rehearsed ahead of time, acknowledging the opposition while declaring it mistaken:"

Baghdad day after PMs unity call

"A bomb blew apart a minibus in central Baghdad on Sunday, killing nine people, the day after Prime Minister [Green Zone] Nuri al-Maliki again called on ethnically and religiously divided Iraqis to reconcile to end the bloodshed."

Manhood and moral waivers

"When news surfaced that GIs allegedly stalked, terrorized, gang-raped, and killed an Iraqi woman, the U.S. tried minimizing this latest atrocity by our troops—claiming the victim was age 25 or even 50, implying a rape-murder is less horrific if the victim is an older woman. Now, Article 32 hearings—the military equivalent of a grand jury—have ended at Camp Liberty, a U.S. base in Iraq (U.S. troops are exempt from Iraqi prosecution). In September, a general will rule whether the accused should be court-martialed. The defense already pleads post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): in four months preceding the crime, 17 of the accused GIs’ battalion were killed; their company, Bravo, suffered eight combat deaths.

"But as the U.S. spun the victim’s identity, investigators knew her name: Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi.

"Abeer means 'fragrance of flowers.' She was 14 years old."

War is a character builder. The Army should run an enlistment ad on TV that might go like this:

"Son, you've changed somehow."

"Yes, Dad, I'm heading overseas to rape young teenage girls."

Bush now says what he wouldn't say before war: Iraq had 'nothing' to do with 9/11

"President Bush was in the midst of explaining how the attacks of 9/11 inspired his 'freedom agenda' and the attacks on Iraq until a reporter, Ken Herman of Cox News, interrupted to ask what Iraq had to do with 9/11. 'Nothing,' Bush defiantly answered."

How to look like a failure: By linking Iraq with the war on terror, Bush has created a dynamic that threatens to destroy him

"Bush is trapped in a self-generated dynamic that eerily recalls the centrifugal forces that spun apart his father's presidency. It was not until the Gulf war that the public became convinced that the elder Bush was a strong leader and not the 'wimp' stereotypically depicted. Then came a recession. Bush's feeble response was not seen as merely an expression of typical Republican policy, but as a profound character flaw. If Bush was strong, why didn't he solve the problem?"

The evil scions of the Bush crime family share defective genes.

Four US servicemen killed in Iraq

"Two Marines and a sailor were killed on Sunday in the western province of Anbar, where Sunni Arab insurgents are active, the military said in a statement."

Marines to recall troops on involuntary basis for Iraq, Afghanistan

"Up to 2,500 Marines will be brought back at any one time, but there is no cap on the total number of Marines who may be forced back into service in the coming years as the military battles the war on terror. The call-ups will begin in the next several months.
"This is the first time the Marines have had to use the involuntary recall since the early days of the Iraq combat. The Army has ordered back about 14,000 soldiers since the start of the war."

Marine call-up greeted with anger. suspicion

"Della Vecchia says her son is stuck, with three years left on an eight-year military contract. She's also a bit suspicious -- wondering about the military's claims that it's meeting recruitment goals.

"She's also concerned that maybe something's really brewing elsewhere in the world -- perhaps with North Korea. She says people 'never know the whole story until it hits us front and center.'
"There's suspicion of another kind from the group Vote-Vets-dot-org, whose chairman calls this 'the last thing that happens before the draft.'"

Rumsfeld: Troops' families have no reason to be mad

"Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld praised the work Saturday of members of an Army brigade whose one-year tour in Iraq was extended just as they prepared to return home, and said he saw no reason for the soldiers or their families to be angry with him."

Modest proposal: Waterboard Congress

"Because many in the administration and Congress feel strongly that coerced confessions constitute the 'best practice' to get truth from people suspected of bad things, then, under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, American citizens should be permitted to use the same method to pry the truth out of their elected representatives."

I'd pay to see that.

Poll: Opposition to Iraq war at all-time high

"Just 35 percent of 1,033 adults polled say they favor the war in Iraq; 61 percent say they oppose it -- the highest opposition noted in any CNN poll since the conflict began more than three years ago."

NATO pilots accused of killing Afghan children

"Witnesses and relatives of the dead, who were interviewed by The Independent at the town of Lashkargar, claim that on 31 July a family of 13 was attempting to flee the fighting in a rented pickup truck with three other men when an aircraft appeared overhead."

Christian coalition losing chapters

"'It's a very sad day for our people, but a liberating day,' said John Giles, president of the coalition's Alabama chapter, which announced Wednesday that it was renaming itself and splitting from the national organization. The Iowa and Ohio chapters took similar steps this year."

7 facts you might not know about the Iraq war (Scroll down)

"2. There Is No Iraqi Army"

Return to Kandahar: The Taliban threat

"Mohammad Hikmat and his younger brother bought land here - £27,000 for 400 sq m - to build a home. Over the past five years they made good money working with foreign reporters and aid agencies. But six months ago it all came to an end. The Taliban were coming back. All construction stopped. Fear spread like a fire. Then came a series of suicide attacks and printed decrees, often hung on the walls of local mosques, ordering the people to stop supporting the government."

Losing Afghanistan

"Nearly five years after American military forces help topple a Taliban government that provided sanctuary and training camps to Osama bin Laden, there is no victory in the war for Afghanistan, due in significant measure to the Bush administration’s reckless haste to move on to Iraq and shortsighted stinting on economic reconstruction."

Iran replaces US as Middle East power

"It [report] says: 'There is little doubt that Iran has been the chief beneficiary of the war on terror in the Middle East.'

"'The United States, with Coalition support, has eliminated two of Iran's regional rival governments - the Taleban in Afghanistan in November 2001 and Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq in April 2003 - but has failed to replace either with coherent and stable political structures.'"

BushCo, you're doin' a heckuva job.

US made an offer Iran can only refuse

"The history of the international proposal shows that the Bush administration was determined from the beginning that it would fail, so that it could bring to a halt a multilateral diplomacy on Iran's nuclear program that the hardliners in the administration had always found a hindrance to their policy."

Iran sanctions could fracture coalition

"Now the question is whether Ms. Rice, who returned from vacation this week and was studying Iran’s response, can keep the coalition together to take out their sticks against Iran.

"That will not be easy, in part because the entire United Nations Security Council is supposed to vote on the sanctions package. While only the permanent members can veto, the rising fear, particularly among European diplomats, is that smaller countries on the Council are so angry over how the United States, and now France, have handled the Lebanon crisis that they will give Russia and China political cover to balk against imposing tough sanctions."

"Folks. we're being set up again!"

"I repeat what I have said before, which is that John Bolton is just an ill-tempered lawyer who has no special expertise in nuclear issues or in Iran, and aside from an ability to scare the bejesus out of young gofers who bring him coffee and to thunderously denounce on cue any world leader on whom he is sicced, he has no particular qualifications for his job.

"Nor do the Republican congressmen know anything special about Iran's nuclear energy program. They certainly know much less than the CIA agents who work on it full time, some of whom know Persian and have actually done . . . intelligence work.

"We are beset by instant experts on contemporary Iran, like the medievalist Bernard Lewis, who wrongly predicted that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would attack Israel on August 22, based on Lewis's weird interpretation of his alleged millenarian beliefs. Once the Neoconservatives went so far as actually to make fun of reality in the hearing of a reporter, their game was up."

Israel may 'go it alone' against Iran

"Israel is carefully watching the world's reaction to Iran's continued refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, with some high-level officials arguing it is now clear that when it comes to stopping Iran, Israel 'may have to go it alone,' The Jerusalem Post has learned."

With US funding and arms.

The new axis of intervention

"There is a new force in foreign policy: the 'axis of intervention'. Two allies are official members: the United States and Israel. With its recent invasion of Somalia, Ethiopia has joined the grouping. A fourth nation, Japan, is petitioning for membership."

Is Bush a clear and present danger?

"The disaster in Iraq put a crimp in the neoconservative timetable. Instead of quick follow-up victories over Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon, then regime change in Iran and a thoroughly intimidated Muslim world bowing at Bush’s feet, the administration faced mounting opposition and growing radicalism throughout the region.

"Meanwhile, Bush emerged as a despised figure not only in the Middle East but around the world. The hatred of Bush also dragged down America’s image and diminished the U.S. value to Israel as an “honest broker” capable of defusing tensions with its Arab neighbors."

NSA has massive database of Americans' phone calls

"'It’s the largest database ever assembled in the world,' said one person, who, like the others who agreed to talk about the NSA’s activities, declined to be identified by name or affiliation. The agency’s goal is 'to create a database of every call ever made' within the nation’s borders, this person added.

"For the customers of these companies, it means that the government has detailed records of calls they made — across town or across the country — to family members, co-workers, business contacts and others."

A damning admission: New York Times concealed NSA spying until after 2004 election

"A column by New York Times public editor Byron Calame August 13 reveals that the newspaper withheld a story about the Bush administration’s program of illegal domestic spying until after the 2004 election, and then lied about it."

US sues Maine officials for probe on Verizon, NSA

"The U.S. government sued Maine officials on Tuesday to block their demand that Verizon disclose whether it gave the government's spying program access to its customer data, documents showed."

Where Bush's arrogance has taken us

"During his gubernatorial days in Texas, George W let slip a one-sentence thought that unintentionally gave us a peek into his political soul. In hindsight, it should've been loudly broadcast all across our land so people could've absorbed it, contemplated its portent?and roundly rejected the guy's bid for the presidency. On May 21, 1999, reacting to some satirical criticism of him, Bush snapped: 'There ought to be limits to freedom.'

"Gosh, so many freedoms to limit, so little time! But in five short years, the BushCheneyRummy regime has made remarkable strides toward dismembering the genius of the Founders, going at our Constitution and Bill of Rights like famished alligators chasing a couple of poodles."

Bush and Saddam should both stand trial, says Nuremberg prosecutor

"A chief prosecutor of Nazi war crimes at Nuremberg has said George W. Bush should be tried for war crimes along with Saddam Hussein. Benjamin Ferencz, who secured convictions for 22 Nazi officers for their work in orchestrating the death squads that killed more than 1 million people, told OneWorld both Bush and Saddam should be tried for starting 'aggressive' wars--Saddam for his 1990 attack on Kuwait and Bush for his 2003 invasion of Iraq."


Protection racket: Judicial cover for crony contractors by Chris Floyd

"They say that America's increasingly right-wing courts are bent on halting the forward march of civil rights, but that's a typical liberal canard. Why, just last week, a federal judge - appointed by Ronald Reagan, no less - issued a bold ruling that offers shield and succor to a small, despised minority on the fringes of American society.

"War profiteers."

Blackwater shot down in federal court

"In a major blow to one of the most infamous war profiteers operating in Iraq, Afghanistan and New Orleans, a federal appeals court has ruled that a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the mercenary firm Blackwater USA can proceed in North Carolina's state courts. The suit was brought by the families of the four Blackwater contractors ambushed and killed in Falluja, Iraq on March 31, 2004. Blackwater had tried to have the same case dismissed or moved to federal court."

Win a few, lose a few.

Venezuela's Chavez in China

"He said agreements would be signed Thursday with China National Petroleum Corp. and China Petroleum and Chemical Corp.

"Chavez said Venezuela's growing relations with China are part of his government's efforts to create a 'multipolar' world to counter U.S. hegemony. He accuses Washington of bullying countries like Venezuela to keep them from developing military technology."

The Evil Moron, acting independently in an interdependent world, has doomed the US.

CIA's secret UK bank trawl may be illegal

"A covert programme under which confidential information about British banking transactions is passed to the CIA with the full knowledge of the government may breach both British and European law, the Guardian has learned."

Federal appeals court: Driving with money is a crime

"A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that if a motorist is carrying large sums of money, it is automatically subject to confiscation. In the case entitled, 'United States of America v. $124,700 in U.S. Currency,' the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit took that amount of cash away from Emiliano Gomez Gonzolez, a man with a 'lack of significant criminal history' neither accused nor convicted of any crime."

Senator Hagel says GOP has lost its way

"'Hagel asked: ''Where is the fiscal responsibility of the party I joined in '68? Where is the international engagement of the party I joined -- fair, free trade, individual responsibility, not building a bigger government, but building a smaller government?'"

Cold war missiles target of blackout: Documents altered to conceal data

"The Bush administration has begun designating as secret some information that the government long provided even to its enemy the former Soviet Union: the numbers of strategic weapons in the U.S. nuclear arsenal during the Cold War."

S**t for brains is probably selling them to Iran.

Lower fertility: A Wise investment -- Plans that encourage voluntary, steep reductions in the fertility rates of poor nations pay dividends in sustainability for everyone

"Even if the world's population were to stabilize at today's level of 6.5 billion people, the pressures of rising per capita resource use would continue to mount, as today's poor and middle-income societies increase their resource use to live like the rich countries, while today's rich countries continue their seemingly insatiable quest for still greater consumption levels. With the rich countries living at roughly $30,000 per person and the world's average income at around $10,000 per person, simply having the poor catch up with the incomes levels of the rich would triple global economic throughput, with all of the attendant environmental consequences."

This should be the number one priority of sane nations.

Health care: It's what ails us

"An estimated 50 million Americans lack medical insurance, and a similar and rapidly growing number are underinsured. The uninsured are excluded from services, charged more for services, and die when medical care could save them—an estimated 18,000 die each year because they lack medical coverage.

"But it’s not only the uninsured who suffer. Of the more than 1.5 million bankruptcies filed in the U.S. each year, about half are a result of medical bills; of those, three-quarters of filers had health insurance."

Come to think of it, other countries might be thinking that a higher mortality in the nation that uses most of the world's resource per capita and pollutes most per capita may not be all bad.

Michael Moore documentary rattles health care giants

"The health-care industry is worried sick over 'Sicko.'

"Few details have emerged about the 2007 documentary from Michael Moore, the filmmaker who ripped apart Detroit automakers with 'Roger and Me' and now has his sights set on the $1.5 trillion pharmaceutical and health-care industry. But it's still enough to mobilize health-care trade groups who are trying to discredit the film."

Scientists call for radical action to ease water scarcity

"Scientists on Monday called for radical action to improve global water management, saying one-third of the world's population faces water scarcity."

Change can be managed vis a vis thinking, or cataclysmically vis a vis not thinking.

Cuba's pathbreaking energy policies

"Cuba switched 'the nation's agriculture from high input, fossil fuel-dependent farming, to low input, self-reliant farming...farmers used new environmental technologies offered as the result of scientific development--technologies such as biopesticides and biofertilizers. Biopesticides developed the use of microbes and natural enemies to combat pests, along with resistant plant varieties, crop rotation, and cover cropping to suppress weeds. Biofertilizers were developed using earthworms, compost, natural rock phosphate, animal manure and green manures, and the integration of grazing animals. To replace tractors, there was a return to animal traction.'"

Adapting to survive. The US, on the other hand, will stay the course. Several times a year I reflect on the phrase about the meek inheriting the earth.

Big ag, oil and tobacco will kill you for a profit

"Big ag, big tobacco, big war, big oil, and their enablers on Wall Street always congratulate themselves on "wealth creation". This is what the 'free market' does -- it takes something that was supposedly worthless, like mountaintops in West Virginia or corn varieties in Mexico or oil deposits in Alaska, and gives them 'value'.

"But this is a fiction. The model here is big water. The earth abounds in rivers and lakes. Wealthy water companies (the water rights in my river are owned by a company in England that is now in trouble for mismanaging their own Thames) go to other countries and buy or take the water rights of those people and then sell them back to those very people at a price they can hardly afford."

Whistleblowers say State Farm cheated Katrina victims

"State Farm Insurance supervisors systematically demanded that Hurricane Katrina damage reports be buried or replaced or changed so that the company would not have to pay policyholders' claims in Mississippi, two State Farm insiders tell ABC News."

Since State Farm is a major BushCo contributor, this is a leak that will be plugged.

New Orleans awaits billions in federal aid

"First came the floodwaters, then the paperwork. Billions of promised federal dollars to fix New Orleans' crumbling infrastructure have gone largely untapped a year after Hurricane Katrina. City officials complain that a snarl of red tape, restrictions and unexpectedly high costs have kept hundreds of public buildings in disrepair, streets pocked with potholes and most parks too dirty for children to play."

Democrats cite no-bid Katrina contracts

"The government awarded 70 percent of its contracts for Hurricane Katrina work without full competition, wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in the process, says a House study released Thursday by Democrats."

Recession will be nasty and deep, economist says: Housing is in free fall, pulling the economy down with it

"Writing on his blog Wednesday, Roubini repeated his call that the U.S. would be in recession in 2007, arguing that the collapse of housing would bring down the rest of the economy. Read more."

Central Bank: Russia dumps dollar for Ruble in 1st half

"Russians abandoned the dollar at an unprecedented rate in the first half of this year, the news agency RIA Novosti reported Central Bank deputy chairman Alexei Ulyukayev as saying Friday.

"Ulyukayev told a press conference - to which foreign press weren't invited - that dollar assets held by the population had fallen by $5.1 billion in the first half of this year - three times the rate seen in the corresponding period in 2005."

George H.W. Bush Executive Order 12803 ordering the selling off US infrastructure to private parties

"b) 'infrastructure asset' means any asset financed in whole or in part by the Federal Government and needed for the functioning of the economy. Examples of such assets include, but are not limited to: roads, tunnels, bridges, electricity supply facilities. mass transit, rail transportation, airports, ports. waterways, water supply facilities, recycling and wastewater treatment facilities, solid waste disposal facilities, housing, schools, prisons, and hospitals."

Experts warn US is coming apart at the seams

"'When I see events like these, I become concerned that we've lost focus on the core operational functionality of the nation's infrastructure and are becoming a fragile nation, which is just as bad — if not worse — as being an insecure nation,' said Christian Beckner, a Washington analyst who runs the respected Web site Homeland Security Watch (www.christianbeckner.com).

"The American Society of Civil Engineers last year graded the nation 'D' for its overall infrastructure conditions, estimating that it would take $1.6 trillion over five years to fix the problem."

Where there's a will, there's a way. Conversely, where there's no will, there's no way. Is this country going to survive? No way. Corporate greed is choking the nation to death.

By the light of a burning bridge: A permanent goodbye to the United States

"Now it seems the American people won’t even risk their credit ratings, student loans, the next piece of ass, or a sideways glance from people who look at them like AIDS patients for daring to deviate from the corporate, media-instilled norm. We have come a long way backward. Rodney King’s 'Can’t we all just get along' has become the modern day theme song for the surrender of America’s character, and the L.A. Rebellion of 1992 was probably the last flame of will to fight injustice in American history."

Quotes from www.bartcop.com:

"Rumsfeld served up our great military a huge bowl of chicken shit, and ever since then, our military and our country have been trying to turn this bowl into chicken salad." --Ret. General John Batiste, former Army commander in Iraq Link

"High rates of legal immigration provide cheap, nonunion labor for big business, a steady stream of domestic servants for the overclass, and lower wages for American workers. So why do so many liberals support them? -- Mike Lind, asking some good questions, Link

"I didn't vote for you, but you are my President. And you're not serving me. You yourself have said you had erroneous information going into this. As a Christian man, you realize that when you've made a mistake it's your responsibility to end this. As President, you're here to serve the people. And the people are not being served with this war." -- Hildi Halley, to the Giggling Murderer in a private meeting, Link

"There's no point 'discussing the pros and cons of the war'" -- Bush's response to Hildi Halley, Link

"No matter what we do with screening passengers, we're not having safe flights until we screen the cargo. The cargo isn't being screened at all. " -- Bush water carrier Tony Blankley Link

"Iraqis are excited and enjoying their freedom" -- Sen. James Inhofe (R-Insane), Link

"Word is, he likes to gas a couple, and then bring the aide in and see what the kid's face looks like." --U.S. News & Whore Report's Paul Bedard saying when Dubya meets a new aide he raises one leg and farts to watch for the kid's reaction, Link We have 2600 dead soldiers in his World war, a ruined economy and trillions in debt because this ignorant nine seven year old is running the world? Remember the promise of "dignity" he was going to bring to the Oval Office?
"When you have the likes of Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, a conservative Republican, and he says he has seen the changes in his lifetime in the Arctic, there is just no doubt that something has to happen." -- Betsy Moler, a VP at Exelon Corp. of Chicago, an energy firm Link

"I just wish the President could have another term in office." --Katrina victim Rockey Vaccarella, who says Bush has done a heckuva job, Link

"Bush says he does not care about Iran's nuclear program, as long as they're not developing a nuke-u-lar program." -- David Letterman

"Bush is such a bad president, we've lost Pluto."

Pluto has lost its status as a planet. But it says it will run as an independent." --David Letterman

"What's happened in Iraq is nothing short of a miracle." -- Jungle Jim Inhofe, (R-Pissquik) Link

"Two and a half years more years in Iraq? That sound you hear is another round of cigars lighting up in the Halliburton boardroom." --American Family Voices, Link

"I think the day is coming. I think eventually we're going to have a very powerful hurricane in a major metropolitan area worse than what we saw in Katrina and it's going to be a mega-disaster. With lots of lost lives." -- Max Mayfield, director of the U.S. National Hurricane Center, Link
"War is not a time of joy." -- The most crooked president in history Link But it is a time of massive profits.

"I allowed Lamont to distort my position on Iraq. He made me into a cheerleader for George Bush on everything that's happened." -- Joe "Kiss me, George" Lieberman, Bush's top cheerleader, Link

"Iraqi insurgents killed 20 people and injured 300 over the weekend. But in a sign of how routine the bloodshed has become, the military reported 'relatively little violence.'" --Think Progress, Link

"George Bush's mental weakness is damaging America's credibility at home and abroad. -- Joe Scarborough, Link

"I just want to be hot. I just want to be buff. I want to be fit. Do you think I'll lose a couple of pounds in boot camp?" -- idiot teen girl, joining the Marines to lose weight Link Great idea, Honey. Sign right up. If you leave your legs in Iraq, you'll come back weighing 77 pounds.

"Bush goes in the back way the same way as the banana republic dictators." --Charles Lane, comparing Bush to Nicaragua's Somoza, who was so loathed he had to sneak in all public places through back entrances, Link

"I think he's very consistent with his cowardice. He never sees us, so he thinks everyone supports him." --Todd Baxter, on Bush hiding from the public, Link

"There are no hereditary kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution." -- Judge Anne Diggs Taylor, slapping Der Monkey for his illegal power grab because the Democrats wouldn't Link

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Dark Waters

Picks of the Week:

Harper's Weekly Review

NYT: As weeks wore on, Bush administration began to doubt Israel could win an outright military victory in Lebanon

"An advance version of the Times article obtained by RAW STORY included references to such doubts as expressed by an unidentified senior Bush Administration official, but for unknown reasons it was left out of the published article.

"'When the war in Lebanon began in mid-July, American diplomacy was predicated on giving the vaunted Israeli armed forces the time it needed to destroy Hezbollah militarily,' Warren Hoge had once written.

"The unpublished draft continued:

"The Bush administration resisted all calls for a cease-fire, even as worldwide clamor for one increased, arguing that a simple truce with no conditions for its aftermath would leave Hezbollah entrenched and Israel exposed to renewed rocket attacks from southern Lebanon.'"

Bush 'helped Israeli attack on Lebanon'

"The US government was closely involved in planning the Israeli campaign in Lebanon, even before Hizbullah seized two Israeli soldiers in a cross border raids in July. American and Israeli officials met in the spring, discussing plans on how to tackle Hizbullah, according to a report published yesterday."

Bush 'viewed war in Lebanon as a curtain-raiser for attack on Iran'

"The officials apparently started their inquiries with Vice-President Dick Cheney, knowing that if they secured his support, obtaining the backing of President Bush and Condoleezza Rice would be easier."

Intelligence officials doubt Iran uranium claims, say Cheney receiving suspect briefings

"One former senior intelligence official is particularly concerned by private briefings that Vice President Dick Cheney is getting from former Office of Special Plans (OSP) Director, Abram Shulsky.

"'Vice President Cheney is relying on personal briefings from Shulsky for current intelligence on Iran,' said this intelligence official."

Cheney orchestrated Israel's losing war

"Dick Cheney orchestrated Israel’s losing war against Hizbullah by authorizing George Bush and Condoleezza Rice to encourage Ehud Olmert to launch the war against Lebanon as a prelude to America’s forthcoming war against Iran.

"Following briefings from top Israeli military officials, Cheney approved plans for an air war against Lebanon as a preliminary move to disarm Hizbullah in advance of America’s broader military objective - to launch an air war against Iran. Had the US launched its war against Iran without Olmert’s intervention in Lebanon, Hizbullah would have been free to attack Israel. Cheney’s plan was designed to disarm Hizbullah, but it was based on what now appears to have been a false assumption - that Israel would win their war in Lebanon."

No evidence Iran active in Iraq; US general

"'There is nothing that we definitively have found to say that there are any Iranians operating within the country of Iraq,' Major General William Caldwell, the top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, told a news conference."

Is conspiracy a war crime? The White House urges Congress to say yes, because it makes terror convictions easier. The high court is split.

"The Bush administration is asking Congress to simply pass a law recognizing conspiracy as a war crime."

I'm for it if it also applies to BushCo. Conspiring to invade Iraq using cooked information and conspiring with Israel to invade Iran using cooked information are both war crimes. Make BushCo the test case. The US has certainly terrorized Iraq and will do the same to Iran.

Olmert's war, and the next one

"With our War Party discredited by the failed policies it cheered on in Lebanon and Iraq, there will come a clamor that Bush must 'go to the source' of all our difficulty – Iran. Only thus can the War Party redeem itself for having pushed us and Israel into two unnecessary and ruinous wars. And the drumbeat for war on Iran has already begun." . . . .

"Bush is on notice from the neocons and War Party that have all but destroyed his presidency: Either you take down Iran, Mr. Bush, or you are a failed president.

"If the president is still listening to these people, Lord help the Republic."

Nuclear war starting in 10 days?

"Lewis believes it will be precisely Teheran who will unleash the ultimate conflict by attacking Israel. Why August 22nd? Perhaps simply because Washington has set a deadline for the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and has demanded a complete wrap up of the nuclear program by that day. It is obvious that Teheran has no intention to comply. Curiously, this year the night of August 22nd happens to be night Muslims will celebrate the journey of their prophet Mohammed to Jerusalem and his ascension into heaven. According to Lewis the followers of Mohammed have a perfect opportunity to enrich their celebration by throwing an attack on Israel. An immediate retaliation will follow."

Corporate war machine gathers speed

"More important, however, the professionals' opposition to the administration's bombing plans stems from the fact that, as pointed out by renowned investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, 'American and European intelligence agencies have not found specific evidence of clandestine [nuclear] activities or hidden facilities' in Iran. Hersh further writes, 'A former senior intelligence official told me that people in the Pentagon were asking, 'What's the evidence? We've got a million tentacles out there, overt and covert, and these guys - the Iranians - have been working on this for 18 years, and we have nothing? We're coming up with jack shit.'"

Bush calls for sealing of Syria's borders

"However, Bush also asserted his belief that Hezbollah has been armed by Iran, with weapons passing through Syria. 'I know they claim they didn't have anything to do with it,' the President told reporters, 'but sophisticated weaponry ended up in the hands of Hezbollah fighters, and many assume and many believe that that weaponry came from Iran through Syria.'
The United States and ally nations plan to call for UN troops to seal off Syrian borders and ports soon after the Hezbollah resolution is considered."

Group says Iran is 'not a crisis': Former generals and officials seek to prevent an attack on suspected nuclear sites and to overhaul policies toward Tehran and Baghdad.

"Seeking to counter the White House's depiction of its Middle East policies as crucial to the prevention of terrorist attacks at home, 21 former generals, diplomats and national security officials will release an open letter tomorrow arguing that the administration's "hard line" has actually undermined U.S. security."

US to move quickly on Iran sanctions

"The United States intends to move very quickly in early September to impose UN sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend its enrichment of uranium, a senior State Department official said Thursday.

"'They will be well-deserved,' Under-Secretary of State Nicholas Burns told reporters. 'It's not a mystery to the Iranians what is going to happen.'"

George Freedomseed is gonna' nuke 'em.

On eve of Lebanon ceasefire deadline: US, Israel face political debacle

"Israel’s ongoing aggression, carried out with open US support, leaves no doubt that any ceasefire will only be a pause in the US-Israeli drive to destroy Hezbollah, reduce Lebanon to the status of a protectorate and thereby create the conditions for a wider war against Syria and Iran.

"This is despite the fact that the attack on Lebanon has resulted in a setback to US-Israeli war aims, and has further isolated both countries, fuelling popular opposition to their governments in the Middle East and around the world."

Israeli leaders fault Bush on war

"Amid the political and diplomatic fallout from Israel’s faltering invasion of Lebanon, some Israeli officials are privately blaming President George W. Bush for egging Prime Minister Ehud Olmert into the ill-conceived military adventure against the Hezbollah militia in south Lebanon."

No honor among war criminals

God's chosen people: Israel is history

"There are limits to our patience, and limits for what we can accept. We do not believe in divine promises for occupation and apartheid. We are not in the Middle Ages any more. We laugh uneasily of those that still believe a God of flowers, life and everything in the galaxy has chosen a specific group as his/her favourites, and given them curious stone tablets, burning bushes and license to kill. Murderers of children are murderers and we never accept that such persons have any divine or historical authorization that excuses their crimes. We say: shame to all apartheid, shame to all ethnic cleansing, and shame to all terror against civilians whether it is done by Hamas, Hezbollah or the government of Israel!"

Another spy story suppressed to save Israel

"Many people reading this will automatically assume that the Navy was keeping the case mum so as not to let the Israeli’s know they had caught Weinmann, but this isn’t the case, the Israeli’s probably knew before the Navy that Weinmann had been arrested, the Navy was keeping the case quiet in an effort to keep the American people in the dark, just as the United States government did with more than one hundred and fifty Israeli’s after they had been arrested for espionage just after 9-11, and the five Israeli’s that were arrested on 9-11 as a result of being witnessed by several people laughing while filming the impact of the airliners into the twin towers and clapping one another on the back in a congratulatory manner. The Navy buried Weinmann’s case in the hope that the American people would never find out about him and what he did, just as the government did with Asher Karni, an Israeli Jew arrested at Denver International Airport on January 2, 2004 for having sold [past tense] more than sixty nuclear weapon detonators to Pakistan, a country populated by more than three hundred million Muslims, who generally don’t like the United States and where the name 'Osama,' is the most popular name for a newborn male child. There are dozens of cases just like these; that have occurred in this country recently, the common denominator is that they all involve ethnic Jews. Another case is that of American citizen, Yehuda Abraham, a New York City Jeweler and Orthodox Jew, who was arrested in 2003 for having sold FBI agents posing as Al Qeada operatives Russian made, shoulder launched, surface to air missiles, with the understanding that they’d be used against Americans on domestic flights. Ever heard of any of these people? Surprise, the fact that you haven’t doesn’t mean they aren’t real people and they weren’t arrested for the above crimes, they are all quite real and they are all quite guilty."

I'm not sure about what to make of stories like this, but it's probably good to remember them.

Israel vows Hezbollah pursuit

"Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, told parliament that Hezbollah had been driven underground.

"'These people will not be left alone, we will continue pursuing them anywhere all the time and we do not intend to apologise or ask anyone's permission,' he said in a televised address."

Israel's verdict: We lost the war

"Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, was obliged to admit 'shortcomings' in the 34-day-old conflict in Lebanon yesterday as he launched what may prove a protracted fight for his own political survival.

"Mr Olmert's admission in a stormy Knesset session came in the face of devastating poll figures showing a majority of the Israeli public believes none or only a very small part of the goals of the war had been achieved."

The Rovian political ploy and why it will no longer oppress America

"We saw the battle plan this past week as the talking points released to the media machine operated by the Bush regime included words such as Islamo-fascism, rise of Nazism, and cut and runners. The Lamont victory on Tuesday spoke volumes for how fed up America is with the fear-mongering tactics used by the GOP for the past five years. It portends good things for this November, if the oppressed can remember the game plan of the oppressor."

No shortage of fear: Desperate administration wants you to think we're under attack

"Of the hundreds of prisoners, alleged terrorists all, who have been held at Guantanamo on the grounds that they were the worst of the worst, only 10 have ever been charged with anything. In the latest episode, shortly after announcement of a British-based plot to blow up airliners, Britain and the United States were already airing their differences over when the perpetrators should have been arrested."

Source: US. UK at odds over timing of arrests: British wanted to continue surveillance on terror suspects

"In contrast to previous reports, one senior British official suggested an attack was not imminent, saying the suspects had not yet purchased any airline tickets. In fact, some did not even have passports."

Politically, however, early arrests would help spin Loserman's loss in Connecticut.

The timing is political: We should be sceptical about this alleged plot, and wary of politicians who seek to benefit

"Nine days on, nobody has been charged with any crime. For there to be no clear evidence yet on something that was "imminent" and would bring 'mass murder on an unbelievable scale' is, to say the least, peculiar. A 24th person, arrested amid much fanfare on Tuesday, was quietly released without charge the following day."

Contradictions, anomalies, questions mount in UK terror scare

"Indeed, one week on, it seems that the current alert is unravelling, and that it is of a similar type to previous 'terror plots' that subsequently proved to involve nothing concrete, with much of the supposed evidence resulting from the activities of police informants working as agent provocateurs."

Letter from Airstrip One: Fear over facts by Chris Floyd

"Of course, Blair himself reacted to this 'imminent threat' of 'mass murder on an unimaginable scale,' this moment of extreme national peril, by · cruising the Caribbean. The sight of Blair sunning on a luxury yacht while security troops stormed suburban homes and surrounded mosques back home was just one of the many surreal juxtapositions in the vast media spectacle that quickly overwhelmed whatever kernel of reality lay behind the plot.

"The inherent schizophrenia of the 'War on Terror' was everywhere in evidence. Britons were told they were facing the greatest threat to the life of the nation since World War II, requiring tireless vigilance, a "huge effort of will and courage" - but they should keep shopping, keep traveling, carry on with their normal lives (as their tanned and jaunty leader was doing). They were pipelined stories by an unquestioning media about the dazzling triumph of the super-efficient security services - the same services that had botched the Iraq WMD intelligence, shot dead a Brazilian carpenter they mistook for a terrorist last year and, just two months before, sent 250 heavily armed agents on a raid to seize two alleged 'chemical bombers' (and shoot one of them) on the false word of a single informant. Britain has arrested more than 700 people on terrorism charges in the last five years; only 17 have been found guilty - and only three of these convictions were related to 'Islamic terrorism,' as CounterPunch and the Guardian report."

An officially induced panic: UK terror effort sparks wave of mini-scares

"It is becoming increasingly evident that the government-media hysteria about the alleged plot was prompted not by security concerns, but rather by a politically motivated desire to divert attention from the growing crisis of both the Bush and Blair governments. Under conditions of a deepening military and political debacle in Iraq, growing domestic opposition to the war, a deteriorating military situation in Afghanistan, and the unfavorable outcome for the US and Britain in Lebanon, the eruption of the latest alleged terror plot has served to 'change the subject,' while fostering an atmosphere of fear and panic that both governments hope will disorient the public and facilitate new attacks on democratic rights."

The fear factory (Scroll down) by Greg Palast"

"Am I saying there’s no danger, no threat? Sure there is: 46 million Americans don’t have health insurance. IBM is legally stealing from its employees’ pension plan and United Airlines has dumped its pensions altogether. Four-million three-hundred thousand Americans were injured, made sick or killed by their jobs last year. TXU Corporation is right now building four monster-sized power plants in Texas that will burn skuzzy gunk called 'lignite.' The filth it will pour into the sky will snuff a heck of a lot more Americans than some goofy group of fanatics with bottles of hydrogen peroxide."

Bingo, Palast nails it. BushCo is killing and will kill more Americans than Osama can wish for.

Olbermann exposes nexus of politics and terror

"During a prime time segment on his MSNBC show last night, anchor Keith Olbermann presented ten clear examples where the Bush administration had issued terror alerts days after politically damaging revelations and questioned the credibility of each of the alleged plots' authenticity in light of astounding evidence to the contrary."

Video segment included.

I bet you it will turn out to be a hoax: Despite all the revelations about the latest 'terror plot', politicians and security chiefs got it wrong before and are likely to have got it wrong now too.

"I have a feeling that all the Muslims detained in connection with the recent police operation to foil and alleged plot are innocent and will soon be proven so. I also suspect that the entire episode has been deemed, despite its enormous cost, to be of utility to a government that is increasingly out of touch with reality and seriously short of public support and sympathy. I wonder whether this was also intended to smear the image of Islam and the Muslims at the time when the entire world can see that they are the victims of a most unjust world order dominated by the USA and the UK who both support and sponsor Israeli terrorism against Muslims in Palestine and Lebanon and who both oppress the Muslim peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq through direct occupation."

The UK terror plot: what's really going on?

"We then have the extraordinary question of Bush and Blair discussing the possible arrests over the weekend. Why? I think the answer to that is plain. Both in desperate domestic political trouble, they longed for 'Another 9/11'. The intelligence from Pakistan, however dodgy, gave them a new 9/11 they could sell to the media. The media has bought, wholesale, all the rubbish they have been shovelled."

Precott lets slip that some suspects won't face serious charges

"The Deputy Prime Minister made the admission during talks with Labour's Muslim MPs on how best to tackle Islamic extremism. During the 90-minute meeting, Mr Prescott briefed the MPs that the police only had enough evidence to bring serious charges against some suspects but not others."

Bush is crap, Prescott tells Labour MPs

"John Prescott faced further embarrassment last night after it was claimed that he had described George Bush as "crap" in a private meeting with Labour MPs."

No plot to bomb bridge, FBI says

"A day after saying it was investigating a possible plot by three men to blow up the Mackinac Bridge, federal officials now say the men have no link to terrorism and there is no plot.
"The news on Monday made national news and captured the attention of many in the Upper Peninsula."

Spinning old threats into new fears: Investigators have known for a decade about terrorist plots to bring down passenger jets with liquid explosives. So why, all of a sudden, did Bush ban most liquids on flights?

"Government-induced hysteria thrives on public ignorance, which is why President Bush is so confident of turning the British bomb plot to his partisan purposes. Otherwise, how could he dare claim that his policies have made the nation safer?"

Pakistanis find no evidence against 'terror mastermind'

"But after two weeks of interrogation, an inch-by-inch search of his house and analysis of his home computer, officials are now saying that his extradition is ‘a way down the track’ if it happens at all.

"It comes amid wider suspicions that the plot may not have been as serious, or as far advanced, as the authorities initially claimed."

Brits support for war on terror on the slide

"Now regular Brits are questioning the credibility of the so-called plot, the need and effectiveness of the increased security, and the government's motives for its 'paranoia' with terrorism."Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary publicly voiced his frustration and scepticism on Friday, when he said 'terrorists are rolling around caves in Pakistan laughing at us,' referring to what he terms an over-reaction to recent events.He said the recently imposed security measures were 'farcical, keystone cop-like, completely insane, and ineffectual.'"

Bush & Co.: Desperate desperados

"By suggesting that Ned Lamont and those who voted for him are somehow in the same league with al-Qaida -- as Cheney and Lieberman and Mehlman and others did -- clearly indicates that they're frightened enough to pull out all the stops, legit or not, no distinctions made. Karl Rove at his most Rovian."Many of those who voted against Lieberman in Connecticut were moderates, some of whom even supported Bush in previous elections. A national poll the other day showed that nearly one in five of those who voted for Bush in 2004 now say they'll vote for a Democrat in November."

GOP deserts one of its own for Lieberman

"Republican officials are actively working to help Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, who is running for Senate as an independent."

Bush breaks rank to boost independent's bid

"President George Bush gave a boost to Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman’s re-election bid as an independent this week by taking the rare step of refusing to endorse the Republican candidate running for Lieberman’s US senate seat."

Bush gave Lieberman a soul kiss. Dem voters in Connecticut had it right on August 8.

The science of creating killers: Human reluctance to take a life can be reversed through training in the method known as killology

"What exactly does it take to kill someone? Here's how 21-year-old West Texas Army Pvt. Steven Green described shooting a man who refused to stop at an Iraqi checkpoint: "It was like nothing. Over here, killing people is like squashing an ant. I mean, you kill somebody, and it's like, 'All right, let's go get some pizza,' " he told the military newspaper Stars & Stripes."

Officer called Haditha routine

"The Marine officer who commanded the battalion involved in the Haditha killings last November did not consider the deaths of 24 Iraqis, many of them women and children, unusual and did not initiate an inquiry, according to a sworn statement he gave to military investigators in March.

"'I thought it was very sad, very unfortunate, but at the time, I did not suspect any wrongdoing from my Marines,' Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Chessani, commander of the 3rd Battalion of the 1st Marines, said in the statement.

"'I did not have any reason to believe that this was anything other than combat action,' he added."

Military recruiters cited for misconduct

"More than 100 young women who expressed interest in joining the military in the past year were preyed upon sexually by their recruiters. Women were raped on recruiting office couches, assaulted in government cars and groped en route to entrance exams."

Iraqi death toll rose above 3400 in July

"July appears to have been the deadliest month of the war for Iraqi civilians, according to figures from the Health Ministry and the Baghdad morgue, reinforcing criticism that the Baghdad security plan started in June by the new Iraqi government has failed."

Bush angry with Iraqis for not sharing his excitement over the colossal mess he's created there

"President Bush is perhaps the most self-absorbed, arrogant, delusional and dangerous president in American history. His foreign policy strategies and actions will be a poly-sci case study for students for years to come. With Iraq in particular, he invaded a sovereign nation on flawed/manipulated/manufactured evidence and intelligence; toppled its leader in a campaign pompously billed as 'shock and awe;' turned the country into a chaotic mess on the brink of full-scale civil war; causes over 100 Iraqis per day to be killed in mounting sectarian violence; and then has the supreme audacity to be angry that the Iraqi people aren't somehow happy and excited about all the good that he's done for them. The Iraqis, he believes, are unappreciative. His arrogance clearly knows no bounds."

George Bush is insane. His extreme narcissism is evidence of this. We're being herded over the cliff by the insane.

In western Iraq, insurgency is gaining

"In the dusty plains of western Iraq, al-Qaida is gaining strength. Daily attacks against U.S. and Iraqi forces are on the rise, and there is little sign of progress in persuading the population to support the national government. U.S. commanders acknowledge they are locked in struggle with insurgents for the allegiance of Iraq's youth."

At 9:30 tonight [Aug. 15], Iraq takes longer than WWII

"On August 15, 2006 21:30 EST the United States will have been at war in Iraq longer than it was at war with Germany in World War II."

CBO forecasts 'staying the course' in Iraq would increase deficit by $1.3 trillion over next decade

"Today, the Congressional Budget Office released its budget projections, estimating the deficit will rise to $286 billion in fiscal 2007, up from this year’s $260 billion projected deficit. Moreover, the long-term outlook remains bleak; total deficits over the next decade are estimated at $1.7 trillion."

Analysis: US Army faces FCS shambles: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld`s cyber-dream for the U.S. Army has become a cyber nightmare.

"Rumsfeld took office determined to transform the U.S. armed forces into a high-tech, computerized, lean, mean fighting machine that would be invincible.

"Instead, the U.S. Army today remains becalmed in Iraq, stuck in the middle of a low intensity guerrilla war it has been unable to tame. And that war is now morphing into a no-holds-barred civil war. Meanwhile, U.S. military preparedness, retired generals and respected military analysts warn, is now lower than it was in the immediate aftermath of the Vietnam War -- when Rumsfeld was U.S. defense secretary for the first time."

Snake eyes

"The center of American politics is no longer as roomy (or as comfy) as it was then. The fringe, now luxuriant only at the rightmost edge of the political prayer rug, has gone online and wired itself for AM radio and cable TV. And nowhere in the cacophonous, atomized 'media environment' of today is there anyone capable of deploying the wall-to-wall avuncular authority that was Cronkite’s stock-in-trade. Even so, in this August of 2006 a palpable, ’68-like shift in sentiment is in the steamy air. Among foreign-policy élites and the broader public alike, it has become the preponderant conviction that George W. Bush’s war of choice in Iraq is a catastrophe."

Bombs aimed at GI's in Iraq are increasing

"Along with a sharp increase in sectarian attacks, the number of daily strikes against American and Iraqi security forces has doubled since January. The deadliest means of attack, roadside bombs, made up much of that increase. In July, of 2,625 explosive devices, 1,666 exploded and 959 were discovered before they went off. In January, 1,454 bombs exploded or were found."

What next?

"The debate is over: By any definition, Iraq is in a state of civil war. Indeed, the only thing standing between Iraq and a descent into total Bosnia-like devastation is 135,000 U.S. troops -- and even they are merely slowing the fall. The internecine conflict could easily spiral into one that threatens not only Iraq but also its neighbors throughout the oil-rich Persian Gulf region with instability, turmoil and war."

Campaign against depleted uranium

"The Campaign Against Depleted Uranium (CADU) was launched in 1999 to focus specifically on trying to achieve a global ban on the manufacture, testing, and use of depleted uranium weapons."

Afghanistan analysis: Canadian strategy makes matters worse

"This importation by the Harper government of the worst of American jingoism into the Canadian debate is a disgrace and utterly counterproductive. In my view, it is one of the reasons why so many Canadians are so disturbed about what they think is going on in Afghanistan.
"Canadian forces are daily facing catastrophic injury and death in a mission most Canadians just do not understand, and we will not find our way out of the Afghanistan quagmire unless we get back to the fundamentals of modern complex peace operations."

Canada, NATO quietly talking with Taliban

"However, intermediaries quietly got involved after Taliban leaders insisted on talks with NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, or other international facilitators, rather than with the Afghan government, The Canadian Press has learned.

“'In fact, they are scared of the government,' an Afghan official said of the Taliban leadership, on condition of anonymity."

Governors oppose federal control of Guard

"The nation's governors, protesting what they call an unprecedented shift in authority from the states to the federal government, will urge Congress today to block legislation that would allow the president to take control of National Guard forces in the event of a natural disaster or a threat to homeland security."

Don't for a moment believe BushCo wouldn't use the troops to lock down the nation in the name of security.

In the NSA case, a judge says no to King George

"In ruling on Thursday that the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program is unconstitutional and must be halted, U.S. district Judge Anna Diggs Taylor slammed the White House on several critical fronts."

One of the local fascist papers framed the ruling like this: "Court: Anti-terror phone taps illegal". Perhaps it should have read, "Violating the Constitution illegal".

Ruling for the law

"'There are no hereditary kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution,' wrote Judge Anna Diggs Taylor of the United States District Court in Detroit. Her decision was based on a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union."

Two strange deaths in European wiretapping scandal

"Just after noon on Friday, July 21, Adamo Bove -- head of security at Telecom Italia, the country's largest telecommunications firm -- told his wife he had some errands to run as he left their Naples apartment. Hours later, police found his car parked atop a freeway overpass. Bove's body lay on the pavement some 100 feet below.

"Bove was a master at detecting hidden phone networks. Recently, at the direction of Milan prosecutors, he'd used mobile phone records to trace how a 'Special Removal Unit' composed of CIA and SISMI (the Italian CIA) agents abducted Abu Omar, an Egyptian cleric, and flew him to Cairo where he was tortured. The Omar kidnapping and the alleged involvement of 26 CIA agents, whom prosecutors seek to arrest and extradite, electrified Italian media. U.S. media noted the story, then dropped it."

The main difference between the Us government and the Mafia? The US government is bigger.

Abolish the TSA, save lives

"The reports from London of a plot to smuggle explosives aboard planes and then combine them to murderous effect must have caused collective deja vu at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) last week. Only eight months ago, its screeners failed to detect the same scenario here in the United States.

"Fortunately for passengers, it wasn't terrorists but government investigators who successfully smuggled bomb components through the TSA's checkpoints. Unfortunately, no screener has waved a magic wand since then to turn the TSA competent."

If BushCo weren't behind 9/11. they would be more effective in their anti-terrorist efforts and less concerned about destroying the Constitution.

The $170 million FBI computer upgrade that never was

"Within a few days, said Azmi, he warned FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III that the $170 million system was in serious trouble. A year later, it was dead. The nation's premier law enforcement and counterterrorism agency, burdened with one of the government's most archaic computer systems, would have to start from scratch.

"The collapse of the attempt to remake the FBI's filing system stemmed from failures of almost every kind, including poor conception and muddled execution of the steps needed to make the system work, according to outside reviews and interviews with people involved in the project."
And they'd be less concerned about wasting taxpayers' money, while filling the pockets of special interests.

Congress poised to unravel the Internet

"Lured by huge checks handed out by the country's top lobbyists, members of Congress could soon strike a blow against Internet freedom as they seek to resolve the hot-button controversy over preserving 'network neutrality.' The telecommunications reform bill now moving through Congress threatens to be a major setback for those who hope that digital media can foster a more democratic society. The bill not only precludes net neutrality safeguards but also eliminates local community oversight of digital communications provided by cable and phone giants. It sets the stage for the privatized, consolidated and unregulated communications system that is at the core of the phone and cable lobbies' political agenda."

No one is safe when the president is in the White House and Congress is in session.

Save the Internet: Join the fight for Internet freedom

Major arms soar to twice pre-9/11 cost: Systems have little direct role in terror fight

"The soaring cost estimates -- disclosed in a report for the Republican-led Senate Budget Committee -- have led to concerns that supporters of multibillion-dollar weapons programs in Congress, the Pentagon , and the defense industry are using the conflicts and the war on terrorism to fulfill a wish-list of defense expenditures, whether they are needed or not for the war on terrorism."

Welcome to Neo-fascism 101

"Neo-conservatives decided that World War III is to be waged against 'Islamic-Fascists' or 'Islamo-Fascism.'

"Who is reading from the new script? William Kristol, Bill O’Reilly, Christopher Hitchens, Michelle Malkin, Michael Savage, Ann Coulter, Nick Cohen, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Daniel Pipes, Glenn Beck, Oliver North – even George W. Bush, prompting legitimate complaints from Muslim-Americans."

"Confessions of an American ex-patriot"

"Afterwards, other questions arose in my mind. If we’re a democracy, then why is it that the important decisions of running this country and how our tax dollars are spent, are rarely a matter of public knowledge, let alone votes? Do we really live in a free country or a police state? Are we really promoting democracy around the world as the television claims we are, or are we just installing puppets who do our economic bidding? I thought of recent police suppression of demonstrations in Seattle, Portland and elsewhere. Images of pepper spray, riot gear, Nazi insignias, and countless people in prison cells filled my mind. I thought about how the Justice Department locks people up indefinitely now, without charges, even if they are American citizens. Bank accounts are frozen and lives are destroyed, just because George and company says they have “ties” to so and so. Our words speak of “nation building” but our actions speak more loudly of. nation destroying. I remembered hearing how the CIA meddles in governments the world over, staging armed rebellions and the like, yet without a single vote from the people involved. How does one establish a democracy by installing puppet dictators who are on the CIA payroll? I thought about the 'Patriot Act' which makes wire taps, e-mail interception and house searches without warrants “legal“. So much for the Bill of Rights."

World's worst Internet laws sneaking through the Senate

"The treaty requires that the U.S. government help enforce other countries' 'cybercrime' laws - even if the act being prosecuted is not illegal in the United States. That means that countries that have laws limiting free speech on the Net could oblige the F.B.I. to uncover the identities of anonymous U.S. critics, or monitor their communications on behalf of foreign governments. American ISPs would be obliged to obey other jurisdiction's requests to log their users’ behavior without due process, or compensation."

Duke Cunningham's wife tells all. Ace in the hole

"Cunningham is a product of the times, in which there are more creative ways to buy off congressmen - including inviting them on lavish junkets, hosting lucrative lobbyist-filled fund-raisers, and funneling money to their spouses and children-than ever before. And there's also a scale of economy that makes it more tempting for congressmen to trade power for money: Lawmakers earn $165,200 per year; the new breed of lobbyists who woo them earn in the millions. But, even in this atmosphere, the brazenness of Cunningham's quid pro quo was unique. The notoriously volatile congressman did little to hide his influence - peddling, even writing up a menu of prices on his congressional stationary - the use of a defense contractor's $140,000 yacht, for example, was the price for delivering a $16 million government contract. He accepted lavish gifts as bribes, including a china hutch, Louis Philippe commodes, and a used Rolls Royce. During poker nights in rented suites at Washington's Watergate Hotel and the Westin Grand, he was also supplied with prostitutes."

It's comforting to know that people like this are enacting the laws of the land.

Building a zero-carbon world

"These days, however, the masses are more likely to be found in Beijing than in Bolton. Like Arup, the UK engineering consultancy that is planning an eco-city three-quarters the size of Manhattan outside Shanghai, Dunster sees fast-expanding China as the new frontier for environment-conscious urban design. State planners have suddenly 'got' the environment in a big way, and this year China announced a major investment programme in renewable technologies. By the end of 2010, all Chinese buildings will need to reduce energy use by a headspinning 50 per cent."

Isn't it sad that China is acting more responsibly than BushCo's big oil US? By 2010, the US will have polluted most of the planet with fallout from DU munitions, not to speak of the damage caused by the rollback of hundreds of environmental laws.

Warnings of a US recession and global slowdown

"In an article published on August 10 under the title 'The world must prepare for America’s recession', New York University economist Nouriel Roubini warned that while the US Federal Reserve Board may have been hoping for a 'soft landing' when it decided earlier this month to halt its cycle of interest rate rises, the decision has come too late and it now confronts a recession."

Quotes from www.bartcop.com and others:

"Terrorists are waiting for the Democrats to take control, let things cool off and then strike again." -- Orrin Hatch, (R-Tertiary Syphilis) Link

"Imus and his buds have called him 'chicken wing Johnny Cochran,' called Sammy Davis Jr. 'a one-eyed lawn jockey,' called Patrick Ewing 'Mighty Joe Young.' Speaking of Gwen Ifill, Imus said, 'Isn't the Times wonderful? It lets the cleaning lady cover the White House.' " -- Richard Goldstein, "Celebrity Bigots", villagevoice I guess with Rush and Savage and the others spewing even worse slurs,a slug like Imus can skate by under the radar with his racial attacks. It just proves you can get rich by appealing to the worst in the GOP.

"There are some good people in our country who believe we should cut and run." -- America's insane serial killer, Link

"Bush has no policy to avoid cutting and running. And cutting and running is exactly what he will have to do because the Iraq war is over, Bush lost." -- John Aravosis, http://americablog.blogspot.com

"Leaving before we complete our mission would create a terrorist state in the Middle East, a country with huge oil reserves that the terrorist network would be willing to use against those of us who believe in freedom.." -- Dubya, explaining why he stole Iraq's oil, Link

"There were almost no Democrats who agreed with his position... His position is the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld position." --Big Dog, smacking Kissyface, Link

"I don't respect people who see things headed in the wrong direction and because of their membership in the [national] culture of obedience they keep their mouths shut." --Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, Link

"Maybe what happened...it was some kind of dream. I never believed things like that could happen in the United States." -- "Ben" Benatta, 9/11 Bush victim, cleared and released after nearly five years in prison, Link

"Lieberman (De Facto R) today unleashed a vicious attack on Bernie Sanders - a longtime progressive hero. The Lieberman campaign sent out an official email attacking Sanders and Markos of DailyKos. Apparently, this kind of sick smear game is Lieberman's twisted definition of 'bringing us together to get things done.'" --David Sirota, attacking somebody besides Hillary, Link

"Lamont's victory highlights what Democrats want from their candidates -- a resolute opposition to Bush's bloody quagmire. 78 percent of Democrats want candidates who oppose the conflict." --Zogby, Link

"Cheney's comments about the election were ugly and frightening. They show that he and his party will stop at nothing. Cheney and his crowd are all for free and open elections - as long as they turn out their way. They are all for free speech - provided it supports the administration. They are all for the rule of law - as long as the law does not prevent them from doing whatever they want to do. When elections, speeches or laws are inconvenient, he does not hesitate to declare that they are helping the terrorists. I can think of no graver offense against our democracy." -- Ted Kennedy, finding the courage to speak out against the murderous thugs Link

"Lieberman is not only running as the de facto Republican in the race, he's running as the worst sort of Republican, going on the trail claiming that any serious questioning of our policy in Iraq is a victory for the terrorists. With Lamont, those guys might have blown up the plane. Leaving Iraq is a win for the terrorists. That was after Wednesday when Joe pledged to save the Democratic party from extremists." --Josh Marshall, tbogg.blogspot.com

"Joe Lieberman would sell his mother to Iran's Ahmahanjob if it would guarantee him six more years. It's not about partisanship or ideological purges. It's about the inability to know when you are not wanted. When you have been rejected. So take a hint, Joe. Then take a walk." --TBogg, Link

The George W. Bush Clock

A man died and went to heaven.

As he stood in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, he saw a huge wall of clocks behind him. He asked, "What are all those clocks?"
St. Peter answered, "Those are Lie-Clocks. Everyone on Earth has a Lie-Clock. Every time you lie the hands on your clock will move."

"Oh," said the man, "whose clock is that?"

"That was Mother Teresa's. The hands have never moved, indicating that she never told a lie."

"Incredible," said the man. "And whose clock is that one?"

St. Peter responded, "That's Abraham Lincoln's clock. The hands have moved twice, telling us that Abe told only two lies in his entire life."

"Where's the George Bush's clock?" asked the man.Bush's clock isn't here - it is in Jesus' office . . . he's using it as a ceiling fan."

New Red Alert for Airlines

Amsterdam (Associated Free Press) - On August 16, 2006 the Netherlands Government announced they had arrested 30 Terrorist suspects, and expected to arrest as many as 100 times that amount. The plot was to take over airline flights flying out of Amsterdam to various parts of the world. Terrorists were to fill their lungs with Marijuana and Hashish smoke before they went through security and hold their breath until they boarded, then blow billows of smoke in faces of the flight attendants and pilots, who would then fall to the floor in a state of euphoria. Their compatriots, who would be close behind feigning a cold with a Kleenex over their nose, would then take control of the plane, and fly it to an unknown rendezvous with terror.

Within hours, the United States Homeland Security National Police Department issued emergency security measures. All passengers going through security must now be tickled under their arms until they gasp for air, thereby releasing any smoke that may be stored in their lungs. This new security requirement has added several hours to the check in process at all airports. TSA reports, however, that the passengers don’t seem to mind and are in a much better mood after going through this process.

On a more dire note, however, TSA agents in Washington, D.C. report that they have arrested several terrorist suspects, including President Bush, who stated, "I just don’t know how that smoke got there in my lungs."