Sunday, August 13, 2006

Fear mongers

"People should not fear their governments; governments should fear their people."
-- V.

Faced with another Chicken Little moment, let's consider what Jonathon Alter said on Countdown Thursday. "Less than 10% of the cargo on passengers planes is x-rayed." Now, imagine you are a dedicated terrorist. On the one hand, you can board the plane with this mystical liquid potion and an electrical device. Hoping to go unnoticed as a presumably dark skinned person, you can assemble it in flight, at your seat or in the lavatory, and set it off killing yourself and others, if there are no hitches. On the other hand, you can assemble the device in the comfort of your own home, ship it as air freight and explode it, sparing your own life. What to do?

. . . . .

Over the weekend I watched the surprisingly good -- and timely -- V for Vendetta. It's out in DVD now, and I think you might find it thought provoking. The take on living in a state of governed by managed fear is well done.

Picks of the Week:

Britain's airline terror plot: Questions that need to be asked

"Neither the White House nor Downing Street has any right to expect people to accept their claims at face value, or place confidence in any of their statements. The war against Iraq was legitimised on the basis of false claims of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and ties between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. These lies have destroyed forever the credibility of Bush and Blair."

A good one to read through.

Muslim leaders say foreign policy makes UK target

"Leading UK Muslims have united to tell Tony Blair that his foreign policy in Iraq and on Israel offers 'ammunition to extremists' and puts British lives 'at increased risk'.

"An open letter signed by three of the four Muslim MPs, three of the four peers, and 38 organisations including the Muslim Council of Britain and the Muslim Association of Britain, was greeted with dismay in Downing Street. It has courted the MCB and several of the signatories, such as key Labour MPs Sadiq Khan (Tooting) and Shahid Malik (Dewsbury), whom it believes can shape Muslim opinion."

US Muslims bristle at Bush remarks

"US Muslim groups have criticised US President George W Bush for calling a foiled plot to blow up airplanes part of a 'war with Islamic fascists,' saying the term could inflame anti-Muslim tensions." . . . .

"'We believe this is an ill-advised term and we believe that it is counter productive to associate Islam or Muslims with fascism,' said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations advocacy group."

Interesting to witness the fascist Bush projecting his proclivities on others. He must think he is winning hearts and minds by killing and torturing Muslims abroad while insulting them at home.

Quite a strategery.

Ashcroft finds private-sector niche: Ex- Attorney General helps firms Homeland Security deals

"Nearly two years after he left the Justice Department for a glass-and-marble office tower six blocks away, Ashcroft is building a lucrative consulting company helping security and other firms find business with federal agencies. Federal spending on homeland security is expected to reach nearly $60 billion in fiscal 2007, according to the Office of Management and Budget."

Is it possible there's money to be made from keeping the sheeple afraid with bogus terror alerts?

Bush staff wanted bomb detection cash moved

"While the British terror suspects were hatching their plot, the Bush administration was quietly seeking permission to divert $6 million that was supposed to be spent this year developing new homeland explosives detection technology.

"Congressional leaders rejected the idea, the latest in a series of steps by the Homeland Security Department that has left lawmakers and some of the department's own experts questioning the commitment to create better anti-terror technologies."

Here's something to ponder, this British investigation of the booga booga liquid elixir supposedly was underway for months. Certainly Tony's guys share info with the Moron's guys. If this BS had legs, why would BushCo divert funds from detecting something that would be so dangerously threatening? Scamsters.

In wake of London arrests: Another attempt to terrorize the American people

"Before all but the sparsest details of the alleged terror plot to blow up trans-Atlantic flights have been revealed, the American people are being subjected once again to a campaign of fear-mongering and intimidation directed from the White House.

"The aim of this propaganda drive, aided and abetted by the media, is to portray opposition to the war in Iraq and to the policies of the Bush administration in general as tantamount to collusion with or capitulation to terrorism and mass murder."

All terrorism all the time: Fear becomes reality

"Through magnification and repetition, cable news does two opposite things at once: it stokes fear and inures viewers to danger. CNN chose a relatively prosaic rubric for its report, 'Security Alert,' while Fox News chose the more vivid title 'Terror in the Sky.' (MSNBC went for the wordier 'Target America: Terror in the Sky.') All the cable news programs used music and graphics to hype any new development as a 'breaking news' bulletin so important it would seem to merit interruptions by the Emergency Alert System. ('If this had been an actual emergency, you would have been instructed where to tune in your area for news and official information.')"

Media must stay silent on suspects (UK)

"In a joint statement, Home Secretary John Reid and Attorney General Lord Goldsmith called for 'considerable restraint' to avoid prejudicing any future trials.

"It singled out the use of photographs and speculation over individuals' links and activities and threatened action over any breaches of the law."

Little or nothing is going to come of this . . . wait and see.

Bush says British terror threat may not be over

"President Bush cautioned on Saturday the threat from a plot to detonate liquid explosives on commercial flights may not have passed and denied Democratic charges he was trying to use the crisis for political gains in an election year.

"'We believe that this week's arrests have significantly disrupted the threat,' Bush said in his weekly radio address. 'Yet we cannot be sure that the threat has been eliminated.'"

The biggest terror threat will be over when the Moron and The Dick are removed from office.

Terror nation

"Suspension of civil liberties, concentration of power into the hands of the Executive branch, slaughtering hundreds of thousands of innocents civilians, collective punishment of millions through wanton destruction of infrastructure, widespread dissemination of depleted uranium, reduction of wasteful spending on “useless eaters” via massive cuts in entitlement spending, ongoing ethnic cleansing in Gaza and the West Bank, torture, denial of justice to 'enemy combatants', massive tax cuts to the wealthy, obscene increases in defense spending, propaganda blitzes to keep the public believing horrendous lies, preemptive war, reduced government restriction of corporate exploitation of humans and the environment, and continued neocolonial expansion are all essential to the United States fulfilling its Manifest Destiny and ending the terrorist threat. Remember, they hate our freedom."

Terror arrests play in political arena

"The developments played neatly into the White House-led effort, after Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut, lost on Tuesday to an antiwar primary challenger, to remind voters of the threats facing the nation and to cast Democrats as timid on national defense.

"The arrests were announced less than 24 hours after Vice President Dick Cheney and other Republican officials suggested that Mr. Lieberman’s defeat reflected the world view of a Democratic Party that was not prepared to lead the nation in such dangerous times."

Lieberman, on the offensive, links terror threat and Iraq

"'If we just pick up like Ned Lamont wants us to do, get out by a date certain, it will be taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in England,' Mr. Lieberman said at a campaign event in Waterbury, Conn. 'It will strengthen them, and they will strike again.'"

Bush seeks political gains from plot

"Weighed down by the unpopular war in Iraq, Mr Bush and his aides have tried to shift the national political debate from that conflict to the broader and more popular global war on terrorism ahead of November 7 congressional elections."

And what "more popular global war on terror are they referring to?

Terror 'may force freedom curbs' (UK)

"The UK might have to modify its freedoms in the short term in order to prevent their 'misuse and abuse' by terrorists, John Reid has said.

"He conceded that was never an easy request, but it was up to everyone to ask: 'What price our security, at what cost can we preserve our freedoms?'"

Reid attacks judges who hamper 'life and death' terrorism battle (UK)

"John Reid accused some politicians, judges and liberal commentators of hindering the 'life and death' fight with al-Qa'ida as he signalled he was ready to push for new anti-terrorism laws. The Home Secretary said terrorists espousing the same ideology as those active in Iraq and Afghanistan represented the greatest threat to Britain since the Second World War."

GOP talking points. US elections in 80 days, Blair's in trouble, Bush's in trouble, Lieberman lost, spying on Americans in the news, Lebanon and Iraq dominated the news (until Thursday). The US fascists stole two elections, illegally invaded Iraq and had some part to play in 9/11. Is there anything they wouldn't stoop to?

Time to dust off the trusty Stoplight O' Terror

"Red - Severe: OMFGPWNBBQ!!!1! A terror attack was recently narrowly averted. We can’t release any details but just be thankful we saved your asses. Used frequently before midterm elections. See October Surprise."

Liquid terror: Training people to act like subservient slaves: Terrorists planned to mix liquids so why are they all being poured into airport bins?

"The latest terror plot facade is nothing more than an exercise to assess how subservient the general population has become and a primer to making permanent the panicked and ridiculous freedom crushing security measures we are seeing being rushed into implementation at the moment."

Follow the money.

Red alert for staged government terror attack

"Two months ago this website, in an article entitled 'Nexus Points Emerge For Potential Summer Attack,' predicted that, 'Numerous nexus points have emerged that suggest major western governments are preparing for a summer terror attack that will come close to but not match 9/11 in scale and will provide the justification needed for an air strike on Iran before the midterm elections in early November.'"

The Repuglican homestretch scare campaign begins

"But make no mistake. Karl Rove, Ken Mehlman and the GOP terror thugs will pounce on this new overseas threat as their pivotal 'Aha!' moment to scare the crap out of Americans in their new post-Lamont 'Democrats are weak on defense and national security' homestretch campaign:"

The Pentagon's "Second 911"

"In the month following last year's 7/7 London bombings, Vice President Dick Cheney is reported to have instructed USSTRATCOM to draw up a contingency plan 'to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States'. Implied in the contingency plan is the certainty that Iran would be behind a Second 9/11."

Pentagon stopped Bush, Cheney nuking Iran

"'Bush and [Vice President Dick] Cheney were dead serious about the nuclear planning,' a former senior intelligence official told Hersh. But Joint Chiefs of Staff's Chairman Marine General Peter Pace "stood up to them," he said. 'Then the word came back: 'Okay, the nuclear option is politically unacceptable.'"

British arrests foil airline terror

"I don't get it. It takes many months of investigation to uncover this plot, and only after the plot is thwarted and 18 arrested, do they radically tighten up the carry-on baggage policy. Does that mean they had no idea during those months of the plot's objective? If they did suspect that something was cooking during the investigation, would it not have been more prudent to start tightening the carry-on luggage policy during that time, and not AFTER the arrests? One has to wonder about the UK government's motives. It seems to me that public safety has nothing to do with it, and is more a publicity seeking exercise, meant to frighten the public into accepting pumping more money into the security services."

Blair, Bush, Murdoch and the terror plot (You may have to scroll down to "Aug. 11, 2006 -- UPDATED")

"However, what prompted Murdoch and Blair to hype a new global 'terror' threat was what Murdoch learned from eavesdropping on the phone calls of Prince Charles' staff at the future king's office, home, and limousine. The eavesdropping revealed that Charles was working with Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, who is to the left of Blair, to conduct the same type of political maneuver that John Major used to oust Margaret Thatcher from office. London's left-wing Mayor, Ken Livingston, was also in on the Charles-Brown plan and it was expected that in return for his support, Livingston would get a senior position in a Brown cabinet -- a development that sent shock waves through the neo-con circles in London, Washington, and Jerusalem, including British Home Secretary John Reid and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. The Charles-Brown plan was briefed by Blair to Bush during the former's recent visit to Washington. However, because the phony terror plot was known to both leaders -- they decided to be away on vacation when the terror plot was 'uncovered.' Bush is vacationing at his Crawford, Texas 'ranch,' while Blair is on vacation in Barbados, staying at Sir Cliff Richard's luxurious villa."

Interesting story . . . who knows?

"We don't need no stinkin' recount": Mexico's lesson in the dangers of the paper ballot by Greg Palast

"Second: The precinct-by-precinct returns were quite otherworldly. I used to teach statistics and what I saw in Mexico would have stumped my brightest students.

"Here’s the conundrum: The nation’s tens of thousands of polling stations report to the capital in random order after the polls close. Therefore, statistically, you’d expect the results to remain roughly unchanged as vote totals come in. As expected, AMLO was ahead of the right-wing candidate Calderon all night by an unchanging margin — until after midnight. Suddenly, precincts began reporting wins for Calderon of five to one, the ten to one, then as polling nearly ended, of one-hundred to one."

Recounting our way to democracy by Manuel Lopez Obrador

"And then came the election. Final pre-election polls showed my coalition in the lead or tied with Mr. Calderón’s National Action Party. I believe that on election day there was direct manipulation of votes and tally sheets. Irregularities were apparent in tens of thousands of tally sheets. Without a crystal-clear recount, Mexico will have a president who lacks the moral authority to govern."

Leftist's supporters flood Mexico City Center

"Jesusa Rodriguez, a performance artist addressing the crowd before Lopez Obrador’s speech, said supporters wanted to take control of Congress or storm the airport, and she promised that both options would be considered.

"The protesters were enraged Saturday when the Federal Electoral Tribunal decided that granting Lopez Obrador’s request for a full recount would violate electoral laws that prohibit ballot-by-ballot reviews unless there is evidence of irregularities or fraud."

Mexican leftists target foreign banks in protest

"Thousands of Mexican leftists blockaded the offices of three major foreign-owned banks on Wednesday in a new protest to force a full recount in a July 2 presidential election they claim was rigged.

"Protesters surrounded Mexico City offices of US-based Citigroup's Mexican unit Banamex, the Bancomer bank owned by Spain's BBVA and the British giant HSBC They sat on the ground around the buildings and vowed to block access for several hours."

Civil disobedience vs. civil compliance. People vs. sheeple.

Lopez Obrador protesters take Mexican tollbooths

"Protesters occupied tollbooths on roads that link Mexico City to Cuernavaca, Queretaro, Toluca and Pachuca, according to images broadcast by Grupo Televisa SA. They let drivers pass through free of charge and traffic was flowing normally."

California voters file to stop use of electronic voting systems

"California voters challenging the use of Diebold touch screen voting systems today filed a motion for preliminary injunction in San Francisco Superior Court, asking the Court to prohibit purchase or use in California of Diebold Accuvote TSx electronic voting machines for use in the November 2006 general election. A hearing on the motion for preliminary injunction is expected on August 31, 2006. Defendants in the case are Secretary of State Bruce McPherson and elections officials in 11 California counties. Elections officials in eight other California counties have been dismissed from the suit, after they signed affidavits that they will not use Diebold touch screens for the November elections."

Reagan architect declares war on GOP: Viguerie says withhold money, stop calling yourself 'Republican'

"His plan includes the following actions, which would spell bad news for the GOP in the 2006 midterm congressional elections and in the 2008 presidential election:

*Withhold financial support from Republican committees and most Republican incumbents.
*Withhold support from all 2008 presidential candidates.
*No longer call yourself "a Republican" but rather a Reagan Republican or a Reagan conservative.
*And work for wholesale change in Republican leadership."

Lieberman's defeat and the state of American politics

"Lieberman today refuses to accept the verdict of the voters in his own party, but six years ago he accepted without protest the verdict of a Republican majority on the Supreme Court to halt the counting of votes and hand the election to George W. Bush.

"No less significant was the response of the Democratic leadership in Congress to Lieberman’s defeat. On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Charles Schumer, the chairman of the Senatorial Campaign Committee, issued a joint statement formally supporting Lamont in the November election. They called the Connecticut primary election a referendum on George Bush, but failed even to mention the issue on which the election turned—the war in Iraq."

Detective story: Has Rove been guiding the Lieberman campaign all along?

"Lieberman's campaign has been designed from the start to inflict maximum damage on the Democratic Party.

"Lieberman's statements from the beginning have made it clear that, in his mind, any dissent from Bush's war policy constitutes a) 'weakness on national defense," b) is a clear sign that Democrats "lack national security" credibility, and c) means that Dems ' have yielded to the extremists' (despite the fact that new polls reveal those 'extremists' agree with 60% of all Americans about the war).

"Democrats are 'extremist' and 'weak on national security?' That's straight out of the Rove playbook.'

"Now the Republicans and their media associates are having a field day with Joe's loss, at the expense of the Democrats. Why would a Democrat - any Democrat - be willing to cause such harm to his own party? Unless he were being guided by a Republican ..."

Can Karl help Joe? (Scroll down)

"According to a close Lieberman adviser, the President's political guru, Karl Rove, has reached out to the Lieberman camp with a message straight from the Oval Office: 'The boss wants to help. Whatever we can do, we will do.'"

Cheney: Lieberman loss 'disturbing' because Al Qaeda is 'betting they can break the will of the American people'

"Cheney said that to 'purge a man like Joe Lieberman' was 'of concern, especially over the issue of Joe’s support with respect to national efforts in the global war on terror.' He explained:

"The thing that’s partly disturbing about it is the fact that, the standpoint of our adversaries, if you will, in this conflict, and the al Qaeda types, they clearly are betting on the proposition that ultimately they can break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task."

Day of reckoning for US warmongers

"Most analysts attributed Lamont's remarkable victory - it marked only the third time in 25 years that an incumbent senator was defeated in a primary election - to a combination of grassroots Democrats' revulsion toward Bush and the Iraq war, in particular, and Lieberman's failure to pay attention to the concerns of his constituents."

AIPAC espionage case dismissal gambit fails

"The Ellis opinion also reiterated that trafficking only orally transmitted classified information, which is 'intangible' and cannot bear written 'secret' stamps, does not absolve Weissman and Rosen. The opinion holds that if the government can prove the two knew they retransmitted closely held information with 'a bad purpose either to disobey or to disregard the law' to both AIPAC and Israeli government officials, they will be found guilty."

If a nation is spying on the US, wouldn't it be prudent to break off relations with that country? At least stop funding it and supplying it with arms.

A handy-dandy guide to US foreign policy

"Q: What is the difference between a regime and a government?

"A: A regime is a government disliked by the United States. A government is a regime that the United States likes."

State Department predicts beginning of the end for Cuban regime

"'When a rotor comes off a helicopter it crashes,'' Shannon said. 'When a supreme leader disappears from an authoritarian regime, the authoritarian regime flounders. It doesn't have the direction that it requires. I think that's what we're seeing at this moment.'"

Terror plots, Mideast politics and the Blue Jays

"One last point. I don't believe viewers 'there' react mainly in Islamic or religious terms. I don't even see a primary religious component in the bin Laden quotation. He speaks as an infuriated member of the region — in other words, as a nationalist. So I disagree with U.S. pundit Charles Krauthammer, who calls this a religious war, with no resolution, that will outlast our lifetimes. In a way, that may be comforting; if there's nothing to do but kill or be destroyed, it lets you off the hook. At least you aren't missing a chance."

Harper following Bush into disaster: More than half of Canadians want our troops out of Afghanistan

"Did Canadians know that when they cast their ballots earlier this year they elected a president instead of a prime minister?

"From Afghanistan to Lebanon, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is intent on following unpopular US President George W Bush's lead by strongly backing wars that Canadians do not support."

Using the BushCo playbook, Harper cares nothing about what Canadians want; he has other constituents to care about.

Beating Harper: NDP + Greens?

"Stephen Harper is a Prime Minister in the tradition of Brian Mulroney, Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin: He governs with the solid backing of business. And, like Martin, he formed a minority government with 36 per cent of the national vote."

Canada engaged in colonial intervention in Afghanistan

"Nevertheless, information is coming to light that shatters the claims of the CAF and the corporate media that Canadian troops are engaged in 'muscular humanitarianism,' are in Afghanistan 'to help the Afghan people,' and that the Canadian military presence and the Karzai government are supported by all but a few fanatical Islamicist terrorists."

Brutal US attack on unarmed Afghans captured by photos

"Claims that US troops shot dead up to six unarmed Afghan civilians two months ago in Kabul have been given added credibility with a series of photographs offering visual evidence of military misconduct.

"The pictures were taken by an Afghan passer-by on 29 May in Khair Kane, a district of north Kabul. The 20 photographs appear to show a group of unarmed Afghan civilians being killed by gunfire from an American Humvee."

Hizbullah's attacks stem from Israeli incursions into Lebanon

"As pundits and policymakers scramble to explain events in Lebanon, their conclusions are virtually unanimous: Hizbullah created this crisis. Israel is defending itself. The underlying problem is Arab extremism.

"Sadly, this is pure analytical nonsense. Hizbullah's capture of two Israeli soldiers on July 12 was a direct result of Israel's silent but unrelenting aggression against Lebanon, which in turn is part of a six-decades long Arab-Israeli conflict."

Watching Lebanon by Seymour Hersh

"The Bush Administration, however, was closely involved in the planning of Israel’s retaliatory attacks. President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were convinced, current and former intelligence and diplomatic officials told me, that a successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign against Hezbollah’s heavily fortified underground-missile and command-and-control complexes in Lebanon could ease Israel’s security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American preëmptive attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations, some of which are also buried deep underground."

A pair of sick bastards.

In southern Lebanon, untroubled fighters display their determination to reisist

"The mention of Tehran and Damascus's active patronage of the Shiite organization causes him to lift an eyebrow. 'What does this Western obsession over Iran and Syria's support for Hezbollah mean? Do their media also go to the trouble of specifying that Israel is supported by the United States and Europe?'

"'My answer about Iran and Syria's role,' Sheikh Ahmed adds, 'is summarized by Condoleezza Rice's speech. She keeps calling for a 'Greater Middle East.' Well then, here it is! Confronted with the American-Zionist plan for the systematic destruction of Lebanon, the 'Greater Middle East' is reacting in chorus to defend its rights. Hezbollah's objective has never changed. Since its creation, its role has been to fight against Israeli occupation and aggression in Lebanon. We represent the resistance of all Lebanese. Syria and Iran take our country's fate to heart. That's normal.'"

I suspect when resistance fighters are talking like this, they're eventually going to win.

Destruction, death, and drastic measures (Scroll down)

"'I care about my people, my country, and defending them from the Zionist aggression,' said a Hezbollah fighter after I'd asked him why he joined the group. I found myself in downtown Beirut sitting in the backseat of his car in the liquid heat of a Lebanese summer. Sweat rolled down my nose and dripped on my notepad as I jotted furiously.

"'My home in Dahaya is now pulverized,' he said while the concussions of Israeli bombs landing in his nearby neighborhood echoed across the buildings around us, 'Everything in my life is destroyed now, so I will fight them. I am a Shaheed [martyr].'"

In the bubble we live in, we've no idea of the lives of the oppressed and harassed. Passing judgement is not our right.

Hezbollah shoots down Israeli helicopter

"Nineteen Israeli soldiers were killed Saturday during an expanded offensive in Lebanon, the army said, making it the highest one-day toll for the Jewish state since the war against Hezbollah erupted."

Red Cross: Civilian deaths unacceptable

"'It is unacceptable that after more than 30 days of ongoing military operations, all necessary precautions to spare civilian life and those engaged in medical work have still not been taken.'

"The humanitarian agency highlighted an Israeli air strike on hundreds of people fleeing the area of Marajayoun by car, which killed at least six and wounded 32 on August 11."

Depends upon who you ask. It seems to work for Olmert and Bush.

Finish FM: Israel destroying Lebanon, not Hizbullah

"Israel could be destroying Lebanon while leaving the guerrilla group Hizbullah intact, Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja said on Thursday. Tuomioja also said it was 'Very frustrating' that it was so difficult to reach agreement on a ceasefire, because the Europeans never believed there was a military solution to the conflict in Lebanon, now in its fifth week."

Israel asks US to ship rockets with wide blast

"The request for M-26 artillery rockets, which are fired in barrages and carry hundreds of grenade-like bomblets that scatter and explode over a broad area, is likely to be approved shortly, along with other arms, a senior official said."

Looks like too many of those pesky Lebanese civilians are escaping death and dismemberment.

The goons of August: Bushists blather while Lebanon burns

"Juan Cole delivers a masterful essay eviscerating the hideous moral perversions of Bush and all the apologists for the ongoing destruction of Lebanon: Bush, Islamic Fascism and the Christians of Jounieh. You should read the whole piece, and see the illustrations of the kind of "Islamic fascists" being killed and despoiled with American weaponry even as we speak, but here are some brief excerpts:"

Refugee camp shelled by Israel

"Israeli gunboats have shelled Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camp, killing at least one person and wounding three others, Lebanese and Palestinian officials said.

"The shelling was the first time Israel attacked the camp since the fighting between the Jewish state and Hizbollah began more than four weeks ago."

Jury's out on US democracy

"The United States is not making the case for freedom, democracy and Western law to the rest of the world, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy said Saturday.

"'Make no mistake, there's a jury that's out. In half the world, the verdict is not yet in. The commitment to accept the Western idea of democracy has not yet been made, and they are waiting for you to make the case,'' Kennedy said in an address to the American Bar Association."

Mercenary jackpot

"While the Bush Administration calls for the immediate disbanding of what it has labeled 'private' and 'illegal' militias in Lebanon and Iraq, it is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into its own global private mercenary army tasked with protecting US officials and institutions overseas. The secretive program, which spans at least twenty-seven countries, has been an incredible jackpot for one heavily Republican-connected firm in particular: Blackwater USA. Government records recently obtained by The Nation reveal that the Bush Administration has paid Blackwater more than $320 million since June 2004 to provide 'diplomatic security' services globally. The massive contract is the largest known to have been awarded to Blackwater to date and reveals how the Administration has elevated a once-fledgling security firm into a major profiteer in the 'war on terror.'"

How Imperial Romanesque!

This draft shows who is running America's policy . . . Israel

"So the great and the good on the East River laboured at the United Nations Security Council - and brought forth a lemon. You could almost hear the Lebanese groan at this draft resolution, a document of such bias and mendacity that a close Lebanese friend read carefully through it yesterday, cursed and uttered the immortal question: 'Don't these bastards learn anything from history?'"

Chavez accuses Israel of 'new Holocaust'

"Chavez's comments in his weekly radio and TV broadcast came three days after he said he was recalling Venezuela's top diplomat to Israel to express his government's indignation over Israeli attacks in Lebanon and its actions toward Palestinians."

Israeli war crimes aimed at "cleansing" south Lebanon

"The Israeli practice is akin to a serial murderer telephoning death threats to people before killing them and then blaming the victims for their own deaths, because, after all, 'they were warned.'”

Party of God and Reagan: A Hezbollah history lesson by Greg Palast

"That’s right, Republican President Ronald Reagan sent the Ayatollah the weapons (and a birthday cake — no kidding) in return for loot to fund the illegal war against the elected government of Nicaragua. As part of the deal, Iran’s operatives in Hezbollah would release the two dozen hostages they’d taken, including a Presbyterian minister, a Catholic priest, a librarian and US reporter Terry Anderson. After the arms shipment, Hezbollah released three of the hostages and over time, executed several others. With Iran’s funding, the US supplied its own terrorist group, the 'contras,' with weapons used in the killing of 30,000 Nicaraguans."

Israel, the US, and the Christian Right: The menage a trois from hell

"Brog, the former chief-of-staff to Arlen Specter, is now the first full-time lobbyist for the Christian Zionism movement. He claims that CUFI's lobbying efforts, including organizing 3500 evangelical activists to visit congressional offices as Israel and Hezbollah exchanged their first salvoes of missiles, are having an impact. 'There is an ongoing debate in Washington over how long to let Israel continue the campaign against Hezbollah--how long will we let Israel fight its war on terror as we fight our own war on terror?' Brog told me. 'And I think the arrival in Washington at that juncture of thousands of Christians who came for one issue and one issue only, to support Israel, sent a very important message to the Administration and the Congress, and I think helped persuade people that they should allow Israel some more time.'"

Baghdad morgue tallies 1,815 bodies in July

"The Baghdad morgue took in 1,815 bodies during July, news services quoted the facility's assistant manager, Abdul Razzaq al-Obeidi, as saying. The previous month's tally was 1,595. Obeidi estimated that as many as 90 percent of the total died violent deaths."

Kindasleezy and Evil Moron would see this as an opportunity, birth pangs, if you will. Jon Stewart had a very funny bit about this on The Daily Show. A faux Arab expert speaking from Baghdad was seconding the opportunity side of the crisis that is Iraq. IEDs, Improvised Explosive Devices, became Improvised Explosive Opportunities. In one clever segment, the expert said, "You have to crush a few chickpeas in order to make hummus."

Life in Hell: A Baghdad diary

"To bring me up to date with the news, Wisam rattles off a long list of recent atrocities: a high-profile kidnapping here, a massacre there, a car bombing someplace else. Long before we reach the city, I've heard so many ghastly things that the harrowing flight is already a fading memory. Sensing my sinking spirits, Wisam apologizes for the overdose of grim tidings. 'You know how it is in Iraq,' he says with a grin. 'All news is bad news.' Then he tells me about the 10 bodies that were discovered in his neighborhood in the past few days, all of them his fellow Shi'ites. The bodies were decapitated, the heads never found. He tells me how, since a suicide bombing in a nearby neighborhood, his wife has been suffering anxiety attacks when she goes shopping. I feel ashamed that a mere hour's worth of Baghdad's reality has brought me down; Wisam and his family live it all the time."

Car bombs, rockets kill 47 in Baghdad

"Muhanna Yassin, who lives in Zafraniyah, said the attack left the neighborhood 'a total mess' with 'bodies of the dead and injured scattered around in the streets — old, young, women and children.'"

Center for war-related brain injuries faces budget cut

"Congress appears ready to slash funding for the research and treatment of brain injuries caused by bomb blasts, an injury that military scientists describe as a signature wound of the Iraq war.

"House and Senate versions of the 2007 Defense appropriation bill contain $7 million for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center — half of what the center received last fiscal year."

Another incentive to sign up for the BushCo war crime/misadventure.

Is an armament sickening US soldiers?

"Reed believes depleted uranium has contaminated him and his life. He now walks point [?] in a vitriolic war over the Pentagon's arsenal of it - thousands of shells and hundreds of tanks coated with the metal that is radioactive, chemically toxic, and nearly twice as dense as lead.

"A shell coated with depleted uranium pierces a tank like a hot knife through butter, exploding on impact into a charring inferno. As tank armor, it repels artillery assaults. It also leaves behind a fine radioactive dust with a half-life of 4.5 billion years."

And this fine dust is being carried around the planet. Thankfully, Operation Iraqi Oil has been worth the cost
War Crimes Act changes would reduce threat of prosecution

"The Bush administration has drafted amendments to a war crimes law that would eliminate the risk of prosecution for political appointees, CIA officers and former military personnel for humiliating or degrading war prisoners, according to U.S. officials and a copy of the amendments."

British Petroleum's "Smart Pig"" The brilliantly profitable timing of the Alaska oil pipeling shutdown by Greg Palast

"Why shut the pipe now? The timing of a sudden inspection and fix of a decade-long problem has a suspicious smell. A precipitous shutdown in mid-summer, in the middle of Middle East war(s), is guaranteed to raise prices and reap monster profits for BP. The price of crude jumped $2.22 a barrel on the shutdown news to over $76. How lucky for BP which sells four million barrels of oil a day. Had BP completed its inspection and repairs a couple years back — say, after Dan Lawn’s tenth warning — the oil market would have hardly noticed.

"But $2 a barrel is just the beginning of BP’s shut-down bonus. The Alaskan oil was destined for the California market which now faces a supply crisis at the very height of the summer travel season. The big winner is ARCO petroleum, the largest retailer in the Golden State. ARCO is a 100%-owned subsidiary of … British Petroleum."

Leak is latest of Alaska's pipeline woes

"Despite what industry supporters say are more environmentally friendly ways of detecting and extracting oil from the North Slope today, the means of transporting the liquid gold south is old and - critics say - becoming dangerously decrepit. In some places pipeline walls have lost as much as 80 percent of their thickness as a result of corrosion, industry officials say."

Another good reason stay away from the Alaska Natural Wildlife Refuge.

Lebanese oil spill could rival Exxon Valez disaster

"The Nairobi-based UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said Tuesday the spill that poses severe ecological and human threats is already comparable to a 1999 oil tanker accident off the coast of France and had the potential to get far worse.

"'In the worst-case scenario and if all the oil contained in the bombed power plant at Jiyyeh leaked into the Mediterranean Sea, the Lebanese oil spill could well rival the Exxon Valdez disaster of 1989,' it said in a statement.

Environmentalists burn ethanol hype as empty promise

"In a 2005 study, Cornell University agricultural ecologist David Pimentel calculated that the process of producing corn-based ethanol, including harvesting the grain and converting it into liquid fuel, requires significant fossil-fuel inputs, which ultimately exceed the amount of energy generated."

Free market champion tapped to head regulatory office

"Environmentalists and government watchdogs are condemning the president’s nomination to head an 'obscure but powerful' regulatory office, saying Bush’s pick would prioritize corporate interests over protecting the public.

"Last week, the Bush administration nominated Susan Dudley to direct the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which can amend, delay or reject regulations coming out of government agencies."

Pension reform

"With last week’s passage of a 907-page pension reform bill, you may think you have more retirement security. Think again.

"The new law does require companies to fully fund their 'defined benefit' pension plans—plans that guarantee retirees a certain fixed sum of money per month. That’s a step in the right direction. But the law eliminates any incentive for companies to set up such plans in the first place."

Public pension plans face billions in shortages

"But by one estimate, state and local governments owe their current and future retirees roughly $375 billion more than they have committed to their pension funds."

President remains eager to cut entitlement spending

"The Bush administration has begun sounding out lawmakers and other key figures about mounting a new bipartisan effort to rein in the costs of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security after the midterm elections, according to officials in the administration and on Capitol Hill."
The Evil Moron is a heartless prick.

How the US super-rich 'dodge' taxes

"If you had a billion dollars in the bank and lived a jet-set lifestyle out of a string of luxury homes filled with valuable artworks, your taxes would be pretty hefty, right?

"Well not entirely, according to a Senate probe that has examined hundreds of documents and issued 74 subpoenas as it turns a spotlight on the murky tax dealings of some of America's richest citizens.

"The Senate's subcommittee on investigations has spent a year tracking the finances of several billionaires and discovered they funnelled hundreds of millions of dollars to tiny Caribbean islands and the Isle of Man."

Study finds immigrants don't hurt US jobs

"The Pew Hispanic Center analyzed immigration state by state using U.S. Census data, evaluating it against unemployment levels. No clear correlation between the two could be found."

Another nazicon diversion.

Quotes from

"Republicans cannot be trusted with the keys to both the executive and legislative branches of the federal government." -- Richard Viguerie, Reagan architect Link

"Condoleezza Rice is...not a central actor in pushing the covert neo-conservative scenario. Recently she has come under fire from prominent neo-conservatives who have made her a convenient target in their effort to undermine all diplomatic initiatives. "Dump Condi", read the headline in the rightwing Insight Magazine on 25 July...Rice is supposedly the enemy within... Rice has become the voodoo doll[house negro] that Powell was in the first term." --Sidney Blumenthal, "Bush's axis of failure", Link

"The Democratics have pulled out of the Bush coalition; two-thirds of the nation considers Iraq a mistake; and a majority wants the troops home. Can Bush sustain support for the war as the news from Iraq gets worse and worse?" -- Pat Buchanan, Condi's 'New Middle East

"The message sent by Connecticut voters was loud and clear. They want change. We must stop Bush's radical agenda and end this one-party government."
--Wesley Clark, who I hope is on the '08 ticket Link
"Nobody...nobody will be calling me 'George Bush's favorite Democrat.' " --Ned Lamont

"This shows what blind loyalty to George Bush and being his love child means." -- Rahm Emanuel on Kissyface's defeat, Link

"You see, despite what Joe Lieberman believes, invading Iraq and diverting our attention away from Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden is not being strong on national security. Blind allegiance to Bush and his failed "stay the course" strategy is not being strong on national security. And no, Senator Lieberman, no matter how you demonize your opponents, there is no "anti-security wing" of the Democratic Party." --Wesley Clark, smacking Bush's bitch around, Link

"Lieberman was willing to abandon ship when steady hands were most necessary -- he was always the first to compromise on judicial nominees, or flirt with Social Security privatization, or scold critics of the Iraq War. His [crushing loss] is evidence that such opportunistic betrayals will not, in the future, go unpunished." --Ezra Klein, Link

"Uttering the word 'Iraq' does to Bushies what a touch of tequila does to Mel Gibson." --Richard Cohen, Link

"No. I don't like what they said." -- Kinda Sleazy Rice on the Death to America rallies that draw hundreds of thousands of al-Sadr supporters in Iraq Link

"...the Iranian people dislike their regime. I think ...the right use of targeted military force ...could cause them to reconsider whether they really want to have this regime in power."

-- Bill Kristol, begging Bush to murder Iran like he murdered Afghanistan and Iraq Link

"The obligation of reporting is to tell and tell and tell of the deaths and great injuries of young Americans sent to die by old draft dodgers in Washington. Cheney is a serial draft dodger: five deferments, a national record." -- Jimmy Breslin, Link

"I don't believe that a statement that is obtained under torture should be admissible." --Maj. Gen. Scott C. Black, Army J.A.G., Link

"The same president who says he listens to his generals won't listen to the best military advice on treating detainees. ." --Maj. Gen. Scott C. Black, Army J.A.G., Link

"The truth is that the Army today is vastly better than it was 2, 4, 6 or 8 years ago. It has much more equipment, much better equipment, and it's better trained and more experienced, and it is a better Army." -- Rumsfeld, lying again, Aug 2, 2006, Link

"More than two-thirds of the Army National Guard's 34 brigades are not combat ready, mostly because of equipment shortages that will cost up to $21 billion to correct." -- Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum , the top National Guard general WaHoPo

"Our Colorado 'Democrat' Senator has said he will support Lieberman in an independent run. Please call him and tell him to respect the will of the Democrats in Connecticut just as Mike Miles did in Colorado. His office number is (303) 455-7600." --Max


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