Silence is Consent

If you don't speak up you accept what is happening. This site was born out of the mainstream media's inability to cover the news. I am just an American cititzen trying to spread the word in the era of FCC consolidation, post 9/11 Patriot Act hysteria, hackable voting machines and war without end. I rant and post news items I perceive to be relevant to our current situation.

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
- Thomas Jefferson

Social Security is not broken and therefore does not need to be fixed

So Called Social Security Crisis (SCSSC)

Comments, questions, corrections, rebuttals are always welcome.

Friday, July 30, 2004
 
I'm on vacation next week and I am not sure how often I will have an opportunity to post. If I don't read Cursor each day. As a matter of fact you should check it out today, it has some great story links. It has the best news update and is usually our by Noon central time weekdays. All the links to the right are great as well.

I like Ron Reagan a little more each day
The Case Against George W. Bush
It may have been the guy in the hood teetering on the stool, electrodes clamped to his genitals. Or smirking Lynndie England and her leash. Maybe it was the smarmy memos tapped out by soft-fingered lawyers itching to justify such barbarism. The grudging, lunatic retreat of the neocons from their long-standing assertion that Saddam was in cahoots with Osama didn't hurt. Even the Enron audiotapes and their celebration of craven sociopathy likely played a part. As a result of all these displays and countless smaller ones, you could feel, a couple of months back, as summer spread across the country, the ground shifting beneath your feet. Not unlike that scene in The Day After Tomorrow, then in theaters, in which the giant ice shelf splits asunder, this was more a paradigm shift than anything strictly tectonic. No cataclysmic ice age, admittedly, yet something was in the air, and people were inhaling deeply. I began to get calls from friends whose parents had always voted Republican, "but not this time."

Naomi Klein with her rationale for joining the ABB crowd
Anybody but Bush - and then let's get back to work
Under a Kerry government, the comforting illusion of a world united against imperial aggression will drop away, exposing the jockeying for power that is the true face of modern empire. We'll also have to let go of the archaic idea that toppling a single man, or a Romanesque "empire", will solve all, or indeed any, of our problems. Yes, it will make for more complicated politics, but it has the added benefit of being true. With Bush out of the picture, we lose the galvanising enemy, but we get to take on the actual policies that are transforming all of our countries.

The other day, I was ranting to a friend about Kerry's vicious support for the apartheid wall in Israel, his gratuitous attacks on Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and his abysmal record on free trade. "Yeah," he agreed sadly. "But at least he believes in evolution." So do I - the much-needed evolution of our progressive movements. And that won't happen until we put away the fridge magnets and Bush gags and get serious. And that will only happen once we get rid of the distraction-in-chief. So Anybody But Bush. And then let's get back to work.


A Washington Post liberals wrapup of the convention
Reclaiming the Center
If John Kerry is elected president, his speech accepting the Democratic nomination will be only part of the story. At least as important will be the antidote that Democrats brought to market at their convention this week to combat three decades of Republican attacks around social issues, "values" questions and patriotism.

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It's Friday and you know what that means

I don't know where he thinks up what to write about but he is always on a topic that educates. The title of this one could be: The lost compassionate warriors
Chris Floyd
America calls its soldiers who fought in World War II "the greatest generation." They are hymned by Hollywood, celebrated by publishers and politicians, hailed at every turn. And for their troubled descendants, whose military misadventures stretch from My Lai to Abu Ghraib, the clean-limbed victors of the "last good war" do indeed shine out like heroes from a lost golden age.
Read it and weep or if you read this you will weep, whichever you like better
Paul Krugman: Triumph of the Trivial
There are two issues here, trivialization and bias, but they're related.

Somewhere along the line, TV news stopped reporting on candidates' policies, and turned instead to trivia that supposedly reveal their personalities. We hear about Mr. Kerry's haircuts, not his health care proposals. We hear about George Bush's brush-cutting, not his environmental policies.
[and]
P.S.: Another story you may not see on TV: Jeb Bush insists that electronic voting machines are perfectly reliable, but The St. Petersburg Times says the Republican Party of Florida has sent out a flier urging supporters to use absentee ballots because the machines lack a paper trail and cannot "verify your vote."

P.P.S.: Three weeks ago, The New Republic reported that the Bush administration was pressuring Pakistan to announce a major terrorist capture during the Democratic convention. Hours before Mr. Kerry's acceptance speech, Pakistan announced, several days after the fact, that it had apprehended an important Al Qaeda operative.


These two articles point out just a few of the many reasons our country is where it is today. If you are reading this site, and others like it, you cannot say any longer that you don't know what's going on. Now you have to decide what you're going to do. Can you continue to do nothing konwing all of this? Remember, silence is consent.

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John Kerry
Acceptance Speech
That flag doesn't belong to any president. It doesn't belong to any ideology and it doesn't belong to any political party. It belongs to all the American people.

My fellow citizens, elections are about choices. And choices are about values. In the end, it's not just policies and programs that matter; the president who sits at that desk must be guided by principle.

For four years, we've heard a lot of talk about values. But values spoken without actions taken are just slogans. Values are not just words. They're what we live by. They're about the causes we champion and the people we fight for. And it is time for those who talk about family values to start valuing families.
[and]
I want to address these next words directly to President George W. Bush: In the weeks ahead, let's be optimists, not just opponents. Let's build unity in the American family, not angry division. Let's honor this nation's diversity; let's respect one another; and let's never misuse for political purposes the most precious document in American history, the Constitution of the United States.
[and]
My friends, the high road may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And that's why Republicans and Democrats must make this election a contest of big ideas, not small-minded attacks. This is our time to reject the kind of politics calculated to divide race from race, group from group, region from region. Maybe some just see us divided into red states and blue states, but I see us as one America – red, white, and blue. And when I am President, the government I lead will enlist people of talent, Republicans as well as Democrats, to find the common ground – so that no one who has something to contribute will be left on the sidelines.
[and]
Never has there been a more urgent moment for Americans to step up and define ourselves. I will work my heart out. But, my fellow citizens, the outcome is in your hands more than mine.

It is time to reach for the next dream. It is time to look to the next horizon. For America, the hope is there. The sun is rising. Our best days are still to come.


If you haven't seen the Reverand Al yet it is worth it just for the sheer entertainment value
Al Sharpton at the Conventio
You have to watch it because Al, how shall we say, didn't stick to the prepared text.

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A loyalty oath to Cheney?
New Mexicans seeking Cheney tickets have to sign oath
Two men who sought tickets said they were required to give name, driver's license number, address and other information. They were presented the pledge of endorsement when they arrived to pick up the tickets.

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This is hilarious, GOP Party Monsters. Al Franken plays these on his radio show. scroll dowm about half way and you'll find .mp3 clips of the songs.

Don't forget to get your war on.


Too funny Posted by Hello

War? What war?
The Unreported War
Iraq, we are told by Mr Blair, is safer. It is not. US military reports clearly show much of the violence in Iraq is not revealed to journalists, and thus goes largely unreported. This account of the insurgency across Iraq over three days last week provides astonishing proof that Iraq under its new, American-appointed Prime Minister, has grown more dangerous and violent.

Did you know?
200 Jordan truck drivers killed in Iraq
Some 600 Jordanian trucks have been robbed and 200 killed in Iraq by armed thieves or U.S. forces since the war began in March last year.

Oh yeah, remeber the Iraqi National Conference I mentioned earlier in the week? Well it was postponed.
Deep divides halt key Iraq meeting
It was intended as a baby step into participatory democracy, the country's first foray into nation-building. But Iraq's national conference was postponed Thursday for the second time amid allegations of mismanagement and botched local caucuses.

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Thursday, July 29, 2004
 
After all the crap that Teresa Heinz Kerry got for her remark I sure hope the media brings this up
Unhappy Workers Should Take Prozac --Bush Campaigner
"Why don't they get new jobs if they're unhappy -- or go on Prozac?" said Susan Sheybani, an assistant to Bush campaign spokesman Terry Holt.


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It's the economy stupid:



I always makes it interesting to see statements like this when talking about this President's economy
I.R.S. Says Americans' Income Shrank for 2 Consecutive Years
The overall income Americans reported to the government shrank for two consecutive years after the Internet stock market bubble burst in 2000, the first time that has effectively happened since the modern tax system was introduced during World War II, newly disclosed information from the Internal Revenue Service shows.
[and]
In the past, overall personal income rose from one year to the next with relentless monotony, the growth rate changing in response to fluctuations in economic activity but almost never falling.
[and]
Before the recent drop, the last time reported incomes fell for even one year was in 1953. The only other time since World War II that the I.R.S. reported an interruption in income gains was from 1947 to 1949, but that was because of changes in the tax law at the time that affected how income was reported rather than an actual fall.

Soft Patch?
Drop in consumer spending creates slowdown, Fed says
The Federal Reserve reported Wednesday that the U.S. economy cooled off in June and July as consumer spending, especially on autos, slowed significantly after a big surge in early spring.

The survey of business activity compiled from reports from the Fed's 12 regional banks was the latest indication of what Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan termed a "soft patch" developing in the economy in June.


Not to worry though
CEO Pay Continues to Rise, Despite Calls for Restraint
The median pay for U.S. chief executives increased 15% last year and rose even more — 22% — for those at larger companies, according to a survey by Corporate Library, a corporate governance research firm.
And this is just simply amazing news!
Prices, Output Push Exxon Mobil Profit
Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest publicly traded oil company, on Thursday said quarterly earnings surged 39 percent on record oil and gasoline prices, rising production and its best refining results in 13 years.
That is just incredible. I mean who ever would have thought this could happen with oil and gas prices at an all time high? Gee I wonder how high profits would be if we started more wars? - LH

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Polls, 50-50-50 and 50-50
Over the last couple of days during the convention coverage I've noticed there is, and will continue to be, the talk of what a divided country this is and how all the polls show that it's a close race. Now if you check in here regularly you know that I like to ask questions about things. And I think my main question this brings to my mind is: How can you fix an election if it is not close?

What brought this on is another concept that I will call the 50-50-50 nation. I heard it used a couple of times in reference to, usually a "wingnut" spouting some poll about how we are a 50-50 nation. The person that brings up the 50-50-50 nation is on the opposite side of the argument. What this points to is the fact that election polls are usually done on "likely voters" and don't take into account the opinions of people that usually don't vote. The 50-50-50 should really be 33-33-33. Because in our country roughly 1/3 vote D, 1/3 vote R and 1/3 don't vote. So what this theory takes into account is that if that other third comes out to vote in a substantial number and votes one way then you've got a landslide on you hands. From some of the things I've heard there are many new voters registered for this election.

Now we can debate from now until the cows come home about how a poll should be run but what this means is that if there are a bunch of new voters -- those that usually aren't likely to vote -- they are not being polled for these polls. So if they don't show up before the election in the polls and they don't show up on election day as far as the election returns are concerned. Then did they show up? And how will you know if they did or didn't?

Now the reason this is important when you talk about fixing an election is because if you have someone losing in most or all of the polls going into the election and then he pulls out a win, don't you think people would be suspicious? Especially after 2000. Not to mention when I see things like this, Lost Record '02 Florida Vote Raises '04 Concern, it gets you wondering about how you would have a recount without anything to recount. So if you haven't already done so be sure and check out blackboxvoting.org. These too, Howard Dean, Democrats sound off on e-voting security and Michael Moore to tackle voting rights issues in Florida.

Why did we really attack Saddam?
This Guardian article I posted yesterday, The real reasons Bush went to war, lays out two reasons we went to war in Iraq:
There were only two credible reasons for invading Iraq: control over oil and preservation of the dollar as the world's reserve currency.
He leaves one other out that also needs to be mentioned, Israel. These, of course are not spoken about in your media. Last year Paul Wolfowitz pretty much admitted that the WMD argument was just a selling point:
"For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on," Wolfowitz was quoted as saying in Vanity Fair magazine's July issue.
Now just like New Coke or any other product launch we are sold war just like anything else, "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August." What in essence was done was this administration sat down and said, "what is the scariest thing we can use to sell a war in Iraq to the American sheeple?" Then the intelligence service that serves the President, the CIA, fudged intelligence to make it look like Saddam still had WMD. Even though we were told that he didn't have them anymore:
From 1991 to 1998, U.N. weapons inspectors, among whom I played an integral part, were able to verifiably ascertain a 90 percent to 95 percent level of disarmament inside Iraq. This included all of the production facilities involved with WMD, together with their associated production equipment and the great majority of what was produced by these facilities.
Scott Ritter makes a sane argument saying we should have a national debate about the war and then says this:
But if a case cannot be made on national security grounds, then one must consider the real possibility that the administration's drive for war with Iraq is being pursued in support of a domestic political agenda, something that should concern all Americans, regardless of political affiliation.

The brave men and women in our armed forces have demonstrated their willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice so that our democracy can be preserved. To ask them to do so in support of politically driven motives would not only disrespect those to whom we look for protection, but also dishonor American democracy as a whole. It is up to our nation as a whole to ensure that is not, and never will be, the case.
Words like that just make me feel bad and of course your media didn't tell you about this either. We are all to blame for allowing fear and insanity to take over this country and our minds, to allow ourselves to be walked over like that. When one realizes that Iraq had nothing to do with a threat to this country it changes the way you look at the war. It was just a waste and to think that it didn't need to happen, it was just good business. What else would you expect from an administration that is run like a business. First MBA President and a Vice President that was the CEO of Halliburton. It's just common sense that he would steer Federal contracts to his old company that he still has a vested interest in. It's not like a government run by Republicans would ever do anything about it. So when all the Iran talk starts, and it will, just remember that when they try and sell you the Iran war in the same bottle as the Iraq war with a "New and Improved" sticker on it that it's just the same old war.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2004
 
Barak Obama
Keynote Address
Yet even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America—there’s the United States of America. There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America. The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

The Republicans worst nightmare
Ron Reagan at the Democratic Convention
In a few months, we will face a choice. Yes, between two candidates and two parties, but more than that. We have a chance to take a giant stride forward for the good of all humanity. We can choose between the future and the past, between reason and ignorance, between true compassion and mere ideology. This is our moment, and we must not falter.

Some food for thought, not a conspiracy theory
The real reasons Bush went to war
There were only two credible reasons for invading Iraq: control over oil and preservation of the dollar as the world's reserve currency. Yet the government has kept silent on these factors, instead treating us to the intriguing distractions of the Hutton and Butler reports.

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Iraq update/rant. More on the convention later.

When I look at what happened today in Iraq it becomes quite clear that Iraq is a miserable failure. Iraq will never be what this administration said publicly they intended it to be as long as we are there as occupiers. In case you haven't been paying attention, which is easy, since most of the mainstream news outlets barely even mention Iraq anymore. The only time they mention Iraq is when something really big happens, like today. I know they mention it in terms of the campaign for president and the election but as far as the reality, very little. Kidnappings and car bombs have become the order of the day. Were you aware of the upcoming Iraq National Conference? I wasn't. We have more military deaths in Iraq so far in July than we had in all of June.

The newest tactic the insurgents are using is kidnapping foreign workers. They kidnap the workers in order to make the company leave Iraq. The insurgents are also carbombing police stations. They mainly do this when the police are trying to recruit new officers. In my opinion there are only two choices left for us in Iraq. Our military, and whatever allies it can muster, will either have to jump in and start fighting in this continuing war or we have to leave.

If we choose to get in this war, which is very close to a civil war, it makes me wonder when the administration would do this? If this was to happen I'm sure there would be heavy casualties on both sides and, as you may or may not be aware, there is an election coming up. Probably wouldn't be good for the incumbent to have a bunch of dead soldiers coming home between now and November. So this means that barring some major tragedy the earliest this would happen is after the election.

The next scenario of pulling our troops out would take even longer. Both candidates for President are beholden to the MIC, as are most politicians. The whole theory of, "we can't afford to get it wrong in Iraq", makes believe that we haven't already got it wrong. This is more than likely a slower bloodletting than jumping in the middle of a civil war but probably just as worthless. It is also not likely to be espoused by either candidate. I'm not sure if any amount of international cooperation can keep the Iraqis from solving this in their own way and in their own time. Which I believe is the best way for them to determine their future.

Now bribery has entered the planning as these two stories show:
US threatens to withdraw aid for Fallujah
United States aircraft dropped leaflets on the rebellious Iraqi city of Fallujah on Tuesday, warning residents they will lose $102-million (about R637-million) in rebuilding funds if they do not halt attacks and allow US troops to enter freely.
US troops pay Iraqis millions to reduce insurgence
Major General John R.S. Batiste, the division commander, said restive central Iraq is full of men who "are young, unemployed, without hope. We are trying to reach out to them. Whenever we get the money, we are trying to apply it to pull over as many of these men as we can to our side."

His local commanders have the go-ahead to dish out tens, hundreds, and thousands of dollars with little more paperwork than a signed receipt. Often, the cash is paid in return for a promise to perform a small community project, but it is also given to Iraqis to buy items they say are necessary

Let me see if I have this straight. We bomb and occupy a country to bring the democracy. We then roll in our corporations to rebuild. Instead of hiring Iraqis to do the work we bring in foreign workers. Unemployment is through the roof. Instead of getting them jobs we decide to give them cash not to kill us. What the f**k is going on in the minds of the people running this war. Why not get them a job? Are we going to put all these people on the payroll for years? I'm sure when we stop giving them money they will go back to killing Americans for money. This is insane! - LH


It would be funny if it wasn't so sad
Millions in U.S. property lost in Iraq, report says
Halliburton Co. has lost $18.6 million of government property in Iraq, about a third of the items it was given to manage, including trucks, computers and office furniture, government auditors claim
And this too
Iraqi police face charges of past
This is not Saddam Hussein's corrupt police state. This is the new Iraq run by interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, the man the international community is hoping will shepherd Iraqi democracy into being early next year. There are so many corrupt, violent and useless police officers in the new Iraqi police force that, according to a senior American adviser to the Iraqi police, the U.S. government is about to pay off 30,000 police officers at a cost of $60 million to the American taxpayer.
Next time I hear anyone complain about welfare and social programs as a waste of money and draining our treasury I'm going to shove this right in their face! The MIC is the biggest welfare program we have in this country. - LH

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Tuesday, July 27, 2004
 
Check out Texas Tuesdays:
a collaborative weblog created by Texas political bloggers to support the efforts of Democratic Party candidates. Each Tuesday we publish the profile of a promising candidate and encourage our readers to make a contribution to their campaign. Additionally, our blog occasionally features guest posts from candidates and relevant highlights from other blogs.


A beautiful editorial
Note to Tom Brokaw: Why I get my hard news from Jon Stewart
Note to Brokaw, Jennings, et al. You didn't just misreport the insane drive to start an unnecessary, pre-emptive war, you were part of the hyper patriotic, jingoistic drumbeat. And it isn't just that you didn't do enough to question it, it's that you didn't do anything. And you still aren't. Your pathetic CSPAN mea culpa, seen by less than 1% of the country, is even less impressive when you go right back to your studio and keep carrying water for the Bush Administration, ala Ms. Woodruff.

McGovern on the report
Iraq War and Israel Soft-Pedaled in 9/11 Report
The 567-page final report released Thursday by the 9/11 Commission provides a wealth of data -- indeed, so much detail that it is all too easy to miss the forest for the trees. Comments by the ubiquitous commissioners last weekend yield the clear impression that they would just as soon limit our horizon to the trees.

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As I watched Softball's convention coverage last night there were two things that Joe Scarborough said that pissed me off. The first one was this:
I would not put Jimmy Carter out there to talk about missteps in foreign policy. He would be the last politician I‘d put up there.
Now, Jimmy Carter did have some errors in foreign policy. He also had some successes. If it were not for the hostage situation and the failed rescue attempt he would not be looked on in that way. Not to mention if it was not for the traitorous October Surprise by the Reagan camping during the 1980 campaign, Carter would have had the hostages home by the election and been reelected. He was instrumental in getting The Camp David Accords signed. A lasting peace agreement in the Middle East. I'm not trying to minimize the impact the hostage crisis has had on Carter's legacy but that was not all that was done in Carter's presidency and I believe he has enough credibility to speak on foreign policy.

The next thing that pissed me off that Mr. Scarborough said was when he referred to the Nixon landslide of 1972. Many people, when talking about Presidential elections, will refer to this. Here is Joe again:
But what war went worse, though, obviously, than Vietnam? We had of course the worst anti-Vietnam protests, 1971, 1972. College campuses were in flames. Of course, Cambodia caused so much hell.

Police cards were overturned. It was anarchy, anarchy.

Richard Nixon, 1972, in a much more moderate America, carries 49 states. I think John Kerry remembers that. I think a lot of people that worked on the ‘72 campaign remember that, that, sure, Americans are concerned about what is going on in Iraq, a lot less concerned, though, than they were about what was going on in Vietnam in 1972.
I do not dispute the fact that Nixon won 49 states and I'm not saying that it wasn't a landslide. But whenever someone mentions this they never seem to point out that Nixon's dirty tricks were the reason that he won by such a huge margin. They always speak of Nixon's landslide like it happened because he ran a great campaign and that the Democrats didn't. In reality Nixon was a crook and ran a dirty campaign that allowed him to win like by a landslide. So when a talking head refers to the Nixon landslide they are showing their ignorance, or bias, about that election.

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He's Back on August 2nd!, Mike Malloy, Speaking Truth to Power.

Get all your Democratic Convention information here.

Big Dawg had the speech of the night. He's still got it
Our last elected President
My favorite part:

They (Republicans) think the role of government is to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of those who embrace their political, economic, and social views, leaving ordinary citizens to fend for themselves on matters like health care and retirement security. Since most Americans are not that far to the right, they have to portray us Democrats as unacceptable, lacking in strength and values. In other words, they need a divided America. But Americans long to be united. After 9/11, we all wanted to be one nation, strong in the fight against terror. The president had a great opportunity to bring us together under his slogan of compassionate conservatism and to unite the world in common cause against terror.

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Monday, July 26, 2004
 
The forward looking aspects of the 9/11 report
It's More Than a War
The conclusion takes on the central organizing idea of the post-9/11 strategy—that we are at war—and is deeply skeptical of it. The report notes that the use of the metaphor of a war accurately describes the effort to kill terrorists in the field, as in Afghanistan. It also properly evokes the need for large-scale mobilization. But the report points out that after Afghanistan, the scope for military action is quite limited. "Long-term success," it concludes, "demands the use of all elements of national power: diplomacy, intelligence, covert action, law enforcement, economic policy, foreign aid, public diplomacy, and homeland defense." Even when it speaks of preventive action it suggests "a preventive strategy that is as much, or more, political as it is military."

Good NY Times article on they future of the Democratic Party
Wiring the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy
Actually, Rappaport says he may be on to an answer. Last summer, he got a call from Simon Rosenberg, president of the New Democrat Network, a fund-raising and advocacy group in Washington. Would Rappaport mind sitting down for a confidential meeting with a veteran Democratic operative named Rob Stein? Sure, Rappaport replied. What Stein showed him when they met was a PowerPoint presentation that laid out step by step, in a series of diagrams a ninth-grader could understand, how conservatives, over a period of 30 years, had managed to build a ''message machine'' that today spends more than $300 million annually to promote its agenda.

Rappaport was blown away by the half-hour-long presentation. ''Man,'' he said, ''that's all it took to buy the country?''


More Iraqi history
Iraq: What Went Wrong?
After invading Iraq, the leader of the conquering army proclaimed:

"Our armies do not come in your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators ... I am commanded to invite you to participate in the management of your own civil affairs."

Was this George Bush, Tony Blair, Paul Bremer, or Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez? No, it was conquering British General Stanley Maude, in 1917.

This was after Iraq was conquered, during the First World War.

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Saturday, July 24, 2004
 
A good one from Atrios on...
Failure of Leadership
I know there's something slightly unseemly about jumping on people when they issue a mea culpa. Still, there's something about the partial "it wasn't really my fault and besides it wasn't just me and how can you hold me responsible" mea culpas that just absolutely enrage me. Consider even the liberal Richard Cohen today:

AWOL?
Bush's Military Records Fail to Dispel AWOL Charges
Some of President Bush's missing Air National Guard records during the Vietnam War years, previously said to be destroyed, turned up on Friday but offered no new evidence to dispel charges by Democrats that he was absent without leave.
A couple of things here. Why do they say charges by Democrats? I guess because of this. The charge was most recently, if you recall, stirred up by Michael Moore. Now Moore is definitely no fan of Bush and those comments of his basically knocked Wesley Clark out of the Presidential race. Many journalists, yes their still are a few, have been writing about this since before Dubya ever announced the first time. So I don't believe that it is only Democrats that have been charging this. If we had an independent media in this country someone by now should have followed through on this story, to the end, so we know definitively one way or another whether the President shirked his duty. - LH

Here is an interesting story
Shelby Target of Justice Probe Into 9/11 Leak
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) is the target of an ongoing Justice Department investigation into the leaking of the contents of classified phone intercepts received the day before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, congressional sources told FOX News.
The interesting thing about this is the only place you can find anything about this story is on Fox News. Of course, no other media outlet is reporting this and therefore most Americans know nothing about it. But there is still plenty of information on Sandy Berger. - LH

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Friday, July 23, 2004
 
Two on the 9/11 cover-up commission
The 9/11 Whitewash, Blaming No One
Astonishing….an investigation that “focuses on the future”. This is a script worthy of Orwell.
If everyone is to blame, then no one is to blame. -LH

and..

David Corn
The 9/11 Report: Bad News for Bush
The final report of the 9/11 commission confirms many of the panel's preliminary findings that have--or should have--embarrassed the Bush administration. The commission does note, "Our aim has not been to assign individual blame. Our aim has been to provide the fullest possible account of the events surrounding 9/11 and to identify lessons learned." And it is true that the report does point to screw-ups and negligent policymaking committed during both the Bush II and Clinton administrations. But George W. Bush is the incumbent president who has to face the voters in November. Although Republicans in recent days have been highlighting the mistakes of the Clinton years, it is not inappropriate for voters to focus on what report tells us about Bush and his administration. As a public service, here is a look at several of those critical portions.

Iraq update
The Sarajevo of Iraq
In the ongoing crisis in Iraq, one factor has remained unchanged: the loyalty of the Kurds to Washington. Whereas, for most Arabs, March 20, the first anniversary of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq, was ignored, Iraq's Kurds celebrated it with traditional dancing and gunfire as "Iraq Liberation Day." Unsurprisingly, when the time of "transition" came, the Bush administration gave the Kurds two of the top five positions in the new interim Iraqi government -- instead of the one that would have been their due if their percentage of the national population were all that was taken into account.

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Let's start today with these guys:


Paul Krugman
Accounting and Accountability
Accountability is important. The nation will be ill served if officials who didn't do all they could to prevent a terrorist attack, or led the nation into an unnecessary war, manage to shift the blame to someone else.

But those weren't the only big mistakes of the last few years. Will anyone be held accountable for the mishandling of postwar Iraq?

Chris Floyd
The more things change, the more they stay the same
Now Allawi sits on Hussein's throne, supported by the same men who once backed the jailed tyrant: Cheney, Wolfowitz, Colin Powell, the Bushes. He's establishing a new Security Directorate, drawing from the poisoned well of Hussein's evil Mukhabarat. And just like Hussein, Allawi is "legitimizing" his position as top "hard man" with hands-on murder. The brutal comedy goes on, with the same players, the same dead pieties masking the same brutal ambitions, and the same, never-changing results: ruin, rage and death.

Another great read
Now We Know: It's Our Mideast Policy That's Creating Enemies
People the world around respect America for its stand for freedom and individual rights. It's time to stop this wag of people "hating us" and against us "because of our values." It's not our values or people, but our Mideast policy they oppose. We need to return to evenhandedness and active negotiations in the Mideast. Then we can begin to win the "war on terrorism" and regain our moral authority in the world.

0 comments
Thursday, July 22, 2004
 
Another Neocon lie
>Democracy and the neocons: a marriage of convenience
Of all the delusions that American neoconservatives perpetrated in their drive to take the US to war in Iraq, the most durable was the notion that they were committed to the spread of Wilsonian democracy. As someone who has watched the neocon movement over the past 30 years or so, I find this hard to accept.

Say bye bye
War Funds Dwindling, GAO Warns
The U.S. military has spent most of the $65 billion that Congress approved for fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and is scrambling to find $12.3 billion more from within the Defense Department to finance the wars through the end of the fiscal year, federal investigators said yesterday.
Why don't they ask Halliburton for a loan? - LH

0 comments
 
The 9/11 cover-up commission released its report today.

Tom Daschle comes out of the closet
Doing Right By America
It’s a simple value that Americans have always lived by, but it’s been pushed aside these last four years. Boardroom priorities have crowded out kitchen-table needs, and special interests – like Enron, Halliburton, and the giant oil companies – have undermined our common purpose. Years of progress in spreading opportunity for regular Americans has been turned on its head.

Iraq update
Iraq is not improving, it's a disaster
Earlier in the summer, there were some welcome international developments. One was the security council resolution of June 8 endorsing the formation of a sovereign interim government, which did something to heal the rifts created in 2003. Another was the successful low-key handover of authority. But the impression that the situation in Iraq itself is much improved is down to Iraq fatigue in the media.

Joe Wilson defends himself again
A Right-Wing Smear Is Gathering Steam
The attacks against me should not obscure the facts. The day after my article in the Times appeared in July 2003, the president's spokesman acknowledged that "the 16 words did not merit inclusion in the State of the Union address."

The Senate report makes clear that senior leadership of the CIA tried repeatedly to keep this unsubstantiated claim out of presidential addresses. Three months before the State of the Union, on Oct. 6, 2002, the CIA sent a fax to the White House stating that "the Africa story is overblown." Tenet testified that on that day he told the deputy national security advisor the "president should not be a fact witness on this issue" because "the reporting was weak."

The right-wing campaign against me and Valerie does not alter the reality that someone in the Bush administration exposed her identity and compromised national security. I believe it was a malicious act meant to keep others from crossing a vindictive administration.

Most important, when it comes to the Niger claim — and so many other claims underlying the decision to go to war in Iraq — it is the Bush administration, not Joe Wilson, who spoke the words that have cost us more than 900 lives and billions of dollars and have left our international reputation in tatters.


Where we stand with Iran
U.S. Faces a Crossroads on Iran Policy
Pressed to define U.S. policy on Iran, one frustrated senior U.S. official cracked, "Oh, do we have one?"

Bush administration policy has generally been piecemeal and reactive to broader or tangential issues, rather than to Iran itself, U.S. officials say. "What we have is a summation of various pieces -- one piece on nuclear weapons, one on human rights, another on terrorism, other pieces on drugs, Iraq and Afghanistan," a senior State Department official said.

White House officials point to a three-paragraph presidential statement two years ago this month as the core policy. It notes local and national elections when voters supported reformers; it then calls on Tehran to "listen to their hopes."

"As Iran's people move towards a future defined by greater freedom, greater tolerance, they will have no better friend than the United States," the statement reads. But it offers no policy specifics or prescriptions. It instead reached out beyond Tehran in hopes that Iranians would be able to change their government or its positions.

0 comments
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
 
From the department of, "If you say it enough people will believe it"
Neoconservatives - never apologize, never explain
And I like William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard, the Rupert Murdoch-owned neoconservative newsweekly. Undaunted by the polls, undaunted by the events of the past year, Kristol forges on in defense of the war in Iraq that he and his neocon pals so desperately wanted.

It's not just Republicans that lie, cheat and steal
Kerry Adviser Steps Aside Amid Outcry Over Documents
A former national security adviser, Samuel R. Berger, quit his role as informal adviser to the presidential campaign of Senator John Kerry today amid a clamor over his improper handling of classified documents.
Here's another take
Berger Time
Former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger has been caught with his pants on fire, and such is the gravity of the crisis that experts everywhere are solemnly avoiding the temptation toward instant position taking that occasionally mars the public discourse. But what the hell: I'm going to go out on a limb here and hazard a guess as to what was in those documents Berger secreted close by his membrum virile: I'm predicting it was something that makes Sandy Berger look stupid.

0 comments
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
 
Halliburton Subpoenaed Over Unit's Iran Work
I found this paragraph funny: The company said in its annual report that revenues from its subsidiary's business in Iran amounted to about $80 million, or one-half of 1 percent of total revenues of $16.3 billion in 2003.
So I guess their defense will be we only did a little business with a country that aides, supports and harbors terrorists?
Some background, CONTRACT SPORT.

Iraq update, the "If a tree falls in the forest..." edition
Torturing Children
The biggest story of the Iraq war is not about missing weapons of mass destruction, or about deep-cover CIA officers getting their covers blown by vengeful White House agents, or even about 896 dead American soldiers. These have been covered to one degree or another, and then summarily dismissed, by the American mainstream news media. The biggest story of the Iraq war has not enjoyed any coverage in America, though it has been exploding across the international news media for several weeks now.
US Media Kills Story that Iraqi PM Executed 6 Prisoners
The US media has surprisingly failed to pick up the shocking disclosure by Sydney Morning Herald, Australia?s leading newspaper, that the Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi personally executed six suspected insurgents in a Baghdad police station.

The latest on DeLay (From the Center for American Progress)
CORRUPTION ? SPECIAL COUNSEL CALLS
Last week, evidence surfaced that four of the five House ethics committee Republicans investigating Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) have accepted money in the past from the fundraising operation involved in the complaint against him. That has now prompted calls for the appointment of an independent counsel from two non-partisan watchdogs, Common Cause and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). And the Dallas Morning News editorial board concurred: it noted that because DeLay is the House member "with the greatest ability to reward friends and punish enemies," an independent counsel should be appointed, just as it was during the investigations of former speakers Jim Wright and Newt Gingrich.

Not only can you not talk bad about Bush. You can't say good things about people that talk bad about Bush
Linda Ronstadt ejected from casino for praising Michael Moore
US singer Linda Ronstadt was booed off the stage and kicked out of a Las Vegas casino after praising polemical filmmaker Michael Moore's film "Fahrenheit 9/11," the casino said.
Michael Moore responds
Open Letter to Bill Timmins, President Aladdin Casino and Hotel
For you to throw Linda Ronstadt off the premises because she dared to say a few words in support of me and my film, is simply stupid and Un-American. Frankly, I have never heard of such a thing happening. I read that you wouldn't even let her go back up to her room at your hotel! Are you crazy? For crying out loud, it was a song DEDICATION! To "Desperado!" Every American loves that song! Sure, some people didn't like the dedication, and that's their right. But neither they nor you have the right to remove her from your building when all she did was exercise her AMERICAN right to speak her mind.

TomDispatch
Designer administration, color-coded world
"Yellow decorating: Van Gogh called it 'a color capable of charming God.' You may relegate it to the kitchen or a bathroom, but take a chance with this warm tone and the rewards will be tangible. By itself, the citron yellow on this Victorian chest seemed pallid. But a rich, honeyed drawer trim -- not an obvious choice --galvanized it." (Tips on colors from the Martha Stewart Website)

Just a reminder
When Democrats Lean Right, They Lose: A History Lesson
George Bush eats centrist Democrats for breakfast. Senator John Kerry is a centrist, and as Michael Moore puts it: "We cannot leave the 2004 election to the Democrats to screw it up."

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So the 9/11 Cover-up Commission is going to release it's report this week and as we found out over the weekend they are putting the bullseye on Iran. Now that Israel has chosen our next target it appears to be only a matter of time before we go after Iran. They are going to make the same arguments they made to justify invading Iraq all over again. It's just like they are selling you a movie. Iran: The Next Crusade. How many American lives is it worth? How many countries are we going to have to invade before we are safe? How much of our treasury has to be thrown away on military spending before we realize it would be much better spent here at home.

This debate comes down to fundamental principles. Do you honestly think that this country can remake the world by doing to other countries what we have already done in Afghanistan and Iraq? The early returns are in and it doesn't look good. Your President likes to tell you that the reason these people hate us is because of our freedom. But it wasn't our "freedom" that overthrew a democratically elected government in Iran in 1953. It was the CIA. It wasn't our freedom that put the Shah back in power after that. It was the CIA. As many have said they don't hate America, they hate what our government does to their countries.

So the brain trust of the U.S. wants to invade Iran. Take a look at the country. Compare it to its neighbor that we are still occupying: it is almost 4 times the size and almost three time the population. Where are we going to get the army to invade that country? These people are downright insane.

Some info on Iran:
Yesterday there was Council on Foreign Relations released a report, Iran: Time for a New Approach. It's worth a look.

The CIA isn't joining in, so far, Bush, CIA at Odds on Iran

And last, the Neocons are trying to make a return, Realists, Neocons in New Iran Argument


0 comments
 
Paul Krugman has his own remake of The Manchurian Candidate
The Arabian Candidate
Last week, Republican officials in Kentucky applauded bumper stickers distributed at G.O.P. offices that read, "Kerry is bin Laden's man/Bush is mine." Administration officials haven't gone that far, but when Tom Ridge offered a specifics-free warning about a terrorist attack timed to "disrupt our democratic process," many people thought he was implying that Al Qaeda wants George Bush to lose. In reality, all infidels probably look alike to the terrorists, but if they do have a preference, nothing in Mr. Bush's record would make them unhappy at the prospect of four more years.


0 comments
Sunday, July 18, 2004
 
Scott Ritter on...
How we got it so wrong in Iraq
As I testified before both panels, looking for such a direct link was likely to prove futile. The issue, I noted, was much more complicated, involving years of advocacy in both the United States and Great Britain for regime change in Baghdad that had permeated all levels of government, corrupting formulation of sound policy with a "group think" conclusion that Saddam Hussein was a threat. Anything that could facilitate his removal became accepted, regardless of its veracity.
More on the deception
The era of strategic deception
No way. The Iraq weapons fiasco was absolutely not caused by an "intelligence failure," as the White House and the recent Senate whitewash claim.

U.S. national security and CIA were corrupted and blinded by extremist ideology, cowardice, and careerism.

Nor was everyone wrong about Iraq.

Scores of Mideast professionals, this writer included, insisted from Day 1 that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, posed no threat to the U.S., and had no link to al-Qaida.

In other words, they already had their minds made up to go to war they just needed a credible excuse for the sheeple to blindly believe in. And those who disagreed were not allowed to put in their two-cents in the mainstream media and were treated like crazy people and terrorist sympathizers. - LH

More proof the people running you country are insane
Regime change in Iran now in Bush's sights
PRESIDENT George Bush has promised that if re-elected in November he will make regime change in Iran his new target.

Another part of the plan exposed
PM admits graves claim 'untrue'
Downing Street has admitted to The Observer that repeated claims by Tony Blair that '400,000 bodies had been found in Iraqi mass graves' is untrue, and only about 5,000 corpses have so far been uncovered
That's pretty far off. I mean I could understand a couple thousand here of there but to miss by 395,000? Arthur Anderson must have been doing the counting on that one. So really, why do you think this happened? I say that in the run up to war and after the occupation started they needed to turn Saddam into the worst person ever to walk the face of the earth. He had obviously killed thousands, isn't that bad enough. Why did they have to try and make him seem worse than he really was? - LH

Here is a Bush quote from Friday:
July 16, 2004

"I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn't do my job."

-- President Bush, quoted in the Lancaster New Era, during a private meeting with an Amish group.
Now if some guy was in front of a judge and said that everyone would call him crazy.

0 comments
Friday, July 16, 2004
 
At this point even the most partisan of Bush backers will admit that what was said about Iraq before "Shock and Awe" (remember that?) was, shall we say, incorrect. But what about what is currently happening in Iraq? We are being led to believe that there are a couple of left over Saddam backers in a garage, somewhere in Iraq making IED's and planting them all over the country. Oh, yeah and also the infamous Abu Mussab Al-Zarqawi and his band of Osama financed henchmen exploding car bombs all over the country. The reason we are told this is because most of the people in the US don't know anything, many don't care to know, about the history of Iraq and the Middle East. It's a very simple and easy to understand explanation. When in reality, as is always the case, the situation in Iraq is much more convoluted.

We have been fed a myth that all terrorists are in one big ideological clique that is working together, headed by Osama and intent on the destruction of the West. When in fact -- as this article tells us, Zarqawi?s Role in Iraq at Odds with White House Claims -- the truth is that it's actually many different organizations. And in Iraq we find that Al-Zarqawi is actually working at cross purposes with the resistance. The reason this administration continues to try and make the case that Al Qaeda, Al-Zarqawi and the resistance are all working together is obvious to me. If the American sheeple find out, or come to understand, that Iraq is not a part of the WOT that could be the final nail in this administrations coffin.

Oh yeah, the new Iraqi PM is a mass murderer, just like Saddam
Allawi Shot Inmates in Cold Blood, Say Witnesses
Iyad Allawi, the new Prime Minister of Iraq, pulled a pistol and executed as many as six suspected insurgents at a Baghdad police station, just days before Washington handed control of the country to his interim government, according to two people who allege they witnessed the killings.

He doesn't necessarily sound like a terrorist mastermind
Zarqawi's Journey: From Dropout to Prisoner to Insurgent Leader
"When we would write bad things about him in our prison magazine, he would attack us with his fists," said Yousef Rababa, who was imprisoned with Mr. Zarqawi for militant activity. "That's all he could do. He's not like bin Laden with ideas and vision. He had no vision."

Chris Floyd
Mob Rule
Anyone who wants to understand the reality of modern America should pick up Gus Russo's latest book, "The Outfit." With diligent research and relentless candor, Russo strips away the facade of the United States' pious national myths, showing in great detail how the criminal underworld -- and the even more criminal "upperworld" of big business and politics -- have fused in a deadly symbiosis that underlies the nation's power structure.

Check out what Scott Ritter said about the recently released Butler Report
CIA jealous of 'clubbish' rebuke
Scott Ritter, a former UN weapons inspector who also worked for US intelligence while in Iraq, disagreed. "It wasn't an intelligence failure. It was an intelligence success. The job was to provide intelligence that would support the policy of regime change. The Butler report pretends the British government policy was disarmament ... Butler doesn't do his homework. The whole report is like that - it's shallow. It doesn't dig."

From the author of What's the Matter with Kansas? : How Conservatives Won the Heart of America
Thomas Frank on the failure of liberalism
Oh Kansas fools! Poor Kansas fools!
The banker makes of you a tool.

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Has anybody seen a Neo-con lately? (Scroll to bottom of page for names.) Rummy, Perle, Wolfie, Woolsey...That is what I started writing this morning and then I saw this, Where's Rumsfeld these days?Hmm, well that it depends on who you ask. A wing-nut from the MIC says this:
"Donald Rumsfeld has gone from being the most popular spokesperson for the Bush administration policies to something of a pariah," said Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute, a think tank.

"Whereas before the White House was happy to see him speaking in public whenever he chose, now it kind of cringes for fear of what the results might be," Thompson added.
So the White House no longer thinks he is what the public wants to see. Then we get this from Rumsfeld's Chief Spokesman (how many does he have?):
Larry Di Rita, the chief spokesman for Rumsfeld, said the change is not an indication the secretary has fallen out of favor with the White House.

Rather, it reflects the fact that when Iraq's sovereignty was restored June 28 and the Coalition Provisional Authority was disbanded, the Defense Department was no longer in charge of Iraq, the spokesman said.
OK, since we handed over sovereignty the State Department now handles this. But you ask another MIC wing-nut think tank and you get this:
William Nash, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a retired two-star Army general who commanded American peacekeeping forces in Bosnia, said the White House's political calculations will determine Rumsfeld's fate.

"Right now everything in this administration is being measured against whether or not it contributes to the re-election of the president in November," he said. "Obviously he's been a lightning rod and oh, by the way, he's also been wrong and that's never good" for Bush.
Ok, its because he was wrong. Well if that was the case they would all no longer be able to show their faces. Also the voters don't like him. That to me is probably the most believable. So why haven't they canned him? If they canned him for being wrong then they would have to can everyone and hopefully that will happen in November. Also I guess they don't want to look weak, like Rummy was a bad hire. It looks like the old adage rings true, If you ask three different people you'll get three different answers.

DailyKos linked this article. It's a good reminder.
Don't Forget the Bodies
Writing in The Washington Post, columnist Jim Hoagland notes that "the American public and media seem to be slowly trying to tune out Iraq's continuing violence. Accounts of all but spectacular assaults slide deeper into network news broadcasts and the inside pages of newspapers as the summer and the U.S. presidential campaign progress."

Another Neo-con shows up. Woolsey was all over the TV before the war and until things went bad.
Former CIA director used Pentagon ties to introduce Iraqi defector
A former CIA director who advocated war against Saddam Hussein helped arrange the debriefing of an Iraqi defector who falsely claimed that Iraq had biological-warfare laboratories disguised as yogurt and milk trucks.

0 comments
Thursday, July 15, 2004
 
Looks like he needs a terrorist attack
So, just what will the Bush Campaign run on now?
My friends, they have nothing to run on. A dismal record of illegal war, corruption and cronyism, and a ruined economy will not be too popular with the voting public.

Bill Moyers
Democracy in the Balance
How do we nurture the healing side of religion over the killing side? How do we protect the soul of democracy against bad theology in service of an imperial state?

0 comments
 
One last thing on the Tom Engelhardt article. He mentions this,
Not a soul seems to have given a thought to the period from November 3, 2004 to late January, 2005, should none of this round's paranoid fantasies come true and Kerry be elected. Consider that for a moment. But do it quickly, before Ridge or Ashcroft can call a news conference.
I think what he is saying is, Bush loses, there is a terrorist attack, and then he and his band of neo-cons declare martial law. Anybody even want to talk about that?

So what did the Brits have to say about their intelligence
The Butler report
The intelligence: flawed
The dossier: dodgy
The 45-minute claim: wrong
Dr Brian Jones: vindicated
Iraq's link to al-Qa'ida: unproven
The public: misled
The case for war: exaggerated
And who was to blame? No one

0 comments
 
Who are the Iraqi insurgents you ask?
Facing the Enemy on the Ground
The Iraqi resistance is no emerging "marriage of convenience," but rather a product of planning years in the making. Rather than being absorbed by a larger Islamist movement, Saddam's former lieutenants are calling the shots in Iraq, having co-opted the Islamic fundamentalists years ago, with or without their knowledge.

The historical parallel that best underscores the current disaster-in-the-making is not the Vietnam War but rather Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Originally intended to rid Lebanon of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Israel's subsequent occupation led to the creation of Hizbollah as a viable force of political and military resistance. The Hizbollah was so effective that Israel was forced to unilaterally withdraw its forces from Lebanon in May, 2000. The 18-year occupation not only failed to defeat the PLO, but it also created an Islamic fundamentalist movement that today poses a serious threat to the security of Israel and the Middle East region.


Colin Powell and his lost credibility
Flaws Cited in Powell's U.N. Speech on Iraq
Days before Secretary of State Colin L. Powell was to present the case for war with Iraq to the United Nations, State Department analysts found dozens of factual problems in drafts of his speech, according to new documents contained in the Senate report on intelligence failures released last week.

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, published in January 2004 what the Sentate Intelligence Committee did last week
Statement from Jessica Mathews in Response to U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Press Conference on Iraq July 9, 2004
“But by concluding that there was no political pressure on the intelligence community, the Committee’s report leaves a huge contradiction hanging in midair. How else can those 2002 changes—all describing a more dire threat—be explained? Demands by top officials for access to raw intelligence and the setting up of an independent intelligence cell in the Pentagon were among many departures from normal practice that are hard to explain in any other way. At some point, if it walks like a duck and quacks, it’s a duck.

0 comments
 
Yesterday I linked an article by Tom Engelhardt, Welcome to Bushworld. He goes through a series of issues with links to the interesting parts. I will not go through the whole article here, just a few areas. I highly recommend reading the article.

Were you aware of this? Iran in bombsights? I wasn't!
A U.S. House of Representatives resolution last May 6 authorized "all appropriate means" to end Iranian nuclear weapons development. The Senate is yet to vote on the resolution. But it leaves no doubt it is a green light for offensive military strikes against Iran's three nuclear facilities.
Makes you wonder what "all appropriate means" means, doesn't it. I had thought early in the Iraq debate, before I realized that there were no Nukes there, that the reason Saddam would want Nuclear weapons was to keep the US from attacking him. Like North Korea. I would assume that is why Iran is trying to get them and why the US and it's partner Isreal want to make sure this doesn't happen. Therefore the need for speed on both sides. Iran to get them and the US and Israel to bomb them before they do. But back to the main part here. Did you know that your Congress and Congressperson - unless it is Kucinich, Paul or Conyers, - didn't vote against it. Congress gave your President permission to bomb Iran and the press didn't say a word!

Folks we've been through this before. Why does Iran want Nukes? To keep the US and Israel from attacking them. Not to bomb the US! Did anyone ever stop to think that these people just want us to leave them alone? Which takes us to the next point. If we went into Iraq to bring them freedom why are we still there? Why are we building military bases and intend on being there for a decade or so. There is one thing to keep in mind. They, meaning the Neo-cons and the like, don't want a government of by and for the people of Iraq. They want a pro-Western democracy friendly to the United States. See the difference? The only way to insure that is to keep our military there for a long time to make sure they have the kind of democracy we want them to have and not the kind that they want.

And the last point in his article is the fact that as far as the press is concerned the war in Iraq is over. Papers, NPR, the national news are no longer reporting US casualties like they did before the "handover".
Casualties off the front pages: Remember when American deaths in Iraq were front-page news? Well, has anyone noticed that, during and after the "transition to Iraqi rule" period, American casualties have largely dropped off the front pages of our papers? Picking up your morning rag, you may well have a sense that things have quieted down since an "Iraqi government" took control. Actually, based on the figures kept daily by the Antiwar.com website, quite the opposite has been the case -- at least for American troops. Fewer car bombs may have gone off (at least until yesterday - LH), but more Americans are dying. In the thirteen days before the surprise early "transition" non-ceremonies, there were 19 American military deaths in Iraq. In the thirteen days since, there have been 31.
The thing to understand about this is that an impression is trying to be made that all is well in Iraq now that they have their country back. Once again your media is just too eager to go along. We are rapidly approaching 900 dead in Iraq and I'm sure it will go higher before we leave in 2019, at the earliest.

0 comments
 
Is the "Coalition of the Willing" falling apart?
4 Nations Have Left, 4 More Are Getting Ready to Leave International Force
The Bush administration faces growing challenges in holding together the 32-nation coalition deployed in Iraq, with four countries already gone, another four due to leave by September and others now making known their intention to wind down or depart before the political transition is complete next year, according to officials from 28 participating countries.
I'm sure they're saying, "If Iraq is a soverign country now why do we still need to be here?". - LH

I believe its called corruption
Advocates of War Now Profit From Iraq's Reconstruction
Lobbyists, aides to senior officials and others encouraged invasion and now help firms pursue contracts. They see no conflict.

How to read the intelligence report
Learn the code
The Senate intelligence committee report is the Da Vinci code of the Iraq war. Some of the clues are in plain sight but unless one knows how to read them they remain cryptic. Deletions, covering one-fifth of the report, and omissions, stretching endlessly, are as significant as what's included. The storyline is jumbled into incoherence, the main characters are often spectral and it's all extremely dangerous.

0 comments
 
More bad apples
Kids sodomized at Abu Ghraib, Pentagon has the videos - Hersh
Seymour Hersh says the US government has videotapes of boys being sodomized at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

"The worst is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking," the reporter told an ACLU convention last week. Hersh says there was "a massive amount of criminal wrongdoing that was covered up at the highest command out there, and higher."

This is horrible, to say the least. It appears this goes deep into the military and the civilian leadership. - LH

0 comments
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
 
My wife sent me this one from David Hackworth
Lip Service Doesn?t Stop the Dying
Our generals talk a good game about taking care of their grunts, and the majority of our Beltway politicians bay with moralistic fervor about how they, too, support the troops. But for the most part, they?re just mouthing the words while they play the career game, go along to get along and don't make any waves.

Sorry I've been busy today, here's a bunch that looks good:

Maureen Farrell, Liberty, Vigilance and the Writing on the Wall

Meet the al-Qaeda archetype

Dispelling Myths About Terrorism and Terrorists

Tom Engelhardt, Welcome to Bushworld

Orville Schell, Why the Press Failed

And in case you didn't already know, FNC is a Republican rag, 33 internal FOX editorial memos reviewed by MMFA reveal FOX News Channel's inner workings

0 comments
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
 
When I think about it I just can't believe it. It's something that has never happened in this country. For as long as our country has been in existence, more than 225 years. Through all our history: Slavery, the Civil War, two World Wars, the Cold War, Vietnam and many trying times I'm sure I have left out. But this War on Terror - or as your President calls it "tara" - will cause our, ahem, government to cancel and/or postpone the election in the case of a terrorist attack. Now I saw Mr. Isikoff, the man who wrote this Newsweek article, on TV last night and he made the statement like in the article that:
But the success of March's Madrid railway bombings in influencing the Spanish elections--as well as intercepted "chatter" among Qaeda operatives--has led analysts to conclude "they want to interfere with the elections," says one official.
He uses the word 'success' in regard to the Madrid bombings. He believes that it is a fact that the bombing itself caused the voters in Spain to change their minds. As with most things, there were many factors that contributed to the change in Spanish leadership, one of which was that the incumbent president first blamed a local terrorist group (ETA) for the bombing, and when the evidence built up that it was Muslin extremists, he still wanted to blame ETA. For more info check out these two links:
Terrorism & Democracy: Zapatero Moves Spain Into The Peace Camp
The Spanish Elections
More on this tomorrow....


I've always heard it's the truth in a joke that makes them so funny
Tom Tomorrow
This Modern World: Defending the Bush Doctrine

Krugman on DeLay
Machine at Work
Here's the puzzle: if Mr. DeLay's brand of conservatism is so unpopular that it must be kept in the closet during the convention, how can people like him really run the party?

More on the intelligence from a veteran
Corrupted Intelligence
In our various oral and written presentations on Iraq, my veteran intelligence officer colleagues and I took no delight in sharply criticizing what we perceived to be the corruption of intelligence analysis at CIA. Nothing would have pleased us more than to have been proven wrong. It turns out we did not know the half of it.

0 comments
 
Looks like Michael Moore got under Brokaw and Koppel's skin. The way they sneeringly compare it to Oliver Stone's JFK makes me want to laugh. With that comment they are implying that Michael Moore is a conspiracy theorist just like Oliver Stone. These guys are just upset that they are being exposed for what they are. Corporate whores who will not tell the truth because they would lose their jobs in a heartbeat if they did. As a matter of fact that is why this piece was done. Their pimp, in this case General Electric and Disney, told them to go out and smear Michael Moore. They refer to the movie being "skillfully done" and compare him to Rush Limbaugh. Koppel many times refers to the movie as "entertainment". He uses that word as if to say something can't be entertaining and truthful. Then Brokaw wraps it up with this:
"I had a lot of people come up to me and, quietly, at some risk, say: 'When are the Americans coming? We can't continue to live like this,' " Brokaw said. "And the only scenes we saw in Michael Moore's film ... were children sliding down playground ramps and so on.
The reason they wanted to know when was so they could hide from the bombs and also because they were tired of living in anticipation of war. That's their opinion and this is mine.

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Monday, July 12, 2004
 
If you live in Austin, Texas and aren't busy around 11 am tomorrow, drop by the Capitol
The Computer Ate My Vote: National Day of Action
A press conference/rally will be held in Austin, TX, on Tuesday, July 13, in conjunction with the nationwide "Computer Ate My Vote" Day of Action. Many Texas Counties will be using computerized voting machines in the November 2004 election. Again and again similar machines across the country have demonstrated serious flaws in recording and tabulating citizens’ votes. A national coalition of groups including Common Cause, MoveOn.org, TrueMajority.org, Democracy for America, Working Assets, VerifiedVoting.org, Electronic Frontier Foundation and Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility is encouraging election officials to use their influence to strongly request computerized voting machines produce paper records which can be kept for audits and dispute resolutions.

More on the July Surprise
The Longer View
The trouble with reporting on shady political schemes is that they usually can't be proven. You need a Deep Throat, or, at least, a Gary Sick.

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I live in Texas and one of the first posts on this blog was about the redistricting debacle of 2003 in the state, from May 15, 2003:
I feel some need to say a few things about this Texas thing. We need to go back a few years to remember how this all got started. In 2000, members of the House and Senate went around the state taking testimony on the subject of redistricting. During this process, there were rumblings that the Republicans simply did not care to get anything done during the upcoming session when it came to redistricting. The reason was that at that time, the Democrats still had a majority in the house and to get a plan out, the Republicans would have had to coompromise. If nothing happened during the session, the state plans (House and Senate) would go to the Legislative Redistricting Board (LRB). The LRB consists of the Speaker of the House, Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller, Land Commissioner, and Attorney General. The Republicans held a 4-to-1 majority on the LRB, and there they could pass anything they wanted. Now we come to the Congressional plan. Interestingly, there was little apparent concern at the time over the fate of the Congressional plan. Perhaps the Republicans felt that the courts were in their favor, or perhaps that anything drawn by a court would be better than what might come out of the legislature. The House and the Senate each had their version of a Congressional plan. The House plan made it out of committee, but not to the floor; the Senate plan died in committee. Go figure. It went to a Republican-appointed federal three-judge panel who drew the current plan. It was later affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. This brings us to the current predicament. Now with a Republican majority in both houses, brought into being by the plans drawn by the uncompromising LRB, they want to revisit the Congressional plan becuase it is "unfair." Now I'm no conspiracy theorist, but could this have been the plan all along, since back in 2000? This is not to say the Democrats are any better becuase they redrew Congressional districts in the '90's using this same ploy. I am just trying to put a little perspective on the whole issue.
So when I see an article such as this from the Washington Post, DeLay's Corporate Fundraising Investigated, Money Was Directed to Texas GOP to Help State Redistricting Effort, it is really no surprise. Daily Kos breaks down the Washington Post artilce.

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There is a phrase that I hear used that sets me off. Those that use this phrase are the people who were too afraid to be against the war when so many were for it. It's used by those same people who now see that the war was wrong and are now too afraid to say that the whole Iraq invasion was a mistake. The phrase is, "We can't afford to get it wrong in Iraq".

I've heard Al Franken say this many times on his radio show. This is a classic line used by Senator Joe Biden along with his other classic line that he has been saying for two years now that "the President needs to level with the American people". I also believe that Senator Kerry has used the phrase as well as have many other politicians, pundits and personalities in on this debate.

But there are a few things that they fail to mention and that the masses of Americans either do not know or tend to black out. This war was lost many years ago, before we even went into Iraq. We've been meddling in Iraq for decades. The CIA overthrew Iraq's government in 1963 and installed the Baath Party which eventually brought Saddam Hussein to power. Then after the fall of the Shah and the Iran hostages situation we decided to back Saddam militarily against Iran. This backing included biological and chemical weapons. The same weapons he supposedly used on his own people. Then we goaded Saddam into attacking Kuwait (scroll down until you see the red text). We then liberated Kuwait for its monarchy and encouraged the Shia to revolt against Saddam. We then abandoned them to be slaughtered. Imposed 12 years of brutal sanctions on the country that did nothing to hurt Saddam, just the people of Iraq. And last but not least we invaded and occupied the country in the spring of 2003 on false pretenses. So as you can see we've been getting it wrong in Iraq for decades now.

So the next time you hear someone talk about how we can't afford to get it wrong in Iraq see if the know about all of our previous attempts to get it "right".

Some background stories:
Exclusive: Saddam key in early CIA plot
Our Man in Baghdad
Eight Facts About Iraq

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Sunday, July 11, 2004
 
These people act like Karen Kwiatkowski doesn't exist
Fury over Pentagon cell that briefed White House on Iraq's 'imaginary' al-Qaeda links
A Senior Pentagon policy maker created an unofficial "Iraqi intelligence cell" in the summer of 2002 to circumvent the CIA and secretly brief the White House on links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qa'eda, according to the Senate intelligence committee.

You don't say?
Key Revisions Were Made to CIA Document
The repeated elimination of qualifying language and dissenting assessments of some of the government's most knowledgeable experts gave the public an inaccurate impression of what the U.S. intelligence community believed about the threat Hussein posed to the United States, the committee said.

A report on the Presidnets trip to Pennsylvania
good thing quakers don't have guns
the president had to see the thumbs-down gestures and john kerry banners, perhaps even the occasional obscene fingers thrust skyward as his bus passed by them.

six young men from lancaster city wearing only thong underwear were arrested along old philadelphia pike when they attempted to recreate the infamous picture of iraqi prisoners forced into a human pyramid at abu ghraib prison.

the protesters stripped down to their underwear and formed their improv in front of a greenhouse, near where the president was to speak, east lampeter township police said.

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Saturday, July 10, 2004
 
Another opinion on the Senate Intelligence Report
Senate "Report" White-Washes "Bad Intelligence" Story for the White House; Former CIA Director Tenet Set Up as "Patsy" as Media Ignore Real Culprits
From this, it seems the CIA schemed to trick Bush and Powell into lying to Americans and the world in order to scare us if not other nations into attacking Iraq. Is this true? Of course not. But before we debunk this facile cover story, let's consider the other key verdict, from the same AP story: "Following release of the 511-page review Friday, the panel's top Democrat, West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller, said three-quarters of senators would not have voted to authorize the invasion if they had known how weak the intelligence was."

The fox guarding the henhouse?
These Dogs Don't Hunt
Why is the government's top independent watchdog deliberately sugarcoating taxpayer ripoffs? Because he, like other Bush administration officials charged with overseeing expenditures in Iraq, is anything but independent.

I'm sure the President will sleep easier becuase of this
Pentagon Says Bush Records of Service Were Destroyed
Military records that could help establish President Bush's whereabouts during his disputed service in the Texas Air National Guard more than 30 years ago have been inadvertently destroyed, according to the Pentagon.

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Friday, July 09, 2004
 
Chris Floyd
Goodbye
We told you it was sweet: You get control of Iraq's oil money and dish it out to your cronies and collaborators until it's all gone -- while setting aside a few secret billions for yourself that no one can ever trace. It's the same operation that Hussein ran. He's accused of skimming $4.4 billion from the Development Fund while he was in power -- but that took him years. Bush almost matched him in just 14 months. As the Iraqis say of the occupation: "The pupil has gone; the master has arrived."

Indeed. Halliburton, under Cheney, once did a paltry $23 million in backdoor business with Hussein; now, cutting out the middleman (and more than 10,000 innocent lives, as well), the company has $18 billion in Iraqi war contracts, thanks to its White House rainmakers. And no doubt that $3 billion unmetered skim will be bankrolling some fancy Houston mansions and choice Texas scrub brush in the years to come.

The question of war -- its causes and consequences -- is always a multi-headed hydra, defeating easy analysis. But for the thieves of Baghdad, one simple fact holds true: Crime pays.


Why the terror warning?
Electing to deal with terror threat
Watch carefully now. Something cynical is happening here.

With each new pointless warning, with each new breathless plea, those around George W. Bush are trying to link the terrorists with the Democrats.


Republicans hold up vote to keep Partiot Act in tact
Democrats Shout "Shame, Shame, Shame!" as Tom DeLay and the GOP Once Again Hijack Democracy in the Congress to Defeat Revisions of the Anti-Liberty Un"Patriot Act" (Headline from Buzzflash)
By a 210 to 210 tie vote that GOP leaders prolonged for 23 tumultuous minutes while they corralled dissident members, the House rejected a proposed change to the USA Patriot Act that would have barred the Justice Department from searching bookstore and library records. White House officials, citing the nearly three-year-old law's importance as an anti-terrorism tool, warned that an attempt to weaken it would be vetoed.

Paul Krugman
Health Versus Wealth
Will actual policy issues play any role in this election? Not if the White House can help it. But if some policy substance does manage to be heard over the clanging of conveniently timed terror alerts, voters will realize that they face some stark choices. Here's one of them: tax cuts for the very well-off versus health insurance.

If we ever get a clear national debate about health care and taxes, I don't see how President Bush will win it.


More on the pre-war intelligence
Defectors' Reports on Iraq Arms Were Embellished, Exile Asserts
Mr. Zubaidi said, "I don't want to criticize U.S. agencies, but it's strange that the U.S. with all its powerful agencies, the C.I.A., could not manage to know the truth from the lies in these people."
He's assuming they were looking for the truth and not just someone or something to backup there already chosen rationale for war. - LH

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