Wednesday, November 30, 2005

In Baghdad, Reality Counters Rhetoric
Violence Remains Everyday Pattern
By Doug Struck
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, December 1, 2005; A21
BAGHDAD, Nov. 30 -- Through the smoke of car bombs on the streets of Baghdad, Ali Kathem has trouble seeing the progress that President Bush described Wednesday in a speech in Annapolis.
"At least we didn't have terrorism under Saddam Hussein. Now, we have explosions, kidnapping, stealing," said Kathem, 24, a stocky man who has sold cigarettes on a busy roadside in the Iraqi capital for nearly a decade...
White House Watch: GOP advisers urge resignations in Abramoff scandal
By Paul Bedard
As the Abramoff-Scanlon lobbying scandal unfolds with greater speed, congressional Republican advisers are urging leadership officials to call on those linked to it to consider resigning long before the 2006 midterm elections.

"They should step aside now," said one adviser with ties to the House Republican leadership and the White House. "If they leave now, we could still hold their seat."
GOP officials are worried that the lobbying affair could include more than a dozen lawmakers and potentially spell disaster for the Republican majority in the House. Political strategists said that if members suspected in it leave early enough, they won't become issues in the fall 2006 election. One Republican strategist cited the New Jersey governor's election, in which Democrat Jon Corzine was able to replace a scandal-hit Democratic governor, Jim McGreevey, who had resigned months earlier...

Put your holiday tree in "The No Spin Zone" with this silver glass "O'Reilly Factor" ornament. Metal cap and hoop for hanging. Made in the USA.
This article illustrates that while I may vote dem, I'm not a dem. Still pineing for proportional representation in the legislature and instant run off...You know? like in a real democracy...

JOSHUA FRANK: Dems Forget Palestine, Again & Again - Howard Dean’s Blunt Message
Date 2005/11/30 -- World News Trust

DNC Chair Howard Dean has a fickle stance on virtually every foreign policy issue thrown his way. None, however, are more telling of his party’s incompetence than his posture on the Israeli/Palestinian issue, which is virtually identical to that of the neocons. Recently Dean returned from a week-long jaunt to Israel sponsored by the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC). Shortly after his return, Dean spoke to an elite crowd of American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) friends and lobbyists in Philadelphia about his tripl. And the audience was pleased with what they heard. “Literally, from Israel's birth ... that great Democrat Harry Truman took the courageous step to immediately extend America's hand to recognize the State of Israel,” Dean said. “Democrats have done all we can to foster the special, enduring relationship between the two countries. Maintaining Israel's security is a key U.S. national security interest.” But Dean’s vision of Israel’s security is not without consequences for Palestinians or Arab Israelis. The October 2003 issue of The Jewish Week quoted Gov. Howard Dean as saying that he had been very clear in his support for “targeted assassinations” of alleged Palestinian terror suspects. He believed these men were “enemy combatants in a war,” adding, “Israel has every right to shoot them before they can shoot Israelis.” This position bears a striking resemblance to that of both Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. And why is Dean’s position, like that of Bush and Clinton, so dead wrong? From the 1948 war to the proposal to settle the whole of the Occupied Territories, Israel has always been associated with the policy of expelling Palestinians from the land -- an act that is frighteningly similar to the Nazi objective during the Second World War to round up and clear all the Jews from Europe to provide "Lebensraum" for the citizens of Germany...
Context baby, C-O-N-T-E-X-T:

At Hussein's Hearings, U.S. May Be on Trial
Posted on Nov. 28, 2005
By Juan Cole
The ongoing trial of Saddam Hussein could prove increasingly uncomfortable for the Bush administration. The first crime of which the deposed dictator is accused, the secret execution of 143 Shiites arrested in 1982, seems an odd choice for the prosecution, and politics may be behind it. Hussein is accused of using poison gas against Iranian troops, of genocide against the Kurds and of massacring tens of thousands to end the 1991 uprising after his defeat in the Gulf War. The problem for the Bush administration with these other, far graver charges, is that the Americans are implicated in them either through acts of commission or omission.
The saga of Dujail began, as the BBC explained recently, with Hussein’s visit to the mixed Shiite and Sunni town north of Baghdad in summer of 1982. Many of the young men in Dujail were conscripts fighting at the front against Khomeini’s Islamic Republic of Iran, which Hussein had invaded in 1980. Hussein appears to have gone there to drum up support for his war, which had quickly become a costly and dangerous quagmire. Worse, many Iraqi Shiites were members of the fundamentalist Dawa Party. They were willing to fight Iran to stop it from taking over Iraq, but they hated Hussein, who had made membership in their party a capital crime. As Hussein was leaving Dujail, Shiite assassins tried to kill him.
...And in over-weight, cigar-slurping, butt-cyst encrusted, pill-popping, failed sportscaster news:

Limbaugh on kidnapping of peace activists in Iraq: "I'm telling you, folks, there's a part of me that likes this"
On November 29, nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh read an Associated Press report about the apparent kidnapping of four Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) activists by an Iraqi insurgent group. Limbaugh announced that "part of me likes this." He explained: "Well, here's why I like it. I like any time a bunch of leftist feel-good hand-wringers are shown reality."
After suggesting that the story "could all be BS ... could all be a stunt," Limbaugh said, "We'll take it face value at first." Addressing the kidnapped CPT activists, Limbaugh said, "[Y]ou've met the bad guys, and you tried your technique on them, and now you're blindfolded in a room with guns pointed at you and knives at your throat. I don't like that." He then added, "But any time a bunch of people that walk around with the head in the sand practicing a bunch of irresponsible, idiotic theory confront reality, I'm kind of happy about it, because I'm eager for people to see reality, change their minds, if necessary, and have things sized up."...

Feel the 'Joementum'. From here to Likud Party Headquarters.
Wit and wisdom from the 'Dukester': , here's an example:

Mr. Cunningham, who underwent prostate surgery in August, compared prostate cancer treatment to gay anal sex before the same group of elderly cancer patients at Alvarado Hospital. Cunningham said no man would enjoy prostate cancer treatment “unless he’s Barney Frank.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

"...and in my dream I saw a vast mushroom cloud of known unknowns and thought to myself 'who knew?'..."
Good audio clip of loon O'Loofah going nuts on the 'factah' from Crooks and Liars:
Yep. You gotta wonder: are the Shiite 'death squads' a part of US policy? It's not like it's not happened before and with many of the same players on board...

"The Salvador Option." Reader MV writes, "Long story why I'm so emotionally involved in this, but please read this Newsweek piece from January about internal DoD debates regarding the 'Salvador Option,' showing internal debate within the DoD about the formation of Salvador- style 'death squads' as one possible means of regaining control of Iraq. This story has gotten so little play for what it says": ...
Cunningham and MZM: The White House Connection
Today, Duke Cunningham pled guilty to receiving over $2 million in bribes from Mitchell Wade and his company, MZM Inc., in exchange for legislative favors. It’s worth noting that MZM also did some unusual business with the White House:
[O]ver the past three years it [MZM Inc.] was also awarded several contracts, worth more than $600,000, by the Executive Office of the President. They include a $140,000 deal for office furniture in 2002 and several for unspecified “intelligence services.”
Why did the White House hire MZM, a “defense and intelligence firm,” to buy office furniture for the White House? ...

Monday, November 28, 2005

Wow. Tell us what you really think, Larry.

Wilkerson blamed Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and like-minded aides. He said Cheney must have sincerely believed that Iraq could be a spawning ground for new terror assaults, because "otherwise I have to declare him a moron, an idiot or a nefarious bastard."
Fascism Then. Fascism Now?
When people think of fascism, they imagine Rows of goose-stepping storm troopers and puffy-chested dictators. What they don't see is the economic and political process that leads to the nightmare.
by Paul Bigioni

Observing political and economic discourse in North America since the 1970s leads to an inescapable conclusion: The vast bulk of legislative activity favors the interests of large commercial enterprises. Big business is very well off, and successive Canadian and U.S. governments, of whatever political stripe, have made this their primary objective for at least the past 25 years.

Digging deeper into 20th century history, one finds the exaltation of big business at the expense of the citizen was a central characteristic of government policy in Germany and Italy in the years before those countries were chewed to bits and spat out by fascism. Fascist dictatorships were borne to power in each of these countries by big business, and they served the interests of big business with remarkable ferocity.

These facts have been lost to the popular consciousness in North America. Fascism could therefore return to us, and we will not even recognize it. Indeed, Huey Long, one of America's most brilliant and most corrupt politicians, was once asked if America would ever see fascism. "Yes," he replied, "but we will call it anti-fascism."...

"My whole life I've lived aboveboard," Cunningham said. "I've never even smoked a marijuana cigarette. I don't cheat. If a contractor buys me lunch and we meet a second time, I buy the lunch. My whole life has been aboveboard and so this doesn't worry me."

I invite you, dear readers, to consider just how bat shit crazy George W. Bush is.
Who really thinks that the foreign policy of the US should be run along fundamentalist Christian lines?
Only the evil demiurge of Gnosticism could possibly have ordained a delusional boob like GWB to be a great leader.
Sometimes I think it just might be so.
"Satan is the ape of God."

Where is the Iraq war headed next?
Issue of 2005-12-05
Posted 2005-11-28

...Bush’s closest advisers have long been aware of the religious nature of his policy commitments. In recent interviews, one former senior official, who served in Bush’s first term, spoke extensively about the connection between the President’s religious faith and his view of the war in Iraq. After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the former official said, he was told that Bush felt that “God put me here” to deal with the war on terror. The President’s belief was fortified by the Republican sweep in the 2002 congressional elections; Bush saw the victory as a purposeful message from God that “he’s the man,” the former official said. Publicly, Bush depicted his reëlection as a referendum on the war; privately, he spoke of it as another manifestation of divine purpose.The former senior official said that after the election he made a lengthy inspection visit to Iraq and reported his findings to Bush in the White House: “I said to the President, ‘We’re not winning the war.’ And he asked, ‘Are we losing?’ I said, ‘Not yet.’ ” The President, he said, “appeared displeased” with that answer...

...“The President is more determined than ever to stay the course,” the former defense official said. “He doesn’t feel any pain. Bush is a believer in the adage ‘People may suffer and die, but the Church advances.’ ” He said that the President had become more detached, leaving more issues to Karl Rove and Vice-President Cheney. “They keep him in the gray world of religious idealism, where he wants to be anyway,” the former defense official said.

Paintings by Oscar Dominguez

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The 'trophy' video of contractors (mercenaries) shooting Iraqi civilians, seemingly just because they can, is here:
I don't really understand why Iraqis get upset about being randomly murdered by foreign occupiers while driving down the street in their own country. They must hate freedom or something.
A Journey That Ended in Anguish
Col. Ted Westhusing, a military ethicist who volunteered to go to Iraq, was upset by what he saw. His apparent suicide raises questions.
By T. Christian Miller
Times Staff Writer
November 27, 2005
"War is the hardest place to make moral judgments." Col. Ted Westhusing, Journal of Military Ethics
*WASHINGTON — One hot, dusty day in June, Col. Ted Westhusing was found dead in a trailer at a military base near the Baghdad airport, a single gunshot wound to the head.
The Army would conclude that he committed suicide with his service pistol. At the time, he was the highest-ranking officer to die in Iraq.
The Army closed its case. But the questions surrounding Westhusing's death continue.
Westhusing, 44, was no ordinary officer. He was one of the Army's leading scholars of military ethics, a full professor at West Point who volunteered to serve in Iraq to be able to better teach his students. He had a doctorate in philosophy; his dissertation was an extended meditation on the meaning of honor.
So it was only natural that Westhusing acted when he learned of possible corruption by U.S. contractors in Iraq. A few weeks before he died, Westhusing received an anonymous complaint that a private security company he oversaw had cheated the U.S. government and committed human rights violations. Westhusing confronted the contractor and reported the concerns to superiors, who launched an investigation.
In e-mails to his family, Westhusing seemed especially upset by one conclusion he had reached: that traditional military values such as duty, honor and country had been replaced by profit motives in Iraq, where the U.S. had come to rely heavily on contractors for jobs once done by the military.
His death stunned all who knew him. Colleagues and commanders wondered whether they had missed signs of depression. He had been losing weight and not sleeping well. But only a day before his death, Westhusing won praise from a senior officer for his progress in training Iraqi police.
His friends and family struggle with the idea that Westhusing could have killed himself. He was a loving father and husband and a devout Catholic. He was an extraordinary intellect and had mastered ancient Greek and Italian. He had less than a month before his return home. It seemed impossible that anything could crush the spirit of a man with such a powerful sense of right and wrong.
On the Internet and in conversations with one another, Westhusing's family and friends have questioned the military investigation...
IRAQ ON THE RECORD: pick your administration official and read their lies. They can't unsay what they said. They try but that dog don't hunt...
One would have to be severely delusional at this point to NOT think Congress and the American people were told deliberate falsehoods in order to gain support for an invasion of Iraq.
So, say you have an employee with a certain amount of ability to initiate projects on their own. They screw one up bad. Then you find out the project was unnecessary. It was a boondoggle.
What do you do?
Fire them, right? Right? Right?
Bush and Co. should be fired. And I think because their lies have lead to the death and maiming of hundreds of thousands of human beings they should be charged with crimes against humanity.
(Let's just put the looting and stealing aside for the time being.)
How can a moral person think otherwise? It's not a political question. On any scale of right or wrong murder and lying are wrong. Or is there a different morality for those few hundred 'households' with annual incomes of 200 million dollars a year? And their 'little Eichmanns' in government and finance?
There needs to be a general recognition that Capitalism is crime...
The most robust economy in the world is Finland's. And for all practical intents and purposes Finland is a socialist country.
The US needs to get back to FDR's 'new deal', but this time the 'new deal' on steroids...
BBC:Iraq abuse 'as bad as Saddam era' :
Guardian:Abuse worse than under Saddam, says Iraqi leader:

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Paintings by Thomas Cole
'Trophy' video exposes private security contractors shooting up Iraqi drivers
By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent(Filed: 27/11/2005)

A "trophy" video appearing to show security guards in Baghdad randomly shooting Iraqi civilians has sparked two investigations after it was posted on the internet, the Sunday Telegraph can reveal.
The video has sparked concern that private security companies, which are not subject to any form of regulation either in Britain or in Iraq, could be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent Iraqis...
Maybe the neocons all get together with Jeff Gannon for a circle-jerk while they watch videos like this. Maybe Ann Coulter brings her strap-on. Or does she need one?
The Fall of the One-Party Empire
[from the December 12, 2005 issue]
For some time I have been suggesting here that the aim of Republican strategy has been a Republican Party that permanently runs the United States and a United States that permanently runs the world. The two aims have been driven by a common purpose: to steadily and irreversibly increase and consolidate power in GOP hands, leading in the direction of a one-party state at home and a global American empire abroad. The most critical question has been whether American democracy, severely eroded but still breathing, would bring down the Republican machine, or whether the Republican machine--call it the budding one-party global empire--would bring down American democracy. This week, it looks as if democracy, after years of decline, has gained the upper hand.
The choice was and remains: empire or republic? Just a few years ago the "sole superpower," the new Rome, master of the "unipolar" world, seemed to many to be bestriding the globe. Some, like columnist Charles Krauthammer, were reveling in the triumph of "the American hegemon." "History has given you an empire, if you will keep it," he said, traducing Benjamin Franklin, who had said at the Constitutional Convention that the United States was a republic if you can keep it.
Others, like writer Michael Ignatieff, in a more somber mood, were preparing to shoulder the empire's inescapable global "burdens," which meant "enforcing such order as there is in the world and doing so in the American interest." Still others, like journalist Robert Kaplan, were touring the empire's far-flung garrisons, lionizing the "imperial grunts" and counseling that America's civil leaders should yield to military direction. Indeed, he said that the "very distinction between our civilian and military operations overseas is eroding." The model for the future, he thought, should be the United States' long history of military intervention in Latin America.
But where is the American empire now, where the new Rome? Where are its subject peoples, its provinces, its Macedonias and Carthages and Egypts, its victorious armies and triumphal parades? Where, for that matter, are its arts and letters, its Colossus of Rhodes, its Pyramids? Where is its Virgil? Would that be Bill O'Reilly, fountain of abusive misinformation, or Dan Bartlett, the White House Misspokesman? Can someone give me a tour of this realm? We might begin in Iraq. But perhaps we had better not. The tour would have to be cut short in the Green Zone, the American compound in downtown Iraq and the only "secure" territory in the country. Some 200 Iraqis have been killed recently in bomb attacks (horrors scarcely mentioned in the debate in this country). As for the Iraqi "government," these quislings are unable to follow imperial orders--they are deficient even as puppets. Their main accom­plishment has been to open a torture center, perhaps in imitation of our own Abu Ghraib, or perhaps following the model of Saddam Hussein...
Cheney's history needs a revise
Tim Rutten
Regarding Media
November 26, 2005
IF the debate over the war in Iraq now raging across our front pages and airwaves proves nothing else, it already has demonstrated that this administration believes the people's attention span can be measured in nanoseconds and that memory has the shelf life of fresh bread.
Take, for example, this week's astonishingly revelatory public statements by Vice President Dick Cheney and Porter J. Goss, the director of central intelligence:Monday, Cheney told an audience at the American Enterprise Institute that anyone who suggested that President Bush or anyone in his administration had made the case for invading Iraq by distorting or exaggerating prewar intelligence on Saddam Hussein's purported possession of biological or nuclear weapons was guilty of historical "revisionism of the most corrupt and shameless variety."
According to the vice president, "any suggestion that prewar information was distorted, hyped, fabricated by the leader of the nation is utterly false" and the product of a "self-defeating pessimism."
Just 24 hours earlier, The Times' Bob Drogin and John Goetz had described in vivid and convincing detail how the administration exaggerated and recklessly misused intelligence concerning Hussein's alleged manufacture of biological weapons that was provided by the now notorious Iraqi defector code-named "Curveball." (Who says spooks don't have a sense of humor?) As Drogin and Goetz reported, Curveball's handlers in Germany, where he sought political asylum, repeatedly warned their American counterparts that their informant was an unreliable — possibly unstable — fabricator. Still, both Bush and then Secretary of State Colin L. Powell incorporated his fantasies into their arguments for war. Conscientious CIA agents who had tried to blow the whistle on a deceit the administration found deliciously convenient were dispatched to windowless offices without telephones.
Cheney's reasons for ignoring these facts — and for hanging the politically charged "revisionist" epithet around the necks of those who refuse to go along — are pretty clear. A wide spectrum of public opinion surveys now shows that more than half the American people already believe that the war in Iraq is a mistake and that the president misled them to justify the invasion. The vice president and his allies within the administration were the war's most forceful advocates, and a recent Newsweek poll found that just 29% of Americans think Cheney is either honest or ethical...
Defense hawk Dicks says he now sees war as a mistake
By Alicia Mundy
Seattle Times Washington bureau
WASHINGTON — It was after 11 p.m. on Friday when Rep. Norm Dicks finally left the Capitol, fresh from the heated House debate on the Iraq war. He was demoralized and angry.
Sometime during the rancorous, seven-hour floor fight over whether to immediately withdraw U.S. troops, one Texas Republican compared those who question America's military strategy in Iraq to the hippies and "peaceniks" who protested the Vietnam War and "did terrible things to troop morale."
The House was in a frenzy over comments by Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., who had called for the troops to leave Iraq in six months. In response, the White House initially likened Murtha, a 37-year veteran of the Marines and an officer in Vietnam, to lefty moviemaker Michael Moore.
Then a new Republican representative from Ohio, Jean Schmidt, relayed a message to the House that she said she had received from a Marine colonel in her district: "Cowards cut and run; Marines never do."
During much of the debate, Dicks, a Democrat from Bremerton, huddled in the Democrats' cloakroom with Murtha, a longtime friend. Both men are known for their strong support of the military over the years. Now, they felt, that record was being questioned.
"There was a lot of anger back there," Dicks said in an interview this week. "It was powerful. I can't remember anything quite as traumatic as this in my history here."
Near midnight, he drove to his D.C. home, poured a drink and wondered how defense hawks like he and Murtha had gotten lumped in with peaceniks by their colleagues and the administration.
And he thought about all that had happened over the past couple of years to change his mind about the war in Iraq...
From TALK LEFT: The Politics of Crime:

Saturday :: November 26, 2005
The Difference Between Bush and Jack Murtha
President Bush made telephone calls to the families of 10 soldiers on Thanksgiving. Congressman Jack Murtha has visited the wounded at Walter Reed almost every week since the beginning of the Iraq War.
The President is on another vacation in Crawford, using Thanksgiving as a cover. While most Americans were able to get off work Thursday, and some were lucky enough to get both Thursday and Friday off, I bet not many got off from Tuesday through Sunday, the period Bush is spending at the ranch.
I'm no math whiz, so clue me in. Between his trips to Latin America, Asia and the Ranch this month, how many days has he spent working for us in Washington?

Friday, November 25, 2005

Ann Coulter on John Murtha:
"[...] The Democrats are giving aid and comfort to the enemy for no purpose other than giving aid and comfort to the enemy. There is no plausible explanation for the Democrats' behavior other than that they long to see U.S. troops shot, humiliated, and driven from the field of battle.
They fill the airwaves with treason, but when called to vote on withdrawing troops, disavow their own public statements. These people are not only traitors, they are gutless traitors."

She is the reason I can say anything I want about Republiturds. They enable her. So as soon as they 'wellstone' her I'll back off on the way I put certain things. Until then: Go Ann!
It is beginning to look a lot like Sleezemas:

Abramoff probe broader than thought: paper
Fri Nov 25, 2005 12:26 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department's probe of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff is broader than previously thought, examining his dealings with four lawmakers, former and current congressional aides and two former Bush administration officials, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
Prosecutors in the department's public integrity and fraud divisions are looking into Abramoff's dealings with four Republicans -- former House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas, Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio, Rep. John Doolittle of California and Sen. Conrad Burns of Montana, the paper said, citing several people close to the investigation.
Abramoff is under investigation over his lobbying efforts for Indian tribes with casinos. He has also pleaded not guilty to federal charges in Florida that he defrauded lenders in a casino cruise line deal.
The prosecutors are also investigating at least 17 current and former congressional aides, about half of whom later took lobbying jobs with Abramoff...
Film stirs talk of abuse of religion
By David Crumm
Detroit Free Press:

Sixty years after the Holocaust, a new movie about Protestant support for Adolf Hitler is raising fresh questions about the dangerous misuse of religion today.
About 250 students, faculty and guests at Rochester College, a Church of Christ-related school in Rochester Hills, attended a preview last week of filmmaker Steven D. Martin's documentary for PBS, "Theologians Under Hitler: Could It Happen Again?"
After watching the film, Calvin Moore of Rochester, a 26-year-old history student, was among many in the crowd who peppered Martin with troubling, contemporary questions.
"This makes me wonder a lot about all those cases today when we claim we're taking righteous stances as Christians and we all too quickly attach God's name to our efforts," Moore said last Thursday.
Moore said that as he watched the film, he found himself pondering everything from American guilt in destroying American Indian culture to claims made by some national religious leaders who support the war in Iraq today.
"I really don't know the answers, but when you see something like this film, it makes you ask all sorts of questions like this," he said.
Doris Karson, 79, of Kalamazoo had driven all the way across Michigan to see the film because she lived in Germany until 1948 and painfully recalls the rise of Nazism.
Raised in a Catholic family, Karson said she is familiar with the long-running debate over whether Pope Pius XII did all he could to oppose the Holocaust. She said this scathing new indictment of Protestant theologians seems like an important, new viewpoint on the era.
"I think everyone should see this and think about what happened then," Karson said. "People are talking about Pope Pius XII, but I think people should know all of this whole story."
The story behind Martin's film was published 20 years ago in a Yale University Press book by historian Robert Ericksen, "Theologians Under Hitler," but that text was aimed mainly at scholars.
It took Martin, a United Methodist pastor from Tennessee who makes documentaries in his spare time, more than two years and thousands of miles of travel to complete this hard-hitting, one-hour overview of the book.
The film focuses on several 1930s-era Protestant theologians in Germany who encouraged the rise of Nazism, publicly praising it as a gift from God to resurrect the impoverished German people. These men also added their moral weight to the attempted destruction of Judaism.
Among the most infamous was Gerhard Kittel, at the time a world-famous Protestant expert on the ancient history of the Bible. Far from a marginal figure or thug, like many of Hitler's early followers, Kittel taught at the centuries-old Tubingen University, the same school that later would have Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, on its faculty.
In the 1930s, Kittel became convinced that ancient strains of Christian contempt for Jews should be turned into a brutal campaign against them.
"We must not allow ourselves to be crippled because the whole world screams at us of barbarism," he wrote. How Germany "regulates its own cultural affairs does not concern anyone else in the world."
In the often-emotional discussion after the film, Rubel Shelly, a Rochester College professor who teaches courses on religion, told the crowd, "This startles me, aggravates me and humbles me. It scares the life out of me."
He said the film made him wonder about everything from the abuse of Christianity by white-supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan to the twisting of Islam by suicide bombers.
"For me, the insight from this film is that religion can become downright evil," he said.
Shelly said he's disgusted to see "that even the filling of vacancies in the Supreme Court right now has become a religious dogfight."
Without a stricter separation of church and state, Shelly argued, "we can still allow ourselves as Christians to be played by political power," just as in Germany in the 1930s.
At that point, he turned to Martin and asked, "So where are the religious leaders who are strong enough to resist the stroking of political power today?"
Then, Martin pointed back at the crowd of mostly college students. "It's my hope that they're you," he said, "because, if not, I'm wasting my time with this film."
The US seems to be trying to instigate new trouble in the Mid-East. How could this possibly be good? I mean for anyone other than Israel.

Syria accuses US of launching lethal raids over its borders
By Harry de Quetteville in Baghouz(Filed: 29/10/2005)
Syria has accused the United States of launching lethal military raids into its territory from Iraq, escalating the diplomatic crisis between the two countries as the Bush administration seeks to step up pressure on President Bashar Assad's regime.
Major General Amid Suleiman, a Syrian officer, said that American cross-border attacks into Syria had killed at least two border guards, wounded several more and prompted an official complaint to the American embassy in Damascus.
He made the allegations during an official press tour of Syrian security forces on the Iraqi border, which the US claims is a barely guarded passage into Iraq for hardcore foreign jihadis.
While showing off what he said were beefed-up Syrian border measures designed to blunt those criticisms, including new police stations and checkpoints, Maj Gen Suleiman alleged that his own border forces had come under repeated American attack.
"Incidents have taken place with casualties on my surveillance troops," he said, near the Euphrates river border crossing between Syria and Iraq. "Many US projectiles have landed here. In this area alone, two soldiers and two civilians have been killed by the American attacks."
The charge follows leaks in Washington that the US has already engaged in military raids into Syria and is contemplating launching special forces operations on Syrian soil to eliminate insurgent networks before they reach Iraq...
Republican gangsters, not metaphorically, really gangsters: Book 'em.

Man held in Boulis slaying incriminates fellow suspects
By Jon Burstein, Tonya Alanez and Sean Gardiner Staff Writers
Anthony "Big Tony" Moscatiello said he thought he was just going to get a gift -- a 1987 Cadillac. What he ended up with was a confession to the headline-grabbing murder of casino magnate and Miami Subs founder Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis, according to court filings...
...Kidan and one of his partners in the SunCruz deal, high-powered Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, currently are fighting federal fraud charges related to their purchase of the cruise-to-nowhere operation. They are accused of lying on financial statements and creating phony documents to persuade lenders to back their bid for SunCruz. The company has since been sold to new owners...
Run for your lives! It's rampaging Negroes! I'd bet you money FOX started this rumor/story (after a call from Karl Rove.)
Doubts Now Surround Account of Snipers Amid New Orleans Chaos
By James Rainey
Times Staff Writer
ORLEANS — Even in the desperate days after Hurricane Katrina, the news flash seemed particularly sensational: Police had caught eight snipers on a bridge shooting at relief contractors. In the gun battle that followed, officers shot to death five or six of the marauders.Exhausted and emotionally drained police cheered the news that their comrades had stopped the snipers and suffered no losses, said an account in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. One officer said the incident showed the department's resolve to take back the streets.But nearly three months later — and after repeated revisions of the official account of the incident and a lowering of the death toll to two — authorities said they were still trying to reconstruct what happened Sept. 4 on the Danziger Bridge. And on the city's east side, where the shootings occurred, two families that suffered casualties are preparing to come forward with stories radically different from those told by police.A teenager critically wounded that day, speaking about the incident for the first time, said in an interview that police shot him for no reason, delivering a final bullet at point-blank range with what he thought was an assault rifle. Members of another family said one of those killed was mentally disabled, a childlike innocent who made a rare foray from home in a desperate effort to find relief from the flood...

Michael Brown gets a job to teach people how not to be like Michael Brown.

From Crooks and Liars:

From the AP Wire story:
"Brown said officials need to "take inventory" of what's going on in a disaster to be able to answer questions to avoid appearing unaware of how serious a situation is.
In the aftermath of the hurricane, critics complained about Brown's lack of formal emergency management experience and e-mails that later surfaced showed him as out of touch with the extent of the devastation."
What a total "Bush" kinda guy.
The Phony War Against the Critics
By Michael Kinsley
Friday, November 25, 2005; A37

"One might also argue," Vice President Cheney said in a speech on Monday, "that untruthful charges against the commander in chief have an insidious effect on the war effort." That would certainly be an ugly and demagogic argument, were one to make it. After all, if untruthful charges against the president hurt the war effort (by undermining public support and soldiers' morale), then those charges will hurt the war effort even more if they happen to be true. So one would be saying in effect that any criticism of the president is essentially treason.
Lest one fear that he might be saying that, Cheney immediately added, "I'm unwilling to say that" -- "that" being what he had just said. He generously granted critics the right to criticize (as did the president this week). Then he resumed hurling adjectives like an ape hurling coconuts at unwanted visitors. "Dishonest." "Reprehensible." "Corrupt." "Shameless." President Bush and others joined in, all morally outraged that anyone would accuse the administration of misleading us into war by faking a belief that Saddam Hussein possessed nuclear and/or chemical and biological weapons.
Interestingly, the administration no longer claims that Hussein actually had such weapons at the time Bush led the country into war in order to eliminate them. "The flaws in the intelligence are plain enough in hindsight," Cheney said on Monday. So-called WMD (weapons of mass destruction) were not the only argument for the war, but the administration thought they were a crucial argument at the time. So the administration now concedes that the country went to war on a false premise. Doesn't that mean that the war was a mistake no matter where the false premise came from?...
Political Donations, Bribery and the Portrayal of a Nexus
WASHINGTON, Nov. 24 - The American system of underwriting political campaigns is often derided as legalized bribery. Now the Justice Department is contending that it can amount to illegal bribery as well.
In pursuing a case that threatens to envelop Congress in an election-year lobbying scandal, federal prosecutors are arguing that campaign dollars and other perks routinely showered on lawmakers by those with legislative and political interests on Capitol Hill can reach the level of criminal misconduct...

...Those watching the current case see Mr. Scanlon's decision to cooperate in the continuing investigation of Mr. Abramoff and others as a crucial link to the possibility of further charges: as an insider, he could conceivably provide evidence of a strong tie between efforts to influence lawmakers and their official actions.
Criminal charges aside, some watchdogs and members of Congress say they hope that public exposure of lobbying abuse stirs the Congressional ethics committees to police lawmakers more aggressively and that it simultaneously builds support for tighter lobbying restrictions.
"I think most Americans play by the rules and expect their leaders in government to do the same," said an author of one such proposal, Representative Martin T. Meehan, Democrat of Massachusetts. "It is time for Congress to clean up its act."...

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Iraqi detainees tell of torture
By Caroline Hawley
BBC News,
Baghdad Prisoners at an Iraqi detention centre opened up to journalists have told the BBC of widespread abuse.
One man said he had been whipped with a cable and then had salt rubbed in the wound, while another said his captors had tried to pull out his toenails.
The BBC was also shown inside a Baghdad bunker at the centre of a scandal over detainee abuse by Iraqi forces.
More than 170 prisoners were found there last week, showing signs of malnourishment and torture.
A government-ordered inquiry is under way and Interior Minister Bayan Jabr has said torture will not be tolerated. But he has also brushed aside reports of abuse, saying they have been exaggerated. ...
Why do they hate us?

Iraqis miss oil fortune: report
Nov 24 06:53
Up to $US194 billion ($263 billion) in Iraqi oil revenues are going to multinational oil companies under long-term contracts, and not to the Iraqi people, a social and environmental group said.In a report, the group known as Platform said that oil multinationals would be paid between $US74 billion and $US194 billion with rates of return of between 42 per cent and 162 per cent under proposed production-sharing agreements, or PSAs."The form of contracts being promoted is the most expensive and undemocratic option available," Platform researcher Greg Muttitt said....

..."The companies will inevitably use Iraq's current instability to push for highly advantageous terms and lock Iraq to those terms for decades."...
Torture claims 'forced US to cut terror charges' · Dirty bomb evidence came from al-Qaida leaders · CIA worried case would expose prison network
Jamie Wilson in Washington
Friday November 25, 2005
The Guardian
The Bush administration decided not to charge Jose Padilla with planning to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in a US city because the evidence against him was extracted using torture on members of al-Qaida, it was claimed yesterday...
Editorial: Insider's view / Murtha may also be speaking for the military
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

One point not to forget in the exchange of volleys between veteran U.S. Rep. John P. Murtha and President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other administration officials on the need to withdraw American forces from Iraq is the congressman's extraordinarily close relationship over the years with senior U.S. military personnel...

...In that context, it is very likely that the advocacy of withdrawal by Mr. Murtha, the congressman who is perhaps closest of all to senior military officers, reflects the considered views of some or many of those in the service's top ranks. Rather than taking themselves out of the game by opposing Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, they may be telling the American public through Mr. Murtha, whom they trust, that it is time for U.S. forces to go home, to leave Iraq to the Iraqis.
If it is unseemly for Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, with their own undistinguished or absent war records, to hammer at Mr. Murtha, a Vietnam veteran with a distinguished record and the trust of American soldiers and veterans, it is especially wrong for them to undercut him when he is likely delivering to them and the public the frank opinion of the war of senior American officers...
Get your program! Can't tell your traitors without a program. Program here!

November 24, 2005
Lesser Neocons of L'Affaire Plame
by Christopher Deliso
From start to finish, the Niger deception and the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame depended on a relay team of hawkish officials providentially placed throughout various government agencies. These included the CIA, the Pentagon and its Office of Special Plans (now under official investigation by the Pentagon's Office of the Inspector General), the State Department, and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), performing a handoff of information from the point of origin (the CIA) to the ultimate "commissioners" of the inquiry, the masterminds in the White House and the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.
Considering the frequently attested intra- and interfactional nature of all of these agencies, it is understandable why the highest officials in the land jostled to get their "people" strategically inserted throughout the departments, where they could garner inside information and hinder the objectives of their ostensibly direct employers whenever they conflicted with the goals of their real minders.
Aside from the high-visibility officials involved or presumably involved in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame – Lewis Libby, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, etc. – we also have a generous sprinkling of neocons who, while somewhat less well known, have played a crucial role in not only the Plame outing but in policy-crafting and, perhaps, criminal activities as well.
The present study considers four such figures: David Wurmser and Frederick Fleitz, both formerly employed in the State Department office of the Madman with the Handlebar Mustache, John Bolton; Marc Grossman, a longtime State Department official recently turned lobbyist; and Eric Edelman, like Grossman a former ambassador to Turkey, longtime Cheneyite, and current recess appointee to Doug Feith's old position as No. 3 in the Pentagon....

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The long march of Dick Cheney
For his entire career, he sought untrammeled power. The Bush presidency and 9/11 finally gave it to him -- and he's not about to give it up.
By Sidney Blumenthal

The hallmark of the Dick Cheney administration is its illegitimacy. Its essential method is bypassing established lines of authority; its goal is the concentration of unaccountable presidential power. When it matters, the regular operations of the CIA, Defense Department and State Department have been sidelined...

Jeremy Scahill
Wed Nov 23, 5:49 PM ET

The Nation -- On November 22, Britain's Daily Mirror published a startling allegation: In an April 2004 White House meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, President Bush proposed bombing the Arab TV network Al Jazeera's international headquarters in Qatar. The report was based on a memo stamped "Top Secret" that had been leaked by a Cabinet official in Blair's government.
Is the allegation "outlandish," as the White House claims? Or was it a deadly serious option? Until a news organization or British official defies the Official Secrets Act and publishes the five-page memo, we have no way of knowing. But what we do know is that at the time of Bush's White House meeting with Blair, the Bush Administration was in the throes of a very public, high-level temper tantrum directed against Al Jazeera. The Bush-Blair summit took place on April 16, at the peak of the first US siege of Falluja, and Al Jazeera was there to witness the assault and the fierce resistance.
A day before Bush's meeting with Blair, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld slammed Al Jazeera in distinctly undiplomatic terms:
REPORTER: Can you definitively say that hundreds of women and children and innocent civilians have not been killed?
RUMSFELD: I can definitively say that what Al Jazeera is doing is vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable.
REPORTER: Do you have a civilian casualty count?
RUMSFELD: Of course not, we're not in the city. But you know what our forces do; they don't go around killing hundreds of civilians. That's just outrageous nonsense. It's disgraceful what that station is doing.
What Al Jazeera was doing in Falluja is exactly what it was doing when the United States bombed its offices in Afghanistan in 2001 and when US forces killed Al Jazeera's Baghdad correspondent, Tareq Ayoub, during the April 2003 occupation of Baghdad. Al Jazeera was witnessing and reporting on events Washington did not want the world to see...
On Fox News this morning, conservative editor of the Weekly Standard Bill Kristol called out the administration for this game they’re playing:

"What message does this send here at home? Here in Washington, policymakers, congressional staff, opinion leaders pick up the two Washington papers this morning and there in the Washington Times, ‘General Calls Iraqi Pullout Destabilizing.’ So you think, well, that’s good, that’s the administration’s line. You can’t pull out too fast. Then you pick up the Washington Post. ‘Three Brigades May Be Cut In Iraq Early In 2006′ based on a Pentagon briefing by a different general. It looks confusing, it looks weak in my opinion. Dick Cheney just gave a major speech warning against this kind of talk. Everyone knows that we want to pull out troops when we can, but to sort of go out on a P.R. offensive, I think, on the part of the administration looks weak right now."
No shit Sherlock! Kristol, aka 'Quayle's Brain', displaying his firm grasp of the obvious.
Republican Unity Frays as Lawmakers Brace for Election Fights

Nov. 23 (Bloomberg) -- When Republican U.S. Representative John Sweeney ran for re-election in 2004, President George W. Bush was on his way to winning a second term and Sweeney enjoyed a huge money edge over his Democratic opponent, raising $1.39 million to her $22,823.
As he looks to 2006, the New York lawmaker can't breathe so easily. Bush's record-low approval ratings, along with mounting questions about the war in Iraq, have bolstered the Democrats' hopes of regaining control of the House next November. Sweeney faces a challenger, attorney Kirsten Gillibrand, who has raised $120,000 so far, more than the combined total of his three previous opponents.
``For the first time since he was elected, he has a race that he has to pay attention to,'' said Amy Walter, House editor of the Washington-based Cook Political Report, which analyzes congressional races.
Political analysts and activists say Sweeney is among about a dozen Republicans, mostly from states that went Democratic in 2004, who may face closer races next year than they have in the past. Those elections are a key reason that House Republican leaders are having a tougher time holding their party together.
Sweeney joined 13 other Republican lawmakers last week to vote against a deficit-reduction measure backed by Bush that cuts $50 billion from Medicaid and other benefits programs. It barely squeaked by on a 217-215 vote.
Hours earlier, 22 Republicans helped defeat a $142.5 billion spending plan for the departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services. The legislation, rejected on a 224-209 vote, would have cut $1.4 billion from last year's funding level and stripped about $1 billion in pet projects that benefit lawmakers' districts...
Hey!? I thought it was about 'freedoms', 9/11, 'Bring 'em on', WMD, 'stayin' the course', yada yada yada...
Crude Designs: The Rip-Off of Iraq’s Oil Wealth
By Greg Muttitt
From Global
The President's Exclusive Access to Sensitive Intelligence
By Mel Goodman t r u t h o u t Perspective
November 2005
President Bush, in defense of his decision to use force in Iraq, contends that the Congress supported the decision and that it had access to the same intelligence available to the White House. Not true!
The president and his key advisers, usually about five or six principals, receive the CIA's "President's Daily Brief" (PDB) five or six times a week. The PDB contains sensitive intelligence, including raw intelligence, that is not seen anywhere else in the policy community or on Capitol Hill. Most of this intelligence is of the compartmented variety that isn't even available to intelligence analysts working on a particular problem. In addition to the PDB, the briefer usually brings additional intelligence reporting that would be of special interest to the president or the secretaries of state or defense. Again, these items are highly classified and not available to the general community...
It’s Not About the Yellowcake
By Jofi Joseph
The Bush administration’s most critical deception leading up to the war in Iraq had nothing to do with Valerie Plame or yellowcake from Niger...

Nobody likes a mass murderer; except perhaps Mormons and neo-nazis.
Majority Believe White House Misleads Public, Poll Shows
November 23, 2005
A majority of U.S. adults believe the Bush administration generally misleads the public on current issues, while fewer than a third of Americans believe the information provided by the administration is generally accurate, the latest Harris Interactive poll finds...
Laura Rozen puts it thusly:
November 23, 2005
Talk about revisionist history. What is most offensive about the revelations in Murray Waas' new National Journal article is not that Cheney sought out and received sci-fi intelligence from the Pentagon zealots who shared his obsessions, but that they have all been denying it for the past two years, and trying to blame their mistakes and zealotry on the CIA. That's what's offensive. Their utter reckless disregard for the truth, and contempt for the American people they've lied to over and over again. Here's what's needed: "I'm sorry. We got carried away. We believed and still believe it was for a worthy cause ... " Something like that. Instead, we get this snivelling slandering of everybody else but themselves. It's hard to have anything but contempt for people who don't have the courage to admit their mistakes, who demonstrate so little in the way of personal responsibility. And I believe that's why we are seeing Bush's and Cheney's and Rumsfeld's numbers taking a nosedive on just that issue, personal integrity. Everybody in the world knows the difference between "steadfastness" and CYA. And they know the latter when they see it...
Robert Scheer at HuffPo says:

You've got to hand it to Dick Cheney; no other modern politician has come so close to perfecting the theater of the absurd. Even as he protests his innocence of lying about matters of state, he lies about matters of state.
In two major speeches Friday and Monday, the vice president who has long insisted Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda were allies, Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, we would be greeted as liberators in Baghdad, and that the Iraqi insurgency is in its "last throes," again evidenced his trademark inability to speak the truth...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

This story really warrants being called a bombshell. Even MSNBC is reporting on it. Murray Waas' NATIONAL JOURNAL article is linked (below) earlier today.
They lied and they knew they were lying. Plain as day. All the death and destruction can clearly be layed at their door.
If we don't impeach how will we explain it to the children? Remember that piece of ripe doo doo they used to ask about Clinton? Call me crazy but deliberate murder seems more important than a stain on a blue dress.

Report: 9/11-Iraq link refuted days after attack Magazine says administration refused to give key docs to Senate committee
Updated: 7:09 p.m. ET Nov. 22, 2005
Ten days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, President Bush was advised that U.S. intelligence found no credible connection linking the attacks to the regime of Saddam Hussein, or evidence suggesting linkage between Saddam and the al-Qaida terrorist network, according to a published report.
The report, published Tuesday in The National Journal, cites government records, as well as present and former officials with knowledge of the issue. The information in the story, written by National Journal contributor Murray Waas, points to an abiding administration concern for secrecy that extended to keeping information from the Senate committee charged with investigating the matter.
In one of the Journal report's more compelling disclosures, Saddam is said to have viewed al-Qaida as a threat, rather than a potential ally...

By Hausner
Was US press in 'coma' during drive to war with Iraq? :
-asks a South African paper. No, owned by gazillionaires who backed Bush and Co. American media is a vast right wing conspiracy. Check out the article I linked the other day on the rise of the 'patriotic journalist'. There's no such thing as a patriotic journalist. A PJ is a propagandist. Someone mentioned the other day that their father-in-law said "FOX NEWS tells me everything an American wants to hear." That's it. Journalism as validation of prejudice rather than information. Right wing 'snarling head' radio is the same thing. "Mega dittoes, Rush." There are millions of people running around parroting what someone else tells them to think under the impression they're thinking for themselves. I can't figure it. I've never been able to fool myself like that.
And look at who these 'opinion makers' are. High School drop outs, failed sportscasters(high on pain pills), tabloid TV hosts, celebrity journalists, etc.; while real journalists and public intellectuals are shunted to the sidelines. Thank goodness the internet got out of the control of the VRWC(Vast...).
by Peter Daou
NEW THE STRAW MEN OF IRAQ: Ten Pro-War FallaciesFriday's hastily staged congressional vote on withdrawal from Iraq may have been designed to embarrass John Murtha, but the raucous session offered valuable insight into the various rationales for war and the tactics used to attack Democrats who oppose Bush's Iraq policy. A parade of House Republicans went after the Dems and laid out a surprisingly weak case for the invasion and continued occupation of Iraq. Here, in my view, are ten of the leading pro-war fallacies...
Key Bush Intelligence Briefing Kept From Hill Panel
By Murray Waas, special to National Journal© National Journal Group Inc.Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2005
Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda, according to government records and current and former officials with firsthand knowledge of the matter...
Amy Goodman's interview w/ Lawrence Wilkerson: All Lies that took the US to war. ALL lies.
Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005
Colin Powell's Former Chief of Staff Col. Wilkerson on Prewar Intel, Torture and How a White House "Cabal" Hijacked U.S. Foreign Policy...
Dread Takes a Toll on GIs in Iraq
By Louise Roug
Times Staff Writer
November 22, 2005
FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq — A handful of Delta Company soldiers leaned against a barracks wall the other night, smoking. The subject of conversation: what limb they would rather part with, if they had a choice. On the door of a portable toilet a few feet away, someone was keeping the company death toll amid a scribble of obscenities: five KIA.
"When I first got here, I felt like I could actually do some good for the Iraqi people," Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Barker said. But the last six months had hardened him, he said. "We're not going to change the Iraqis. I don't care how many halal meals we give out," he added, referring to food prepared according to Islamic dietary laws.
Of the 160,000 U.S. troops now in Iraq, some have been deployed to the country for the first time. Others are returning for their second or third tours of duty. Those returning find a country that has become even more dangerous. Since the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion, attacks on American troops using roadside bombs have steadily risen, as have military casualties.
In conversations with troops in the tense cities of Baghdad, Mosul and Tikrit during the last four weeks, morale seemed a fragile thing, especially among those in the line of fire, shot through with a sense of dread.Many expressed pride in their mission, and the hope that the budding political process would eventually destroy the insurgency. But others described a seemingly never-ending fight against an invisible enemy, and the toll of seeing friends die.
"Morale is a roller coaster," said Lt. Rusten Currie, who has spent 10 months in Iraq. "We were all idealistic to begin with, wanting to find Osama bin Laden and [Abu Musab] Zarqawi, and bring them to justice — whatever that means. Now we just want to go home.
"The bracelet on his slim wrist read: "Let them hate, as long as they fear."
I wish the US had a left leaning national tabloid like the MIRROR. With all the Rethuglican hypocrisy, religious zealot nut jobs, trophy wives, gangster style corruption there'd be no lack of stories...This is a goody. I can hear Bush, "why don't we jus blowed 'em up?"

22 November 2005
Madness of war memo
By Kevin Maguire And Andy Lines
PRESIDENT Bush planned to bomb Arab TV station al-Jazeera in friendly Qatar, a "Top Secret" No 10 memo reveals.
But he was talked out of it at a White House summit by Tony Blair, who said it would provoke a worldwide backlash...
Letter to the editor from the TOLEDO BLADE:
Nov. 22
Vietnam vet defines 'patriotism'
As a veteran of the Vietnam conflict, I know all too well the discontent I felt on my homecoming: A terrible sense of abandonment from citizens of a country that, at the time, I believed had forsaken me for my sense of patriotic duty.
Over time, I realized that it was not me who was forsaken, or the lives given of so many of our brave military personnel. It was rather our leadership's justification and continuance of a "no win" conflict that had forsaken us.
Our country's leaders were wrong. It took American citizens to challenge this country's decisions in the justification of that cause. The right and obligation of Americans to challenge this country's direction was and is, indeed, patriotic.
Our flag flew at many of the anti-war demonstrations, helping define our America: to defend our beliefs, to speak out, to ask questions when rhetoric appeared to rule the day. Our soldiers did not die in vain. They did what was asked of them, and many more went beyond. They did so because our country asked them.
Politics is not a defining factor of a soldier's honor or vindication in any conflict when called upon by his or her country to take arms.
Nor should any politician, regardless of elected position, imply that citizens exercising their rights and obligations to question our leader's decisions, in pursuing armed conflict, equates to dishonoring our military. That is a distortion of patriotism … and that is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
Should we feel we have been misled by our country's leaders, then speak out and demand answers. It's our right. That's the honor due our military troops.
If we don't get answers, then it's our obligation to demand them again. That's neither liberal nor conservative.
That's American patriotism.

William H. Schwartz
Jean Schmidt:another brown stain on America's underwear...

Schmidt in war of words Rookie lawmaker's 'coward' remarks ricochet
WASHINGTON - Three days after Rep. Jean Schmidt was booed off the House floor for saying that "cowards cut and run, Marines never do," the Ohioan she quoted disputed the comments.
Danny Bubp, a freshman state representative who is a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve, told The Enquirer that he never mentioned Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., by name when talking with Schmidt, and he would never call a fellow Marine a coward....
Congress reduces its oversight role
Since Clinton, a change in focus
By Susan Milligan, Globe Staff November 20, 2005
WASHINGTON -- Back in the mid-1990s, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, aggressively delving into alleged misconduct by the Clinton administration, logged 140 hours of sworn testimony into whether former president Bill Clinton had used the White House Christmas card list to identify potential Democratic donors.
In the past two years, a House committee has managed to take only 12 hours of sworn testimony about the abuse of prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.
The jarring comparison reflects the way Congress has conducted its oversight role during the GOP's era of one-party rule in Washington...

Monday, November 21, 2005

CIA Veterans Condemn Torture
By Jason Vest, Government Executive© National Journal Group Inc.
Among the fundamental conceits of the architects of the Bush administration's war on terrorism is that heavy-handed interrogation is useful, even necessary, to get any information that will protect the American people, and that such interrogation techniques are devoid of negative consequences in dealing with real or suspected terrorists. One way this notion has played out in practice is the CIA's use of "extraordinary rendition," in which terror suspects overseas are kidnapped and delivered to third-party countries for interrogation -- which, not uncharacteristically, includes some measure of torture, and sometimes fatal torture...
Got to LUUUV the K-Man:

Kucinich Calls For Congressional Hearings On Vice President Cheney's False Statements On The War
Sends Letter To Chairman Of House Government Reform Committee

WASHINGTON - November 21 - Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich sent the following letter to Tom Davis, Chairman of the House Government Reform Committee:
Dear Chairman Davis:
I am requesting that the Government Reform Committee hold a hearing on the war in Iraq and specifically the role that Vice President Richard Cheney, and his staff, played in leading this nation to war.
We now know that the Vice President, and his aides, were at the forefront of the Administration planning and execution of the war in Iraq. We also now know that many of the statements made by Vice President Cheney have turned out to be false and misleading.
The Vice President has had great influence in leading the United States into war in Iraq, and has used his influence to make false statements, mislead the public and attack those who oppose the war and have demanded accountability.
Congress, as a co-equal branch of government, has a Constitutional responsibility to provide oversight of the Administration and the government. This is the solemn purpose of our committee. No Administration official is above Congressional accountability.
The Vice President should be immediately invited to appear before our committee and given the opportunity to provide our committee with the facts to support his claims. If he refuses, our committee should use its subpoena power to require his appearance.
With over 2,090 US troops killed in Iraq and tens of thousands more injured it is of the utmost urgency that our committee seek answers and accountability from the Vice President as to the many false and misleading statements which took us into war in Iraq and keeps us there.
"The Vice President has been at the center of this Administration's campaign to misled the public and the Congress about the war in Iraq," stated Kucinich after sending the letter. "The Vice President has used his tremendous influence to spread false and misleading statements and attack those who seek accountability from this Administration. It is far past time for this Congress to seek answers from the Vice President. No Administration official is above Congress accountability. This Congress and the American people deserve nothing less from a man of such power and influence."
From The American Conservative
Money for Nothing
Billions of dollars have disappeared, gone to bribe Iraqis and line contractors’ pockets.
by Philip Giraldi
The United States invaded Iraq with a high-minded mission: destroy dangerous weapons, bring democracy, and trigger a wave of reform across the Middle East. None of these have happened.
When the final page is written on America’s catastrophic imperial venture, one word will dominate the explanation of U.S. failure—corruption. Large-scale and pervasive corruption meant that available resources could not be used to stabilize and secure Iraq in the early days of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), when it was still possible to do so. Continuing corruption meant that the reconstruction of infrastructure never got underway, giving the Iraqi people little incentive to co-operate with the occupation. Ongoing corruption in arms procurement and defense spending means that Baghdad will never control a viable army while the Shi’ite and Kurdish militias will grow stronger and produce a divided Iraq in which constitutional guarantees will be irrelevant.
The American-dominated Coalition Provisional Authority could well prove to be the most corrupt administration in history, almost certainly surpassing the widespread fraud of the much-maligned UN Oil for Food Program. At least $20 billion that belonged to the Iraqi people has been wasted, together with hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars. Exactly how many billions of additional dollars were squandered, stolen, given away, or simply lost will never be known because the deliberate decision by the CPA not to meter oil exports means that no one will ever know how much revenue was generated during 2003 and 2004.
Some of the corruption grew out of the misguided neoconservative agenda for Iraq, which meant that a serious reconstruction effort came second to doling out the spoils to the war’s most fervent supporters...
Witness May Have Pivotal Role in Probe of Alleged Corruption
By Susan Schmidt and James V. Grimaldi
Washington Post Staff Writers
Before he hit his mid-thirties, Michael Scanlon played enough roles to fill a lifetime: lifeguard, press aide to a powerful congressman, multimillionaire public relations entrepreneur.
Now the sandy-haired, buttoned-down Republican -- author of e-mails detailing wildly brash schemes to make money in politics -- is likely to take a turn as a star witness for the prosecution in the Justice Department's investigation of lawmakers, lobbyists, Capitol Hill staffers and executive branch officials...
The Times
November 21, 2005
Sixty years on from Nuremberg, US balks at international court
From Roger Boyes in Berlin
CONTROVERSY over the United States’s role in bringing dictators to book has dogged the 60th anniversary of the groundbreaking Nuremberg trial of Nazi leaders.
The US was the main force behind the war crimes trial that put 21 top Nazis before the International Military Tribunal. It now finds itself under heavy criticism for not supporting the International Criminal Court. “The system of international criminal justice that was put in place with the clout of the United States is now coming back to haunt it,” said Philippe Sands, Professor of Law at University College London.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) was set up in 2002 to try genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. A hundred countries have ratified it, but not the US...
I guess Cheney is a flip-flopper:

Cheney shifts attack on war critics
Mon Nov 21, 2005

By Adam Entous

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vice President Dick Cheney denied on Monday that the administration was trying to stifle dissent by lashing out at Iraq war critics, but said he drew the line at what he called shameless charges by some Democrats that the president distorted prewar intelligence. ...

...Last Wednesday Cheney unleashed a blistering attack on critics of the war, but on Monday he followed the lead of President George W. Bush in toning down the rhetoric. He said he welcomed a public airing of dissenting views about the war and an "entirely legitimate discussion" about changing policy.
While Cheney said he disagreed with Murtha he offered an olive branch to the Pennsylvania lawmaker, calling him a friend, a "good man" and "a patriot." ...
Mary Matalin Word of the Day: 'misrememberance'. From today's IMUS show. How do people like her stand their own smell?
Staying is not the answer
By John Murtha
Staying the course in Iraq is not an option or a policy. I believe we must begin discussions for an immediate re-deployment of U.S. forces from Iraq. I believe it can be accomplished in as little as six months, but it must be consistent with the safety of U.S. troops.
The public is way ahead of Congress and is thirsting for a new direction. Sixty-six percent of the responses I have received are in favor of my plan. The public knows this war cannot be won with words. Most agree the insurgency cannot be won militarily. The Iraqis themselves must be the driving force. Yet we have lost their hearts and minds. America wants and deserves real answers. What is the clear definition of success? Is there a plan? How much longer and how many more lives? In short, what is the end game?...
Jordanians' Feelings Mixed on Attacks
Anger Over Iraq War Leads Some to Take Private Pleasure in Hotel Blasts
By Jackie SpinnerWashington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 21, 2005; Page A10
IRBID, Jordan -- Abu Ali, a solidly built man with a beard and permanent grease stains under his nails from his job as a truck mechanic, was pleased when he heard about the hotel bombings in his country.
Speaking solemnly, looking around to see who might be listening to him, Abu Ali said he had been waiting for something like this to happen ever since his country allowed U.S. troops to assemble on Jordanian soil during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Nov. 9 suicide blasts in Amman that killed 60 people, most of them Jordanians, were justifiable payback, said Abu Ali, who lives in a small suburb of this ancient city near the Syrian border. He can muster little sympathy for the victims...
U.S. troops fired on Baghdad civilians: report
Mon Nov 21, 2005 4:30 AM ET
By Faris al-Mehdawi
BAQUBA, Iraq (Reuters) - Witnesses and the Iraqi police said U.S. troops opened fire on a crowded minibus north of Baghdad on Monday, killing five members of the same family, including two children, and wounding four others.
The U.S. military said it was looking into the incident but did not confirm its involvement or provide any other details.
One of the survivors told Reuters the family was traveling from Balad, a town about 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad, to the nearby city of Baquba for a funeral when they were shot at by a U.S. patrol as it approached them on the road.
"As we tried to move over to one side to let them pass, they opened fire," one of the survivors said. None of them would provide their names but said the family was headed by a Mohammed Kamel.
They said the incident occurred at around 8 a.m. just outside Baquba...
We need to get out now. We're just another gang operating in a civil war. The only people holding on to the idea that this half-assed occupation is a good thing are 'ivory tower' neocon intellectuals who don't know their butts from their elbows and land-pirate war profiteers like our Vice President.
Excellent piece from Robert Parry's
Confessions of a Repentant Republican:

Sunday, November 20, 2005

FRANK RICH: One War Lost, Another to Go
Date 2005/11/20
New York Times
If anyone needs further proof that we are racing for the exits in Iraq, just follow the bouncing ball that is Rick Santorum. A Republican leader in the Senate and a true-blue (or red) Iraq hawk, he has long slobbered over President Bush, much as Ed McMahon did over Johnny Carson. But when Mr. Bush went to Mr. Santorum's home state of Pennsylvania to give his Veterans Day speech smearing the war's critics as unpatriotic, the senator was M.I.A.

Mr. Santorum preferred to honor a previous engagement more than 100 miles away. There he told reporters for the first time that "maybe some blame" for the war's "less than optimal" progress belonged to the White House. This change of heart had nothing to do with looming revelations of how the new Iraqi "democracy" had instituted Saddam-style torture chambers. Or with the spiraling investigations into the whereabouts of nearly $9 billion in unaccounted-for taxpayers' money from the American occupation authority. Or with the latest spike in casualties. Mr. Santorum was instead contemplating his own incipient political obituary written the day before: a poll showing him 16 points down in his re-election race. No sooner did he stiff Mr. Bush in Pennsylvania than he did so again in Washington, voting with a 79-to-19 majority on a Senate resolution begging for an Iraq exit strategy. He was joined by all but one (Jon Kyl) of the 13 other Republican senators running for re-election next year. They desperately want to be able to tell their constituents that they were against the war after they were for it.

They know the voters have decided the war is over, no matter what symbolic resolutions are passed or defeated in Congress nor how many Republicans try to Swift-boat Representative John Murtha, the marine hero who wants the troops out. A USA Today/CNN/Gallup survey last week found that the percentage (52) of Americans who want to get out of Iraq fast, in 12 months or less, is even larger than the percentage (48) that favored a quick withdrawal from Vietnam when that war's casualty toll neared 54,000 in the apocalyptic year of 1970. The Ohio State political scientist John Mueller, writing in Foreign Affairs, found that "if history is any indication, there is little the Bush administration can do to reverse this decline." He observed that Mr. Bush was trying to channel L. B. J. by making "countless speeches explaining what the effort in Iraq is about, urging patience and asserting that progress is being made. But as was also evident during Woodrow Wilson's campaign to sell the League of Nations to the American public, the efficacy of the bully pulpit is much overrated."

Mr. Bush may disdain timetables for our pullout, but, hello, there already is one, set by the Santorums of his own party: the expiration date for a sizable American presence in Iraq is Election Day 2006...

Isn't it nice that Bush and Rumsfeld are reaffirming that the US has a Constitution and Bill of Rights after dragging it through the mud in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq.
That's good. I'm going to exercise my right to say I hope both of them end up on trial for war crimes, as they should in a world community of laws. Maybe get Cheney for piracy too just for the sake of diversity(* see link) In lieu of that I'll settle for the existence of really malevalent ghosts. Or even highly motivated relatives and friends of the dead and maimed willing to seek justice as outside the law as these evil men have acted. What Bush and his gang owe the world at this point is their absence from it, one way or another...


Rumsfeld, Murtha Continue War of Words Over Iraq
By Fred Barbash
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 20, 2005
The newly energized debate over the war in Iraq continued unabated today, as Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) repeated his call for a withdrawal of troops while Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld warned that words "have effects" on both U.S. troops and the enemy.
President Bush, meanwhile, declined to repeat disparaging comments about Murtha made last week by his press secretary, who ridiculed the decorated veteran by comparing him to controversial filmmaker Michael Moore.
Speaking in China, Bush said he understood "that the decision to call for an immediate withdrawal of our troops by Congressman Murtha was done in a careful and thoughtful way. I disagree with his position."
Speaking in China, Bush said he understood "that the decision to call for an immediate withdrawal of our troops by Congressman Murtha was done in a careful and thoughtful way. I disagree with his position."
"Congressman Murtha is a fine man," Bush said, "a good man who served our country with honor and distinction as a Marine in Vietnam and as a U.S. congressman."
Bush largely left the administration's rebuttal to Rumsfeld, who appeared in successive interviews on the network's Sunday talk shows.
"We live in a free country and it's proper for people to raise questions and to have views," Rumsfeld said...
Justice Dept. May Pursue Halliburton Probe -
The Justice Department is deciding whether to pursue an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing over how a division of the Halliburton Co. was awarded a contract in Iraq.

Why is it that when world leaders visit the US we don't see them riding their bikes?
Is it because it looks so stupid?
Many constituents side with Murtha in opposition to war
By Steven Thomma
Knight Ridder Newspapers
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. - They take war seriously at the American Legion Hall in downtown Johnstown, Pa.
If there's ever a place to find support for U.S. troops, it's here. But regulars at the post's dark corner bar applauded Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., for urging the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq.
Elsewhere in town, some raged at Murtha for turning on a war they still supported. "Crazy," said one constituent. "Traitor," said several callers to his district office.
But mostly people in Murtha's blue-collar, coal-and-steel country district in west Pennsylvania signaled weariness for the war. They endorse the man who has represented them since he became the first Vietnam veteran elected to Congress in 1974.
The support suggested that attacks on Murtha in Washington as a coward will gain no traction in his district. His continued political strength in the face of vicious Republican attacks could potentially embolden others to speak out against the war, though it's too early to know for sure...
Jean Schmidt rhymes with...? (Coulter?).

November 20, 2005
'Mean Jean' Goes to Washington, and Invites a Firestorm
WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 - She grew up in the rough-and-tumble of a family auto racing business, went through concealed-weapons training, and bears a local nickname seldom applied to shrinking violets: "Mean Jean."
So when Representative Jean Schmidt, an Ohio Republican, created a furor on her 75th day in Congress by lobbing the word "coward" toward a Democratic war hero, those who know her best were anything but surprised.
Just this week, a profile in The Hill newspaper, which covers Congress, labeled her "gloriously uncensored." Back home in her suburban Cincinnati district, the Whistleblower, an online newsletter that tracks local politics, rushed out a special I-told-you-so issue calling the speech "vintage Jean Schmidt."
"We have said innumerable times that she would go to Washington and open her mouth and create an embarrassment," said Jim Schifrin, the newsletter's publisher. "She will say things that turn people off like nothing you've ever seen."
Among those seemingly turned off was Ms. Schmidt, who quickly asked that her words be withdrawn from the Congressional record, even as they made headlines worldwide.
The uproar arose Friday as the House debated a resolution calling for an immediate withdrawal of forces from Iraq.
In scheduling the vote, Republicans were trying to embarrass Democratic critics of the war, forcing them to dissociate themselves from a call earlier in the week for a slower but still definite withdrawal. That call came from Representative John P. Murtha, Democrat of Pennsylvania, a Vietnam combat veteran who spent 37 years in the Marines and is one of the most respected military authorities in the House.
In attacking the Democrats' position, Ms. Schmidt, the newest member of Congress, said she had received a call from a Marine colonel, who "asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message: that cowards cut and run, Marines never do."
The House exploded in catcalls and jeers among outraged Democrats. When debate resumed, Ms. Schmidt retracted her comments and said, "I did not intend to suggest they applied to any member," especially Mr. Murtha.
Ms. Schmidt could not be reached for comment on Saturday, with voice mailboxes full at all three of her offices. Her campaign manager did not return a phone call.
Several Republicans who were on the House floor said afterward that Ms. Schmidt did not appear to know she was referring to a much-decorated veteran.
"The poor lady didn't know Jack Murtha was a Marine - she really just ran into a hornet's nest," said Representative Jack Kingston of Georgia.
Representative David Dreier of California said, "Very clearly, she did not know that Jack Murtha was a Marine."...