Friday, August 31, 2007

How Political Psychology Explains Bush's Ghastly Success.

Death Grip

by John B. Judis

Post date: 08.17.07
Issue date: 08.27.07

In June 2004, I went door to door in a white, working- class neighborhood of Martinsburg, West Virginia, a small blue-collar town in decline. There, I found voters disillusioned with both the Iraq war and the flagging economy. But, when I returned five months later-- the Sunday before the election--I had difficulty digging up anyone who didn't plan to vote for George W. Bush. As far as I could tell, Martinsburg voters were backing him for two reasons: first, because he opposed gay marriage and abortion ("There are two gays around the corner who are voting for Kerry," one fellow, with a Bush sign in his yard, advised me scornfully from his stoop); and, second, because he was leading the war on terrorism ("I feel more safe with Bush in there," an elderly disabled man explained). There was still grumbling over the war, the economy, and other topics--the same elderly man who praised Bush for making him feel safe also bemoaned America's lack of universal health insurance--but these issues were eclipsed by the threat of gay weddings and terrorist attacks....

...

n their experiments, Solomon, Greenberg, and Pyszczynski make a good case that mortality reminders from September 11 enhanced Bush's popularity through November 2004. But, on the basis of their research, it is possible to draw even broader conclusions about U.S. politics after September 11. Mortality reminders not only enhanced the appeal of Bush's political style but also deepened and broadened the appeal of the conservative social positions that Republicans had been running on.

For instance, because worldview defense increases hostility toward other races, religions, nations, and political systems, it helps explain the rage toward France and Germany that erupted prior to the Iraq war, as well as the recent spike in hostility toward illegal immigrants. Also central to worldview defense is the protection of tradition against social experimentation, of community values against individual prerogatives--as was evident in the Tucson experiment with the judges--and of religious dictates against secular norms. For many conservatives, this means opposition to abortion and gay marriage. This may well explain why family values became more salient in 2004--a year in which voters were supposed to be unusually focused on foreign policy--than it had been from 1992 through 2000. Indeed, from 2001 to 2004, polls show an increase in opposition to abortion and gay marriage, along with a growing religiosity. According to Gallup, the percentage of voters who believed abortion should be "illegal in all circumstances" rose from 17 percent in 2000 to 20 percent in 2002 and would still be at 19 percent in 2004. Even church attendance by atheists, according to one poll, increased from 3 to 10 percent from August to November 2001.

In the months after September 11, most Americans were caught up in the same reaction to the tragedy--and that included adulation for Bush, even among many Democrats. But over the next few years, faced with two elections, Bush had to maintain his popularity; and he did so by constantly reviving memories of that dark day. As the 2002 election approached, voters turned their attention to the recession, as well as Enron and other scandals--all to the Democrats' favor. At that point, Bush, who had stood aside in the November 2001 gubernatorial elections that Democrats won, sought to base the 2002 election on terrorism. Bush and Karl Rove used the full arsenal of scare tactics to evoke fears of another September 11. The result was that the electorate became sharply polarized between conservatives and liberals and between Republicans and Democrats, while those caught in the middle tended to side with the Repub- licans--exactly as the psychologists' experiments might have predicted...[Open in new window]


WHO'LL BE THE NEXT REPUBLICAN HYPOCRITE TO BE DRAGGED OUT OF THE CLOSET SCREAMING ABOUT MEDIA WITCH HUNTS?

A certain lil' congressman allegedly likes his trade rough.

Lil' Patrick McHenry isn't a character in Comedy Central's brilliant Lil' Bush, which features Lil' Cheney, Lil' Rummy, Lil' Condi, Lil' Tony Blair, Lil' Jeb, Lil' Hillary, Lil' Mikey Moore, Lil' Obama... but not Lil' Lil' Patrick McHenry. He's too... lil'! But he may be about to get a lot bigger, at least in terms of the traditional media that has made Larry Craig a household name-- and soon. DWT readers already know that the North Carolina arch-conservative (other than 3 nut-case freshmen, McHenry's got the most reactionary voting record in Congress) is another hypocritical closet queen waiting nervously for his moment on the national stage.

And yesterday BlueNC http://bluenc.com/florida-murder/suicides-nc-ties gave Rep. McHenry's closet door a nice, loud jolt. In a scandal that will prove to be far bigger than South Park's outing of Tom Cruise (covered in great depth and detail by Wikipedia), it looks like there is a connection between McHenry and a murderous Republican homosexual love triangle/escort service.

The murdered gay Republicans include Ralph Reed's purported ex-lover, Ralph Gonzalez (former head of the rabidly homophobic Georgia Republican Party), David Abrami and McHenry guy-pal Robert Drake, the shooter. All three were found last week in a murder-suicide in an Orlando apartment. According to right-wing website, the North Carolina Conservative "All three men were active in Republican politics." They mention that Drake is "an associate" of McHenry's but don't define that. He is alleged to be an associate of quite a few younger men, some of whom are gay and some of whom are just gay-for-pay. (Note: The website in this GOP report are graphic pornographic gay prostitute sites and if you don't want to see that kind of stuff DO NOT copy and paste the links. They are purposely not in the form of links.)...[Open in new window]
Renowned Psychologist, Author Returns APA Award over Interrogation Policy

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Renowned psychologist and New York Times bestselling author Mary Pipher decided last week to return her Presidential Citation award from the APA in protest. In a letter to the group's president, she wrote, "I have struggled for many months with this decision and I make it with pain and sorrow...I do not want an award from an organization that sanctions its members' participation in the enhanced interrogations at CIA 'black sites' and at Guantanamo."
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The American Psychological Association has come under public criticism once again over its endorsement of professional involvement in CIA and military interrogations.

At its annual convention just over a week ago, the APA's policymaking council voted overwhelmingly to reject a measure that would have banned its members from participating in interrogations at Guantanamo Bay and other US detention centers. In the days since the convention ended, the Houston Chronicle - one of the nation's most-widely read newspapers - criticized the move in an editorial, writing "Psychologists have no place assisting interrogations at places such as Guantanamo Bay."

Then, in an even more dramatic development, renowned psychologist and New York Times bestselling author Mary Pipher decided to return her Presidential Citation award from the APA in protest. In a letter to the group's president, she wrote QUOTE "I have struggled for many months with this decision and I make it with pain and sorrow...I do not want an award from an organization that sanctions its members' participation in the enhanced interrogations at CIA 'black sites' and at Guantanamo."...[Open in new window]
From Juan Cole's INFORMED COMMENT:

"A Government Accounting Office report has found that the Iraqi government has not met 13 of 18 benchmarks set by the US Congress. The report was leaked before it could be doctored by the Bush administration, which promptly denounced it and pledged to . . . doctor it.



I personally find the controversy about Iraq in Washington to be bizarre. Are they really arguing about whether the situation is improving? I mean, you have the Night of the Living Dead over there. People lack potable water, cholera has broken out even in the good areas, a third of people are hungry, a doubling of the internally displaced to at least 1.1 million,(…) The government has all but collapsed, with even the formerly cooperative sections of the Sunni Arab political class withdrawing in a snit (...) The parliament hasn't actually passed any legislation to speak of and often cannot get a quorum. Corruption is endemic. The weapons we give the Iraqi army are often sold off to the insurgency. Some of our development aid goes to them, too.

The average number of Iraqis killed in 2007 per day exceeds those killed in 2006. Independent counts by news organizations do not agree with Pentagon estimates about drops in civilian deaths over-all. Nation-wide attacks in June reached a daily all-time high of 177.5. (…) If you compare each month in 2006 with each month in 2007 with regard to US military deaths, the 2007 picture is dreadful.

I saw on CNN this smarmy Bush administration official come and and say that US troop deaths had fallen because of the surge, which is why we should support it. Just read the following chart bottom to top and compare 2006 month by month to 2007. US troop deaths haven't fallen. They are way up.



Here are the US troop death via Icasualties.org.

8-2007 77 8-2006 65
7-2007 79 7-2006 43
6-2007 101 6-2006 61
5-2007 126 5-2006 69
4-2007 104 4-2006 76
3-2007 81 3-2006 31
2-2007 81 2-2006 55
1-2007 83 1-2006 62

I mean, how brain dead do the Bushies think we are, (…)? (…) And why does our corporate media keep repeating this Goebbels-like propaganda? Do we really live in an Orwellian state?

Repeat: US troop deaths in Iraq have not fallen and that is not a reason to support the troop escalation. And, violence in Iraq has not fallen because of the surge. Violence is way up this year."


www.juancole.com
Rap Sheets
Lawmakers Describe 'Being Slimed in the Green Zone'

By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 31, 2007; Page A13

The sheets of paper seemed to be everywhere the lawmakers went in the Green Zone, distributed to Iraqi officials, U.S. officials and uniformed military of no particular rank. So when Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) asked a soldier last weekend just what he was holding, the congressman was taken aback to find out.

In the soldier's hand was a thumbnail biography, distributed before each of the congressmen's meetings in Baghdad, which let meeting participants such as that soldier know where each of the lawmakers stands on the war. "Moran on Iraq policy," read one section, going on to cite some the congressman's most incendiary statements, such as, "This has been the worst foreign policy fiasco in American history."


The bio of Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher (D-Calif.) -- "TAU (rhymes with 'now')-sher," the bio helpfully relates -- was no less pointed, even if she once supported the war and has taken heat from liberal Bay Area constituents who remain wary of her position. "Our forces are caught in the middle of an escalating sectarian conflict in Iraq, with no end in sight," the bio quotes.

"This is beyond parsing. This is being slimed in the Green Zone," Tauscher said of her bio.

More than two dozen House members and senators have used the August recess to travel to Iraq in the hope of getting a firsthand view of the war ahead of commanding Gen. David H. Petraeus's progress report in two weeks on Capitol Hill. But it appears that the trips have been as much about Iraqi and U.S. officials sizing up Congress as the members of Congress sizing up the war.

Brief, choreographed and carefully controlled, the codels (short for congressional delegations) often have showed only what the Pentagon and the Bush administration have wanted the lawmakers to see. At one point, as Moran, Tauscher and Rep. Jon Porter (R-Nev.) were heading to lunch in the fortified Green Zone, an American urgently tried to get their attention, apparently to voice concerns about the war effort, the participants said. Security whisked the man away before he could make his point.

Tauscher called it "the Green Zone fog."...[Open in new window]
Bush Puts Iran in Crosshairs

By Ray McGovern
August 30, 2007

...Bottom Line

In my view, air strikes on Iran are inevitable, unless grassroots America can arrange a backbone transplant for Congress.

The House needs to begin impeachment proceedings without delay. These, in turn, could possibly give our senior military leaders second thoughts about unleashing the dogs of wider war.

Rabies shots recommended: for this time those dogs can, and will, come back and bite us.

Yes, some of us have been saying that for many months. The deterioration of the U.S. position in Iraq; the perceived need for a scapegoat; the continuing deference given to perceived Israeli security concerns; and the fact that time is running out for the Bush/Cheney administration to end Iran’s nuclear program together make a volatile mix...[Open in new window]

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Marine tells of order to execute Haditha women and children
by Rob Woollard

CAMP PENDLETON, California (AFP) - A US Marine was ordered to execute a room full of terrified Iraqi women and children during an alleged massacre in Haditha that left 24 people dead, a military court heard Thursday.

The testimony came in the opening of a preliminary hearing for Marine Sergeant Frank Wuterich, who faces 17 counts of murder over the Haditha killings, the most serious war crimes allegations faced by US troops in Iraq.

...

"I told him there were women and kids inside there. He said 'Well, shoot them,'" Mendoza told prosecutor Lieutenant Colonel Sean Sullivan.

"And what did you say to him?" Sullivan asked.

"I said 'But they're just women and children.' He didn't say nothing."...[Open in new window]
(Political Animal) PREEMPTING PETRAEUS....In perhaps its least surprising report ever, the GAO reports that things are not going so well in Mesopotamia:
Iraq has failed to meet all but three of 18 congressionally mandated benchmarks for political and military progress, according to a draft of a Government Accountability Office report.
What's slightly more surprising is that the GAO all but calls the administration and the Pentagon liars. Politely, of course:
The draft provides a stark assessment of the tactical effects of the current U.S.-led counteroffensive to secure Baghdad. "While the Baghdad security plan was intended to reduce sectarian violence, U.S. agencies differ on whether such violence has been reduced," it states. While there have been fewer attacks against U.S. forces, it notes, the number of attacks against Iraqi civilians remains unchanged. It also finds that "the capabilities of Iraqi security forces have not improved."

"Overall," the report concludes, "key legislation has not been passed, violence remains high, and it is unclear whether the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion in reconstruction funds," as promised. While it makes no policy recommendations, the draft suggests that future administration assessments "would be more useful" if they backed up their judgments with more details and "provided data on broader measures of violence from all relevant U.S. agencies."
Yes, it would be useful if Petraeus and the White House provided actual credible data to back up their assertions of tactical triumph, wouldn't it? The fact that they don't most likely means they know exactly what would happen if their methodology ever saw the light of day: it would get laughed off the stage before the noise machine even had a chance to clear its throat.

One more interesting thing: the Post actually explains why someone leaked a draft copy of the report to them: the leaker was afraid it would get watered down before final publication and wanted to make sure that someone knew what the GAO really thinks. Considering what happens to most reports that go through the DoD wringer, I'd say that shows considerable foresight...[Open in new window]
Travel tip: Traveling over Labor Day? Just Say No to Republicans who offer to blow you at the airport.
Here's as pure a crock of shit as you're likely to hear all day.

Ed Gillespie: "I do think there is a general view that the surge is having its desired effect."

The White House believes it has made significant progress over the last month in swaying public and political opinion toward supporting a continued U.S. military effort in Iraq, one of President Bush's closest advisers said in an interview.

"The end of the August feels a lot better than the beginning of August when it comes to where we are relative to perceptions of our Iraq policy and what is working," said Ed Gillespie, counselor to the president.

...

Political reconciliation among Iraqi Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds remains elusive, but even there, a still-nebulous power-sharing agreement was reached by all three factions last weekend, which Mr. Gillespie cited as an improvement.

"Even (the lack of political reconciliation) has changed since last week. We are seeing progress now," Mr. Gillespie said. "I do think there is a general view that the surge is having its desired effect."...[Open in new window]

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


GEORGE W. BUSH: A BIG GREASY BUTTHOLE

"After the Bush Library reportedly backed out of a portrait they had commissioned from British artist Jonathan Yeo, the 36-year-old artist went forward with one anyway, a collage created from fragments of 100 porn magazines.

"The work was unveiled yesterday at London's Lazarides Gallery in Soho.

"According to the gallery, "Yeo was commissioned to undertake a portrait of US President George W Bush, but was later told his services were not required. He decided to continue the commission on his own, and Tuesday’s unveiling will reveal the fruit of his labours. In a few weeks time we will be releasing a limited edition screen print of the Bush collage." "...[Open in new window]

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Here's the cop & the perv/perp.
Good news for the cop. It probably will get him off toilet-perv-republican-senator detail. Now he doesn't run the risk of running into Denny Hastert in the next stall. Ick.

Here's a link to the arrest report: [Open in new window]
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THE MANY SIDES OF LARRY CRAIG

Link to the latest from the Idaho Statesman:[Open in new window] who along with Bill Clinton, FDR & anyone who's NOT a right wing nut is responsible for Mr. Craig's unusual condition of not being gay but desiring to suck on other men's penises in airport men's rooms.

Senator Larry "Big Eyeball in the Crack of the Men's Room Stall Door" Craig's arrest photo.
( The American Flag lapel pin is a nice touch, so to speak.)

IT'S OFFICIAL!: The GOP IS the party of dirty bathroom sex! It's not your father's GOP anymore (unless your father was a men's room stall creepin' pervo-deviant.)
(Note on image: Doesn't he have that 'stranger with candy' look? Lots of Rethuglicans do. Should we believe what we see with our own eyes or wait for the 'Rove version" of reality.
Hell, let's just believe what we see & savage the 'pukes'. It's what they would do.)

Men's room arrest reopens questions about Sen. Larry Craig

Idaho senator pleads guilty to disorderly conduct after incident at Minnesota airport that echoes previous allegation of homosexual conduct.


...n an interview on May 14, Craig told the Idaho Statesman he'd never engaged in sex with a man or solicited sex with a man. The Craig interview was the culmination of a Statesman investigation that began after a blogger accused Craig of homosexual sex in October. Over five months, the Statesman examined rumors about Craig dating to his college days and his 1982 pre-emptive denial that he had sex with underage congressional pages.

The most serious finding by the Statesman was the report by a professional man with close ties to Republican officials. The 40-year-old man reported having oral sex with Craig at Washington's Union Station, probably in 2004. The Statesman also spoke with a man who said Craig made a sexual advance toward him at the University of Idaho in 1967 and a man who said Craig "cruised" him for sex in 1994 at the REI store in Boise. The Statesman also explored dozens of allegations that proved untrue, unclear or unverifiable.

Craig, 62, was elected to Congress in 1980. Should he win re-election in 2008 and complete his term, he would be the longest-serving Idahoan ever in Congress. His record includes a series of votes against gay rights and his support of a 2006 amendment to the Idaho Constitution that bars gay marriage and civil unions...[Open in new window]


Pansies, Perverts, and Pedophiles

FireDogLake
By TRex on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 10:21 pm

Can we please as a culture agree stop pretending that Republicans aren’t a bunch of effete pussies? Bill Frist? Hello? He makes Ru Paul look like Dog the Bounty Hunter.

Why won’t anybody call these guys out? Ralph Reed? Lindsay Graham? Even the ones like little Ricky Santorum whose wife spits out babies like a lawn sprinkler have that certain oily, southern-preachery prissiness about them, up to and including President Poppinjay himself. You’ve seen what he’s like when he’s mad. He stamps his little feet and starts talking all snippy and bitchy. I’ve seen ten year old girls who were more intimidating when piqued.

None of them have ever worn the uniform of this country. Their idea of “sport” is to get blind on whiskey sours and go shoot at a bunch of farm-raised birds on private land, but with a full Level One trauma team standing by, of course.

How many more of them will have to get arrested soliciting sex in public toilets before people finally cop to the fact that Republicans are a bunch of nasty old wealthy queens who cheat on their wives with other men and who can’t under any circumstances be trusted around teenage boys?

I know, I know.

Tick…tick…tick…[Open in new window]

Monday, August 27, 2007




IGNORANT, ANGRY, DEMENTED, SHOUTING--President Bush in Bellevue, WA earlier today.

What a disgrace, time to shovel this shit outta here.
Apropos the Larry Craig public restroom suckoff event someone reminded me of a scene from Hunter Thompson's FEAR & LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS:

"He said nothing: Merely grabbed my arm and began sucking on it. A very gross tableau. I wondered what would happen if some Kingston Trio / young stockbroker type might wander in and catch us in the act. Fuck him, I thought. With a bit of luck, it'll ruin his life - forever thinking that just behind some narrow door in all his favorite bars, men in red Pendleton shirts are getting incredible kicks from things he'll never know.

Would he dare to suck a sleeve? Probably not. Play it safe. Pretend you never saw it..."

"Ever noticed how people who believe in Creationism look really unevolved?"--Bill Hicks

More Republi-mo-in'! Everybody's doin' it! Tell your kids.

Craig Arrested, Pleads Guilty Following Incident in Airport Restroom
Monday, Aug. 27, 2007; 4:48 pm
By John McArdle,
Roll Call Staff


Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested in June at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men’s public restroom, according to an arrest report obtained by Roll Call Monday afternoon.

Craig’s arrest occurred just after noon on June 11 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. On Aug. 8, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in the Hennepin County District Court. He paid more than $500 in fines and fees, and a 10-day jail sentence was stayed. He also was given one year of probation with the court that began on Aug. 8.

A spokesman for Craig described the incident as a “he said/he said misunderstanding,” and said the office would release a fuller statement later Monday afternoon.

After he was arrested, Craig, who is married, was taken to the Airport Police Operations Center to be interviewed about the lewd conduct incident, according to the police report. At one point during the interview, Craig handed the plainclothes sergeant who arrested him a business card that identified him as a U.S. Senator and said, “What do you think about that?” the report states.

Craig was detained for approximately 45 minutes, interviewed, photographed, fingerprinted and released, and police prepared a formal complaint for interference with privacy and disorderly conduct.

According to the incident report, Sgt. Dave Karsnia was working as a plainclothes officer on June 11 investigating civilian complaints regarding sexual activity in the men’s public restroom in which Craig was arrested.

Airport police previously had made numerous arrests in the men’s restroom of the Northstar Crossing in the Lindbergh Terminal in connection with sexual activity.

Karsnia entered the bathroom at noon that day and about 13 minutes after taking a seat in a stall, he stated he could see “an older white male with grey hair standing outside my stall.”

The man, who lingered in front of the stall for two minutes, was later identified as Craig.

“I could see Craig look through the crack in the door from his position. Craig would look down at his hands, ‘fidget’ with his fingers, and then look through the crack into my stall again. Craig would repeat this cycle for about two minutes,” the report states.

Craig then entered the stall next to Karsnia’s and placed his roller bag against the front of the stall door.

“My experience has shown that individuals engaging in lewd conduct use their bags to block the view from the front of their stall,” Karsnia stated in his report. “From my seated position, I could observe the shoes and ankles of Craig seated to the left of me.”

Craig was wearing dress pants with black dress shoes.

“At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moves his foot closer to my foot. I moved my foot up and down slowly. While this was occurring, the male in the stall to my right was still present. I could hear several unknown persons in the restroom that appeared to use the restroom for its intended use. The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area,” the report states.

Craig then proceeded to swipe his hand under the stall divider several times, and Karsnia noted in his report that “I could ... see Craig had a gold ring on his ring finger as his hand was on my side of the stall divider.”

Karsnia then held his police identification down by the floor so that Craig could see it.

“With my left hand near the floor, I pointed towards the exit. Craig responded, ‘No!’ I again pointed towards the exit. Craig exited the stall with his roller bags without flushing the toilet. ... Craig said he would not go. I told Craig that he was under arrest, he had to go, and that I didn’t want to make a scene. Craig then left the restroom.”

In a recorded interview after his arrest, Craig “either disagreed with me or ‘didn’t recall’ the events as they happened,” the report states.

Craig stated “that he has a wide stance when going to the bathroom and that his foot may have touched mine,” the report states. Craig also told the arresting officer that he reached down with his right hand to pick up a piece of paper that was on the floor.

“It should be noted that there was not a piece of paper on the bathroom floor, nor did Craig pick up a piece of paper,” the arresting officer said in the report.

On Aug. 8, the day he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in the Minnesota court, Craig appeared via satellite at a ceremony that took place in Idaho in which former Idaho federal Judge Randy Smith was invested into his new position as a judge on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

In October 2006, Craig’s office publicly denied allegations that he was a homosexual made on a gay activist Web site — blogactive.com. Craig’s office told the Spokane Spokesman-Review that the charge was “completely ridiculous,” saying that the allegations had “no basis in fact.”...[Open in new window]

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The Clenis did this to our great nation. The 'thugs missed the gender specificity part of it though...& the privacy.

What is it about Republicans & public toilets?

Oh yeah. Here's some of Mr. Craig's voting record:

* Rated 100% by the Christian Coalition: a pro-family voting record. (Dec 2003)
* Voted NO on implementing the 9/11 Commission report. (Mar 2007)
* Voted NO on preserving habeus corpus for Guantanamo detainees. (Sep 2006)
* Voted NO on requiring CIA reports on detainees & interrogation methods. (Sep 2006)
* Voted YES on reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act. (Mar 2006)
* Voted YES on prohibiting same-sex basic training. (Jun 1998)
* Voted YES on confirming Samuel Alito as Supreme Court Justice. (Jan 2006)
* Voted YES on confirming John Roberts for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. (Sep 2005)
* Voted NO on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines. (Apr 2007)
* Voted YES on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions. (Jul 2006)
* Voted NO on $100M to reduce teen pregnancy by education & contraceptives. (Mar 2005)
* Voted YES on criminal penalty for harming unborn fetus during other crime. (Mar 2004)
* Voted YES on banning partial birth abortions except for maternal life. (Mar 2003)
* Voted YES on maintaining ban on Military Base Abortions. (Jun 2000)
* Voted YES on banning partial birth abortions. (Oct 1999)
* Voted YES on banning human cloning. (Feb 1998)
* Rated 0% by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record. (Dec 2003)
* Voted YES on recommending Constitutional ban on flag desecration. (Jun 2006)
* Voted YES on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. (Jun 2006)
* Voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes. (Jun 2002)
* Voted YES on loosening restrictions on cell phone wiretapping. (Oct 2001)
* Voted NO on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation. (Jun 2000)
* Voted NO on setting aside 10% of highway funds for minorities & women. (Mar 1998)
* Voted YES on ending special funding for minority & women-owned business. (Oct 1997)
* Voted YES on prohibiting same-sex marriage. (Sep 1996)
* Voted NO on prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation. (Sep 1996)
* Voted YES on Amendment to prohibit flag burning. (Dec 1995)
* Voted YES on banning affirmative action hiring with federal funds. (Jul 1995)
* Supports anti-flag desecration amendment. (Mar 2001)
* Rated 25% by the ACLU, indicating an anti-civil rights voting record. (Dec 2002)

Poll: Young voters disenchanted with Republican Party

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

Two larger-than-life politicians, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ronald Reagan, charged into the California governor's office with the help of young voters, many of whom were drawn to the Republican Party by a message of sunny optimism.

But what those two very different Republican politicians did to attract millions of young adults looks to be a feat the Grand Old Party may not repeat anytime soon - either in California or on the national level in the 2008 presidential election.

A Democracy Corps poll from the Washington firm of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner suggests voters ages 18 to 29 have undergone a striking political evolution in recent years.

Young Americans have become so profoundly alienated from Republican ideals on issues including the war in Iraq, global warming, same-sex marriage and illegal immigration that their defections suggest a political setback that could haunt Republicans "for many generations to come," the poll said...

...The anti-GOP shift for this generation - which is expected to reach 50 million voters, or 17 percent of the electorate, in 2008 - represents a marked contrast from their predecessors, the Gen Xers born in the mid-'60s to mid-'70s whose demographic represented the strongest Republican voters in the nation, pollster Anna Greenberg said...[Open in new window]
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It's about time these ninnies woke up.
Gen X is probably, for the most part, a write-off. Pop culture saturated nincompoops & victims of osbscure clown phobias & other non-existent victimhoods. They'll be like the sad lounge people of the '50s as they get older. Their radio stations will be like the 'sunny' 'music of your life' stations are now.
We can hope there'll be a lot of suicides...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Great Iraq Swindle

How Bush Allowed an Army of For-Profit Contractors to Invade the U.S. Treasury

How is it done? How do you screw the taxpayer for millions, get away with it and then ride off into the sunset with one middle finger extended, the other wrapped around a chilled martini? Ask Earnest O. Robbins -- he knows all about being a successful contractor in Iraq...

...

Operation Iraqi Freedom, it turns out, was never a war against Saddam ­Hussein's Iraq. It was an invasion of the federal budget, and no occupying force in history has ever been this efficient. George W. Bush's war in the Mesopotamian desert was an experiment of sorts, a crude first take at his vision of a fully privatized American government. In Iraq the lines between essential government services and for-profit enterprises have been blurred to the point of absurdity -- to the point where wounded soldiers have to pay retail prices for fresh underwear, where modern-day chattel are imported from the Third World at slave wages to peel the potatoes we once assigned to grunts in KP, where private companies are guaranteed huge profits no matter how badly they fuck things up.

And just maybe, reviewing this appalling history of invoicing orgies and million-dollar boondoggles, it's not so far-fetched to think that this is the way someone up there would like things run all over -- not just in Iraq but in Iowa, too, with the state police working for Corrections Corporation of America, and DHL with the contract to deliver every Christmas card. And why not? What the Bush administration has created in Iraq is a sort of paradise of perverted capitalism, where revenues are forcibly extracted from the customer by the state, and obscene profits are handed out not by the market but by an unaccountable government bureauc­racy. This is the triumphant culmination of two centuries of flawed white-people thinking, a preposterous mix of authoritarian socialism and laissez-faire profit­eering, with all the worst aspects of both ideologies rolled up into one pointless, supremely idiotic military adventure -- American men and women dying by the thousands, so that Karl Marx and Adam Smith can blow each other in a Middle Eastern glory hole.

It was an awful idea, perhaps the worst America has ever tried on foreign soil. But if you were in on it, it was great work while it lasted...[Open in new window]

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Reading William Kristol's latest screed in the Weekly Standard, one is tempted to pause and double-check the source. Is the content from a random right-wing blog, some nutty talk-radio show, or a leading DC establishment player in one of the most widely-read conservative political magazines in the country?

I naively thought I could no longer be surprised by Kristol's columns, but his latest gem pushes the envelope to new depths. Did you know, for example, that American liberals were not only responsible for Khmer Rouge's crimes, but our withdrawal from Vietnam also created the conditions for the Islamist revolution in Iran in 1979?

Kristol concludes:

ll honor to George W. Bush for following in Reagan's footsteps, grasping the nettle, and confronting the real lessons and consequences of Vietnam. The liberal media and the PC academics are horrified. All the better.

As the left shudders, Bush leads.

There isn't even an argument to refute here; it's just childish cheerleading and empty sloganeering.

A couple of months ago, Kevin Drum noted, "The Bill Kristol phenomenon is a stellar example of what a nice suit and a sober tone of voice can do for you.... e's smart enough to talk in more soothing tones. As a result, he gets columns in Time magazine, edits his own widely-read magazine, and shows up constantly on television."

But with columns like these, Kristol's penchant for "soothing tones" is gone. He's just a sycophant, blithely touting a dangerous policy that doesn't work, and bashing those who dare to disagree.

Does Kristol actually believe his own fluff? I'm inclined to think so, but as Jonathan Chait explained this week, it may not matter: "Kristol's good standing in the Washington establishment depends on the wink-and-nod awareness that he's too smart to believe his own agitprop. Perhaps so. But, in the end, a fake thug is not much better than the real thing."..
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Squelching the Citizenry’s Back Talk
Published: August 25, 2007

....“Do not fall into their trap!” warns the presidential manual in hypothesizing that protesters really want to be physically restrained and attract media notice, not merely exercise their right to complain. Instead, the roaming squads’ task is to use their own “signs and banners as shields between the demonstrators and the main press platform.”

Noisy protest? The rally squads’ response must be immediate choruses of “USA! USA!” to muffle the moment with patriotic chaff. These vigilante squads are out of place in a democracy.

The chamois-tight precautions of the White House’s presidential visit manual surfaced in The Washington Post because of a First Amendment lawsuit involving two people who refused to cover up the message of their T-shirts at a Fourth of July presidential event. “Regime change begins at home,” was the familiar shirt message of one protestor who was handcuffed and taken to jail.

The manual magnanimously advises local police to tolerate dissenters — providing they are barred from the event through an ultra-loyalist ticketing process and then cordoned well off from earshot and sight of the president and his passing motorcade.

Every White House stage-manages presidential events, but this level of obsession with silencing the vox pop is a symptom of this administration’s broader problem honoring Americans’ constitutional freedoms...[Open in new window]
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Not only should pResident Shit-For-Brains NOT be cordoned off from the people but the people should be provided with rotten eggs & he should be wearing a target on his suit.
It's so far beyond 'worst president ever'... it's worst imitation human being ever at this point. He should be gotten rid of one way or another. Everytime he opens his mouth & says something stupid (everytime he opens his mouth) it's grounds for impeachment.
If you voted for Bush, I ask once again, "what's wrong with you?"
Please consider not voting ever again. Please consider not breathing ever again.
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Round two about to begin:

Preemptive strike


Even if the United States had "five CIA's" it would not be able to get the high-quality information it received from Israel. That's what General George Keegan, a retired U.S. Air Force intelligence chief, said in 1986. "The ability of the U.S. Air Force in particular, and the army in general, to defend whatever position it has in NATO owes more to the Israeli intelligence input than it does to any single source of intelligence," he said.

This is a winning quote, dropped into the battle that will shortly break out once more over the nature of the strategic relationship between Israel and the United States. That comment and many similar ones appear in a new position paper published by Dore Gold, the former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations and political adviser to then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who now heads the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Gold recently hired the services of American public relations firm Shirley and Bannister to market his wares in Washington. He will be visiting the United States next week to talk about his paper. Think of it as a preemptive strike ahead of the publication of the controversial book "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," by two political science professors, Stephen M. Walt and John J. Mearsheimer.

And Gold will not be alone. September 4th will see the American release of a book by Anti-Defamation League national director Abe Foxman called "The Deadliest Lies: The Israel Lobby and the Myth of Jewish Control." In his book, Foxman warns of the possible consequences of such theories of Jewish influence which he calls "old anti-Semitic canard" in respectable disguise. Foxman succeeded in getting former U.S. secretary of state George Shultz to write an introduction to the book...[Open in new window]

Fringe Evangelicals Distort US Military Policy
By Thomas D. Williams and JP Briggs II, Ph.D.
t r u t h o u t | Special Report

Friday 24 August 2007

"He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide for strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more;" - Micah, Chapter 4, The Bible

"And make not Allah because of your swearing (by Him) an obstacle to your doing good and guarding (against evil) and making peace between men, and Allah is Hearing, Knowing." - The Koran

For decades, especially since the end of the Vietnam War, the US military has been wrestling with aggressive sects of doomsday Christians demanding control and conversions of those of other faiths as well as nonbelievers within the armed forces.

Even beyond this high-pressure hard sell, those Judgment Day, apocalyptic Christian leaders, with followings estimated at 40 million parishioners, have urged public officials on all levels to wage war with Israel's enemies. Sometimes they and others even send their followers into dangerous war zones to preach their faith and risk lives. In at least one case, the Pentagon is supporting a Christian evangelistic group's efforts to promote itself inside the Muslim-dominated Iraq war zone.

The end-time evangelists' aggressive domestic and foreign relations stances have frequently caught the ears of President George W. Bush and those within his administration, as well as a large cadre of influential congressmen.

"The rise of evangelicalism in today's armed forces can trace its roots to the Viet Nam War," writes US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel William Millonig. "Public support for the war declined steadily as the years wore on, but evangelical Christians remained generally supportive of the war throughout. Over the course of the war, they found themselves progressively more aligned with the military - a military which increasingly found itself isolated from the general population." Millonig's March 2006 US Army War College piece is titled: "The Impact of Religious and Political Affiliation on Strategic Military Decisions and Policy Recommendations."

Initially willing to be interviewed, Millonig ultimately refused to discuss his article. His refusal came after he spoke with an Air Force superior who said it is inappropriate for Millonig to comment about anything unrelated to his current job, said a US Army War College spokeswoman, Carol Kerr.

"After the Vietnam War, there was disenchantment with military service by the mainline religions, because the war began to look like an unjust war," said retired US Army Chaplain Herman Keizer Jr. "The military chaplains were not talking about that, and the churches thought they should," explained Keizer, chairman of the National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces. Then, he explained, with the advent of the all-volunteer Army, evangelical military chaplains began to increase, because their faith encouraged young people into the ministry and a vocation like military service to actively proclaim their beliefs to others...[Open in new window]

Friday, August 24, 2007

Socialism in America Equals Hope for the World

By Paul A. Donovan


“While there is a lower class I am in it; while there is a criminal element I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free”

–Eugene Debs, American Socialist

“The only thing most American know about socialism is they don’t like it. They have been led to believe that socialism is something to be either ridiculed as impractical, or feared as an instrument of the devil.”

–Leo Huberman

It is in fact difficult to shed light on what a socialist United States will look like, mostly because many think socialism, or other forms of publicly owned, and democratically controlled economies is an impossible goal to achieve in our country, mostly due to the hyper capitalist mentality of our nation, the strength of our ruling classes, and the overwhelmingly successful propaganda apparatus of the corporate system, which comprises the media, educational system, and many other venues, including the religious and political pulpit, and is reflected in the apathy, alarming confusion, and at times, indifference of our nation’s citizens, many of whom simply don’t know, don’t want to know, or don’t care where this country is headed (for a terrific insight into this puzzling and exasperating mindset I strongly recommend Deer Hunting with Jesus, by Joe Bageant, who also happens to be one of Cyrano’s senior contributing editors).

However, the capitalist systems own irrepressible dynamics and “make up”—which easily translate into a bill of indictment—are bringing about yet another wave of global repulsion and re-awakenings. In this framework, when I speak of this dynamic I am referring not so much to the more technical aspects of this phenomenon, but to its mass-perceived aspects, such as the following (in no particular order):

• the intense class stratification of the capitalist system itself, and the sharp and rising polarization in domestic and global wealth;

• the inherent exploitative nature of business with its constant siphoning off of surplus value from labor, and the system’s parasitic necessity to transform all living nature into commodities with near complete disregard of the environmental consequences;

• the unrelenting wars between capitalist nation states spawned by the age-old compulsion to grab new markets, and which issue from the constant need by the core ” industrialized nations” to meddle in nearly all political and economic affairs of the world’s sovereign “periphery nations” (there has never been a war between socialist states as such, other than those instigated by Western meddling, as in Indochina);

• the extensive commoditization of human culture;

• the implantation of usurious trade institutions, such as the WTO, IMF, and World Bank which serve as a supranational unelected government for the corporate elite , often nullifying local and national policies;

• the despair and ” atomization” felt in the souls of people as a result of pinning human against human in an eternal and inescapable predatory battle for basic subsistence, better jobs or to simply outdo or out perform our neighbors, something that inevitably leads to a sense of depression among many resulting from the loss of community and the working together for the common good;

• the outsourcing of jobs by our so called “American companies” at the first sign of a potential cheap labor market, the corporate crime, and political lobbying of invidious special interest groups, the purchasing of our so-called democratic elections; the alienation people have from the goods they create with their own hands, hearts, and minds, and the constant job insecurity in conjunction with often being over worked and underpaid;

• the outrageous health care costs in all of the medical system’s dimensions, from the extortionate cost of drugs, perhaps the biggest rip-off in the history of the American republic, to the corrosion in hospital care induced by the relentless pursuit of profit instead of the duty to serve the population;

• the booms, busts, and constant recessions of the market, along with the crime brought about by joblessness, a social blight that gives way to helplessness, addiction, domestic violence, ghettos and gang violence, and many other totally avoidable factors and expensive social costs whose burden is borne by the people;

• an educational system that trains and conditions young people to value material success above a humanistic education, something that, as Joe Bageant points out, makes untold numbers of people mere members of the economy, but not citizens of society or the nation in any real sense;
http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com /
Robert Fisk: Even I question the 'truth' about 9/11

Published: 25 August 2007

Each time I lecture abroad on the Middle East, there is always someone in the audience – just one – whom I call the "raver". Apologies here to all the men and women who come to my talks with bright and pertinent questions – often quite humbling ones for me as a journalist – and which show that they understand the Middle East tragedy a lot better than the journalists who report it. But the "raver" is real. He has turned up in corporeal form in Stockholm and in Oxford, in Sao Paulo and in Yerevan, in Cairo, in Los Angeles and, in female form, in Barcelona. No matter the country, there will always be a "raver".

His – or her – question goes like this.

Why, if you believe you're a free journalist, don't you report what you really know about 9/11?

Why don't you tell the truth – that the Bush administration (or the CIA or Mossad, you name it) blew up the twin towers? Why don't you reveal the secrets behind 9/11? The assumption in each case is that Fisk knows – that Fisk has an absolute concrete, copper-bottomed fact-filled desk containing final proof of what "all the world knows" (that usually is the phrase) – who destroyed the twin towers. Sometimes the "raver" is clearly distressed. One man in Cork screamed his question at me, and then – the moment I suggested that his version of the plot was a bit odd – left the hall, shouting abuse and kicking over chairs.

Usually, I have tried to tell the "truth"; that while there are unanswered questions about 9/11, I am the Middle East correspondent of The Independent, not the conspiracy correspondent; that I have quite enough real plots on my hands in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Iran, the Gulf, etc, to worry about imaginary ones in Manhattan. My final argument – a clincher, in my view – is that the Bush administration has screwed up everything – militarily, politically diplomatically – it has tried to do in the Middle East; so how on earth could it successfully bring off the international crimes against humanity in the United States on 11 September 2001?

...

But – here we go. I am increasingly troubled at the inconsistencies in the official narrative of 9/11. It's not just the obvious non sequiturs: where are the aircraft parts (engines, etc) from the attack on the Pentagon? Why have the officials involved in the United 93 flight (which crashed in Pennsylvania) been muzzled? Why did flight 93's debris spread over miles when it was supposed to have crashed in one piece in a field? Again, I'm not talking about the crazed "research" of David Icke's Alice in Wonderland and the World Trade Center Disaster – which should send any sane man back to reading the telephone directory.

I am talking about scientific issues. If it is true, for example, that kerosene burns at 820C under optimum conditions, how come the steel beams of the twin towers – whose melting point is supposed to be about 1,480C – would snap through at the same time? (They collapsed in 8.1 and 10 seconds.) What about the third tower – the so-called World Trade Centre Building 7 (or the Salmon Brothers Building) – which collapsed in 6.6 seconds in its own footprint at 5.20pm on 11 September? Why did it so neatly fall to the ground when no aircraft had hit it? The American National Institute of Standards and Technology was instructed to analyse the cause of the destruction of all three buildings. They have not yet reported on WTC 7. Two prominent American professors of mechanical engineering – very definitely not in the "raver" bracket – are now legally challenging the terms of reference of this final report on the grounds that it could be "fraudulent or deceptive".
...

But what about the weird letter allegedly written by Mohamed Atta, the Egyptian hijacker-murderer with the spooky face, whose "Islamic" advice to his gruesome comrades – released by the CIA – mystified every Muslim friend I know in the Middle East? Atta mentioned his family – which no Muslim, however ill-taught, would be likely to include in such a prayer. He reminds his comrades-in-murder to say the first Muslim prayer of the day and then goes on to quote from it. But no Muslim would need such a reminder – let alone expect the text of the "Fajr" prayer to be included in Atta's letter.


Let me repeat. I am not a conspiracy theorist. Spare me the ravers. Spare me the plots. But like everyone else, I would like to know the full story of 9/11, not least because it was the trigger for the whole lunatic, meretricious "war on terror" which has led us to disaster in Iraq and Afghanistan and in much of the Middle East.

Bush's happily departed adviser Karl Rove once said that "we're an empire now – we create our own reality". True? At least tell us. It would stop people kicking over chairs...[Open in new window]

Raw Story: CIA said to step up operations in Iran as hawks seek to tie Iraq bombs to Tehran

by Larisa Alexandrovna, Raw Story

‘They still need a trigger,’ former official says

"In an effort to build congressional and Pentagon support for military options against Iran, the Bush administration has shifted from its earlier strategy of building a case based on an alleged Iranian nuclear weapons program to one invoking improvised explosive devices (IEDs) purportedly manufactured in Iran that are killing US soldiers in Iraq.

According to officials – including two former Central Intelligence Agency case officers with experience in the Middle East – the administration believes that by focusing on the alleged ties between IEDs and Iran, they can link the Iranian government directly to attacks on US forces in Iraq."

"The US military has provided credible evidence that the specialized IEDs known as explosively formed penetrators (EFPs), which have been killing US troops in Iraq, appear to have been manufactured in Iran. Intelligence and military officials caution, however, that there is nothing tying the weapons directly to the Iranian government, nor is there a direct evidentiary chain of custody linking the IEDs to Iran.

“There is clear evidence that someone in Iran is manufacturing the EFPs,” said a source currently working with military and intelligence joint operations in the Middle East, who wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of the topic. “They have a distinctive signature. These devices are being used against US troops, Sunnis, and even some Shi'as.”

“This is viewed by some in the Bush Administration as sufficient justification for taking military action against Iran,” the source concluded."

CIA reported to step up operations

"A senior intelligence official told RAW STORY Tuesday that the CIA had stepped up operations in the region, shifting their Iran focus to ”other” approaches in preference to the “black propaganda” that Raw Story “has already reported on.”

The source would not elaborate on what these “other” approaches are. A recent Washington Post report indicated that the US plans to label Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist group, the first such designation for a foreign nation's military.

CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano would neither confirm nor deny that “other” operations were taking place.

“The CIA does not, as a matter of course, comment on allegations involving clandestine operations, despite the large amount of misinformation that circulates publicly on the subject," responded Gimigliano in a late Thursday email.

RAW STORY revealed in June that, according to sources, Iran was being targeted by CIA activities promoting a “pro-democracy” message and that the agency was supporting overt “pro-democracy” groups.

Two former CIA case officers interviewed said that the administration has zeroed in on the EFPs as proof positive of Iran's involvement in Iraq, despite lacking any direct trail to Tehran."

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Read the rest at Raw Story


In obscenity-laced tirade, Ted Nugent jokes of killing Obama, calls Clinton a 'bitch'

At a recent stop on his "Love Grenade 2007 Shrapnel Tour," rocker Ted Nugent tossed some rhetorical bombs at a few top Democrats, and possible future gubernatorial candidate joked about executing the most prominent African American politician in a generation.

"Obama, he's a piece of shit, and I told him to suck on my machine gun," Nugent said in front of a screaming crowd as he brandishes what appear to be two large assault rifles. He was referring to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination and would become the first black man to occupy the Oval Office.

In a video from a recent performance posted on LiveLeak, Nugent, a prominent pro-gun advocate, paced the stage with a machine gun in each hand as the crowd eggs on his increasingly vulgar tirades.

The video appeared Friday, but the date and venue of the performance is unclear. Nugent performed Thursday in Jackson, California, while a comment left on a YouTube post said that it was taken from an Anaheim performance last Tuesday.

"Hey Hillary, you might want to ride one of these into the sunset you worthless bitch," Nugent said, brandishing his weapons.

He also went after Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), suggesting she, too, might like to "suck on my machine gun." Nugent's tirade against California's other Democratic Senator, Diane Feinstein, is too garbled to transcribe, but one can hear Nugent call her a "whore."...[Open in new window]

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Face it, folks. 'Rawk' is the soundtrack to moronic Reaganite reaction. It used to be the soundtrack to the revolution. Not no more. Not so for almost 30 years. MTV nailed it.

When I come to think about it, it's been fake for a long, long time now. Noise for goobers, fake emotion for zombie mall children.

...And the pop that isn't 'rawk'? It's bad in a whole new kind of way.

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The World's Sole Superpower in Fast Decline

By Dilip Hiro, Tomdispatch.com
Posted on August 23, 2007, Printed on August 24, 2007
http://www.alternet.org/story/60489/

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States stood tall -- militarily invincible, economically unrivalled, diplomatically uncontestable, and the dominating force on information channels worldwide. The next century was to be the true "American century," with the rest of the world molding itself in the image of the sole superpower.

Yet, with not even a decade of this century behind us, we are already witnessing the rise of a multipolar world in which new powers are challenging different aspects of American supremacy -- Russia and China in the forefront, with regional powers Venezuela and Iran forming the second rank. These emergent powers are primed to erode American hegemony, not confront it, singly or jointly.

How and why has the world evolved in this way so soon? The Bush administration's debacle in Iraq is certainly a major factor in this transformation, a classic example of an imperialist power, brimming with hubris, over-extending itself. To the relief of many -- in the U. S. and elsewhere -- the Iraq fiasco has demonstrated the striking limitations of power for the globe's highest-tech, most destructive military machine. In Iraq, Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser to two U.S. presidents, concedes in a recent op-ed, "We are being wrestled to a draw by opponents who are not even an organized state adversary."

The invasion and subsequent disastrous occupation of Iraq and the mismanaged military campaign in Afghanistan have crippled the credibility of the United States. The scandals at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and Guantanamo in Cuba, along with the widely publicized murders of Iraqi civilians in Haditha, have badly tarnished America's moral self-image. In the latest opinion poll, even in a secular state and member of NATO like Turkey, only 9 percent of Turks have a "favorable view" of the U.S. (down from 52 percent just five years ago).

Yet there are other explanations -- unrelated to Washington's glaring misadventures -- for the current transformation in international affairs. These include, above all, the tightening market in oil and natural gas, which has enhanced the power of hydrocarbon-rich nations as never before; the rapid economic expansion of the mega-nations China and India; the transformation of China into the globe's leading manufacturing base; and the end of the Anglo-American duopoly in international television news.

Many Channels, Diverse Perceptions

During the 1991 Gulf War, only CNN and the BBC had correspondents in Baghdad. So the international TV audience, irrespective of its location, saw the conflict through their lenses. Twelve years later, when the Bush administration, backed by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, invaded Iraq, Al Jazeera Arabic broke this duopoly. It relayed images -- and facts -- that contradicted the Pentagon's presentation. For the first time in history, the world witnessed two versions of an ongoing war in real time. So credible was the Al Jazeera Arabic version that many television companies outside the Arabic-speaking world -- in Europe, Asia and Latin America -- showed its clips.

Though, in theory, the growth of cable television worldwide raised the prospect of ending the Anglo-American duopoly in 24-hour TV news, not much had happened due to the exorbitant cost of gathering and editing TV news. It was only the arrival of Al Jazeera English, funded by the hydrocarbon-rich emirate of Qatar -- with its declared policy of offering a global perspective from an Arab and Muslim angle -- that, in 2006, finally broke the long-established mold...[Open in new window]

Did He Really Just Say That?
By Christopher Allbritton


This week, President George W. Bush stood up before the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and unspooled a whole lot of odd analogies to make the case that we need to stay in Iraq for... well, forever, I guess. I've not been in Iraq for more than a year but it's still a central focus of my reporting here in the Middle East. So, this week, let's step away from Lebanon -- which is depressing anyway -- and focus on Bush and his fantasies about Mesopotamia.

Because some days he makes it just too easy.

Bush's VFW speech has received a lot of ink. Everyone's been reporting on it, but what's bizarre is that Bush was pointing to past wars in Asia -- World War II against Japan, Korea and, most enigmatically, Vietnam -- as lessons to learn from. For this White House, Imperial Japan was the al Qaeda of its day. The Korean War was a war to instill democracy on the Korean peninsula. And Vietnam was muffed up by Defeatocrats at home - pulling the plug lead to the deaths of millions.

"One unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like 'boat people,' 're-education camps,' and 'killing fields,'" the president said.

Really, it's hard to know where to start.

In his initial comparison, Bush describes Japan as a a nation run by a man who "despises freedom, and harbors resentment at the slights he believes America and Western nations have inflicted on his people. He fights to establish his rule over an entire region. And over time, he turns to a strategy of suicide attacks." Well, the war in the Pacific was primarily one of great powers jostling over economic interests, which is way more serious than most ideological struggles. Japan was oil-poor and had its eyes on the Dutch East Indies. The United States and the West had engaged in economic tit-for-tat with Tokyo since the 1937 invasion of China and by 1941, the United States had slapped an oil embargo on the Empire of the Rising Sun in the escalating trade battles. The Japanese Navy was certain any attempt to seize the Dutch colonies would bring the United States into the war, so they needed to neutralize the U.S.'s Pacific Fleet first. Hence, Pearl Harbor.

Bush's view of Korea is an even more interesting comparison: "Without Americans' intervention during the war and our willingness to stick with the South Koreans after the war, millions of South Koreans would now be living under a brutal and repressive regime," Hm, let's see. The Korean War started in 1950. Democracy came to South Korea in the late 1980s, mainly because the military governments -- which massacred democracy protesters in 1980 -- were supported by ... the United States.

But the Korea analogy is apt for reasons other than those Bush intended. Bush sees the Korean War as an example of the U.S. historical commitment to fight aggression and spread democracy. But the liberation of South Korea had been achieved by October 1950, four months after the war started, and the North Koreans had been pushed back. On October 19, United Nations and U.S. forces pushed north, past the 38th parallel and quickly triggered a Chinese intervention in the war. The coalition was rolled back and after three years and hundreds of thousands dead, a stalemate was achieved and an armistice signed with the original border in place. It was an outcome that could have been achieved in four months and many fewer people dead.

In short, invading Iraq in 2003 looks a lot like the decision to invade North Korea in October 1950: a monumental case of overreach. Don't his speechwriters check this stuff? Or do they just rely on the historical ignorance of many Americans?...[Open in new window]

Are Bush & Co. Gearing Up to Attack Iran?

By Ray McGovern, AlterNet
Posted on August 23, 2007, Printed on August 24, 2007
http://www.alternet.org/story/60493/

A shorter version of this article first appeared on Consortiumnews.com.

It is as though I'm back as an analyst at the CIA, trying to estimate the chances of an attack on Iran. The putative attacker, though, happens to be our own president.

It is precisely the kind of work we analysts used to do. And, while it is still a bit jarring to be turning our analytical tools on the U.S. leadership, it is by no means entirely new. For, of necessity, we Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) have been doing that for almost six years now -- ever since 9/11, when "everything changed."

Of necessity? Yes, because, with very few exceptions, American journalists put their jobs at grave risk if they expose things like fraudulent wars.

The craft of CIA analysis was designed to be an all-source operation, meaning that we analysts were responsible -- and held accountable -- for assimilating information from all sources and coming to judgments on what it all meant. We used data of various kinds, from the most sophisticated technical collection platforms, to spies, to -- not least -- open media.

Here I must reveal a trade secret and risk puncturing the mystique of intelligence analysis. Generally speaking, 80 percent of the information one needs to form judgments on key intelligence targets or issues is available in open media. It helps to have been trained -- as my contemporaries and I had the good fortune to be trained -- by past masters of the discipline of media analysis, which began in a structured way in targeting Japanese and German media in the 1940s. But, truth be told, anyone with a high school education can do it. It is not rocket science...[Open in new window]

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Reality: America Isn’t Conservative
Posted on Aug 23, 2007

By Joe Conason

As Karl Rove exits stage right with his ruined dreams of rightist hegemony, all the political signs and portents tell us that America is turning the other way. No doubt the departing “boy genius” would dispute that assertion as liberal wishful thinking, as would many on the right. But they cannot so easily dismiss The Economist, an avowedly conservative voice that is among the oldest and most respected periodicals in the world.

Framing the shift on the cover of its Aug. 11 issue with a question—“Is America turning left?”—the magazine’s editors conclude in their lead essay that the answer is yes, probably.

"Having recaptured Congress last year, the Democrats are on course to retake the presidency in 2008,” says the venerable British weekly, which blames the destruction of the vaunted Republican machine on the ideological excess and breathtaking incompetence of the Bush administration, as well as the sleaziness of the GOP leadership in Congress.

The editorial warns fellow conservatives against claiming that George W. Bush failed to fulfill their agenda. The president is a lame duck but not a good scapegoat, because “rather than betraying the right, he has given it virtually everything it craved, from humongous tax cuts to conservative judges.” The worst political errors of the Bush regime, from its ruinous war in Iraq to the awful Terri Schiavo intervention, sprang directly from the brilliant minds of the religious right and the neoconservatives.

"Now the American people seem to be reacting to conservative over-reach by turning left. More want universal health insurance; more distrust force as a way to bring about peace; more like greenery; ever more dislike intolerance on social issues.” The magazine also presents a thorough briefing and even more gloomy analysis of the current condition of the American right, noting that conservative activists are openly angry and depressed while Republican officials privately anticipate a “catastrophe” next November.

The Economist’s doomsaying is still more persuasive because its top staffers predicted only a few years ago that the Republican right would fulfill the dreams of Rove. Back in 2004, Economist editor John Micklethwait and Washington bureau chief Adrian Wooldridge published “The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America,” a best-selling book that insisted the United States is an inherently conservative country that was only growing more so under the tutelage of a powerful coalition allied with the Republican Party—and that the remnant of American liberals should simply acknowledge their status as a permanent minority relegated to irrelevance. Right-wingers themselves, the authors predicted that the Republicans could expect a bright and boundless future thanks to favorable demographic trends, bolstered by young people who supposedly leaned right regardless of ethnicity, geography, education or profession....[Open in new window]

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

US president George Bush during a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri. Photograph: Jim Young/Reuters

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


David Horowitz fibbing?


David Horowitz recently relayed to me the happy news that his David Horowitz Freedom Center had received a "request from the head the FBI-California Highway Patrol Joint Counter-terrorism Task Force who called this week to ask if their group could use our flash video 'What Every American Needs to Know About Jihad' as a training film."

I told my readers to write in to the California Highway Patrol if they objected. Well: cease and desist. It appears Davy was making it all up. A friend relays the following email from Jon and Ponch's boss at the CHP:

You recently sent a statement to the California Highway Patrol with your concerns about an article "The Great Circle of Insanity" which was posted on web site "Daily KOS". Additionally, you expressed concerns regarding the California Highway Patrol's usage of a video titled "What Every American Needs to Know About Jihad" that is mentioned on the web site. I can assure you the California Highway Patrol's head of the FBI-California Highway Patrol, Joint Terrorism Task Force did not request a copy of the video. While an employee of this Department did request a copy, the video was not used nor will it be used for training purposes.

Say it ain't so, D-Ho!

(Actually, he will say it ain't so. Horowitz's standard response to such criticisms is that he has nothing to do with the statements that go out over his signature. And no, I'm not joking.)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

An Early Clash Over Iraq Report
Specifics at Issue as September Nears

By Jonathan Weisman and Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, August 16, 2007; A01

Senior congressional aides said yesterday that the White House has proposed limiting the much-anticipated appearance on Capitol Hill next month of Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker to a private congressional briefing, suggesting instead that the Bush administration's progress report on the Iraq war should be delivered to Congress by the secretaries of state and defense.

White House officials did not deny making the proposal in informal talks with Congress, but they said yesterday that they will not shield the commanding general in Iraq and the senior U.S. diplomat there from public congressional testimony required by the war-funding legislation President Bush signed in May. "The administration plans to follow the requirements of the legislation," National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said in response to questions yesterday.

The skirmishing is an indication of the rising anxiety on all sides in the remaining few weeks before the presentation of what is widely considered a make-or-break assessment of Bush's war strategy, and one that will come amid rising calls for a drawdown of U.S. forces from Iraq.

With the report due by Sept. 15, officials at the White House, in Congress and in Baghdad said that no decisions have been made on where, when or how Petraeus and Crocker will appear before Congress. Lawmakers from both parties are growing worried that the report -- far from clarifying the United States' future in Iraq -- will only harden the political battle lines around the war.

White House officials suggested to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week that Petraeus and Crocker would brief lawmakers in a closed session before the release of the report, congressional aides said. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates would provide the only public testimony.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) told the White House that Bush's presentation plan was unacceptable. An aide to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) said that "we are in talks with the administration and . . . Senator Levin wants an open hearing" with Petraeus.

Those positions only hardened yesterday with reports that the document would not be written by the Army general but instead would come from the White House, with input from Petraeus, Crocker and other administration officials...[Open in new window]

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Right-Wing Pundits Confess Bush ‘Has No Agenda’

With the departure of Karl Rove, the media is speculating as to how that will affect Bush’s domestic agenda. White House deputy chief of staff Joel Kaplan argued that Bush will pursue an “ambitious agenda” despite Rove’s departure:

The tank is full. The president’s priorities haven’t changed, nor has his ambitious agenda. When we come back in the Fall, the Congress is going to have a full plate in front of it. - Fox News, 8/14/07

Similarly, spokeswoman Dana Perino claimed, “We have a lot of things that we can get done.” In reality, Bush’s domestic agenda “has largely shrunk to veto threats of bills passed by the Democratic-led Congress.”

Even the White House’s faithful conservative allies aren’t buying the spin. Last night on Fox, right-wing pundits Charles Krauthammer and Fred Barnes disputed the White House’s contention that it has an agenda:

KRAUTHAMMER: When Kaplan talks about an ambitious agenda, he is really taking one for the team. That is absurd, there is no agenda.

BARNES: Charles is right, Bush has no agenda...[Open in new window]

"No American President Can Stand Up to Israel"

By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

"No American President can stand up to Israel."

These words came from feisty Admiral Thomas Moorer, Chief of Naval Operations (1967-1970) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1970-1974). Moorer was, perhaps, the last independent-minded American military leader.

Admiral Moorer knew what he was talking about. On June 8, 1967, Israel attacked the American intelligence ship, USS Liberty, killing 34 American sailors and wounding 173. The Israelis even strafed the life rafts, machine-gunning the American sailors leaving the stricken ship.

Apparently, the USS Liberty had picked up Israeli communications that revealed Israel's responsibility for the Seven Day War. Even today, history books and the majority of Americans blame the conflict on the Arabs.

The United States Navy knew the truth, but the President of the United States took Israel's side against the American military and ordered the United States Navy to shut its mouth. President Lyndon Johnson said it was all just a mistake. Later in life, Admiral Moorer formed a commission and presented the unvarnished truth to Americans.

The power of the Israel Lobby over American foreign policy is considerable. In March 2006, two distinguished American scholars, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, expressed concern in the London Review of Books that the power of the Israel Lobby was bending US foreign policy in directions that serve neither US nor Israeli interests. The two experts were hoping to start a debate that might rescue the US and Israel from unsuccessful policies of coercion that are intensifying Muslim hatred of Israel and America. The Israel lobby was opposed to any such reassessment, and attempted to close it off with epithets: "Jew-baiter," "anti-semitic," and even "anti-American." Today Israeli citizens who oppose Zionist plans for greater Israel are denounced as "anti-Semites."

Many Americans are unaware of the influence of the Israel lobby. Instead they think of the US as "the world's sole superpower," a macho new Roman Empire whose orders are obeyed without question or the insolent nonentity is "bombed back to the stone age." Many Americans are convinced that military coercion serves our interest. They cite Libya, Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and now they are ready to bring Iran and Pakistan to heel with bombs...[Open in new window]