Thursday, January 31, 2008

"Yes, I'm a witch & I got on my broom & flew to the Sabbat & Satan was there in the form of a goat & we made mad love..." etc. etc. etc.

Could we have a real report on '9/11'? Without bogus data based on torture confessions? Huh? Could we, could we?


9/11 Commission controversy

Posted on Wednesday, January 30, 2008 7:50 PM PT

By Robert Windrem and Victor Limjoco

The 9/11 Commission suspected that critical information it used in its landmark report was the product of harsh interrogations of al-Qaida operatives - interrogations that many critics have labeled torture. Yet, commission staffers never questioned the agency about the interrogation techniques and in fact ordered a second round of interrogations specifically to ask additional questions of the same operatives, NBC News has learned.

Those conclusions are the result of an extensive NBC News analysis of the 9/11 Commission’s Final Report and interviews with Commission staffers and current and former U.S. intelligence officials.

The analysis shows that much of what was reported about the planning and execution of the terror attacks on New York and Washington was derived from the interrogations of high-ranking al-Qaida operatives. Each had been subjected to "enhanced interrogation techniques." Some were even subjected to waterboarding, the most controversial of the techniques, which simulates drowning.

The NBC News analysis shows that more than one quarter of all footnotes in the 9/11 Report refer to CIA interrogations of al-Qaida operatives who were subjected to the now-controversial interrogation techniques. In fact, information derived from the interrogations is central to the Report’s most critical chapters, those on the planning and execution of the attacks. The analysis also shows - and agency and commission staffers concur - there was a separate, second round of interrogations in early 2004, done specifically to answer new questions from the Commission.

9/11 Commission staffers say they "guessed" but did not know for certain that harsh techniques had been used, and they were concerned that the techniques had affected the operatives’ credibility. At least four of the operatives whose interrogation figured in the 9/11 Commission Report have claimed that they told interrogators critical information as a way to stop being "tortured." The claims came during their hearings last spring at the U.S. military facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"We were not aware, but we guessed, that things like that were going on," Philip Zelikow, the 9/11 Commission executive director, told NBC News. "We were wary…we tried to find different sources to enhance our credibility."

Specifically, the NBC News analysis shows 441 of the more than 1,700 footnotes in the Commission’s Final Report refer to the CIA interrogations. Moreover, most of the information in Chapters 5, 6 and 7 of the Report came from the interrogations. Those chapters cover the initial planning for the attack, the assembling of terrorist cells, and the arrival of the hijackers in the U.S. In total, the Commission relied on more than 100 interrogation reports produced by the CIA. The second round of interrogations sought by the Commission involved more than 30 separate interrogation sessions...[Open in new window]

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Check it out! Shrub managed a simultaneous wink & smirk.

Cheney looks on, lost in a revery of mass murder.

Click to enlarge

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Ex-9/11 Panel Chief Denies Secret White House Ties

Book Charges Zelikow May Have Interfered With the 9/11 Commission's Report

By JUSTIN ROOD

Jan. 30, 2008—

The former executive director of the 9/11 Commission denies explosive charges of undisclosed ties to the Bush White House or interference with the panel's report.

The charges are said to be contained in New York Times reporter Philip Shenon's unreleased book, "The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation," according to Max Holland, an author and blogger, and generally confirmed by the book's publisher. Although the book is not slated to hit stores until early next month, Holland says he bought a copy of the audio version at a bookstore. (Attempts to purchase the book, in any format, at the Barnes & Noble across the street from ABC News headquarters were unsuccessful.)

9/11 Commission co-chairs Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton hired former Condoleezza Rice aide Philip Zelikow to be executive director, Zelikow failed to tell them about his role helping Rice set up President George W. Bush's National Security Council in early 2001  and that he was "instrumental" in demoting Richard Clarke, the onetime White House counterterrorism czar who was fixated on the threat from Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, according to Holland's version of Shenon's tome.

"[Zelikow] had laid the groundwork for much of what went wrong at the White House in the weeks and months before September 11. Would he want people to know that?" Shenon writes, according to Holland.

Zelikow denied that was the case. "It was very well-known I had served on this transition team and had declined to go into the administration. I worked there for a total of one month. I had interviewed Sandy Berger, Dick Clarke and most of the NSC staff." He noted he recused himself from working on the section of the panel's report addressing the NSC transition, and that other staffers had held conflicting positions in the Clinton administration.

In his book, Shenon also says that while working for the panel, Zelikow appears to have had private conversations with former White House political director Karl Rove, despite a ban on such communication, according to Holland. Shenon reports that Zelikow later ordered his assistant to stop keeping a log of his calls, although the commission's general counsel overruled him, Holland wrote.

Zelikow told ABC News he was under no prohibition that barred his conversations with Rove, and did not recall asking his assistant to stop logging his calls, although he did speak to her about leaving phone messages in a publicly visible place. "Two other people took my calls as well, and neither have a recollection" of Zelikow asking for calls not to be logged, he said. Further, Zelikow said 9/11 Commission general counsel Daniel Marcus did not raise the matter with Zelikow at the time...[Open in new window]

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What were they trying to do?

D'huh.

Stop the commission from coming to the obvious conclusion that the Booosh administration could have/ should have prevented the attack on the World Trade Center.

Everybody who's paying the slightest attention already knows this.

I hope the story continues to break though. It's not going to change the minds of Bushbots, though. They'd have to have minds to change.

Glenn Greenwald: What "bipartisanship" in Washington means

(updated below)

Whenever the mavens of "bipartisanship" attempt to do more than spout pretty platitudes, they invariably reveal just how vapid and bereft of substance are their slogans. Former Sen. Bob Graham -- who recently joined David Boren, Sam Nunn and others in threatening the country with a plutocratic Michael Bloomberg candidacy if the presidential candidates failed to become more "bipartisan" -- has an Op-Ed in today's Washington Post which is a classic entry in this genre.

Graham purports to list a slew of problems suffering from a lack of bipartisanship -- "huge gaps in national and homeland security"; "Nearly 50 million Americans still have no health insurance"; crumbling infrastructure; high gas prices; and a lack of a brighter future for the next generation -- and then proposes a litany of shallow process "solutions" such as a bipartisan cabinet, changes to the format for presidential debates, and regional primaries. Those "solutions" are total nonsequiturs. How would they resolve any of the intense differences over those policies? They manifestly wouldn't.

But more importantly, "bipartisanship" is already rampant in Washington, not rare. And, in almost every significant case, what "bipartisanship" means in Washington is that enough Democrats join with all of the Republicans to endorse and enact into law Republican policies, with which most Democratic voters disagree. That's how so-called "bipartisanship" manifests in almost every case.

Many people, especially partisans, always believe that their own side is compromising too much and that the other side is always winning, so it's best to consult objective facts in order to know how "bipartisanship" works. Here are the vote breakdowns by party over the last couple years on the most significant and contentious pieces of legislation, particularly (though not only) in the area of national security.

In almost every case, the proposals that are enacted are ones favored by the White House and supported by all GOP lawmakers, and then Democrats split and enough of them join with Republicans to ensure that the GOP gets what it wants. That's "bipartisanhip" in Washington: Examples ...[Open in new window]

Commission Confidential

By Max Holland

In a revelation bound to cast a pall over the 9/11 Commission, Philip Shenon will report in a forthcoming book that the panel’s executive director, Philip Zelikow, engaged in “surreptitious” communications with presidential adviser Karl Rove and other Bush administration officials during the commission’s 20-month investigation into the 9/11 attacks.

Shenon, who led The New York Times’ coverage of the 9/11 panel, reveals the Zelikow-Rove connection in a new book entitled The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation, to be published next month by Twelve Books. The Commission is under an embargo until its February 5 publication, but Washington DeCoded managed to purchase a copy of the abridged audio version from a New York bookstore.

In what’s termed an “investigation of the investigation,” Shenon purports to tell the story of the commission from start to finish. The book’s critical revelations, however, revolve almost entirely around the figure of Philip Zelikow, a University of Virginia professor and director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs prior to his service as the commission’s executive director. Shenon delivers a blistering account of Zelikow’s role and leadership, and an implicit criticism of the commissioners for appointing Zelikow in the first place—and then allowing him to stay on after his myriad conflicts-of-interest were revealed under oath.

Shenon’s narrative is built from extensive interviews with staff members and several, if not all, the commissioners. He depicts Zelikow as exploiting his central position to negate or neutralize criticism of the Bush administration so that the White House would not bear, in November 2004, the political burden of failing to prevent the attacks.

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Scarborough: McCain’s Platform Is ‘Less Jobs And More Wars’

During the coverage of this evening’s Florida primary results, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough discussed the impact of John McCain’s victory with Pat Buchanan. The Republican establishment will rally around McCain and say “he’s the guy,” Buchanan said, but he cautioned that McCain’s vision for America was foreboding.

“What does he say? The jobs are never coming back, the illegals are never going home, but we’re gonna have a lot more wars,” Buchanan said of McCain. Scarborough remarked that McCain’s “inviting” presidential platform for the fall consists of “less jobs and more wars”:

BUCHANAN: Here’s a guy, basically, what does he say? The jobs are never coming back, the illegals are never going home, but we’re gonna have a lot more wars.

SCARBOROUGH: We’re gonna start a lot of wars! He has promised, for the record Keith, John McCain’s platform — and it certainly looks inviting for the fall — he has promised less jobs and more wars. Now that’s something we can all rally behind.

Watch it: [Open in new window]

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"Keep on talkin', Michelle Malkin"

Michelle Malkin is depicted as a prisoner in an internment camp in a painting by Seattle artist Roger Shimomura. In Keep on talkin', Michelle Malkin, the American activist who has tried to minimize the concerns of Japanese Americans about the internment, is shown placed inside a camp building, her mouth open in protest.
Pioneering Blackwater Protesters Given Secret Trial and Criminal Conviction
By Jeremy Scahill, AlterNet
Posted on January 29, 2008, Printed on January 29, 2008
http://www.alternet.org/story/75244 /

Last week in Currituck County, N.C., Superior Court Judge Russell Duke presided over the final step in securing the first criminal conviction stemming from the deadly actions of Blackwater Worldwide, the Bush administration's favorite mercenary company. Lest you think you missed some earth-shifting, breaking news, hold on a moment. The "criminals" in question were not the armed thugs who gunned down 17 Iraqi civilians and wounded more than 20 others in Baghdad's Nisour Square last September. They were seven nonviolent activists who had the audacity to stage a demonstration at the gates of Blackwater's 7,000-acre private military base in North Carolina to protest the actions of mercenaries acting with impunity -- and apparent immunity -- in their names and those of every American.

The arrest of the activists and the subsequent five days they spent locked up in jail is more punishment than any Blackwater mercenaries have received for their deadly actions against Iraqi civilians. "The courts pretend that adherence to the law is what makes for an orderly and peaceable world," said Steve Baggarly, one of the protest organizers. "In fact, U.S. law and courts stand idly by while the U.S. military and private armies like Blackwater have killed, maimed, brutalized and destroyed the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis."

A month after the Nisour Square massacre, on Oct. 20, a group of about 50 activists gathered outside Blackwater's gates in Moyock, N.C. There, they reenacted the Nisour Square shooting and staged a "die-in," involving a vehicle painted with bullet marks and blood. The activists stained their clothing with fake blood and dramatized the deadly shooting spree. Some of the demonstrators marked Blackwater's large welcome sign -- with the company's bear claw in a sniper scope logo -- with red hand prints. The demonstrators believed these "would be a much more appropriate logo for Blackwater," according to Baggarly. "We're all responsible for what is happening in Iraq. We all have bloody hands." It took only moments for the local police to respond to the protest, the first ever at Blackwater's headquarters. In the end, seven were arrested.

The symbolism was stark: Re-enact a Blackwater massacre, go to jail. Commit a massacre, walk around freely and perhaps never go to jail. All seven were charged with criminal trespassing, six of them with an additional charge of resisting arrest and one with another charge of injury to real property. "We feel like Blackwater is trespassing in Iraq," Baggarly later said. "And as for injuring property, they injure men, women and children every day." The activists were jailed for five days and eventually released pending trial.

When their day in court arrived, on Dec. 5, the activists intended to put Blackwater on trial, something the Justice Department, the military and the courts have systematically failed to do. Their action at Blackwater, the activists said, was in response to war crimes, the killing of civilians and the fact that no legal system -- civilian or military -- was holding Blackwater responsible. The Nisour Square massacre, they said, "is the Iraq war in microcosm."...More


Fox News is in for a very rough 2008
by Eric Boehlert

My guess is that Fox News guru Roger Ailes has been reaching for the Tums more often than usual early in the New Year, and there are lots of reasons for the hovering angst.

Let's take an extended multiple choice quiz. Right now, which of the following topics is likely causing the discomfort inside Ailes' Fox News empire?

A) CNN's resurgence as the go-to cable destination for election coverage.
B) The incredible shrinking candidacy of Fox News' favored son, Rudy Giuliani.
C) The still-standing candidacy of Fox News nemesis and well-funded, anti-war GOP candidate Rep. Ron Paul.
D) The Democratic candidates' blanket refusal to debate on Fox News during the primary season.
E) Host Bill O'Reilly being so desperate for an interview from a Democratic contender that he had to schlep all the way to New Hampshire, where he shoved an aide to Sen. Barack Obama and then had to be calmed down by Secret Service agents.
F) Former Fox News architect and Ailes confidante Dan Cooper posting chapters from his a wildly unflattering tell-all book about his old boss. ("The best thing that ever happened to Roger Ailes was 9/11.")
G) The fledgling Fox Business Network, whose anemic ratings are in danger of being surpassed by some large city public access channels.
H) Host John Gibson's recent heartless attacks on actor Heath Ledger, just hours after the young actor was found dead.
I) Fox News reporter Major Garrett botching his "exclusive" that Paul Begala and James Carville were going to join Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign, and then refusing to correct the record.

I'd say it's A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. (I doubt Gibson's grave-dancing or Garrett's whopper caused Ailes a moment's concern.)

Bottom line is that Fox News is in for a very rough 2008. And the umbrella reason for that is quite simple: Eight years ago the all-news cable channel went all-in on the presidency of George Bush and became a broadcast partner with the White House. Proof of that was on display Sunday night, January 27, during Fox News' prime-time, "Fighting to the Finish," an "historic documentary" on the final year of Bush's presidency. Filmed in HD and featuring "unprecedented access," according to the Fox News press release, the show was pure propaganda. (I must have missed Fox News' "Fighting to the Finish" special back in 2000, chronicling the conclusion of President Bill Clinton's second term and his "extraordinarily consequential tenure.")...[Open in new window]

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Defiant Look at What Little Lies Ahead

WASHINGTON — Making his seventh and final State of the Union address, President Bush proposed a short list of initiatives Monday that more than anything else underscored the White House’s growing realization that his biggest political opponents now are time and an electorate already looking beyond him.

This address lacked the soaring ambitions of Mr. Bush’s previous speeches, though it had its rhetorical flourishes. He invoked the “miracle of America” but for the most part flatly recited familiar ideas — cutting taxes, fighting terrorists, the war in Iraq — rather than bold new ones. Nothing he proposed Monday is likely to redefine how history judges his presidency...

...

Mr. Bush’s approval rating hovers at 29 percent, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. It has fallen with each State of the Union message since his first, delivered after Sept. 11, 2001, when Al Qaeda had been routed with the Taliban in Afghanistan and 82 percent approved of his handling of the job. Afghanistan, too, appeared to remain unfinished business; Mr. Bush noted the recent decision to send 3,200 Marines to bolster the American-led coalition against a resurgent Taliban.

And though he declared that the state of the union would remain strong, as tradition obliges presidents to do, only 19 percent of Americans think the country is generally on the right track, as low a number as any recorded...[Open in new window]

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He'll be forever remembered as the clown president, the moronic boob manipulated by war-profiteers, corporate welfare 'queens' & Israeli double-agents.

People who supported him should feel ashamed. It was all easy to see all along.

I don't think he legitimately won either election, but because enough idiots were fooled they were close enough to be stolen through the time honored tradition of Republican dirty tricks.

What a mess we're in now.

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We’ve Got 99 Problems, But A Human-Animal Hybrid Ain’t One

A Look at the Biggest Winners and Biggest Losers Under the Bush Administration

By MicCheck Radio

January 28, 2008

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF JOE REPUBLICAN

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised. All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer’s medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks on the government-provided sidewalk to subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor. Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he’ll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn’t think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune. It is noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression. Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime. Joe also forgets that his in addition to his federally subsidized student loans, he attended a state funded university. Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards to go along with the tax-payer funded roads. He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers’ Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans. The house didn’t have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification. He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to. Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn’t mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees: “We don’t need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I’m a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have.”

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Published on Sunday, January 27, 2008 by The Los Angeles Times

Why The Right Loves a Disaster

by Naomi Klein

Moody’s, the credit-rating agency, claims the key to solving the United States’ economic woes is slashing spending on Social Security. The National Assn. of Manufacturers says the fix is for the federal government to adopt the organization’s wish-list of new tax cuts. For Investor’s Business Daily, it is oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, “perhaps the most important stimulus of all.”

But of all the cynical scrambles to package pro-business cash grabs as “economic stimulus,” the prize has to go to Lawrence B. Lindsey, formerly President Bush’s assistant for economic policy and his advisor during the 2001 recession. Lindsey’s plan is to solve a crisis set off by bad lending by extending lots more questionable credit. “One of the easiest things to do would be to allow manufacturers and retailers” — notably Wal-Mart — “to open their own financial institutions, through which they could borrow and lend money,” he wrote recently in the Wall Street Journal.

Never mind that that an increasing number of Americans are defaulting on their credit card payments, raiding their 401(k) accounts and losing their homes. If Lindsey had his way, Wal-Mart, rather than lose sales, could just loan out money to keep its customers shopping, effectively turning the big-box chain into an old-style company store to which Americans can owe their souls.

If this kind of crisis opportunism feels familiar, it’s because it is. Over the last four years, I have been researching a little-explored area of economic history: the way that crises have paved the way for the march of the right-wing economic revolution across the globe. A crisis hits, panic spreads and the ideologues fill the breach, rapidly reengineering societies in the interests of large corporate players. It’s a maneuver I call “disaster capitalism.”

Sometimes the enabling national disasters have been physical blows to countries: wars, terrorist attacks, natural disasters. More often they have been economic crises: debt spirals, hyperinflation, currency shocks, recessions.

More than a decade ago, economist Dani Rodrik, then at Columbia University, studied the circumstances in which governments adopted free-trade policies. His findings were striking: “No significant case of trade reform in a developing country in the 1980s took place outside the context of a serious economic crisis.” The 1990s proved him right in dramatic fashion. In Russia, an economic meltdown set the stage for fire-sale privatizations. Next, the Asian crisis in 1997-98 cracked open the “Asian tigers” to a frenzy of foreign takeovers, a process the New York Times dubbed “the world’s biggest going-out-of-business sale.”

To be sure, desperate countries will generally do what it takes to get a bailout. An atmosphere of panic also frees the hands of politicians to quickly push through radical changes that would otherwise be too unpopular, such as privatization of essential services, weakening of worker protections and free-trade deals. In a crisis, debate and democratic process can be handily dismissed as unaffordable luxuries.

Do the free-market policies packaged as emergency cures actually fix the crises at hand? For the ideologues involved, that has mattered little. What matters is that, as a political tactic, disaster capitalism works. It was the late free-market economist Milton Friedman, writing in the preface to the 1982 reissue of his manifesto, “Capitalism and Freedom,” who articulated the strategy most succinctly. “Only a crisis — actual or perceived — produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable.”

A decade later, John Williamson, a key advisor to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank (and who coined the phrase “the Washington consensus”), went even further. He asked a conference of top-level policymakers “whether it could conceivably make sense to think of deliberately provoking a crisis so as to remove the political logjam to reform.”

Again and again, the Bush administration has seized on crises to break logjams blocking the more radical pieces of its economic agenda. First, a recession provided the excuse for sweeping tax cuts. Next, the “war on terror” ushered in an era of unprecedented military and homeland security privatization. After Hurricane Katrina, the administration handed out tax holidays, rolled back labor standards, closed public housing projects and helped turn New Orleans into a laboratory for charter schools — all in the name of disaster “reconstruction.”

Given this track record, Washington lobbyists had every reason to believe that the current recession fears would provoke a new round of corporate gift-giving. Yet it seems that the public is getting wise to the tactics of disaster capitalism. Sure, the proposed $150-billion economic stimulus package is little more than a dressed-up tax cut, including a new batch of “incentives” to business. But the Democrats nixed the more ambitious GOP attempt to leverage the crisis to lock in the Bush tax cuts and go after Social Security. For the time being, it seems that a crisis created by a dogged refusal to regulate markets will not be “fixed” by giving Wall Street more public money with which to gamble...[Open in new window]
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER

Snark Attack: Paul Wolfowitz

By MARK TRAHANT
P-I EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR

He's back: Paul Wolfowitz has been asked to advise the State Department about arms control issues.

One can only imagine the resume that won this job: Did he cite his pre-war, weapons of mass destruction intelligence about Iraq?

Wolfowitz told the Council of Foreign Relations two months before the invasion that disarming Iraq's chemical, biological and developing nuclear programs was the key to winning the war on terror.

Now, in his new job, Wolfowitz is again well-suited to dispense advice to the State Department about the dangers of an Iranian weapons programs.

Can we afford this kind of advice again? No...[Open in new window]

Friday, January 25, 2008


Let's take the next step after GWB. Let's elect a real madman as president. What's to lose?


Lee L. Mercer Jr. Welcomes You!

My Campaign Theme

The United States Government must regulate government sleepers and government regulations authorized thought, ideas, acts, actions, rights, wrongs, controversies, facts, issues and circumstantial evidence through intelligence research, law research, law enforcement research and criminal law research implementing ROTC communications research innovating education national and international.

My Platform

My platform for President of the United States Of America is Criminal Law. It is developed from my Method of Education. I was ordered to create and or invent by the United States Army that is now intact regulating the United States Government protecting it through Military Intelligence Computerization Management a new Disipline I invented and the Administration of Criminal Law Laws across the board.

My Direction

The United States Government education will perfect the vindication of it’s government regulating it’s directions and resources requirement by the law only...[Open in new window]


I heard some of the Republican 'debate' last night. It reminded me what a whore Tim Russert is. A thoroughly disgusting whore.


CHOCOLATES AND NYLONS, SIR?

By David Podvin

In 1992, shortly after being named moderator of Meet The Press, Tim Russert was having lunch with a broadcast executive. The mealtime conversation was about the pros and cons of working for General Electric’s NBC subsidiary. Russert expounded on how being employed by GE had brought him to the realization that things functioned better when Republicans were in charge.

“You know, Tim, you used to be such a rabid Democrat when you worked for Pat Moynihan,” said the executive. “But now that you’ve gotten a glimpse of who’s handing out the money in this business, you’ve become quite the Jaycee. Were you wrong about everything you used to believe so strongly?”

“I still believe,” Russert said, leaning across the table. “I believe in everything I ever did. But I also know that I never would have become moderator on Meet The Press if my employers were uncomfortable with me. And, given the amount of money at stake, millions of dollars, I don’t blame them. This is business.”

The executive agreed. “But are you concerned about losing yourself? You know, selling out?”

Russert pounded the table. “Integrity is for paupers!”

When Tim Russert joined NBC News in 1984, he began a personal transformation from Democratic congressional aide to broadcaster-in-charge of General Electric’s political interests...

...For much of the eighties, Russert coordinated specials on summits and foreign policy related topics. His breakthrough performance occurred in 1990, when he oversaw the production of the prime time special, “A Day In The Life Of President Bush”. The show was so worshipful and fawning that one embarrassed production assistant referred to it as “Deep Throat: The Missing Footage”...[Open in new window]

Kimble: Cyclist deserved to live a full life

Published: 01.24.2008
Melissa Arrington has an inspirational idea for what she wants to do with the rest of her life. Her "sole mission," she said Tuesday, is to start her own organization to warn others about the dangers of drinking and driving.
Kind of like Mothers Against Drunk Driving only better, she explained.
It sounds like a great plan. But it will have to wait until 2018. That's when Arrington will get out of prison - after serving time for killing someone when driving drunk.
I know this sounds cynical, but I doubt Arrington will ever get around to starting her own anti-DUI organization. That she hatched this proposal as part of a leniency plea to her sentencing judge makes me skeptical of her commitment.
Arrington's own experience with such groups has been less than encouraging.
At the time she decided to get extremely drunk, then drove and killed a man, she was on probation with a suspended driver's license for another DUI. As part of her probation, she had recently attended a MADD impact panel meeting, at which she heard people talk about the pain of losing someone to a drunken driver.
She apparently wasn't paying attention. So now she wants to start her own group.
Pima County Superior Court Judge Michael J. Cruikshank listened intently to Arrington on Tuesday as she stood in her orange jail jumpsuit, wrists shackled to her waist, and outlined her plan for a new anti-DUI group.
Then he threw the book at her, sentencing her to 10 1/2 years behind bars.
It's a poor trade of time. Arrington will give up perhaps one-seventh of her life in return for ending the life of a man whom Cruikshank called "an enormously important and unique person in this community."
That man was Paul A. L'Ecuyer.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day - the day before Arrington was sentenced - had been one of the most important days of the year for L'Ecuyer. Every year on the holiday he attended memorial events and handed out copies of a pamphlet that he created and paid to have printed.
The "Personal Mission Statement" that L'Ecuyer distributed included inspirational messages and a couple of blank pages where he encouraged people to "write down your dreams." He hoped everyone would have several ideas they wanted to bring to fruition during their life.
L'Ecuyer had many such dreams. He lived a spartan lifestyle, riding his bicycle everywhere so he'd have more money available to help others. Just a week or so before his death, L'Ecuyer - who had only $600 to his name - spent $150 for a grocery gift card to give to a family on Thanksgiving.
He rode in competitive bicycle races, including El Tour de Tucson, to raise money for charities. He took part in a Tucson-Phoenix bike ride and, when it was canceled, continued it on his own, recruiting friends to ride and solicit pledges.
"He gave every ounce of his energy and every penny he had to try to make life better for himself and others," one of his sisters, Anne, told Cruikshank.
L'Ecuyer excelled in a family of excellers. His older sister, Jeanine, is spokeswoman for Gov. Janet Napolitano. "He was weird and he was wonderful," Jeanine told Cruikshank.
The incident that brought Arrington and the L'Ecuyer family to court happened Dec. 1, 2006. Paul L'Ecuyer was riding his bike home on Old Spanish Trail, south of Saguaro National Park-Rincon Mountain District. It was about 8 p.m. and his bike was well-lit with a flashing light.
Arrington, meanwhile, had been drinking at a bar.
Less than 11 months earlier, she had been arrested and charged with DUI. She was sentenced to two days in jail and 18 months of probation. Her driver's license was revoked.
Nonetheless, on that Friday evening in December 2006, she left the bar to drive home. A woman driving behind her saw her run off the road several times.
On the far East Side, Arrington turned onto Old Spanish Trail. She again drifted off the road several times. The final time, she was so far off the road that she hit L'Ecuyer with the driver's side of her truck as she tried to get back on the pavement.
He was thrown into the bed of her pickup, where he died.
When she was sentenced Tuesday, Arrington received close to the maximum prison time permitted. Cruikshank said that was partially because of the lack of remorse she exhibited in a telephone call from jail two days after the accident.
The call, as are all calls to and from inmates, was taped, and it was played in court at Arrington’s sentencing. On it, a male friend congratulated her on killing L’Ecuyer and told her she deserved “a medal and a f---ing parade because you took out a (slur for a gay person), a cyclist, a tree hugger and a Frenchman in one shot.”
Arrington's response, captured on the tape, was to laugh. Cruikshank called that "breathtaking in its inhumanity."
Now Arrington says she is ready to be remorseful - serving her sentence, turning her life around and working on her idea for her own anti-DUI group.
Pardon me if I don't believe her.
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Thursday, January 24, 2008


Justice Nomination Seen as Snub to Democrats

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department lawyer who wrote a series of classified legal opinions in 2005 authorizing harsh C.I.A. interrogation techniques was renominated by the White House on Wednesday to a senior department post, a move that was seen as a snub to Senate Democrats who have long opposed his appointment.

The lawyer, Steven G. Bradbury, who has run the department’s Office of Legal Counsel without Senate confirmation for more than two years, has been repeatedly nominated to the job of assistant attorney general for legal counsel.

But the earlier nominations stalled in the Senate because of a dispute with the Justice Department over its failure to provide Congress with copies of legal opinions on a variety of terrorism issues. Under Senate rules that place a time limit on nominations, Mr. Bradbury’s earlier nominations expired.

Late last year, Democrats urged the White House to withdraw Mr. Bradbury’s name once and for all and find a new candidate for the post after it was disclosed in news reports in October that he was the author of classified memorandums that gave approval to harsh interrogation techniques, including head slapping, exposure to cold and simulated drowning, even when used in combination...[Open in new window]





Is there anybody who really thinks that this guy isn't drinking?

Anti-Bush campaign planned

By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - A liberal advocacy group plans to spend $8.5 million in a drive to make sure President Bush's public approval doesn't improve as his days in the White House come to an end.

Americans United for Change plans to undertake a yearlong campaign, spending the bulk of the money on advertising, to keep public attention on what the group says are the failures of the Bush administration, including the war in Iraq, the response to Hurricane Katrina, and the current mortgage crisis.

In selling the plan to fundraisers, the group has argued that support for President Reagan was at a low of 42 percent in 1987 but climbed to 63 percent before he left office. "All of a sudden he became a rallying cry for conservatives and their ideology," said Brad Woodhouse, president of the group. "Progressives are still living with that."

The group is a nonprofit corporation that made a splash by airing ads against Bush's plans to overhaul Social Security in 2005. The group has conducted polls and focus groups and is now raising money for their anti-Bush effort. It gave a Power Point presentation to representatives of about 30 liberal and labor organizations last week...[Open in new window]
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Wednesday, January 23, 2008



Click to enlarge
January 28, 2008 Issue
The American Conservative


Found in Translation

FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds spills her secrets.

by Philip Giraldi

Most Americans have never heard of Sibel Edmonds, and if the U.S. government has its way, they never will. The former FBI translator turned whistleblower tells a chilling story of corruption at Washington’s highest levels—sale of nuclear secrets, shielding of terrorist suspects, illegal arms transfers, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, espionage. She may be a first-rate fabulist, but Edmonds’s account is full of dates, places, and names. And if she is to be believed, a treasonous plot to embed moles in American military and nuclear installations and pass sensitive intelligence to Israeli, Pakistani, and Turkish sources was facilitated by figures in the upper echelons of the State and Defense Departments. Her charges could be easily confirmed or dismissed if classified government documents were made available to investigators...

..."The ATC, founded in 1994 and modeled on the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, was intended to promote Turkish interests in Congress and in other public forums. Edmonds refers to ATC and AIPAC as “sister organizations.” The group’s founders include a number of prominent Americans involved in the Israel-Turkey relationship, notably Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, and former congressman Stephen Solarz. Perle and Feith had earlier been registered lobbyists for Turkey through Feith’s company, International Advisors Inc. The FBI was interested in ATC because it suspected that the group derived at least some of its income from drug trafficking, Turkey being the source of 90 percent of the heroin that reaches Europe, and because of reports that it had given congressmen illegal contributions or bribes. Moreover, as Edmonds told the Times, the Turks have “often acted as a conduit for the Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s spy agency, because they were less likely to attract attention.”

Over nearly six months, Edmonds listened with increasing unease to hundreds of intercepted phone calls between Turkish, Pakistani, Israeli, and American officials. When she voiced concerns about the processing of this intelligence—among other irregularities, one of the other translators maintained a friendship with one of the FBI’s “high value” targets—she was threatened. After exhausting all appeals through her own chain of command, Edmonds approached the two Department of Justice agencies with oversight of the FBI and sent faxes to Sens. Chuck Grassley and Patrick Leahy on the Judiciary Committee. The next day, she was called in for a polygraph. According to a DOJ inspector general’s report, the test found that “she was not deceptive in her answers.”

But two weeks later, Edmonds was fired; her home computer was seized; her family in Turkey was visited by police and threatened with arrest if they did not submit to questioning about an unspecified “intelligence matter."...[Open in new window]

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Study: False statements preceded war

By DOUGLASS K. DANIEL, Associated Press Writer 42 minutes ago

A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The study concluded that the statements "were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses."

The study was posted Tuesday on the Web site of the Center for Public Integrity, which worked with the Fund for Independence in Journalism.

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel did not comment on the merits of the study Tuesday night but reiterated the administration's position that the world community viewed Iraq's leader, Saddam Hussein, as a threat.

"The actions taken in 2003 were based on the collective judgment of intelligence agencies around the world," Stanzel said.

The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al-Qaida or both.

"It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al-Qaida," according to Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith of the Fund for Independence in Journalism staff members, writing an overview of the study. "In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003."

Named in the study along with Bush were top officials of the administration during the period studied: Vice President Dick Cheney, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan.

Bush led with 259 false statements, 231 about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 28 about Iraq's links to al-Qaida, the study found. That was second only to Powell's 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq and al-Qaida.

The center said the study was based on a database created with public statements over the two years beginning on Sept. 11, 2001, and information from more than 25 government reports, books, articles, speeches and interviews.

"The cumulative effect of these false statements — amplified by thousands of news stories and broadcasts — was massive, with the media coverage creating an almost impenetrable din for several critical months in the run-up to war," the study concluded.

"Some journalists — indeed, even some entire news organizations — have since acknowledged that their coverage during those prewar months was far too deferential and uncritical. These mea culpas notwithstanding, much of the wall-to-wall media coverage provided additional, 'independent' validation of the Bush administration's false statements about Iraq," it said.

See: THE WAR CARD--Orchestrated Deception on the Path to War: [Open in new window]

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Bush lied, people died. The fuckwit & his crew should all be in jail.



Only John Edwards Can Beat McCain by Dave "Mudcat" Saunders
Posted January 22, 2008 | 06:01 PM (EST)

I'll be 60 eight days before the election in November. This is a bad thing and a good thing. The bad thing is it ain't going to be a real long time before I'm dead. The good thing is I've traveled a few miles and have picked up something along the way, and that something is called "institutional memory".

As I watched news coverage of Monday night's debate, the ever-escalating "I know you are, but what am I?" fight between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton suddenly struck a memory from 28 years back. The feud between Teddy Kennedy and Jimmy Carter rushed into my mind like a horrible memory of an old girlfriend. My recollection of their self-destructive hostilities reminded me how their battles went a long ways toward giving this nation Ronald Reagan.

It was 1980, and the Democratic Party had two supposedly strong national candidates--one an incumbent president, the other a scion of America's national family. They were going up against a Republican Party that was searching for an identity and would go deep on the bench to nominate the host of "Death Valley Days".

I remember this as an election we shouldn't have lost. But as we have done so many times in the past, we Democrats figured out a way to step on our Johnson.

In that 1980 nominating battle, our two candidates went after each other like Sherman went after Georgia. The result? Unbelievably, half of Washington is now named after Ronald Reagan--though I'll still say I'm flying into National Airport until the day the Good Lord or the Devil calls me home.

Surely, I'm not the only one who can see this six-foot rabbit named Harvey. John McCain is going to be the Republican nominee. How do I know? Because "institutional memory" also reminds me that the Democratic Party I love can't count. And regardless of what you think of the Republicans, they can.

It should be clear to anybody with over a 50 IQ that my boy John Edwards, with his combination of red state electoral experience and toughness, is the only candidate who can beat John McCain. Whether you believe polls or not, polls from CNN to Rasmussen say just that.

And it should be equally as clear to anybody with over a 25 IQ that Obama and Clinton are going to render each other totally unelectable against any Republican, especially John McCain, by the time we get to the convention.

All the Republicans have to be loving this. Because the Democrat they don't want to face, John Edwards, is getting sandwiched between the coverage of this murderous cat fight between two so-called "historical" candidates who, when all is said and done, will be just that. HISTORY...[Open in new window]

Monday, January 21, 2008


US President George W. Bush (C) leans over to talk with a girl (R) after Bush participated in a lesson for young children on the importance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day during a tour of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, DC, 21 January 2008. By Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty.

Yuck. Mr. Ultra Cooties

Cheney emails missing from day leak probe started.

Last week, House Oversight Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) revealed that the White House failed to preserve emails for at least 473 separate days. Waxman’s report said “Vice President Cheney’s office showed no electronic messages on 16 occasions from September 2003 to May 2005.” Among the sixteen days for which email are missing from Vice President Cheney’s office “is Sept. 30, 2003, the same day the day the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced they were investigating who outed former CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson.”

UPDATE: CREW has produced a report analyzing the major national news events that were going on around the dates of the missing White House emails...[Open in new window]
Anti-war group says war crimes are "encouraged"
By Brian Dwyer / News 10 Now

WATERTOWN, NY - "I was messed up in the head. It was okay for me. I laughed afterwards. We all did. It's just the way things go." Iraq war veteran Jon Turner said it was almost expected of him to pull the trigger on people who didn't need to die. So he did.

"It was my decision," Turner said. "I made it. Now I have to live with the fact that I still see someone's eyes screaming at me after I shot them." But Turner says it wasn't his choice to be encouraged to do it from higher ranking officers. He and three other veterans speaking out Saturday at the Different Drummer Cafe in Watertown said committing war crimes is not only the way things go, but it's unofficial policy.

"The killing of innocent civilians is policy," veteran Mike Blake said. "It's unit policy and it's Army policy. It's not official policy, but it's what's happens on the ground everyday. It's what unit commanders individually encourage."

The group, part of the national organization called Iraq Veterans Against War are planning an event to be held in Washington, D.C. this coming March called "Winter Soldier" that will have veterans all speaking about war crimes they committed or witnessed during their tours of duty...[Open in new window]

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Click to enlarge





















I got ahold of some publicity stills of the upcoming FOX all-ages, family-friendly show: SWAMP MAYOR.
Surge to Nowhere
Don't buy the hawks' hype. The war may be off the front pages, but Iraq is broken beyond repair, and we still own it.

By Andrew J. Bacevich
Sunday, January 20, 2008; B01

As the fifth anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom nears, the fabulists are again trying to weave their own version of the war. The latest myth is that the "surge" is working.

In President Bush's pithy formulation, the United States is now "kicking ass" in Iraq. The gallant Gen. David Petraeus, having been given the right tools, has performed miracles, redeeming a situation that once appeared hopeless. Sen. John McCain has gone so far as to declare that "we are winning in Iraq." While few others express themselves quite so categorically, McCain's remark captures the essence of the emerging story line: Events have (yet again) reached a turning point. There, at the far end of the tunnel, light flickers. Despite the hand-wringing of the defeatists and naysayers, victory beckons.

From the hallowed halls of the American Enterprise Institute waft facile assurances that all will come out well. AEI's Reuel Marc Gerecht assures us that the moment to acknowledge "democracy's success in Iraq" has arrived. To his colleague Michael Ledeen, the explanation for the turnaround couldn't be clearer: "We were the stronger horse, and the Iraqis recognized it." In an essay entitled "Mission Accomplished" that is being touted by the AEI crowd, Bartle Bull, the foreign editor of the British magazine Prospect, instructs us that "Iraq's biggest questions have been resolved." Violence there "has ceased being political." As a result, whatever mayhem still lingers is "no longer nearly as important as it was." Meanwhile, Frederick W. Kagan, an AEI resident scholar and the arch-advocate of the surge, announces that the "credibility of the prophets of doom" has reached "a low ebb."

Presumably Kagan and his comrades would have us believe that recent events vindicate the prophets who in 2002-03 were promoting preventive war as a key instrument of U.S. policy. By shifting the conversation to tactics, they seek to divert attention from flagrant failures of basic strategy. Yet what exactly has the surge wrought? In substantive terms, the answer is: not much...

...

A nation-building project launched in the confident expectation that the United States would repeat in Iraq the successes it had achieved in Germany and Japan after 1945 instead compares unfavorably with the U.S. response to Hurricane Katrina. Even today, Iraqi electrical generation meets barely half the daily national requirements. Baghdad households now receive power an average of 12 hours each day -- six hours fewer than when Saddam Hussein ruled. Oil production still has not returned to pre-invasion levels. Reports of widespread fraud, waste and sheer ineptitude in the administration of U.S. aid have become so commonplace that they barely last a news cycle. (Recall, for example, the 110,000 AK-47s, 80,000 pistols, 135,000 items of body armor and 115,000 helmets intended for Iraqi security forces that, according to the Government Accountability Office, the Pentagon cannot account for.) U.S. officials repeatedly complain, to little avail, about the paralyzing squabbling inside the Iraqi parliament and the rampant corruption within Iraqi ministries. If a primary function of government is to provide services, then the government of Iraq can hardly be said to exist.

Moreover, recent evidence suggests that the United States is tacitly abandoning its efforts to create a truly functional government in Baghdad. By offering arms and bribes to Sunni insurgents -- an initiative that has been far more important to the temporary reduction in the level of violence than the influx of additional American troops -- U.S. forces have affirmed the fundamental irrelevance of the political apparatus bunkered inside the Green Zone.

Rather than fostering political reconciliation, accommodating Sunni tribal leaders ratifies the ethnic cleansing that resulted from the civil war touched off by the February 2006 bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, a Shiite shrine. That conflict has shredded the fragile connective tissue linking the various elements of Iraqi society; the deals being cut with insurgent factions serve only to ratify that dismal outcome. First Sgt. Richard Meiers of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division got it exactly right: "We're paying them not to blow us up. It looks good right now, but what happens when the money stops?"...[Open in new window]

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I encourage you to read the whole essay. This guy seems to know the shit from the shinola. His books are great too. He'll introduce you to historians you may have never heard of, but should, like Charles A. Beard & William Appleton Williams.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Dennis Kucinich's Fight to Bring Credibility to the Democratic Party

By Chris Hedges, Philadelphia Inquirer. Posted January 19, 2008.

In this interview, the resilient 2008 candidate attacks the "inside game between competing corporate interests" that dominates American politics.


This interview was recently conducted by Chris Hedges at Rep. Dennis Kucinich's Congressional office in Washington.

Chris Hedges: Why has the Democratic Party not done what it should do?

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Lack of commitment to Democratic principles. No understanding of the period of history we're in. Failure to appreciate the necessity of the coequality of Congress. Unwillingness to assert Congressional authority in key areas which makes the people's House paramount to protecting democracy. The institutionalized influence of corporate America through the Democratic leadership council. Those are just a few.

Hedges: Have we evolved into a corporate state?

Kucinich: I Look at it as the political equivalent of genetic engineering. That we've taken the gene of corporate America and shot it into both political parties. So they both now are growing with that essence within. So what does that mean? It means oil runs our politics. Corrupt Wall Street interests run our politics. Insurance companies run our politics. Arms manufacturers run our politics. And the public interest is being strangled. Fulfilling the practical aspirations of people should be our mission. How do we measure up to providing people with jobs? It was a Democratic president that made it possible for NAFTA to be passed, causing millions of good-paying manufacturing jobs that help support the middle class. . . .

NAFTA, GAT, the WTO, China Trade, and every other trade agreement that's passed in Congress has been passed with the help of either the leadership of or with the help of the Democratic Party, knowing that each and every one of those agreements was devoid of protections for workers, knowing that if you don't have workers' rights put into a trade agreement then workers here in the United States are going to see their own bargaining position undermined because corporations can move jobs out of the country to places where workers don't have any rights. They don't have the right to organize, the right to collective bargaining, the right to strike. So what I see is that the Democratic Party abandoned working people, and paradoxically they're the ones who hoist the flag of workers every two and four years only to engender excitement, and then to turn around and abandon their constituency. This is now on the level of a practiced ritual. At least a biannual ceremony, or every two years. So you can see how pernicious this becomes when the minimum wage increase was tied to funding the war. That, to me, says it all. Because it is inevitably the sons and daughters of working Americans that are the ones who are led to slaughter. Aspirations for health care.

...

Hedges: Because the working class has suffered so grievously, why is it that the only mass movement essentially comes from the right, let's say the Christian Right, in terms of grassroots level? Why aren't we seeing a period like the 1930s, where there is a real kind of outrage on the part of the working class?

Kucinich: I think it'll get to that but it's not there yet. First of all, Eric Hoffer . . . understood the power of dogmatism, in terms of mobilizing people. But one can come from a position of love and compassion in being able to mobilize people as well. On higher principles, not along the narrow path that some on the right have chosen.

Hedges: The corporations control the process of communication. I mean you just got shut out of a (Dec. 13) debate -

Kucinich: Yeah, right.

Hedges: - courtesy of Gannett -...[Open in new window]

White House missing CIA, Iraq e-mails

By PETE YOST, Associated Press WriterSat Jan 19, 6:55 AM ET

Apparent gaps in White House e-mail archives coincide with dates in late 2003 and early 2004 when the administration was struggling to deal with the CIA leak investigation and the possibility of a congressional probe into Iraq intelligence failures.

The gaps — 473 days over a period of 20 months — are cited in a chart prepared by White House computer technicians and shared in September with the House Reform and Government Oversight Committee, which has been looking into reports of missing e-mail.

Among the times for which e-mail may not have been archived from Vice President Dick Cheney's office are four days in early October 2003, just as a federal probe was beginning into the leak of Valerie Plame's CIA identity, an inquiry that eventually ensnared Cheney's chief of staff...

...Among the periods of time for which the chart indicates e-mail is missing is a five-day span starting on Jan. 29, 2004, when the White House was dealing with the possibility of an election-year probe by Congress into Iraq intelligence failures.

The chart indicates that e-mail also was not archived by the White House on the following Monday — Feb. 2, 2004 — the day President Bush took a big step in averting what could have been a politically troublesome congressional inquiry. He ordered an independent investigation into intelligence failures in Iraq.

The president conferred that day with former chief weapons inspector David Kay, declaring, "I want to know all the facts."

The commission named by Bush reached a harsh verdict about the U.S. intelligence community's performance, but the panel stopped short of addressing the White House's use of the intelligence data to support the idea of war with Iraq...

...

E-mails in early October 2003 could reveal key discussions between White House personnel in the week after the Justice Department opened a criminal investigation into the leak of Plame's CIA identity. The White House denied that Cheney chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby or top presidential adviser Karl Rove were involved in the leak, an assertion that turned out to be false.

"Can it be a mere coincidence that some of the missing e-mail correspond to a key period during the Valerie Plame investigation?" asked Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "Given everything else we know, that is nearly impossible to believe."...[Open in new window]

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Nixon, Reagan, Bush, Bush--All slime, all the time; all scum everyone.

Conservatism isn't a political position, it's a mental/emotional illness.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


(Republican presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani walks in part of The Three Kings Parade route in the Little Havana section of MIami Sunday, Jan. 13, 2008, as he continues to campaign in Florida.)

Maybe Rudy should lower his sights & run for Mayor of Little Havana or Sheriff.
Pentagon Planted Bogus Iran Speedboat Story

The story was manufactured.

Then the navy disseminated a short video into which was spliced the audio of a phone call warning that US warships would "explode" in "a few seconds". Although it was ostensibly a navy production, Inter Press Service (IPS) has learned that the ultimate decision on its content was made by top officials of the Defense Department.

The bogus story was then planted by the Navy at CNN and CBS.

At 9am, Barbara Starr of CNN reported that "military officials" had told her that the Iranian boats had not only carried out "threatening maneuvers", but had transmitted a message by radio that "I am coming at you" and "you will explode". She reported the dramatic news that the commander of one boat was "in the process of giving the order to shoot when they moved away".

CBS News broadcast a similar story, adding the detail that the Iranian boats "dropped boxes that could have been filled with explosives into the water". Other news outlets carried almost identical accounts of the incident.

The source of this spate of stories can now be identified as Bryan Whitman, the top Pentagon official in charge of media relations, who gave a press briefing for Pentagon correspondents that morning. Although Whitman did offer a few remarks on the record, most of the Whitman briefing was off the record, meaning that he could not be cited as the source.

links and more at: [Open in new window]

Conservative Cultural Supremacism Based In Extreme Insecurity

by: Chris Bowers

Wed Jan 16, 2008 at 18:43:50 PM EST

This sort of post is usually the province of Living Liberally, but as a vegetarian who is oftentimes forced to explain my cultural deviancy, I had to comment on it. House minority leader John Boehner hates food he has never tired before:

Members of Congress returning to the Capitol this week are being confronted by transformational happenings that have shaken the building to its foundations: Democrats have hired a new company to run cafeteria services. Naturally, this has caused an outbreak of partisan skirmishing.

"I like real food," proclaimed Republican leader John Boehner when asked about the new menu by a producer for another cable news outfit. "Food that I can pronounce the name of."

Boehner is now forced to wrap his lips around such phrases as "broccoli rabe and shaved persimmon," "balsamic glazed butternut squash," and "calico pinto beans"...all on this afternoon's menu, along with the downright patriotic "American Regional Yankee Pot Roast," which, even Boehner would have to admit, kind of rolls right off the tongue. On Fridays, there is a real sushi bar tended by a bona fide Japanese sushi chef. Gone are such grade-school cafeteria specialties as Salisbury steak and fried chicken, slathered in gravy and served with a side of chips.

I'm not sure which of these words are beyond Boehner's annunciation capabilities, and perhaps that should have been a question his interviewer posed to him. Also, I'm positive that there were many Democrats who didn't like the food Republicans offered up when they were in the majority, but I don't remember Pelosi holding any press conferences about it. I know I wasn't thrilled with the options in the Congressional cafeteria when I was blogging the Alito hearings. But really, whatever-I'm not going to go crying about it to Fox News. Maybe that is because, unlike conservatives, progressives don't consider it a personal affront if someone's dietary habits are different than their own.

Why does Boehner care so much if the cafeteria food is different from his usual tastes? For that matter, why have conservatives frequently insulted the type of food (sushi-eating), type of coffee (latte-drinking), or type of alcoholic beverages (wine and / or microbrews) that progressives consume? It seems to me that they consider our divergence from their habits to somehow be an insult to them, rather than the outlandish possibility that we just prefer different kinds of food and drinks. Does their intolerance know no bounds? And if they really like the food, coffee and alcoholic beverages you consume, why does it bother them so much that other people have different preferences? That strikes me as a shockingly high level of personal insecurity concerning one's cultural preferences.

This literal distaste for pluralism, coupled with whining over something as petty as personal eating habits, is demonstrative of what has always struck me as the extreme insecurity among conservatives in the cultural realm. That someone even cares what someone else eats is absolutely pathetic. The inability to just live and let live reveals how the conservative cultural supremacist message is based in the highest levels of personal insecurity that one can think of. The fear of gays, of Mexicans, of Muslims, and even of food is infantile in the extreme. Does Boehner need to someone to scare away the unpronouncable words and diverse menu options under his bed at night, too? What else can conservatives fear and hate? Are they going to start holding news conferences about progressives hanging toilet paper the wrong way, too?

For the love of crap, just grow up conservatives. I'm sorry that you can't pronounce complex words like "balsamic" or "calico," but maybe you should take that problem up with your local adult literacy center rather than CNN. Personally, I would find something like that to be too embarrassing to broadcast to the entire nation...[Open in new window]

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


"Compulsive" Republican's Head Examined

Psych review for felon who mailed threats to Olbermann, Stewart

JANUARY 15--The California man (and self-described "compulsive" Republican voter) who sent threatening letters containing a white powder to a variety of public figures he thought were too liberal is being examined by a court-appointed psychiatrist in advance of his sentencing on 14 felony counts. Chad Castagana, 40, was convicted last year of mailing the letters during a two-month period in late-2006.

The missives, sent from Woodland Hills, contained either baking soda, laundry detergent, or Ajax, substances that apparently were meant to be mistaken for anthrax or another deadly agent. As seen in the government trial exhibits on the following pages, Castagana sent threats to, among others, Keith Olbermann, Jon Stewart, media mogul Sumner Redstone, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Castagana referred to Redstone as "Mr. Monopolist" and Pelosi as "Rep. Cuntface."

In one of six letters sent to Stewart, Castagana included a lewd photo of dead tsunami victim captioned, "Fuck your wife." U.S. District Court Judge Florence-Marie Cooper has ordered Castagana to be examined by Dr. Saul Faerstein, a Beverly Hills psychiatrist who will provide the court with his diagnosis of Castagana, along with recommendations regarding treatment and medication.

When he was arrested, Castagana told FBI agents he was a "compulsive voter who votes Republican" and that he did not like the "liberal politics" of the individuals he sent the threat letters, according to a court filing. As he was being driven to jail, however, Castagana's political hard line appeared to evaporate. He commented that he "hoped for a 'liberal judge.' Defendant then added that he thought it was very 'ironic' that he hoped for a liberal judge."...[Open in new window]
For the Blowhards Who Insist It's a Two-Way Race...by David Sirota

For those of you who think the Democratic presidential nomination fight is just a two-way race between Obama and Clinton, check out this brand new poll from the Reno Gazette-Journal [Open in new window]. Yup, that's right - it shows the Nevada caucus race a three-way, dead heat with John Edwards right in the mix.

Interestingly, this poll comes right on the heels of the Establishment viciously ratcheting up its angry attacks on the Edwards candidacy. Late last week, we saw a Reuters story headlined
"Corporate Elite Fear Candidate Edwards" detailing how Wall Street moneymen and K Street lobbyists are frightened about Edwards populist, power-challenging message against greed and corruption. We also saw self-anointed Democratic "expert" Lawrence O'Donnell pen a fulminating screed demanding Edwards get out of the race - not surprising coming from a man who made his name running the U.S. Senate Finance Committee - long the most corrupt, lobbyist-ravaged panel in all of Washington (somehow, running the U.S. Congress's version of a pay-to-play casino now makes people credile "experts" in campaign strategy and political morality).

According to the nonpartisan Project for Excellence in Journalism, Edwards has long faced a media blackout - one that at least some honest media brokers like Keith Olbermann have noted. As I said a long time ago, that Edwards has even been able to compete in such a hostile environment is a testament to the power of his message.

The question we should ask is what the hostility and media blackout is really all about? I'd say the media's behavior is motivated by the same impulses that moves lobbyists to whine and cry to Reuters and self-important bloviators like O'Donnell to publicly burst a blood vessel on the Huffington Post - the people who have gotten used to the status quo are truly terrified by any candidates who they really believe will change things and threaten their power and status. Edwards is just such a candidate - one who threatens to muck up what the media and political elite want to be a race between two "nonthreatening," Wall Street-approved candidates. Obviously, it's a three-way race at this very moment - whether the Establishment likes that or not.

Let me conclude by saying I have no idea if the Gazette-Journal poll is accurate and/or whether Edwards will win Nevada (or any other state). Unlike most reporters, I don't spend my time covering the horse race, nor judging the candidates' viability only on the grounds of how much corporate cash they've been able to vacuum in. I spend my time trying to figure out which of these candidates represent the most fundamental form of change. One of the ways to judge that is to see who these candidates make uncomfortable. And by that measure, here's what I know: Edwards is generating hostility from precisely the kinds of people who are likely to be most averse to real, systemic change. And that speaks very well for the former senator from North Carolina...[Open in new window]