Monday, March 31, 2008


Liberty City terror retrial going to the jury

Having already sparred over the same evidence during the first trial last year, the prosecution and defense each made sharper arguments in the retrial of a Miami group accused of plotting with al Qaeda to overthrow the United States...

...Did the Liberty City group intend to join with the terrorist organization in a plot to blow up FBI buildings and Chicago's Sears Tower? Or were the six men trying to con money out of an FBI informant posing as an al Qaeda operative who set them up?...

...The case of the Liberty City group made headlines across the country in June 2006 when the FBI arrested the original seven suspects. The Bush administration trumpeted their arrests as ``yet another important victory in the war on terrorism.''

Yet the prosecution -- relying on FBI wiretaps, phone recordings and videotapes of mainly Batiste, the group's ringleader -- has struggled to prove a crime was committed by true terrorists...[Open in new window]

Sunday, March 30, 2008


F1 boss Max Mosley has sick Nazi orgy with 5 hookers

Son of fascist Hitler lover in sex shame


FORMULA One motor racing chief Max Mosley is today exposed as a secret sado-masochist sex pervert.

The son of infamous British wartime fascist leader Oswald Mosley is filmed romping with five hookers at a depraved NAZI-STYLE orgy in a torture dungeon. Mosley— a friend to F1 big names like Bernie Ecclestone and Lewis Hamilton— barks ORDERS in GERMAN as he lashes girls wearing mock DEATH CAMP uniforms and enjoys being whipped until he BLEEDS.

The multi-millionaire son of Sir Oswald, who was a pal of Adolf Hitler, plays a concentration camp commandant in a FIVE-HOUR torture chamber video.

Mosley—the most powerful man in motor-racing—barks orders in German as he WHIPS two hookers dressed in striped uniforms reminiscent of AUSCHWITZ garb while girls in Nazi uniforms look on.

At one point the wrinkled 67-year-old—who publicly likes to give the impression he has put his father's evil legacy behind him—yells "she needs more of ze punishment!" while brandishing a LEATHER STRAP over a brunette's naked bottom.

Then the lashes rain down as Mosley counts them out in German: "Eins! Zwei! Drei! Vier! Fünf! Sechs!"...[Open in new window]

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When you're looking for real sleaze you can't beat the Brits.

Bush was showered by boos

President Bush delivered the first pitch tonight at the new Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. to a resounding chorus of boos. After being announced, Bush was showered by boos as he strode to the mound. Even after delivering the pitch, the jeering did not let up until Bush disappeared from the field.
http://thinkprogress.org/#21030

Here's the youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHUAsTrl4JI


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Five Things You Need to Know

To Understand The Latest Violence in Iraq

By Joshua Holland and Raed Jarrar

29/03/08 "AlterNet" -- - Heavy fighting has spread across Shia-dominated enclaves in Iraq over the past two days. The U.S.-backed regime of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has ordered 50,000 Iraqi troops to "crack down" -- with coalition air support -- on Shiite militias in the oil-rich and strategically important city of Basra, U.S. forces have surrounded Baghdad's Sadr City and fighting has been reported in the southern cities of Kut, Diwaniya, Karbala and Hilla. Basra's main bridge and an oil pipeline connecting it to Amara were destroyed Wednesday. Six cities are under curfew, and acts of civil disobedience have shut down dozens of neighborhoods across the country. Civilian casualties have reportedly overwhelmed poorly equipped medical centers in Baghdad and Basra.

There are indications that the unilateral ceasefire declared last year by the nationalist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is collapsing. "The cease-fire is over; we have been told to fight the Americans," one militiaman loyal to al-Sadr told the Christian Science Monitor's Sam Dagher by telephone from Sadr City. Dagher added that the "same man, when interviewed in January, had stated that he was abiding by the cease-fire and that he was keeping busy running his cellular phone store."

A political track is also in play: Sadr has called on his followers to take to the streets to demand Maliki's resignation, and nationalist lawmakers in the Iraqi Parliament, led by al-Sadr's block, are trying to push a no-confidence vote challenging the prime minister's regime.

The conflict is one that the U.S. media appears incapable of describing in a coherent way. The prevailing narrative is that Basra has been ruled by mafialike militias -- which is true -- and that Iraqi government forces are now cracking down on the lawlessness in preparation for regional elections, which is not...[Open in new window]

Hello and Welcome to THE REALIST ARCHIVE PROJECT
an authorized and complete republishing of all 146 issues of Paul Krassner's Classic and Uncompromising The Realist Magazine

http://www.ep.tc/realist /

Investigative satire at it's finest.


Spacey to star in HBO's 'Recount'

Leary, Dern, Hurt also join election drama

By MICHAEL FLEMING

Kevin Spacey, Laura Dern, Denis Leary, John Hurt, Tom Wilkinson, Ed Begley Jr. and Bob Balaban will star in HBO Films' "Recount," the drama about the Florida results in the 2000 presidential election.

Jay Roach is directing a script written by Danny Strong.

"Recount," which will begin shooting next month in Florida, will air during the heat of the presidential campaign in 2008.

Spacey stars as Ron Klain, former chief of staff to vice president Al Gore and one of the lead attorneys who challenged the voting results in Florida.

Dern plays Katherine Harris, the secretary of state of Florida who became the center of controversy when she certified that George W. Bush had won the state...[Open in new window]

Snopes is the antidote to right wingnut lies. They fill the airwaves & your email inbox. Get Snopes, folks & watch the little buggers scatter.

Did you know: US active military deaths were actually HIGHER under Clinton than under GWB?
http://www.snopes.com/politics/military/deaths.asp

Barack Obama's family includes a jailbird, a crack addict, a fugitive, a gay porn star, and PEOPLE WHO WEAR DASHIKIS!!!!
http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/familyphoto.asp

Barack Obama is inviting Americans to take "the greatest nation in the history of the world"...and CHANGE that!
http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/change.asp

Homer Hickham (author of Rocket Boys) is afraid that if "Hilly or the Muslim lawn jockey" become president, they will scrap military programs and begin baking cookies for the enemy!
http://www.snopes.com/politics/quotes/hickam.asp

Barack Obama's 2007 Selma speech was full of self-serving anachronisms!
http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/saywhat.asp

Terrorists are making "dry runs" for future attacks on America by text-messaging each other in movie theaters! Be afraid, be very afraid!
http://www.snopes.com/rumors/atonement.asp

Barack Obama has received the KKK's endorsement for President, because they would rather have a black man than "that crazy ass bitch"!
http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/kkk.asp

Students who are not even US citizens, including illegal immigrants, are getting Pell Grants for their education, while citizens are not!
http://www.snopes.com/politics/immigration/pellgrant.as...
Bush's mess grows in Iraq

ANN MCFEATTERS
GUEST COLUMNIST

WASHINGTON -- We were rudely reminded the other day that President Bush is still in office.

While we were worrying about Barack Obama's relationship with his strange preacher, Hillary Rodham Clinton's strange misremembering about being under sniper fire in the Balkans when she clearly was not, and whether John McCain wants to bomb Iran, Bush was trying to figure out how to mark -- celebrate? -- the five-year anniversary of the Iraq War.

He went to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, the state that gave him the margin of victory in 2004, and said it is hard to believe that it was "only five years ago" that the United States toppled Saddam Hussein. World War II ended sooner than that.

As economists debate whether the war will cost one, two or three trillion dollars, the 4,000 U.S. soldiers who have died in Iraq have not died in vain, he insisted.

The reason they have not, and the reason why more Americans will die, is to show the world that freedom can flourish in Iraq, he said, although the level of democracy in Iraq is highly debatable.

Even as Bush was speaking of the great progress in Iraq, U.S. diplomats were told to take cover in Baghdad and not to leave reinforced structures because of insurgent rocket and mortar fire. A curfew was set for the coming weekend...[Open in new window]

Iraq: No light at the end of the tunnel

CARL HIAASEN
Miami Herald

On the five-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, President Bush declared that the United States is on the way to winning the war.

He made this stupefying pronouncement in the safe confines of the Pentagon, where it's unacceptable to question the commander-in-chief, no matter how dense or self-deluded he might be.

If Bush had dared to make the same speech in a public town hall, among civilians, the reception would have been chillier. According to almost every opinion poll, about two-thirds of all Americans now stand opposed to the war in Iraq. When reminded last week of this statistic, Vice President Dick Cheney responded: "So?"

Bush sent Cheney to Baghdad to mark the dubious anniversary of their costly, misbegotten adventure. What better way to buoy the spirits of the 160,000 U.S. soldiers who are now stuck in Iraq - a surprise visit by The Man Who's Never Been Right.

True to form, the vice president repeated his dark assertion that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had close ties with al-Qaida, a claim discredited and rejected by every U.S. intelligence agency.

Cheney also described the American effort to bring stability and democracy to Iraq as "a successful endeavor." Compared to what - the landing of the Hindenburg?...
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Friday, March 28, 2008


http://www.theonion.com/content/news_briefs/fearmongers...
Fearmongers, Warmongers Gather For Annual Mongering Conference
WASHINGTON—Approximately 550 mongers in the fields of war, hate, and fear mongered together at the Washington D.C. Marriott last week as part of the 34th annual mongering conference. According an itinerary released by the National Mongering Council, the three-day summit featured monger-building activities from 9 a.m. to noon, optional night-mongering seminars, and three meals a day to promote social mongering. "This is the greatest collection of mongering minds in our generation, making the conference a prime target for any number of horrific biological and terrorist attacks," fearmonger Gerald Sachs mongered. "Of course, with the current political and social climate, the main question is whether next year will be anywhere near as mongerly." None in attendance could confirm whether they would be present at next week's fish- and whoremongering conference in El Paso, TX.

Fox on the Run


On super Tuesday, Bush's former brain, Karl Rove, debuted on Fox News Channel as a political analyst. Genteel, wry and armed with terabytes of political minutiae, he won critical raves. ("One of the best things in television news right now," said the New York Times, the equivalent of a Westminster Dog Show hopeful getting endorsed by Cat Fancy.) But there was something poignantly valedictory about the old warrior playing referee: the lion, if not in winter, then in a petting zoo.

You could say the same thing lately for Fox News Channel itself. Fox hasn't gone soft, but from watching its coverage lately, I get a sense that the haven for conservative hosts, and viewers alienated by liberal news, needs to figure out its next act. Fox News is not simply a mouthpiece for the Bush White House: it rose with Bush after 2000 and 9/11, was played on TVs in his White House and reflected the same surety and flag-lapel-pin confidence in its tone and star-spangled look. It was not just a hit; it was the network of the moment.

Now, with two Democrats locked in what seems like a general-election campaign and lame-duck Bush fading from the headlines, it has to figure out how not to seem like yesterday's news. At times recently, the network has appeared uncertain about its focus. Its primary-night coverage has felt staid and listless. Sometimes it has gone tabloid with celebrity-news, true-crime and scandal stories (WEBSITES POSTING SEXY PICS LIFTED FROM FACEBOOK). At other times it has retreated into a kind of war-on-terrorism news-talgia, playing up threatening chatter and new missives from al-Qaeda leaders while its rivals are doing the election 24/7; flipping to Fox can feel like time-traveling to 2002.

Fox is still the top-rated news channel, but there are signs it's plateauing. Its ratings started to lag in 2006, and in February, CNN's prime time (boosted by several presidential debates) beat Fox among 25-to-54-year-olds for the first time since 2001. (CNN and TIME are owned by Time Warner.) Maybe even more galling, the network has lately faded in the ephemeral category of buzz. MSNBC--with far fewer viewers--has been the political-media obsession of the 2008 primary, largely because of feuds between the Clinton campaign and the network for its perceived pro-Obama bias.

Ratings shmatings: if a Rupert Murdoch network cannot dominate the field of ticking off the Clintons, that has to sting.

Now let's not jump the gun. Somewhere in a cabinet at Fox headquarters, there must be a bulging file of the premature obituaries written for it. Fox debuted in 1996 and quickly flourished in the Clinton era. After Bush won, some thought the channel--and Rush Limbaugh et al.--would suffer from an outrage deficit.

Not exactly! Instead, it adopted a sexy, muscular triumphalism through 9/11 and Iraq. It wasn't just the politics; it was the aesthetics. News on Fox looks like a video game, full of bluster, blondes and blaring graphics. Ideology aside, Fox makes the news urgent, even when nothing's going on.

But for better or for worse, Fox became the signal cultural artifact of the Bush era...[Open in new window]

Editor’s Note: There was a time when PBS and NPR had a much deeper commitment to the public good, taking on difficult or controversial topics – like apartheid in South Africa or the Iran-Contra lawlessness of the Reagan years – when the corporate news media shied away.

But a sustained right-wing strategy to pressure their government subsidies has had a telling effect, as PBS and NPR serve up thinner and thinner journalistic gruel, more to the liking of the powers-that-be. In this guest essay, media critic Norman Solomon observes this tedious pattern at NPR:

Such flat-out statements, uttered with journalistic tones and without attribution, are routine for the U.S. media establishment.

In the "War Made Easy" documentary film, I put it this way: "If you're pro-war, you're objective. But if you're antiwar, you're biased. And often, a news anchor will get no flak at all for making statements that are supportive of a war and wouldn't dream of making a statement that's against a war."

So it goes at NPR News, where - on "Morning Edition" as well as the evening program "All Things Considered" - the sense and sensibilities tend to be neatly aligned with the outlooks of official Washington.

The critical aspects of reporting largely amount to complaints about policy shortcomings that are tactical; the underlying and shared assumptions are imperial. Washington's prerogatives are evident when the media window on the world is tinted red, white and blue...[Open in new window]

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bush: Iraq is returning to normal

Warren P. Strobel and David Lightman | McClatchy Newspapers

last updated: March 27, 2008 09:04:51 PM

WASHINGTON — President Bush, saying that "normalcy is returning back to Iraq," argued Thursday that last year's U.S. troop "surge" has improved Iraq's security to the point where political and economic progress are blossoming as well.

Bush coupled his description of the situation in Iraq, meant to lay the groundwork for next month's report to Congress by U.S. military and diplomatic chiefs, with a forceful slap at war critics.

"Some ... seem unwilling to acknowledge that progress is taking place," Bush said in a speech at the U.S. Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. He accused war opponents of constantly shifting their critique, adding: "No matter what shortcomings these critics diagnose, their prescription is always the same — retreat."

In touting progress in Iraq, however, the president appeared to gloss over developments that most would characterize as a far cry from "normalcy," even by Iraqi standards...[Open in new window]
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Think of the news coming out of Iraq over the last 48 hours & then think of this lunatic making this speech.

He's so disconnected from reality. He should be relieved of duty. It's a sick joke. Like DR. STRANGELOVE. But it's not a movie. It's here & now.

People voted for this guy. Why?
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ABC:Two Guns Used in RFK Assassination, Experts Say

Two forensic scientists have added their names to the list of people who don't believe Sirhan Sirhan acted alone when he shot Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy in 1968.

But doubts lingered and conspiracy theories took root that perhaps others were involved in Kennedy's death.

In their new book, "An Open and Shut Case," Robert Joling and Philip Van Praag say that after analyzing audio recordings of the assassination they concluded that at least 13 shots were fired. But the handgun Sirhan used only had the capacity to fire eight shots.

The critical piece of evidence, they say, is an audiotape recorded by a journalist who was traveling with Kennedy.


They also believe that the bullet that likely killed Kennedy entered from the back of his head and pierced his brain. Sirhan is believed to have fired his weapon as he faced the candidate.

"It can be established conclusively that Sirhan did not shoot Senator Kennedy. And in fact not only did he not do it, he could not have done it," Joling said. ...[Open in new window]

Editor’s Note: Whenever the Republicans have a touchy national-security scandal to put to rest, their favorite Democratic investigator is Lee Hamilton. Over the years, Hamilton has developed a reputation as a very reasonable fellow who knows how far he can go without ruffling too many important feathers.

Hamilton’s carefully honed skill for balancing truth against political comity has elevated him to the status of a Washington Wise Man. In this guest essay, however, Jerry Meldon suggests that attendees at a Tufts conference on the Middle East might want to ask Hamilton about his past compromises with history.

(Plus, at the end of the essay, you may want to read an addendum from reporter Robert Parry on two questions that might be posed to Hamilton about decisions he made in wrapping up the so-called “October Surprise” case):

He probably would prefer not to revisit fateful decisions he made while chairing investigations into Republican dirty work, especially those that let George H.W. Bush off the hook and cleared George W. Bush's path to the White House.

As veteran journalist Robert Parry has persuasively argued at Consortiumnews.com, the Bush family name squeaked through the 80’s and early 90’s essentially mud-free, only because:

--On Christmas Eve 1992, lame-duck President George H.W. Bush pardoned six of his earlier co-conspirators in the Iran-Contra affair (the Reagan-Bush White House’s diversion of profits from illegal arms sales to Iran to bankroll Nicaragua’s contra terrorists in defiance of a congressional ban). Until he was pardoned that day, former Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger might have bought clemency by testifying against co-conspirator Bush.

-- After Bush left office on Jan. 20, 1993, President Bill Clinton (along with other senior Democrats, including Hamilton) cut short a congressional inquiry into Bush’s secret billion-dollar loans to Saddam Hussein and did nothing to help Special Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh penetrate the Iran-Contra cover-up.

--Hamilton also soft-pedaled two key congressional inquiries. The first investigated the Iran-Contra scandal in 1987 and the second examined allegations that the 1980 Reagan-Bush campaign team had struck a treasonous deal with the hostage-holding Iranian government while Jimmy Carter was still president.

Conventional wisdom has attributed the target-friendliness of those latter investigations to Mr. Hamilton's celebrated spirit of bipartisanship.

After all, what else could have persuaded Hamilton to narrow the scope of the Iran-Contra investigation in order to placate Dick Cheney and the rest of the committee's Republicans, if not his desire to appear bipartisan?


And how else to explain Hamilton’s ill-advised decision to join with the panel’s Republicans (in defiance of all but one other Democrat) and immunize the testimony of a man on whom it had the goods, Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North (whose operations in the Old Executive Office Building had been exposed by reporter Parry in 1985-86)?

Thus emboldened, the cocky Col. North proceeded to cover up for then-Vice President Bush, and North was spared a felony record because his later criminal conviction was reversed because of his immunized testimony, which Hamilton had helped arrange.

Hamilton’s Iran-Contra performance was troubling. But he went several steps further when he chaired the October Surprise Task Force and handed the Reagan-Bush administration a deck full of get-out-of-jail-free cards.

In the lead-up to the 1980 election, Republicans feared that Jimmy Carter would pull off an "October Surprise" and talk the Iranians into releasing 52 American hostages...[Open in new window]

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Oliver Stone on his forthcoming 'Dumbya' biopic: "...from an alcoholic bum to the most powerful figure in the world"

"It's a behind-the-scenes approach, similar to 'Nixon,' to give a sense of what it's like to be in his skin," Stone told Daily Variety. "But if 'Nixon' was a symphony, this is more like a chamber piece, and not as dark in tone. People have turned my political ideas into a cliche, but that is superficial. I'm a dramatist who is interested in people, and I have empathy for Bush as a human being, much the same as I did for Castro, Nixon, Jim Morrison, Jim Garrison and Alexander the Great."

Stone declined to give his personal opinion of the president.

"I can't give you that, because the filmmaker has to hide in the work," Stone said. "Here, I'm the referee, and I want a fair, true portrait of the man. How did Bush go from an alcoholic bum to the most powerful figure in the world? It's like Frank Capra territory on one hand, but I'll also cover the demons in his private life, his bouts with his dad and his conversion to Christianity, which explains a lot of where he is coming from. It includes his belief that God personally chose him to be president of the United States, and his coming into his own with the stunning, preemptive attack on Iraq. It will contain surprises for Bush supporters and his detractors."...[Open in new window]

Why we should fear a McCain presidency

By Anatol Lieven

Published: March 24 2008 19:12 | Last updated: March 25 2008 16:27

It may seem incredible to say this, given past experience, but a few years from now Europe and the world could be looking back at the Bush administration with nostalgia. This possibility will arise if the US elects Senator John McCain as president in November.

Over the years the US has inserted itself into potential flashpoints in different parts of the world. The Republican party is now about to put forward a natural incendiary as the man to deal with those flashpoints.

The problem that Mr McCain poses stems from his ideology, his policies and above all his personality. His ideology, like that of his chief advisers, is neo-conservative. In the past, Mr McCain was considered to be an old-style conservative realist. Today, the role of the realists on his team is merely decorative.

Driven in part by his intense commitment to the Iraq war, Mr McCain has relied more on neo-conservatives such as his close friend William Kristol, the Weekly Standard editor. His chief foreign policy adviser is Randy Scheunemann, another leading neo-conservative and a founder of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. Mr McCain shares their belief in what Mr Kristol has called “national greatness conservatism”. In 1999, Mr McCain declared: “The US is the indispensable nation because we have proven to be the greatest force for good in human history . . . We have every intention of continuing to use our primacy in world affairs for humanity’s benefit.” ...[Open in new window]

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Fighting Words: How to Humiliate -- and Convert -- a Right-Winger

By John Dolan, AlterNet. Posted March 25, 2008.

Drop the condescending "populist" talk and get mean.


I'd like to suggest a very simple strategy for American liberals: Get mean. Stop policing the language and start using it to hurt our enemies. American liberals are so busy purging their speech of any words that might offend anyone that they have no notion of using language to cause some salutary pain.

Why, for example, not popularize slogans that mock the Bush loyalists as "suckers"? Something like, "There are two kinds of Republicans: millionaires and suckers." Put that on a few bumper stickers and I guarantee a lot of "South Park Republicans" will quit the GOP. They just smirk when you tsk-tsk at them for being disrespectful. They want to be disrespectful; every normal young male wants to be.

And this, of course, brings up a big issue: At some point liberal writers are going to have to decide if it's OK to be young and male at all. For better or for worse, millions of American men hold on to playground ethics long after they leave elementary school. For most of them, the 2004 election came down to a classic playground scene: Would John Kerry defend himself when attacked by bullies? Liberals, still stunned by the way a legitimate combat vet like Kerry was beaten by a combat-dodging spoiled brat like Bush, never understood that for millions of voters, the question wasn't how well Kerry fought in Vietnam but whether he would fight in 2004.

Would he defend himself when called out by the gang of disgusting bullies Bush had gathered around himself? It would have been so simple, so glorious, if he'd just turned on his accusers and reacted like a human being: "You're questioning my record on behalf of a skunk like Bush who spent the war with the Alabama National Guard, and then went AWOL from the Guard?"

Millions of American voters were waiting, hoping Kerry would react like any sane person would have. He never did. I don't know why not; I assume he was in the hands of some Clinton gurus who babbled about "rising above the fray." Well, that sure worked well. ............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.alternet.org/mediaculture/80507 /
http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=the_obama_d...

The Obama Doctrine

Barack Obama is offering the most sweeping liberal foreign-policy critique we've heard from a serious presidential contender in decades. But will voters buy it?

Spencer Ackerman | March 24, 2008


When Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama met in California for the Jan. 31 debate, their back-and-forth resembled their many previous encounters, with the Democratic presidential hopefuls scrambling for the small policy yardage between them. And then Obama said something about the Iraq War that wasn't incremental at all. "I don't want to just end the war," he said, "but I want to end the mind-set that got us into war in the first place."

Until this point in the primaries, Clinton and Obama had sounded very similar on this issue. Despite their differences in the past (Obama opposed the war, while Clinton voted for it), both were calling for major troop withdrawals, with some residual force left behind to hedge against catastrophe. But Obama's concise declaration of intent at the debate upended this assumption. Clinton stumbled to find a counterargument, eventually saying her vote in October 2002 "was not authority for a pre-emptive war." Then she questioned Obama's ability to lead, saying that the Democratic nominee must have "the necessary credentials and gravitas for commander in chief."

If Clinton's response on Iraq sounds familiar, that's because it's structurally identical to the defensive crouch John Kerry assumed in 2004: Voting against the war wasn't a mistake; the mistakes were all George W. Bush's, and bringing the war to a responsible conclusion requires a wise man or woman with military credibility. In that debate, Obama offered an alternative path. Ending the war is only the first step. After we're out of Iraq, a corrosive mind-set will still be infecting the foreign-policy establishment and the body politic. That rot must be eliminated.

Obama is offering the most sweeping liberal foreign-policy critique we've heard from a serious presidential contender in decades. It cuts to the heart of traditional Democratic timidity. "It's time to reject the counsel that says the American people would rather have someone who is strong and wrong than someone who is weak and right," Obama said in a January speech. "It's time to say that we are the party that is going to be strong and right." (The Democrat who counseled that Americans wanted someone strong and wrong, not weak and right? That was Bill Clinton in 2002.)

Monday, March 24, 2008


Critical cease-fire in Iraq unravels as U.S. death toll mounts


By Leila Fadel and Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers
Mon Mar 24, 8:19 PM ET

BAGHDAD — A cease-fire critical to the improved security situation in Iraq appeared to unravel Monday when a militia loyal to radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al Sadr began shutting down neighborhoods in west Baghdad and issuing demands of the central government...[Open in new window]

...meanwhile in another part of the forest...

McCain says US succeeding in Iraq

By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer 15 minutes ago

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - Fresh off his eighth Iraq visit, Sen. John McCain declared Monday that "we are succeeding" and said he wouldn't change course — even as the U.S. death toll rose to 4,000 and the war entered its sixth year...[Open in new window]

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McSame...




Neo Nazi/White Supremacist Hal Turner Confirms Friendship And Kinship With Sean Hannity

Earlier in the week, Sean Hannity denied, albeit in contradictory terms, ever having a relationship with neo Nazi/white supremacist Hal Turner. As I posted the night Hannity was confronted about Turner, the evidence conflicts with Hanniy’s claims. Now Turner has confirmed their friendship and their sympatico views in a blog post called, “About Sean Hannity and Me. . . . . Yes, we were friends and yes, Sean agreed with some of my views.”

--
In his post (Warning: not for the faint of heart) that reveals just what kind of guy he is, Turner writes:

In my opinion, based on my first hand experience, I believe Sean Hannity is, in fact, a Hal Turner sort of guy. It seems to me that a big difference between Sean and me is that I am willing to say publicly what I think about savage Black criminals, diseased, uneducated illegal aliens and the grotesque cultural destruction wrought by satanic jews while Sean and many others keep quiet to protect their paychecks.

We have cited many times an article in The Nation as evidence that Turner and Hannity were palsy. In his post, Turner calls the author, Max Blumenthal, a “douche bag sodomite,” but Blumenthal’s account is essentially confirmed by Turner’s:

I was quite disappointed when Sean Hannity at first tried to say he didn't know me and then went on to say that I ran some senate campaign in New Jersey. In fact, Sean Hannity does know me and we were quite friendly a number of years ago.

…When Hannity took over Bob Grant's spot on 77 WABC in New York City, I was a well-known, regular and welcome caller to his show. Through those calls, Sean and I got to know each other a bit and at some point, I can't remember exactly when, Sean gave me the secret "Guest call-in number" at WABC so that my calls could always get on the air.

When I utlized that call-in number, Sean would very often come onto that line during commercial breaks so we could chat before I went on the air. Our off-the-air chats grew to an exchange of other phone numbers, me giving Sean my home and cellular number and Sean giving me his direct dial-in number at Fox News channel...[Open in new window]
press release

ON FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF IRAQ INVASION FRONTLINE PRESENTS DEFINITIVE CHRONICLE OF BUSH'S WAR ON TERROR

FRONTLINE presents
BUSH'S WAR
March 24 & 25, 2008, at 9 P.M. ET on PBS

From the horror of 9/11 to the invasion of Iraq; the truth about WMD to the rise of an insurgency; the scandal of Abu Ghraib to the strategy of the surge -- for six years, FRONTLINE has revealed the defining stories of the war on terror in meticulous detail, and the political dramas that played out at the highest levels of power and influence.

Now, on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, the full saga unfolds in the two-part FRONTLINE special Bush's War, airing Monday, March 24, 2008, from 9 to 11:30 P.M. and Tuesday, March 25, from 9 to 11 P.M. ET on PBS (check local listings). Veteran FRONTLINE producer Michael Kirk (The Lost Year in Iraq, The Dark Side) draws on one of the richest archives in broadcast journalism -- more than 40 FRONTLINE reports on the war on terror. Combined with fresh reporting and new interviews, Bush's War will be the definitive documentary analysis of one of the most challenging periods in the nation's history.

"Parts of this history have been told before," Kirk says. "But no one has laid out the entire narrative to reveal in one epic story the scope and detail of how this war began and how it has been fought, both on the ground and deep inside the government."

Since the war on terror began, FRONTLINE's award-winning reporting has gone behind the headlines to connect the dots and reveal the true story of an administration at war with itself over how to respond to the devastating 9/11 attacks.

In the fall of 2001, even as America was waging a war in Afghanistan, another hidden war was being waged inside the administration. Part 1 of Bush's War, airing Monday, March 24, from 9 to 11:30 P.M. ET, tells the story of this behind-the-scenes battle over whether Iraq would be the next target in the war on terror.

On one side, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet squared off against Vice President Dick Cheney and his longtime ally, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The battles were over policy -- whether to attack Iraq; the role of Iraqi exile Ahmad Chalabi; how to treat detainees; whether to seek United Nations resolutions; and the value of intelligence suggesting a connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks -- but the conflict was deeply personal.

"Friendships were dashed," Powell's deputy Richard Armitage tells FRONTLINE. As the war within the administration heated up, Armitage and Powell concluded that they were being shut out of key decisions by Cheney and Rumsfeld. "The battle of ideas, you generally come up with the best solution. When somebody hijacks the system, then, just like a hijacked airplane, very often no good comes of it," Armitage adds.

Others inside the administration believe they understand the motivation behind some of the vice president's actions. "I think the vice president felt he kind of looked death in the eye on 9/11," former White House counterterrorism coordinator Richard Clarke says. "Three thousand Americans died. The building that the vice president used to work in blew up, and people died there. This was a cold slap in the face. This is a different world you're living in now. And the enemy's still out there, and the enemy could come after you. That does cause you to think [about] things differently."

More than anything else, the Iraq war will be the lasting legacy of the Bush presidency. Part 2 of Bush's War, airing Tuesday, March 25, from 9 to 11p.m. ET, examines that war -- beginning with the quick American victory in Iraq, the early mistakes that were made, and then recounting the story of how chaos, looting and violence quickly engulfed the country.

As American forces realized they were unprepared for the looting that followed the invasion, plans for a swift withdrawal of troops were put on hold. With only a few weeks' preparation, American administrator L. Paul Bremer was sent to find a political solution to a rapidly deteriorating situation. Bremer's first moves were to disband the Iraqi military and remove members of Saddam Hussein's party from the government. They were decisions that the original head of reconstruction, Gen. Jay Garner (Ret.), begged Bremer to reconsider at the time. Now they are seen by others as one of the first in a series of missteps that would lead Iraq into a full-blown insurgency.

But Bremer has his defenders: "We believed, Bremer believed, and I think the leadership in Washington believed that it was very important to demonstrate to the Iraqi people that whatever else was going to happen, Saddam and his cronies were not coming back," Walter Slocombe, the national security adviser to Bremer, tells FRONTLINE.

Garner was not the only one on the outside. As senior officials complained about inattention at the top, Gen. Tommy Franks and his deputy, Gen. Michael DeLong -- the generals who had planned the war -- found that decisions were being made without them as well.

"All the recommendations that we were making now in the Phase IV part weren't being taken -- weren't being taken by Bremer or Rumsfeld," DeLong tells FRONTLINE. "That's when Franks said, 'I'm done.' They said, 'Well, you'll be chief of staff of the Army.' He said, 'No, I'm done.'"

What followed is well documented: insurgency, sectarian strife, prisoner abuse and growing casualties. But within the administration, a new battle over strategy was being fought -- this one between a new secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. The clash between America's top diplomat and its chief defense official would go on for more than two years and be settled only after the Republican loss in the 2006 congressional elections. It was then that the president forced Rumsfeld out, ended his strategy of slow withdrawal and ordered a surge of troops. FRONTLINE goes behind closed doors to tell the most recent chapter in this ongoing story, and asks what Bush will leave for a new U.S. president both in Iraq and in the larger war on terror.


Sunday, March 23, 2008


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The Ants of Gaia
It’s only the end of the world, so quit bitching

(Editor's Note: Joe first submitted this story July 3, 2007)

Joe Bageant -- World News Trust

The power of population is so superior to the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race. The vices of mankind are active and able ministers of depopulation. They are the precursors in the great army of destruction, and often finish the dreadful work themselves. But should they fail in this war of extermination, sickly seasons, epidemics, pestilence, and plague advance in terrific array, and sweep off their thousands and tens of thousands. Should success be still incomplete, gigantic inevitable famine stalks in the rear, and with one mighty blow levels the population with the food of the world. --Thomas Malthus-1798

As a small boy, I once transferred most of an anthill population from its natural digs in our front yard to a gallon jar of fresh dirt, sprinkled it with a little sugar (in the cartoons ants are always freaks for sugar, right?) and then left the ants on their own. Of course the day came when all I had was a jar full of dry earth, ant shit and the desolation of their parched little carcasses. I’d guess that it was the lack of water that finally got’em.

But the most interesting thing in retrospect -- if a jar of dead bugs can be called interesting -- is this: Up until the very end they seemed to be happily and obliviously busy. They constructed an ant society with all of its ant facilities, made more baby ants and did all those things ants do that the proverbial grasshopper is famous for not doing. Obviously Christian predestinationists to the last ant, they met the grasshopper’s grim fate by another route, and did not look at all surprised in death.

Now you’d think that the lesson of the ants would be obvious as hell to any non-intoxicated individual with a grade school education. Never mind that many people since Malthus, as my sainted daddy would have put it, “Done drove the point in the ground and broke it clean off.” Never mind that Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb was a best seller and remains a classic. Never mind that James Lovelock, the nerdish forward thinking Englishman who 99 percent of Americans never heard of, delivered unto us yet one more time the worst truth in human history, the Gaia Hypothesis. Which is a fancy way of saying we cannot continue to devour our planet forever because it amounts to self-cannibalism...[Open in new window]

Blast from the Past - Reagan on SDI, March 1983

Twenty-five years ago tomorrow, before a television audience, President Ronald Reagan initiated one of the grandest defense boondoggles of all time, the Strategic Defense Initiative. Like many boondoggles, it was couched in sweet talk and lies:...[Open in new window]

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Exposure

The woman behind the camera at Abu Ghraib.

by Philip Gourevitch and Errol Morris March 24, 2008


All that the soldiers of the 372nd Military Police Company, a Reserve unit out of Cresaptown, Maryland, knew about America’s biggest military prison in Iraq, when they arrived there in early October of 2003, was that it was on the front lines. Its official name was Forward Operating Base Abu Ghraib. Never mind that military doctrine and the Geneva Conventions forbid holding prisoners in a combat zone, and require that they be sped to the rear; you had to make the opposite sort of journey to get to Abu Ghraib. You had to travel along some of the deadliest roads in the country, constantly bombed and frequently ambushed, into the Sunni Triangle. The prison squatted on the desert, a wall of sheer concrete traced with barbed wire, picketed by watchtowers. “Like something from a Mad Max movie,” Sergeant Javal Davis, of the 372nd, said. “Just like that—like, medieval.” There were more than two and a half miles of wall with twenty-four towers, enclosing two hundred and eighty acres of prison ground. And inside, Davis said, “it’s nothing but rubble, blown-up buildings, dogs running all over the place, rabid dogs, burnt remains. The stench was unbearable: urine, feces, body rot.”

The prisoners—several thousand of them, clad in orange—were crowded behind concertina wire. “The encampment they were in when we saw it at first looked like one of those Hitler things, like a concentration camp, almost,” Davis said. “They’re in there, in their little jumpsuits, outside in the mud. Their rest rooms was running over. It was just disgusting. You didn’t want to touch anything. Whatever the worst thing that comes to your mind, that was it—the place you would never, ever, ever, ever send your worst enemy.”

The M.P.s of the 372nd were told to make themselves at home in an abandoned prison block, a compound ravaged by looters and invaded by the desert. The sand lay several inches deep in places, mixed with decomposing trash. Moving in meant digging out and sweeping up, and when you’d purged the debris—weird stuff, some of it; for instance, used syringes, which just made you wonder—what you had were bare prison cells. The military term of art for the place where soldiers sleep and bathe and eat on base is L.S.A., which means “life-support area,” and at other forward operating bases around Iraq an L.S.A. meant climate-controlled tents and a mess hall, electricity and hot water, a gym and an Internet café, phones and satellite television, PX shops and fast-food joints. A proper L.S.A. is an outpost of the motherland, and it affirms the sense of pride and tribe that is essential to morale and discipline. At Abu Ghraib, showers were wooden sheds with cold-water drums propped overhead. The unit had no field kitchen, so chow was combat rations—M.R.E.s, meals-ready-to-eat—breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a cardboard box; everything in a polymer packet.

Nobody had expected luxury at Saddam Hussein’s old prison, but morale was low to begin with—the M.P.s just wanted to know when they were going home—and there was something about living in cells at Abu Ghraib that never felt right. “We had some kind of incinerator at the end of our building,” Specialist Megan Ambuhl said. “It was this huge circular thing. We just didn’t know what was incinerated in there. It could have been people, for all we knew—bodies.” Sergeant Davis was not in doubt. “It had bones in it,” he said, and he called it the crematorium. “But hey, you’re at war,” he said. “Suck it up or drive on.”

The autumn nights were getting cold in the desert, down to forty degrees, which felt colder in a concrete box, where the wind blew in through empty window frames. From some of those windows you could look out over the prison’s perimeter wall into the windows of an apartment complex in the city of Abu Ghraib, a sprawling Baghdad suburb long dominated by Saddam’s Baath Party functionaries, and the people in those apartments could look back at you. As the M.P.s unpacked their kit in their new quarters, they were told that snipers sometimes made use of this arrangement to shoot into the prison. The trick was not to make yourself a target: stay away from the windows, keep your lamps dim and covered—don’t cast a shadow...[Open in new window]

*

It all HAS to come out.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Claims of dirty tricks after security breach on Obama passport details
By Leonard Doyle
Friday, 21 March 2008


A major security breach has occurred involving Barack Obama's confidential passport details. Two State Department employees have been fired and another suspended following an investigation, which began after it was learned that his computer file had been accessed.

The security breach has echoes of other Republican dirty tricks operations. Mr Obama's confidential files were first accessed after he defeated Hillary Clinton in the Iowa caucus at the beginning of January.

There were three separate breaches of security detected; the most recent last Friday. "This is an outrageous breach of security and privacy," Mr Obama's spokesman Bill Burton said last night, warning the Bush administration that it had a responsibility and duty to protect private information and not use it for political purposes.

"We demand to know who opened Senator Obama's file," he said, asking why it took so long to reveal the breach. There were calls last night for an FBI investigation and the possible appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the case.

A senior State department official said that "curious" officials opened the file and that there was no malicious political intent involved. The Democrats dismissed this explanation as improbable...[Open in new window]

BREAKING NEWS
NBC News

Two contract employees of the State Department were fired and a third person was disciplined for accessing passport records of Sen. Barack Obama "without a need to do so," State Department officials confirmed to NBC News.

The three people who had access to Obama's passport records were contract employees of the department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, NBC News has learned. The unauthorized activity concerning Obama's passport information occurred in January.

"A monitoring system was tripped when an employee accessed the records of a high-profile individual,” a department official told NBC News. "When the monitoring system is tripped, we immediately seek an explanation for the records access. If the explanation is not satisfactory, the supervisor is notified."

Explaining why the contractors had access to the files, the official said: "The State Department uses cleared contractors to design, build and maintain our systems and cleared contract employees provide support to government employees and several steps of passport processing including data entry, file searches, customer service and quality control...[Open in new window]
*

State fires 2 for looking at Obama file

1 minute ago

Two contract employees for the State Department have been fired and a third disciplined for inappropriately looking at Democratic Sen. Barack Obama's passport file, a spokesman said Thursday.

Spokesman Sean McCormack said the department itself detected the instances of "imprudent curiosity," which occurred separately on Jan. 9, Feb. 21 and March 14. He would not release the names of those who were fired and disciplined.

"We believe this was out of imprudent curiosity, so we are taking steps to reassure ourselves that that is, in fact, the case," McCormack said.

Bill Burton, a spokesman for Obama's presidential campaign, called for a complete investigation.

"This is an outrageous breach of security and privacy, even from an administration that has shown little regard for either over the last eight years. Our government's duty is to protect the private information of the American people, not use it for political purposes," Burton said...[Open in new window]



Wednesday, March 19, 2008






Anti-war protesters wear white masks and placards with the names of Americans and Iraqis killed during the war in Iraq during a demonstration near the Vietnam Memorial in Washington March 19, 2008. Wednesday marked the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion invasion in Iraq.REUTERS/Joshua Roberts (UNITED STATES)

Added bonus photo: The current, 'pretend' incarnation of Kalki.
Cheney On Two-Thirds Of The American Public Opposing The Iraq War: ‘So?’»

This morning, on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, ABC’s Good Morning America aired an interview with Vice President Cheney on the war. During the segment, Cheney flatly told White House correspondent Martha Raddatz that he doesn’t care about the American public’s views on the war:

CHENEY: On the security front, I think there’s a general consensus that we’ve made major progress, that the surge has worked. That’s been a major success.

RADDATZ: Two-third of Americans say it’s not worth fighting.

CHENEY: So?

RADDATZ So? You don’t care what the American people think?

CHENEY: No. I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls.


This opposition to the war is not a “fluctuation” in public opinion. The American public has steadily turned against the war since the 2003 invasion. According to a new CNN poll, just 36 percent of the American public believes that “the situation in Iraq was worth going to war over — down from 68 percent in March 2003, when the war began.”

Even though he doesn’t care what the American public wants, Cheney still thinks he is able — and entitled — to speak for the American public. Last month, Cheney declared, “The American people will not support a policy of retreat.” If Cheney were actually listening to the “American people,” he would know that 61 percent actually supports the redeployment of U.S. troops...[Open in new window]

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Replaying the Iraq War's Greatest Hits, Five Years On

It's been five years since we headed down the rabbit hole to Iraq. Reflecting on this milestone while visiting Baghdad a couple of days ago, Dick Cheney declared that "we've come a long way" since the days of "Mission Accomplished," describing the war as "a difficult, challenging, but nonetheless successful endeavor." Which in the topsy-turvy, up-is-down world of Iraqspeak means that we are still horribly, gut-wrenchingly screwed.

To commemorate the war's fifth birthday, here's a brief collection of some of Mother Jones' coverage of the challenges and difficulties of the past few years. Or, as the vice president might put it, the Iraq War's greatest hits:...[Open in new window]

Monday, March 17, 2008

Patrick Cockburn: Iraq is a country no more. Like much else, that was not the plan

The death rate in Baghdad has fallen, but it is down to ethnic cleansing

Sunday, 16 March 2008

'It reminds me of Iraq under Saddam," a militant opponent of Saddam Hussein said angrily to me last week as he watched red-capped Iraqi soldiers close down part of central Baghdad so the convoy of Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, might briefly venture into the city.

Five years after the invasion of Iraq, the US and the Iraqi governments claim that the country is becoming a less dangerous place, but the measures taken to protect Mr Maliki told a different story. Gun-waving soldiers first cleared all traffic from the streets. Then four black armoured cars, each with three machine-gunners on the roof, raced out of the Green Zone through a heavily fortified exit, followed by sand-coloured American Humvees and more armoured cars. Finally, in the middle of the speeding convoy, we saw six identical bullet-proof vehicles with black windows, one of which must have been carrying Mr Maliki.

The precautions were not excessive, since Baghdad remains the most dangerous city in the world. The Iraqi Prime Minister was only going to the headquarters of the Dawa party, to which he belongs and which are just half a mile outside the Green Zone, but his hundreds of security guards acted as if they were entering enemy territory.

Five years of occupation have destroyed Iraq as a country. Baghdad is today a collection of hostile Sunni and Shia ghettoes divided by high concrete walls. Different districts even have different national flags. Sunni areas use the old Iraqi flag with the three stars of the Baath party, and the Shia wave a newer version, adopted by the Shia-Kurdish government. The Kurds have their own flag...[Open in new window]

Blowing Them Away Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

Globalization Bush-style

By Tom Engelhardt

17/03/08 " " -- - Imagine, for a moment, that you live in a small town somewhere near the Southern California coast. You’re going about your daily life, trying to scrape by in hard times, when the missile hits. It might have come from the Iranian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) — its pilot at a base on the outskirts of Tehran — that has had the village in its sights for the last six hours or from the Russian sub stationed just off the coast. In either case, it’s devastating.

In Moscow and Tehran, officials announce that, in a joint action, they have launched the missile as part of a carefully coordinated “surgical” operation to take out a “known terrorist,” a long-term danger to their national security. A Kremlin spokesman offers the following statement:

“As we have repeatedly said, we will continue to pursue terrorist activities and their operations wherever we may find them. We share common goals with respect to fighting terrorism. We will continue to seek out, identify, capture and, if necessary, kill terrorists where they plan their activities, carry out their operations or seek safe harbor.”

A family in a ramshackle house just down the street from you — he’s a carpenter; she works at the local Dairy Queen — are killed along with their pets. Their son is seriously wounded, their home blown to smithereens. Neighbors passing by as the missile hits are also wounded.

As it happens, there are no terrorists in the vicinity. Outraged, you organize your neighbors and march angrily in protest through the town, shouting anti-Russian, anti-Iranian slogans. But, of course, there is nothing you can really do. Iran and Russia are far away, their weaponry powerful, your arms nonexistent. The state of California is incapable of protecting you. This is, in fact, at least the fourth time in recent months that a “terrorist” has been declared “taken out” from the air or by a ship-based cruise missile, when only innocent Californians have died.

As news of the “collateral damage” from the botched operation dribbles out, the Russian and Iranian media pay next to no attention. There are no outraged editorials. Official spokesmen see no need to comment further. No one is held responsible and no promises are made in either Tehran or Moscow that similar assassination strikes won’t be launched in the near future, based on “actionable intelligence,” possibly even on the same town. In fact, the next day, seeing UAVs once again soaring overhead, you load your pick-up and prepare to flee...


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Friday, March 14, 2008

As the fifth anniversary of the start of the war nears, Joe Galloway, one of the most respected war correspondents ever, looks back at press coverage of Iraq, and concludes: "In war, truth is too often the first casualty, and it is not just a president or a secretary of defense or assorted official spokesmen who do the killing. Our brothers and sisters in the media also participate in the execution."

By Joseph L. Galloway

NEW YORK (March 14, 2008) --

In war, truth is too often the first casualty, and it is not just a president or a secretary of defense or assorted official spokesmen who do the killing. Our brothers and sisters in the media also participate in the execution. Greg Mitchell has taken that as his lesson in "So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits – and the President – Failed on Iraq" and in so doing has done a service to future generations in our business, and I believe, for readers of the news.

Looking back to that fall of 2002 when war drums were beating loudly and the president and his closest advisers spoke with certainty – and deceit – about Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction and the danger he ostensibly posed to our country and our friends and allies, most in the media either swallowed it whole or timidly refused to do their jobs and question the official rationale for war.

The great gray lady, The New York Times, and the voice inside the Beltway, The Washington Post, put dozens of reports on the Bush administration's claims about Saddam's quest for a nuclear weapon on their front pages. The few reports that even suggested that some experts were questioning those claims were buried deep inside, among the Viagra ads.

Did the national outburst of patriotism and an epidemic of American flag decals and flag lapel pins on the expensive suits of television anchors frighten those who had long believed that their newspapers set the nation's agenda?...
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Ozone Rules Weakened at Bush's Behest
EPA Scrambles To Justify Action

By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 14, 2008; A01

The Environmental Protection Agency weakened one part of its new limits on smog-forming ozone after an unusual last-minute intervention by President Bush, according to documents released by the EPA.

EPA officials initially tried to set a lower seasonal limit on ozone to protect wildlife, parks and farmland, as required under the law. While their proposal was less restrictive than what the EPA's scientific advisers had proposed, Bush overruled EPA officials and on Tuesday ordered the agency to increase the limit, according to the documents.

"It is unprecedented and an unlawful act of political interference for the president personally to override a decision that the Clean Air Act leaves exclusively to EPA's expert scientific judgment," said John Walke, clean-air director for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The president's order prompted a scramble by administration officials to rewrite the regulations to avoid a conflict with past EPA statements on the harm caused by ozone...[Open in new window]

*

Bush has brought nothing but death to the table...that's his legacy...the death president.



John Gibson’s big story: he’s been cancelled
Posted March 14th, 2008 at 9:15 am

It hasn’t been a good week for conservative hosts of unwatchable cable talk shows with poor ratings. Earlier this week, MSNBC yanked Tucker Carlson off the air. The next day, Fox News gave up on notorious blowhard John Gibson.

Fox News Channel, tinkering for the first time in eight years with its popular early evening lineup, is replacing its 5 p.m. news broadcast, “The Big Story,” with an election-theme program for the foreseeable future. The network confirmed this week that “America’s Election HQ,” a program that displaced “The Big Story” temporarily last month, would continue indefinitely. The program’s hosts, Bill Hemmer and Megyn Kelly, also anchor the network’s mid-morning newscast and are seen as rising stars on the channel. The change was first reported by the blog TVNewser.com.

John Gibson, the longtime host of “The Big Story,” will continue to have a role on television, the network said, although it appears that his future for now lies mostly on radio. For two years Mr. Gibson, a conservative commentator, has been the host of a three-hour program for Fox News Radio immediately following his television show.

I’d always kind of hoped that Gibson would get fired for something he’d said on the air, but if low ratings did the trick, I suppose the end result is the same.

Of course, with Gibson having lost his show, there’s really one thing left to do: mock him relentlessly for years of foolish, hateful demagoguery...[Open in new window]

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bush: 'A Democrat victory... would turn back clock'

by Mark Silva

Got an email from President George W. Bush just now.

He doesn't actually do e-mail.

It's from the party, and they're looking for money.

$27.8 million in the first quarter of 2008 alone.

"During the last seven years, you have stood shoulder to shoulder with me to meet the challenges that faced our country,'' the president says in his party-circulated email.

"The outcome of these elections will set our nation's course for a generation,'' Bush says. "The mission of every Republican must be to keep the White House and retake the U.S. House and Senate. We must elect a new Republican president in order to defend America and extend our nation's prosperity.

"A Democrat victory in November would turn back the clock on all that we have accomplished to strengthen our national security, grow our economy and improve our schools.

"Vice President Cheney, Laura and I are doing everything we can to ensure the RNC has the resources to provide our candidates with the tools they need to build, strong effective campaigns.... Wiil you stand with us again by making a special 2008 campaign contribution to the Republican National Committee today? Your special online gift of $1,000, $500, $100, $50 or $25 to the RNC will go a long way towards electing a Republican president, retaking control of Congress and regaining a majority of statehouses....

"Having twice been the nominee, I can tell you how vital this assistance was to my own campaigns in 2000 and 2004,'' he adds. "I would not have won election or re-election without the RNC's strong and effective efforts.''...[Open in new window]

*

Who voted for this lunatic?

I guess other lunatics.

Gathered here are some of the most notable media comments from the early days of the Iraq War. [Open in new window]

Everyone of these pseudo-journalists should be fired. 5 years, nearly 4,000 American dead & goodness knows how many hundreds of thousands of innocents & these ass hats were cheerleading. Firing is the least that should be done to these people.



Declaring Victory

"Iraq Is All but Won; Now What?"
(Los Angeles Times headline, 4/10/03)


"Now that the combat phase of the war in Iraq is officially over, what begins is a debate throughout the entire U.S. government over America's unrivaled power and how best to use it."
(CBS reporter Joie Chen, 5/4/03)


"Congress returns to Washington this week to a world very different from the one members left two weeks ago. The war in Iraq is essentially over and domestic issues are regaining attention."
(NPR's Bob Edwards, 4/28/03)


"Tommy Franks and the coalition forces have demonstrated the old axiom that boldness on the battlefield produces swift and relatively bloodless victory. The three-week swing through Iraq has utterly shattered skeptics' complaints."
(Fox News Channel's Tony Snow, 4/13/03)


"The only people who think this wasn't a victory are Upper Westside liberals, and a few people here in Washington."
(Charles Krauthammer, Inside Washington, WUSA-TV, 4/19/03)


"We had controversial wars that divided the country. This war united the country and brought the military back."
(Newsweek's Howard Fineman--MSNBC, 5/7/03)


"We're all neo-cons now."
(MSNBC's Chris Matthews, 4/9/03)


"The war was the hard part. The hard part was putting together a coalition, getting 300,000 troops over there and all their equipment and winning. And it gets easier. I mean, setting up a democracy is hard, but it is not as hard as winning a war."
(Fox News Channel's Fred Barnes, 4/10/03)


"Oh, it was breathtaking. I mean I was almost starting to think that we had become inured to everything that we'd seen of this war over the past three weeks; all this sort of saturation. And finally, when we saw that it was such a just true, genuine expression. It was reminiscent, I think, of the fall of the Berlin Wall. And just sort of that pure emotional expression, not choreographed, not stage-managed, the way so many things these days seem to be. Really breathtaking."
(Washington Post reporter Ceci Connolly, appearing on Fox News Channel on 4/9/03, discussing the pulling down of a Saddam Hussein statue in Baghdad, an event later revealed to have been a U.S. military PSYOPS operation--Los Angeles Times, 7/3/04)


Mission Accomplished?

"The war winds down, politics heats up.... Picture perfect. Part Spider-Man, part Tom Cruise, part Ronald Reagan. The president seizes the moment on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific."
(PBS's Gwen Ifill, 5/2/03, on George W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech)


"We're proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who's physical, who's not a complicated guy like Clinton or even like Dukakis or Mondale, all those guys, McGovern. They want a guy who's president. Women like a guy who's president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It's simple. We're not like the Brits."
(MSNBC's Chris Matthews, 5/1/03)


"He looked like an alternatively commander in chief, rock star, movie star, and one of the guys."
(CNN's Lou Dobbs, on Bush's 'Mission Accomplished' speech, 5/1/03)


Neutralizing the Opposition

"Why don't the damn Democrats give the president his day? He won today. He did well today."
(MSNBC's Chris Matthews, 4/9/03)


"What's he going to talk about a year from now, the fact that the war went too well and it's over? I mean, don't these things sort of lose their--Isn't there a fresh date on some of these debate points?"
(MSNBC's Chris Matthews, speaking about Howard Dean--4/9/03)


"If image is everything, how can the Democratic presidential hopefuls compete with a president fresh from a war victory?"
(CNN's Judy Woodruff, 5/5/03)


"It is amazing how thorough the victory in Iraq really was in the broadest context..... And the silence, I think, is that it's clear that nobody can do anything about it. There isn't anybody who can stop him. The Democrats can't oppose--cannot oppose him politically."
(Washington Post reporter Jeff Birnbaum-- Fox News Channel, 5/2/03)


Nagging the "Naysayers"

"Now that the war in Iraq is all but over, should the people in Hollywood who opposed the president admit they were wrong?"
(Fox News Channel's Alan Colmes, 4/25/03)


"I doubt that the journalists at the New York Times and NPR or at ABC or at CNN are going to ever admit just how wrong their negative pronouncements were over the past four weeks."
(MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, 4/9/03)


"I'm waiting to hear the words 'I was wrong' from some of the world's most elite journalists, politicians and Hollywood types.... I just wonder, who's going to be the first elitist to show the character to say: 'Hey, America, guess what? I was wrong'? Maybe the White House will get an apology, first, from the New York Times' Maureen Dowd. Now, Ms. Dowd mocked the morality of this war....

"Do you all remember Scott Ritter, you know, the former chief U.N. weapons inspector who played chief stooge for Saddam Hussein? Well, Mr. Ritter actually told a French radio network that -- quote, 'The United States is going to leave Baghdad with its tail between its legs, defeated.' Sorry, Scott. I think you've been chasing the wrong tail, again.

"Maybe disgraced commentators and politicians alike, like Daschle, Jimmy Carter, Dennis Kucinich, and all those others, will step forward tonight and show the content of their character by simply admitting what we know already: that their wartime predictions were arrogant, they were misguided and they were dead wrong. Maybe, just maybe, these self-anointed critics will learn from their mistakes. But I doubt it. After all, we don't call them 'elitists' for nothing."
(MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, 4/10/03)


"Over the next couple of weeks when we find the chemical weapons this guy was amassing, the fact that this war was attacked by the left and so the right was so vindicated, I think, really means that the left is going to have to hang its head for three or four more years."
(Fox News Channel's Dick Morris, 4/9/03)


"This has been a tough war for commentators on the American left. To hope for defeat meant cheering for Saddam Hussein. To hope for victory meant cheering for President Bush. The toppling of Mr. Hussein, or at least a statue of him, has made their arguments even harder to defend. Liberal writers for ideologically driven magazines like The Nation and for less overtly political ones like The New Yorker did not predict a defeat, but the terrible consequences many warned of have not happened. Now liberal commentators must address the victory at hand and confront an ascendant conservative juggernaut that asserts United States might can set the world right."
(New York Times reporter David Carr, 4/16/03)


"Well, the hot story of the week is victory.... The Tommy Franks-Don Rumsfeld battle plan, war plan, worked brilliantly, a three-week war with mercifully few American deaths or Iraqi civilian deaths.... There is a lot of work yet to do, but all the naysayers have been humiliated so far.... The final word on this is, hooray."
(Fox News Channel's Morton Kondracke, 4/12/03)

"Some journalists, in my judgment, just can't stand success, especially a few liberal columnists and newspapers and a few Arab reporters."
(CNN's Lou Dobbs, 4/14/03)

"Sean Penn is at it again. The Hollywood star takes out a full-page ad out in the New York Times bashing George Bush. Apparently he still hasn't figured out we won the war."
(MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, 5/30/03)


Cakewalk?

"This will be no war -- there will be a fairly brief and ruthless military intervention.... The president will give an order. [The attack] will be rapid, accurate and dazzling.... It will be greeted by the majority of the Iraqi people as an emancipation. And I say, bring it on."
(Christopher Hitchens, in a 1/28/03 debate-- cited in the Observer, 3/30/03)


"I will bet you the best dinner in the gaslight district of San Diego that military action will not last more than a week. Are you willing to take that wager?"
(Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, 1/29/03)


"It won't take weeks. You know that, professor. Our military machine will crush Iraq in a matter of days and there's no question that it will."
(Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, 2/10/03)


"There's no way. There's absolutely no way. They may bomb for a matter of weeks, try to soften them up as they did in Afghanistan. But once the United States and Britain unleash, it's maybe hours. They're going to fold like that."
(Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, 2/10/03)


"He [Saddam Hussein] actually thought that he could stop us and win the debate worldwide. But he didn't--he didn't bargain on a two- or three week war. I actually thought it would be less than two weeks."
(NBC reporter Fred Francis, Chris Matthews Show, 4/13/03)


Weapons of Mass Destruction

NPR's Mara Liasson: Where there was a debate about whether or not Iraq had these weapons of mass destruction and whether we can find it...

Brit Hume: No, there wasn't. Nobody seriously argued that he didn't have them beforehand. Nobody.
(Fox News Channel, April 6, 2003)


"Speaking to the U.N. Security Council last week, Secretary of State Colin Powell made so strong a case that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is in material breach of U.N. resolutions that only the duped, the dumb and the desperate could ignore it."
(Cal Thomas, syndicated column, 2/12/03)


"Saddam could decide to take Baghdad with him. One Arab intelligence officer interviewed by Newsweek spoke of 'the green mushroom' over Baghdad--the modern-day caliph bidding a grotesque bio-chem farewell to the land of the living alongside thousands of his subjects as well as his enemies. Saddam wants to be remembered. He has the means and the demonic imagination. It is up to U.S. armed forces to stop him before he can achieve notoriety for all time."
(Newsweek, 3/17/03)


"Chris, more than anything else, real vindication for the administration. One, credible evidence of weapons of mass destruction. Two, you know what? There were a lot of terrorists here, really bad guys. I saw them."
(MSNBC reporter Bob Arnot, 4/9/03)


"Even in the flush of triumph, doubts will be raised. Where are the supplies of germs and poison gas and plans for nukes to justify pre-emption? (Freed scientists will lead us to caches no inspectors could find.) What about remaining danger from Baathist torturers and war criminals forming pockets of resistance and plotting vengeance? (Their death wish is our command.)"
(New York Times' William Safire, 4/10/03)