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Saturday, June 11, 2005

Art for Everyone Posted by Hello
FOCUS: John Cory We Love Howard Dean

VIDEO SPECIAL: William Rivers Pitt Stand with Us
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US in Talks with Iraqi Insurgents
By Rory Carroll The Guardian UK
Friday 10 June 2005

OUTKILL Posted by Hello
Dean Was Right
By William Rivers Pitt t r u t h o u t Perspective
Saturday 11 June 2005

"I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth."
-- Revelation 3:15-16

If the leadership qualities of those in charge of the national Democratic Party could be squeezed into a shampoo bottle, the directions on the back of the bottle might read something like this: “Make tentative statement. Offer equivocation to avoid appearing adamant. Scramble for cover when colleague offers stinging critique of opposition. Stab colleague in back in public. Palpitate and fret, hem and haw. Lather, rinse, repeat.”

Quite a recipe for success, yes? Not lately.

For the last several years, the Democratic Party has been, for the most part, leaving skid marks on the street as they have retreated from confrontation after confrontation with the radicals who now control the Republican party. This retreat has gone from the ridiculous to the sublime to the utterly outrageous.

Here and there resistance has been put forth - on the Social Security issue, on the stem cell legislation, on the nomination of Bolton as UN ambassador - but all too often the most effective resistance to these and other disastrous policy initiatives has come from other Republicans, and not from the Democrats. It was the eloquence of Republican Senator Voinovich that threw sand in the gears of the Bolton nomination, and it was Republican Senator Specter’s promised override of any Bush veto of the stem cell legislation that has made that issue a problem for the White House.

And then along comes Howard Dean, chairman of the DNC, outspoken and uncompromising, swinging Willie Stark’s meat ax with a will and a purpose. He dared to say that he hates Republicans, that the leadership of that party hasn’t worked a day in their lives, that the GOP has become a radical hothouse of right-wing Christians, almost all of whom are white, and that House majority leader Tom DeLay should go back to Texas and get his looming prison sentence over with. Insert palpitations. Suddenly, Democrats like Joe Biden and Bill Richardson start knocking over furniture and old ladies in their rush to get to a microphone so they can distance themselves from the wild man.

Yes, yes, lather and rinse and repeat. The problem with all the equivocation is that it obscures a simple fact that requires exposure and discussion in this country: Dean was right. Ninety nine percent of Republicans in the state legislatures in all 50 states, and in Congress in Washington DC, are white. Even in states and districts with large minority populations, the Republican representatives for those places are almost uniformly white Christians.

Of 3,643 Republicans serving in state legislatures across the country, only 44 of them are minorities, amounting to 1.2%. Texas, with a minority population of 47%, has 106 Republicans in the state legislature. There are exactly zero African Americans and exactly zero Hispanics serving in that body as Republicans. In Washington, 274 of the 535 elected Senators and Representatives are Republican. Exactly five are minorities.

Of course, there are ethnic and religious minorities within the rank and file of the GOP, but every demographic analysis of the party’s makeup clearly shows the vast majority of Republicans fit exactly into the description offered by Mr. Dean. His point, by the way, was not that white Christians are bad people. His point was that, in this pluralist society made up of so much diversity, the Republican Party does not represent the true face of this country. He was also pointing out that the GOP has been taken over by that small, radical minority of white Christians who believe separation of church and state is evil, and who believe Biblical law is a better tool of governance than that pesky Constitution.

As for hating Republicans, the employment record of the GOP leadership, and DeLay’s date with a Houston cellblock, there is method to the supposed madness here. Those who question the wisdom of Dean firing broadsides like this look to the old lawyer’s maxim: When you have the law on your side, pound on the law, and when you have the facts on your side, pound on the facts, and when you have neither the law nor the facts on your side, pound on the table. On so many issues facing us today, Dean and the Democrats have both the facts and the law on their side. The question becomes, then, about why Dean is pounding on the table.

The answer is straightforward, and appropriately bold after several years of ineffective limp-noodle Democratic leadership. Every time Dean fires off one of his salvos, reporters flip open their notebooks. Headlines get made, discussion begins, and a whole lot of people start debating the facts and merits of his statements. Is the Republican leadership run by right-wing yahoos?

Is DeLay going to jail? Controversy begets press. Dean can see, as well as anyone else, how effective the moderate, soft-touch, treading-lightly approach has been working lately for the Democrats.

But how are we going to win those white Christian middle-America voters to our side by having Dean basically call them out? asks the ruffled Democratic leadership. The answer to this lies at the heart of what the Democratic party has been failing at for a while now. The voters who are supposedly going to be alienated by this kind of talk are the very same voters who look for guts, strength and straight talk from the leadership of this country. All too often, Democratic leaders come off sounding like they are saying seven things at once, leaving the impression that their spines are somewhat slippery. Boldness, on the other hand, begets confidence, even in disagreement.

These Dean statements also, coincidentally, whip the Democratic base into a roaring frenzy as they hear an actual Democratic leader speak their beliefs out loud and in public. One of the things Dean is working on every day is to redirect DNC fundraising away from the big-dollar donors who give equally to both parties in order to hedge their bets. Dependence on this breed of donor causes the party to crab towards the middle and avoid anything resembling true opposition.

Dean wants DNC fundraising efforts to be focused on the common citizen, the Democratic activist who has been screaming at the party to say what must be said, and Dean’s inflammatory statements spark the kind of donation avalanche that turned his Presidential campaign into a financial juggernaut. He may have lost in the end, but the manner in which he raised campaign money changed the face of electoral politics. He is porting those lessons into national DNC fundraising efforts, and statements like these go a long way towards making those efforts wildly successful.

Memo to Dean: Keep doing what you are doing. Lather, rinse, repeat.


At the fork of two rural roads in Mississippi, members of the Ku Klux Klan killed Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney sometime between the night of June 21 and and the morning of June 22, 1964.
(Photo: John F. Sugg)

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Mississippi Terror: Roses for an Unmarked Killing Field
By John F. Sugg t r u t h o u t Report
Saturday 11 June 2005

It was an impulse, stopping at a florist in Philadelphia, Mississippi, on a pilgrimage south down State Road 19. I bought three white roses.

Two months ago, scoping out the town where three civil rights workers had been killed in 1964, I'd found the now-deserted food store on SR 19 where Ku Klux Klansmen had stopped the activists.

But it wasn't until my current visit that I found the off-the-main-road site, about two miles from where the chase ended, that became a killing field. No marker recounts the sensational tragedy. Even accident victims get little crosses along the roadsides, but not slain toilers for liberty.

The three voter registration workers - New Yorkers Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, and James Chaney from Meridian, Mississippi - had been arrested on trumped-up traffic charges, and then freed late in the evening of June 21, 1964. The release by local cops was coordinated with the Klan, whose members followed the three men.

After forcing the activists off SR 19, the Klansmen drove Chaney, Schwerner and Goodman back to where County Road 515 branches off. CR 515 winds about a half mile before forking with CR 284. It was at that fork that the three courageous young men were murdered.

I don't know if someone had planned to cover up what happened at that nondescript junction, but where the blood actually spilled there are now electric transformer boxes sitting atop a concrete slab. I put the three roses on the ground next to the slab. I shuddered trying to imagine the three men's final minutes of terror.

Edgar Ray Killen - an 80-year-old, part-time Baptist preacher - is scheduled to go on trial Monday for the 1964 killings. He was tried in 1967 on federal civil rights charges - and the jury couldn't reach a decision. The vote was 11-1 - the lone dissent came from a woman who couldn't believe a minister would kill people.

Killen lives on SR 515, only about a mile down the rural road from the murder scene. I walked up to his front door; no answer although I could hear voices inside. Next door, a one-armed man wouldn't give his name, but confirmed his neighbor was Killen. He told me I'd better leave. Good advice. Two weeks ago, a British journalist knocked on the door of one of Killen's neighbors and was assaulted by a man wielding a metal pipe.

A brown car followed me after I left Killen's house. I turned in a driveway and went back towards SR 19. The brown car stayed on my tail. I stopped where I'd left the flowers. They were gone. I don't think it was the birds.

Killen is accused of being the mastermind of the assassinations. He allegedly pre-selected the spot for the killings. I wanted to ask him what he thinks when he drives by the junction. I noticed that across from his house is a Ten Commandments yard sign. I wanted to ask him about the Sixth Commandment.

John Sugg, senior editor of the Creative Loafing and Weekly Planet newspapers is covering the trial of Edgar Ray Killen.

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Poll: Bush Job Approval Dips to New Low
By Will Lester The Associated Press
Friday 10 June 2005

Washington - When it comes to public approval, President Bush and Congress are playing "how low can you go." Bush's approval mark is 43 percent, while Congress checks in at 31 percent, an Associated Press-Ipsos poll found. Both are the lowest levels yet for the survey, started in December 2003.

"There's a bad mood in the country, people are out of sorts," said Charles Jones, a presidential scholar and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. "Iraq news is daily bad news."

The public also is showing concerns about the direction of the country as the war in Iraq drags on. Only about one-third of adults, 35 percent, said they thought the country was headed in the right direction. Forty-one percent said they supported Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, also a low-water mark.

Gail Thomas, an independent who leans Democratic from Prattville, Ala., said the war in Iraq was a distraction after the Sept. 11, 2001, attack ordered by Osama bin Laden.

"They're not going after the one who did it," said Thomas. "They were too anxious to go after Saddam Hussein. All they're doing is getting our guys killed."

Car bombings and attacks by insurgents killed 80 US troops and more than 700 Iraqis last month. Pentagon officials acknowledge the level of violence is about the same as a year ago, when they were forced to scrap a plan to substantially reduce the US troop presence in Iraq.

While Bush has gotten generally low scores for his handling of domestic issues for many months, Americans have been more supportive of his foreign policy. Not any more.

The poll conducted for AP by Ipsos found 45 percent support Bush's foreign policy, down from 52 percent in March.

David Fultz, a Republican from Venice, Fla., is among those who are sticking with the president.

"In terms of where we're going in the future, President Bush is laying out a plan," said Fultz, an assistant principal at a middle school. "When it's all said and done, we'll be where we want to be. We need to help establish democracy in the Middle East."

Bush's popularity reached its zenith shortly after the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, when various polls found nearly 90 percent approved of the job he was doing. It was close to 80 percent when Ipsos started tracking attitudes about Bush at the start of 2002, and was just over 50 percent when the AP-Ipsos poll was started in December 2003.

Approval for Congress has dipped from the 40s early this year into the low 30s now. A majority of Republicans and Democrats said they don't approve of Congress.

Those figures, combined with Bush's low numbers, could make some lawmakers a little nervous.

"Presidents who are low in the polls have a hard time getting Congress to go along with them," said Charles Franklin, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "He has to persuade the people in Congress to follow his legislative agenda and they're all worried about 2006."

Support for Bush's handling of domestic issues remained in the high 30s and low 40s in the latest AP-Ipsos poll.

Thirty-seven percent support Bush's handling of Social Security, while 59 percent disapprove. Those numbers haven't budged after more than four months of the president traveling the country to sell his plan to create private accounts in Social Security. Support for his handling of the economy was at 43 percent.

The low numbers for Congress as an institution don't necessarily spell trouble for all incumbents.

"It's easier to despise an institution than to work up animosity toward an individual lawmaker," said Ross Baker, a Rutgers University political scientist who studies Congress. "The institution is held in low regard, but many of the individual representatives and senators are held in high regard."

The AP-Ipsos poll of 1,001 adults was taken June 6-8 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Memogate: Americans and Brits Demand Answers

t r u t h o u t Press Release
Saturday 11 June 2005

Military Families Against the War, in Britain, and AfterDowningStreet.org, in the United States, are working together to demand answers to the questions raised by the Downing Street Minutes and related evidence suggesting that the rulers of both nations conspired to deceive the public, Congress, and Parliament with regard to justification for the Iraq War.

Military Families Against the War is an organization of people directly affected by the war in Iraq. Our relatives and loved ones are members of the British Armed Services. We are opposed to the continuing involvement of UK soldiers in a war that is based on lies.

AfterDowningStreet.org is a coalition of organizations, including Gold Star Families for Peace and Veterans for Peace, and many other individual veterans and military families, including members of Military Families Speak Out.

Court Case Being Prepared Against Blair

Military Families Against the War (MFAW) is preparing to take Prime Minister Tony Blair to court to force through the demand for an independent and effective public inquiry into the background and decision to go to war in Iraq. This legal action is being taken in the names of 18 of the families whose sons and husbands have been killed in Iraq.

Memogate Hearings Scheduled for June 16 in Washington

On Thursday June 16, 2005, Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, and other Democratic Members will hold a Democratic hearing to hear testimony concerning the Downing Street Minutes and the efforts to cook the books on pre-war intelligence.

On May 1, 2005 a Sunday London Times article disclosed the details of a classified memo, also known as the Downing Street Minutes, recounting the minutes of a July 2002 meeting of Prime Minister Tony Blair that describes an American President already committed to going to war in the summer of 2002, despite contrary assertions to the public and the Congress. The minutes also describe apparent efforts by the Administration to manipulate intelligence data to justify the war. The June 16th hearing will attempt to answer the serious constitutional questions raised by these revelations and will further investigate the Administration's actions in the lead up to war with new documents that further corroborate the Downing Street memo.

Rally Scheduled for June 16 in Washington

Directly following the hearing, Rep. Conyers, Members of Congress, and concerned citizens plan to hand deliver to the White House the petition and signatures of over a half million Americans that have joined Rep. Conyers in demanding that President Bush answer questions about his secret plan for the Iraq war. For details on time and place and for downloadable flyers promoting the rally, please watch the top of the website AfterDowningStreet.org.

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Democrats List More Names in Inquiry on Bolton's Access

By Douglas Jehl
The New York Times
Saturday 11 June 2005

Worse than lying
While bullshit is hardly a new ingredient in personal and social lives, it seems to be growing in magnitude
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Worse than lying
11 June 2005

AS well as all the bull in politics, there's even more in our metaphoric and colloquial language. People are bullish, bull-headed and take the bull by the horns. A Hereford herd of bulls at the gate also wrecks china shops and thunders down Wall Street – to lock horns with the Angus, Longhorns and Brahmins that provide bullshit, bulldust and bullshit artists.

And now bullshit is the subject of serious philosophical inquiry in a little book called On Bullshit, published by the highly respected Princeton University Press. To the surprise and delight of the author, it's stampeding out of bookshops all over the world.

The words of wisdom on this improbable subject come from a 76-year-old moral philosopher, Harry G. Frankfurt. Professor Emeritus in Philosophy at Princeton University in the US, he has been studying bullshit for more than 20 years and has come to the conclusion that bullshitting is at least as bad, and probably worse, than lying.

When we chewed the cud about it, Frankfurt pointed out that a liar has some respect for the truth. Otherwise he wouldn't feel the need to lie about it. Whereas a bullshit artist doesn't care about the truth. What he cares about is what you think about him.

To demonstrate, Frankfurt cited the example of a humbugging politician giving a Fourth of July address. (You may like to transpose what follows to Australia Day, Anzac Day or any other national celebration.) He drones on about "our great and blessed country" and how the founding fathers enjoyed God's guidance in providing the world with "a new beginning for mankind". But he doesn't really care what the audience feels about founding fatherhood or God or manifest destiny. First and foremost, he wants to make the right impression, to be seen as a patriot.

Frankfurt agreed that echoes of such humbuggery could be found in almost every speech given by an incumbent or would-be president. It's only when the humbugger starts making claims for, say, WMDs that we move from bullshit into lying.

But bullshit is bad enough.

The bullshitter does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does. "He pays no attention to it at all," says Frankfurt. "By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are."

"It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth," says the professor. Thus the liar and the honest man are linked by a common, if not identical, regard for it – for both, the truth is a real concern. But not for the bullshitter.

Yet while the liar is disapproved of, even despised, the bullshitter is effectively forgiven. He gets away with it. And profits from it. The professor agrees that it's because the bullshitted are often complicit. Though people insist they can pick it a mile off, they hunger for it. The audience for a political stump speech knows it's bullshit but claps all the louder; the audience for some ranting buffoon of a televangelist sends him donations; and women viewing nonsensical cosmetics commercials run straight from the telly to the chemist's shop.

While bullshit is hardly a new ingredient in personal and social lives, it seems to be growing in magnitude and stench with our communication technologies, and the public can't get enough.
We probably take it lightly because we know the bullshitter knows he's talking bullshit and he probably knows we think it's bullshit.

So what's the harm?

Trouble is, says Frankfurt, that it gets harder and harder to "know how things truly are".

Matters of substance become impoverished and tawdry. At least lying has its standards.
So Frankfurt believes that the bullshit artist can be, already is, a threat to democracy.

We talked of pre-war speeches by Bush and Blair, how bullshit crossed the line into lies but was bad enough without them. Frankfurt factors in contemporary views – postmodernism comes to mind – where truth and falsity dissolve, where nothing can be claimed as a certainty. Is this is an environment that encourages, or at least tolerates, bullshit?

What was it that Marx said about everything solid melting into air?

On one level, Frankfurt's book is a great entertainment. But that doesn't entirely explain the way it's selling. Readers, it seems, share the good professor's anxieties about the problem.

Writing without resorting to jargon, Frankfurt has a reputation for trying to get "to the bottom of things" and has struck a chord by examining something that we've taken for granted, something short of a sin and outside the Commandments, that nonetheless undermines our public lives. "Even the most basic questions about bullshit," he says, "are not only unanswered but unasked."

He's right. And bullshit is getting thicker and thicker in our public and political lives. Before we get bogged in it, let's fight fire with fire.

There's only one antidote.

Whenever and wherever you hear it, call out . . . "BULLSHIT!"


Art For Girls. Posted by Hello

The Foggiest War.

American Troops Open Fire On Iraqi Police, Officials Say

POSTED: 7:20 am EDT June 11, 2005

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraqi police said U.S. soldiers have mistakenly killed two security guards during a gun battle.

A military spokesman said the soldiers started shooting when a car came too close to an American armored patrol.

An American soldier in the lead vehicle of the convoy fired a warning shot to make the Iraqi vehicle move away, but its occupants returned fire on the convoy and sparked the gun battle.

In a separate attack in Baghdad, a suicide bomber dressed as a policeman blew himself up at the heavily guarded headquarters of a feared commando unit.

Five people have died from that attack.

Also, two Oil Ministry employees were shot and killed in a southern district of Baghdad.


Art For Boys. (Re-posted by request, sorry it took so long!) Posted by Hello

Art For Everyone. Posted by Hello

When Marines Meet Mercenaries.

---NOTE: MERCENARY is the word the MARINES were using.---

RENO, Nevada (AP) -- Security contractors were heckled, humiliated and physically abused by U.S. Marines in Iraq while jailed for 72 hours with insurgents, one of the detainees said Friday.

"It was disbelief the whole time. I couldn't believe what was happening," said Matt Raiche, 34, an ex-Marine who was one of 16 American and three Iraqi contractors detained at Camp Falluja last month.

"I just found it crazy that we were being held with terrorists, that we were put in the same facility with them," he told The Associated Press in an interview at his lawyer's office. "They were calling us a rogue mercenary team."

Defense officials said Thursday that the security guards for Charlotte, North Carolina-based Zapata Engineering were detained for three days. The contractors fired on Iraqi civilian cars and U.S. forces in Falluja, 40 miles west of Baghdad, the Defense officials said.

Company president Manuel Zapata said the only shot fired by his workers was a warning blast after they noticed a vehicle following them. (More on Falluja incident)

The military has denied the contractors were abused. No charges have been filed against any of the contractors, who the military said were separated from suspected insurgents.

Raiche, of Dayton, Nevada, said the contractors were stopped and taken into custody on May 28. He said a Marine told him that shots had been fired, and Raiche told him, "It wasn't us."

Raiche said several of the contractors were interrogated before they were released June 1 with no official explanation for their detention.

Raiche said guards intimidated the detainees with dogs, made them strip and told them to wear towels over their heads going to the restroom, so insurgents in the facility would not recognize and harm them, Raiche said.

One of his colleagues was slammed to the ground by a guard, he said.
"His head bounced off the asphalt." Raiche said. "He told me he heard one guard say to another, `If he moves, let the dog loose."'

Raiche said his colleague told him that a guard then reached down and "squeezed his testicles so hard he could barely move."

When Raiche first arrived at the facility, he said a guard ordered him to the ground and put a knee in his back. He said he heard one Marine say, "How does it feel now making that big contractor money?"

Continues, link in headline...

---Sooo let me get this straight. You can ride around shooting at innocent Iraqis at random, then deliberately fire on MARINES and NO CHARGES ARE FILED?...OH and BTW..MERCENARIES ARE UNAMERICAN and you cowards cry awful easy when war profits come hard you chickenshit warhawking spree killers!

Whaaa we got abused, they treated us like Iraqis..WHAAAWHAAA FUCKING WHAAA...Welcome to the party assholes.----

Art For Everyone. Posted by Hello

From the San Francisco Chronicle..


Bush and 'the memo'
Friday, June 10, 2005

PRESIDENT BUSH apparently thinks he can dismiss the damning "Downing Street memo" with a few glib words.

If he is right, it is a sad commentary on the state of American democracy and values.

The memo, recounting the details of a July 23, 2002, meeting at British Prime Minister Tony Blair's official residence on 10 Downing St., strongly suggested that the message had been sent across the Atlantic that the Bush White House had made the decision to wage war on Iraq. The minutes of the meeting indicated that Blair and his top-level intelligence and foreign-policy aides were given clear signals that military action was "inevitable."

In the most disturbing passage of the minutes, the head of Britain's MI6 intelligence service, reporting on his recent trip to Washington, told the group that "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" of a war to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

Bush was finally asked about the memo directly this week, during a media availability with Blair. Bush tried to discredit the memo because of the timing of its disclosure -- just days before Blair's re-election. But it is important to note that no one has challenged the authenticity of the memo nor the accuracy of its account of the meeting.

Bush also scoffed at the suggestion that the decision to go to war had been made by July 2002, nearly a year before U.S. bombs began raining on Baghdad. "There's nothing farther from the truth," Bush told reporters. "My conversation with the prime minister was, how can we do this peacefully?"

Americans deserve to have a more intensive investigation and expansive explanation to the extremely serious allegation that their government "fixed" intelligence to justify a pre-emptive war. The White House wants to dismiss it as "old news" and the Republicans who control both houses of Congress assume they can shrug off the demands of a bloc of Democrats -- led by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich. -- for hearings on the Downing Street memo.

There should be no statute of limitations -- or shortness of public attention span -- on an issue that cuts to the core of this government's integrity and credibility. Congress must fully investigate the actions in Washington that led the highest officials in Great Britain to be convinced that the Bush administration was hell-bent on war and working to concoct a rationalization for it.

Tell me again georgie...WHY do they hate us? Posted by Hello

Friday, June 10, 2005

Time to Knock them out in 2006, Wake up America Posted by Hello
Democrat says GOP targets Elmo

After broadcasting vote, senator tells GOP to 'pick on someone their own size.'

Mom alleged to steal ID of son in Iraq

Mother is charged with theft of $10,000 from son's bank account while he's in Iraq.


Kerried Away
By E. J. Dionne Jr.Friday, June 10, 2005; Page A23

Democrats have to end their addiction to the Kerry alibi.

They may be publicly castigating their national chairman, Howard Dean. But wherever two or more Democrats are gathered privately, their instinct is to blame John Kerry first. I am fed up (to borrow Bill Safire's coinage) with the nattering nabobs of negativism who make themselves feel good by trashing Kerry.

This habit is dangerous because dissing Kerry is an easy way for Democrats to evade discussion of what the party needs to do to right itself. By focusing on the past, the Kerry alibi allows Democrats to avoid engaging the future. In 2008, the Democrats could nominate a candidate who combines Harry Truman's toughness, JFK's charm and FDR's gifts of leadership -- and still face many of the problems Kerry confronted. Blaming everything on Kerry as a supposedly elitist, stiff and indecisive Massachusetts liberal is the Democrats' version of cheap grace.

Please understand: I didn't think Kerry was the ideal Democratic presidential candidate in 2004 and don't think he'd be ideal for 2008. I still cringe when the part of my brain prone to nightmares brings back his talk about voting for the $87 billion to finance the Iraq war before he voted against it. Kerry didn't find a clear voice on Iraq until too late and didn't respond quickly enough to the scurrilous attacks of the partisan Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

But saying that Kerry was the Democrats' one and only problem is both an evasion and unfair. The three debates were the only moments in the campaign in which Kerry's fate was entirely in his own hands, and he used them well. Kerry trounced Bush the first time and, I'd argue, beat him in the other two encounters.

His one false move was mentioning Mary Cheney in connection with the gay rights issue. He shouldn't have done that. But the Cheney slip became a big deal because the Bush machine is so skillful at turning little things into big things -- always with help from Rush and Fox and the rest of the party-line conservative media eager to read scripts generated by the White House. This is not just a Kerry problem but a long-term challenge for his party.

That raises the larger question. The Republicans and their allies spent millions taking Kerry apart. They would have done the same to John Edwards, Wesley Clark or Dean. Would those three have handled the attacks better? Who knows? Would they have looked a lot worse for the wear? You bet.

Bush's lieutenants always understood that their candidate couldn't win unless his Democratic opponent was turned into Frankenstein. This crowd may not know how to beat the Iraqi insurgency, but they sure know how to make Democrats look bad.

Yes, Kerry had trouble articulating a persuasive position on Iraq and terrorism. But in a Democratic Party badly divided on national security, he was far from alone in having this problem. Once Bush got the country into Iraq, Democrats were no clearer on how to win or get us out than Bush was -- but the president, as the instigator of the war, looked strong, and that was enough. Any Democrat would have been swimming against the security tide created by Sept. 11. It's not obvious that another Democrat would have done a better backstroke or butterfly.

Kerry didn't invent the Democrats' problems on abortion, their weakness in the South, their troubles with very religious voters. Democratic candidates of the future will have to grapple with the same challenges. True, Bill Clinton did better on such things. But -- with the exception of a certain unfortunate scandal and a certain unfortunate pardon -- Clinton did better than most politicians at almost everything.

So why wasn't Kerry stronger on the economy? Well, Kerry's plan on health care was genuinely innovative. His ideas on outsourcing clung to the pro-business center -- the very place where many of Kerry's critics say the party belongs. Yes, Kerry should have done better in answering the nation's economic anxieties. But if his party cares about the future, it needs to do better, too.

Were John Kerry to quit politics and spend the rest of his life windsurfing off Nantucket, Democrats would still have to figure out how to deal with national security, social issues and economic stress. That's hard work. Making fun of Kerry is easy, fashionable and, ultimately, useless.


Art from Iraqs Past Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 09, 2005

US makes contact with Iraqi insurgents

The US embassy in Baghdad has held indirect talks with members of violent Iraqi insurgent groups, edging back from a position not to negotiate with "terrorists". Full report

House Ethics Standstill Stalls DeLay Decision

A dispute between the parties has shut down the House ethics committee for the second time this year, and lawmakers said that it could be months -- and perhaps next year -- before the panel will decide whether to examine the activities of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) or others accused of violating restrictions on lobbying and travel.


Recruiters resorting to kidnapping.


The next step of Axel's misadventure came when he heard about a cool "chin-ups" contest in Bellingham, where the prize was a free Xbox. The now 18-year-old Skagit Valley Community College student dragged his tail feathers home uncharacteristically late that night. And, in the morning, Marcia learned the Marines had hosted the event and "then had him out all night, drilling him to join."

A single mom with a meager income, Marcia raised her kids on the farm where, until recently, she grew salad greens for restaurants.

Axel's father, a Marine Corps vet who served in Vietnam, died when Axel was 4.

Clearly the recruiters knew all that and more.

"You don't want to be a burden to your mom," they told him. "Be a man." "Make your father proud." Never mind that, because of his own experience in the service, Marcia says enlistment for his son is the last thing Axel's dad would have wanted.

The next weekend, when Marcia went to Seattle for the Folklife Festival and Axel was home alone, two recruiters showed up at the door.

Axel repeated the family mantra, but he was feeling frazzled and worn down by then. The sergeant was friendly but, at the same time, aggressively insistent. This time, when Axel said, "Not interested," the sarge turned surly, snapping, "You're making a big (bleeping) mistake!"

Next thing Axel knew, the same sergeant and another recruiter showed up at the LaConner Brewing Co., the restaurant where Axel works. And before Axel, an older cousin and other co-workers knew or understood what was happening, Axel was whisked away in a car.

"They said we were going somewhere but I didn't know we were going all the way to Seattle," Axel said.

Just a few tests. And so many free opportunities, the recruiters told him.

He could pursue his love of chemistry. He could serve anywhere he chose and leave any time he wanted on an "apathy discharge" if he didn't like it. And he wouldn't have to go to Iraq if he didn't want to.

At about 3:30 in the morning, Alex was awakened in the motel and fed a little something. Twelve hours later, without further sleep or food, he had taken a battery of tests and signed a lot of papers he hadn't gotten a chance to read. "Just formalities," he was told. "Sign here. And here. Nothing to worry about."

By then Marcia had "freaked out."

She went to the Burlington recruiting center where the door was open but no one was home. So she grabbed all the cards and numbers she could find, including the address of the Seattle-area testing center.

Then, with her grown daughter in tow, she high-tailed it south, frantically phoning Axel whose cell phone had been confiscated "so he wouldn't be distracted during tests."

Axel's grandfather was in the hospital dying, she told the people at the desk. He needed to come home right away. She would have said just about anything.

But, even after being told her son would be brought right out, her daughter spied him being taken down a separate hall and into another room. So she dashed down the hall and grabbed him by the arm.

"They were telling me I needed to 'be a man' and stand up to my family," Axel said.

What he needed, it turned out, was a lawyer.

Five minutes and $250 after an attorney called the recruiters, Axel's signed papers and his cell phone were in the mail.

My request to speak with the sergeant who recruited Axel and with the Burlington office about recruitment procedures went unanswered.

And so should your phone, Marcia Cobb advised. Take your own sweet time. Keep your own counsel. And, if you see USMC on caller ID, remember what answering the call could mean.

Link in headline.

--Good God.--

Moveon.Org Joins With Our Hero, John Conyers.

MoveOn.org joins
Downing Street memo petition drive

Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, has announced that MoveOn.org will join his petition calling on President Bush to provide new answers surrounding the lead-up to war in Iraq, RAW STORY has learned.

"Today, I am pleased to announce that Moveon.org, one of the pioneers in internet activism has joined our drive to demonstrate that the stonewalling of the White House on the Downing Street Minutes will not stand. We deserve answers and we deserve them now," Conyers said in a statement.

"Given Moveon's involvement, I think we can go for half a million signatures, don't you?" he wrote on his blog.

Conyers office says they have collected more than 140,000 signatures in their drive, which the Michigan Democrat says he hopes to present to President Bush in person.


Art For Everyone. Posted by Hello

Main Stream Media Wakes Up Roaring.

Bush & Blair/Iraq denials raise questions
June 9, 2005 ED0609

On the subject of when, why and how the United States decided to attack Iraq, American citizens' recent seeming lack of interest has been a puzzle to many in the rest of the world. As the Bush administration's stated reasons for war shifted, ebbed and flowed, many simply went with the flow, finding each succeeding reason -- well, reason enough. Some became more and more skeptical, even cynical; others just didn't know what to believe. But whatever their reasons, Americans have shown much less interest than the British in a bombshell of a memo leaked last month in London.

Tuesday provided a moment when top leaders could have helped them sort it all out, yet little was clarified -- which can only lead to increased skepticism on the part of anyone paying close attention.

When the so-called Downing Street memo came up in a question directed to British Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bush at their joint news conference in Washington, the two leaders answered in such a way as to spur headlines like the one on Page 1 of Wednesday's Star Tribune: "A joint denial of Iraq memo."

People who've paid casual attention to news of the secret document might variously assume now that Bush and Blair had dismissed the memo as a forgery or denied that its contents were true -- or both. A careful reading of the two men's words, however, shows that they denied much less than one might think; it also brings up pertinent questions that the president should be pressed to answer.

The memo is actually the minutes of a meeting of Blair and his highest officials on July 23, 2002, eight months before the invasion of Iraq. Leaked to the Sunday Times of London, it was printed on May 1. The memo contained this description of what was said by Sir Richard Dearlove, or "C," the head of Britain's foreign intelligence service: "C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam [Hussein], through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

Bush and Blair were asked of this part, "Is this an accurate reflection of what happened?" Blair, saying he could respond very easily said, "No, the facts were not being fixed in any shape or form at all," and went on to say that military action had to be taken because Saddam didn't comply with international law. Bush said, among other comments, "There's nothing farther from the truth," implying that C was wrong, without going into detail.

Neither addressed the intelligence and whether it was being concocted to provide a justification for removing Saddam. Blair, who was more specific than Bush, didn't address other key parts of the minutes, such as when Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is summarized as saying, "The case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force."

Attorney General Lord Goldsmith explained in the meeting that, as the memo relates, "the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation."

How could one of those occur? Blair did not address his own response to Straw and Goldsmith as described in the memo: "The Prime Minister said that it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors."

This is stunning. As Mark Danner wrote in Sunday's New York Review of Books, "Thus the idea of UN inspectors was introduced not as a means to avoid war, as President Bush repeatedly assured Americans, but as a means to make war possible."

These and other points make the Downing Street memo one more in a string of accounts that undercut the administration's version of events. Tuesday's brief, narrow denials may have generated the desired headlines, but they did little to set the record straight.

---Go Get Them, Star Tribune, God Bless You.---

Impeach them. Posted by Hello

Art For Boys. Posted by Hello

From London...

The Sunday Times

Washington confronts 'memogate'

By Tony Allen-Mills,
Washington correspondent of The Sunday Times,
for Times Online

President George W. Bush has finally responded to a question that much of America has been asking: did a secret memo prove that Washington was gearing for war in Iraq months earlier than the White House has admitted?

The Downing Street memo on US preparations for war in Iraq was revealed in The Sunday Times five weeks ago. But it wasn't until Tony Blair's visit to the White House this week that the resulting controversy made waves in Washington, and revived a long-dormant American debate about President Bush’s march to war from the summer of 2002.

It has also provoked embarrassed questions in the US media as to why so many newspapers and broadcast outlets here ignored the story for so long.

The leaked memo quickly spread across the internet after it was first published by The Sunday Times on May 1 with several prominent US websites providing links to The Sunday Times article and the memo on Times Online. But only when British Prime Minister and President Bush appeared at a joint press conference on Tuesday did the American President face his first public question about a British intelligence official’s remark that "intelligence and facts were being fixed" by Washington to support the US case against Saddam Hussein.

Both Mr Blair and Mr Bush attempted to dismiss the memo’s central implication that Washington was gearing for war months earlier than has been admitted. But their denials opened the door to an American media scrutiny that had previously been notable for its absence.

Despite attempts by some of Mr Bush’s Democratic opponents to portray the memo as a potential Watergate-style scandal – one newspaper dubbed it "memogate" – most US media outlets ignored the original Sunday Times story on the grounds, now regarded by some as excessively cautious, that they could not verify the memo’s authenticity and were unable to obtain copies of their own.

There was also suspicion in Washington that the timing of the memo’s publication, a few days before the British elections, was a politically-motivated ploy intended to damage Mr Blair. President Bush suggested as much on Tuesday, when he declared at his White House press conference that "they dropped it out in the middle of the race".

All of which persuaded US editors that this was a story they could afford to ignore. While the American public is growing increasingly concerned about the current conduct of the Iraq war, its origins have never been much of an issue here and Mr Bush’s re-election last November effectively neutered controversy about US intelligence failures over weapons of mass destruction and Saddam’s supposed terrorist links.

The US media, stung by a series of recent scandals involving reporters who made up stories, has also been implementing ever more cautious editorial policies about anonymous sources and unofficial leaks. The media that gave birth to Deep Throat – the legendary Watergate whistleblower – was in danger of becoming the media of Deaf Ears.

One senior US editor frankly admitted this week that his paper hadn’t touched the Sunday Times memo because it hadn’t been able to obtain a copy from its own sources. Jim Cox of USA Today said his newspaper had tried calling Downing Street, but not surprisingly had failed to obtain "explicit confirmation of [the memo’s] authenticity".

It was not until President Bush was asked about the memo on Tuesday that USA Today mentioned it to its readers for the first time. So frustrated were some of the President’s opponents at the US media’s silence that one left-wing website, Democrats.com, offered a $1,000 reward to any reporter ready to tackle the President on the issue. The Reuters reporter who posed the question on Tuesday was unaware of the reward and has no intention of collecting it.

Yet now the controversy is out in the open and there is no further doubting of the memo’s authenticity, or excuse for media foot-dragging. The original Sunday Times report was widely quoted in leading newspapers this week. A Democratic senator entered the memo into the record of a meeting of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.

A group of 89 Democratic congressmen has already written to the President questioning him about the claims in the memo, and several of their number have told The Sunday Times they do not intend to let the matter drop, despite the White House’s refusal so far to respond.

Perhaps most significantly, the President’s continuing difficulties in Iraq are taking a heavy toll of his approval ratings, and are beginning to threaten the Republicans’ chances in mid-term elections next year. Further violence in Iraq may yet encourage a rebirth of American public interest in how the war came to be started.

At Tuesday’s press conference, Mr Bush and Mr Blair managed to dodge serious examination of their preparations for war, but the issue does not look like going away soon.

Link in headline...

---Well, welcome to the freaking party georgie!!! This will be worth my popcorn.---

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Art for Everyone Posted by Hello

Published on Thursday, May 26, 2005 by Haaretz (Israel)
The U.S. Removes the Nuclear Brakes

by Reuven Pedatzur

Under the cloak of secrecy imparted by use of military code names, the American administration has been taking a big - and dangerous - step that will lead to the transformation of the nuclear bomb into a legitimate weapon for waging war.

Ever since the terror attack of September 11, 2001, the Bush administration has gradually done away with all the nuclear brakes that characterized American policy during the Cold War. No longer are nuclear bombs considered "the weapon of last resort." No longer is the nuclear bomb the ultimate means of deterrence against nuclear powers, which the United States would never be the first to employ.

In the era of a single, ruthless superpower, whose leadership intends to shape the world according to its own forceful world view, nuclear weapons have become a attractive instrument for waging wars, even against enemies that do not possess nuclear arms.
Remember the code name "CONPLAN 8022." Last week, the Washington Post reported that this unintelligible nickname masks a military program whose implementation could drag the world into nuclear war.

CONPLAN 8022 is a series of operational plans prepared by Stratcom, the U.S. Army's Strategic Command, which calls for preemptive nuclear strikes against Iran and North Korea. One of the plan's major components is the use of nuclear weapons to destroy the underground facilities where North Korea and Iran are developing their nuclear weapons. The standard ordnance deployed by the Americans is not capable of destroying these facilities.

After the war in Afghanistan, it became clear that despite the widespread use of huge conventional bombs, "bunker-busters," some of the bunkers dug by Al-Qaida remained untouched. This discovery soon led to a decision to develop nuclear weapons that would be able to penetrate and destroy the underground shelters in which the two member states of the "axis of evil" are developing weapons of mass destruction.

The explanation given by administration experts calls these "small" bombs, which would have a moderate effect on the environment. The effect of the bomb would not be discernible above ground, the radioactive fallout would be negligible, and the "collateral damage" caused to civilians would be minimal.

Accordingly, America's deterrent credibility against the "rogue states" would grow, because it is clear that the U.S. would allow itself to make use of these "small bombs" - as they would destroy the weapon sites but not cause the death of many civilians.

The war in Iraq, whose purpose was the destruction of Saddam Hussein's development facilities and stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, but which led to America's miring in the Iraqi swamp, has increased the attraction of nuclear weapons. After all, it would have been much simpler and more logical to destroy Saddam's facilities with a few "small bombs," which would not have caused any real damage to the civilian population, than to become entangled in a ground war that has resulted in 150,000 American soldiers treading water in the Iraqi swamp.

The problem with this argument is that it is hopeless. To understand this, one may analyze the effect of a nuclear attack of the sort posited by American military strategists in CONPLAN 8022. Obviously, the U.S. would not use less than five to ten "small bombs" were it to attack Iran or North Korea, since, considering the number of relevant targets in the two countries, anything less would fail to achieve the goal of deterrence and prevention. According to the plan, each bomb would have a 10-kiloton yield - about two-thirds of that of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Each detonation of a bomb a few meters underground would destroy most of the buildings on the surface to a range of two kilometers. After the explosion, there would be a need to quickly evacuate civilians from an area of 100 square kilometers, to avoid the deadly effects of the radioactive fallout; buildings, agricultural crops and livestock would be affected in an area of thousands of square kilometers, and depending on wind direction and velocity, there could be a need to evacuate more people from thousands of additional square kilometers.

None of this takes into account the political and psychological repercussions of using nuclear weapons for the first time in more than 60 years. The Bush administration regards all this as "limited collateral damage."

The nuclear policy that the Bush administration continues to formulate, including plans for a preemptive nuclear strike against states that do not possess such weapons and the development of new nuclear weapons - is a recipe for disaster. It is a policy that blurs the line between conventional and nuclear war. This blurring could undermine the relative strategic stability that has set in since the Cold War.

In addition, the Bush administration's approach contains a message that is liable to encourage Iran and North Korea to reassess the contribution such a weapon would make to their own nuclear policies, possibly providing the incentive that would accelerate such development.
Herein lies an inherent contradiction in the American approach that on the one hand acts with commendable determination to prevent the proliferation of nuclear arms, but on the other hand, contributes toward it by adopting an irresponsible nuclear policy.


Not Just A Last Resort?
A Global Strike Plan, With a Nuclear Option

By William ArkinSunday, May 15, 2005; Page B01

Early last summer, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld approved a top secret "Interim Global Strike Alert Order" directing the military to assume and maintain readiness to attack hostile countries that are developing weapons of mass destruction, specifically Iran and North Korea.

Two months later, Lt. Gen. Bruce Carlson, commander of the 8th Air Force, told a reporter that his fleet of B-2 and B-52 bombers had changed its way of operating so that it could be ready to carry out such missions. "We're now at the point where we are essentially on alert," Carlson said in an interview with the Shreveport (La.) Times. "We have the capacity to plan and execute global strikes." Carlson said his forces were the U.S. Strategic Command's "focal point for global strike" and could execute an attack "in half a day or less."

In the secret world of military planning, global strike has become the term of art to describe a specific preemptive attack. When military officials refer to global strike, they stress its conventional elements. Surprisingly, however, global strike also includes a nuclear option, which runs counter to traditional U.S. notions about the defensive role of nuclear weapons.

The official U.S. position on the use of nuclear weapons has not changed. Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has taken steps to de-emphasize the importance of its nuclear arsenal. The Bush administration has said it remains committed to reducing our nuclear stockpile while keeping a credible deterrent against other nuclear powers. Administration and military officials have stressed this continuity in testimony over the past several years before various congressional committees.

But a confluence of events, beginning with the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and the president's forthright commitment to the idea of preemptive action to prevent future attacks, has set in motion a process that has led to a fundamental change in how the U.S. military might respond to certain possible threats. Understanding how we got to this point, and what it might mean for U.S. policy, is particularly important now -- with the renewed focus last week on Iran's nuclear intentions and on speculation that North Korea is ready to conduct its first test of a nuclear weapon.

Global strike has become one of the core missions for the Omaha-based Strategic Command, or Stratcom. Once, Stratcom oversaw only the nation's nuclear forces; now it has responsibility for overseeing a global strike plan with both conventional and nuclear options. President Bush spelled out the definition of "full-spectrum" global strike in a January 2003 classified directive, describing it as "a capability to deliver rapid, extended range, precision kinetic (nuclear and conventional) and non-kinetic (elements of space and information operations) effects in support of theater and national objectives."

This blurring of the nuclear/conventional line, wittingly or unwittingly, could heighten the risk that the nuclear option will be used. Exhibit A may be the Stratcom contingency plan for dealing with "imminent" threats from countries such as North Korea or Iran, formally known as CONPLAN 8022-02.

CONPLAN 8022 is different from other war plans in that it posits a small-scale operation and no "boots on the ground." The typical war plan encompasses an amalgam of forces -- air, ground, sea -- and takes into account the logistics and political dimensions needed to sustain those forces in protracted operations. All these elements generally require significant lead time to be effective. (Existing Pentagon war plans, developed for specific regions or "theaters," are essentially defensive responses to invasions or attacks. The global strike plan is offensive, triggered by the perception of an imminent threat and carried out by presidential order.)

CONPLAN 8022 anticipates two different scenarios. The first is a response to a specific and imminent nuclear threat, say in North Korea. A quick-reaction, highly choreographed strike would combine pinpoint bombing with electronic warfare and cyberattacks to disable a North Korean response, with commandos operating deep in enemy territory, perhaps even to take possession of the nuclear device.

The second scenario involves a more generic attack on an adversary's WMD infrastructure. Assume, for argument's sake, that Iran announces it is mounting a crash program to build a nuclear weapon. A multidimensional bombing (kinetic) and cyberwarfare (non-kinetic) attack might seek to destroy Iran's program, and special forces would be deployed to disable or isolate underground facilities.

By employing all of the tricks in the U.S. arsenal to immobilize an enemy country -- turning off the electricity, jamming and spoofing radars and communications, penetrating computer networks and garbling electronic commands -- global strike magnifies the impact of bombing by eliminating the need to physically destroy targets that have been disabled by other means.

The inclusion, therefore, of a nuclear weapons option in CONPLAN 8022 -- a specially configured earth-penetrating bomb to destroy deeply buried facilities, if any exist -- is particularly disconcerting. The global strike plan holds the nuclear option in reserve if intelligence suggests an "imminent" launch of an enemy nuclear strike on the United States or if there is a need to destroy hard-to-reach targets.

CONTINUED 1 2 3 Next >


Art for Everyone Posted by Hello

Amen Posted by Hello

Pentagon Wasted Supplies, GAO Finds
The Defense Department spent at least $400 million in recent years buying boots, tents, bandages and other goods at the same time it was getting rid of identical items it had paid for but never used, government investigators told House members yesterday.


Poll Finds Dimmer View of Iraq War
For the first time since the war in Iraq began, more than half of the American public believes the fight there has not made the United States safer, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.


FOCUS Oil Giant Influenced Bush on Kyoto Stance



Ohio concealed $215m pension loss



U.S. Army recruiting lags yet again



Israeli air strike targets Hamas 05:20 AEST



Taliban militants kill two US soldiers



I saw lost man in Egypt jail: Habib
The Department of Foreign Affairs will investigate claims that former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib saw a Sydney man in an Egyptian jail who disappeared more than six years ago. more

Immoveable ElBaradei earns meeting with US

The Bush Administration, having found no alternate candidate or support from any allies, has given up on its attempt to force out Mohamed ElBaradei as the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency. more



2 Americans killed, 8 wounded in mortar attack on U.S. base in Afghanistan
KABUL (AP) - Two Americans were killed and eight others wounded in a mortar attack Wednesday at a base in eastern Afghanistan, the military said. Full Story



'Bloody chainsaw' man enters US



American media no longer accept Bushs war lies
Memorial Day saw numerous editorials criticising President Bush over the Iraq war lies, a move which shows distrust in the administration.


Katherine Harris to Run for Senate in 2006



Art for Eveyone Posted by Hello



Marine lieutenant cleared of killing Iraqis:

A decision the Marine Corps said was in "the best interests" of the officer and the country.



U.S. uses the magic mantra ‘Zarqawi’ to justify failures :

For many Iraqis the name ‘Saddam Hussein’ has been replaced by ‘Zarqawi’. The only difference is that while they could easily verify the footage, the speeches and sound bites of the former, many of them believe the latter is the product of the U.S. propaganda machine.



UK supplying over 90 per cent of arms transfers to Iraq London:

Britain supplied over 90 per cent of major conventional weapons delivered to Iraq in 2004 following the lifting of the UN arms embargo last June, according to the latest figures from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute



"Free Sami Al-Arian," says Andy Martin :

The most ridiculous "show trial" since Stalin's purges in Russia in the 1930's has begun in a federal courtroom in Tampa, Florida. The Israeli government, using neo-con extremists in the Bush administration, is placing the Palestinian People on trial for the "crime" of fighting for their freedom.



Them Stars And Swipes:

The US probe on the Iraq 'oil-for-food scam' has exposed its own duplicity


Tuesday, June 07, 2005


This is the new CNN: More news, less debate
By Peter Johnson, USA TODAY

CNN announced a slate of programming and anchor changes Monday intended to refocus the No. 2 cable news network on hard news and analysis, and away from opinion and talk.

CNN chief Jon Klein, who took over in November, says the changes are not meant to directly counter Fox News Channel, which continues to trounce onetime ratings leader CNN, now marking its 25th year.

"There are many tactical things we could do to try to beat Fox, but we're trying to be ourselves: Roll up our sleeves and report the news, don't talk about it," Klein says.

News analyst Andrew Tyndall says that in making the changes, CNN chose to "counterprogram against Fox rather than compete."

Year to date, Fox draws an average of 842,000 viewers to CNN's 458,000 and MSNBC's 217,000 at any given time.

But, says Klein: "I don't think of CNN as being up against Fox and MSNBC anymore than we're up against 500 choices on cable, millions of choices in iTunes, 10 million blogs, video games, DVDs. Our competition is every medium."

Among the changes: Your World Today, CNN International's one-hour midday broadcast anchored by Zain Verjee and Jim Clancy, will now air on CNN domestic weekdays at noon ET/9 a.m. PT, marking the first time any cable news outlet has devoted a regular daytime block — albeit a low-rated one — solely to international news. Today kicked off Monday with reports from Sudan and Syria.

After 10 years at CNN, Bill Hemmer, the co-anchor of American Morning who turned down CNN's offer to become White House correspondent and whose contract is up this year, announced he's leaving June 17.

Veteran CNN anchor Miles O'Brien, best known for his space shuttle coverage, joins Soledad O'Brien June 20 on Morning, making it an all-O'Brien newscast. "I think it's easier to remember one name in the morning," Klein joked.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer gets a weekday 3 to 6 p.m. ET news block called The Situation Room, which replaces Inside Politics, Crossfire and Wolf Blitzer Reports. The program debuts mid-summer, with Morning's Jack Cafferty and other CNN correspondents joining the program.

Klein says that Blitzer, a longtime CNN anchor and onetime White House correspondent, will focus on "the biggest and most interesting stories of the day, drawing on all our resources."
Klein, a former CBS News executive, also announced that veteran network news executives David Doss and Victor Neufeld have joined CNN. Dodd will supervise Anderson Cooper 360, Neufeld Paula Zahn Tonight.

Tyndall says that in veering toward news and away from opinion, CNN deserves credit for positioning itself as a network where news can be reported and analyzed, not just argued.

"Everyone talks in talking points these days," he said. "It's not just on cable news. It's radio. It's everywhere. The entire political world is no longer talking ideas, but talking points."


War for Oil Posted by Hello
.Oh my.
Remember Muhsin Abdul Hameed?

He’s the head of the Iraqi Islamic Party in Iraq- a Sunni political party that was basically the only blatantly Sunni party taking part in post-occupation politics in Iraq. For those who have forgotten, Abdul Hameed was chosen as one of the rotating presidents back in 2003. Mohsin was actually, er, Mr. February 2004, if you will.

The last couple of days, we’ve been hearing about raids and detentions in various areas. One of these areas is Amriya. We’ve been hearing about random detentions of ‘suspects’ who may be any male between the ages 15 – 65 and looting by Iraqi forces of houses. It’s like the first months after the occupation when the American forces were conducting raids.

We woke up this morning to the interesting news that Muhsin Abdul Hameed had also been detained! A member of the former Iraqi Governing Council, a rotating puppet president, and *The Sunni*. He is The Sunni they hold up to all Sunnis as an example of cooperation and collaboration. Well, he’s the religious Sunni. There is a tribal Sunni (supposedly to appease the Arab Sunni tribes) and that is Ghazi Al Yawir and there is the religious Sunni- Muhsin Abdul Hameed.

The Americans are saying Muhsin was “detained and interviewed”, which makes one think his car was gently pulled over and he was asked a few questions. What actually happened was that his house was raided early morning, doors broken down, windows shattered and he and his three sons had bags placed over their heads and were dragged away. They showed the house, and his wife, today on Arabiya and the house was a disaster. The cabinets were broken, tables overturned, books and papers scattered, etc. An outraged Muhsin was on tv a few minutes ago talking about how the troops pushed him to the floor and how he had an American boot on his neck for twenty minutes.

Talabani was seemingly irritated. He wondered why no one asked him about the arrest before it occurred- as if the he is personally consulted on every other raid and detention. The detention is disturbing. Now I am not personally fond of Muhsin Abdul Hameed- he looks somewhat like a dried potato, and he’s a Puppet. It is disturbing, though, because if this was really a mistake, then just imagine how many other ‘mistakes’ are being unfairly detained and possibly tortured in places like Abu Ghraib. Abdul Hameed is one of their own and even he wasn’t safe from a raid, humiliation and detention. He was out the same day, but other Iraqis don’t have the luxury of a huffy Talabani and outraged political party.

Was it meant to send a message to Sunnis? That’s what some people are saying. Many people believe it was meant to tell Sunnis, “None of you are safe- even the ones who work with us.” It’s just difficult to believe this is one big misunderstanding or mistake.

On the other hand, watching the situation unfold was somewhat like watching one of those annoying reality tv shows where they take someone off of a farm, for example, and put them in New York and then watch how they cope- what was it called? “Faking It”? How will Muhsin feel about raids and detentions now that he’s been on the other side of them?

Crony Socialism:
Your Tax Dollars at Work

Bush is about to hand hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money to his old pals from...wait for it...Enron! Yes, that's right: top dogs from one of the largest corporate con jobs in the history of the world have been given that amount in government-backed "loan guarantees" to build a$2.8 billion energy plant in the hills of Colorado. And if the plant goes belly-up (and we are talking about the deadbeat boys from Enron here), Bush's pals (and financial patrons) won't have to pay back one thin dime of the loans. That will be left to those eternal suckers, the American people. This backdoor bagman drop is buried certain fathoms deep in the 700-page porkapalooza known as the energy bill, now being "debated"-- i.e., crammed with last-minute swag for "special friends" -- in the Senate.

Thus we have yet another perfect example of Crony Socialism, Bush style: the risks are socialized, the profits are privatized -- and the suckers get it in the neck.

Here's the story, from Public Citizen, via Buzzflash.


Art from Down Under Posted by Hello
Officials: Taliban, al-Qaida may target election

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A deadly suicide bombing at a mosque and an attempt to down a U.S. military aircraft with a shoulder-launched missile may signal the start of a campaign of violence by al-Qaida and Taliban rebels to destabilize Afghanistan’s legislative elections, President Hamid Karzai’s spokesman said Tuesday.

Full Story


Coordinated bombings in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) — Four apparently coordinated bombings in seven minutes Tuesday killed 18 people in northern Iraq, ending a relative lull in violence.

Full Story


Art for Everyone Posted by Hello
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