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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Dems May Try to Revise Authority House Gave Bush on Iraq

Representative Steny H. Hoyer, the House majority leader, said Friday that Congress might consider legislation revising the authorization it gave President Bush in 2002 to use military force in Iraq.


Hicks jail 'a Nazi death camp'

IN the first detailed account from the Guantanamo Bay jail where David Hicks is held, a lawyer for a Washington firm has painted a picture of hellish conditions.

No Longer Leader of the Free World

George W. Bush insists he's a great believer in democracy, at least the theoretical sort he envisions for a Middle East pacified by Western power and willing to elect candidates favored by Washington. But he wasn't eager to count all the votes in Florida in 2000, nor is he ready to listen to the message from the voters in 2006. In this guest essay, political analyst Brent Budowsky observes the tragedy of an American President who no longer is hailed as the "leader of the free world." January 25, 2007


Radar Love: Robbing the Cradle to Pay War Profiteers

Chris Floyd

Another day, yet another scandal involving the saintly Tony Blair and highly connected Anglo-American arms peddlers. The British prime minister, who, like George W. Bush, has made his sleeve-worn Christianity a major component of his political persona, is knee-deep in a corruption probe once again, just weeks after peremptorily quashing an official investigation into bribes, kickbacks and influence-peddling allegations involving his government, his corporate cronies and the Saudi royals.

Link Here

A World Held Hostage, to a psychological conflict between a headstrong son and his disapproving father

The Iraq War is a tragic story of miscalculation and hubris that has claimed the lives of 3,000 American soldiers and possibly hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. But the war may have another dimension, a psychological conflict between a headstrong son and his disapproving father. In this guest essay, Ivan Eland says one motive in George W. Bush's decision to plunge deeper into the Iraq quagmire may be that he won't admit that his father was right. January 27, 2007


Bush's father complains of news media "hostility"

Fri Jan 26, 2007 5:34pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush's father accused the news media of "personal animosity" toward his son and said he found the criticism so unrelenting he sometimes talked back to his television set.
"It's one thing to have an adversarial ... relationship -- hard-hitting journalism -- it's another when the journalists' rhetoric goes beyond skepticism and goes over the line into overt, unrelenting hostility and personal animosity," former President George Bush said.


Canada to Pay Arar $10.5 Million for Syria Ordeal

By Randall Palmer

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada apologized on Friday to software engineer Maher Arar, who was deported to Syria by U.S. agents after Canadian police mistakenly labeled him an Islamic extremist, and paid him C$10.5 million ($8.9 million) in compensation.

Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian citizen, was arrested during a stopover in New York in 2002 on his way home to Canada from a holiday. He has said he was repeatedly tortured during the year he spent in Damascus jails.

U.S. officials deported Arar after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said he was a suspected Islamic extremist, but an official Canadian inquiry said there was no evidence he was linked to terrorism.

The deportation has become a sore spot in Canada-U.S. relations, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper renewed his call for Washington to remove Arar from its security watch list as he announced the settlement on Friday.

"On behalf of the government of Canada, I wish to apologize to you, Monia Mazigh (Arar's wife) and your family for any role Canadian officials may have played in the terrible ordeal that all of you experienced in 2002 and 2003," Harper said in a letter of apology which he read at a news conference.

In addition to the C$10.5 million, an Arar lawyer said the government would pay for C$1 million in legal fees.

Arar said afterwards that he could not begin to say how much Harper's statement and the compensation meant. Continued...

Kerik Named Security Adviser in Guyana

Associated Press
GEORGETOWN, Guyana - Guyana's president has hired former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik as a state security adviser despite criticism in this South American country over his record of alleged ethics violations.

Kerik will begin a one-year contract as an adviser to President Bharrat Jagdeo and the national security ministry at the start of February, Jagdeo said late Thursday.

Jagdeo acknowledged the controversy surrounding Kerik's background, but said his skills could help Guyana stop drug traffickers who use the English-speaking country as a base for smuggling.

In September, Jagdeo said he wanted Kerik to lead an overhaul of the country's police department. But in remarks to reporters Thursday, he did not describe Kerik's responsibilities. He said the contract would not be paid from a US$20 million loan Guyana received from the Inter-American Development Bank to reform its security services.

Kerik gained prominence in the United States while leading the New York Police Department's response to the Sept. 11 attacks.

U.S. President George W. Bush nominated him for Homeland Security chief in 2004, but Kerik withdrew after acknowledging he had not paid enough taxes for a family nanny-housekeeper and that the woman may have been in the country illegally.

Last year, Kerik pleaded guilty to accepting tens of thousands of dollars in gifts from a company that was trying to do business with New York City while he was corrections commissioner.


UNFRIKINGBELIEVABLE just another mouthpiece for the deviate

In December, Senate Democrats were persuaded to give Robert M. Gates a free pass to become Defense Secretary, despite warnings from CIA officers who had worked with him. The Democrats bought into the "conventional wisdom" that Gates would guide George W. Bush toward a phased withdrawal from Iraq. Instead, Gates is emerging as a loyal foot soldier for Bush in expanding the war -- and to demonstrate his thanks to the Democrats for the free pass, Gates now is accusing them of aiding America's enemies by not falling in line behind Bush. January 27, 2007

Mengele in Mesapotamia.

' Extending hope and opportunity depends on a stable supply of energy that keeps America's economy running and America's environment clean. For too long our nation has been dependent on foreign oil. And this dependence leaves us more vulnerable to hostile regimes, and to terrorists -- who could cause huge disruptions of oil shipments, and raise the price of oil, and do great harm to our economy.' George W.Bush, State of the Union Address : 23rd January 2007.

26th January marks Holocaust Memorial Day in the U.K., established by Prime Minister Blair in 2001.The message of the Holocaust was ; ' never again', so, at this time, have you noticed that there are no Iraqis anymore? No children: no Alis, Jassims, Omars, Sabahs, Husseins; no Nairas, Ranins, Yasmins, Esthers, Fetuahs. No Parents; no Umm (mother of) Jassim, Ranin, Sabah, or Abus' (father of) Yasmin, Ali, Omar ... there are no Am or Khal (uncles) or Ama and Khala (aunts) no Jeda (grandmothers) or Jedu (grandfathers.) No familes, friends, taleb (students) yufadh (teachers) mentors, coaches, shop keepers, friends to children on a special household errand. No fish, date, fruit, falafal, pistachio sellers ... In Iraq, humanity has been erased. Instead there are 'terrorists', 'insurgents', 'Ba'athist remanants', 'militants', 'Saddamists', 'Sunnis', 'Shia's', 'foreign fighters', 'Al Qaeda'. There are 'rag heads', 'camel jockeys' and the all become 'collateral damage' as they are sliced in pieces, beheaded, tortured, slaughtered, by the occupiers or their militia goons as they sleep, drive, walk, play, dying in numbers 'not productive to count', as so succinctly put by General Kimmitt, a man who would seemingly be unphased running a concentration camp...

continua / continued

Back to the Future...

Layla Anwar An Arab Woman Blues

A brief summary report on "Operation American Freedom and the Liberation of America.". Following 13 years of a cruel stringent embargo that left 1.5 million americans dead of which 500'000 american children below the age of 5 , the Iraqi army, with their imposing armada bombarded the U.S with over 700 tons of B.52's. Iraqi armored vehicles, 150'000 Iraqi soldiers and 100'000 subcontractors and mercenaries(from the Arab world and Africa) have taken hold of Washington DC and other parts of the country. The Iraqi soldiers toppled the Washington Monument, ransacked and pillaged the National Gallery of Art, the National Portrait Gallery as well the great Smithsonian institute and museum.The White House , the Pentagon and the CIA have also been targeted and now encircled. Hundreds of Iraqi generals with their troops have squatted the headquarters of the American Government. The White House, looted, has now become an enclave of the Iraqi occupying forces and has been renamed the White Zone. The President of the U.S.A as well as his 20 advisors have been caught and are now prisonners of war in a Fort Lauderdale secret prison, camp Babel. A puppet american government was set up by the Iraqi occupying forces. They set up elections and eyewitnesses report that over 1 million mexicans came in buses and voted the new government in. Reliable sources affirm that the current American government is mainly comprised of mexican americans with dual nationalities and totally backed by Mexico...

continua / continued

The Saturday Cartoons

Unsinkable strategy
By Mike Luckovich Thursday, January 25, 2007, 05:26 AM
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Saturday Cartoons

Quote of The Day...

"In a town where reputation and power is everything, Libby's entire legal team was diminished in a matter of minutes with this one, petty, groundless and unnecessary stunt." - Christy Hardin Smith

Libby Trial: Oncoming Train

All aboard...!

The Martin's - "Hello, Resume Express?"

posted by Patrick J. Fitzgerald at 1/25/2007

SURVIVOR - Washington D.C...

"Libby Sacrificed to Protect Rove"
"Mr. Libby, you will learn, went to the vice president of the United States and met with the vice president in private. Mr. Libby said to the vice president, 'I think the White House ... is trying to set me up. People in the White House want me to be a scapegoat,'" said Wells, continuing, "People in the White House are trying to protect a man named Karl Rove."

PANIC AT THE DISCO"One of the more astonishing revelations during the first day of the trial was the revelation by Wells that as many as six government witnesses, including Ari Fleischer, who at the time of the Plame leak was White House press secretary, received an immunity deal in exchange for testimony."


Have you played Find the Immunized Witness(es)?

posted by Patrick J. Fitzgerald at 1/25/2007

Lawyers probe Fleischer's immunity deal -- AP

By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer Sat Jan 27, 5:43 AM ET

WASHINGTON - Attorneys for former vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby want more information about an unusual immunity-from-prosecution deal that government lawyers gave former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer in the CIA leak case.

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald says that in early 2004, as his investigation was heating up into who revealed CIA operative Valerie Plame's name to reporters, Fleischer stepped forward with an offer to prosecutors: Promise no prosecution and he would help their case.

Prosecutors normally insist on an informal account of what a witness will say before agreeing to such a deal. It's known in legal circles as a proffer, and Fitzgerald said Thursday that he never got one from Fleischer, who was chief White House spokesman for the first 2 1/2 years of
President Bush's first term.

"I didn't want to give him immunity. I did so reluctantly," Fitzgerald said in court Thursday. "I was buying a pig in a poke."

Defense attorneys are skeptical. Fleischer is expected to testify Monday against Libby, who is accused of lying and obstructing Fitzgerald's investigation. Attorneys are preparing court documents demanding to know exactly what Fleischer promised in exchange for immunity.


FCC to Feel Unfamiliar Heat From Democrats

As congressional Democrats prepare to give the Federal Communications Commission its toughest scrutiny in years, a rivalry between the powerful agency's two most prominent Republicans is raising questions about its readiness to handle barbed questions and stiff challenges.

The Republican-controlled FCC -- which makes far-reaching decisions on telephone, television, radio, Internet and other services that people use daily -- has sparred infrequently with Republican controlled Congresses. But the Democratic-run 110th Congress is about to heat up the grill, starting with a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on Thursday.

Senators vow to press the chairman and four commissioners on matters such as media-ownership diversity, Internet access, broadcast decency standards and delays in resolving various issues. The hearing may cover the waterfront, Democratic staff members say, but there's little doubt that the agency will face a tone of questioning unseen in recent years.

"They've effectively emasculated any public-interest standards that existed" for radio and TV stations, said Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.), a committee member who plans sharp questions on decency, media consolidation and other topics. "The entire Congress for years now has been devoid of any kind of oversight," he said, and the new Democratic majority is launching a process that will force the FCC to "beat a path to Capitol Hill to respond."


Pearl Harbor Ships Head For Middle East

POSTED: 12:43 pm HST January 26, 2007
UPDATED: 1:45 pm HST January 26, 2007

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii -- Nearly 500 Navy sailors with two Pearl Harbor-based aircraft carriers deployed on Friday to the Persian Gulf.

The two guided missile destroyers -- the USS Paul Hamilton and the USS O'Kane -- will be a part of the USS Stennis Aircraft Carrier Strike Group ...


Early related thread:
Bremerton-Based Stennis Deploys To Gulf <>


Ex-Cheney aide shares media manipulation

WASHINGTON - A smorgasbord of Washington insider details has emerged during the perjury trial of the vice president's former chief of staff.

For example, when Dick Cheney really needed friends in the news media, his staff was short of phone numbers.

No one served up spicier morsels than Cheney's former top press assistant. Cathie Martin described the craft of media manipulation — under oath and in blunter terms than politicians like to hear in public.

The uses of leaks and exclusives. When to let one's name be used and when to hide in anonymity. Which news medium was seen as more susceptible to control and what timing was most propitious. All candidly described. Even the rating of certain journalists as friends to favor and critics to shun — a faint echo of the enemies list drawn up in Richard


Brother Wins Arrest in '64 Case

The Jackson Free Press teamed with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. to follow an Army vet and Mississippi native on his journey back home, looking for justice for his little brother who was killed by the Klan in 1964. This is his story.

For four decades, Thomas Moore had shouldered guilt and shame. Guilt that he was not there to protect his younger brother; shame that he didn't have the nerve to avenge Charles's death. Over the years, the 63-year-old Army veteran had violent and bloody fantasies of confronting the men suspected of killing his brother. Then one day, someone offered to help him shoot the men - not with a gun, but with a camera.


Secrecy Is at Issue in Suits Opposing Spy Program

The Bush administration has employed extraordinary secrecy in defending the National Security Agency's highly classified domestic surveillance program from civil lawsuits. Plaintiffs and judges' clerks cannot see its secret filings. Judges have to make appointments to review them and are not allowed to keep copies. Judges have even been instructed to use computers provided by the Justice Department to compose their decisions. But now the procedures have started to meet resistance.


Cheney Forced Stall to Pre-War Intel Probe

Vice President Dick Cheney put "constant" pressure on the Republican former head of the Senate Intelligence Committee to stall an investigation into the Bush administration’s use of flawed intelligence on Iraq. Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia said it was "not hearsay" that Cheney, a leading proponent of invading Iraq, pushed Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), to drag out the probe. "It was just constant."


Sen. Kerry: US "A Sort Of International Pariah"

Associated Press BRADLEY S. KLAPPER January 27, 2007 08:43 AM

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry slammed the foreign policy of the Bush administration on Saturday, saying it has caused the United States to become "a sort of international pariah."
The statement came as the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee responded to a question about whether the U.S. government had failed to adequately engage Iran's government before the election of hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005.


Troops Join Tens Of Thousands At DC Protest

Associated Press LARRY MARGASAK January 27, 2007 11:59 AM

Active-duty military troops were featured in the protest. A Defense Department spokeswoman said members of the Armed Forces can speak out, subject to several restrictions. They must not do so in uniform, and they must make clear that they do not speak on behalf of their military unit, their service or the Defense Department, unless authorized to do so.

Read the entire article here.

A Cornered Animal

Wariness over a potential American attack on Iran has been on the rise for months. This wariness became outright fear in certain circles as last November's midterms approached. Concerns rose again over the last several weeks after Bush's poorly-received speech justifying the "surge" of US troops into Iraq. A centerpiece of that speech was his blunt threat to the government in Tehran about any meddling with the situation in Baghdad. Astute observers of the Iraq situation found this threat both odd and disturbing.


Gonzales Installs Bush Loyalists in Key Positions

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is exploiting a loophole in the Patriot Act to appoint U.S. attorneys whose principal qualification is their loyalty to the Bush administration. Recently a number of attorneys have been fired, apparently to make way for Bush-friendly replacements.


This Time, There Is Every Reason To Believe Michael Brown

By Diane E. Dees

Like an imprisoned drug dealer on a witness stand, Michael Brown is not exactly in a position to give credible testimony. But his latest so-called bombshell--that the White House decided to take federal control of Louisiana during the Katrina crisis in order to control and embarrass a Democratic governor--hits the target. Anyone with a working knowledge of the Bush White House knew that the administration was playing games with Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco in the days after the storm hit. A smear job of the governor by the White House (most likely Karl Rove) of Blanco was very successful both in Louisiana and nationally. Blanco had won a close election against a former Bush staff member, Bobby Jindal, and many of her constituents readily jumped on a campaign to blame her for the entire Katrina disaster, rather than just for the mistakes she did make.

January 23, 2007


The Highwayman: DeFazio to Take on Privatization

By Daniel Schulman

When I met with Peter DeFazio in his office last summer, the Oregon democrat was, to put it mildly, a bit exercised. Having flown in from Oregon the night before after participating in a charity bike ride, he was going on basically no sleep. And, when I asked him about the nascent trend of leasing the nation's highways to the private sector, he was particularly blunt: "It's a scam, basically," he told me. Even though DeFazio has now ascended to the key post on the Highways committee, it remains to be seen whether or not his efforts will slow the privatization trend, which has the enthusiastic backing of the Bush administration. To this end, the president recently nominated D.J. Gribbin to be general counsel to the Department of Transportation. Who is Gribbin you might wonder? A former general counsel to the Federal Highway Administration, he has most recently been working on behalf of Macquarie Holdings, Inc., a branch of the very same company that has been so avidly buying up the nation's highways.

January 25, 2007


Privately Over 70 Senators Would Oppose the Bush Escalation

Top White House officials are scrambling to prevent a showdown over the Iraq War that could tear apart the Republican Party and severely undermine President Bush's plan to increase US troop levels.


Kennedy Blasts Republicans on Minimum Wage

Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), angry about Republican filibustering of the minimum wage increase that easily passed the House of Representatives two weeks ago, erupted on the Senate floor, demanding of the other side of the aisle, "When does the greed stop?"


Friday, January 26, 2007

9/11 police hero dies awaiting lung transplant

David EdwardsPublished: Friday January 26, 2007

A retired New York police officer, who was recognized as a hero for his service in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, has passed away while awaiting a lung transplant.

Ceasar Borja, Sr., who was known for pulling 16 hour shifts in the vicinity of the World Trade Center, developed the "WTC cough" shortly after his retirement from the police force. He died on Tuesday night, just before his son, Ceasar, Jr., was a guest of Senator Hillary Clinton at the State of the Union address. Borja, Jr., is seeking to become a voice for those with health needs related to the aftermath of the collapse of the towers.

A video clip of the story from APTN is available for viewing below.

Tree memorial to dead troops becoming forest

• Grove began with 34 redbuds, now has 318
• Latest to be honored served extra term so comrade could stay with newborn
• Commander: Walk "strengthens our resolve ... to fight this global war on terrorism"

UFPJ Iraq Campaign

UFPJ Position on Ending the War on Iraq

On May 17, 2004, UFPJ’s national Steering Committee adopted a UFPJ position. Here it is.

1. Bring the U.S. troops home now.

2. Iraqi sovereignty must be reestablished immediately.

3. The Iraqi people, not foreigners, should make the decisions about the future of their country, including security. Iraqis should decide the structure of their economy and control Iraq's reconstruction. The corporate invasion of Iraq must be ended and the privatizations laws passed under the occupation repealed. Labor and human rights should also be guaranteed.

4. The United States should pay for the reconstruction of and reparations to Iraq, in accordance with international law.

5. The United Nations and other international organizations should refuse to endorse or collaborate with the U.S. occupation of Iraq. But once the U.S. ends its occupation, if representative sectors of Iraqi society invite it, the UN, backed by other international bodies such as the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, should help the Iraqis establish mechanisms through which to choose their own leaders and reclaim sovereign control of their own country.


US Officer To Be Court-Martialed In Abu Ghraib Case

Associated Press DAVID DISHNEAU January 26, 2007 08:11 PM

The only U.S. military officer charged with a crime in the Abu Ghraib scandal will be court-martialed on eight charges, including cruelty and maltreatment of prisoners, the Army said Friday.
Lt. Col. Steven Lee Jordan, a 50-year-old reservist from Virginia who ran the interrogation center at the Iraqi prison, was accused of failing to exert his authority as the place descended into chaos, with prisoners stripped naked, photographed in humiliating poses and intimidated by snarling dogs. He was also charged with lying to investigators.


Rove, Bartlett Subpoenaed In Libby Trial

Newsweek Michael Isikoff January 26, 2007 08:22 PM

White House anxiety is mounting over the prospect that top officials--including deputy chief of staff Karl Rove and counselor Dan Bartlett-may be forced to provide potentially awkward testimony in the perjury and obstruction trial of Lewis (Scooter) Libby.

Both Rove and Bartlett have already received trial subpoenas from Libby's defense lawyers, according to lawyers close to the case who asked not to be identified talking about sensitive matters. While that is no guarantee they will be called, the odds increased this week after Libby's lawyer, Ted Wells, laid out a defense resting on the idea that his client, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, had been made a "scapegoat" to protect Rove. Cheney is expected to provide the most crucial testimony to back up Wells's assertion, one of the lawyers close to the case said. The vice president personally penned an October 2003 note in which he wrote, "Not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the other." The note, read aloud in court by Wells, implied that Libby was the one being sacrificed in an effort to clear Rove of any role in leaking the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame, wife of Iraq war critic Joe Wilson. "Wow, for all the talk about this being a White House that prides itself on loyalty and discipline, you're not seeing much of it," the lawyer said.


Fox News To Air Unedited Scenes From ABC's Contested Path To 9/11

Calling Keith Olbermann, Calling Keith Obermann, time to dump this dumb wanker on his ass.

Reuters Kimberly Nordyke January 26, 2007 07:32 PM

Fox News Channel says it has obtained controversial unseen footage from ABC's miniseries "The Path to 9/11" and will air the video during "Hannity's America" on Sunday night.

Before "Path" aired in September, Democrats and former aides to President Clinton demanded changes to the miniseries, which revolves around the events leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks, saying that it contained fictionalized scenes and unfairly blamed the Clinton administration for failing to capture or kill Osama bin Laden.


Last September, you helped expose inaccuracies and partisan misrepresentations in ABC's controversial docudrama "The Path to 9/11." This Sunday, Fox News' Sean Hannity is planning to broadcast the fictitious scenes that ABC found unfit to air.

As you may recall, one of the outtakes featured a conversation where former national security advisor Sandy Berger refuses to approve a CIA request to attack Osama bin Laden - an event that the bipartisan 9/11 Commission confirmed never occurred.

It's one thing for Fox News to provide their usual biased political commentary. It's another thing to promote discredited fiction as news. We need you to stand up for the truth.

Write Sean Hannity And Demand That He Tell America That This Never Happened!

According to his executive producer, Sean Hannity and Fox News "feel the American people deserve both sides." We can only assume that the producer means fiction vs. fact. It's our obligation to stand up for the facts. ABC Television omitted certain scenes not because they were partisan, but because they were blatantly untrue.

Fox News and Sean Hannity have a right to be partisan and express their own opinions. However, if they want to claim that they're journalists, they have an obligation to report the truth. It's time to step up the pressure on Sean Hannity and Fox News.

Write Sean Hannity And Demand That He Tell America That This Never Happened!

This Sunday, we'll watch Hannity's America so you don't have to! Check in with

ThinkProgress.org for the latest on this story and to see if Hannity responds to our requests.
Thanks so much for your continued support,Stephen GeerCenter for American Progress Action Fund

FACTIONAL clashes flared overnight between the Hamas movement and president Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party, killing nine people in barely 24 hours.

Karrada Bombing kills 26, 40 Bodies Found, Maliki Threatens Sunni MP

Juan Cole, Informed Comment

The NYT reports that PM Nuri al-Maliki presented his security plan to parliament for approval. Sunni Arabs claimed that the plan punished Sunnis and let Shiite militias off the hook. In the course of the debate, he got into a shouting match with a Sunni Arab MP, Abdul Nasser al-Janabi, whom he then accused of being directly involved in the kidnapping of 150 persons from his district.. The PM threatened to release information about the man. The speaker of the house Mahmoud al-Mashahani tried to call for order, then threatened to resign, himself. In the end, the plan was passed by parliament, but only after an ugly scene in which Sunni-Shiite conflict and resentments erupted. Al-Janabi is a member of the Iraqi Accord Front (Sunni fundamentalists). Al-Sharq al-Awsat reports in Arabic that after the meeting, al-Janabi attempted to approach al-Maliki, but the security would not let him get close. Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that the Sadr Movement of Muqtada al-Sadr gave its unstinting support to al-Maliki's security plan. It was speculated that this step is an attempt to avoid a confrontatation with US forces. The London daily also confirms that the Sadrists have appointed a negotiator to talk directly to the Americans on behalf of the commanders of the Mahdi Army militia...

continua / continued

Children's doctor among latest victims of Iraq kidnap epidemic

Patrick Cockburn

Salah Mehdi Hamza, a popular children's doctor who had been kidnapped in Baghdad, was killed even though his family handed over a $40,000 (£20,000) ransom and a box full of jewels and gold ornaments to the gang who seized him. Kidnappers have preyed on Iraqis for three-and-a-half years, holding thousands in safe houses and basements while desperate relatives try to raise the money for their release. Often they kill their victims despite receiving a ransom. Fear of abduction as much as anything has forced 1.8 million Iraqis, including the best-educated and richest, to flee the country. People who try to help others are the most vulnerable...
continua / continued

US Visa Denials Cost $100 Billion in Trade and 200,000 Jobs Since 9/11

How Anti-Arab Visa Policies Destroy US Exports, Jobs and Higher EducationIn the aftermath of 9/11 US visa processing in the Arab world has ground to a halt. US consulates formerly striving to outsource key visa processes to travel agencies before the terror attacks are now paralyzed and fearful. Under funded and insufficient security review processes leave Arab executives, prospective students, and vacation travelers in limbo for years or looking for alternative destinations. Shabby treatment of those who successfully run the visa gauntlet leaves many vowing never to return to the US. How much has it cost? The damage assessment is now in:
Total US manufacturing jobs sustained by Arab market demand reached 215,000 in the year 2005, but could have been 420,000 with more effective and non-discriminatory US visa policies.

Arab business and tourist travelers remained at half their 2001 levels, creating five year travel related service losses of $1.775 billion and 4,126 potential service jobs.

In 2005 Arab student enrollment in the US higher education system reached only 66% of the 2001 level. The US higher education system lost $1.989 billion in revenue and 9,000 education and support service jobs.

The 200 page Visa Denied report quantifies the damage done to US exporters, travel related service industries and the higher education system. Visa Denied recommends steps to correct and realign a severely degraded system to the true opportunity cost of flawed and sometimes discriminatory policies. Visa Denied traces a path from freewheeling days of outsourced national security of the State Department "Visa Express" system exploited by 9/11 hijackers toward the secure, efficient, and color blind visa policy American stakeholders expect and deserve.

Iraq's Only Hope: To Collapse

The lessons of Iraq pose challenges for our understanding of the state. Consider the gap that separates the Bush administration’s original theory with the reality on the ground today. The idea was that the Iraqi government would be "decapitated," and that once Saddam and his few henchmen were crushed, the country could breathe free and get on with the business of building a great society.

He surely believed it, otherwise he and his team would have put something in place for what followed the overthrow, and otherwise he would not have held his victory dance in full flight gear after the invasion. No, he had a model in his mind of an oppressive dictator who ruled all mercilessly and by force alone. Bush figured that he could use more force than Saddam and that would be the end of it.

But now look! The country of Iraq is in civil war. Sunnis long for the days of Saddam. Shiites long for total power, and, as the majority, they figure that they might just get it, and use it against their historic enemies. The Christians and Jews have largely fled the country. And the tit-for-tat killing grows ever more gruesome. The US military is killing too: largely out of fear and in the belief that it is all in self-defense. Not a soldier on the ground wants to be there. CONTINUED

The Forgotten American Dead

Iraqi PM wins key security vote


Restoring the Rule of Law Remarks by Al Gore
As Prepared: January 16, 2006


John Lennon

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Stewart's Running Commentary On Cheney CNN Interview

Eat The Press Rachel Sklar January 26, 2007 12:23 PM

Jon Stewart devoted over a third of the broadcast last night -- a full 10 minutes, and remember there are commercials -- to unpacking Wolf Blitzer's interview with Dick Cheney on CNN, and if anyone ever sputters that "The Daily Show" isn't news and is pushing a biased agenda, direct them to this clip. Not only did Stewart go through numerous highlights from the interview, but the "Daily Show" staff went and gathered supporting video clips from elsewhere to provide context for the interview, using previous statements of position and policy to hold the veep accountable for the stuff he was saying now. Media junkies may take for granted statements like "We'll be greeted as liberators" and "The insurgency's in its last throes" but for many people, these soundbytes put into context help to clarify the narrative immensely.


Blogger Shock At Min Wage Repeal Attempt (But Where's the Media?)

For the record, those running for reelection in 2008 are Alexander, Bennett, Chambliss, Cochran, Cornyn, Craig, Enzi, Graham, Hagel, Inhofe, McConnell and Sununu.Oh, and that guy McCain is probably running for president and Brownback definitely is.

READ MORE: Johnny Isakson

Yesterday, Bob Geiger and the AFL-CIO Blog broke the story that 28 conservative Senators tried to outright eliminate the federal minimum wage.

Immediately, the blogosphere reacted in shock, at both the raw cruelty and the political inanity.
TomPaine.com labelled the whole lot, "The Senate Anti-Worker Caucus," fundamentally out of touch with the electorate, since "Voters in November had a simple request: They wanted an increase in the federal minimum wage."

Mahablog argues this just means the decades-long, right-wing "War on Workers" refuses to quit and must be forcefully challenged.

MyDD named some key names: "Does [Sen. John] Cornyn think that he is invincible in Texas in 2008, despite his 44% approval rating? Does [Sen. John] Sununu even plan on running for re-election in New Hampshire? Does anyone still think [Sen. John] McCain is a moderate? ... can we please tone down the Hagel worship in the blogosphere?"

The Carpetbagger Report zeroed in on McCain: "McCain surely knew that [the] measure wouldn't pass, so by voting for it, he indicated that he really believes in it. ... Is it me, or is this an unusually risky political move for the leading GOP presidential candidate? ... Sounds to me like a possible campaign issue."

Emboldened set its sights on Hagel: "Hagel is not a moderate or a RINO ... This is an extreme position to hold, far outside the mainstream of America."

Potentially more significant is the reaction from local bloggers, shining a spotlight on their own Senators.

The U. of Nebraska-Omaha College Dems blog hit Hagel for "more hypocrisy."

Georgia's So Far, So Left called out its two Senators: "Among the shameful 28, our very own Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson."

Blue Hampshire warned its Senators Judd Gregg and John Sununu, "These guys are so out of touch with their constituents they should consider just resigning now and keeping their campaign warchests. They're dead, Jim."

Blue Lyon and Nye -- Gateway to Nevada's Rurals slapped their Senator, John Ensign.

And perhaps the most significant comment of all comes from Kentucky's BlueGrassReport.org.

After rapping its two Senators Mitch McConnell (the Senate Minority Leader) and Jim Bunning, it also rapped the Kentucky media: "I failed to find any mention of this outlandish effort in any Kentucky newspapers."

That's not only true in Kentucky. The attempt to abolish the federal minimum wage does not appear to have been picked up by any media outlet at all.

If the media isn't going to report the news, it's up to you.

If one of your Senators is on the List of Shame, write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, and let your neighbors know what their representatives are up to.

Bill Scher blogs for Campaign for America's Future


Campaign For Hollywood

ABC News MARCUS BARAM January 26, 2007 03:45 PM

It's Act 2 of Star Wars, in which Sen. Hillary Clinton's Hollywood empire strikes back.

Just days after Sen. Barack Obama stole Clinton's thunder by getting entertainment moguls Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg to host a fundraiser for him on Feb. 20, she snagged some celebrity mojo of her own.


Fmr. Cheney Insider: NBC's Meet The Press Part Of VP Strategy To “Control [The] Message”

Eat The Press Nick Douglas January 26, 2007 01:45 PM

Dick Cheney bets on "Meet the Press," a staffer told Libby who Valerie Plame was, and Ari Fleischer will testify Monday. These are the most recent revelations from the trial of Cheney's former chief-of-staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby, which yesterday centered on the testimony of former Cheney spokeswoman Cathie Martin.

Martin yesterday testified that she told Libby about Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA agent (contradicting Libby's claim that he learned Plame's identity from the press). In fact, she says, he called at least one reporter to check the story. Martin told the court, "I was aggravated that he was talking to the press, and I wasn't." According to Slate's Seth Stevenson, media reps in the room laughed at the line.


What Really Happened to Azaria Chamberlain

Bullshit, I was there in the Springs at the time, I watched the first interview with Lindy Chamberlain the mother, after azarias disappearance, I can still see that interview in front of my eyes all these years later. It wasn't that she was a Seventh Day Adventist and a minority, As far as I was concerned, and she sure as hell wasn't tried and found guilty by fox so called news cable or Nancy Grace, she was tried and found guilty by a jury of 12 men and women. I am not that bad a judge of character, after all I did pick your loser of a President for the deviate that he was, before the supreme court handed him the Presidency on a Platter. And I also watched the Travisty of Justice that was the West Memphis 3 trial. Dont compare that travesty of a trial, with the trial of Lindy Chamberlain.
The Azaria case reminds me of the JonBenet murder, where their is a nation of very diverse opinions on who committed the crime.
Just my opinion and it has nothing to do with threatened minorities.

I'd like to introduce you to my first submission--from a nice lady in Australia who cares about threatened minorities. Like the West Memphis 3, the case of Lindy Chamberlain and the disappearance of her baby into the outback of Australia is troubling. Lindy and her husband were members of the Seventh Day Adventist church down under, a group that is somewhat reviled by many Australians. Simply by being "different", they came under intense-scrutiny and suspicion based on these fears and bigotries. As a result, in both cases, a fair trial was an afterthought. Here then, is an observation on the case of the disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain, and the harassment her family endured in-the-aftermath. Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, and Jason Baldwin were likely arrested because they looked "weird" and stood-out. This can be a liability when social hysteria has hit a community. --Ed.


West Memphis 3

Azaria Chamberlain disappearance

Bomb kills 14 at Baghdad pet fair

Jan 26, 7:09 AM (ET)By KIM GAMEL

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - A bomb hidden in a box holding pigeons tore through a crowded pet and livestock market Friday, killing at least 14 people and wounding dozens, police said, in a blast that left the carcasses of dead birds, dogs and other animals scattered on the blood-soaked ground.

The attack struck a day after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki insisted there will be "no safe place in Iraq for terrorists," and a suicide car bombing in the Shiite neighborhood of Karradah. Police raised the casualty toll in that attack to 30 killed and 61 wounded.


In Case You Missed It

Report: Litvinenko poisoned from teapot

Officials conclude murder was 'state-sponsored' assassination.
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