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Saturday, July 21, 2007

War is racket:

At the core of the case is a contract that KBR, previously known as Kellogg, Brown & Root, won before the war to supply the American military with food, fuel, housing and other necessities. The value of the contract soared with the Iraq invasion, and has so far paid KBR some $20 billion.
The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) yesterday released a revamped database detailing misconduct by the top 50 government contractors, including some of the world's largest military

Secret Report: No Iraq Oil Deal by September:

The report, obtained by the Blotter on ABCNews.com, says the issues the three sides are too far apart to agree on are the "role of foreign companies in the oil sector" and the division of the oil profits.

Rape By Another Name

By Ben Fox
Twice a day at the U.S. military prison here, Abdul Rahman Shalabi and Zaid Salim Zuhair Ahmed are strapped down in padded restraint chairs and flexible yellow tubes are inserted through their noses and throats. Milky nutritional supplements, mixed with water and olive oil to add calories and ease constipation, pour into their stomachs.

Bush Defends Pakistan Fight Vs. al-Qaida

Georgie!!!!!!!We must support the Dictator
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush said Saturday that the United States must continue fighting in Iraq and support Pakistan's battle against al-Qaida and other extremists entrenched along its rugged frontier.
In his weekly radio address, taped before he had a colonoscopy at Camp David, Md., Bush cited the latest National Intelligence Estimate. It said al-Qaida had managed to establish a "safe haven" in the tribal areas of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan.
Bush said Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf reached an agreement last fall that gave leaders in his nation's tribal areas more responsibility for policing their own territories. But the U.S. intelligence report said that agreement had backfired and had actually given al-Qaida new opportunities to set up terror training camps, improve international communications and bolster operations.
"Unfortunately, tribal leaders were unwilling and unable to go after al-Qaida or the Taliban," Bush said. "President Musharraf recognizes the agreement has not been successful or well-enforced and is taking active steps to correct it. ... Pakistani forces are in the fight and many have given their lives. The United States supports them in these efforts."

Well they are sure as hell trying!!!!!!!!!

They think they are a law unto themselves, when do the citizens of America stand up to be counted, to show them they were elected to work for you the

Expanding claim of executive authority, White House official tells paper staff can't be charged

John ByrnePublished: Friday July 20, 2007
A senior Bush Administration official unveiled a new strategy in Friday's Washington Post -- anonymously -- to combat Democrats in Congress who are clamoring to file contempt charges against officials who refuse to talk about the firings of nine US prosecutors.
In sum, this strategy amounts to, "once we say no, we can't be charged."
Ironically, President Bush's new legal argument hinges on whether one of his own US prosecutors can file charges against his staff.
According to the Post, "Administration officials argued yesterday that Congress has no power to force a U.S. attorney to pursue contempt charges in cases, such as the prosecutor firings, in which the president has declared that testimony or documents are protected from release by executive privilege. Officials pointed to a Justice Department legal opinion during the Reagan administration, which made the same argument in a case that was never resolved by the courts."
"A U.S. attorney would not be permitted to bring contempt charges or convene a grand jury in an executive privilege case," a senior official told the Post, which granted the official anonymity because 'he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly.' "And a U.S. attorney wouldn't be permitted to argue against the reasoned legal opinion that the Justice Department provided. No one should expect that to happen."
Under law, a contempt citation by the House or Senate must be submitted to Washington, D.C. US attorney, who then brings the charge to a grand jury.
"It has long been understood that, in circumstances like these, the constitutional prerogatives of the president would make it a futile and purely political act for Congress to refer contempt citations to U.S. attorneys," the anonymous Bush official added.
George Mason University professor of public policy Mark J. Rozell called the administration's stance "astonishing" in the article.
"That's a breathtakingly broad view of the president's role in this system of separation of powers," Rozell told the reporter. "What this statement is saying is the president's claim of executive privilege trumps all."
The White House did not inform Democrats of the plan, which the Post called a "bold new assertion of executive authority."
Reached for comment, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told the paper it was "an outrageous abuse of executive privilege" and said: "The White House must stop stonewalling and start being accountable to Congress and the American people. No one, including the president, is above the law."
Read the full article here.

Stinging Rebuke: Court Tells Bush Admin To Hand Over Detainee Information

New York Times WILLIAM GLABERSON July 20, 2007 10:50 PM
A federal appeals court ordered the government yesterday to turn over virtually all its information on Guantánamo detainees who are challenging their detention, rejecting an effort by the Justice Department to limit disclosures and setting the stage for new legal battles over the government's reasons for holding the men indefinitely.
The ruling, which came in one of the main court cases dealing with the fate of the detainees, effectively set the ground rules for scores of cases by detainees challenging the...

An IMPETANT little thug in the White House, you can say that again.

The Founding Fathers Wouldn't Have Liked George Bush
Bill Maher, 07.20.2007
Not that I don't love all of America, but rednecks who think they're the real America should read a history book once in a while. America was invented by liberal men in Boston and Philadelphia.
Read Post

Want to Live in Georgies America? I think not

Every picture tells a story, thats the reason Faux News is not reporting the story 24 hrs.

Who is Killing American Soldiers in Iraq?
Stephen Schlesinger, 07.21.2007
The US military recently said at least half of the suicide bombers in Iraq who attack our troops come from Saudi Arabia. Why does the media not give more attention to this fact?
Read Post

Now, John Kerry has broken the taboo. Politicians, bloggers, and MSM -- repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat.

Posted July 20, 2007 10:05 PM (EST)
I have been hoping, pleading, wishing that the issue of the war proponents not volunteering, that not a single member of the Bush family has volunteered, would rise to the surface. I have written about it on this site, and placed ads in Crawford, TX, newspapers when the White House Press Corps was in town to watch Bush clear brush while al-Qaeda plotted.
In "Ultimate Accountability: The Conspiracy of Silence", I pointed out why, namely that politicians and the MSM had an understanding that it would not be raised. Nonetheless, this is a very potent weapon, as I could personally attest having directly asked Jeb Bush and Bill Kristol those questions standing eyeball-to-eyeball, and, in both cases, noted the red-flushing of their faces and, in the case of Kristol, shouting "why should I, why should I?";and in the case of Jeb, turning on his heels and strutting away. Charlie Rangel said he introduced the draft proposal rather than confronting the subject directly. Charlie Rose wondered why to raise it? Howard Fineman, said "yeah, right."
John Kerry has done it. On Olbermann yesterday he said, "it is about time that those promoting this war offered up their own children to fight it, and anyone who themselves are 40 and under in the Congress and the Administration"...
This was in response to the letter Hillary Clinton received from Eric Edelman, former Cheney advisor, now in the Pentagon, and, according to Turkish newspapers, the absolute worst US Ambassador to Turkey in history. Edelman wrote that Clinton's letter asking what plans the Pentagon had for withdrawing US troops was, in effect, helping our enemies.
Democrats typically would slam the Administration for such accusations, thus succumbing to their invitation to join their argument. Indeed, that is what Hillary did in her response.
John Kerry did it better. He shoved it back down their throats so that they would choke on it. He also broke the taboo on calling for those voting and promoting the war volunteering themselves and having their own children go to Iraq.
This hypocrisy is NOT the major reason we should not have invaded to begin with, nor the main reason we should withdraw all our troops. It is, however, a potent weapon because it strikes at the most "reptilian" part of our brain: their fear conflicting with and overcoming their grand ideas of remaking the world so long as someone else took the risk.
Now, John Kerry has broken the taboo. Politicians, bloggers, and MSM -- repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat.

Shays apologizes for scuffle with Capitol Police officer

Is he going to be charged. I wonder, bet not, he's not a Democrat or a Woman, where the hell is the screaming from Faux News.
By Jackie Kucinich
July 20, 2007
Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) apologized Friday for an altercation with a Capitol Police officer Thursday afternoon in which the lawmaker repeatedly swore at an officer and touched his nametag to read it before storming away.

House Dems: New Bill To Challenge War, Close Gitmo, Reform Defense Contracts

Associated Press ANNE FLAHERTY July 20, 2007 10:55 PM
House Democrats next week will introduce a $460 billion military spending bill they will use to challenge the war in Iraq, try to close Guantanamo Bay prison and increase oversight of defense contractors.
The annual legislation is considered a must-pass bill to fund the military's fleet of vehicles and aircraft, research efforts and servicemember payrolls. It covers the 2008 budget year that begins Oct. 1.

WH Claims Executive Privilege Protects Officials From Contempt Charges

Washington Post Dan Eggen and Amy Goldstein July 21, 2007 04:11 PM
Bush administration officials unveiled a bold new assertion of executive authority yesterday in the dispute over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys, saying that the Justice Department will never be allowed to pursue contempt charges initiated by Congress against White House officials once the president has invoked executive privilege.
The position presents serious legal and political obstacles for congressional Democrats, who have begun laying the groundwork for contempt proceedings against current and former White House officials in order to pry loose...

White House Tells CIA To Resume Secret Prison Interrogation "Methods"

Rules Lay Out C.I.A.’s Tactics in Questioning
New York Times MARK MAZZETTI July 21, 2007 09:38 AM
The White House said Friday that it had given the Central Intelligence Agency approval to resume its use of some severe interrogation methods for questioning terrorism suspects in secret prisons overseas.
With the new authority, administration officials said the C.I.A. could proceed with an interrogation program that had been in limbo since the Supreme Court ruled last year that all prisoners in American captivity be treated in accordance with Geneva Convention prohibitions against humiliating and degrading treatment.
Associated Press
Twice a day at the U.S. military prison here, Abdul Rahman Shalabi and Zaid Salim Zuhair Ahmed are strapped down in padded restraint chairs and flexible yellow tubes are inserted through their noses and throats. Milky nutritional supplements, mixed with water and olive oil to add calories and ease constipation, pour into their stomachs.
Shalabi, 32, an accused al-Qaida militant who was among the first prisoners taken to Guantanamo, and Ahmed, about 34, have refused to eat for almost two years to protest their conditions and open-ended confinement. In recent months, the number of hunger strikers has grown to two dozen, and the military is using force-feeding to keep them from starving.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Mention the President, Lose a Case? Defense motion to ban George W. Bush's name at trial defeated.

Mention the President, Lose a Case?
Defense motion to ban George W. Bush's name at trial defeated
Source: Law.com
Apparently President George W. Bush is now so unpopular that some lawyers believe the mere mention of his name in front of a jury could tip the scales against them.
Attorneys Michael P. Laffey and Robert P. DiDomenicis of Holsten & Associates in Media, Pa., are defending Upper Darby Township, Pa., in a civil rights suit brought by Harold Lischner, an 82-year-old doctor who claims he was falsely arrested for displaying an anti-war sign at a Bush campaign event in September 2003.
With the case set to go to trial on July 23, the defense lawyers recently filed a flurry of motions, including one that asked Eastern District of Pennsylvania Judge Gene E.K. Pratter to prohibit the plaintiff from mentioning Bush's name.
Bush's identity, they argued, "in and of itself, presents the danger that the jury will favor plaintiff.
. . . .
(District Court Judge Gene E.K. Pratter (E.D. Pa.)) found that the message on Lischner's sign and Bush's identity, as well as the circumstances surrounding his visit -- including the war in Iraq and Bush's bid for re-election -- are "relevant to the determination of probable cause and to the adequacy of Upper Darby's training and policies."

2 U.S. Soldiers Charged with Murder in Iraq

Usually in a case like this, you can find some publication telling what took place
But this one is completely and totally blacked out. I wonder how horrible it was...another 14-year-old girl maybe?
Source: Associated Press
2 US soldier charged with murder in Iraq
By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer
BAGHDAD - Two U.S. Army soldiers have been charged with the premeditated murder of an Iraqi, and a lieutenant colonel has been relieved of command in connection with the case, the U.S. military announced Thursday.
Sgt. 1st Class Trey A. Corrales, of San Antonio and Spc. Christopher P. Shore of Winder, Ga., were charged with one count of murder in the death, which allegedly occurred June 23 near the northern city of Kirkuk, the U.S. said in a statement.
Meanwhile, four U.S. soldiers and their Iraqi interpreter were killed when a roadside bomb exploded near their patrol in east Baghdad. The blast occurred Wednesday during operations to disrupt the flow of explosives into the capital, the U.S. military said.
The soldiers charged with the premeditated murder of an Iraqi are assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, which is part of the 25th Infantry Division based in Hawaii. The unit is attached to Multinational Division - North.
The battalion commander, Lt. Col. Michael Browder, was relieved of his command in connection with the investigation although he is not a suspect and has not been charged, the military said.

Bringing It All Back Home: New Bush Order Could Criminalize Dissent

Written by Chris Floyd
Friday, 20 July 2007
Here's a quick follow-up to the previous post: The Legal Pervert's Parade: Executive Privilege Über Alles.
Sara Robinson at Orcinus gives us a glimpse of what could be coming as the unrestrained executive tyranny rolls on in Are We There Yet? She examines the new Executive Order quietly signed by Bush this week, in which he bestows upon himself -- and designated minions -- the arbitrary power to seize the assets of anyone whom he decides "poses a significant risk" of commiting violence aimed at "undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people." As Robinson notes:
"Undermining the efforts" is a term that can be defined very, very broadly. And since those of us opposing this war have been told repeatedly, from the beginning, that our efforts to change our fellow citizens' minds were in fact treasonous acts that undermined the war effort, emboldened America's enemies, and harmed our troops, it's not unreasonable to believe that those warnings are now being backed up by official action. "At risk of committing significant acts of violence" is more overbroad weasel-speak: How many of us have said things that could be construed (at least by the certifiable paranoids in the White House) as a threat of violence against the Bush Administration?
Indeed, a simple barroom cry of "throw the bastards out" could be seen a call for violent revolution in the kind of Leader-state that Bush and Cheney are constructing. (Anyone who grew up in Stalin's Russia or Hitler's Germany would be all too cognizant of where such "loose talk" could lead.) And because, like all authoritarian regimes, the Bush-Cheney gang use violence and conspiracy to achieve their political goals (as in the inception and execution of the Iraq War), they believe that anyone who opposes them is likewise bent on nefarious means to reach a political end: in this case, their removal from power. For the Bushists, it would not be a stretch or even a cynical ploy to use this new Executive Order -- and the many other authoritarian measures they have already promulgated -- against their opponents; they already sincerely believe that anyone who dissents from the Bushist line is an enemy, worthy of destruction. For these barbarians, these Neanderthal throwbacks, it's always "kill or be killed" in the political jungle -- metaphorically speaking, or otherwise.
Remember this: terror -- and the constant evocation and manufacture of "enemies" aiming at "the violent destruction of our sacred way of life" -- are the only tools the Bushists have for remaining in power. As their popularity plummets, as the bloodsoaked ruin of their policies rises like a mountainous slagheap around them, they will wield these instruments of terror and fear all the more wildly, more crudely and brutally. There is every likelihood that they will be bringing the "War on Terror" back to the "Homeland" in ways once considered unimaginable.
For more, see Sara's post in full here, especially her takeout from Milton Mayer's "They Thought They Were Free." And Sean O'Neill has more here.

Isn't that the Truth

"So Bush and Cheney have deeply damaged recruitment, morale and efforts among our counter-terrorism agencies at the same time that their greedy and duplicitous occupation of a major Arab Muslim country, Iraq, is generating a new terrorist threat against the American homeland," he writes at Informed Comment. "They are creating the perfect storm. So the judge threw out the lawsuit. But we will all be paying the damage."

Judges Seek All Gitmo Detainee Evidence

Court To Bush Admin: Pentagon Cannot Limit Evidence Given to Judges Of "Enemy Combatants"
AP MATT APUZZO July 20, 2007 02:03 PM
When Guantanamo Bay detainees challenge their status as "enemy combatants," judges must review all the evidence, not just what the military chooses, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected the Bush administration's plan to limit what judges and the detainees' attorneys can review when considering whether the Combatant Status Review Tribunals acted appropriately.
US President George W. Bush has signed an executive order banning the torture of suspected terrorists in the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) detention and interrogation program. Read more -->

Decoding Bush: The President’s Version of the Balfour Declaration

Dr. Hassan Afif El-Hasan, Special to PalestineChronicle.com
President Bush should be credit for perfecting the art of selling his vision on solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to his Arab allies. He learnt from his campaigning that a good political salesman should have a slogan. He discovered the magic one to market his vision to the Palestinians, "two state solution living side by side!!". He repeated it so many times on several occasions without trying to do anything about it, then he bragged that he was the first to promise the Palestinians a state. This is not the first empty slogan the Palestinians have heard. Palestinian leaders who applaud President Bush vision today sold the Oslo agreements repeatedly as "the peace of the brave". What does Bush vision on Palestine entail?...
continua / continued

Bush Executive Order: Criminalizing the Antiwar Movement

Prof. Michel Chossudovsky , Globalresearch.ca
A presidential Executive Order issued on July 17th, repeals with the stroke of a pen the right to dissent and oppose the Iraq war. In substance, the Executive Order entitled "Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq" provides the President with the authority to confiscate the assets of "certain persons" who oppose the US led war in Iraq: "I have issued an Executive Order blocking property of persons determined to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq or undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people." The Executive Order criminalizes the antiwar movement. It is intended to "blocking property" of US citizens and nationals. It targets those "Certain Persons" in America who oppose the Bush Administration's "peace and stability" program in Iraq, characterized, in plain English, by an illegal occupation and the continued killing of innocent civilians....
continua / continued

'Secret prisons' discoverd in Iraq

Slogger Source: Illicit Facility Holds over 400 Sunnis, Militia Role Suspected
Google Earth image.
Composite satellite image of Baghdad's Kadhimiya district, west of the Tigris river.
07/19/2007 4:16 PM ET
A “secret prison,” possibly run by one of Iraq’s powerful militias, has been discovered by the Iraqi government in Baghdad, according to a Slogger source.
IraqSlogger has learned from an informed source inside the Iraqi administration that some days ago an off-the-grid prison was discovered in the Baghdad district of Kadhimiya, holding approximately 415 prisoners in its underground facility.
The prisoners inside reportedly date back to the tenure of the previous minister of the Interior, Bayan Jabr Solagh, who held that post from 2005 to 2006.
The prison was reportedly discovered in Kadhimiya’s fifth district within the last few days, and very few Iraqi officials even at high levels of government know any details about the installation. According to Slogger's source, the facility is said to have contained over 600 people at one time, mostly Sunni Arabs, among them pilots, colonels, generals and other military officers who held positions of influence in the former regime, though many prisoners were also ordinary citizens.

JUSTICE? You Decide I call it MURDER!!!!!!!!!

What Do you think Truthteller, or was this father of 11 just an Iraqi, so murdering him just doesn't count, in Georgies America. US Marine escapes jail for Iraqi civilian murder plot
Published: Friday July 20, 2007
A US Marine convicted of plotting to murder and kidnap an Iraqi civilian outside Baghdad last year on Friday escaped a prison sentence for his crimes, the military said.
Trent Thomas, who was found guilty of conspiracy to kidnap and murder Hashim Ibrahim Awad in Hamdania on April 26 last year, received a reduction in rank and a bad conduct discharge at a sentencing hearing.
The 25-year-old former lance corporal, who has been held in detention since the allegations first surfaced last year, could have faced a life prison sentence for his role in the killing.
On Thursday prosecutors had recommended Thomas be jailed for 15 years during a hearing at the Marines' Camp Pendleton base outside San Diego.
Awad, a 52-year-old father of 11, was taken from his home in a late-night raid by eight US servicemen and killed before the Marines involved covered up the incident to make it look as if Awad was an insurgent planting a bomb.
The killing is one of a series of incidents that have tarnished the reputation of US forces in Iraq.
A US Marine convicted of plotting to murder an Iraqi civilian outside Baghdad last year escaped a jail sentence for his crimes, the military said. Read more -->

Plame Lawsuit Dismissed

The civil suit filed by Valerie and Joseph Wilson against Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, and Richard Armitage was dismissed by a federal judge today. Ruling that the court lacked the jurisdiction to award damages for the disclosure of Valerie Wilson's covert identity, Judge John Bates made the curious argument that blowing the cover of an undercover CIA officer could be considered to fall within the job duties of an administration official. "The alleged means by which defendants chose to rebut Mr. Wilson's comments and attack his credibility may have been highly unsavory," he wrote. "But there can be no serious dispute that the act of rebutting public criticism... by speaking with members of the press is within the scope of defendants' duties."

The Wilson's counsel, Melanie Sloan, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, is currently reviewing the decision and anticipates filing an appeal. After four years, Joe Wilson isn't about to back down. Here's what he had to say about the setback in a statement: "This case is not just about what top government officials did to Valerie and me. We brought this suit because we strongly believe that politicizing intelligence ultimately serves only to undermine the security of our nation. Today's decision is just the first step in what we have always known would be a long legal battle and we are committed to seeing this case through."
Posted by Daniel Schulman on 07/19/07
By James Ridgeway and Jean Casella
Forty years have passed since the Newark riots, but not much has changed when it comes to black suffering and white fear.

The Great Divide The Views of a Conservative You Decide?

Many people believe America is the beacon of hope and the greatest country on the face of the earth. There may be just as many people who believe America is a bully, a war mongering nation and home to the world’s corporate greed.
Sorry truthteller, I am one of the people who believe, America has become a bully, a war mongering nation and home to the world’s corporate greed
I class Georgie as a Terrorist of the worst kind, an impetent little man, who lets others do his dirty work for him.
Posted by truthteller under Truth must prevail
The United States needs to be broken into two separate nations.
There is a great divide in America and it is creating the need to split America into two countries. Do you think I’m kidding? Please read on.
America has never been more divided. The left is split between moderate and extreme with a gradual shift towards extreme. The right is moving more moderate with fewer on the far right. Because the right is moving more moderate, they are acquiescing to the extreme left both in Washington and in the public forum. Combine the lefts reluctance to consider differing opinions and the rights resentment of the radical left and you have a divide that widens. The net effect of this social change is a polarization of America like we have not seen since the Civil War.
A few hours ago, I stumbled upon an article on an article submission website where the writer’s article was about George Bush. The writer’s premise was that George Bush has completely alienated the middle class and poor by doing nothing for either group since he took office. The writer is entitled to his own opinion of course, but the information that formed this person’s opinion doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
George Bush was able to pass a tax reduction bill after taking office that took the majority of poor Americans off the tax rolls altogether. That means that poor Americans were no longer burdened with paying taxes at all. The Presidents bill also reduced the taxes of all middle-class American’s, allowing them to take home more instead of working half the year to pay the government. The writers premise that George Bush has done nothing for the poor and middle-class is flawed and incorrect since his tax bill helped both groups immensely.
Why do I bring up the scenario above? It illustrates the writers total deficiency of factual information. Is it the writers fault that he is unaware of one of the President’s finest accomplishments? I think he is guilty of relying on the major networks and his local newspaper and news broadcasts for everything he bases his worldview on, but it’s not surprising. This is one of the reasons that America is growing apart. I am not trying to convince people who don’t like the President to like him, but the writer of the article I refer to, and my own reality are so different that you could argue we live in two societies already. Are we just talking about differing opinions or more?
Much has been made in recent days of the immigration bill hammered out by the Senate and The White House. In effect, it would grant amnesty to 12 million people who entered the United States illegally. The details of the bill were not clear two days ago, but the reality of the bills effect have been deciphered and made clear. Since the overwhelming number of Hispanics in the U.S. vote with the Democratic Party, it can be concluded safely that the immigration bill would be enormously beneficial to the Democratic Party. In effect, it means almost 12 million new Democratic voters.
As the Democratic Party continues to become a party of minority voters and persons on the extreme left, the belief systems, values, lifestyles, views of popular culture and outlook on the future of the country all deviate from those on the right and Republicans. This has never been a problem in the past, since differing opinions are part of what has made America great. What has changed is the intensity of the difference. It is no longer just a difference of mindset or opinion, but one of commitment, allegiance and self-image.
There are numerous benefits to splitting the country as far as I’m concerned. As a conservative, I would be willing to live in the coldest, snowiest regions of America to be with other like-minded people. I would be willing to give the liberals the warmest, sunniest regions if it meant that they kept their welfare state, their propaganda ‘news’ outlets, their gods and goddesses of popular culture and their hate fest of Christians, conservatives, Republicans and the President. It would be worth living in the cold to find peace from all this.
Many who read this article will feel the same way, except they would be willing to live in the cold to be far away from people like me. And, as much as thats true, it proves my point that America needs to split itself into two nations. Of course there would be problems with splitting families apart. Many families, like my own, are made up of liberals and conservatives. At some point, someone will have to flip a coin or convert.
A benefit to the two nation approach is that those on the far left could have their own sovereign nation with borders that could contain their intellectual resources. The late Walter Wriston, in his book ‘The Twilight of Soviernty’, talked about the importance of information as a commodity versus natural resources. Certainly, the information that is accepted by all on the far left could be elevated to national treasure. Bush lied, people died could be printed on every dollar bill. Think like we do, believe what our bloggers tell you, supported by Good Morning America and you can remain in this nation.
There are two Americas presently. They are based on ideology more than race, ethnicity or cultural differences. They will never converge. They did briefly on September 11th, 2001, but that only lasted days. There is not an answer, and there are too many people who have no interest in listening to the other side.
As long as most news services insist on serving up their own agenda instead of facts, there will be too few people who can base their views on reality. Without reality-based viewpoints, there can never be a majority of people who can live together in harmony. There will always be one camp who believes in facts and one camp who believes in their own facts.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one more difference. Many people believe America is the beacon of hope and the greatest country on the face of the earth. There may be just as many people who believe America is a bully, a war mongering nation and home to the world’s corporate greed. Because of this, many have an optimistic view of America’s future, while many insist that progressive ideas are needed to change Americas foundation and future. It’s time to separate. Everyone who is heading north, follow me
truthteller has left a new comment on your post "Liberals Vow to Block Continued Iraq Funding":

Deadly Violence Spreads in Pakistan

Griff Witte of The Washington Post reports, "The wave of violence that has gripped Pakistan in recent days spread to new parts of the country and featured more ferocious tactics Thursday, with suicide bombers targeting a mosque, a police academy and a convoy of Chinese engineers in attacks that killed more than 50 people."

All the President's Enablers

"In a coordinated public relations offensive, the White House is using reliably friendly pundits - amazingly, they still exist - to put out the word that President Bush is as upbeat and confident as ever," writes Paul Krugman in the The New York Times. "It might even be true. What I don't understand is why we're supposed to consider Mr. Bush's continuing confidence a good thing."

Bush Proclaims Unlimited Executive Privilege Powers

"Bush administration officials unveiled a bold new assertion of executive authority yesterday in the dispute over the firing of nine US attorneys, saying that the Justice Department will never be allowed to pursue contempt charges initiated by Congress against White House officials once the president has invoked executive privilege," write Dan Eggen and Amy Goldstein of The Washington Post.

Pakistani Supreme Court reinstates Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry after his removal by President Pervez Musharraf.

Go to Iraq and Fight, Mr. President

Blame Hillary? Bush's latest choice of scapegoat - Hillary Clinton - boggles the mind.
Keith Olbermann says the choice to scapegoat Sen. Clinton is unfathomable - go fight your war yourself, Mr. President.
It is one of the great, dark, evil lessons, of history.

By Keith Olbermann MSNBC News
Thursday 19 July 2007

This, sir, is your war.
Sen. Clinton has reinforced enemy propaganda? Made it impossible for you to get your ego-driven, blood-steeped win in Iraq?
Then take it into your own hands, Mr. Bush.
Go to Baghdad now and fulfill, finally, your military service obligations.
Go there and fight, your war. Yourself.


Shot across the bow

I guess the Pentagon is putting the little lady on notice that it doesn't care if it is supposed to be nonpartisan, it's not going to stand for her involving herself in the men's work:
The Pentagon told Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton that her questions about how the U.S. plans to eventually withdraw from Iraq boosts enemy propaganda. In a stinging rebuke to a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman responded to questions Clinton raised in May in which she urged the Pentagon to start planning now for the withdrawal of American forces ...
"Premature and public discussion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq reinforces enemy propaganda that the United States will abandon its allies in Iraq, much as we are perceived to have done in Vietnam, Lebanon and Somalia," Edelman wrote.
He added that "such talk understandably unnerves the very same Iraqi allies we are asking to assume enormous personal risks."
Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines called Edelman's answer "at once outrageous and dangerous," and said the senator would respond to his boss, Defense Secretary Robert Gates ...
The strong wording of the response is unusual, particularly for a missive to a member of the Senate committee with oversight of the Defense Department and its budget.
It's almost insubordinate, if you ask me. The Pentagon is not supposed to involve itself in electoral politics and it is supposed to be respectful of Congress, especially the committee that oversees it. To call her out specifically is outrageous. People all over the country are loudly and publicly saying the same thing, including many Republicans and all of the other Democratic candidates. I think the enemy has already sized up the domestic political situation here in the U.S., and if it hasn't, then we really don't have to worry about any enemies because they really are living in caves. Hillary Clinton's rather restrained call to make some contingency plans is hardly going to change the situation on the ground.
The Pentagon may try to claim that her allegedly dangerous statement means something more coming from a member of the Armed Services Committee, but there are a whole bunch of other members of that committee saying it too. No, the Pentagon is injecting itself into the presidential race and the debate in Congress in a thoroughly inappropriate way and it should be reprimanded for that.
(Yes, I know. And people in hell want ice water ...)
-- Digby


Shocking Report Showing Involvement of US Psychologists in Torture of Military Detainees Requires Emergency Reform of American Psychological Association, Says Coalition of Psychologists
Today's deeply disturbing revelations in Vanity Fair show the essential role US psychologists played in the torture of detainees in CIA and Department of Defense (DoD) custody, heightening the urgent need for the American Psychological Association (APA) to issue clear ethical guidelines prohibiting psychologists in the military or intelligence services from violating basic human rights as part of interrogation processes, the Coalition for an Ethical APA stated. When read in conjunction with the recently declassified Defense Department investigation which revealed that psychologists re-engineered counter-terrorist training techniques as mechanisms for detainee abuse at Guantánamo, in Afghanistan and in Iraq, this article is an indictment not only of participating psychologists, but of the Association which refuses to condemn these practices...

Shadows on a Wall...

Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues - Reflections in a sealed bottle...
July 19, 2007
I cannot erase her portrait from my mind. Neither hers nor that of others I have seen, day in, day out.
That same picture, as if permanently fixed, repeating itself in Baghdad, Damascus, Amman...
She must have been around 70 years old. She looked thin. Her black abaya hanging loosely on her head. Her pale face showed no bitterness, no anger, no hate...I wished it did. They would have told me she was still alive. None of that. Just that lost look that has become like a stamp, a seal, a "made in Iraq" (or more aptly made in America or made in Iran) label, by which you can recognize us, us the "ordinary" ones.
Strands of disheveled hair escaped from under her abaya, covering one of her eyes and she let it be...
She was sqatting in the shade, propped by a cracked grey wall behind her. One hand was holding her head and the other freely hanging by her side.
She was talking to herself. A common thing these days. I personally engage in it often.
I heard her say:" What shall I tell you? They are gone. All gone and they left me behind."
Then she would stop and her gaze would drift somewhere far, somewhere beyond, as if visiting this place of no return...As if she was waiting for that moment...
She was no beggar. She begged for nothing. I do not think she was even aware that she needed anything anymore. She lost it all, she lost herself too.
I was discreetly observing her. A couple of kids passed her by and made fun. She raised her eyes and repeated that same sentence : "What shall I tell you? They are all gone...and they left me behind."
The kids ran away, frightened by what seeemed to be her "madness".
She was squatting on the edge, propping her head with one hand, whilst the other was free to reach out for "Life" in that place of no return, waiting for its final deliverance.
The other portrait which remains vivid and accompanies me all the time like some background wallpaper is the image of "another one". Another anonymous one.
Again she is around 70, a little more maybe. She has also taken up a corner, against a wall.
She, however sat on a small cardboard box. She too is not begging.
Cigarettes, not packs of cigarettes but single cigarettes, a few pencils, a rusty pair of tweezers, small packs of tissues are neatly placed in another large card box...too large for her.
She meticulously re-arranges her "goods", making sure to place them in the middle of the box, leaving the edges and margins very empty. Very empty, very much like her life.
Everytime I passed her by, she would say: " Bintee (my daughter). May God keep your family. Buy something from me. I have no one Bintee."
I call her Hijjia and she calls me Bintee.
And however much one gives, the need is so enormous, it is never enough.
Not just the material need which is great but also the other needs, the ones on the inside that virtually no one bothers to look at.
Sometimes I would take food and I'd say: " Hijjia, we just cooked this. It is fresh."
To which she replied: " Bintee, even if it is a week's old, I'd take it. It is Food."
I have just given you two portraits of two elderly Iraqi women. You can multiply these two examples a thousand times...
These were women who once had a home, a family, children, grandchildren and now they have nothing and are nothing - Nothing.
They are nothing but shadows on a cracked grey wall...
And as they secretly wait and wish for another form of "liberation" that would set them finally free from being nothing but shadows on a wall. As they are waiting...
I would like to extend to you my heartfelt congratulations on a "job well done".
Bravo and a thousand bravos for each of these shadows that you have so carefully crafted on the grey wall of our cracked existence.
Painting: Iraqi artist, Said Shnin.
continua / continued

Olbermann slams Bush after Hillary blamed for losing Iraq

David Edwards and Josh CatonePublished: Thursday July 19, 2007
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann began tonight's Countdown program with a special comment. The unusual move to open his show with the comment, which is almost always reserved for the closing of the program, added gravity to his words.
"It is one of the great, dark, evil lessons of history," begins Olbermann, "that a country, a government, a military machine can screw up a war seven ways to Sunday; it can get thousands of its people killed; it can risk the safety of its own citizens; it can destroy the fabric of its nation; but as long as it can identify a scapegoat, it can regain, or even gain, power."
The Bush administration, says Olbermann, has found its scapegoat for Iraq in presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY). Olbermann referred to a letter Pentagon number two Eric Edelman sent to Clinton admonishing her for calling for a withdrawal in Iraq.
"Premature and public discussion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq reinforces enemy propaganda that the United States will abandon its allies in Iraq," wrote Edelman, "much as we are perceived to have done in Vietnam, Lebanon and Somalia."
A spokesman for Clinton called Edelman's letter "outrageous and dangerous," which Olbermann feels "may actually understate the risk the Edelman letter poses to our way of life."
By choosing Hillary Clinton as his scapegoat, says Olbermann, Bush has consigned himself to "that remarkably small group of Americans whom Americans can not forgive. Those who have sold this country out, and who have willingly declared their enmity to the people, at whose pleasure they supposedly serve."
"A scapegoat, sir, might be forgivable," Olbermann continued, addressing President Bush, "if you had not just happened to choose a prospective presidential nominee from the opposition party."
Olbermann concludes that the Bush contention that withdrawal is abandonment is fallacious and that everyone already knows that the US is leaving Iraq, even if it means impeaching the president to do it.
The following video is from MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast on July 19.

"They think it's hot in Washington. Wait until they get home. It's going to be like laying asphalt in August. They're going to feel it,"

Wednesday, July 18th 2007, 9:35 PM
WASHINGTON - After a Senate all-nighter, Republicans blocked a bill yesterday that would have begun to withdraw troops from Iraq, but they now face a media barrage aimed at booting GOP lawmakers who voted against the measure.
"There are a good number of Republicans, many ... up for reelection in 2008, who back home say they want a change of course in Iraq, but in Washington do nothing to change it," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) "This puts the spotlight on those senators."
Senate Democrats were eight short of the 60 votes needed for the bill to get a final vote. As the more than 20-hour session wound down, the final vote was 52-to-47 in favor of withdrawal. Four Republicans voted with the Democrats.
Some Republicans who opposed the bill were immediately targeted in personalized press releases, which national and state Democratic committees had ready to go in select states.
"We're mainly going after the Republicans in Minnesota, Kentucky, New Hampshire and New Mexico," said a party operative, who noted GOP senators were still smarting from recent Democratic TV ads attacking them over the war.
The Democratic-allied group Americans United for Change plans to air more ads in several states next month, when lawmakers are home. "They think it's hot in Washington. Wait until they get home. It's going to be like laying asphalt in August. They're going to feel it," said spokesman Brad Woodhouse.
The marathon session also offered a fresh chance for Democratic presidential contenders Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Joe Biden to hammer Republicans over the vote. Moreover, John McCain's limping campaign will have to explain why the Arizona senator once again backed President Bush's unpopular war strategy.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

No Evidence of Iran's Role in Violence and Instability in Iraq - Confirms British Foreign Minister

By Mehrnaz Shahabi
David Milliband, British foreign secretary, confirmed in an interview (1) with the Financial times, 8th July, that there is no evidence of Iranian complicity in instability in Iraq or attacks on British troops.

Two US Soldiers Charged With Murder in Iraq

Megan Greenwell of The Washington Post reports, "Two US soldiers have been charged with murdering an Iraqi last month near the northern city of Kirkuk."

Twilight Zone Filibusters

In postponing real action to September and beyond, Republicans laughed off the all-night debate as a “slumber party” of “twilight zone” theatrics by the Democrats. In fact, Bush loyalists seem trapped in the twilight zone, ducking their responsibility to represent constituents by applying credible pressure on the president to come up with an end to his sorry war.
"The nation's anguish over the Iraq war was kept on hold in the Senate yesterday as the Republican minority maintained serial threats of filibuster to buy time for President Bush's aimless policies," writes the Editorial Board of The New York Times.

Bush Threatens Attacks in Pakistan

"The Bush administration, after publicly demanding that Musharraf rein in militants linked to al Qaida, on Wednesday threatened to launch attacks into Pakistani territory if it sees fit," reports Tom Lasseter of McClatchy Newspapers.

6,000 Kurdish fighters to guard Iraq oil installations

Source: AFP
SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq • The Iraqi government will soon dispatch about 6,000 former Kurdish guerrillas to protect electric and oil infrastructure from insurgents attacks, a security official said yesterday.
"A brigade of 6,000 peshmerga will be sent to an area southwest of Kirkuk to protect electric generators between Kirkuk and Baiji," Brigadier General Jabbar Yawar, a spokesman for the Kurdish Regional Government security force said.
At least 55 of the 179 massive transmission towers running between the oil hub of Kirkuk and the central Iraqi refinery city of Baiji have been torn down in recent years, contributing to Iraq's frequent power outages.
Yawar said a delegation from the Kurdish government agreed to dispatch the force after talks with Iraq's defence minister earlier this month and are only awaiting the final approval of Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki.

Pentagon extends Iraq tours for 2,200 Marines

Source: Reuters
Pentagon extends Iraq tours for 2,200 Marines
19 Jul 2007 21:00:43 GMT
WASHINGTON, July 19 (Reuters) - The Pentagon has extended
the combat tours of 2,200 Marines in Iraq for 30 days, keeping
the troops on the ground to help stabilize Anbar province, a
Marine Corps spokesman said on Thursday.
The 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is conducting
counterinsurgency operations in Iraq's western province, will
stay until at least the end of September, under the extension.
"It's to contribute to stability operations," said Maj. Jay
Delarosa, who called the extension typical.
"The bottom line is if they're extended another month, that's
when you kind of have to be concerned," Delarosa said.

FEMA Suppressed Health Warnings

Agency Rejected Environmental Testing on Formaldehyde Gas Levels
Washington Post Spencer S. Hsu July 19, 2007 08:55 PM
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has suppressed warnings from its own Gulf coast field workers since the middle of 2006 about suspected health problems that may be linked to elevated levels of formaldehyde gas released in FEMA-provided trailers, lawmakers said today.
At a hearing this morning of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, investigators released internal e-mails indicating that FEMA lawyers rejected environmental testing out of fear that the agency would then become legally liable if health problems emerged among...

Liberals Vow to Block Continued Iraq Funding

Vichy Democrat Joe Lieberman joins with Republicans to sink withdrawal plan.

July 19, 2007
Seventy House members, nearly all liberal Democrats, vowed today that they would not support any more funding for Iraq military operations unless tied to a complete withdrawal of combat troops.
This is a big development. Earlier this year, liberals grudgingly voted for Iraq funding bills because they didn't want to give Nancy Pelosi a defeat. Now it seems that their patience has run out.
The next Iraq funding bill won't come up until the fall, so this showdown won't happen for a few months, but it appears to be shaping up as an epic battle between liberals in Congress and President Bush. This may be the beginning of the end for the Iraq War.
The liberals' full letter to Bush appears after the jump ...
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing to inform you that we will only support appropriating additional funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of all our troops out of Iraq before you leave office.
More than 3,600 of our brave soldiers have died in Iraq. More than 26,000 have been seriously wounded. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed or injured in the hostilities and more than 4 million have been displaced from their homes. Furthermore, this conflict has degenerated into a sectarian civil war and U.S. taxpayers have paid more than $500 billion, despite assurances that you and your key advisors gave our nation at the time you ordered the invasion in March, 2003 that this military intervention would cost far less and be paid from Iraqi oil revenues.
We agree with a clear and growing majority of the American people who are opposed to continued, open-ended U.S. military operations in Iraq, and believe it is unwise and unacceptable for you to continue to unilaterally impose these staggering costs and the soaring debt on Americans currently and for generations to come.
Rep. Lynn Woolsey (CA); Rep. Barbara Lee (CA); Rep. Maxine Waters (CA); Rep. Ellen Tauscher (CA); Rep. Rush Holt (NJ); Rep. Maurice Hinchey (NY); Rep. Diane Watson (CA); Rep. Ed Pastor (AZ); Rep. Barney Frank (MA); Rep. Danny Davis (IL); Rep. John Conyers (MI); Rep. John Hall (NY); Rep. Bob Filner (CA); Rep. Nydia Velazquez (NY); Rep. Bobby Rush (IL); Rep. Charles Rangel (NY); Rep. Ed Towns (NY); Rep. Paul Hodes (NH); Rep. William Lacy Clay (MO); Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR); Rep. Albert Wynn (MD); Rep. Bill Delahunt (MA); Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC); Rep. G. K. Butterfield (NC); Rep. Hilda Solis (CA); Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY); Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY); Rep. Michael Honda (CA); Rep. Steve Cohen (TN); Rep. Phil Hare (IL); Rep. Grace Flores Napolitano (CA); Rep. Alcee Hastings (FL); Rep. James McGovern (MA); Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH); Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL); Rep. Julia Carson (IN); Rep. Linda Sanchez (CA); Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ); Rep. John Olver (MA); Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX); Rep. Jim McDermott (WA); Rep. Ed Markey (MA); Rep. Chaka Fattah (PA); Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ); Rep. Rubin Hinojosa (TX); Rep. Pete Stark (CA); Rep. Bobby Scott (VA); Rep. Jim Moran (VA); Rep. Betty McCollum (MN); Rep. Jim Oberstar (MN); Rep. Diana DeGette (CO); Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA); Rep. Artur Davis (AL); Rep. Hank Johnson (GA); Rep. Donald Payne (NJ); Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (MO); Rep. John Lewis (GA); Rep. Yvette Clarke (NY); Rep. Neil Abercrombie (HI); Rep. Gwen Moore (WI); Rep. Keith Ellison (MN); Rep. Tammy Baldwin (WI); Rep. Donna Christensen (USVI); Rep. David Scott (GA); Rep. Luis Gutierrez (IL); Lois Capps (CA); Steve Rothman (NJ); Elijah Cummings (MD); and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).
By Josephine Hearn 04:15 PM

President vs President: "There Is No Military Victory Here

Thu Jul 19, 8:30 AM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former President Bill Clinton on Thursday criticized President George W. Bush's administration for failing in Iraq, saying their was no evidence of much-needed political or diplomatic progress.
"The point is, that there is no military victory here," he said in an interview on ABC's Good Morning America.

US says militant that Iraqi government once 'captured' never even existed

RAW STORYPublished: Thursday July 19, 2007
According to the US, an Iraqi militant that the Iraq government had previously claimed it had "captured" never even existed.
Tina Susman writes in the Thursday edition of the L.A. Times, "In March, he was declared captured. In May, he was declared killed, and his purported corpse was displayed on state-run TV. But on Wednesday, Abu Omar Baghdadi, the supposed leader of an Al Qaeda-affiliated group in Iraq, was declared nonexistent by U.S. military officials, who said he was a fictional character created to give an Iraqi face to a foreign-run terrorist organization."
"An Iraqi actor has been used to read statements attributed to Baghdadi, who since October has been identified as the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq group, said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner," the article continues. "Bergner said the new information came from a man captured July 4, described as the highest-ranking Iraqi within the Islamic State of Iraq."

Excerpts from article:

Terror suspect tried to call police

By DENNIS PASSA - Associated Press Writer
BRISBANE, Australia --An Indian doctor charged with supporting the failed British terror attacks tried to call a British investigator four times after learning authorities wanted to speak to him, but the calls went unanswered, according to a transcript of his police interrogation leaked Wednesday.
Mohamed Haneef told police he had no prior knowledge of the attacks and made the calls because he wanted to clear his name before he became a suspect, according to the 142-page transcript posted online by The Australian newspaper
The transcript records he made the calls July 2, the same day he was arrested trying to leave Australia for India with a one-way ticket.
Haneef's lawyer, Stephen Keim, identified himself as the source of the leak and said he did it in the public interest and to counter what he said was a government-backed campaign to bolster the weak allegations against Haneef.
Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty said the leak was being investigated as a possible contempt of court. However Keelty, speaking on national radio, did not challenge the authenticity of the transcript.

Total Power Drives You Totally Mad

By William Bowles
'Terror' is, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder. When 'we' slaughter hundreds, thousands of people, it is described as 'collateral damage', or a 'regrettable incident' or, 'we didn't intend to kill innocent civilians', no, they just became victims of an act of terror, but one executed by the state and thus it can never be regarded as an act of terror in the corporate media.

Misreading Iraq, Again

-George W. Bush and his neoconservative supporters are hailing some signs of cooperation between Iraqi Sunni tribal leaders and U.S. forces in rooting out al-Qaeda extremists in Anbar Province as proof that Bush’s military occupation of Iraq is finally working and should not be ended by Congress.

Robert Parry
“Finally,” wrote neoconservative Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer on July 13, “after four terribly long years, we know what works.” He, like Bush, cited the Anbar example as reason to reject growing public and congressional demands for a prompt U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq.
But the Anbar evidence could be read almost exactly the opposite way: that it is the growing belief among Sunnis that the American occupation is nearing its end that has caused some of them to view the U.S. military as a lesser evil and position themselves for what they perceive as the next phase of the conflict.
Anticipating a U.S. departure, these Sunnis are now more concerned about defending Sunni territory against the Shiite-dominated government army as well as eradicating al-Qaeda extremists whose indiscriminate killings have offended Iraqis of all stripes.
In other words, believing that the U.S. public and Congress will force Bush’s hand on military withdrawal, these Sunnis see the need to secure American armaments to match up against their Shiite rivals (if an intensified civil war should ensue), and they see the hyper-violent foreign jihadists as a threat to the province’s traditional Sunni power structure.
From this angle, the Anbar developments underscore why it's a good idea for the U.S. government to make clear its intention to leave Iraq, not what Bush and neocons see, another reason to extend the occupation indefinitely. Indeed, this apparent shift in Sunni interests has long been anticipated by Iraq War critics if the U.S. occupation were to end. They have cited evidence that what al-Qaeda feared most in Iraq was a U.S. military withdrawal that would eliminate its most valuable recruitment pitch (Bush's occupation of Arab land) and diminish any value al-Qaeda fighters might have for Iraqi Sunnis.

Insurgents Unite, Pledge to Fight Until US Leaves

Leaders of Iraqi groups say attacks will go on until Americans leave Insurgents from the 1920 Revolution Brigades training at Beiji, north of Baghdad.
Seven of the most important Sunni-led insurgent organisations fighting the US occupation in Iraq have agreed to form a public political alliance with the aim of preparing for negotiations in advance of an American withdrawal, their leaders have told the Guardian.
In their first interview with the western media since the US-British invasion of 2003, leaders of three of the insurgent groups - responsible for thousands of attacks against US and Iraqi armed forces and police - said they would continue their armed resistance until all foreign troops were withdrawn from Iraq, and denounced al-Qaida for sectarian killings and suicide bombings against civilians.
Speaking in Damascus, the spokesmen for the three groups - the 1920 Revolution Brigades, Ansar al-Sunna and Iraqi Hamas - said they planned to hold a congress to launch a united front and appealed to Arab governments, other governments and the UN to help them establish a permanent political presence outside Iraq.

Most GOP Military Donations for President Went to Ron Paul

Monday, July 16th in News, Republicans by Eric Garris
While politicos fight about what the troops want, a majority of the money that members of the military donated to Republican candidates for President went to the most antiwar candidate: Ron Paul.
Analyzing the latest finance reports, The Spin Factor broke down the donations from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and among Veterans (their figures do not include the Marines, which only slightly alters the results).

Name Total Army Navy AF Vets
Paul 23,465 6,975 6,765 4,650 5,075
McCain 15,825 6,925 6,305 1,795 800
Romney 3,551 2,051 0 1,500 0
Giuliani 2,320 1,450 370 250 250
Hunter 1,000 0 1,000 0 –
Huckabee 750 250 0 500 –
Tancredo 350 350 0 0 –
Brownback 71 71 0 0 –
Thompson 0 0 0 0 –
*Note: The numbers for the last five candidates have not been thoroughly verified.
52.53%: Ron Paul35.4%: McCain7.9%: Romney5.2%: Giuliani2.2%: Hunter2.6%: Others
Thanks to Iraq Slogger.
Sunday, July 15th in News, War crimes, Iraq by Laurence Vance
Documented in a series of in-depth interviews by The Nation with 50 combat veterans of the Iraq war from across the US.

A Raw Look at the “Surge”

Monday, July 16th in News by Tex MacRae
Maybe this is why they’re supporting a candidate that promises to bring them home?
American soldiers describe the constant stress of living in a war zone, voice their frustrations over the politics with the war strategy in Washington, and are seen as they watch an armored vehicle burn with six of their fellow troops trapped inside, in a rare and raw look at what American troops are experiencing on the front lines in Baghdad.
“I challenge anybody in Congress to do my rotation,” said Spc. Michael Vassell of Apache Company. “They don’t have to do anything, they just come hang out with me and go home at the times I go home, and come stay here 15 months with me.”
Apache Company was sent to Iraq in June 2006 for a 12-month rotation which has since been extended to a 15-month tour.
“It’s a joke. We will have spent 14 months in contact, basically fighting all 14 months,” said Cpl. Joshua Lake. “Our battalion got right to Baghdad … first week we were in Baghdad we lost two guys in our battalion … it hasn’t stopped since.”
“Because we have people up there in Congress with the brain of a 2-year-old who don’t know what they are doing — they don’t experience it. I challenge the president or anyone who has us for 15 months to ride alongside me,” Vassell said. “I [would] do another 15 months if he comes out here and rides along with me every day for 15 months. I’ll do 15 more months. They don’t even have to pay me extra.”
In this photo, six American soldiers and an Iraqi translator are burning to death inside the armored vehicle. Cpl. Joshua Lake from Apache Company told Sean Smith, “It’s a joke. We will have spent 14 months in contact, basically fighting all 14 months…first week in Baghdad we lost two guys in our battalion, and it hasn’t stopped since.”
(Sean Smith/Guardian)
This is an unusually hard-hitting article. Also, see the video on the upper right of the linked page and the rest of the photos here.


U.S. District Judge John D. Bates dismissed the case against defendants Cheney, Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.
from Judge Bate's bio"In February 2006, he was appointed by Chief Justice Roberts to serve as a judge of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court."
Nick JulianoPublished: Thursday July 19, 2007
A federal judge threw out a civil lawsuit former CIA agent Valerie Plame filed against members of the Bush administration, but the dismissal does not close all Plame's legal avenues.
The court dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds without ruling on the constitutional issues brought by Plame.
The wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, Plame had accused Vice President Dick Cheney and others of conspiring to leak her identity in 2003. U.S. District Judge John D. Bates dismissed the case against defendants Cheney, Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.
Plame's name was disclosed by syndicated columnist Robert Novak in July of 2003. The lawsuit contend the exposure of her then-classified role with the CIA was meant as retaliation for a column Joseph Wilson wrote earlier that year exposing misinformation pushed by President Bush relating to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
Saying the administration officials' actions "may have been highly unsavory," Bates nontheless ruled "there can be no serious dispute" that speaking to the press to rebut Wilson's criticism was "within the scope of defendants' duties as high-level Executive Branch officials."
The court ruled it lacked jurisdiction over Plame's case because she has not exhausted administrative remedies under the Federal Tort Claims Act, which is the "proper, and exclusive, avenue for relief on such a claim."
The act provides a waiver from the government's immunity from being sued in certain situations when its employees act negligently within the context of their jobs.
Plame's lawyers expected the decision to be thrown out anticipate filing an appeal, according to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, whose executive director is representing Joseph and Valerie Wilson.
"While we are obviously very disappointed by today’s decision, we have always expected that this case would ultimately be decided by a higher court," said Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director. "We disagree with the court's holding and intend to pursue this case vigorously to protect all Americans from vindictive government officials who abuse their power for their own political ends."
Bates, who was appointed by President Bush, is the same judge who threw out a case regarding the release of Cheney's Enegey Taskforce records, ThinkProgress notes.
Judge Bates was appointed United States District Judge in December 2001. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 1968 and received a J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1976. From 1968 to 1971, he served in the United States Army, including a tour in Vietnam. Judge Bates clerked for Judge Roszel C. Thomsen of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland from 1976 to 1977 and was an associate at Steptoe & Johnson from 1977 to 1980. He served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia from 1980 to 1997, and was Chief of the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office from 1987 to 1997. Judge Bates was on detail as Deputy Independent Counsel for the Whitewater investigation from 1995 to mid-1997. In 1998, he joined the Washington law firm of Miller & Chevalier, where he was Chair of the Government Contracts/Litigation Department and a member of the Executive Committee. Judge Bates has served on the Advisory Committee for Procedures of the D.C. Circuit and on the Civil Justice Reform Committee for the District Court, and as Treasurer of the D.C. Bar, Chairman of the Publications Committee of the D.C. Bar, and Chairman of the Litigation Section of the Federal Bar Association. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. In 2005, he was appointed by Chief Justice Rehnquist to serve on the U.S. Judicial Conference Committee on Court Administration and Case Management. In February 2006, he was appointed by Chief Justice Roberts to serve as a judge of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
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