Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator    

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Foul Play...

Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues
October 27, 2007
The Iraqi sectarian government is plagued with endemic corruption that totals around 4 Billion dollars per annum. The sectarian ministries, i.e those run by the exported thugs from Iran (M.Al.Sadr, Al Hakeem, Maliki,....) are the worst hit.
This is the government that America is upholding. This is the government we received from Iran. This is the government that the Anti-War greeted with flowers.
You can watch 2 videos from English Al Jazeera about our new "democratic" government by clickinghere
Congratulations to the Iraqis with purple, green and red fingers of Liberation.
Ink, Dollars and Blood.

Army to Review Iraq Contracts for Fraud

Richard Lardner of The Associated Press reports:
"A team of specially trained investigators will hunker down in an Army office north of Detroit on Monday to begin poring over hundreds of Iraq war contracts in search for rigged awards."

Undiagnosed Brain Injury: The Hidden Legacy of Iraq

The Guardian UK's Matthew Taylor and Esther Addley report that UK military officials began a "major study into brain injury in troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan amid fears that thousands of soldiers may have suffered damage after being exposed to high-velocity explosions."

The Evangelical Crackup

Christianity Today, the evangelical journal, has even posed the question of whether evangelicals should “repent” for their swift support of invading Iraq.
“Even in evangelical circles, we are tired of the war, tired of the body bags,” the Rev. David Welsh, who took over late last year as senior pastor of Wichita’s large Central Christian Church, told me. “I think it is to the point where they are saying: ‘O.K., we have done as much good as we can. Now let’s just get out of there.’ ”

To Little, To Late I think, Pope Benedict Archbishop of Canterbury Cancel George Bush's Crusade.

Prior to lunch this past Sunday in Naples, Pope Benedict addressed 200 of the world wide Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Zoroastrian and Buddhist religious leaders and said, “In a world wounded by conflicts, where violence is justified in God’s name, it’s important to repeat that religion can never become a vehicle of hatred. Religion can never be used in God’s name to justify violence. On the contrary religions can and must offer precious resources to build a peaceful humanity because they speak about peace in the heart of man.” In simple terms Pope Benedict XVI cancelled Christian Crusades for Christ permanently.

US Commerce Dept under secretary: It may be later than we think to do much to stop climate change

by Kevin J. Shay (Posted by Jackson Thoreau)
Now they tell us that Gore might have been right about global warming -
This one is also interesting about how cities and states are looking at building seawalls to combat rising sea levels, and in some places such as Alaska, already doing it -

Heartless W!

Why is our unstable leader of the free world ranting about WW3? It sounds like the same hypocrisy as WMD doesn't it? Maybe he has that confused as well as Iran and Iraq.

Peace Of Mind: Life Under Australian Universal Health Care

By Jai Daemion
Raising a family under the protection of the Australian Universal Health Care System gives Aussies a peace of mind that Americans can only dream of.

What The Media Won't Tell You: The Military Is Supporting Anti-War Candidates

Money is going from military members to ant-war candidates. What does that say to the American people?

Home Of The Brave?

By Dave Lindorff
It doesn't take a lot of guts to call in airstrikes by helicopter gunships and bombers, but when you do it in villages and even crowded slums as a routine tactic, it does guarantee you kill a lot of innocent people, including kids.

UN To Probe Iraqi, Afghan Civilian Deaths

EDITH M. LEDERER October 27, 2007 12:21 AM ESTCompare 12:21 AM EST12:05 AM EST and 12:21 AM EST12:05 AM EST versions
UNITED NATIONS — A United Nations expert said Friday he plans to study whether members of the U.S. military or government contractors such as Blackwater USA violate international law when they kill civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Philip Alston, a professor at New York University law school who has been an adviser to the UN's commission on human rights since 2004, said the U.S. had invited him to look into the issue. He said he would begin work in the spring and did not yet have an itinerary or list of people to interview.
"I am very interested in questions relating to military justice ... in other words, the response to alleged extrajudicial executions by members of the U.S. military, particularly in places like Iraq and Afghanistan," he told a news conference after briefing the General Assembly's human rights committee.
Link Here

FEMA Held Fake News Conference During Wildfires

AP October 26, 2007 04:45 PM
The White House scolded the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Friday for staging a phony news conference about assistance to victims of wildfires in southern California.
The agency -- much maligned for its sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina over two years ago -- arranged to have FEMA employees play the part of independent reporters Tuesday and ask questions of Vice Adm. Harvey E. Johnson, the agency's deputy director.

(Un)Fair Game: Targeting Iraqis as "Big Game"

Nick Turse, writing for TomDispatch.com, says: "At a recent conference on urban warfare in Washington, DC, James Lasswell, a retired Marine Corps colonel who now heads the Office of Science and Technology at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, opened an interesting window into this side of things. He noted that, as part of an instruction course named 'Combat Hunter,' the Marines have brought in 'big-game hunters' to school their snipers in the better use of 'optics.'"

State Department Coverup on Blackwater Revealed

T. Christian Miller, reporting for The Los Angeles Times, writes,
"Even as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice defended her department's oversight of private security contractors, new evidence surfaced Thursday that the US sought to conceal details of Blackwater shootings of Iraqi civilians more than two years ago."
Kim Sengupta and Charlie Gilmour, reporting for The Independent, write: "In Iraq, no one expects anything to be done. The widely prevalent view was expressed by Hassan Jabar Salman, a lawyer who was shot four times in the back as he attempted to get away from the American convoy. 'This is not the first time they have killed innocent people, and they will do it again, you'll see,' he said as he sat swathed in bandages at Yarmukh Hospital. 'Nothing, absolutely nothing will be done.'"

Rumsfeld charged w/torture, while in France

PARIS, Oct. 26 - Several human rights organizations based in the United States and Europe have filed a complaint in a Paris court accusing the former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld of responsibility for torture.
The group, which includes the International Federation for Human Rights, the French League for Human Rights and the Nork York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, filed the complaint late Thursday and unsuccessfully sought to confront Rumsfeld as he left a breakfast meeting in central Paris on Friday.

The collapse of Bush's foreign policy

By Juan Cole
The Bush administration once imagined that its presence in Afghanistan and Iraq would be anchored by friendly neighbors, Turkey to the west and Pakistan to the east. Last week, as the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan continued to deteriorate, the anchors themselves also came loose.
On Sunday, just days after the Turkish Parliament authorized an invasion of Iraqi Kurdistan, Kurdish guerrillas ambushed and killed 17 Turkish soldiers inside Turkey. In Karachi, Pakistan, a massive bomb nearly killed U.S.-backed Benazir Bhutto, who was supposed to help stabilize the country. The Bush administration's entire Middle East policy is coming undone -- if it even has a policy left, other than just sticking its fingers in the multiple, and multiplying, holes in the dike.
In Iraq, the Kurds of the north are the United States' most reliable allies. In addition to the 5.5 million Kurds in Iraq, however, persons speaking dialects of Kurdish constitute around 11 million of neighboring Turkey's 70 million citizens. There are another 4 million Kurds next door in Iran, and up to 2 million in Syria. All three of Iraq's northern neighbors fear that Kurdish nationalism, which has been fostered by the U.S. occupation of Iraq, could tear them apart. Opposition to that nationalism could provide a platform for an alliance of Syria, Turkey and Iran -- a nightmare for the Bush administration. Washington had hoped to isolate Syria, an ally of both Iran and of Hezbollah in Lebanon. That's not how it is turning out.

I Order You To Iraq

Lack of volunteers prompts agency to impose Baghdad service on some
Updated: 7:29 p.m. ET Oct. 26, 2007
WASHINGTON - The State Department said Friday it will require some diplomats to serve in Iraq because of a lack of volunteers willing to work at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
Beginning Monday, 200 to 300 diplomats will be notified that they have been identified as "prime candidates" to fill 40 to 50 vacancies that will open next year at the embassy, said Harry Thomas, director general of the Foreign Service.
Those notified that they have been selected for a one-year posting will have 10 days to respond. Only those with compelling reasons, such as a medical condition, will be excused from duty, Thomas said.

One Down: Obscenely Decadent War Profiteer Hauled Off in Handcuffs

America's most ostentatious war profiteer is no longer a free man. In a long-anticipated move, FBI agents arrested bulletproof vest maker David H. Brooks in his Manhattan apartment at dawn on Thursday. In the tradition of Al Capone, Brooks was nabbed on allegations of financial shenanigans, despite strong suspicions that the defense contractor has much more serious crimes on his hands.
Brooks emerged as the poster boy for shameless war profiteering in November of 2005 when he blew some $10 million in profits from military contracts on a celebrity-studded party for his daughter. Leaked details of the bash drew national attention, including a description of Brooks' pink suede suit and photos of his daughter on stage with the rapper 50 Cent. A New York Times editorial compared Brooks to the ill-fated Marie Antoinette.

Before Fires, Bush Cut Fire Preparedness Budgets, Outsourced Forest Service Work

October 26, 2007 03:58 PM
After President George W. Bush's visit to southern California, the post-Katrina Federal Emergency Management Agency is getting good reviews for its help to the hundreds of thousands who fled this week's wildfires. But while the Bush administration appears to have improved its record on disaster response, a series of poor budgeting and policy moves in the US Forest Service may have made the fires harder to fight, contributing to more than $1 billion in property damage and the loss of...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Nuclear Submarine Commander Removed

Source: AP
Oct 25, 10:12 PM (ET)
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The commanding officer of the nuclear-powered submarine USS Hampton was relieved of his duty Thursday because of a loss of confidence in his leadership, the Navy said.
Cmdr. Michael B. Portland was relieved of duty after a U.S. Navy investigation found the ship failed to do daily safety checks on its nuclear reactor for a month and falsified records to cover up the omission.
"His oversight of the crew's performance did not identify these issues" on his own, Navy Lt. Alli Myrick, a public affairs officer, told The Associated Press. Portland's commanders identified the problems during a routine review, she said.
More....way at the bottom.....
The reported problems with procedures and record keeping in the Navy squadron follows an incident in August when a B-52 bomber was mistakenly armed with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and flown to a Louisiana base.
The mission from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota was to ferry cruise missiles that had been slated for decommissioning but the warheads were supposed to have been removed beforehand.
The Air Force disciplined some 70 airmen.
More at article

Read more:

Mukasey's Nomination Runs Into Trouble

The Associated Press reports, "Judge Michael Mukasey's nomination for attorney general ran into trouble Thursday when two top Senate Democrats said their votes hinge on whether he will say on the record that an interrogation technique that simulates drowning is torture."

Firm Blamed for Baghdad Embassy Flaws Gains New Jobs

Warren P. Strobel, reporting for the McClatchy Newspapers, writes, "The Kuwaiti contractor that's building the new US Embassy in Baghdad - behind schedule and plagued by allegations of shoddy construction and safety flaws - is still winning lucrative new contracts to build US diplomatic installations overseas."

Another $200 Billion

The editors of The New York Times write:
"President Bush waited until he had vetoed a relatively inexpensive children's health insurance bill before asking for tens of billions of dollars more for his misadventure in Iraq. The cynicism of that maneuver is only slightly less shameful than the president's distorted priorities. Despite a pretense of fiscal prudence, Mr. Bush keeps throwing money at his war, regardless of the cost in blood, treasure or children's health care."

Bush takes shot at Blanco while touring wildfires

BATON ROUGE --As the California wildfires continued to rage Thursday, so too did the political feud between President Bush and Gov. Kathleen Blanco that has smoldered since the federal government's slow response to Hurricane Katrina.
The latest flare-up came when Bush, while touring the California disaster area, took an apparent swipe at Blanco's post-Katrina leadership as he complimented California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
"It makes a significant difference when you have somebody in the statehouse willing to take the lead," Bush said, according to the Associated Press.
The president's statement, coming from a White House that seems determined to avoid a repeat in California of the public-relations disaster that followed Katrina, brought a swift response from Blanco.
In a statement forwarded by her press office, Blanco noted that it took federal forces nearly a week to arrive in Louisiana after the storm. "I was the only game in town, leading for nearly a week without the president's help," Blanco said.
"Of all the lessons learned from Katrina now being put into place in California, I would hope the one he would remember is that politics has no place in any disaster," she added

Billionaires Up, America Down

Holly Sklar writes for McClatchy-Tribune News Service:
"The 25th anniversary of the Forbes 400 isn't party time for America. We have a record 482 billionaires - and record foreclosures. We have a record 482 billionaires - and a record 47 million people without any health insurance. Since 2000, we have added 184 billionaires - and 5 million more people living below the poverty line."

Civil Disobedience: The Right Of Revolution

By Barbara Peterson
Henry David Thoreau's essay "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience" written in 1849 is as relevant to the times now as it was then. We have a right to stand up and question any institution or individual that claims authority over us, just as he did then. In fact, it is our duty as citizens to do so.

Pete, Nancy, George And WWIII

By Cindy Sheehan
Ms. Pelosi joined hands with Republicans to condemn Rep. Stark. For the Republicans to say that Congressman Stark's comment demeaned "the troops"� is so patently ridiculous, it is stunningly pathetic. Our troops and their much higher paid cousins, the mercenary killers, are killing innocent Iraqis. IT IS A WAR! What do these morally bankrupt Chickenhawks think occurs in war?

Torture, Paramilitarism, Occupation And Genocide

by Stephen Lendman
On October 5, George Bush confronted a public uproar and defended his administration claiming "This government does not torture people." Again he lied. Once secret US Department of Justice (DOJ) legal opinions confirm the Bush administration condones torture by endorsing "the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency." It also condones paramilitary thuggery, oppressive occupation, and genocide. This unholy combination is the ugly face of an imperial nation run by war criminals. That's the state of things today. First, the practice of torture.
Torture as Policy under George Bush
In a hollow posturing gesture, DOJ publicly declared torture "abhorrent" in a December, 2004 legal opinion. That secretly changed after Alberto Gonzales became Attorney General in February, 2005 and authorized physical and psychological brutality as official administration policy. This continues unabated in violation of international and US laws that include fifth and eighth amendment prohibitions against cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in all forms for any reason. These practices been long-standing US official policy, nonetheless, but the mask came off post-9/11 when former CIA Counterterrorism Center chief Cofer Black (now Blackwater USA's vice-chairman) told a joint House-Senate intelligence committee hearing September 26, 2002: "There was a before-9/11 and an after-9/11(on the use of torture). After 9/11, the gloves came off" and "old" standards no longer apply. They never did, and Congress knows and condones it.Further, George Bush signed a secret September 17, 2001 "finding" authorizing CIA to kill, capture and detain "Al Qaeda" members anywhere in the world and rendition them to secret black site torture prisons for interrogation presumed to include torture.
As White House Counsel, Alberto Gonzales then wrote a sweeping memorandum to George Bush January 25, 2002 calling the Geneva Conventions "quaint" and "obsolete" and claimed the administration could ignore Geneva international law in interrogating prisoners henceforth. He also outlined plans to try prisoners in military "commissions" and deny them all protections under international law including due process and habeas rights. DOD Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was on board as well. In December, 2002, he approved a menu of banned interrogation practices that allowed most anything short of what would cause organ failure. >>>cont

Thursday, October 25, 2007

"Heck of a Job" don't you reckon Georgie?

Those Who Love America Feeling Brokenhearted

Andrew Greeley, in an op-ed for The Chicago Sun-Times, writes: "I am ashamed for America. Note carefully that I do not say I am ashamed of America. Despite all its inherent flaws and all its tragic mistakes, the United States stands, however incompletely and with whatever imperfections, for the highest standards of freedom and democracy that the world has yet known. I am ashamed for America because all the evil done in the nation's name in recent years is turning off the light on the mountaintop."
Second Court Ruling Redacts Information About Interrogation
Eggen for The Washington Post reports on the case of Abdallah Higazy, who is suing the FBI and FBI agent Michael Templeton, for their aggressive interrogation techniques, which forced Higazy to admit to a crime he did not do.
BP to Pay $373 Million in Federal Probe
Lara Jakes Jordan for The Associated Press reports that "Oil and gas giant BP PLC agreed Thursday to pay $373 million in fines and restitution to end investigations into whether it manipulated energy markets and violated environmental laws, the Justice Department said."
"Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.":
Thomas Jefferson
"Apathy is the glove into which evil slips its hand" :
Bodie Thoene

Bush Regime Preaches Democracy, Proposes Tyranny

By Paul Craig Roberts
U.S. citizens had best rethink the "war on terror" while they still have the liberty to do so. For all of President Bush's blah-blah talk about bringing democracy to the world, the Bush administration has proved that it is no friend of liberty at home.

Five Years After His Death, Wellstone Still Inspires

Mark Zdechlik, Minnesota Public Radio: "Five years ago today a plane carrying Senator Paul Wellstone, his wife Sheila, their daughter, and five other people crashed into the woods in northeastern Minnesota. All eight were killed, and Minnesota politics was thrown into chaos just days before the election. Since Wellstone's death he's been remembered in big and small ways."

Don't hold you breath waiting.

California Wildfires Expose Pitfalls Of Iraq War

As the wildfires that ravaged southern California are gradually brought under control, speculation grows over what could have been done to reduce the damage.
Locally, officials have focused on the need for modernized and coordinated disaster-response efforts, while again questioning the prudence of building houses in areas prone to fire.
On a national level, however, the discussion is much broader. Within political circles, the California wildfires have yet again thrust the debate over the Iraq war into the spotlight, this time by calling into question how America uses its National Guard.

Thompson: Iraqi Insurgents "A Bunch Of Kids With IEDs"

CNN Peter Hamby October 25, 2007 02:39 PM
At a campaign stop in South Carolina Wednesday, Fred Thompson said that the Iraqi insurgency is made up of "a bunch of kids with improvised explosive devices," and suggested that the appearance of losing to such an enemy would harm U.S. national security.
Thompson was confronted about Iraq by a Bluffton resident named Bernhard Steinhouse, who asked Thompson whether he would bring back U.S. forces from the country.

Hagel: New Unilateral Iran Sanctions ‘Escalate The Danger Of A Military Confrontation’

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will announce “new sanctions against Iran” today that “accuse” the Quds division of the Revolutionary Guard Corps of supporting terrorism and “the entire Revolutionary Guard Corps of proliferating weapons of mass destruction.”

Christy Said

Christy said: !!!!!!!
Ok, I will ask it then.
What is the difference between Tom Delay and Nancy Pelosi?
They both have ultimatly used their power and position to shield bush from ANY accountability. They both have bent over backwards to give him EVERYTHING he wants.
They both talk a good game, but both of them would rather throw their own party under the bus than confront a tyrant.
Sure Nancy uses words like 'oppose' and 'condemn', but somehow she never actually winds up opposing or condemning anything. But let another dem come out and speak truth to power, like Stark, and all the sudden Nancy throws her wieght around to MAKE HIM APOLOGIZE.
At this point, the differences between Tom Delay and Nancy Pelosi is just semantics. Same wine, different label.
You can get all upset at me comparing the two, but I would say that anger would be better directed at Nancy Pelosi. It is her that could actually change things, yet she refuses.
She would rather risk bowing her head to a tyrant than stopping him. In the end, Tom Delay and her probably have more in common with each other than either of them resembles one of us.
Kangaroo says DARN RIGHT ON.
Christy said: !!!!!!
You know what? It doesn't matter anymore WHY.
Their petty, stupid, calculating, political, idiotic REASONS are their damn problem. Our nation is dying.
And I don't know about yall, but I am f*cking sick, and tired of their petty pathetic triangulating excuses of why they can not keep our nation from DYING!
'They are advocates. We are the leaders!'
AND, I am getting f*cking sick and tired of Nancy Pelosi and her cheshire cat grin as she HELPS DISMANTLE THE US CONSTITUTION. The one last hope we have to STOP THIS!.. She sweeps away.
Does that mean I am not toeing the 'party line'...? You know what, I don't care. The republicans acted just that way and look what they have become. Goose stepping morons.
God every time I think of that woman I seethe. How can this be we are watching this nation die right in front of us?
Advocates? No chick! We...are The People. And Nancy Pelosi swore an oath to SERVE US.
I don't care if she is a democrat or a freaking staircase for that matter. If she wants to go down with bush, so be it.
Her dismantling of the US Constitution, her sweeping large and important pieces of it away as if we do not know what she took, it will not be forgotten.
The excuses she made for doing it will be for future historians to worry about. Right now, her excuses have no merit whatsoever.
She makes me sick.
Kangaroo Says!!!!! Hit the Nail right on the head

Revealed: the Little-Known Device Used to Block Democrats in the House

Elana Schor reports for The Guardian America: "All year long, Democrats in the House of Representatives have watched with increasing impatience as their Senate counterparts find themselves bedevilled by a filibuster-wielding Republican minority.... What's far less well known, though, is that the party has almost as nasty a bugaboo in the House. Republicans there have found stunning success with a procedural tool called the motion to recommit, and they have repeatedly used it to divide the Democratic caucus and block key initiatives."

US soldiers shy from battle in Iraq

By Dahr Jamail WATERTOWN, New York - Iraq war veterans now stationed at a base here in upstate New York say that morale among US soldiers in the country is so poor, many are simply parking their Humvees and pretending to be on patrol, a practice dubbed "search and avoid" missions.

Afghanistan is lost, says Lord Ashdown

Tom Coghlan, Telegraph
Nato has "lost in Afghanistan" and its failure to bring stability there could provoke a regional sectarian war "on a grand scale", according to Lord Ashdown. The former United Nations High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina delivered his dire prediction after being proposed as a new "super envoy" role in Afghanistan. Lord Ashdown said: "We have lost, I think, and success is now unlikely."....
continua / continued

Papier Mâché...

As Gandhi says, “ When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fail – think of it ALWAYS”.
And let it go down the annals of your glorious "history" as - and don't forget to quote me...
"We killed them with bullets, covered them in words and buried them in paper boxes.
"Congratulations to you and your founding fathers.
Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues
....You are not only being fed lies, you entertain those lies by constantly lying to yourselves as well. The ILLEGAL invasion and occupation of Iraq. Its massive, irremediable DESTRUCTION. Its untold suffering. Its deaths in the millions. Its refugees in the millions. Its plundering in the billions of $. Its rape and torture; physical, geographical, psychological, social, spiritual...right down to the individual body. Its contamination with the most lethal chemical weapons in history; DU, phosphorus bombs, Neutron bombs, cluster bombs, Napalm...Its stripping it away from any identity, from its history, from its roots, from its people...and I can go on and on and on... ALL of that has failed to MOVE YOU TO ACT. And that despite your knowing "alternative medias" and reading hundreds of articles, and joining hands in prayers, and participating in conferences and giving speeches and showing up on you tube, and blogging and interviews... and, and, and... And you want me to believe your lies of how you have been robbed of the ideals of what your nation stood for ? Who are you kidding here ? You are kidding none but yourselves. Iraq was the golden opportunity that you have deliberately or stupidly failed to seize. And I call that BAD FAITH. Iraq was the golden historical opportunity for you to finally put into practice those "ideals of your founding fathers" that you o' so preach about all the time... But you did NOT. And that is a FACT!....

FISA Whip Count Update (Keep Calling!)

by Matt Browner Hamlin
Thu Oct 25, 2007 at 10:39:01 AM PDT
Yesterday the Dodd campaign launched a Citizen Generated Whip Count operation on the Senate Judiciary Committee's position on retroactive immunity. So far we've had over 900 calls logged through the tool -- and been able to see where five of the Committee's nineteen members stand. Most offices don't have a public position on retroactive immunity yet and our past experience from whipping on the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act tells us that the Republican offices who are likely to disagree with callers from the netroots usually punt making a statement until it's time to vote.
We need you to keep calling the Senate Judiciary Committee through our Citizen Generated Whip Count tool -- and report the results so we can identify who needs to hear from their constituents so they vote the right way.
LA Times Jordan Rau October 25, 2007 10:48 AM
Although Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration has improved its readiness for big blazes since the last major round of wildfires hit California in 2003, the state still confronted this week's infernos without all the equipment its experts had advised.
A special panel appointed by Schwarzenegger recommended in 2004 that California buy 150 more firetrucks for emergencies. So far only 19 have been ordered. They are scheduled to arrive in time for next year's fire season.
Read entire story here.

Ohhhhhhh this is to good to pass up, and from Faux News, no less

Because there is no shortage of things to yell about regarding the War on Terror, Iraq, Afghanistan, Homeland Security, and so on, deciding what to write about is always fun.
This week, I was going to yell about how the Bush administration leaked classified information — again — but we've been there before. Then, I thought I might write about Blackwater, but compared to so many things, Blackwater looks like back water.
I bet the few of you that read this stuff thought I would write about my short stint in the sights of those who complained or used my column last week for their own purposes. Nah, it ain't going to happen. Those who were yelling or using me on their TV shows — without bringing me on to comment — are hardly worth the print space. I am not that big a deal. Besides, these things are of little consequence when you realize how we missed, squandered, screwed up, made a mess of and were massively risk adverse — again — when we did not kill Usama bin Laden in Afghanistan just two short months ago.
We know, with a 70 percent level of certainty — which is huge in the world of intelligence — that in August of 2007, bin Laden was in a convoy headed south from Tora Bora. We had his butt, on camera, on satellite. We were listening to his conversations. We had the world’s best hunters/killers — Seal Team 6 — nearby. We had the world class Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) coordinating with the CIA and other agencies. We had unmanned drones overhead with missiles on their wings; we had the best Air Force on the planet, begging to drop one on the terrorist. We had him in our sights; we had done it. Nice job again guys — now, pull the damn trigger.
Unbelievably, and in my opinion, criminally, we did not kill Usama bin Laden.
You cannot make this crap up; truth is always stranger and more telling than fiction. Our government, the current administration and yes, our military leaders included, failed to kill bin Laden for no other reason than incompetence.
The current “boneheads” in charge will tell you all day long that we are fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan to stop terrorists there so they do not come here. Nice talk, how about — just for a moment — acting like you mean what you say? You know walk the walk. These incidents, where we displayed a total lack of guts, like the one in August, are just too prevalent. The United States of America’s political and military leadership has, on at least three separate occasions, chosen not capture or kill bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahri. We have allowed Pakistan to become a safe haven for Al Qaeda. We have allowed Al Qaeda to reconstitute, partially because of money they (Al Qaeda in Iraq) have been sending to Al Qaeda in Pakistan.
We are in a war with terrorists. We are in a war with countries that support terrorists. We are in a war with people that fly planes into buildings and who never, ever hesitate to pull the trigger when given the chance to kill us. We cannot win and, I will tell you this now, we are losing this war every damn time we fail to take every single opportunity to kill murderers like Usama bin Laden. Less than two months ago, we lost again.
Our men and women are being blown up and killed every day in Iraq and Afghanistan. Every family who is separated from a loved one during this war is being insulted by our government when they fail to kill those who have already killed us and will not hesitate to do so again and again. Damn it guys, PULL THE DAMN TRIGGER.

What was Yesterday, What is Today

Cheney Falls Asleep During Wildfire Meeting
Sweet Home New Orleans - Dr. John

Today, The City Georgie Forgot

Two years after Katrina and thousands are still w/o homes

New Orleans: Two Years Later

Lower 9th Ward--2 Years Later

Hurricane Katrina 2nd Anniversary

Ain't that the truth

Christy said:
Before yall heap anymore praise on the govanator, please, we are talking about a man that calls nurses and teachers 'special intrest groups'.

Earlier Recommendations Ignored by Governor; Equipment, Personnel Unavailable, Undeployed, Late in Coming
Failures of County Supervisors Also Cited as 'Too Little, Too Late'...

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and local officials have made media appearances claiming credit for swiftly responding to the disaster. “There is much more equipment available, more manpower is available, quicker action,” Schwarzenegger said, according to the Associated Press.
What the Governor failed to mention is that he vetoed four bills that would have increased staffing and fire resources after the Cedar Fire, at a cost of tens of millions of dollars. A fifth bill, signed by Schwarzenegger, requires local governments to first submit safety plans to the California Department of Forestry and will not take effect until 2010, the Los Angeles Times reported in a May 20, 2007 article titled “Fire danger acute as 2003 lessons fade.” That article has since disappeared off the newspaper’s website, but a copy is here.
The same story cited Dallas Jones, former director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and current official with California Professional Firefighters union. Jones damned Schwarzenegger for failing to provide additional firetrucks. “How many years are we since the ’03 fire siege?” he asked, “and so far, nothing.”
Other unfulfilled recommendations made to Schwarzenegger by his Blue Ribbon Fire Commission include replacement of aging fire helicopters, increasing staffing to assure four person crews on each state fire engine sent to major wildfires, and nighttime air drops.
A national contract fleet of heavy air tankers has fallen from 41 to 16 in the last five years, with aging aircraft deemed unsafe and grounded. The state firefighting fleet has not replaced two air tankers that crashed, the L.A. Times reported.
CNN reports that only 1,500 National Guard have been sent to assist Californians during the current wildfire crisis—less than 1/10 of the state’s 20,000 National Guard members. Clearly having the bulk of our National Guards forces deployed to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan have hindered emergency response here at home.

The Wellstone Of Hope

By Kpominville
Camp Wellstone is a fantastic group of people out of Minnesota who have trained over 14,000 nationwide to run for office, work on campaigns and how to be effective citizen activists.

Screw Up Your Courage America!

by Kevin Gosztola
“World War I. German Soldiers wrote poems about the bravery of British Grunts. Admired them. Almost as much as they laughed at the British High Command who just wasted those same Grunts by the hundred-thousand. A German General wrote, “Nowhere else have I seen such Lions led by such Lambs.” -Dr. Malley (Robert Redford, Lions for Lambs)
Only I could have experienced the emotional rollercoaster that occurred tonight before, during, and after attending a special free screening at my college of Lions for Lambs, which turned out to be one of the best executed films on politics, media, and military that I have ever seen.
I walked in having politicized this event in my mind even when I have a deep reluctance when it comes to showing up to events and politicizing them specifically. I planned on getting 50-100 signatures for Dennis Kucinich, signatures which are desperately needed here in Illinois right now because 3,000-5,000 signatures must be delivered to Springfield, Illinois so that he can be on the ballot in the February 5th primary. But I let my reservations get the best of me and walked home afterwards in the rain cursing at my failure.
The film is a must-see and an opportunity for college students like me to really go after people and get them to change their apathetic or shallow ways of thinking by addressing military recruitment, the draft, poverty, and what it means to be a good citizen. I could go through and tell you all the ideas that came through in the film, but I do not wish to give away the intricacies and underlying messages within that are staggeringly profound. However, I will impart one message to you that struck me so hard that I am deeply unhappy that I did not act after hearing it
By Ann Williams
On Sat, Oct 20, some 50 peace and justice activists descended upon Blackwater's headquarters at Moyock, North Carolina, staging a demonstration and guerrilla theater right outside the gates, and seven of them wilfully trespassed as a sign of civil diobedience against an organization that trespasses against humanity and peace daily. One of the activists, Ann Williams, shares with us her experiences and feelings this day.

We The People Versus A Government Of, By And For The United Corporations Of America

By Manuel Valenzuela

In the last century we battled totalitarianism; in this century we will battle corporatism. The war being waged against the People, by the real enemy, albeit a domestic one, is eroding democracy, liberty and our rights. It is making billions of people human cocoons living in indigence, slaves without futures, heads without intelligence, obedient to the commands of television and corporate marketing. This war is being lost.
By Dave Lindorff
Dodd has shown that one senator, supported by 41 senators (not 60 as claimed by Reid and Pelosi), can bring the Bush war machine to a grinding halt. Now he has to do it.

Iraq Revokes All Contractor Immunity

Bomb Iran? U.S. Requests Bunker-Buster Bombs

By JONATHAN KARLOct. 24, 2007
Tucked inside the White House's $196 billion emergency funding request for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is an item that has some people wondering whether the administration is preparing for military action against Iran.
The item: $88 million to modify B-2 stealth bombers so they can carry a newly developed 30,000-pound bomb called the massive ordnance penetrator, or, in military-speak, the MOP.
The MOP is the the military's largest conventional bomb, a super "bunker-buster" capable of destroying hardened targets deep underground. The one-line explanation for the request said it is in response to "an urgent operational need from theater commanders."
What urgent need? The Pentagon referred questions on this to Central Command.

Blackwater Guards In Iraq Increasingly Feel Shootings May Have Been Unjustified

New York Times PAUL von ZIELBAUER and JAMES GLANZ October 25, 2007 12:36 AM
The Blackwater USA compound here is a fortress within a fortress. Surrounded by a 25-foot-high wall of concrete topped by a chain-link fence and razor wire, the compound sits deep inside the heavily defended Green Zone, its two points of entry guarded by Colombian Army veterans carrying shotguns and automatic rifles.
In the mazelike interior, Blackwater employees live in trailers stacked one on top of the other in surroundings that one employee likens to a "minimum-security prison."

Merrill Lynch Posts $2.2 Bil Loss

Washington Post Tomoeh Murakami Tse, Renae Merle, Howard Schneider October 24, 2007 11:25 PM
Merrill Lynch on Wednesday posted a loss of $2.2 billion -- its first quarterly loss since 2001 -- which coupled with a poor homes sales report and a turbulent stock market raised fears that weakness in housing and the financial system posed a bigger threat to the broader economy than previously thought.
The investment bank, whose loss was far worse than what the firm forecast less than three weeks ago, said it had to write down its collection of mortgage-backed assets...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Leslie Eaton, of The New York Times, reports, " A deadlocked federal jury here did not convict any leaders of a Muslim charity who were charged with supporting Middle Eastern terrorists, and the judge today declared a mistrial in what has been widely viewed as the government's flagship terror-financing case."

October 27th Mobilization To End The War

Dear activists, colleagues and friends,
It has been over 4 and a half years since the invasion of Iraq. 3,835 U.S. soldiers and over 1 million Iraqi citizens have lost their lives. U.S. taxpayers have spent over $600 billion on this war with no end in sight.
This Saturday, October 27th, you can take a stand. United for Peace and Justice is coordinating over 150 peace groups across the country for demonstrations in 11 cities.
Boston, Chicago, Jonesborough Tennessee, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Seattle.
There are also events in Fairbanks, Tucson, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Denver, Kapaa Hawaii, Des Moines, Smithfield NC, and Oklahoma City.
We made a video to help get the word out. Watch it here and recruit your friends to come:

Poll: 41% can't name any GOP candidates
Clinton, Obama most often identified; only 19% failed to name any Dems.

US Airstrike Kills at Least 11 in Iraq

Doug Smith, The Los Angeles Times
A U.S. airstrike left at least 11 dead in a village in northern Iraq on Tuesday, heightening an ongoing Iraqi backlash over the civilian toll of American military actions. The military said in a statement that a helicopter fired on a group of men believed to be a cell that places roadside bombs. The men then took refuge in a nearby house and continued to engage U.S. troops, the military said. The statement said 11 Iraqis were killed, including a militant known to be a member of a bomb cell. Residents in the village of Mukaisheefa, about 80 miles north of Baghdad, contested the military account, saying 15 people were killed and that the men were farmers irrigating their fields in the pre-daylight hours. Abdul Wahab Ahmed, a neighbor, said the dead included two toddlers and four teenagers. Five were women, he said. Ahmed said two of three farmers killed were in the field, and another, who was injured, went back to the village of several dozen houses. As neighbors gathered around the man's house, jets made two bombing runs, Ahmed said....

Who is Telling the Truth? The Guantánamo Suicides

The grim story of the Guantánamo suicides--the deaths of three men, Ali al-Salami, Mani al-Utaybi and Yasser al-Zahrani in June 2006, and another, Abdul Rahman al-Amri, in May this year--took another turn last week, when, in the absence of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service's long-awaited report into the deaths, Navy Capt. Patrick McCarthy, the senior lawyer on Guantánamo's management team, spoke out in an interview, declaring that all four men had killed themselves with "craftily fashioned nooses."...
continua / continued
The U.S. State Department is unable to account for most of $1.2 billion in funding that it gave to DynCorp International to train Iraqi police, a government report said Tuesday. An International Police Liaison Officer hired by DynCorp stands near new Iraqi police recruits in Falluja, Iraq. "The bottom line is that State can't account for where it went," said Glenn D. Furbish, who was involved in putting together the 20-page report for the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction (SIGIR)....

Bush wars to cost 40 times higher than original estimates; $8,000 per man, woman child in US

Nick Juliano, Raw Story
New estimates show Iraq, Afghanistan will cost US $2.4 trillion; White House refuses to provide estimate
The United States is spending about $8,000 per man, woman and child in the country to pursue wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to new estimates that show the wars will cost about $2.4 trillion over the next decade. More than one-fourth of the money spent in Iraq and Afghanistan -- $705 billion -- will go to paying interest on the wars' costs, which are being funded with borrowed dollars, according to an estimate to be released Wednesday by the Congressional Budget Office....

Bipartisan Consensus: Iraq, Many More Years of War

Jack A. Smith, Global Research
After a few skirmishes, congressional Democrats have fled the field of battle with the Republicans over the matter of withdrawing some U.S. troops from Iraq. Ending the war itself was never a serious part of the several-month debate, although many Americans thought it was. A consensus seems to be building in Washington that views a long term U.S. military presence in Iraq as a valuable geostrategic asset in the quest for regional and global hegemony. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is now talking about an occupation of an unlimited number of years with a minimum of 40,000 U.S. troops. The Democratic Party and the majority of its politicians in Congress are expected to go along with this...
continua / continued

Iran wins major infrastructure contract in Iraq

Iraq has awarded a vital infrastructure contract to Iran that could facilitate its military presence in a developoment that has alarmed the U.S. The Iraqi Electricity Ministry has selected companies from China and Iran to construct two power plants. The ministry said the awards totaled $1.1 billion and would reduce the constant power outages in Baghdad. The award to Iran for the construction of a 160-megawatt power plant in Baghdad's Sadr City has alarmed the U.S. military in Iraq. Military sources said the U.S.-led coalition was concerned that Iran could use the $150 million project to significantly expand its intelligence and military presence in Iraq...

A Conquered Continent: The True Relationship Between Europe and America

Chris Floyd , Empire Burlesque
...Anderson delves into the specifics of the U.S.-Europe relation today, and finds very little distance but a great deal of continuity – a continuity that helps explain what Anderson rightly calls the "surrender of Europe" to the United States. This is expressed most sharply in the actions (as opposed to rhetoric) of European governments in regard to Bush's Terror War, where they have countenanced the war of aggression in Iraq and played a major role in the vile rendition program of Bush's gulag....

Come and see our over flowing morgues... Come and see the rubble of your surgical air-strikes"

Mike Whitney
....No one wants to live under occupation and all of the surveys conducted since the invasion in 2003 indicate that more than 90% of the Iraqi people want to see the United States withdrawal. Given these results, it is obvious why the resistance has mushroomed. There will always be a growing pool of young nationalists eager to join the fray. The US cannot prevail in Iraq nor can they impose a "political solution", which is the other great myth currently in vogue. The only acceptable political solution to occupation is withdrawal - not puppet regimes, not "oil laws" not "benchmarks". Withdrawal. PeriodBut Bush will not withdrawal and apparently no one can force him to do so. So, the killing will continue unabated behind the media's iron curtain while the overall situation on the ground continues to deteriorate. Eventually, after years of ethnic cleansing, sectarian fighting and stepped-up military operations, the position of the US will become untenable and the troops will come home. But the cost in human terms will be enormous. Already one million Iraqis have been killed in the war and four million others have become refugees. Credit the US media for concealing the real savagery of foreign occupation and its effects on Iraqi society. The country is in ruins. There are only three problems in Iraq; occupation, occupation and occupation....

At the Gates...

Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues
Insomnia has become a trusted friend. Sleep steals me away from her, for a couple of hours and she jealously snatches me back... I used to fight her, now I accept. She asks me "what is on your mind?" and my only reply to her is "Iraq." I think, breathe, eat, drink, write, dream, cry, sleep...Iraq. An addiction, an obsession, a torment... It is not only a question of longing or nostalgia or anger, like a boiling volcano that will never subside...It is not only a yearning for things past, or a grief for people and things gone...

The Presidency Is Taking Over the Courts and Congress

Jim Hightower, writing for the Hightower Lowdown, says: "Where is Congress? It's way past time for members to stand up. Historic matters are at stake. The Constitution is being trampled, the very form of our government is being perverted, and nothing less than American democracy itself is endangered - a presidential coup is taking place."

Plamegate Finale: We Were Right; They Were Wrong

David Corn, writing his final column for The Nation, says: "So is anyone apologizing? For ruining Valerie Wilson's career? For perhaps endangering operations and agents? For lying about the leak? For misleading the public about Rove's role? For placing spin above the truth? Armitage did apologize (via a media interview) to the Wilsons. But no one else involved has. And no one - not Bush, not Cheney, not their aides, not their neocon confederates - has admitted any wrongdoing in this saga."

Will GOP Election Theft Machine Do It Again in 2008?

Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, writing for The Free Press, say: "With record low approval ratings for the Bush/Cheney regime and the albatross of an unpopular war hanging from the GOP's neck, do you think that a Democratic presidential candidate will win the White House, get us out of Iraq, and end our long national nightmare? Think again - the mighty election theft machine Karl Rove used to steal the US presidency in 2000 and 2004 may be under attack, but it is still in place for the upcoming 2008 election."

War Supplemental Makes Room for Iran

Maya Schenwar, reporting for Truthout, writes: "The Bush administration's $196.4 billion war supplemental spending request, released Monday, has Democrats reeling. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd called the supplemental 'short-sighted at best,' while House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey remarked in a statement, 'It's amazing to me that the president expects to be taken seriously.' Yet beyond the request's mind-boggling size, its open-ended aims point to the potentially vast scope of the 'war on terror' for years to come - including an undiminished presence in Iraq and the possibility of action against Iran."

Bush Has Publicly Threatened 46 Vetoes This Year

The Hill's Alexander Bolton reports: "President Bush has taken a much more personal role in opposing Congress in disagreements over legislation this year than any other year of his presidency, a tactic that government experts say is necessary because of his weakened approval ratings."

Police cleared in use of Taser on student

Sen. Kerry questioner was taken down after pleading, ‘Don't Tase me bro!’
GAINESVILLE, Florida - University of Florida police were justified when they used a Taser against a student who refused to stop questioning Senator John Kerry at a campus event, according to a state investigation released Wednesday.
A 17-page executive summary of the 300-page Florida Department of Law Enforcement report was released by the University of Florida after some questioned the use of force against student Andrew Meyer.
The scuffle between Meyer and police started during the Sept. 17 speech when Meyer refused to leave the microphone after his allotted time was up, police said. The videotaped altercation and Meyer's cries of "Don't Tase me bro!" were played frequently on the Internet.
"In short, the FDLE determined that our officers acted well within state guidelines," university President Bernie Machen said in a letter to students, faculty and staff.

Iraq Revokes All Contractor Immunity

State Dept's Security Chief Resigns In Wake Of Blackwater Scandal

AFP Ammar Karim October 24, 2007 01:37 PM
The Iraqi government announced on Wednesday that it has decided to formally revoke the immunity from prosecution granted to private security companies operating in the war-ravaged country.
"The cabinet held a meeting yesterday and decided to scrap the article pertaining to security companies operating in Iraq that was issued by the CPA (Coalition Provision Authority) in 2004," government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement.

Revealed: Cost Of U.S. Contractors In Iraq Has Soared To $4 Billion

Govt Auditors Warned Bush Admin About Poor Firefighting Plans

October 24, 2007 02:10 PM
As firefighters continue to risk their lives battling the inferno in southern California, evidence is growing that the Bush administration is not adequately prepared to support them.
The Government Accountability Office, Congress's nonpartisan auditor, issued stark warnings earlier this year on shortcomings in the administration's plans to fight fires.

Woman confronts Condi Rice with 'blood' on her hands

Protester Desiree Farooz confronts Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a photograph taken today by Charles Dharapak of the Associated Press.
Rice was preparing to testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee when she encountered Farooz inside the hearing room. Farooz had painted her hands red, apparently to symbolize her group's claim that members of President Bush's cabinet have blood on their hands because of the way they've waged war in Iraq.
USA TODAY has a wire story about the secretary's subsequent testimony about the Mideast peace process.

Hillary's Baggage

Iraqi View of Iraq War - What Bush Hides

Meeting Resistance

Know Thine Enemy - Meeting Resistance2
This video clip from the upcoming, award winning film from Steve Connors and Molly Bingham, Meeting Resistance, portrays a side of the Iraqi insurgency President Bush doesn't want the world to see.LinkHere
Blackwater and me: A love story it ain't:
During my own yearlong tour in Iraq, the bad boys of Blackwater twice came closer to killing me than did any of the insurgents or Al Qaeda types. That sort of thing sticks with you. One story will suffice to make my point.

Army to keep forcibly re-enlisting soldiers:
'Stop loss' program still needed, general says in response to Gates
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