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Saturday, December 08, 2007

WAR ON GREED.

Henry Kravis makes $51,369 PER HOUR. You pay more taxes.

Henry Kravis is a billionaire, the 57th richest person in America. He acquired this wealth by purchasing public companies with borrowed money. To pay off the debt, he cuts benefits at the company, sells its assets, and lays off employees. This get-rich-quick scheme made him $450 million last year. Meanwhile, his tax rate is lower than teachers, firemen, nurses, even his own cleaning staff!
Yet everyday we hear another story, we live another experience, we see another example of the horrific economic pain our country is being devastated by.
It's time all of us started a WAR ON GREED.
Watch the video: http://warongreed.org/?utm_source=rgemail

Awaken the Power in the People


Salute to John Lennon
27 YEARS AGO: Musical icon, peace activist John Lennon is gunned down.


IRAQ PALISTINE LEBANON
DARFUR

GOP Senate Leader McConnell Appears To Belittle Deaths Of American Troops

By Greg Sargent - December 7, 2007, 10:17AM
Uh oh -- looks like GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell has got a problem on his hands. Check out what he said about the death of American troops in Iraq in a meeting with constituents this week, according to Kentucky's Grayson County News-Gazette:
“Unfortunately, most of our friends on the other isle are having a hard time admitting things are getting better; some days I almost think the critics of this war don't want us to win. Nobody is happy about losing lives but remember these are not draftees, these are full-time professional soldiers."
It's hard to read this as anything but belittling the importance of the deaths of troops because they're "professional soldiers." What McConnell is basically saying here is, "hey, they signed up for this."
Maybe someone should get clarification from McConnell on this.
LinkHere

Making An Exhibition of Bush: Another Art Controversy

LINEUP

I read in the Guardian that The New York Public Library is displaying a photo exhibit featuring images of Bush administration officials doctored to look like police mug shots. Curious, I went on an internet search to see what the controversial photos look like, since they weren't shown in the Guardian article, entitled "Anger As Library Makes An Exhibition of Bush."
The six pictures were created by Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese and privately financed, but the library itself receives public funds. Included were Cheney, Rice, Rove, Gonzales and Rumsfeld, who probably don't need introductions at this point. The dates on the images match days when each official spoke about Iraq in questionable ways, displayed with sound clips of them speaking, a camera flash going off and a prison door closing. The display was criticized by local Republicans but the library stated the exhibit "has no political agenda" and that the library traditionally collects political satire and caricature. "It's the mission of the library to document what's happening in the culture, and this is an artist's response to what's happening to the world around them," said the library spokesperson.
The Guardian article did not include the photos or links to them, nor did the AP or Canadian stories. USA Today showed one image, which was credited as "captured from a You Tube video." MyFox of Kansas City's link to the story said simply, "We're sorry. There are no stories currently available for this section". The YouTube video below was located by Searching for "Bush mug" at You Tube's site ("a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0S3UInWPeqc">the link), where the one critic stated that there were no Democrats.

LinkHere

Remember PearL Harbour

CIA Told To Keep Interrogation Tapes

New York Times Mark Mazzetti December 8, 2007 08:53 AM
White House and Justice Department officials, along with senior members of Congress, advised the Central Intelligence Agency in 2003 against a plan to destroy hundreds of hours of videotapes showing the interrogations of two operatives of Al Qaeda, government officials said Friday.
The chief of the agency's clandestine service nevertheless ordered their destruction in November 2005, taking the step without notifying even the C.I.A.'s own top lawyer, John A. Rizzo, who was angry at the decision, the officials said.
Doesn't it?
Bush does not recall being told about agency’s actions
WASHINGTON - Angry congressional Democrats demanded Friday that the Justice Department investigate why the CIA destroyed videotapes of the interrogation of two terrorism suspects.
The Senate's No. 2 Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, called on Attorney General Michael Mukasey to find out "whether CIA officials who destroyed these videotapes and withheld information about their existence from official proceedings violated the law."
Can they impeach yet?

U.S. steadily losing its ‘willing’ allies in Iraq

Friday, December 07, 2007

Now and Forever

Seriously. How long do we want this madness to last?
By Bob Herbert12/07/07 "New York Times" --- -- Most of the time we pretend it’s not there: The staggering financial cost of the war in Iraq, which continues to soar, unchecked, like a rocket headed toward the moon and beyond.Early last year, the Nobel-Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz estimated that the “true” cost of the war would ultimately exceed $1 trillion, and maybe even $2 trillion.Incredibly, that estimate may have been low.A report prepared for the Democratic majority on the Joint Economic Committee of the House and Senate warns that without a significant change of course in Iraq, the long-term cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could head into the vicinity of $3.5 trillion. The vast majority of those expenses would be for Iraq.Priorities don’t get much more twisted. A country that can’t find the money to provide health coverage for its children, or to rebuild the city of New Orleans, or to create a first-class public school system, is flushing whole generations worth of cash into the bottomless pit of a failed and endless war.
LinkHere

The Central Bank; Silent Partner in the Bloodletting

By Mike Whitney
A nation's economy is a reflection pool. The face that looks back from the water; is the face of the culture and the prevailing ethos. It's no different with America. The stewards of the US economic system-Paulson and Bernanke-are inextricably linked to a political/military establishment which has been thoroughly marinated in a culture of violence and corruption.
LinkHere

A Prayer to Maryam.

Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues
There is a sacred spot outside of Damascus called Sednaya. It is a very old monastery run by nuns, on top of a steep hill, overlooking the whole of Damascus and its surrounding areas... Inside this monastery, there is a tiny worship place, a sanctuary (...) The main wall is adorned with golden icons, and in the middle, there is a small niche, glowing with light, and this is where Mother is. Our Lady Maryam, had appeared in Sednaya and has healed many... Pilgrims flock from all over the Middle East, Christians and Muslims alike, invoking Mother, supplicating her, asking for favors, for healing, for blessings... I was there too. As I usually do, I pray first for my family, my friends and those who are close to me in mind and heart, those I care about. Then my prayer extends to all the departed ones all the way to my ancestors. Then, I pray for Iraq. All of its people, its women, its men, its children. I have a special prayer for the orphans and the widows, the sick and the homeless... Then I pray for the people of the Middle East, in particular the Palestinians. From there my prayer extends to everyone in need regardless of their nationality or religion. Then I pray for the earth and all that is on it. Then I pray for my enemies... This last one is the most difficult one. That day I asked Mother to help me with this last prayer. And this is what I said to her....

Ohhhhh man that's telling it like it is isn't?

Olbermann indicts an 'unhinged, irrational Chicken Little of a president'

Keith Olbermann offered a special comment on Thursday about George W. Bush's "cataclysmic deceptions about Iran." He began by presenting two alternative explanations of Bush's apparent concealment of the intelligence -- made public earlier this week -- that Iran had suspended its nuclear weapons program in 2003.
"We have either a president who is too dishonest to restrain himself from invoking World War III about Iran at least six weeks after he had to have known that the analogy would be fantastic, irresponsible hyperbole, or we have a president too transcendentally stupid not to have asked, at what appears to have been a series of opportunities to do so, whether the fairy tales he either created or was fed were still even remotely plausible."

The CIA's Destroyed Interrogation Tapes and the Saudi-Pakistani 9/11 Connection

Gerald Posner, 12.07.2007
Why does Bush, and the CIA, continue to protect the Saudi Royal family and the Pakistani military, from the implications of Abu Zubaydah's confessions?
LinkHere

"There has been no course correction _ slowdown, speedup _ given to us inside the Joint Staff"

White House Invokes Secrecy in Abramoff Lawsuits

Pete Yost, reporting for The Associated Press, says that "The Bush administration is laying out a new secrecy defense in an effort to end a court battle about the White House visits of now-imprisoned lobbyist Jack Abramoff. In a court filing Friday night ... the Justice Department, citing a Cold War-era court ruling, declared that the contents of the 'Sensitive Security Records' cannot be publicly revealed even though they could show whether Abramoff made more visits to the White House than those already acknowledged."
LinkHere

Nonstop Theft and Bribery Are Staggering Iraq

Damien Cave reports in Sunday's New York Times that there is a growing sense that Iraq has slipped to new depths of lawlessness as "Some American officials estimate that as much as a third of what they spend on Iraqi contracts and grants ends up unaccounted for or stolen, with a portion going to Shiite or Sunni militias."
LinkHere

Blackwater Mercenaries Invade Event Honoring U.S. Veterans

If there is one issue that unites Left and Right in the United States today, it's respect for those who serve in the Armed Forces. Blackwater's mercenaries, on the other hand, pull down six-figure incomes and serve only their self-interest.
Our soldiers perform their duty with courage and discipline. But Blackwater's employees act like the Wild Bunch did when William Holden wasn't around. They endanger American troops with behavior that inflames local hostility toward the occupying forces. They claim exemption from military and civilian law, shoot Iraqi civilians, and run cars off the road without provocation.
Most importantly, Blackwater mercenaries aren't American soldiers. So what are they doing participating in Fleet Week Celebrations intended "to honor the men and women serving in the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps"?
Lucas O'Connor reports on San Diego State's Fleet Week Football Classic in Calitics:
For at least the second year in a row (probably all three), the halftime show included an American flag being parachuted onto the field by members of a nation parachutist team...who happen to work for Blackwater and use parachutes emblazoned with the Blackwater logo.
Our citizen-based military is an essential part of who we are as a republic and a people. But this Administration uses mercenaries in unprecedented ways: to skirt military and civilian law, and to help its supporters and donors to get rich at public (and soldiers') expense. And while this Administration has cut corners on soldiers' health, safety, and pay, it has no problem letting Blackwater and other companies pocket fat profit margins from the same military budget.

Secret DOJ Memos: Bush Decides What Is Constitutional

Read The Senate Floor Revelation Here
This morning, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) delivered an impassioned floor speech to help frame the debate over FISA reform. Using his privilege as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Whitehouse said he has “spent hours poring over” secret opinions issued by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) — and he took notes.
Whitehouse is a lawyer, a former U.S. Attorney, a former legal counsel to Rhode Island’s Governor, and a former State Attorney General. He said he sought and received permission to have his notes declassified because he wanted to show the public “what the Bush administration does behind our backs when they think no one is looking.”
“To give you an example of what I read,” Whitehouse said on the Senate floor, “I have gotten three legal propositions from these secret OLC opinions declassified. Here they are, as accurately as my note-taking could reproduce them from the classified documents”:

Even More Sex On The City: Giuliani Mistress Judy Had Security Longer Than Disclosed

New York Daily News MICHAEL SAUL, HEIDI EVANS and DAVID SALTONSTALL December 7, 2007 08:42 AM
Judith Nathan got taxpayer-funded chauffeur services from the NYPD earlier than previously disclosed - even before her affair with then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani was revealed, witnesses and sources tell the Daily News.
"It went on for months before the affair was public," said Lee Degenstein, 52, a retired Smith Barney vice president who formerly lived at 200 E. 94th St., Nathan's old building.

Leading Democrats Call For Inquiry Into Destruction Of CIA Interrogation Tapes

AP Pamela Hess December 7, 2007 12:26 PM
The Senate's No. 2 Democrat on Friday asked the Justice Department to investigate whether the CIA obstructed justice by destroying videotapes that documented the harsh 2002 interrogations of two alleged terrorists.
A day after CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden told agency employees the tapes were destroyed in 2005, members of Congress, human rights groups and lawyers for accused terrorists said the tapes may have been key evidence that the U.S. government had illegally authorized torture.
In a letter to Attorney General Michael...
LinkHere

No more Photo Ops for Georgie with the Military Hmmmmm?

Bush loses ground with military families
A majority disapprove of the president's handling of the war in Iraq and come closer in line with the views of the general public.
By Faye Fiore, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
4:00 PM PST, December 6, 2007
WASHINGTON -- Families with ties to the military, long a reliable source of support for wartime presidents, disapprove of President Bush and his handling of the war in Iraq, with a majority concluding the invasion was not worth it, a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found.
The views of the military community, which includes active-duty service members, veterans and their family members, mirror those of the overall adult population, a sign that the strong military endorsement that the administration often pointed to has dwindled in the war's fifth year.
Nearly six out of every 10 military families disapprove of Bush's job performance and the way he has run the war, rating him only slightly better than the general population does.
And among those families with soldiers, sailors and Marines who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan, 60% say that the war in Iraq was not worth the cost, the same result as all adults surveyed.
LinkHere

The President's Cynical Budget War

The New York Times: "President Bush's lame-duck attempt to repair the Republican Party's threadbare fiscal reputation is an increasingly reckless game. In the latest exercise of irresponsibility for political gain, Mr. Bush reportedly wants to slash counterterrorism funding for front-line police and firefighters."
LinkHere

Protests Heat Up at New Orleans Council Meeting As Razing of Public Housing Nears

Residents fear being priced out of neighborhood by razing/rebuilding.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

$1 billion of equipment is missing in Iraq

Laura Strickler, CBS News, "Tractor trailers, tank recovery vehicles, crates of machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades are just a sampling of more than $1 billion in unaccounted-for military equipment and services provided to the Iraqi security forces, according to a new report issued today by the Pentagon Inspector General and obtained exclusively by the CBS News investigative unit."
LinkHere

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Marines Request 'Long-Range Blow Torch' for Iraq;

Marines Request 'Long-Range Blow Torch' for Iraq;Seek 'Psychological' Edge by Roasting Foes with Laser

Sharon Weinberger
Exactly one year ago today, the First Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq signed off on an "urgent operational need" for an airborne tactical laser that could, in the words of the formal request, create "instantaneous burst-combustion of insurgent clothing, a rapid death through violent trauma, and more probably a morbid combination of both." Although the request is based on the technology of the Advanced Tactical Laser, a chemical laser integrated on an AC-130 gunship, the request suggests that a laser weapon could eventually be put on other aircraft, such as drones or, as the picture shows, the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor craft. According to the Marines' laser request, obtained by DANGER ROOM, this so-called Precision Airborne Standoff Directed Energy Weapon (PASDEW) wouldn't just be an improved killed machine. It would also have particularly devastating psychological effects. Such weapons, when used against people, "can be compared to long range blow torches or precision flame throwers, with corresponding psychological advantages for [Coalition Forces] CF."...

New country (Iraqi song)

Video: New country
Mohammed, Last of Iraqis

In this video I used a song called "The new country" for a very popular Iraqi singer who is Husam AlRasam, it's not a new song, and it was released when I started blogging.This song is very popular between Iraqis, I can say that more than 80% of Iraqis have it either on their mobile phones or computers.There is something strange in this song, whenever I hear it I twitch although I've heard it countless times, believe me in Arabic it's much more effective, because the emotions were lost in translation, but I think the images compensates for that loss.There is one thing that I want to make it clear, you will notice in the video the name Khansa`, she is a well known Arabic historic character and a poet, her brother died in a battle and she was blind from crying him, then in AlQadesia battle her four sons died too.I'd like to dedicate this video to all the innocent Iraqis who died for a reason or no reason at all, to all the Iraqis who had to leave their country or home, to all real Iraqis who had to suffer from the situation, for everyone who loves his country, to all the innocent men in the world who died for no mistake they have done and to anyone who cares for the human race. continua / continued

Fools Rush In: An Expert Dissection of the NIE Report

Chris Floyd , Empire Burlesque
...Several of the reactions collected by Glenn Reynolds advance the notion that, assuming the NIE is accurate, this demonstrates that the invasion and occupation of Iraq did in fact lead to the elimination of a gravely serious threat, namely, the threat that an Iran with nuclear weapons would have represented. If the invasion and occupation of Iraq prevented such a development, that means the Iraq catastrophe was justified. It is difficult to imagine a more heinously bankrupt moral argument. Iraq itself was no threat to the United States, and it was known to be no threat. We have destroyed Iraq completely, unleashed a genocide that continues with every blood-drenched day that passes, created refugees in the several millions, and wreaked havoc and devastation in numerous other ways. Because Iraq was known to be no threat to the U.S., the U.S. did all this in a criminal war of aggression -- precisely the kind of crime against peace for which we properly condemned the Nazi regime. Yet now it is suggested that all this was morally justified -- because it may have prevented a threat from arising in another country....

What Happens to U.S. Troops Who Commit Mass Murder?

Revolution
While U.S. atrocities in Iraq are generally covered up by the government, military, and mainstream media, there have been a few major incidents that have been impossible to keep completely hidden. In such cases, we may hear calls for an investigation or talk that some troops may get charged. But we rarely hear about what happens after that. Here is a look at three horrific war crimes committed by U.S. forces in Iraq, and what happened afterward to the troops involved...

Report: US teen births up; first time since '91

CNN has invited its viewers to be part of its ‘Prize for Peace’ interview with Al Gore and Rajendra Pachauri live from Oslo, Norway, creating an opportunity for them to put their questions to the co-laureates after they accept their Nobel Peace prize.
Gore and Pachauri will join CNN for a one-hour live show in Oslo immediately after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. In the course of the interview CNN will play four video questions for the Nobel winners submitted by CNN I-Reporters, and viewers will be able to hear the answers directly from former Vice President and Nobel Laureate, Al Gore, and his co-laureate, chief of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri. CNN’s ‘Prize for Peace’ interview has taken place annually for over a decade, but this is the first time viewers have been able to put forward their questions to the winners.
“Drawing on the success of the CNN/YouTube presidential candidate debates, the floor is once again open to CNN viewers to gain access to and answers from some of the world’s most influential people, all via their mobile phone and computer, ” says Mike McCarthy, CNN International’s Vice President of Coverage and Feature Programming.
LinkHere

Talk about an ACT OF BRAVERY. God Bless and watch over you little one

Enraged ex-boyfriend tried to shoot mother; little girl, hospitalized, survives.

Guantanamo Prisoner Cut His Throat With Sharpened Fingernail, Survives

Gitmo Inmate Cuts Throat With Fingernail
BEN FOXAP News
Dec 04, 2007 18:36 EST
A Guantanamo Bay prisoner slashed his throat with a sharpened fingernail last month, spilling a lot of blood but surviving, a U.S. military commander said Tuesday.
Guards administered first-aid and took the prisoner to the prison clinic, said Navy Cmdr. Andrew Haynes, the deputy commander in charge of the guard force.
"There was an impressive effusion of blood," Haynes told reporters visiting the base. He would not disclose the man's name or nationality. A medical officer, who could not be identified under military rules for journalists, said the prisoner received several stitches and spent a week under psychiatric observation.
There have been four suicides since the U.S. opened the military prison at Guantanamo in January 2002 for men suspected of involvement in terrorism or links to al-Qaida and the Taliban.
Haynes said he doubted the latest incident was a real suicide attempt, and characterized it instead as an act of "self-harm."

Homeland Security Dept. Plagued By Corruption, Wasting Billions


December 5, 2007 12:20 PM
The Department of Homeland Security has wasted and mismanaged billions in taxpayer dollars and is plagued by internal criminal activity, a study released on Wednesday reveals.
Five years after it was created to help coordinate America' security apparatus, the DHS continues to suffer from massive failures. According to a report by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the department's border agencies are rife with crime, its employee morale is at a dangerous low, information technology is obsolete, and several...

“One Hour,”

“While it is certainly true that the hostages were not freed until a half hour after Ronald Reagan was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 1981, their release was negotiated over a period of months first in Bonn, and then in Algiers by Warren Christopher,who was the deputy secretary of state in the Carter administration

Wanker and Liar, you decide?

Whoops: Rudy's New Campaign Ad Focuses On Threat From Iran

By Lisa Tozzi
Just two days after the release of a National Intelligence Report that has made Iran the flashpoint of debate in the presidential race, the Giuliani campaign is up with a new ad highlighting the Iran hostage crisis, and the need to “stand up” to “dictators” and “tyrants.”

LinkHere

Gates Said to Oppose Shift of Marines to Afghanistan

Defense Secretary Gates' Visit To Iraq Marred As 4 Car Bombs Kill At Least 23
By THOM SHANKER
Published: December 6, 2007
BAGHDAD, Dec. 5 — Senior Pentagon and military officials said today that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has decided against a proposal for shifting Marine Corps forces from Iraq to take the lead in American operations in Afghanistan.
Mr. Gates told top Marine Corps officials and his senior aides that the situation in western Iraq, where the marines now operate in Anbar Province, remains too volatile to contemplate such a significant change in how the ground combat mission here is shared by the Army and Marine Corps.

Question!!! Was this Tax Payers Money? You Decide


Think Progress December 4, 2007 06:00 PM
State Dept. gave bonuses to staff overseeing Blackwater.
Spencer Ackerman reports that the State Department has quietly given bonuses for "outstanding performance" to two officials who had "direct oversight" over Blackwater:
On November 20, an internal cable, listed as State 158575, went out to State employees announcing the recipients of bonuses ranging from $10,000 to $15,000 for “outstanding performance.” Among them: Kevin Barry and Justine Sincavage. You can read the cable here. Barry’s name is listed on page 2, and Sincavage’s is on page 5. Both Barry and Sincavage already earn approximately $150,000 annually. Their bonuses are scheduled to take effect on December 20, in time for the holidays.
In October, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also promoted Barry and Sincavage.
LinkHere

Democrats Hit Bush's Credibility With New Iran Report

Exclusive: New Documents Expose Huckabee's Role In Serial Rapist's Release

December 4, 2007 11:18 PM
Little Rock, Ark -- As governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee aggressively pushed for the early release of a convicted rapist despite being warned by numerous women that the convict had sexually assaulted them or their family members, and would likely strike again. The convict went on to rape and murder at least one other woman.
Confidential Arkansas state government records, including letters from these women, obtained by the Huffington Post and revealed publicly for the first time, directly contradict the version...

Remind you of New Orleans


Disaster Area Washington State

Rudy Ghouliani drowned in Ron Paul support in Marietta, GA

Doubt raised over Bush's account of Iran report

Sen. Joe Biden on Tuesday was incredulous over President Bush's account of when he knew about a recent intelligence estimate that downplays the nuclear threat from Iran. "Are you telling me a president that's briefed every single morning, who's fixated on Iran, is not told back in August ...?" Biden said.
-snip-
Bush told reporters that he was told of "new information" about Iran in August during a briefing by Adm. Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence.
"He didn't tell me what the information was. He did tell me it was going to take a while to analyze," the president said. He said he wasn't briefed about the new information until the new intelligence report was prepared last week.
The Democratic presidential candidates were incredulous that Bush did not know about the assessment's new finding.
Biden, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called that explanation "unbelievable."
"Are you telling me a president that's briefed every single morning, who's fixated on Iran, is not told back in August that the tentative conclusion of 16 intelligence agencies in the U.S. government said they had abandoned their effort for a nuclear weapon in '03?" Biden asked in a conference call with reporters.
"I refuse to believe that," he added. "If that's true, he has the most incompetent staff in modern American history, and he's one of the most incompetent presidents in modern American history."
LinkHere
NBC 'Nightly News' video:
If Iran stopped developing weapons four years ago, why did it take so long for President Bush and his advisors to get the story right?
LinkHere
Was Bush Behind the Iran Report?
Tuesday, Dec. 04, 2007 By ROBERT BAER
Bombing Iran, it seems, is now off the table. There's no other reasonable take on the latest National Intelligence Estimate that concludes Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003.
But there is also no doubt that the Bush White House was behind this NIE. While the 16 intelligence agencies that make up the "intelligence community" contribute to each National Intelligence Estimate, you can bet that an explosive, 180-degree turn on Iran like this one was greenlighted by the President.
And explode is what the hawks in and outside the Administration are about to do. They were counting on Bush being the one President prepared to take on Iran. As recently as last month, Bush warned of World War III if Iran so much as thought about building a bomb. Bush's betrayal is not going to go down well. The neocons, clinging to a sliver of hope, will accuse the intelligence community of incompetence, pointing out that as late as 2005 it estimated "with high confidence" that Iran was building a bomb.
Bush's National Security Adviser, Stephen Hadley, put the best face on the new report, claiming that it was our diplomacy and saber rattling that forced the Iranians to back down. As for the intelligence community, it explained its reversal by hinting that new intelligence had surfaced.
Neither explanation is entirely accurate. The real story behind this NIE is that the Bush Administration has finally concluded Iran is a bridge too far.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Like Iraq, US intel on Iran faulty

By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent Mon Dec 3, 9:06 PM ET
WASHINGTON - First Iraq, now Iran. The United States has operated under a cloud of faulty intelligence in both countries.
In a bombshell intelligence assessment, the United States has backed away from its once-ironclad assertion that Tehran is intent on building nuclear bombs.
Where there once was certainty, there now is doubt. "We do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons," the new estimate said Monday.
Compare that with what then-National Intelligence Director John Negroponte told Congress in January. "Our assessment is that Tehran is determined to develop nuclear weapons."
Just last month, President Bush, at a news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, said, "We talked about Iran and the desire to work jointly to convince the Iranian regime to give up their nuclear weapons ambitions, for the sake of peace."
More ominously, Bush told a news conference Oct. 17, "I've told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon."
Asked then if he definitely believed that Iran wanted to build a nuclear bomb, Bush said, "Yeah, I believe they want to have the capacity, the knowledge, in order to make a nuclear weapon."
Bush's National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said the president made comments like those "because he was describing the threat as the intelligence community itself had been describing the threat both publicly and in their briefings to him."

Exploitation in Iraq: A Special Report

Third world warriors fight U.S. wars - for dollars a day Honduran soldier was among thousands who stood guard over Baghdad embassy, but couldn't legally enter United States.
Matthew D. LaPlante, The Salt Lake Tribune
For one year, Mario Urquia guarded the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, protecting American service members and diplomats in one of the most dangerous places in the world.
Now Urquia is living on the edge of homelessness in Ogden - illegal in the nation he once stood to protect.
While the circumstances that led to Urquia's illegal entry into the United States are unusual, the factors that resulted in his deployment to Iraq are not. He is just one of thousands of individuals from impoverished nations recruited to help fight a war for the richest country in the world.
Human rights advocates say it's exploitation. United Nations officials say it's a violation of international law.
But the U.S. government says that, at a time when its military is stretched so thin, third-world security contractors will be standing guard over U.S. facilities for a long time to come.
LinkHere

Cholera crisis hits Baghdad

Iraqi capital fears an epidemic if stricken sewerage system collapses as the rainy season arrives
Baghdad is facing a 'catastrophe' with cases of cholera rising sharply in the past three weeks to more than 100, strengthening fears that poor sanitation and the imminent rainy season could create an epidemic. The disease - spread by bacteria in contaminated water, which can result in rapid dehydration and death - threatens to blunt growing optimism in the Iraqi capital after a recent downturn in violence. Two boys in an orphanage have died and six other children were diagnosed with the disease, according to the Iraqi government. 'We have a catastrophe in Baghdad,' an official said....

The Door...

To sad another voice gone, first River and now Layla.
I'm sure they embrace Georgies Liberation of Iraq, with so much hatred, and vengeance
Forget the Hail Marys Kev.
I sit here thinking of being driven out oh my home that I have lived in since I was 18 years old, 43 years, all the memories all the dreams of a lifetime, by bombs, militias, driven by lies from the so called President of the USA and I cannot comprehend it in any way.




Layla Anwar, An Arab Woman Blues
Tuesday, December 04, 2007

It was time for me to leave.
With my back against the wall, there was only one way- through that Door.
A door I had known for years. A door I had memorized by heart. A door who was so faithful to my comings and goings...She never failed to open or close, totally at my bequest.
This time, it called on me and said "pull me open" and I did...
I can still feel the brass handle in my hands, copper colored, rusty and engraved by all of your fingerprints...
My hand hesitated a while before it gripped it. It rested there until I summoned the force to turn that knob and pulled that Door towards me...
It was very silent that morning. Yet I found myself tiptoeing in the empty house. As if not to wake anyone up. They were all absently asleep.
I checked each room and even arranged the covers of one of the beds. I made sure it was well stretched with no creases. A perfect empty bed...
The shutters were down, but not completely. I thought to myself, let the Light in. Maybe the Light will visit and knock on that door while am gone...
I walked towards my library, looked at my shelves and ran my fingers across the arranged piles as if running my fingers through a lover's hair...
I delicately stroked my paintings, infusing my palm with their colors. I then, clenched my fist, as if to capture and hold them there, right in the center of my palm.
I promised them that when we meet again, I will be intransigent with the dust and will never let it gather again...
I noticed a CD in the player. I left it there and left the cover empty, wide open, exposing the name of the songs and that of the singer.
On the small table there was a candle half burned down. The dripping, melted wax had frozen on the edges and looked like sour grapes hanging from a vine tree, dangling, reaching the dark mahogany wood and forming a cluster of white clouds...
Next to it was an empty cup of coffee...whose rim was stained with brown patches, like narrow paths, where the hot liquid had travelled...leaving at the bottom of the cup a thick dark opaque mud...
I left the cup sitting there. I left it with its dark rims and its dark remnants sitting next to the frozen white clouds...Clouds gathered from a small warm light, a small candle light that is now dead...
I pulled that handle, and caressed the Door, one final caress.
I stepped out in the blinding, glaring sun. I straddled towards the gate. I did not look back. I could not.
But I could not help but see the little palm tree that I had planted some time ago, wave my way and call my name out, as I walked out. As I walked out and away, towards the Unknown...
LinkHere

APPEAL FROM MINISTRY OF HEALTH - GAZA.

Felicity Arbuthnot
As Christmas approaches, the land of Christ's birth - where, for believers, he walked, preached, encouraged his followers to be 'fishers of men', for goodness and justice and where he died at the hands of the greedy and corrupt - is under siege. The residents of Gaza are being collectively punished for supporting a democratically elected government (a process so beloved by the freedom-and-democrocy-spreaders-by-slaughter in Washington and Whitehall, but clearly the wrong kind of democrocy.They did not elect a corrupt quisling puppet.) The greedy and corrupt have been exiling and silently crucifying the Palestinian people for sixty years, in defiance of over forty UN resolutions. Aided, abbeted, armed with allegedly illegal weapons and weapons of mass destruction, by the bigest bully on the global block: the 'land of the free'. Whilst people are jailed for holocaust denial, as the West witch hunts the very old under the banner of hunting Nazi war criminals, this silent sixty year holocaust, displacement, ghettoisation, home demolishing, infanticide, child killing, arrest without trial, disappearances, the dying of the sick at road blocks, the theft and erosion of ancient lands, olives and citrus groves, themdestruction of education, civil society continues unabated as the world watches on...

Press Secretary Dana Perino: Spinning Lies for the Butcher of Baghdad

Posted 4 December 2007
Every American of conscience should read Michael Massing's latest article in the New York Review of Books. It's titled, "Iraq: The Hidden Human Costs." As Mr. Massing makes clear, the human costs of Bush's butchery in Iraq have remained hidden largely because there are "limitations imposed by the political climate in which the [mainstream] press works."
Massing attributes the reluctance of editors and producers to print and broadcast news about Bush's butchery in Iraq to the fact that "most Americans simply do not want to know too much about the acts being carried out in their name." Or, as Scott Ritter has put it, "very few Americans function as citizens anymore."
But, quoting from Generation Kill, by Evan Wright, Massing describes the initial American onslaught on Nasiryah: "During our thirty-six hours outside Nasiryah they [Marines] have already lobbed an estimated 2,000 [artillery] rounds into the city."
=======
Similar atrocities in Iraq prompted Jeffery Carazales, a lance corporal from Texas, to rage: "I think it's bullshit how these fucking civilians are dying!" "They are worse off than the guys that are shooting at us. They don't even have a chance. Do you think the people at home are going to see this - all these women and children we're killing? Fuck no. Back home they're glorifying this motherfucker. I guarantee you. Saying our president is a fucking hero for getting us into this bitch. He ain't even a real Texan." [Massing]
Not even a "real" Texan? Hell, we first must question whether either Bush or Cheney are even "real" -- by which I mean "decent"-- human beings. After all, do you personally know anyone who could lie about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaeda in order to remove Saddam Hussein from power for the sake of oil and Israel -- especially if he knew that his invasion would inevitably blow off the limbs of hundreds, if not thousands, of three-year-old girls and split open the skulls of hundreds, if not thousands more?
No, of course not. Unless, of course, you happen to know personally one of America's despicable neoconservatives, one of America' crackpot Christian Zionists or Bush's latest press secretary, Dana Perino. It was Ms. Perino, who, on November 30th, placed her own humanity in a lock box when she offered journalist Helen Thomas the following lie: "To suggest that we, the United States, are killing innocent people is just absurd and very offensive."
Although such lies might still work with many loyal saps in the Republican Party and the many Americans who have jettisoned citizenship for shopping and television addictions, the rest of the world knows the truth. And it is not amused! Unfortunately, all Americans, not just the stupid and immoral ones, will have to pay for the world's condemnation.

Eating Iraq: Corruption Rules and Cholera Rises While Insurgents Surf the Surge

Chris Floyd , Empire Burlesque
December 4, 2007In a remarkably short amount of time, the "conventional wisdom" of America's media-political class has embraced the idea that George W. Bush's escalation of the Iraq war in 2007 has been a "success." This highly dubious notion -- based on nothing but the fact that the horrific murder rate spawned by Bush's act of aggression has momentarily abated to previous levels of savagery that were once considered catastrophic -- now serves as the basic assumption of the "debate" about the Iraq war, especially among the punditry and out on the campaign trail.
But on the ground in Iraq, where some good reporting still filters through the white noise machine of the corporate media, the picture is much different. Iraq is being eaten alive by the corruption of collaborators with the American occupation, by the relentless spead of disease and extreme privation -- and of course, by continuing violence, including the increased use of civilian-slaughtering airstrikes by the "surging" American forces, and by "ethnic cleansing" and other brutal operations by terrorists and sectarian militias now in the pay of the Bush Administration.
That continuing violence can clearly be seen in the latest report from IraqBodyCount.org, which estimates that at least 1,100 Iraqi civilians were killed by war-related violence in November, including at least 75 civilians killed directly by U.S. forces. This is what the great and the good in America now call "success." (And remember, IBC's estimates routinely err on the side of caution; they are to be regarded more as baseline figures, not totals.)
What's more, as the Guardian reports, the relative lowering of the death rate seems largely the result of a decision by the main opponents of the American occupation -- the Sunni militias and the Shiite army of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr -- to wait out the escalation, which even the most enthusiastic surge advocates admit cannot be sustained militarily for much longer. Another factor is of course the Bush Administration's move to buy off some of Sunni groups that have killed multitudes of American troops, giving the supposedly former insurgents money, guns, uniforms – and territory to rule with an iron rod.
The corruption seething throughout the Iraqi government – a mirror image of the rot in the house of Iraq's masters in Washington – was well captured in a New York Times story over the weekend. As the paper reports:

Lying Creeps

Neocons Attack U.S. Iran Report As "Intelligence Scam"

Associated Press December 4, 2007 08:59 AM
President Bush, entrenched in disputes with Congress over spending and the war in Iraq, wants to intensify pressure on lawmakers when he addresses the media on Tuesday. It will be his first news conference in nearly seven weeks.
The president is expected again to admonish Congress for not sending him spending bills, intelligence legislation and tax-law changes. Bush, taking advantage of his veto power and the largest bully pulpit in town, regularly scolds Congress as a way to stay relevant and...

Monday, December 03, 2007

Iran Nuke Report: What Did Bush Know And When Did He Know It?

Press Briefing: Bush Learned Of NIE Iran Findings 'In The Last Few Months,' But Continued Rhetoric »
Think Progress December 3, 2007 06:54 PM
This afternoon, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley held a press briefing on the new National Intelligence Estimate, which concludes that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003. As ThinkProgress has documented, Bush administration officials -- despite knowing of the NIE -- have been ratcheting up their rhetoric on Iran in the past couple of months.
The central question in today's briefing for Hadley was whether White House officials intentionally disregarded the intelligence community's findings in order to...

Beyond the Spectacle

DUBAI MARINA
About 160 residential high-rises are sprouting up around the three-mile waterway—designed by the British firm Halcrow and master-planned by HOK—which connects to the Arabian Gulf on each end for natural circulation. The channel is surrounded by a public walkway and will contain 700 berths for yachts and powerboats, as well as stations for water taxis.
Choppershoot
Dubai’s insane rate of development is easy to misinterpret—even caricature—but the cliché obscures the city’s more serious ambitions.
By Stephen Zacks
Posted November 21, 2007
Fifty years from now, New York will be considered the economic and cultural capital of the previous century, fille­d with quaint artifacts of another time and places to visit for the sake of nostalgia, but not the center of world culture—­somewhat like how we think of Paris today compared to 100 years ago. Federal immigration restrictions, the religious police, and the protection of large corporations from foreign competition will have cut off our biggest sources of wealth—invention and innovation—and historic preservation will have saved the unique character of neigh­borhoods and conserved innumerable buildings but killed the spirit that made the city the greatest of its time.
The megacity of Dubai, one of the seven federal states of the United Arab Emirates, will be the new economic and cultural capital of the world, spanning its neighboring emirates of Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and beyond in one urbanized mass, rich in the biggest source of renewable energy—sunlight—a pioneer in sustainability and new technology, and conveniently located within easy travel distance of a population of more than two billion in the Middle East, Europe, India, and Africa. In the six years since the Twin Towers fell, a thousand skyscrapers have been rising on the Arabian Gulf.

Stunning: U.S. Report Says Iran Shelved Nuke Program Years Ago

NIE Report: Iran Halted Nuclear Weapons Program Years Ago
December 03, 2007 11:51 AMJennifer Parker-->
ABC News' Martha Raddatz, Jonathan Karl, Luis Martinez and Kirit Radia Report: In a stunning reversal of Bush administration conventional wisdom, a new assessment by U.S. intelligence agencies concludes Iran shelved its nuclear weapons program over four years ago.
"We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program," reads a declassified version of the National Intelligence Estimate key findings.
"We judge with moderate confidence that the earliest possible date Iran would be technically capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium (HEU) for a weapon is late 2009."
The entire NIE report will remain classified, however the office of the Director of National Intelligence released a declassified version of the key findings that can be read HERE.
Neocon Hadley says US policy toward Iran will remain same despite fact we can't prove they had, have or are making nukes

“It all comes down to, ‘Where’s the evidence?’”


Convicted Killers my ass, Railroaded by a farce of a Justice System.Dixie Chick Starts Defense Fund For Convicted KillersThe Dixie Chicks have a new controversy on their hands. In particular, lead singer Natalie Maines has started a defense fund for three Arkansas men that she (and many others) believe were wrongly convicted of killing three children in 1993.Maines writes her plea on the Dixie Chicks Web site, which has already been answered by several celebrities including, I am told, Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Eddie Vedder, Jack Black and Henry Rollins."I'm writing this letter today because I believe that three men have spent the past 13 years in prison for crimes they didn't commit," Maines' message begins.LinkHere
Letter from Natalie Maines: WM3 Call to Action I'm writing this letter today because I believe that three men have spent the past 13 years in prison for crimes they didn't commit.
On May 5th, 1993 in West Memphis, Arkansas three 8 eight-year-old boys, Steve Branch, Christopher Byers, and Michael Moore were murdered.
Three teenage boys, Damien Echols, Jesse Misskelley, and Jason Baldwin were convicted of the murders in 1994. Jason Baldwin and Jesse Misskelley received life sentences without parole, and Damien Echols sits on death row.
I encourage everyone to see the HBO documentaries, Paradise Lost and Paradise Lost 2 for the whole history of the case.... LinkHere

Letter from Natalie Maines: WM3 Call to Action

I'm writing this letter today because I believe that three men have spent the past 13 years in prison for crimes they didn't commit.
On May 5th, 1993 in West Memphis, Arkansas three 8 eight-year-old boys, Steve Branch, Christopher Byers, and Michael Moore were murdered.
Three teenage boys, Damien Echols, Jesse Misskelley, and Jason Baldwin were convicted of the murders in 1994. Jason Baldwin and Jesse Misskelley received life sentences without parole, and Damien Echols sits on death row.
I encourage everyone to see the HBO documentaries, Paradise Lost and Paradise Lost 2 for the whole history of the case....

FAIR AND BALANCED YOU DECIDE?

The charts below from the PIPA study show the channel by channel viewership breakdown of those who held misperceptions of the Iraq War:

Certainly, the data indicates that watching other networks can also foster misperceptions, but Fox News sits embarrassingly at the top.

Why Fox News Channel Is An Industry Joke
or
Welcome to Info-tainment Tonight!
by Ron Kaufman
"We paid $3 billion for these television stations. We will decide what the news is. The news is what we tell you it is!"-- alleged comment by David Boylan, station manager for Fox Tampa Bay (WTVT Ch 13) to two reporters who are currently suing the network for firing them and censoring a story about the use of bovine growth hormone in Florida cows.
I have no doubt that if someone intimately tied into the Fox News Channel were to read this article they would immediately label me a seditious-evil-lying-communist-scumbag-bastard who hates America. This, of course, is so far from reality that it's laughable. After spending some time analyzing and evaluating the Fox News Channel, I have formed a similar opinion. The Fox News Channel is so far from reality that it's laughable -- which is why it's an industry joke.
Relying on the Fox News Channel as your only source of news is like using MAD Magazine as a legitimate source of news. The Fox News Channel's reporting style is so biased and skewed that trying to obtain any real information from a news report is quite challenging. Fox News is a joke because it provides info-tainment rather than reality-based news coverage. Fox News Channel is a "news channel" in name only. The network is what L.A. Times Editor John S. Carroll calls "pseudojournalism."
LinkHere

White House Obstructs Plame Investigation

December 3, 2007 11:11 AM
The Bush Administration is actively blocking Congress' investigation into the outing of once-covert CIA agent Valerie Plame, according to House Oversight Committee chairman Henry Waxman.
In a letter sent today to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Waxman notes that "White House objections are preventing Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald from disclosing key information to investigating officials." Among the documents being withheld are interviews taken from White House officers during Fitzgerald's investigation into the leak of Plame's identity.
"Over the summer, Mr. Fitzgerald agreed to provide relevant documents to the Committee, including records of interviews with senior White House officials. Unfortunately, the White House has been blocking Mr. Fitzgerald from providing key documents to the Committee," Waxman writes to newly appointed Mukasey. "I ask that you personally look into this matter and authorize the production of the documents to the Committee without any further delay."
Waxman's letter provides one of the first tests for Mukasey, who stressed during his confirmation hearings that he would operate independently from White House directive. The letter also provides greater insight into the extent of collaboration between Fitzgerald and the oversight committee.
Read the full letter here. Emptywheel has more here.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

No matter what anyone say's I think Ron Paul is going to be a force to be reckoned with, for both Republicans and Democrats alike

Ron Paul Calls CNN Out for Being ‘Biased’ in Debate

Posted on Nov 29, 2007
youtube.com
Boy, was CNN ever psyched about a Ron Paul interview they had on their site—a major traffic driver for CNN.com!—the day of the CNN/YouTube Republican debate, CNN’s John Roberts tells Paul in this clip from the channel’s post-debate coverage Wednesday. Paul, seemingly nonplused, points out that he was summarily and unfairly ignored until close to the end and gets in a few digs at his fellow candidates.
LinkHere

I'm OK- You're OK.

I was told in order to make a point, any point, you need to overcome whatever emotions, past experiences, dislikes, tastes and preferences...You need to have an eagle's view, be an effective negotiator in " non violent" communication, think out of the box, attack the argument but not the one who holds it, debate in a civilized way, be ready to listen, reframe, be concise...in short comprehend the other's point of view. The American jargon calls it a win-win situation, negotiating for "excellence"... In the light of the above recommendations and seeing that the "surge" is really working, the figures for the month of November is 718 Iraqis dead, only. Hey what's 718 Iraqis killed ? It's nothing... America thank you, you are just excellent. It’s working. The plan is perfect. You are a most brilliant people. Today, am in a really win-win situation. We are "in it together" for the "long haul." After all, over 10 of your military bases will be staying on for a long, long time (...) Oh Yeah, the surge is working. I realized how wrong I was. I realized that Saddam was a horrible tyrant of a dictator. OK he did not have any WMD's and no ties to Al-Qaeda but hey so what? The fight against terrorism and dictatorship must go on. Iraq MUST BE FREE. I realized how wrong it was of me to hold grudges against Americans and their Iranian Shiites collaborators. OK, a few Soooneees got drilled, and it's been an ethnic cleansing that makes Hitler blush with timidity...But I need to think out of the box and look long term. Have a forward kind of vision. OK, so we are segregated in Ghettos. OK, Iraq is the most corrupt "country" in the world, but that's unimportant, I really need to go for the win-win situation...OK, Iraq has nothing functioning. Sectarianism is still rampant. The new fascist Shiites are holding full exclusive power and are blessed by the Americans, they are its only functioning arm. But hey, that is fine with me. I need to revise my concepts and understand that democracy and freedom have many facets I don't comprehend. After all, am nothing but a woman and if they slaughter a few of my own, then that's OK too. It's unfortunate but it's meant to be...
LinkHere

Georgies at it again.

An Old Face Resurfaces
The Bush administration has offered the former World Bank president a new public service position.

By Michael Isikoff NEWSWEEK
Dec 10, 2007 Issue
Don't ever say the Bush administration doesn't take care of its own. Nearly three years after Paul Wolfowitz resigned as deputy Defense secretary and six months after his stormy departure as president of the World Bank—amid allegations that he improperly awarded a raise to his girlfriend—he's in line to return to public service. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has offered Wolfowitz, a prime architect of the Iraq War, a position as chairman of the International Security Advisory Board, a prestigious State Department panel, according to two department sources who declined to be identified discussing personnel matters. The 18-member panel, which has access to highly classified intelligence, advises Rice on disarmament, nuclear proliferation, WMD issues and other matters. "We think he is well suited and will do an excellent job," said one senior official.

Arianna Discussing Rove's Attack on History with Keith Olbermann

Arianna appeared on Countdown tonight to discuss Karl Rove's efforts to rewrite history on the war in Iraq, George Orwell's 1984 and why Rove is a "shameless, remorseless and perhaps soulless political animal, who cannot help himself, even when he's out of the White House":

Dana Perino Takes On Helen Thomas



Dana Perino: We're Not Occupying Iraq, We Were Invited!

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