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Saturday, July 05, 2008

A Philadelphia news radio station has rejected a Democratic ad that features an impersonator of President Bush thanking GOP congressional candidates for supporting the "Big Oil" agenda.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Manning memo proves Bush is guilty of murder

Citing Iraq War, Renowned Attorney Vincent Bugliosi Seeks “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder”
The Manning Memo

Bush Administration Losing Control of Media: Fresh Air Breaks Through

Barbara Bellows-TerraNova
Fresh Air Breaks Through With Phillipe Sands - the International Human Rights Lawyer Senate Republicans tried to Silence!
Did you hear
NPR’s Fresh Air on Thursday, June 19th?
If you did, you heard that for the rest of their lives, those who authorized, ordered and/or assisted with the decision to use the interrogation techniques that have been found to be TORTURE – which means Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and a team of lawyers that includes Addington, Bybee, Haynes, Yoo and more – cannot step outside the United States without being vulnerable to arrest and prosecution for war crimes.
It appears there is accountability beyond Pelosi’s table, with no time limit.
Dave Davies, sitting in for Terry Gross, interviewed Phillipe Sands, international human rights lawyer, British Queen’s Counsel, Director of the Centre of International Courts and Tribunals, Professor of International Law at University College London, and most recently author of
Torture Team: Rumsfeld’s Memo and the Betrayal of American Values.
This was a lot more than a "driveway moment."
After a review of the evidence of Torture, particularly in relationship to Mohammed al-Qahtani, often referred to as 911's 20th highjacker, Sands used the example of Augusto Pinochet’s arrest in London decades after his reign of terror in Chile as the precedent for the detention of former heads of state.
He explained to Davies that these interrogation techniques fall within a universal jurisdiction of international crimes against humanity which any country has an OBLIGATION TO PROSECUTE if a person who was complicit in authorizing or ordering the crime to be committed shows up in that country – OR to EXTRADITE for such prosecution – even decades later – and that any immunity or pardoning that Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, Mr. Rumsfeld, and their lawyers are currently trying to put in place will have absolutely no affect in the rest of the world.
Can we hear this? Bush/Cheney, and so many on their teams, cannot travel abroad without the possibility of being arrested – for the rest of their lives.
Hear that? It’s the truth busting through.
You should also know that Sands testified before the House Judiciary Committee on May 6 and the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 10th. Republican Senator Thad Cochran made an obnoxious attempt to shut down that Senate Hearing, but failed.
This is billions of points for our side, the side of knowing the truth.


Europe is Obamaland: Senator's Remarkable Popularity Transcends Borders

Europe, and much of the world, awaits the coming of Obama, and a political dawn to sweep away the long night of the Bush era. Of course, it may only be a matter of time before Republicans start accusing Obama of being, `too French.'

Oh God, when will it end?

America’s Dirtiest
by Ed Tubbs Page 1 of 2 page(s)
There’s a program on one of the Discovery channels, hosted by Mike Rowe, called America’s Dirtiest Jobs. One of the jobs featured in the series was cleaning up the hog yards, running the slop and the streaming, excrement and urine filth down a chute. Rowe, in fishing waders, surgical mask and goggles, was waste deep in the stuff, shoveling the terrible mixture onto the chute that sent everything into a huge vat, where something was done to it and I don’t know what because I changed the channel because I didn’t want to know. I could easily imagine an emotion akin to “just make it go away.”
The story in today’s (July 3) paper, “Panel Questions State Dept Role in Iraq Oil Deal” (
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/03/world/middleeast/03kurdistan.html?_r=1&th=&emc=th&pagewanted=print), illustrating the Bush administration’s involvement in A-N-O-T-H-E-R — “Oh Lord, how many have there been now?” too-dirty-to-even-want-to-want-to-touch scandal sent my mind immediately to that hog slop episode. The stench and excreta indelibly and intimately associated with these past seven years-but-seems-like-seven-centuries any more leaves me retching in anticipation of when — “Oh please God make it be over” — it might all finally come to its end.
While you can click on the link to the story, suffice it that it involved Ray L. Hunt, a Texas multi-kazillion dollar oil magnate and a strong supporter and very close friend of George W. Bush, had negotiated an oil deal with the Iraq Oil Ministry, in knowing violation of the laws of Iraq and with the full knowledge of Bush’s State Department.
The violation of Iraq law is because Iraq law forbids making such a deal prior to the conclusion of oil-revenue sharing legislation and without the approval of the Iraq central government, neither of which to date have occurred.

Would the White House be Able to Eavesdrop on Obama Under the FISA Bill Barack Supports? You Bet.

FISA Amendment Just In Time To Steal Election
Senate Democrats and Republicans alike are now poised to pass H.R. 6304, known as the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, a bill touted by both House and Senate leaders to be a compromise proposal to prior Senate Bill 2248. Unfortunately, H.R. 6304 may give the Bush administration, in its last months, the ammunition it needs to hijack the 2008 presidential election.
It has been known for some time that, since 2001, the Bush administration has conducted mass surveillance of the email and telephone calls made by American citizens. All electronic messages passing through switches in the US, regardless of whether they were international or domestic communications, have been systematically intercepted and screened by the National Security Agency (NSA). Technologies, which were installed at major hubs of telecommunication companies throughout the nation copy and deposit all electronic messages into a giant NSA computer network. The NSA then uses complex algorithms to parse through these messages using matching criteria such as key words, phone numbers, and dates, and linking these data to further data--anything from credit card and bank records to movie rentals. >>>cont

Hate and Hypocrisy Pays Well – The Rush Limbaugh Payoff

by Anthony Wade Page 1 of 2 page(s)
July 3, 2008
As another sure sign the apocalypse is upon us, a hypocritical hate monger was rewarded this week with 400 million dollars to continue spewing his venom across the air waves of America. The erosion of American culture continues as Rush Limbaugh was given a new contract which will see him reportedly earn 38 million dollars per year to lie with impunity and make a mockery of common decency.

This is not even a matter of politics; it is a matter of the continuing degradation of society today. The hypocrisy should be well known and not lost on folks in this country. Rush Limbaugh often railed against the drug use running rampant in this country. One such quote from the blowhard was:
"Too many whites are getting away with drug use...Too many whites are getting away with drug sales...The answer is to go out and find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them, and send them up the river, too."
Of course it was Limbaugh himself who was guilty of prescription fraud in his own battle against drug abuse. He was addicted to the painkiller OxyContin and was guilty of doctor shopping to try and continue his addiction and usage, which he so heartily decried for years. This is not to criticize Limbaugh for having a battle with addiction. The problem of course is the reeking hypocrisy with which he carries on.

(Translation: When they did it, we called it “torture.”)

Headlined on 7/3/08:
President Bush’s Pentagon has borrowed Red Chinese torture techniques employed against American prisoners during the Korean War to use on suspects captured in the Middle East.
Bush may claim “we do not torture” yet the New York Times (July 2) reports otherwise in an article titled: “China Inspired/Interrogations/At Guantanamo.”
There is now, the Times reports, “vivid evidence of the way Communist interrogation methods that the United States long described as torture became the basis for interrogations both by the military at Guantanamo and by the Central Intelligence Agency.” (Translation: when they did it, we called it “torture.”)
That evidence is in the form of a chart carried by Pentagon trainers to Guantanamo prison, Cuba, in Dec., 2002, outlining the use of “sleep deprivation,” “prolonged constraint” and “exposure,” etc.
Seems this chart was copied word for word from a 1957 Air Force study of Red Chinese techniques used during the Korean War to coerce confessions from captured GIs! And some of its methods, the Times said, have been used on men arrested in the Middle East. One tactic was to deny prisoners their sleep.
As McClatchy News Service’s Warren Strobel reported last month, retired Lt. Col. Diane Beaver, a military lawyer, appeared to confirm U.S. officials at Afghanistan’s Bagram prison used “sleep deprivation on detainees” even before then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved the technique.


Kennedy leads renewed effort on universal healthcare
Presses for bipartisan support before new president takes office
By Lisa Wangsness
Globe Staff / July 2, 2008
Senator Edward M. Kennedy's office has begun convening a series of meetings involving a wide array of healthcare specialists to begin laying the groundwork for a new attempt to provide universal healthcare, according to participants.
The discussions signal that Kennedy, who instructed aides to begin holding the meetings while he is in Massachusetts undergoing treatment for brain cancer, intends to work vigorously to build bipartisan support for a major healthcare initiative when he returns to Washington in the fall.
Those involved in the discussions said Kennedy believes it is extremely important to move as quickly as possible on overhauling the healthcare system after the next president takes office in January in order to capitalize on the momentum behind a new administration.
Kennedy was an early endorser of Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee who is also a member of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, which Kennedy chairs.
Obama's Senate staff has attended the roundtable discussions. If Obama is elected, Kennedy's effort to identify points of agreement among senators could smooth the way for the new administration to press ahead on universal healthcare, which Obama has promised to implement within four years.
The last time a national healthcare plan was attempted, under President Clinton in 1993, the presidential panel charged with devising a proposal was widely criticized for not consulting enough with Congress, and protracted disagreements erupted, delaying its progress for months and ultimately resulting in its demise. Kennedy's effort appears to be designed to identify areas of common ground between Democrats and Republicans, business and labor, providers and insurers, and others before the new president takes office.
"The senator is trying to learn from health reform attempts in the past and to build a fair amount of consensus among his Senate colleagues, House colleagues, and the Obama campaign . . . and find a strategy that could carry with some momentum into the new administration," said Dr. Jay Himmelstein, a health policy specialist at University of Massachusetts Medical School and a former Kennedy staff member who has been involved in the talks. >>>cont

Thursday, July 03, 2008


How Regan Made It Possible for Bush To Attack Iraq
Iran-Contra's 'Lost Chapter'
By Robert Parry
(A Special Report)As historians ponder George W. Bush’s disastrous presidency, they may wonder how Republicans perfected a propaganda system that could fool tens of millions of Americans, intimidate Democrats, and transform the vaunted Washington press corps from watchdogs to lapdogs. Continue

This document recognizes that the United States Government has Irredeemably abolished itself by no longer fulfilling its true purpose.

This document announces that I take my authority back from that failed organization.
By Anonymous
If a government no longer serves its intended purpose then it is proper that each individual formally withdraw his or her consent to be ruled by that government. Continue

Unemployment is soaring, reconstruction is minimal, security is non-existent and malnutrition is at levels that rival sub-Saharan Africa.

By Mike Whitney
By every objective standard, conditions are worse for the Afghan people than they were before the invasion in 2001. The economy is in shambles, unemployment is soaring, reconstruction is minimal, security is non-existent and malnutrition is at levels that rival sub-Saharan Africa. Continue

Oil majors to lead another Iraq invasion

Five years after the US-led coalition stormed into Iraq there is set to be another western invasion. This time it is the world's biggest oil companies leading the charge, 36 years after Saddam Hussein kicked them out. The oil giants are seeking access to Iraq's rich crude reserves, Australian companies BHP Billiton and Woodside are among them... continua / continued

ACLU Releases Navy Files On Civilian Casualties In Iraq War

Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered In US War And Occupation Of Iraq "
The American Civil Liberties Union today released thousands of pages of documents related to Navy investigations of civilians killed by Coalition Forces in Iraq, including the cousin of the Iraqi ambassador to the United States. Released today in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the ACLU filed in June 2006, these records provide a vivid snapshot of the circumstances surrounding civilian deaths in Iraq. "At every step of the way, the Bush administration and Defense Department have gone to unprecedented lengths to control and suppress information about the human cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Nasrina Bargzie, an attorney with the ACLU National Security Project. continua / continued

Next Time You're at the Pump, Blame Bush

Robert Dreyfuss
Worried about gas prices? A new report from the National Security Network suggests where to put the blame: on President Bush's reckless Middle East policy. The invasion of Iraq, with its destruction of petroleum infrastructure, hundreds of uncontained attacks on production and transit facilities, and slowness to return production to pre-war levels has added a significant additional expense. So too has the saber-rattling against Iran, which experts say has affected the price of oil dramatically -- by as much as $11 in one day. Some experts estimate this premium to be as much as $30-$40 for every barrel of oil sold. It doesn't take a genius to understand that the United States can't go charging into the world's most volatile real estate and not adversely affect oil prices. It's also true that speculators, commodity traders, and hedge funds have made billions of dollars by bidding up the price of oil, in expectation that the security premium on oil prices will remain in place for years to come. Some of the increase, of course, is due to stepped-up demand from China, India and other world consumers. But it's ludicrous to think that China and India suddenly came out of nowhere--in fact, their demand has been increasing steadily and slowly (and predictably) for years... continua / continued

John Yoo and David Addington: A Study of Contempt and Unabashed Evil

by Cheryl Abraham
Somewhere in an American run prison a young man, a 'detainee', is bent over, his head touching his shins, his hands shackled tightly behind his legs and affixed to the bars of his cell. He is shirtless and his prison pants are soaked with sweat and urine. He cannot move and he is in agony, he has been in this position for hours, maybe days, he cannot remember how much time has passed, he does not know the day or the month, he only knows pain.
Meanwhile in the United States, John Yoo and David Addington temporarily disrupt their privileged lifestyles and leave their comfortable homes to testify before a House subcommittee meeting regarding the statements and documents they have authored that have been used by the U.S. government to legalize the destruction of the human body in the name of national security and to justify the opinion that the president has unlimited power. Yoo and Addington arrive to all the pomp and circumstance of rock stars, lights flashing as the press takes picture after picture, questions being yelled out, and Yoo and Addington present themselves as 'experts' to some of the most powerful people in the world.
The young man's legs tremble and shake from the exertion and strain of the stress position he has been forced into. He has no idea how long he has been without water, sleep, or food. Muscles throughout his body have been in a perpetual spasm and there is no position he can move into to lesson his pain because he cannot move. The smell of his cell sickens him, the pain overwhelms him, and he can see no relief coming to him anytime soon. He is utterly alone and helpless against what is happening to him.
It seems as if David Addington has enough of a conscience to know that he should not blatantly state his approval of extreme, cruel, and harsh interrogation techniques, but much is revealed about the dark side of Cheney's former chief of staff by what he did NOT say under questioning by the House subcommittee. Addington kept a haughty demeanor during the entire meeting and did not bother to veil his utter contempt of both the questions and the questioners. These questions, almost without exception, related to the moral and legal issues regarding the treatment of prisoners. When Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D- N.Y.) asked Addington if he would bear any responsibility if the interrogation program was found to be illegal Addington's reply was a smug, "Is that a moral question or a legal question?" Addington went on to state that he bore no legal or moral responsibility for the interrogation program. Nadler asked Addington whether or not it would be legal to torture a detainee's child as part of an interrogation, to which he countered with subterfuge – incredible considering the simplicity of answering such a question by any moral, reasonable, and rational person.
Addington bobbed and weaved through further questioning stating that he "did not recall" if he had ever pushed for harsh interrogation techniques. The
Washington Post writes of Addington, "Think of Addington as the id of the Bush White House. Though his hidden hand is often merely suspected -- in signing statements, torture policy and other brazen assertions of executive power -- Addington's unbridled hostility was live and unfiltered yesterday."

Bush's Dollar Drop Maps Loss of U.S. Clout at Final G-8 Summit

Dollar drops 41% during Bush term
By James G. Neuger
July 3 (Bloomberg) -- When President
George W. Bush went to his first Group of Eight summit in 2001, a dominant issue was the dollar -- the strong dollar, that is. The U.S. currency was on a record-setting streak, and the free-marketeering president wasn't going to stand in the way.
On the eve of Bush's last G-8 appearance, the dollar's gyrations are again in the crossfire. This time, it is a weak currency, upended by slumping growth, a housing recession and record gas prices, that is gnawing away at the world economy.
The dollar's 41 percent drop against the euro during Bush's term writes the economic epitaph of an administration that set out to restore American preeminence. Instead, Bush heads to Japan next week for his final international summit with diminished leverage as Russian and Chinese influence grows.
``Between the economic duress facing the United States and the global community at large and the fact that the clock is running out on the Bush administration, Bush does not hold a good hand,'' said
Charles Kupchan, an international-relations professor at Georgetown University in Washington. He called the summit a ``damage-limitation'' exercise to show the world that governments are trying to contain food and oil prices.
Employers shed 62,000 jobs amid lingering slowdown: govt. report.

Military Chief: US Doesn't Have Enough Troops To Send To Afghanistan

From The Washington Post:
The nation's top military officer said yesterday that more U.S. troops are needed in Afghanistan to tamp down an increasingly violent insurgency, but that the Pentagon does not have sufficient forces to send because they are committed to the war in Iraq.
Watch the video:
Mullen: No Troop Increase In Afgh. Until Iraq Withdrawal


Gen. Wes Clark on Fact the Nation June 29, 2008

“Attacking” McCain’s Military Record
What Wesley Clark really said; how the press missed it

Satellites are allegedly being used to track the American-backed force after breakdowns in trust and coordination.

US Spying On Iraqi Army After Breakdowns In Trust
By Greg Miller, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
July 2, 2008 WASHINGTON --
Caught off guard by recent Iraqi military operations, the United States is using spy satellites that ordinarily are trained on adversaries to monitor the movements of the American-backed Iraqi army, current and former U.S. officials say.
The stepped-up surveillance reflects breakdowns in trust and coordination between the two forces. Officials said it was part of an expanded intelligence effort launched after American commanders were surprised by the timing of the Iraqi army's violent push into Basra three months ago.
The use of the satellites puts the United States in the unusual position of employing some of its most sophisticated espionage technology to track an allied army that American forces helped create, continue to advise, and often fight alongside.
The satellites are "imaging military installations that the Iraqi army occupies," said a former U.S. military official, who said slides from the images had been used in recent closed briefings at U.S. facilities in the Middle East. "They're imaging training areas that the Iraqi army utilizes. They're imaging roads that Iraqi armored vehicles and large convoys transit."
Military officials and experts said the move showed concern by U.S. commanders about whether their Iraqi counterparts would follow U.S. guidance or keep their coalition partners fully informed.
"It suggests that we don't have complete confidence in their chain of command, or in their willingness to tell us what they're going to do because they may fear that we may try to get them not to do it," said John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, a website about intelligence and military issues.
But the development was also seen as a sign the Iraqi army has reached a level of independence and competence that U.S. military planners had hoped it would achieve.
"The bad news is we're spying on Iraqis," said the former military official. "The good news is that we have to."
The former military official and several other sources described the operation on condition of anonymity because of its sensitivity. The Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies declined to comment.

YouTube ordered to hand over user details

By Andrew Ramadge, Technology Reporter
July 03, 2008 05:15pm
YOUTUBE has been ordered to give up records of each clip watched on the popular video-sharing website, along with the date, time and IP address of each person who watched it, to media giant Viacom.
In a ruling that could have major implications for online privacy around the world, US District Court judge Louis Stanton granted Viacom access to the records as part of its ongoing copyright infringement lawsuit against Google and its subsidiary YouTube.
Each time a video is played, YouTube's "Logging" database records the user ID and IP address of the viewer, the date and time of the request and the ID of the clip – and includes details of videos embedded on websites other than YouTube.
"While the Logging database is large, all of its contents can be copied onto a few 'over-the-shelf' four-terabyte hard drives," Judge Stanton said, in response to Google's claim that providing the data would be too difficult.
"The motion to compel production of all data from the Logging database concerning each time a YouTube video has been viewed on the YouTube website or through embedding on a third-party website is granted."
Viacom sought access to the database in a bid to prove that clips allegedly infringing copyright, such as scenes from TV shows and movies, were more popular than user-generated videos.
Online rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation said the decision stood at odds with US privacy laws and was a "setback to privacy rights".
"The court’s order grants Viacom's request and erroneously ignores the protections of the federal Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), and threatens to expose deeply private information about what videos are watched by YouTube users," said a statement on the group's website.
"We urge Viacom to back off this overbroad request and Google to take all steps necessary to challenge this order and protect the rights of its users."
Judge Stanton denied Viacom's requests for access to other Google and YouTube properties, including the search engine's source code – including the algorithms it uses to provide search results.
Viacom began legal action against YouTube in February 2007, when it issued over 100,000 takedown notices to the website regarding material in beach of copyright.
In March 2007, the media giant instigated a $US1 billion lawsuit against Google and YouTube, alleging that the video-sharing website hosted over 150,000 unauthorised clips that had been viewed more than 1.5 billion times.
Viacom's media empire includes Paramount Pictures, MTV, DreamWorks and Nickelodeon.
It is not known if Google will challenge the decision.
Judge Stanton's ruling on Wired (PDF) –
http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/files/viacom_yout…Electronic Frontier Foundation statement – http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2008/07/court-ruling-…

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Panel Questions State Dept. Role in Iraq Oil Deal

Published: July 3, 2008
Bush administration officials knew that a Texas oil company with close ties to President Bush was planning to sign an oil deal with the regional Kurdistan government that ran counter to American policy and undercut
Iraq’s central government, a Congressional committee has concluded.The conclusions were based on e-mail messages and other documents that the committee released Wednesday.
United States policy is to warn companies that they incur risks in signing contracts until Iraq passes an oil law and to strengthen Iraq’s central government. The Kurdistan deal, by ceding responsibility for writing contracts directly to a regional government, infuriated Iraqi officials. But State Department officials did nothing to discourage the deal and in some cases appeared to welcome it, the documents show.
The company,
Hunt Oil of Dallas, signed the deal with Kurdistan’s semiautonomous government last September. Its chief executive, Ray L. Hunt, a close political ally of President Bush, briefed an advisory board to Mr. Bush on his contacts with Kurdish officials before the deal was signed.
In an e-mail message released by the Congressional committee, a State Department official in Washington, briefed by a colleague about the impending deal with the Kurdistan Regional Government, wrote: “Many thanks for the heads up; getting an American company to sign a deal with the K.R.G. will make big news back here. Please keep us posted.”
The release of the documents comes as the administration is defending help that United States officials provided in drawing up a separate set of no-bid contracts, still pending, between Iraq’s Oil Ministry in Baghdad and five major Western oil companies to provide services at other Iraqi oil fields.
In the no-bid contracts, the administration said it had provided what it called purely technical help writing the contracts. The United States played no role in choosing the companies, the administration has said.
Disclosure of those contracts has provided substantial fuel to critics of the Iraq war, both in the United States and abroad, who contend that the enormous Iraqi oil reserves were a motivation for the American-led invasion — an assertion the administration has repeatedly denied.

U.S. Is in No Shape to Give Advice, Medvedev Says

Published: July 3, 2008
Russia’s new president, Dmitri A. Medvedev, less swaggering than his predecessor but as touchy about criticism from abroad, said in an interview that an America in “essentially a depression” was in no position to lecture other countries on how to conduct their affairs.
With soaring oil revenues bolstering the Russian economy and Kremlin confidence, Mr. Medvedev brushed aside American criticism of his country’s record on democracy and human rights. He also said that a revived Russia had a right to assume a larger role in a world economic system that he suggested should no longer be dominated by the United States.


U.S. helicopter shot down in Afghanistan

REUTERSReuters North American News Service
Jul 02, 2008 08:47 EST
KABUL, July 2 (Reuters) - A helicopter belonging to U.S.-led coalition troops was shot down by small-arms fire south of the Afghan capital on Wednesday, but there were no serious injuries to those on board, the U.S. military said.
Afghanistan has seen a rise in violence this year, despite the increased presence of foreign troops, now numbering more than 70,000 and some Western politicians have recently warned the country may slip back into anarchy.
The pilots landed the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter safely and evacuated all personnel before it caught fire in the Kharwar district of Logar province, where Taliban militants are known to be active.
"Coalition forces cleared the area using helicopters, show-of-force and firing warning rounds before using precision-guided munitions to destroy the helicopter," the U.S. military said.
It was the second coalition helicopter to crash in a week. The other incident, in Kunar province in the northeast, is under investigation but indications are that the helicopter crashed due to mechanical failure, a U.S. military spokesman said.
Removed from power in 2001 by U.S.-led troops, the resurgent Taliban claimed responsibility for downing the helicopter and said that all those on board were killed. The group said it shot down the helicopter with anti-aircraft rockets.

The Taliban have brought down a number of aircraft, but so far the militants are not thought to have obtained surface-to-air missiles that could alter the balance of the war dramatically.
Many historians believe it was the Afghan mujahideen's acquisitions of such missiles that tipped the war against the Soviet occupation in their favour in the 1980s.


Tehran Puts on a Show of Strength

By Sami Moubayed
"Should it happen that a strong government finds it may with impunity destroy a weak people, then the hour strikes for that weak people to appeal to the League of Nations to give its judgment in all freedom. God and history will remember your judgment." - Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia"

Psychological warfare is on the rise. This weekend, a senior Iranian general, Mir-Faisal Bagherzadeh, said his country was digging 320,000 graves for American soldiers scheduled to fight in Iran. "In implementation of the Geneva Conventions, the necessary measures are being taken to provide for the burial of enemy soldiers. We have plans to dig 15,000 to 20,000 graves for each of the border provinces, or a total of 320,000," he said, pointing out that some of them would be mass graves, if necessary. This was "to reduce the suffering of the families of the fallen in any attack against, and prevent the repetition of the long and bitter experience of the Vietnam War".
These may sound like big words - similar to those barked by Saddam Hussein and his information minister Mohammad Said al-Sahhaf in 2003 - but they carry real impact on the psychology of American troops. Iraq - with its weak army and corrupted regime - was impossible to chew for the Americans. Nobody can imagine how difficult a war would be against 65 million Iranians, with a well-trained, well-armed military indoctrinated with Shi'ite Islam and a strong sense of purpose against the "great Satan".
In addition to building the graves - which has actually started - the Iranians have several actions they could resort to if war were declared between now and the end of President George W Bush's tenure at the White House in January.
They can incite the Shi'ites of nations where there are US military bases; Saudi Arabia (33%), Kuwait (36%), Bahrain (80%). They can incite the Kurds of Turkey and create problems with the Shi'ites of Yemen. They can unleash hell in Iraq through proxies like the Mahdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr and the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council. The Shi'ites of these countries have strong bonds to Iran and would listen and respond, if duty calls, and if the Americans or Israel went to war against Tehran.
The Iranians can - and would - close the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow waterway separating the Arabian Gulf from the Gulf of Oman and the North Arabian Sea. This would cause already rocketing oil prices to go through the roof, as pointed out by Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps commander Mohammad Ali Jaafari.
The strait is the world's second-busiest international water route, channeling 25% of the world's oil supplies on a daily basis. Over 75% of Japan's oil, for example, runs through Hormuz. According to Mustapha al-Sayyed, a Syrian oil expert, "if the strait is closed, alternate routes [if available] would have to be used, and this will result in a loss of more than 20 million barrels per day in the international market." He added that he expected oil prices to reach "no less than US$500 a barrel". Currently, the oil flow through the strait stands at more than 17 million barrels per day. The chaos in world markets this would cause does not need explaining.
Iran has also reportedly positioned some of its Shahab-3B missiles, with a range of nearly 2,000 kilometers, and according to certain press reports, is ready to fire at the Dimona reactor inside Israel.
The arrogant tone of the Iranians came after the New York Times ran a story saying that over 100 Israeli warplanes had carried out major training exercises over the eastern Mediterranean on June 12, in preparation for a war on Tehran. As part of the exercise, they flew the distance needed to reach the Iranian city of Natanz, where a nuclear facility is based.
One day after the Israeli provocation, Deputy Prime Minister Shaoul Mofaz was quoted in an Israeli daily as saying his country would attack Iran if it did not halt its nuclear program, which Iran maintains is for civilian purposes only. Meanwhile, an ex-Mossad (Israeli intelligence) chief, Shatai Shavit, told The Sunday Telegraph of London that the "worst-case scenario" was that Tehran would develop nuclear weapons within a year, and, therefore, require Israel to strike at Iran.


What Bush hath wrought

By Andrew J. Bacevich
July 1, 2008
FEW AMERICANS, whatever their political persuasion, will mourn George W. Bush's departure from office. Democrats and Republicans alike are counting the days until the inauguration of a new president will wipe the slate clean.
Yet in crucial respects, the Bush era will not end Jan. 20, 2009. The administration's many failures, especially those related to Iraq, mask a considerable legacy. Among other things, the Bush team has accomplished the following:
Defined the contemporary era as an "age of terror" with an open-ended "global war" as the necessary, indeed the only logical, response;
Promulgated and implemented a doctrine of preventive war, thereby creating a far more permissive rationale for employing armed force;
Affirmed - despite the catastrophe of Sept. 11, 2001 - that the primary role of the Department of Defense is not defense, but power projection;
Removed constraints on military spending so that once more, as Ronald Reagan used to declare, "defense is not a budget item";
Enhanced the prerogatives of the imperial presidency on all matters pertaining to national security, effectively eviscerating the system of checks and balances;
Preserved and even expanded the national security state, despite the manifest shortcomings of institutions such as the CIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff;
Preempted any inclination to question the wisdom of the post-Cold War foreign policy consensus, founded on expectations of a sole superpower exercising "global leadership";
Completed the shift of US strategic priorities away from Europe and toward the Greater Middle East, the defense of Israel having now supplanted the defense of Berlin as the cause to which presidents and would-be presidents ritually declare their fealty.
By almost any measure, this constitutes a record of substantial, if almost entirely malignant, achievement.
Bush's harshest critics, left liberals as well as traditional conservatives, have repeatedly called attention to this record. That criticism has yet to garner mainstream political traction. Throughout the long primary season, even as various contenders in both parties argued endlessly about Iraq, they seemed oblivious to the more fundamental questions raised by the Bush years: whether global war makes sense as an antidote to terror, whether preventive war works, whether the costs of "global leadership" are sustainable, and whether events in Asia rather than the Middle East just might determine the course of the 21st century. >>>cont


Iraqis Face Miles-Long Lines

Motorists wait up to 4 hours to fill up despite country's oil riches
Tues., July. 1, 2008
BAGHDAD - Frustrated Iraqis faced miles-long lines at gas stations on Tuesday — a stark reminder that a country with one of the world's largest oil reserves still has major challenges delivering fuel to its people.
The lines followed Iraq's announcement Monday that it was opening six major oil fields and two natural gas fields to development by foreign firms, which could lead to the biggest outside stake in Iraq's oil industry since it was nationalized more than 30 years ago.

5th Anniversary of Bush's 'Bring 'em On' Boast on Iraq Is Today

Published: July 02, 2008 11:50 PM ET
NEW YORK It appeared, quite innocently and only in passing in The New York Times, five years ago, recording a statement by George W. Bush.

"President Bush today came close to taunting Iraqis who were attacking American-led forces in Iraq and said the assaults would not cause the United States to leave prematurely," the Times reported on July 2, 2003.''
'There are some who feel like -- that the conditions are such that they can attack us there,'' Mr. Bush said. ''My answer is, bring them on. We've got the force necessary to deal with the security situation.'''
An AP account the following day reported that the official White House transcript of the press gathering had Bush saying "bring them on" but "reporters say the phrase actually sounded like 'bring 'em on.'"
In any case, the remarks inspired outrage. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., called the president's language "irresponsible and inciteful." Sen. John Kerry said they were "unworthy of the office."
To that point in 2003, 186 Americans had lost their lives in Irag. More than 4000 American military personnel, and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians, have died since that date. Nearly 30,000 Americans have been wounded.
In 2006, Bush admitted that this "kind of tough talk, you know, that sent the wrong message to people....I learned some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner, you know.... I think in certain parts of the world it was misinterpreted.
"But the day after "bring 'em on," White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said Bush was only expressing his faith in the strength and capability of U.S. forces. "The president expressed it, said it, because he views it as a way to express confidence in the forces," Fleischer told reporters.
Asked then about the missing Iraqi WMD, Bush replied, "It's just a matter of time, a matter of time." Fleischer said the burden was on those who had always said there were no WMD -- to find out how Saddam had destroyed all of them.
On the day of "bring 'em on" Travis J. Bradachnall, a corporal in the Marines, was killed in an explosion during a mine clearing operation near the city of Karbala.*

War cheerleading journo is waterboarded

Nick JulianoPublished:
Wednesday July 2, 2008
Hitchens says drowning practice is 'torture'
Christopher Hitchens, the British journalist who is among the staunchest defenders of the war in Iraq, was waterboarded for a
recent article in Vanity Fair.
"Believe Me, It's Torture" is the article's title.
In it and an
accompanying video Hitchens outlines a trip to North Carolina where interrogators experienced in the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE) training that Special Forces soldiers participate in to resist torture at the hands of enemies.
"I apply the Abraham Lincoln test for moral casuistry: 'If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.' Well, then, if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture," Hitchens wrote after enduring the procedure.
Hitchens is one of the staunchest defenders of the Bush administration's decision to go to war in Iraq, arguing on the 5th anniversary of the invasion that
he was right all along. After the photos of prisoner mistreatment at Abu Ghraib became public he wrote that such conditions nonetheless made the prison an improvement from its pre-war state.
In his most recent piece, Hitchens does not touch on his arguments in support of the war, but he argues that waterboarding as a practice is not helpful in the pursuit and persecution of the war against al Qaeda.
"One used to be told—and surely with truth—that the lethal fanatics of al-Qaeda were schooled to lie, and instructed to claim that they had been tortured and maltreated whether they had been tortured and maltreated or not," he wrote. "Did we notice what a frontier we had crossed when we admitted and even proclaimed that their stories might in fact be true? I had only a very slight encounter on that frontier, but I still wish that my experience were the only way in which the words “waterboard” and “American” could be mentioned in the same (gasping and sobbing) breath."


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Olbermann airs extensive list of McCain flip flops

By David Edwards
John McCain has claimed that the 2008 election “is about trust and trusting people’s word … Senator Obama’s word cannot be trusted.”
Keith Olbermann asks if the American people trust someone who has flip flopped on so many issues. He then goes on to enumerate GI educational funding, lobbying reform, campaign reform, immigration, gay marriage, abortion, nuclear waste … torture of detainees, the Iraq War … and a long, long list of other issues on which McCain has shifted positions.
This video is from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast June 30, 2008.

Obama: Patriotism Speech

Barack Obama: Speech on Patriotism

Huffingtonpost.com — as Bush acknowledged the House and Senate members who came together to support the bill, he slipped in the name of one who labored to obstruct the bill -- Senator John McCain. McCain was given the same credit as those who had steered the passage of the bill from day one.
Published May 22, 2008 in Military and Republicans.
Here is the roll call.
Ted Kennedy - who just got out of the hospital
Tom Coburn
John McCain
3/4 of the Senate voted for the bill. All the votes against the bill were Republicans.

Obama's Sister Becomes Asian-American Surrogate

SAN FRANCISCO — The throng of Asian-American donors drew closer, drinks in hand, to hear Barack Obama's sister describe the wide arc of his life: beyond politics and Chicago, into his childhood in Indonesia and Hawaii.
To many in this crowd Obama's Asian-American half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, represents yet another aspect of Obama's identity that makes him unique as a presidential candidate, although it has been underplayed amid the excitement surrounding his shot at becoming the first black president.
"It would be the first time that the first family is comprised in part of Asian-Americans _ as well as African-Americans, of course," said Keith Kamisugi, a coordinator with Asian-Americans for Obama. In early June he organized a fundraiser along with two other Obama events focusing on Asian-American voters in San Francisco.
Discussion of those ties has taken a back seat to the Obama campaign's efforts to win the Hispanic vote and his ability to rouse young and black voters. In spite of the drawn-out primary season, many voters have heard little about Obama's years in Jakarta _ he lived there between 1967 and 1971, while his mother was married to Soetoro-Ng's father, an Indonesian businessman _ or about his years in Hawaii, where Asian-Americans are a majority.
Soetoro-Ng and Obama have different fathers and the same mother. Her father is Indonesian, his is Kenyan. Her husband is Chinese-Canadian.
Initially, as the campaign focused on fighting out the primaries, state by state, "the idea was to downplay to some degree race and ethnicity," said Soetoro-Ng in an interview with The Associated Press. "A lot of the emphasis had been on reaching out, making connections, closing the gaps."
That theme resonated among Obama supporters of all backgrounds, said Soetoro-Ng, who is nine years younger than Obama and considers him "the strong male force" in her life after her parents' divorce.


Obama Vows To Expand Bush's Faith-Based Programs

"This is a massive deal," said Kuo, who is not an Obama adviser or supporter but was contacted by the campaign to review the new plan.
Obama proposes to elevate the program to a "moral center" of his administration, by renaming it the Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and changing training from occasional huge conferences to empowering larger religious charities to mentor smaller ones in their communities.
Saying social service spending has been shortchanged under Bush, he also proposes a $500 million per year program to provide summer learning for 1 million poor children to help close achievement gaps with white and wealthier students. A campaign fact sheet said he would pay for it by better managing surplus federal properties, reducing growth in the federal travel budget and streamlining the federal procurement process.
Like Bush, Obama was arguing that religious organizations can and should play a bigger role in serving the poor and meeting other social needs. But while Bush argued that the strength of religious charities lies primarily in shared religious identity between workers and recipients, Obama was to tout the benefits of their "bottom-up" approach.
"Because they're so close to the people, they're well-placed to offer help," he was to say.
Kuo called Obama's approach smart, impressive and well thought-out but took a wait-and-see attitude about whether it would deliver.
"When it comes to promises to help the poor, promises are easy," said Kuo, who wrote a 2006 book describing his frustration at what he called Bush's lackluster enthusiasm for the program. "The question is commitment."
Obama also planned to talk bluntly about the genesis of his Christian faith in his work as a community organizer in Chicago, and its importance to him now.
"In time, I came to see faith as being both a personal commitment to Christ and a commitment to my community; that while I could sit in church and pray all I want, I wouldn't be fulfilling God's will unless I went out and did the Lord's work," he was to say.
UPDATE: An Obama campaign official told the Huffington Post that the AP's claims about Obama allowing hiring or firing based on faith are false. From a portion of Obama's speech today:
"Now, make no mistake, as someone who used to teach constitutional law, I believe deeply in the separation of church and state, but I don't believe this partnership will endanger that idea - so long as we follow a few basic principles. First, if you get a federal grant, you can't use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help and you can't discriminate against them - or against the people you hire - on the basis of their religion. Second, federal dollars that go directly to churches, temples, and mosques can only be used on secular programs. And we'll also ensure that taxpayer dollars only go to those programs that actually work."The Politico, meanwhile, describes Obama's new plan not as an expansion of Bush's Faith-Based Initiative, but as an effort to tear down what Bush created and establish a new program with a new set of goals:
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) slammed President Bush's faith-based program as "a photo-op" and a failure on Tuesday, and said he will scrap the office and create a new Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships that would be a "critical" part of his administration.
Obama, unveiling a plan to overhaul and expand Bush's faith-based program during remarks at a community ministry in Zanesville, Ohio, said the White House Office of Community and Faith-Based Initiatives - which Bush founded during his second week in office - "never fulfilled its promise." [...]
Reaching out to evangelicals who are non-plussed by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Obama declared: "I still believe it's a good idea to have a partnership between the White House and grassroots groups, both faith-based and secular. But it has to be a real partnership - not a photo-op. That's what it will be when I'm President. I'll establish a new Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships."
"The new name will reflect a new commitment," he continued. "This Council will not just be another name on the White House organization chart - it will be a critical part of my administration."

U.S. Helped Western Companies Divvy Up Iraqi Oil

Published: June 30, 2008
A group of American advisers led by a small State Department team played an integral part in drawing up contracts between the Iraqi government and five major Western oil companies to develop some of the largest fields in
Iraq, American officials say.

The disclosure, coming on the eve of the contracts’ announcement, is the first confirmation of direct involvement by the Bush administration in deals to open Iraq’s oil to commercial development and is likely to stoke criticism.
In their role as advisers to the Iraqi Oil Ministry, American government lawyers and private-sector consultants provided template contracts and detailed suggestions on drafting the contracts, advisers and a senior State Department official said.
It is unclear how much influence their work had on the ministry’s decisions.
The advisers — who, along with the diplomatic official, spoke on condition of anonymity — say that their involvement was only to help an understaffed Iraqi ministry with technical and legal details of the contracts and that they in no way helped choose which companies got the deals.
Repeated calls to the Oil Ministry’s press office for comment were not returned.

‘Oh Happy Day’
Published: July 1, 2008
It’s getting harder and harder to remain deluded. With each day comes new facts to drag our heads out of the sand.
Two weeks ago, The Times reported that four Western oil giants were on the verge of signing no-bid contracts that would return them to Iraq, the third-most bountiful petroleum playground on the planet. The deals, expected to be finalized in the next 30 days, were the kind of news that big oil lives for.
Giddy executives singing “Oh Happy Day” could be heard in the corporate offices of Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP, which had been shut out of Iraq for three and a half decades.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Right On, General Clark. Do Not Back Down.

Boy, talk about your echo chamber in the media. Yesterday, General Wesley Clark went on CBS' Face the Nation, and repeated something he's said many times before. If you missed it, here's the full quote in context :


This wasn't a swift boating, or any low politics. General Clark called McCain a hero to millions for his sacrifice. And, that's a pretty big statement coming from a man who, himself, left Vietnam on a stretcher. But, facts are facts:
• Senator McCain's service and experience, both as a POW and as a Senator apparently hasn't infused him with a dose of good judgment.
• Senator McCain's experience hasn't led him to realize that the war in Iraq and it's continuance has empowered and emboldened Iran, and destabilized the region.
• Senator McCain's experience hasn't caused him to recognize that we're losing ground in Afghanistan, and Osama bin Laden is still out there, plotting.
• Senator McCain's experience didn't lead him to support the 21st Century GI Bill -- he opposed it. It didn't even make him feel the need to get back to Washington to vote on this -- one of the most important veterans' bills this Congress. He twice skipped votes on the GI Bill, to fundraise.
• Senator McCain's experience didn't help him empathize with troops are overstretched and overdeployed, when he voted against the bipartisan Webb-Hagel "Dwell Time Amendment," which would have given troops as much time at home as in the field.
Senator McCain is running on his experience, saying it makes him ready to lead right away. By doing so, he is asking people to look at what that experience taught him. By looking at Senator McCain's positions and votes (or lack of them), it seems that experience has not given him the right judgment on important issues of our time. And, while we should all honor Senator McCain's service, that doesn't mean we should necessarily honor it by putting him in the White House to take up George W. Bush's third term.
So, General Clark is 100 percent absolutely right, and he should not back down. I'd hope that some of the so-called progressives on television back him up on this, and not get intimidated by the media and McCain campaign press releases. These are important times, and deserve a blunt and honest debate.
In some circles, that's just called 'straight talk.'
UPDATE: Since a lot of you are sending words of support on here for General Clark, we started a petition where you can sign to thank him, and tell him to keep it up. We will take the petition to General Clark, personally. Also, it's important to sign, so we can show the media that we've got his back.


McCain “Truth Squad” headed by 2004 Swift Boat Liar
Jun 30, 2008 - 02:26 PM by Terri Buchman
The Huffington Post is reporting today that Sen. John
McCain has hired Bud Day, from the 2004 group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, to "truth squad" attacks on Sen. McCain's service record.
Here McCain jokes about how unqualified he is
McCain Comedy Tour

and he's even more unfunny than Bush. Slugbug

Bush Wrongly Credits McCain For 'Working Hard' On G.I. Bill

June 30, 2008 02:48 PM
President George W, Bush wasn't exactly a friend to the efforts put forth by Senators Jim Webb (D-VA) and John Warner (R-VA) as they worked to secure bipartisan, veto-proof support for an updated U.S. G.I. Bill, which would provide our veterans with enhanced educational opportunities. But Bush is stuck with the bill now, so naturally, he went in front of the press and deemed himself pleased with its passage.
It didn't escape our attention though, that as Bush acknowledged the House and Senate members who came together to support the bill, he slipped in the name of one who labored to obstruct the bill -- Senator John McCain. Instead of being rightly excluded from the list of thanks, McCain was given the same credit as those who had steered the passage of the bill from day one. Surely, though, John McCain will correct the President, because STRAIGHT TALK, RIGHT?

BUSH: The bill is a result of close collaboration between my administration and members of both parties on Capitol Hill. I appreciate the hard work of my cabinet, especially the leaders of Defense and State and Veterans' Affairs and Office of National Drug Control Policy, as well as OMB. I want to thank House and Senate leadership and leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. I am particularly grateful to Congressmen Boehner, Hoyer, Obey and Lewis. I want to thank members who worked hard for the G.I. Bill expansion, especially Senators Webb and Warner, Graham, Byrd, and McCain. This bill shows the American people that even in an election year, Republicans and Democrats can come together to stand behind our troops and their families.

Obamania Pride Seattle 2008

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Seymour Hersh Exposes New US Covert Operations In Iran (VIDEO)

New Yorker Seymour M. Hersh June 29, 2008 10:15 AM
New Yorker's Seymour Hersh reports on how the Bush Administration has stepped up covert operations against Iran:
Late last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources. These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country's religious leadership. The covert activities involve support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups and other dissident organizations. They also include gathering intelligence about Iran's suspected nuclear-weapons program.
Clandestine operations against Iran are not new. United States Special Operations Forces have been conducting cross-border operations from southern Iraq, with Presidential authorization, since last year. These have included seizing members of Al Quds, the commando arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and taking them to Iraq for interrogation, and the pursuit of "high-value targets" in the President's war on terror, who may be captured or killed. But the scale and the scope of the operations in Iran, which involve the Central Intelligence Agency and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), have now been significantly expanded, according to the current and former officials. Many of these activities are not specified in the new Finding, and some congressional leaders have had serious questions about their nature.
Under federal law, a Presidential Finding, which is highly classified, must be issued when a covert intelligence operation gets under way and, at a minimum, must be made known to Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and the Senate and to the ranking members of their respective intelligence committees--the so-called Gang of Eight. Money for the operation can then be reprogrammed from previous appropriations, as needed, by the relevant congressional committees, which also can be briefed.
Read Hersh's full report
Watch Hersh discuss his article on CNN below:
June 27, 2008 6:01 PM
Not My President
Larry Craig & Vitter co-sponsoring marriage protection legislation - I'm serious!!
adult diaper man and toilet leg kick man are going to tell us about marriage

Kangaroo said:
Right On
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