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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Praying for chaos: McCain's last gasp

Guy Rundle
August 3, 2008

CLASPING hands tightly for the cameras, they looked a lovely couple. He was in a neatly cut dark blue suit, and he was in a red and orange number draped to the floor.
A match in California's new gay wedding industry? No, it was John McCain with the Dalai Lama, at the final of a series of disastrous public appearances one week ago. There was nothing wrong with the idea — establish McCain not merely as a man of the world, but as a man of peace as well as war — but who was to know that the damn monk would hang on to the man like a brunette at the Brownlow?
McCain, about as comfortable with male physical intimacy as you'd expect from any white Republican navy pilot born before World War II, looked first stoic then amused, and then appeared to be trying a little Buddhism himself, by astral travelling out the top of his head.
When it was clear that nothing short of a crowbar would remove His Holiness, an aide joined hands on the other end, which made it look like one half of a game of ring-a-rosies. What was said? Absolutely no one remembers.
Was that the week we would look back on as the one that lost John McCain the election? The fact that this wasn't the worst moment was indicative of the hole the candidate had found himself in. >>>cont

Mr. McCain had himself touted as "the American president Americans have been waiting for."

by: Bob Herbert, The New York Times
John McCain (on screen) delivers speech at annual conference of the National Urban League in Orlando, Florida. (Photo: Mary Altaffer / AP)
Gee, I wonder why, if you have a black man running for high public office - say, Barack Obama or Harold Ford - the opposition feels compelled to run low-life political ads featuring tacky, sexually provocative white women who have no connection whatsoever to the black male candidates.
Spare me any more drivel about the high-mindedness of John McCain. You knew something was up back in March when, in his first ad of the general campaign, Mr. McCain had himself touted as "the American president Americans have been waiting for."
There was nothing subtle about that attempt to position Senator Obama as the Other, a candidate who might technically be American but who remained in some sense foreign, not sufficiently patriotic and certainly not one of us - the "us" being the genuine red-white-and-blue Americans who the ad was aimed at.
Since then, Senator McCain has only upped the ante, smearing Mr. Obama every which way from sundown. On Wednesday, The Washington Post ran an extraordinary front-page article that began:
"For four days, Senator John McCain and his allies have accused Senator Barack Obama of snubbing wounded soldiers by canceling a visit to a military hospital because he could not take reporters with him, despite no evidence that the charge is true."
Evidence? John McCain needs no evidence. His campaign is about trashing the opposition, Karl Rove-style. Not satisfied with calling his opponent's patriotism into question, Mr. McCain added what amounted to a charge of treason, insisting that Senator Obama would actually prefer that the United States lose a war if that would mean that he - Senator Obama - would not have to lose an election.
Now, from the hapless but increasingly venomous McCain campaign, comes the slimy Britney Spears and Paris Hilton ad. The two highly sexualized women (both notorious for displaying themselves to the paparazzi while not wearing underwear) are shown briefly and incongruously at the beginning of a commercial critical of Mr. Obama.
The Republican National Committee targeted Harold Ford with a similarly disgusting ad in 2006 when Mr. Ford, then a congressman, was running a strong race for a U.S. Senate seat in Tennessee. The ad, which the committee described as a parody, showed a scantily clad woman whispering, "Harold, call me."
Both ads were foul, poisonous and emanated from the upper reaches of the Republican Party. (What a surprise.) Both were designed to exploit the hostility, anxiety and resentment of the many white Americans who are still freakishly hung up on the idea of black men rising above their station and becoming sexually involved with white women.
The racial fantasy factor in this presidential campaign is out of control. It was at work in that New Yorker cover that caused such a stir. (Mr. Obama in Muslim garb with the American flag burning in the fireplace.) It's driving the idea that Barack Obama is somehow presumptuous, too arrogant, too big for his britches - a man who obviously does not know his place.
Mr. Obama has to endure these grotesque insults with a smile and heroic levels of equanimity. The reason he has to do this - the sole reason - is that he is black.
>>>cont
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Dear MoveOn member,

Barack Obama's historic candidacy has sparked an unprecedented artistic outpouring. Now, in partnership with Shepard Fairey and his Obey Giant collective, we're offering a new way for artists—anyone with a pen and paper qualifies—to share their talents and help elect Barack Obama at the same time.
It's called Manifest Hope, and it's a new Obama art contest for 2D and 3D art, from painting to photography to sculpture. The winners will be shown at the Manifest Hope Gallery online and in Denver during the Democratic convention alongside works from dozens of established and influential artists.
If you think you might want to enter, or want updates on the contest, please let us know here:

An Open Letter to Those Who Still Support the Bush Doctrine

By DC Rapier
I find it truly dismaying that you cling to the belief that George W Bush, Richard Cheney and their administrations have not lead the United States to very dire straits with a growing litany of failures not only of policy but of moral rectitude.
Surely you must admit that considering
1. the de-valuation of the dollar,
2. the sky-rocketing national debt,
3. the worrisome American indebtedness to the PRC,
4. the astronomic rise in oil and food prices,
5. the sub-prime crisis,
6.the housing crisis,
7.rising unemployment,
8. the despicable, loathsome shyster-like lexical dissembling attempted by the Bush administration to justify the torturing of "detainees"
9. the kidnapping and "torture-by-proxy" program of "Special Rendition" 10. he waiving of "Habeas Corpus" as a matter of policy,
11. the illegal spying on American citizens conducted by the government,
12. the illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that continue to devastate those countries and our economy,
13. mthe horrific loss of life due to those conflicts,
14. the growing clamor for investigation of war profiteering by Halliburton, KBR, Bechtel and other corporations with ties to members of these administrations,
15. the unlawful politicization of the Justice Department,
16. the loss of prestige by America in the international community of nations,
17. and the nose-thumbing at international efforts to address global climate change,
18.have all happened on George W. Bush's "watch"--surely you must admit that he and his administrations have not exactly been a boon for our nation or the world.
It is sad and dismaying that any of you would prefer to pass off all of the above mentioned catastrophes as partisan smoke-screens set by "liberals" to salve their sense of pride about not winning the political beauty contests of 2000 and 2004.
It is understandable that you would prefer to do that rather than face the truth about the horrific, disastrous political and economic situation that is the legacy of George W Bush and his administrations, but it is sad.
It is sad and dismaying that you actually believe that there remains the possibility of anything remotely close to what might be even loosely construed as a military victory in Iraq --a deplorable military mis-adventure that the Pentagon's premier military educational institute, the National Defense University, called a "debacle" in its April, 2008 report. (I say "believe" because it must be faith, there being no logical argument or rational thought or consideration of substantive data involved.)This deeply felt dismay has been brought on by the lying, conniving, obfuscating, dissembling, misrepresenting, mis-informing, dis-informing clutch of greedy, self-serving ultra-nationalists "serving" in the US government (such as Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Condi Rice, Dick Cheney, David Addington, etc) whose actions have resulted in an illegal invasion and violent military occupation of a sovereign nation; the reduction of the "Cradle of Civilization" to a bombed-out shell of a looted museum ruled by murderous force of arms; the continued occupation of another ruined wreck of a third-world nation; the death of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghanis, an estimated 4.7 million Iraqi refugees; and the eviscerating of US banking regulations that took the legal restraints off of "predatory lenders" (aka loan sharks) leaving thousands of Americans bankrupt and homeless.

Karadzic protected by US until he broke 'deal': Belgrade report

Source: Agence France PresseAug 2, 2008 (AFP) - Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic was protected by the United States until a CIA phone bug caught him breaking the terms of his 'deal', Serb newspaper Blic reported Saturday, quoting a US intelligence source.Partly echoing what Karadzic himself told the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in his opening written submission, the paper claims Karadzic was secretly granted immunity in return for keeping a low profile."Karadzic, indicted for genocide and war crimes, was under the US protection until 2000, when the CIA intercepted his telephone conversation that clearly proved he personally chaired a meeting of his old political party," the daily quoted a "well-informed US intelligence source" as saying.In a submission to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Karadzic said the US peace negotiator in Bosnia, Richard Holbrooke, had promised he would avoid trial if he withdrew from public life.

BREAKING: Pres/CEO and Chairman Resign From Failing Bank Where McCain's Son Suddenly Left Last Week

Big developments this afternoon concerning Silver State Bancorp -- the bank from which Andrew McCain (son of John McCain) suddenly resigned from its board of directors a week ago for "personal reasons." Last night, I updated this story as neither McCain nor the bank have been willing to publicly discuss the reasons for his departure.
Well, today there's been additional high-ranking
resignations:
Silver State Bancorp today announced the resignation of Corey L. Johnson as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company and as Chief Executive Officer of Silver State Bank, the Company's wholly-owned bank subsidiary. The Company also announced the resignation of Silver State Bancorp's and Silver State Bank's Chairman of the Board, Bryan S. Norby.
The bank also reported devastating
second quarter losses, significantly steeper than were anticipated:
Silver State Bancorp today reported a net loss for the quarter ended June 30, 2008 of $62.7 million, or ($4.15) per diluted share, compared with net income of $6.2 million, or $0.44 per diluted share, reported for the second quarter of 2007.The loss for the quarter is the direct result of a $58.6 million provision to the Company's loan loss reserve, an impairment charge of $18.8 million representing a full write-down of the Company's goodwill asset, and the establishment of a valuation allowance of $7.1 million to the Company's net deferred tax assets.

LinkHere

Exclusive Look at New Book on Iraq By 'WSJ' Reporter Who Penned Shocking Email

It was the e-mail read 'round the world. Nearly four years ago in September 2004, Farnaz Fassihi -- an Iranian-American correspondent in Iraq for The Wall Street Journal -- sent a brutally frank, private e-mail to friends that somehow leaked out to fellow journalists and various bloggers, who posted much of its contents on numerous Web sites. "Iraq remains a disaster," she wrote, and that was just for starters. It was not widely known until the e-mail, for example, that, as Fassihi revealed, foreign correspondents in Baghdad were "under virtual house arrest."
She described the hardship of the forgotten Iraqi citizens caught in the middle of "a raging, barbaric guerilla war," and lamented countless abductions, including that of her friend Georges, "the French journalist snatched on the road to Najaf."
It caused a sensation. Some readers charged the U.S. media with keeping the true nature of horrid conditions in Iraq from them -- was it suitable only for airing to friends? -- while others charged that Fassihi, based on the e-mail, must be providing the Journal with "biased" reporting.
Fassihi's editors stuck by her. She remained on assignment in Iraq for another full year -- and, coincidentally or not, the tone of a lot of reporting from Iraq by others did start to focus more on average people as conditions, for many months, went from bad to worse.

In the afterword, written in May 2008, she says that violence has declined after 18 months of the "surge," but notes: "Five years have passed since the United States led a military invasion into Iraq and George Bush declared a mission accomplished. But America's proposed goals remain elusive: Iraq's fragile stability hinges on deals brokered with Sunnis and Shiites. Iraqis caught in the midst of open-ended war struggle to survive." Her final words: "I keep asking myself: What justifies the enormous costs of this war and the wounds it has inflicted? I am at a loss for an answer. This is the story of war."
LinkHere

Who first wrongly linked anthrax to Iraq -- and why?

Muriel KanePublished:
Friday August 1, 2008
In the wake of the apparent suicide of an alleged suspect in the 2001 anthrax attacks, fresh questions are being raised about the extent to which those attacks were used by the Bush administration as part of the push for both draconian anti-terror legislation and eventual war with Iraq.
Blogger Glenn Greenwald has
suggested, "By design, those attacks put the American population into a state of intense fear of Islamic terrorism, far more than the 9/11 attacks alone could have accomplished."
Greenwald has also raised questions about the source of claims being pushed by ABC News in late October 2001 that government tests had shown the anthrax contained bentonite, an additive used only by Iraq. These claims, which were later found to be completely false, played an important role in spreading the idea of an Iraq-anthrax link.
However, the idea of such a link was already in circulation a week earlier when, according to Think Progress, John McCain was
using the anthrax attacks to argue for war with Iraq. McCain told David Letterman on October 18, "The second phase is Iraq. There is some indication, and I don’t have the conclusions, but some of this anthrax may — and I emphasize may — have come from Iraq."
RAW STORY has found that, although there had been active online speculation about an Iraqi source for the anthrax by the first week of October, the first suggestion that official investigations were focusing on that nation appears to have come in an article published in the Guardian on October 14.
Under the headline, "Iraq 'behind US anthrax outbreaks' - Pentagon hardliners press for strikes on Saddam," David Rose and Ed Vulliamy
wrote, "American investigators probing anthrax outbreaks in Florida and New York believe they have all the hallmarks of a terrorist attack - and have named Iraq as prime suspect as the source of the deadly spores. Their inquiries are adding to what US hawks say is a growing mass of evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved, possibly indirectly, with the 11 September hijackers." >>>cont
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Kucinich seeks to bar US oil firms from Iraq

Nick JulianoPublished:

Friday August 1, 2008

Rep. Dennis Kucinich has introduced a measure that would bar US oil companies from receiving contracts in Iraq.
The Ohio Democrat, who believes
exploiting Iraq's massive oil reserves was the primary reason we invaded, introduced a measure he says aims to keep Iraq's oil wealth within the country.
“Iraq needs oil revenue now more than ever as they try to rebuild their country,” Kucinich said Thursday, unveiling the Oil for Iraq Liberation Act.
Kucinich noted Congress recently required Iraq to match US investments in the country's reconstruction, and he implied that Iraq's ability to contribute to its reconstruction was damaged because of its reliance on oil revenues.
"The invasion of Iraq was about oil, but it didn’t result in more oil or cheaper gas," Kucinich said on the House Floor. "It resulted in war profiteering by oil companies who benefited by keeping Iraqi oil off the market."
Recent reports have indicated that big oil companies like Exxon, Chevron, BP, Total and Shell are
set to receive lucrative no-bid contracts to explore in Iraq.
It's unclear what effect, if any, Kucinich's proposal would have on companies like the former British Petroleum, which is headquartered in London; Total, based in Paris; or Royal Dutch Shell, headquartered in The Hague. Of the companies reportedly in line to receive contracts, only ExxonMobil and Chevron are based in the US, but both operate around the globe. >>>cont

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Big Oil's Record Quarter: $51.5B In Combined Profit

HOUSTON — Oil giants Chevron Corp. and Total SA wrapped up a string of gargantuan, record-breaking earnings reports Friday, a stretch in which six of the major international oil companies topped $50 billion in combined profit for the first time.
In addition to Chevron, soaring commodity prices led to record quarters for Exxon Mobil Corp., ConocoPhillips, BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell PLC. Exxon Mobil stood apart even from this crowd, logging the largest ever quarterly operating profit for a U.S. company. Barring companies that made huge profits on one-time gains like bankruptcy settlements and spin-offs, Exxon Mobil holds the top 10 records for biggest U.S. quarterly earnings.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Oh, McCain

I hope you enjoy "Oh, McCain" as much as all of us at VoteVets.org have.

Jon Soltz VoteVets.org

LinkHere

“Well,” the judge looked up and said, “it’s about time.”

Last Friday, police in Des Moines, Iowa arrested four people who attempted to make a citizens’ arrest of former top White House aide Karl Rove, who was in town to speak at a GOP fundraiser. A retired minister and three members of the Des Moines Catholic Workers community were cited for trespassing. However, according to a press release, the judge presiding over the case praised their efforts:
Shaw was the first called before Polk County Fifth Judicial District Associate Judge William Price.
After entering her plea, the judge asked Shaw, “Mamn, what were you doing at the Wakonda Country Club?”
“I was attempting to make a citizen’s arrest of Karl Rove, your honor,” Shaw answered.

"The Terrible Reality"

By Vincent Bugliosi
Vincent Bugliosi's opening statements during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the constitutional limits of executive power.

The forced resignation of 12 U.S. attorneys last year was so heavy handed and obviously White House engineered that it brought screams of protest from congressional Democrats and even Republicans and ultimately was the leading cause of Alberto Gonzales' resignation as attorney general. Even more important, the furor over the U.S. attorneys also has resulted in continuing allegations about the politicization of the entire DOJ
The President will no longer be able to change published executive orders in secret if a bill introduced to the Senate Thursday becomes law. Sen. Russ Feingold, shown above, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse sponsored the bill as a response to an unreleased statement from the Justice Dep

Barackis Dukakis? McCain Slings from the Sewer While Obama Says Little

John McCain is a scumbag.
I choose my words carefully, and in full recognition of past sacrifices and contributions he has made.
But I am sick to death of seeing my country go down the toilet. And I am sick to death of my country wrecking other parts of the world. And I am sickest-at-heart of all that the people doing this represent the sleaziest side of American politics.
These are the Karl Rove acolytes, who learned their craft from the Lee Atwater team, who learned from the Nixon ratfucker squad. From there it may go directly back to Satan, for all I know, possibly with a stopover at Joe McCarthy’s desk.
There will always be people like this. Alleged humans who are willing to do anything to win at politics. Fine, we can’t control that. But it says everything about any candidate when he or she puts people like this in charge of their campaign. And it says everything about us as a society that we would ever let those who do so win the highest offices in the land, let alone frequently.
Hence, my comment about McCain. It has now become transparently clear that this man will do anything to be president. Whatever scraps of decency and uniqueness and detachment from his own sick party he once had have now all been mortgaged against that goal. The McCain who once knew Bush’s tax cuts were irresponsible now favors them, despite eight years of direct evidence turning informed speculation about potential consequences into historical fact. The McCain who once criticized the sex-obsessed theocrats running his party as "agents of intolerance" now seeks their endorsement. The McCain who once stood for a cleaner politics is now firmly ensconced in the sewer, from whence he is reaching down and hurling great gobs and handfuls of what flows all around him.
It was not enough that he mocked Obama for not going to Iraq, only then to whine about how Obama was grandstanding when he turned around and went, and everybody from General Petreaus to Prime Minister Maliki to the entire public of Germany made McCain look the fool. It’s not enough that he’s now desperately trying to turn the very fact of Obama’s popularity against him by running ads comparing the Illinois senator to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. And it’s still not even enough that McCain is running ads – based on wholesale and proven lies – that Obama skipped out of meeting with wounded American troops in order to shoot some hoops.
No, what really proved that McCain is a scumbag is the one line – now repeated multiple times – that Obama "would be willing to lose a war in order to win a campaign". Even if they weren’t just finishing up living through the consequences of precisely such politics for eight years now, Americans should be apoplectic in anger that the same folks are back using the same tricks again. Mostly, though, they should be horrified and enraged that such language could be used in a presidential campaign. They should be precisely as willing to elect any person uttering such disgraceful epitaphs as they would a Holocaust denier, a Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, or a serial pedophile.
This is not a policy difference. This is not a disagreement over issues. This is not even a personal critique of an opponent’s professional or even character-related qualifications for office. This is an outrageous smear of the most vile kind. McCain has said – without a scrap of substantiating evidence to back his claim – that Obama is willing to sacrifice the lives of American soldiers and Iraqi citizens in order to advance his personal career ambitions. How serious an assertion is this? I would regard such alleged behavior as among the most heinous crimes that a person can commit, not different from hiring out a murder. Except, that is, that we’re talking about probably a million murders. I have no doubt, and plenty of solid evidence, that that’s exactly what the Bush people did when they launched their Iraq war based on lies. I have little doubt, and some evidence, that Hillary Clinton and John Edwards and John Kerry committed exactly this crime in voting for the invasion. I think they are all deserving of the gravest punishments, not least including, to start with, a complete banishment from the corridors of power and prestige. These are war criminals, plain and simple. McCain has long been one of them, as one of the war’s most avid backers while surely fully cognizant of the lies forming the pretext for invasion. Now he has doubled down by politicizing yet again the gravest decision a country can ever make.

Sexual assault in military 'jaw-dropping,' lawmaker says

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A congresswoman said Thursday that her "jaw dropped" when military doctors told her that four in 10 women at a veterans hospital reported being sexually assaulted while in the military.
Rep. Jane Harman, D-California, spoke before a House panel investigating the way the military handles reports of sexual assault.
She said she recently visited a Veterans Affairs hospital in the Los Angeles area, where women told her horror stories of being raped in the military.
"My jaw dropped when the doctors told me that 41 percent of the female veterans seen there say they were victims of sexual assault while serving in the military," said Harman, who has long sought better protection of women in the military.
"Twenty-nine percent say they were raped during their military service. They spoke of their continued terror, feelings of helplessness and downward spirals many of their lives have taken since.
"We have an epidemic here," she said. "Women serving in the U.S. military today are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq."
As of July 24, 100 women had died in Iraq, according to the Pentagon.
In 2007, Harman said, only 181 out of 2,212 reports of military sexual assaults, or 8 percent, were referred to courts martial. By comparison, she said, 40 percent of those arrested in the civilian world on such charges are prosecuted.
Defense statistics show that military commanders took unspecified action, which can include anything from punishment to dismissal, in an additional 419 cases.
But when it came time for the military to defend itself, the panel was told that the Pentagon's top official on sexual abuse, Dr. Kaye Whitley, was ordered not to show up despite a subpoena.
"I don't know what you're trying to cover up here, but we're not going to allow it," Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, said to the Defense official who relayed the news of Whitley's no-show. "This is unacceptable."
Rep. John Tierney, the panel's chairman and a Democrat from Massachusetts, angrily responded, "these actions by the Defense Department are inexplicable."
"The Defense Department appears to be willfully and blatantly advising Dr. Whitley not to comply with a duly authorized congressional subpoena," Tierney said. >>>cont


LinkHere

Sexual assault in military 'jaw-dropping,' lawmaker says

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A congresswoman said Thursday that her "jaw dropped" when military doctors told her that four in 10 women at a veterans hospital reported being sexually assaulted while in the military.
Rep. Jane Harman, D-California, spoke before a House panel investigating the way the military handles reports of sexual assault.
She said she recently visited a Veterans Affairs hospital in the Los Angeles area, where women told her horror stories of being raped in the military.
"My jaw dropped when the doctors told me that 41 percent of the female veterans seen there say they were victims of sexual assault while serving in the military," said Harman, who has long sought better protection of women in the military.
"Twenty-nine percent say they were raped during their military service. They spoke of their continued terror, feelings of helplessness and downward spirals many of their lives have taken since.
"We have an epidemic here," she said. "Women serving in the U.S. military today are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq."
As of July 24, 100 women had died in Iraq, according to the Pentagon.
In 2007, Harman said, only 181 out of 2,212 reports of military sexual assaults, or 8 percent, were referred to courts martial. By comparison, she said, 40 percent of those arrested in the civilian world on such charges are prosecuted.
Defense statistics show that military commanders took unspecified action, which can include anything from punishment to dismissal, in an additional 419 cases.
But when it came time for the military to defend itself, the panel was told that the Pentagon's top official on sexual abuse, Dr. Kaye Whitley, was ordered not to show up despite a subpoena.
"I don't know what you're trying to cover up here, but we're not going to allow it," Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, said to the Defense official who relayed the news of Whitley's no-show. "This is unacceptable."
Rep. John Tierney, the panel's chairman and a Democrat from Massachusetts, angrily responded, "these actions by the Defense Department are inexplicable."
"The Defense Department appears to be willfully and blatantly advising Dr. Whitley not to comply with a duly authorized congressional subpoena," Tierney said. >>>cont

LinkHere

Pakistanis Aided Attack in Kabul, U.S. Officials Say

By MARK MAZZETTI and ERIC SCHMITT
WASHINGTON — American intelligence agencies have concluded that members of Pakistan’s powerful spy service helped plan the deadly July 7 bombing of India’s embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, according to United States government officials.
The conclusion was based on intercepted communications between Pakistani intelligence officers and militants who carried out the attack, the officials said, providing the clearest evidence to date that Pakistani intelligence officers are actively undermining American efforts to combat militants in the region.
The American officials also said there was new information showing that members of the Pakistani intelligence service were increasingly providing militants with details about the American campaign against them, in some cases allowing militants to avoid American missile strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
Concerns about the role played by Pakistani intelligence not only has strained relations between the United States and Pakistan, a longtime ally, but also has fanned tensions between Pakistan and its archrival, India. Within days of the bombings, Indian officials accused the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, of helping to orchestrate the attack in Kabul, which killed 54, including an Indian defense attaché.
This week, Pakistani troops clashed with Indian forces in the contested region of Kashmir, threatening to fray an uneasy cease-fire that has held since November 2003.
The New York Times reported this week that a top Central Intelligence Agency official traveled to Pakistan this month to confront senior Pakistani officials with information about support provided by members of the ISI to militant groups. It had not been known that American intelligence agencies concluded that elements of Pakistani intelligence provided direct support for the attack in Kabul.

LinkHere

Hell Yes!!!!!!! This hasn't come to soon, they should be doing it a lot more.

OCALA, Fla. — A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit that claims CNN's Nancy Grace pushed the mother of a missing toddler to suicide through aggressive questioning.
CNN and Grace argued the wrongful death lawsuit brought by Melinda Duckett's family would "severely chill" journalists' coverage of missing-persons cases. But U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges on Thursday denied their motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
Duckett, 21, was on Grace's show after her son Trenton went missing from her apartment in August 2006. Grace grilled the woman, accusing her of hiding something because Duckett did not take a lie-detector test and answered vaguely regarding her whereabouts.
Duckett fatally shot herself before the network aired the pre-taped interview.
The family claims Grace's intense questioning caused severe emotional distress that led to the suicide. The lawsuit also claims that the decision to air the interview after her suicide caused the family to suffer severe emotional distress and media and public harassment. They are seeking a jury trial, unspecified damages more than $15,000 and punitive damages.
Duckett family attorney Jay Paul Deratany said attorneys will begin taking testimony.
"There is more information out there to be gleaned," said Deratany. "If Melinda had any information, Nancy Grace stopped the investigation in its track."
Police have said Duckett is the only suspect in her son's disappearance.
A message left Friday for an attorney representing Grace and CNN were not immediately returned.
CNN is a division of Time Warner Inc.
(This version CORRECTS the reference to the Duckett family attorney)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Bush administration may have already hired an outside contractor to search individual computers for tens of thousands of missing e-mails that disappeared between 2003 and 2005. But the search apparently does not include missing e-mails from March 2003 to September 2003, a crucial timeframe that encompasses the start of the Iraq war, an

What is this 'Iraq war' charge on my bill?

What is this 'Iraq war' charge on my bill? Part 2

Get this 'Iraq war' charge off my bill!

Elitist

Thursday, July 31. 2008
Over at Kos they have an idea about dealing with those nasty email campaigns
barath's diary
Ok, here's the full email. I'll provide the sources for the TRUTH statements in the email below the email itself (in case the embedded HTML doesn't copy and paste well for you.) Feel free to make the first paragraph of the email a little more persuasive or creative...
I've been concerned that there are too many rumors going around about John McCain and I wanted to help set the facts straight. Please forward this email to everyone you know.
THE LIE: Combined, the McCain family has has a credit card balance that is more than $750,000 and their interest rate is 24.49%.
THE TRUTH: The McCains pay off their credit card bills on a monthly basis. The $750,000 figure is also wrong, though it is true that between January 2007 and May 2008, one of the credit cards did reach $500,000 and another reached $250,000.
Also, with a combined net worth over $100 million, most of the credit cards did not have any interest payments at all. Only their Visa, Mastercard, and Saks Fifth Avenue cards (monthly balances ranging between $15,000 and $50,000) charged interest.
::: :::
THE LIE: McCain purchased two separate $4.7 million dollar condos in San Diego for their own enjoyment.
THE TRUTH: The combined cost of the two condos was $4.7 millon, and one of them was for the kids.
::: :::
THE LIE: The McCains spent over $500,000 in 2007 on household staff, such as maids and butlers.
THE TRUTH: They increased their household staffing budget from $184,000 in 2006 to only $273,000 in 2007.
::: :::
THE LIE: The McCains spent $11 million between the summer of 2004 and February 2008 on 13 different residences.
THE TRUTH: They spent $11 million acquiring five residences.
::: :::
THE LIE: The McCains inherited a business worth $1,000,000,000 from relatives.
THE TRUTH: The McCains inherited assets worth more than $100,000,000 from relatives, but those assets are unlikely to be worth $1,000,000,000.
::: :::
THE LIE: John McCain gambles away hundreds of thousands of dollars at the craps tables in Las Vegas.
THE TRUTH: While John McCain does frequently play craps in Las Vegas in continuous 14-hour sessions, it is unlikely that he has ever gambled away $100,000 in a single session.
Now, here are the sources (in order) for those who want to know that they're not forwarding any falsehoods about McCain. (Many are from the same source.)
The McCain family credit cards.
The McCain family houses. (Also, check out an awesome google map of McCain's houses.)
The McCain family staff budget.
The McCain house purchases.
The McCain family inheritance.
McCain's 14 hour gambling stints.
Update: If you want to include McCain's $520 shoes, you can stick this block in there somewhere (thanks to
UneasyOne for the idea):
THE LIE: John McCain spends $50,000 each year on shoes that he imports from Italy, South Africa, and Argentina.
THE TRUTH: Since John McCain's shoes cost $520 a pair, it is highly unlikely that he spends even $10,000 each year on shoes. In addition, there are no reports that he has imported shoes from either South Africa or Argentina.
Update 2: If you need a subject line for this email, here are two suggestions from the comments section: "Debunking the Lies About John McCain's Money" or "The Truth About John McCain's Money".
Posted by
Jeff Farias at 09:31

One Soldier's Suicide: James Jenkins

The Corporate Media Experiment: Why Isn't Senator Obama 'One of Us'?

Obama has been accused of being presumptuous, uppity (literally), against the troops, snobbish, elitist, hubristic, European (GAY!) and, considering the array of both subtle and obvious messages in McCain's laughable Britney & Paris commercial, vacuous, frivolous, loopy, superficial and "Hollywood." Of course reasonable, professional analysts with some degree of integrity would disregard such accusations as the acts of a desperate, pathetic McCain campaign. But instead, these accusations are somehow validated, debated and defended. Irrespective of what Obama might do or say or what his life story might be, as long as he has a (D) after his name, he'll always be expected by the corporate media to explain himself.

Obama's Headquarters: Substance and Organization

Change is never easy.
Those in power in either party have difficulties giving in to new ways and new times. Obama is an intelligent, substantive man surrounded by the best and the brightest who represent all that is best about America. We shouldn't expect the establishment in Washington or the media to embrace it. They simply will go for the comfort zone instead of reaching for a newer world.

In the fiscal year that ended Oct. 1, 131 rapes and assaults were reported in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Military assault victims face tough recovery
By Kimberly Hefling - The Associated PressPosted :
Wednesday Jul 23, 2008 12:30:52 EDT
Of the women veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who have walked into a VA facility, 15 percent have screened positive for military sexual trauma, The Associated Press has learned. That means they indicated that while on active duty they were sexually assaulted, raped, or were sexually harassed, receiving repeated unsolicited verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature.

Straight talk in action:

McCain Planned To Attack Obama If He Did Visit Troops Abroad
A Republican strategist tells BusinessWeek that John McCain was planning an attack ad against Barack Obama whether or not the Democrat visited wounded troops in Germany:
What the McCain campaign doesn't want people to know, according to one GOP strategist I spoke with over the weekend, is that they had an ad script ready to go if Obama had visited the wounded troops saying that Obama was...wait for it...using wounded troops as campaign props. So, no matter which way Obama turned, McCain had an Obama bashing ad ready to launch. I guess that's political hardball. But another word for it is the one word that most politicians are loathe to use about their opponents--a lie.
Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that
McCain's ad accusing Obama of not caring about the troops was not supported by facts
Cheney considered pro- posal to dress Navy Seals as Iranians, shoot at them.

Waxman’s Strategy for Undoing Blackwater

Blackwater Worldwide may have misrepresented its size to obtain small business contracts, the House oversight committee announced on Monday. The finding is the result of an investigation by the Small Business Administration (SBA), and it's just the first of three reviews of the controversial security contractor requested by Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA).
Unlike a number of investigations
by the FBI and the committee itself that have focused on the conduct of Blackwater's guards in Iraq and Afghanistan -- for instance, the allegedly unprovoked shooting of Iraqi civilians -- Waxman appears to be taking a new tack: scrutinizing the contractor's employment practices to make it ineligible for future federal contracts.
In
March, Rep. Waxman contacted the SBA, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Labor (DOL) to ask each agency to conduct a review of Blackwater's compliance with federal employment laws. The first to report its findings (PDF), the SBA inspector general, determined that Blackwater and its affiliates may have obtained more than $100 million in contracts set aside for small businesses, in spite of receiving more than a billion dollars in federal contracts since 2002.
As Waxman
explained in a memo (PDF) accompanying the launch of the three investigations, they each hinge on Blackwater's self-classification of its workers as contractors rather than employees. Waxman argues that classifying security personnel as contractors has allowed Blackwater to apply for small business contracts for which it wasn't eligible, underpay income taxes and workers benefits, and avoid complying with DOL anti-discrimination requirements for federal contractors.
Blackwater has argued that it recruits and trains workers but relinquishes management and oversight to its clients. "After being deployed, Blackwater has little if any knowledge regarding the location or activities of these independent contractors. Blackwater's only real involvement is to pay the independent contractors," Blackwater President Gary Jackson said in an October 2006 affidavit for the small business application.
Waxman has countered Blackwater's claims by pointing to statements by Erik Prince -- including in
televised interviews (5:02-5:21) and congressional testimony (PDF) -- in which Blackwater's CEO says that his company maintains tight control over its personnel. Waxman also referred to the company's legal defense in a civil suit brought against it by the estates of four Blackwater guards killed in Fallujah. The company argued that because the four dead guards were employees, rather than contractors, the company's liabilities were limited to the provisions in the Defense Base Act.
"When the issue is whether Blackwater can be held liable for the wrongful death of Blackwater guards, Blackwater argues that the guards are 'employees,'" Waxman
wrote (PDF) in the March memo. "But when the issue is whether Blackwater must pay or withhold...taxes for the guards [or if it's] eligible for small business preferences in contracting...Blackwater calls these same guards 'independent contractors.'"
In response to Waxman's memo, Blackwater called the charges baseless. >>>cont

Kerry: McCain Lacks The Judgment To Fight Terrorism

Sen. John Kerry charged John McCain with possessing a thorough lack of knowledge about Iraq and Afghanistan on Thursday, warning that the Arizona Republican's past misjudgments posed serious questions for his counter-terrorism policies going forward.
"When President Bush and Sen. McCain refuse to put Iraq into the broader struggle, their mistakes and misstatements only build on each other," said the 2004 Democratic nominee. "If you don't understand the surge and what happened, you can't make the right judgments about the future. Just a few months ago Sen. McCain said, and I'm quoting, 'Afghanistan is not in trouble because of our diversion to Iraq.' That has been proven completely wrong. And now both men admit we need more troops. The point is both President Bush and Sen. McCain were wrong about Afghanistan because they were wrong about Iraq. They still are."
In his speech, delivered at the progressive Center for American Progress, Kerry outlined a broad new approach to counterinsurgency and combating terrorism, one where we "tailor our response to local conditions" and intellectual persuasions. He cited the turnaround of the Anbar province in Iraq as an illustrative example. In the process, he offered what amounted to a systematic critique and history lesson for the presumptive Republican nominee.
"Unfortunately, when it comes to events in Iraq... John McCain continues to misstate facts and mangle history," said Kerry. "I've known John McCain for a long time, for years. He is a fellow veteran and a friend... I just think that his recent judgments are dead wrong. What is interesting is that in his testimony to his superior judgment he himself recently declared that the surge, and I quote him, 'began before the Anbar awakening,' and he said further: 'that's just a matter of history.' When, in fact, history shows the exact opposite...
"The tensions between al Qaeda and the Sunni leaders in Anbar were already apparent two years before the surge.... The reason: al Qaeda's brutality, its disrespect for local customs, its insistence on marrying local woman over the objections of tribal leaders. In fact, when Colonel Sean McFarland and his ready-first brigade arrived in Ramadi in the June of 2006, al Qaeda was still fully in control. They immediately saw the need for a change in tactics. And on their own, they launched an extensive outreach campaign to win over the local population, starting with the local tribal leaders. That created a snowball effect. As Col. McFarland noted in 2006, "A growing concern that U.S. forces would leave Iraq made tribal leaders open to overtures.' That is not an unimportant transformation." >>>cont

Gag Order How Saudi Arabia's Prince Bandar muscled Tony Blair into silence.

Saudis Pressured Tony Blair Into Shutting Down Bribery Probe
The United Kingdom's highest court today provided new details of how the Saudis pressured British Prime Minister Tony Blair's government to shut down a politically embarrassing bribery investigation two years ago that implicated the Saudi ambassador to Washington. The ruling, by a House of Lords judicial panel, offers an unusually revealing window into how international power politics is played in the post-9/11 era.
The five-member panel recounts how Blair, faced with Saudi threats to cut off cooperation on counterterrorism operations, personally intervened to scuttle a criminal investigation into billions of dollars in allegedly improper payments made by British Aerospace Systems (BAE) to obtain Saudi contracts.
But the former prime minister, the court found, acted out of good faith: he and his advisers were genuinely worried that, if the Saudis followed through on their threats, it could lead to another "7/7"—British shorthand for the devastating July 7, 2005, terrorist bombings in the
London subway system that killed 52 commuters and injured 700.
"The threats to national and international security [are] very grave indeed and ... British lives on British streets would be at risk," the British ambassador to Riyadh warned the
Serious Fraud Office, the British unit conducting the probe, according to the court ruling.
Today's decision overrules a lower-court finding that Serious Fraud Office officials had improperly closed the investigation under pressure from Blair and thus effectively ends any chance that the SFO will pursue the BAE bribery allegations. (In a statement, the SFO said it will pursue other allegations against BAE not related to the Saudis. A spokesman for BAE denied wrongdoing but declined comment on the ruling.) The ruling was therefore a vindication of sorts for Blair and his top advisers, as well as a key victory for the Saudis and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former Saudi ambassador to the United States who was allegedly the prime recipient of the improper payments by BAE—even if the confirmation of their strong-arm tactics are not likely to win them any new friends in London or Washington.
Bandar, a longtime close personal friend of the Bush family who is now national-security adviser to Saudi King Abdullah, was so worried about investigations into the BAE payments that last year he hired the international legal and security firm Freeh Group International, headed by former FBI director Louis Freeh, to defend him from the charges. Among the Freeh Group's partners is Sir Stephen Mitchell, a prominent British barrister and former High Court judge. In addition, Bandar has hired William Bradford Reynolds, a former top official in the Reagan Justice Department, to represent him in a private shareholder lawsuit relating to the alleged improper payments.
Today's ruling is not likely to end the controversy over the BAE payments, however. The U.S. Justice Department is conducting its own investigation into whether BAE, which operates widely in the United States and has a growing portfolio of Pentagon contracts, violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in making payments to Bandar and other Saudi officials.
The ruling is also likely to fuel criticism that the Saudi government—which portrays itself as a key ally of the United States and Great Britain in the War on Terror—is far less cooperative than it publicly claims. "This shows how the Saudis can get foreign governments to disregard their own justice system," said Ali Al-Ahmed, the director of the Gulf Institute, a Washington-based think tank that is critical of the Saudi government. "Terrorism is being used to blackmail the West.
You watch, it is only a matter of time before they do this in the U.S." >>>cont

Will They Go?

Senate GOP Set To Block Troop Funding Bill

Republicans in the Senate may be walking into a political trap this week, in which their insistence on considering energy legislation leads them to block significant increases in funding for the troops in Iraq.
Going into this week, the
Senate Republicans insisted that they would block all the legislative measures until an energy bill was first brought to the floor.
Democratic leadership, initially furious over the obstructionism, is now calling their bluff. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last night introduced a Department of Defense Authorization bill that would, among other things, include a 3.9 percent across-the-board pay raise for military personnel; major funding increases for research into traumatic brain injury treatment and troop suicide prevention efforts; $26 billion for the Defense Health Program, and $500 million for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. A vote could come as early as tonight.
Should the GOP stick to its guns and filibuster the measure while insisting on an energy bill vote, they may effectively remove a talking point from the party's playbook. Going into the November elections, it will be the Democrats who can argue that the other party stood in the way of funding for the troops.

McCain: McSame as Bush


LinkHere

Hope Dashed (Again)

A few months ago, I wrote that John McCain was an honorable man and he would run an honorable campaign. I was wrong. I used to think, as David Ignatius does, that McCain's true voice was humble and moderate, but now I'm beginning to think his Senate colleagues may be right about his temperament. From what I can gather, Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran, a Republican, reflected the views of many of his colleagues earlier this year when he said:
"The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine...He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me."
The erratic nature of McCain's campaign seems to be confirming that judgment. The McCain I used to know would never have touted his own courage as he did a few weeks ago when he said:
"I had the courage and the judgment to say that I would rather lose a political campaign than lose a war.It seems to me that Senator Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign."
Courage is grace under pressure. McCain showed it when he was a prisoner of war, and on many issues--yes, even on his stubborn insistence that the surge would work--but he is not showing it now.
He is showing flop sweat. It is not a quality usually associated with successful leadership.

Judge: White House Aides Can Be Subpoenaed

Karl Rove Held In Contempt By House Judiciary Committee
WASHINGTON — President Bush's top advisers are not immune from congressional subpoenas, a federal judge ruled Thursday in an unprecedented dispute between the two political branches.
Congressional Democrats called the ruling a ringing endorsement of the principle that nobody is above the law. They swiftly announced that the Bush officials who have defied their subpoenas, including Bush's former top adviser Karl Rove, must appear as part of a probe of whether the White House directed the firings of nine federal prosecutors. Democrats announced plans to open hearings at the height of election season.
The Bush administration was expected to appeal.
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge John Bates said there's no legal basis for Bush's argument and that his former legal counsel, Harriet Miers, must appear before Congress. If she wants to refuse to testify, he said, she must do so in person. The committee also has sought to force testimony from White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten.
"Harriet Miers is not immune from compelled congressional process; she is legally required to testify pursuant to a duly issued congressional subpoena," Bates wrote. He said that both Bolten and Miers must give Congress all nonprivileged documents related to the firings.

Don't ya jus love it"

During a White House news conference Thursday morning, President Bush said the country is not headed into a recession, noting that the government has acted "robustly." His view of the economy, however, is far more chipper than that of many economists, who fear the country is entering a recession (or may even already be in one. In fact, when asked by a reporter about what advice he'd given an average American, who is faced by the prospect of $4 gallon gas, the President responded: "That's interesting. I hadn't heard that. ... I know it's high now."
EXXON POSTS BIGGEST QUARTERLY PROFIT IN US HISTORY
HOUSTON — Exxon Mobil Corp. reported second-quarter earnings of $11.68 billion Thursday, the biggest profit from operations ever by any U.S. corporation, but the results were well short of Wall Street expectations and its shares slumped 3 percent.
Reluctantly, quietly signshousing bill he originally called 'socialistic.'

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The United States did not invade Iraq to "stop the violence".

By Mike Whitney
30/07/08 "ICH" -- - The United States did not invade Iraq to "stop the violence". That was never the goal. So, it's foolish to say that the surge achieved its objective. It hasn't. Nor has the surge "created the space for a political solution"; another meaningless slogan regurgitated endlessly by the Bush troupe. The political agenda in Iraq has failed utterly. We know that because the Shiite-led government has asked the US to leave "as soon as possible" and for the Bush administration to set a "timetable for withdrawal". Not a "time horizon" as the administration-spinmiesters like to say; a Timetable, which means a fixed time when the United States must leave. So, if the Iraqi government has asked the US to leave; where is the "political solution" the surge was supposed to create? There isn't one. The mission has failed; it's as plain as day. This is not an arguable point.
What the surge really proves is that ethnic cleansing works. Baghdad was a city of roughly 65% Sunnis. Now it is nearly 75% Shiites. Most of the million or so Iraqis who have been killed in the conflict, and most of the 4 million who are either internally displaced or have become refugees, are probably Sunnis. This is an important point and one that Americans should understand. The surge was created to disguise what was really taking place on the ground; ethnic cleansing on a massive scale. No one disputes this. The Sunnis have been effectively purged from the capital. That's not a "political solution". It is a war crime.
More important, the United States military has helped the Shiites win their war against the Sunnis. The Shiites control Baghdad now; the Sunnis will never get it back. That is why they are moving on to the next phase of their strategy, which is to demand that the foreign troops leave. So, at least in one respect the surge has worked; it has helped the Shiites and their allies in Tehran win the war. Bush has helped to strengthen Ahmadinejad. Was that the objective?
LinkHere
By M K Bhadrakumar
The United States has suffered a huge defeat in the race for Caspian gas. The question now is how much longer Washington could afford to keep Iran out of the energy market.
LinkHere

Apocalypse Down-under:

Aussie bank's write-offs signal doom for Wall Street

The scariest news of the week comes from down-under, where the National Australia Bank (NAB) announced it would "slash a £400m bond sale by two thirds. The retreat comes days after the Melbourne lender shocked the markets by announcing a 90pc write-down on its £550m holdings of US mortgage debt, an admission that it AAA-rated securities are virtually worthless....The decision by National Australia Bank to make drastic provisions on its US mortgage debt could have ramifications in the US itself. It opted for a 100pc write-off on a clutch of "senior strips" of collateralized debt obligations (CDO) worth £450m - even though they were all rated AAA. (Ambrose Evans Pritchard, "Australia faces worse crisis than America", UK Telegraph)
This is a huge story with grave implications for America's struggling banking system. No wonder the establishment media is avoiding it like the plague. If AAA rated CDOs are worthless, then some of the biggest financial institutions in the country will be packed off to the boneyard feet-first.
The original article appeared in the Business Spectator and was titled "NAB will shock Wall Street", by Robert Gottliebsen. "Shock" is an understatement. This is more like a meat cleaver crashing down on a butcher block. Schwook! This is a must-read for anyone who is following the meltdown in the financial markets. Here is an extended excerpt from Gottliebsen's article:
"The National Australia Bank's decision to write off 90 per cent of its US conduit loans will have dramatic repercussions around the world. Wall Street will be deeply shocked when they understand the repercussions of what NAB has done. It is clear global banks have nowhere near provided for their exposures to US housing loans which in the words of John Stewart are experiencing a “meltdown”.
We are now way beyond sub-prime. NAB says that it is suffering a 55 per cent loss on American housing loans – an event that has never happened in the history of a developed country in recent memory. This is an unprecedented event and means that the cost of bailing out the US financial system is now far beyond the highest estimates. A US recession is now locked in, but more alarmingly, 55 per cent loan losses point to the possibility of a depression.
It means the cost of bailing out housing exposures to the two mortgage insurers will be so great that it will leave no room to bail out anything else and there are several US banks that are now in big trouble. NAB says that the dislocation in the residential market is separate from the corporate market, but the flow on is inevitable." ( The Business Spectator,"NAB will shock Wall Street")
The conduits are off-balance sheets operations run by the banks which contain hundreds of billions of dollars of bonds which are now essentially worthless. So far, many of the banks have not accurately reported the losses from these operations hoping that the housing market will stabilize and the value of the bonds will rebound. The action taken by the National Australia Bank is a "game-changer"; it's like the Grim Reaper swooping down on Wall Street and lopping-off the top of every big investment bank in downtown Manhattan.
>>>cont

LinkHere

Iraqi Freedom - TV advertisement

Jon Soltz

Iraq War Veteran Chairman,

VoteVets.org

Please take a moment to help the Johnsons achieve justice.

The Pfc. LaVena Johnson Petition
Asking Congress to compel the Army to reopen the investigation of a young soldier's death in Iraq
The Christopher Reeve and Dana Reeve Act, which includes money for research into spinal cord injuries, is one of about 36 bills combined by Senate Democrats into what they are calling the Advancing America’s Priorities Act. The bills have been bundled in an attempt to bypass objections from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) who has used senatorial privileges and procedures to stop action on several bills, including the spinal cord bill.

Aborigines granted sea rights by High Court

ABORIGINES are entitled to exclusive access to a large swathe of the Northern Territory's coast, the High Court has upheld.
In a landmark decision in Canberra today, the High Court dismissed an appeal by the territory government.
It found traditional owners had the right to exclude fishermen and others from tidal waters within Blue Mud Bay in northeast Arnhem Land.
The ruling upholds a decision by the full bench of the Federal Court early last year, which sparked protest from the NT Government and fishing industry.
The Federal Court granted Aboriginal people from Blue Mud Bay access to the tidal waters abutting their land between the high and low water marks.

LinkHere

Juan Cole: Forget the Surge -- Violence Is Down in Iraq Because Ethnic Cleansing Was Brutally Effective

As best I can piece it together, what actually seems to have happened was that the escalation troops began by disarming the Sunni Arabs in Baghdad. Once these Sunnis were left helpless, the Shiite militias came in at night and ethnically cleansed them. Rates of violence declined once the ethnic cleansing was far advanced because there were fewer mixed neighborhoods.
LinkHere

Pelosi Says They Have "Cleaned Up Congress" and that Bush Hasn't Committed A Crime

by scott creighton
http://www.opednews.com/
During an interview on "The View," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed Joy Behar’s question about why she is refusing to hold impeachment hearings by saying “If somebody had a crime that the president had committed, that would be a different story.“ (
Newsbusters)
(Replace Pelosi petition)
Pelosi’s blatant disregard for the rule of law when it comes to this administration has been evident from day one. When she first took our constitutional provision of impeachment “off the table,“ she effectively re-wrote the Constitution to suit her own personal agenda. She gave away the only tool to hold the president in check. The founders of this once great nation knew that, without this important restraint, any president could seek an imperial level of control that even King George himself didn’t have. And Pelsoi gave that oversight away.
Or should we say, she sold it.
One-and-a-half years ago, when the call for impeachment really took off, Nancy Pelosi argued that they had to “build the case” so that it was clear to the American people that it wasn’t a partisan attack. One year ago she claimed they “didn’t have the votes.“ Six months ago she claimed there “wasn’t enough time.“ And now, remarkably, Nancy Pelosi, leader of the Democratic Party in the House, is further covering up for the rogue presidency of George W. Bush by claiming on a national television show that Bush and Cheney haven’t committed any crimes.
This just days after some 12 people came before the House Judiciary Committee and
brilliantly testified to the numerous obvious crimes committed by the Bush administration.
Pelosi made this remarkable comment because she knows that very few people actually watched the CSPAN coverage of the “non-impeachment” hearing and certainly not that many people watch "The View." So, she was able to misinform millions of "The View’s" audience without regard for the small percentage that would see through her propaganda.
And that is the point; as long as they can keep the majority of Americans in the dark for just a little while longer, then they can ride out the call to investigate this criminal administration, wait for time to pass and people to forget the facts as they re-write the history, and prepare for the next imperial presidency that will again be unincumbered by the rule of law.
Because that is the end result, people. That is why she took impeachment off the table; from the very beginning she was protecting the 1%ers that this criminal administration serves.
She is not the leader of the Opposition Party, but rather, she is a co-conspirator of the most criminal administration in the history of this nation. >>>cont
LinkHere

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bush Reveals True Reason for War in Push for Iraqi Agreement

For five years the Bush administration has played wack-a-mole with the American people as to why we are in Iraq, with a new justification quickly spawning after the hollow core of the prior position was exposed. WMD's was followed by fighting Al Qaeda and ultimately bringing democracy to the Middle East. Last week the proverbial mole may have met his maker and exposed the true reason over a million Americans have been put in harm's way.
In May 2004, President Bush explained that our mission in Iraq was "to see the Iraqi people in charge of Iraq for the first time in generations." A week into his second term, Bush said he would "absolutely" honor any request for withdrawal of U.S. troops by a sovereign Iraqi government, only to then ignore multiple request over the next three years and polls showing near unanimous support among Iraqi's for a timeline for withdrawal.
All this was laid bare this month as the Iraqi government went on the offensive in its call for U.S. withdrawal by 2010. Far from embracing the desires of a sovereign Iraq, the White House instead feebly attempted to claim Prime Minister Maliki's statement was mistranslated, while the McCain camp argued that Iraqi's really want the U.S. to stay until 2020. Apparently their view of a "free Iraq" is an Iraq that is free to do what we tell them to do.
The Iraqi demand for a deadline for withdrawal of U.S. troops comes in the context of ongoing negotiations with the U.S. over a Status of Forces (SoF) Agreement in which the White House is seeking to define its legacy through (i) an indefinite occupation; (ii) more than 50 permanent bases (including five mega-bases); (iii) the unlimited ability to pursue the "war on terror" in Iraq (including ability to arrest Iraqis without consulting government); (iv) control of Iraqi airspace below 29,000 feet; (v) supervision of Iraq's defense, interior and national security ministries for ten years; and (vi) immunity for U.S. forces and contractors. In addition, the U.S. wants the right to unilaterally determine whether an act by another country (i.e., Iran) constitutes a "threat" to Iraq and respond as it deems fit in order to "protect" Iraq.
The Iraqi's have rejected this invitation to be an American colony as "arrogant" and an affront to their sovereignty, but the White House is playing hardball and recently cost the Iraqi's $5 billion by blocking the transfer of certain Iraqi currency reserves out of the declining dollar.
From the start of the occupation, the Bush administration has shown little regard for Iraqi sovereignty and international legal prohibitions against making significant changes to the legal and political institutions of an occupied country. Instead, the administration pursued what, former World Bank chief economist
Joseph Stiglitz characterized as "an even more radical form of shock therapy than pursued in the former Soviet world," as it completely reshaped Iraq's legal and economic regime to turn it into a Club Med for corporate interests.
The shock therapy was administered by Paul Bremer, who headed the Coalition Provisional Authority, through 100 separate Orders which suspended all tariffs and import fees (Order 12); immunized foreign contractors (Order 17); calls for the sale of 200 state owned enterprises through 40-year ownership licenses (Order 39); allowed foreign corporations to fully own Iraqi businesses and remove profits tax free (Order 39); cut corporate income taxes by two-thirds through a 15 percent flat tax (Order 49) and even restricts Iraqi farmers from using certain seeds without paying a license fee to seed suppliers such as Monsanto (Order 81). >>>>cont

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