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Saturday, June 27, 2009

S.C. governor says he won't resign because King David didn't...

When South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford disappeared, his wife hoped he was really hiking on the Appalachian Trail as his staff had claimed. Like the rest of America, she was stunned to find out he had dared to go to Argentina to see his mistress, a trip she told him not to take.
"He was told in no uncertain terms not to see her," Jenny Sanford said in a strong, steady voice as she sat in her oceanfront living room Friday. "I was hoping he was on the Appalachian Trail. But I was not worried about his safety. I was hoping he was doing some real soul searching somewhere and devastated to find out it was Argentina. It's tragic."
In her first extended comments on the affair, Sanford recalled how her husband repeatedly sought permission to visit his lover in the months after she discovered his infidelity. LinkHere
Pot Calling Kettle Black: They Bashed Clinton
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is the latest member of the ever-growing club of politicians who have strayed from their wives, as well as the latest in the ever-growing list of politicians who were indignant over President Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky and demanded he either resign or be impeached.
n 1998, Sanford was a Republican congressman from South Carolina when he demanded "moral clarity" from Clinton and called on him to resign. "Very damaging stuff. This one's pretty cut and dried," Sanford told The Post and Courier in September 1998. "I think it would be much better for the country and for him personally [to resign]." So far, Sanford has not indicated that he has any plans to resign as governor.
Sanford is not alone in having his actions contrast with his outrage over Clinton's actions. LinkHere

In Solidarity with the Iranian People!

Bernard-Henri Lévy, 06.27.2009
Today the Iranian people are gagged. Today the Iranian people are counting their dead, their wounded, and the disappeared. Today Iranians' most fundamental rights are systematically and brutally violated. LinkHere

"Today Show" Interviews Couple Whose Dog Raised 3 Tiger Cubs

The "Today Show" interviewed the couple whose golden retriever raised three white-striped tiger cubs at their Kansas zoo for an update on how the cubs are doing. The tigers are no longer living in the house; they have their own enclosure with a pool.
The tiger cubs, although they're more like 'tiger teens' today, eat chicken and meat every day, and are enjoying their final days playing with their adopted mother because very soon they'll be too big, and, really, who knows how long this truce in the eternal struggle between cats and dogs can last. The tigers will turn one year old next month. LinkHere

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Farrah Fawcett Dies At 62

Hollywood Tributes Pour In For Farrah: Ryan, Fellow 'Angels,' Hef, Lee Majors,
The angels are in mourning. LinkHere

Michael Jackson -- Cardiac Arrest
We've just learned Michael Jackson was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Los Angeles ... and we're told it was cardiac arrest and that paramedics administered CPR in the ambulance.
He was picked up at his home around 20 minutes ago -- we're told his mother is on the way to visit him.
UPDATE: The 911 call came in at 12:21PM at his Holmby Hills home in L.A.
UPDATE: A Jackson family member tells TMZ Michael is in "really bad shape" and the brothers are headed to UCLA.

Things are bad when the most normal governor of the last decade was Jesse Ventura.

Rumors of a possible compromise circulate

Mehdi Noorbaksh, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, emails a message to TehranBureau: "There is a possibility, and I am saying a possibility, for a compromise on the election result among the involved parties in Iran in the next couple of days. I received a call from Iran late last night indicating that there is a possibility for a runoff between Mousavi and Ahmadinejad. There are a few points that we should consider in this context."
His full message is here.

Latest news from Al Jazeera's Iran desk - 0700GMT 25 Jun 09

Boycotting caviar

One of the leading European importers of Iranian caviar, Hague-based Persian Caviar, has decided to boycott the product, France Soir reports (in French).
"I will not give any more money to a regime that is massacring my people," said Hossein Akef, the Iranian director of the company.
Persian Caviar, which sells about €400,000-€450,000 in Iranian caviar a year, will continue to import the luxury food item from other Caspian Sea countries, "all of which are also good," Akef said. LinkHere

I will be sending up green balloons for Neda and all protestors!!!!

For Neda and all protestors

Solidarity. We noted earlier that Mousavi was calling on supporters to release green balloons tomorrow and take video or photos of the scene. NIAC translated the Mousavi Facebook message:
Ok, now all the world are going to show their supports to Iranians... This Friday, We all are going to send GREEN BALLOONS to the sky to show that now ALL PEOPLE OF THE WORLD ARE IRANIAN. On 9/11 everybody was American, NOW THE WORLD IS IRANIAN."

The doctor who tried to save Neda.

Via reader Margarita, BBC just posted a 20-minute video interview with Dr. Arash Hejazi, who is studying at a university in the south of England, and who tried to save Neda's life after she was shot in Tehran.
Dr Hejazi also told how passers-by then seized an armed Basij militia volunteer who appeared to admit shooting Ms Soltan.
Dr Hejazi said he had not slept for three nights following the incident, but he wanted to speak out so that her death was not in vain.
He doubted that he would be able to return to Iran after talking openly about Ms Soltan's killing. [...]
"They are going to denounce what I am saying. They are going to put so many things on me. I have never been in politics. I am jeopardising my situation because of the innocent look in her (Neda's) eyes."

And cartoonist Darnell Wilburn writes,
I used to work as an editorial cartoonist for a small newspaper but since moved away from it. Now, I only draw when I'm really struck by a story. And this one has got my attention. I sent this cartoon to the Post last night but I don't know that it made it through the filters. So I'm sending it to you, as it seems you'd be the most relevant channel right now. I just wanted to express my support for their cause in the most honest way I can.

It's Obama

Iran Parliament Members Snub Ahmadinejad
9:20 AM ET -- Ahmadinejad lashes out, compares Obama to Bush. "President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused Barack Obama on Thursday of behaving like his predecessor toward Iran and said there was not much point in talking to Washington unless the U.S. president apologized."
Obama said on Tuesday he was "appalled and outraged" by a post-election crackdown and Washington withdrew invitations to Iranian diplomats to attend U.S. Independence Day celebrations on July 4 -- stalling efforts to improve ties with Tehran.
"Mr Obama made a mistake to say those things ... our question is why he fell into this trap and said things that previously (former U.S. President George W.) Bush used to say," the semi-official Fars News Agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.
"Do you want to speak with this tone? If that is your stance then what is left to talk about ... I hope you avoid interfering in Iran's affairs and express your regret in a way that the Iranian nation is informed of it," he said.

One of the more insightful voices on Iran, Reza Aslan of the University of California Santa Barbara, appeared last night on the Daily Show. "Thank god for Barack Obama," he said.
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Reza Aslan
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJason Jones in Iran

Most university professors reportedly released. An Iranian journalist tweets (in Persian) that of the 70 faculty members who were arrested yesterday, 66 are freed while 4 are still detained.
Also, Demotix says one of its freelance photographers was released, and even given his camera back.

Just Another Politician With A Conservative Mind And A Liberal Penis

Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein bluffed about WMDs fearing Iranian arsenal, secret FBI files show

Source: NY Daily News
WASHINGTON - Saddam Hussein feared Iran's arsenal more than a U.S. attack, and even considered asking ex-President George W. Bush "to protect" Iraq from its neighbor, once secret FBI files show.
The FBI interrogations of the toppled tyrant - codename "Desert Spider" - were declassified after a Freedom of Information Act request. ...
Asked how he would have faced "fanatic" Iranian ayatollahs if Iraq had been proven toothless by UN weapons inspectors in 2003, Saddam said he would have cut a deal with Bush.
"Hussein replied Iraq would have been extremely vulnerable to attack from Iran and would have sought a security agreement with the U.S. to protect it from threats in the region," according to a 2004 FBI report among the declassified files.
Saddam also said the U.S. "used the 9/11 attack as a justification to attack Iraq" and "lost sight of the cause of 9/11."
The U.S. "was not Iraq's enemy," just its policies, Saddam explained.
Asked about WMDs, Saddam insisted: "We destroyed them. We told you."
"By God, if I had such weapons, I would have used them in the fight against the U.S," he added.

Lawyer: Spanish prosecution of Bush lawyers will proceed

The Spanish lawyer working to indict six former Bush administration attorneys for their roles in the US’s torture program says the case will go ahead in Spanish courts.
Gonzalo Boyé, a private lawyer in Spain, is working to indict the so-called “Bush Six” lawyers who gave the Bush administration its rationale for carrying out the systematic torture of terrorist suspects. The six are John Yoo, author of the “torture memos,” Douglas Feith, then a deputy defense secretary, Pentagon lawyer William Haynes II, former assistant attorney general Jay Bybee, and David Addington, a former chief of staff to then-Vice President Dick Cheney.
A recent decision by Spain’s parliament to re-work its “universal jurisdiction” rules (which allow human-rights crimes anywhere in the world to be prosecuted in Spanish courts) won’t stop the prosecution of six Bush administration lawyers, Boyé told Mother Jones magazine in an interview.
“Accountability is the first step toward deterrence,” Boyé told the magazine. “With criminal offenses like this, it is necessary to send a clear message: No one is above the law, no matter their intentions. The security of any country can only exist within the rule of law. The war on terror is no exception.”
Many Western countries have in recent years introduced the notion of “universal jurisdiction” into their laws. If a human-rights crime occurs and the local government does nothing about it, countries with universal jurisdiction can prosecute those crimes in their own legal systems. Two notable examples of such countries are Germany and Canada. LinkHere

Dianne Feinstein-Lead on "Difficult" Challenges

Chris Matthews And "Hardball" Panel Examine If There's A '2012 Republican Curse'

Diane Sawyer: ABC's Obama Special "Not An Infomercial"

Health Insurers Bilked Patients Of Billions Of Dollars: Senate Report
Ex-Insider: Industry Uses "Fear Tactics" To Slam Public Option

Health insurers have forced consumers to pay billions of dollars in medical bills that the insurers themselves should have paid, according to a report released yesterday by the staff of the Senate Commerce Committee.
The report was part of a multi-pronged assault on the credibility of private insurers by Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.). It came at a time when Rockefeller, President Obama and others are seeking to offer a public alternative to private health plans as part of broad health-care reform legislation. Health insurers are doing everything they can to block the public option.
At a committee hearing yesterday, three health-care specialists testified that insurers go to great lengths to avoid responsibility for sick people, use deliberately incomprehensible documents to mislead consumers about their benefits, and sell "junk" policies that do not cover needed care. Rockefeller said he was exploring "why consumers get such a raw deal from their insurance companies."
The star witness at the hearing was a former public relations executive for major health insurers whose testimony boiled down to this: Don't trust the insurers.
"The industry and its backers are using fear tactics, as they did in 1994, to tar a transparent and accountable -- publicly accountable -- health-care option," said Wendell Potter, who until early last year was vice president for corporate communications at the big insurer Cigna.
Potter said he worries "that the industry's charm offensive, which is the most visible part of duplicitous and well-financed PR and lobbying campaigns, may well shape reform in a way that benefits Wall Street far more than average Americans."
Insurers make paperwork confusing because "they realize that people will just simply give up and not pursue it" if they think they have been shortchanged, Potter said. LinkHere

FEMA Misspent Millions Intended For Katrina Victims

WASHINGTON — The Federal Emergency Management Agency ignored the law and misused millions of dollars to build two warehouses after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, according to government investigators.
Some of the money FEMA misused should have gone toward Katrina victims in Louisiana, according to a Homeland Security Inspector General report obtained by The Associated Press. The report is expected to be released Thursday.
"FEMA had no authority to use appropriated funds to construct the two buildings," the investigators said, adding that the agency violated a prohibition against agreeing to spend money without congressional authority.
In the summer of 2006, FEMA spent more than $7 million on two warehouses the agency said it needed to repair trailers and mobile homes used by disaster victims. One of the warehouses was paid for from federal disaster relief fund, which investigators say is not permitted. The other warehouse was paid for with proceeds from sales of travel trailers and mobile homes _ also not allowed.
The report says senior officials at FEMA rejected the proposals for these warehouses, but they were built anyway.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said this report confirms his ongoing concerns about FEMA's lax contracting policies.
"It shows, in this instance, FEMA's disregard for the law," said Thompson, who chairs the House Homeland Security committee. "This is another example of FEMA gone wild." LinkHere

Madam's arrest 'will shock' Hollywood

HOLLYWOOD gossip mags are honing in on a court case against a Florida woman said to watch over a list of clients and "A-list" call girls that will "shock" onlookers.
Michelle Braun has been alleged to have presided over a 70-strong stable of “the most expensive call girls in the world” commanding up to $60,000 a night out of her base in Boca Raton, Florida.
The case echoes that of infamous Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss, who in the ’90s named A-list stars such as Charlie Sheen among clientele that paid up to $14,000 a night for access to her girls.
Braun was caught by the FBI after flying a girl from Los Angeles to New York to meet an undercover agent.
She is believed to have banked more than $10 million since filling the void left by Fleiss’s arrest in 1997. LinkHere

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

GOP Spent $900,000 To Pay Coleman's Legal Bills

A national GOP committee spent more than $900,000 in May to help Norm Coleman pay his legal bills; a rival Democratic group raised more than $282,000 for Al Franken.
In another sign of the high stakes in Minnesota's disputed U.S. Senate election, Republicans are giving big donations to a national fundraising organization to help Norm Coleman fight to reclaim his seat.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee spent nearly $938,000 in May to help Coleman, with most of it going to pay legal bills to firms in Minneapolis and Washington. LinkHere

Holier Than Thou GOP Hypocrisy

He's a democrat, didn't you know, the dog!!!!

When does an embattled Republican suddenly become an embattled Democrat? When Fox News is covering him, of course.
The network known for its conservative leaning ran footage of Mark Sanford admitting to an extramarital affair on Wednesday with a Chyron identifying the South Carolina Republican -- near tears -- as a D, for Democrat
Media Matters has the screen grab on its site and notes that Fox News later changed Sanford's party affiliation to Republican.
But it's also worth adding that this is not the first time the network has misidentified a GOPer in the midst of acknowledging misconduct. When former congressman Mark Foley admitted to having problems with alcoholism -- after reports that he had behaved inappropriately with congressional pages -- Fox News also identified him as a Democrat.
There is, of course, a small danger to these quick journalistic missteps. They get repeated. Look, for instance at this Google News finding for "Mark Foley, D-Florida. LinkHere

North Korea Threatens To Wipe Out The U.S. "Once And For All"

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea accused Washington of seeking to "provoke a second Korean War" as the regime prepared to hold maritime military exercises off the eastern coast. U.S. and regional authorities were watching closely for signs that North Korea might fire short- or mid-range missiles during the June 25 to July 10 timeframe cited in a no-sail ban for military drills sent to Japan's Coast Guard.
North Korea had warned previously it would fire a long-range missile as a response to U.N. Security Council condemnation of an April rocket launch seen as a cover for its ballistic missile technology.
An underground nuclear test last month drew more Security Council action: a resolution seeking to clamp down on North Korea's trading of banned arms and weapons-related material by requiring U.N. member states to request inspections of ships carrying suspected cargo.
In a first test of the new resolution, a North Korean ship suspected of transporting illicit weapons was sailing off China's coast with a U.S. destroyer close behind.
The Kang Nam, which left the North Korean port of Nampo a week ago, is believed bound for Myanmar, South Korean and U.S. officials said. LinkHere

Neda's family forced out.

Via my colleague Stuart Whatley, the Guardian reports:
The Iranian authorities have ordered the family of Neda Agha Soltan out of their Tehran home after shocking images of her death were circulated around the world.
Neighbours said that her family no longer lives in the four-floor apartment building on Meshkini Street, in eastern Tehran, having been forced to move since she was killed. The police did not hand the body back to her family, her funeral was cancelled, she was buried without letting her family know and the government banned mourning ceremonies at mosques, the neighbours said. "We just know that they [the family] were forced to leave their flat," a neighbour said. The Guardian was unable to contact the family directly to confirm if they had been forced to leave.
How Neda Soltani became the face of Iran's struggle
Shortly after 5pm on Saturday afternoon, Hamed, an Iranian asylum seeker in the Netherlands, took a frantic call from a friend in Tehran.
"A girl has just been killed right next to me," the friend said. It had all ­happened quickly. A young woman, chatting on her mobile phone, had been shot in the chest. She faded before a doctor, who was on the scene, could do anything to help.
There was more. Hamed's friend, who does not want to be named, filmed the incident on his phone. Within moments the footage had lan
ded in Hamed's inbox. Five minutes later it was on YouTube and Facebook.
Within hours it had become one of the most potent threats faced by the ­Iranian regime in 30 years. LinkHere

Iran bans election protest footballers
Ali Karimi, Mehdi Mahdavikia and two others are 'retired' after sporting green wristbands in World Cup qualifier in Seoul
Their gesture attracted worldwide comment and drew the attention of football fans to Iran's political turmoil. Now the country's authorities have taken revenge by imposing life bans on players who sported green wristbands in a recent World Cup match in protest against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election.
According to the pro-government newspaper Iran, four players – Ali Karimi, 31, Mehdi Mahdavikia, 32, Hosein Ka'abi, 24 and Vahid Hashemian, 32 – have been "retired" from the sport after their gesture in last Wednesday's match against South Korea in Seoul.
They were among six players who took to the field wearing wristbands in the colour of the defeated opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, which has been adopted by demonstrators who believe the 12 June election was stolen.
Most of the players obeyed instructions to remove the armwear at half-time, but Mahdavikia wore his green captain's armband for the entire match. The four are also said to have been banned from giving media interviews. LinkHere

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sanford Lost and Found!!!!

Iranian Government imposes "Bullet Fee"

Sen. McCain on Obama Administration's Response to Iranian Protests

"Be quiet," said Klein. "You don't need to do this. You know? You know what you're doing is a self-indulgent at this point. Sen. McCain, if he's going to talk about this, should also talk about the fact that the United States supported Saddam Hussein in the Iran/Iraq war for eight years. Every one of those protesters out in the streets, every last one of them believes the United States supplied Saddam Hussein with the poison gas that has debilitated tens of thousands of Iranian men." LinkHere

Scarborough: McCain And Graham "Outrageous" On Iran, "Stunning"
Sen. John McCain has been attacking President Obama for not getting more involved in the post-election unrest in Iran. It's consistent with his belligerent position of the past two years. Other Republicans have joined in. Both McCain and South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) used the Sunday talks shows to argue that Obama hasn't done enough. On Monday, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough (a one-time Republican congressman himself) took the two senators to task.
This fool is a friking Congressman?

On And In Iran: Stewart Mocks American Media, Jason Jones Reports From Tehran

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Crisis in Iran
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJason Jones in Iran

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Crisis in Iran - Westerners Are to Blame
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJason Jones in Iran

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Jason Jones: Behind the Veil - Persians of Interest
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJason Jones in Iran

Whatever happens, the emperor has no clothes.

Whatever happens from this point on, nothing will ever be the same in Tehran.
Whatever happens, if the protest gains momentum or loses steam, if it ends up prevailing or if the regime succeeds in terrorizing it, he who should now only be called president-non-elect Ahmadinejad will only be an ersatz, illegitimate, weakened president.
Whatever happens, whatever the result of this crisis provoked two weeks ago by the enormity of a fraud that serious-minded people can no longer doubt, no Iranian leader can appear on the global scene, or in any negotiation with Obama, Sarkozy, or Merkel, without being haloed, not by the nimbus of light dreamed of by Ahmadinejad in his 2005 speech to the United Nations, but by the cloud of sulphur that crowns cheaters and butchers.
Whatever happens, the beautiful face of Neda Soltan, killed at point-blank range last Saturday by a Bassidj henchman, the images of kids beaten to death by the attack squadron and motorcycle infantry of the guardians of the revolution, the videos of the enormous protests, impressively calm and dignified, will have, via Twitter, circled both the cyberplanet and the planet.
Whatever happens, the emperor has no clothes.
Whatever happens, the regime of the ayatollahs is, in the greater or lesser long term, condemned to compromise or disappear.
We always forget that the other revolution--the first, which, 30 years ago, put this Iranian-style National Socialism into power--lasted almost a year: why would it be any different for this revolution, a democratic one concerned with what's right, which has also just taken the stage? The earth quakes in Tehran, and it is only, I'm willing to bet, the beginning.

First Nerd-in-Chief

Nerdy-Jock or a Jockey-Nerd?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Iran Falls to US PSYOPS

By Paul Craig Roberts
June 22, 2009 "Information Clearing House" -- -President Obama called on the Iranian government to allow protesters to control the streets in Tehran. Would Obama or any US president allow protesters to control the streets in Washington, D.C.?
There was more objective evidence that George W. Bush stole his two elections than there is at this time of election theft in Iran. But there was no orchestrated media campaign to discredit the US government.
On May 16, 2007, the London Telegraph reported that Bush regime official John Bolton
told the Telegraph that a US military attack on Iran would “be a ‘last option’ after economic sanctions and attempts to foment a popular revolution had failed.”
We are now witnessing in Tehran US “attempts to foment a popular revolution” in the guise of another CIA orchestrated “color revolution.” It is possible that splits among the mullahs themselves brought about by their rival ambitions will aid and abet what the Telegraph (May 27, 2007) reported were “CIA plans for a propaganda and disinformation campaign intended to destabilize, and eventually topple, the theocratic rule of the mullahs.” It is certainly a fact that the secularized youth of Tehran have played into the CIA’s hands.
The Mousavi protests have set up Iran either for a US puppet government or for a military strike. The mullahs are in a lose-lose situation. Even if the mullahs hold together and suppress the protests, the legitimacy of the Iranian government in the eyes of the outside world has been damaged. Obama’s diplomatic approach is over before it started. The neocons and Israel have won.
The US intervention and the orchestrated disinformation pumped out by the western media are so transparent that it is impossible to believe than any informed person or government is taken in. One cannot avoid the conclusion that the West wants the 1978 Iranian Revolution overthrown and intends to use deception or violence to achieve that goal.
It has become increasingly difficult to believe that facts and truth motivate the western news media. For the record, I would like to point out a few of the most obvious oversights, to use an euphemism, in the Iran reporting.
According to a wide variety of news sources (for example, London Telegraph, Yahoo News, The Globe and Mail, Asbarez.com, Politico), “Before the polling closed Mr. Mousavi declared himself ‘definitely the winner’ based on ‘all indications from all over Iran.’ He alleged widespread voting irregularities without giving specifics and hinted he was ready to challenge the final results.” Other news sources, which might not have been aware that the polls were kept open several hours beyond normal closing time in order to accommodate the turnout, reported that Mousavi made his victory claim the minute polls closed.
Mousavi’s premature claim of victory before polling was over or votes counted is clearly a preemptive move, the purpose of which is to discredit any other outcome. There is no other reason to make such a claim.
In Iran’s system, election fraud has no purpose, because a small select group of ruling mullahs select the candidates who are put on the ballot. If they don’t like an aspiring candidate, they simply don’t put him on the ballot. LinkHere

Iran Had a Democracy Before We Took It Away

Requires Adobe Acrobat
By Chris Hedges
June 22, 2009 "TruthDig" -- Iranians do not need or want us to teach them about liberty and representative government. They have long embodied this struggle. It is we who need to be taught. It was Washington that orchestrated the 1953 coup to topple Iran’s democratically elected government, the first in the Middle East, and install the compliant shah in power. It was Washington that forced Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, a man who cared as much for his country as he did for the rule of law and democracy, to spend the rest of his life under house arrest. We gave to the Iranian people the corrupt regime of the shah and his savage secret police and the primitive clerics that rose out of the swamp of the dictator’s Iran. Iranians know they once had a democracy until we took it away.
The fundamental problem in the Middle East is not a degenerate and corrupt Islam. The fundamental problem is a degenerate and corrupt Christendom. We have not brought freedom and democracy and enlightenment to the Muslim world. We have brought the opposite. We have used the iron fist of the American military to implant our oil companies in Iraq, occupy Afghanistan and ensure that the region is submissive and cowed. We have supported a government in Israel that has carried out egregious war crimes in Lebanon and Gaza and is daily stealing ever greater portions of Palestinian land. We have established a network of military bases, some the size of small cities, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Kuwait, and we have secured basing rights in the Gulf states of Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. We have expanded our military operations to Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Egypt, Algeria and Yemen. And no one naively believes, except perhaps us, that we have any intention of leaving.
We are the biggest problem in the Middle East. We have through our cruelty and violence created and legitimized the Mahmoud Ahmadinejads and the Osama bin Ladens. The longer we lurch around the region dropping iron fragmentation bombs and seizing Muslim land the more these monsters, reflections of our own distorted image, will proliferate. The theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote that “the most significant moral characteristic of a nation is its hypocrisy.” But our hypocrisy no longer fools anyone but ourselves. It will ensure our imperial and economic collapse. LinkHere
Meet Shah Ali Khamenei

By Pepe Escobar
June 22, 2009 "Asia Times" -- Amid blood in the streets, cries in the rooftops and daggers drawn at silky corridors, the 30-year-old Islamic Revolution in Iran has a date with destiny: the challenge is to finally celebrate the marriage of Islam and democracy.
Former president Mohammad Khatami, the man of the dialogue of civilizations, revealed once again his moral stature when he praised the massive silent street protests (before the bloody repression); and stressed that almost 40 million Iranian voters, including those who dispute the final, "official" result, are "the owners" of the revolution.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on the other hand, preferred to brand the sea of protestors as "terrorists".
Khatami also brushed off the leader of the Guardians Council, President Mahmud Ahmadinejad-friendly Ahmad Jannati, as "a referee who is under suspicion and complaint". The "only solution", said Khatami, to "settle the crisis in the best interests of the Iranian people and the principles of the revolution" would be for an impartial commission to fully examine the evidence for ballot rigging. Losing presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, for his part, depicted the work of such a commission as "a given right", capable of "achieving a new type of political life in the country".
As it stands, there's no evidence the theo-political oligarchy which has just solidified its power in Iran will even contemplate the possibility of appointing such a commission. LinkHere

Iran Clerical Rift Widens as Rafsanjani, Relatives Arrested

Struggle Among Iran Clerics Bursts Into the Open
Former Iranian President and current chairman of the Assembly of Experts Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has been an outspoken advocate of Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s since before the election, and it is unsurprising that he and his family have taken an active role in the post-election protests.
There was a time when Rafsanjani’s position would’ve made him and his family virtually untouchable, but as the rift between the more conservative clerics and the reformist ones continues to widen, it seems no one is immune to the potential crackdown, and several members of Rafsanjani’s family have been arrested for “provoking unrest.”
According to Iran’s state media, most of his relatives have already been released, but his daughter who has played a very public role in some of the protests, remains in custody. Prior to her arrest it had been reported that she and one of her brothers had been barred from leaving the country. LinkHere

In Iran, One Woman's Death May Have Many Consequences


Source: Time Magazine
Sunday, Jun. 21, 2009
In Iran, One Woman's Death May Have Many Consequences
By Robin Wright
Iran's revolution has now run through a full cycle. A gruesomely captivating video of a young woman — laid out on a Tehran street after apparently being shot, blood pouring from her mouth and then across her face — swept Twitter, Facebook and other websites this weekend. The woman rapidly became a symbol of Iran's escalating crisis, from a political confrontation to far more ominous physical clashes. Some sites refer to her as "Neda," Farsi for the voice or the call. Tributes that incorporate startlingly upclose footage of her dying have started to spring up on YouTube.
Although it is not yet clear who shot "Neda" (a soldier? pro-government militant? an accidental misfiring?), her death may have changed everything. For the cycles of mourning in Shiite Islam actually provide a schedule for political combat — a way to generate or revive momentum. Shiite Muslims mourn their dead on the third, seventh and 40th days after a death, and these commemorations are a pivotal part of Iran's rich history. During the revolution, the pattern of confrontations between the shah's security forces and the revolutionaries often played out in 40-day cycles. (See pictures of terror in the streets of Tehran.)
The first clashes in January 1978 produced two deaths that were then commemorated on the 40th day in mass gatherings, which in turn produced new confrontations with security forces — and new deaths. Those deaths then generated another 40-day period of mourning, new clashes, and further deaths. The cycle continued throughout most of the year until the shah's ouster in January 1979.
The same cycle has already become an undercurrent in Iran's current crisis. The largest demonstration, on Thursday of last week, was called by opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi to commemorate the deaths of protesters three days after they were killed. LinkHere

(Iran's) Guardian Council: Over 100% voted in 50 cities

I didn't know they had Diebold too.

Source: Press TV
Guardian Council: Over 100% voted in 50 cities
Sun, 21 Jun 2009 21:38:30 GMT
Iran's Guardian Council has admitted that the number of votes collected in 50 cities surpass the number of those eligible to cast ballot in those areas.
The council's Spokesman Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei, who was speaking on the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Channel 2 on Sunday, made the remarks in response to complaints filed by Mohsen Rezaei -- a defeated candidate in the June 12 Presidential election.
"Statistics provided by Mohsen Rezaei in which he claims more than 100% of those eligible have cast their ballot in 170 cities are not accurate -- the incident has happened in only 50 cities," Kadkhodaei said.
The spokesman, however, said that although the vote tally affected by such an irregularity is over 3 million, "it has yet to be determined whether the amount is decisive in the election results," reported Khabaronline. LinkHere

House Dems urge Obama to halt gay discharges from the military

Source: The Boston Globe
By Bryan Bender
WASHINGTON _ In the most vocal plea for the White House to take the lead in allowing gays to serve openly in the military, 76 Democratic lawmakers today urged President Obama to use his executive powers to order a halt to military discharges under the controversial "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law and work aggressively with Congress to pass new legislation to overturn what they describe as a discriminatory policy that harms national security.
"We urge you to exercise the maximum discretion legally possible in administering Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell until Congress repeals the law," states the letter, organized by Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Democrat of California. "To this end, we ask that you direct the Armed Services not to initiate any investigation of service personnel to determine their sexual orientation, and that you instruct them to disregard third party accusations that do not allege violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice."
A recent study by the Palm Center, a public policy think tank at the University of California, Santa Barbara, argued that Obama has the authority as commander-in-chief to suspend the gay discharge process through an executive order.
But only Congress can make a permanent change, by overturning the 1993 law that established the current policy -- which stipulates that gays and lesbians can serve in uniform only if their sexual orientation remains secret. And so far, virtually no Republicans in the House of Representatives or Senate have expressed a willingness to overturn the law, while many conservative Democrats are also considered wary of doing so. LinkHere

NYT Poll Indicates Even Republicans Back Public Option

A new poll by a nonpartisan, D.C.-based research group finds truly overwhelming support for the public option. The kicker: The poll was bankrolled partly by previous opponents of health care reform, including one of the nation's best-known insurance companies.
The poll -- which was just released by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a D.C. policy think tank -- finds that a majority (53%) strongly back the availability of a public plan, while another 30% "somewhat" support it. That's a total of 83% in favor of a public plan -- a staggeringly large majority.
Unless my eyes deceive me, these results show that even half of those deficit-hawking, spending-averse Republicans support a public health care option. Perhaps they recognize the need for it! Perhaps they are living their free market values, confident that no one will partake in a government plan that hews to the traditional inefficiencies about which they've always warned. Regardless, these are the truly eye-popping numbers. And yet, the press insists on torturing another set of poll results, pretending that the public option isn't that popular. LinkHere
More than 33,000 people have already signed our online petition since we launched it on Friday -- but we'd love to have your support as well. With private insurance lobbyists roaming the Capitol, trying to stop real health care reform, the time to act is now. We need you to make your voice heard. LinkHere
"Ed Show" Panel Discusses How Democrats Are Blocking Democrats On Health Care Reform

Conrad Moves Closer To Public Health Care After Negotiations
Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) moved sharply toward public health care Monday, saying that he could "absolutely" support major parts of Sen. Chuck Schumer's compromise proposal for a public option after closed-door negotiations. LinkHere

Ain't JUSTICE grand

Supreme Court Ends Plame Lawsuit Against Cheney
The Supreme Court will not revive a lawsuit that former CIA operative Valerie Plame brought against former members of the Bush administration.
The court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from Plame and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson.
A lower court last year threw out the lawsuit in which Plame and Wilson accused former Vice President Dick Cheney and several former high-ranking administration officials of revealing her identity to reporters in 2003. Plame and Wilson said that violated their constitutional rights.
The lawsuit named former presidential adviser Karl Rove; Cheney's former top aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby; and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said that Plame and Wilson did not meet the legal standard for constitutional claims, in part because the lawsuit hinges on alleged violations of the Privacy Act _ a law that does not cover the president or the vice president's offices. LinkHere

How's that?

Goldman to make record bonus payout

Staff at Goldman Sachs staff can look forward to the biggest bonus payouts in the firm's 140-year history after a spectacular first half of the year, sparking concern that the big investment banks which survived the credit crunch will derail financial regulation reforms.
A lack of competition and a surge in revenues from trading foreign currency, bonds and fixed-income products has sent profits at Goldman Sachs soaring, according to insiders at the firm.
Staff in London were briefed last week on the banking and securities company's prospects and told they could look forward to bumper bonuses if, as predicted, it completed its most profitable year ever. Figures next month detailing the firm's second-quarter earnings are expected to show a further jump in profits. Warren Buffett, who bought $5bn of the company's shares in January, has already made a $1bn gain on his investment.
Goldman is expected to be the biggest winner in the race for revenues that, in 2006, reached £186bn across the entire industry. While this figure is expected to fall to £160bn in 2009, it will be split among a smaller number of firms. LinkHere

Wall Street Hikes Salaries For Top Bankers
Bankers’ pay soars in attempt to halt exodus


Confidential memo reveals US plan to provoke an invasion of Iraq

A confidential record of a meeting between President Bush and Tony Blair before the invasion of Iraq, outlining their intention to go to war without a second United Nations resolution, will be an explosive issue for the official inquiry into the UK's role in toppling Saddam Hussein.
The memo, written on 31 January 2003, almost two months before the invasion and seen by the Observer, confirms that as the two men became increasingly aware UN inspectors would fail to find weapons of mass destruction (WMD) they had to contemplate alternative scenarios that might trigger a second resolution legitimising military action.
Bush told Blair the US had drawn up a provocative plan "to fly U2 reconnaissance aircraft painted in UN colours over Iraq with fighter cover". Bush said that if Saddam fired at the planes this would put the Iraqi leader in breach of UN resolutions.
The president expressed hopes that an Iraqi defector would be "brought out" to give a public presentation on Saddam's WMD or that someone might assassinate the Iraqi leader. However, Bush confirmed even without a second resolution, the US was prepared for military action. The memo said Blair told Bush he was "solidly with the president". LinkHere
In Case you missed it.!!!!!!!
The Best Enemies Money Can Buy

From Hitler To Saddam Hussein to Osama bin Laden - Insider Connections and the Bush Family's Partnership with Killers of Americans

Brown Brothers, Harriman - BNL- and the Carlyle Group

GOV'T seeks to limit Geronimo heirs' lawsuit against Skull & Bones fraternity.

Justice Dept. asks judge to drop Obama from suit filed by Geronimo’s heirs
The U.S. Department of Justice asked a federal judge to limit the scope of a lawsuit filed by the descendants of legendary Apache warrior Geronimo.
The suit, which names President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates along with Yale University and the secretive Order of the Skull & Bones fraternity, aims to have Geronimo’s physical remains and personal effects transported from Fort Sill, Oklahoma, to southern New Mexico for a proper tribal burial.
The Justice Department’s brief, filed with the U.S. District Court for Washington, D.C. on June 10, seeks to remove the president and defense secretary from the suit.
The suit alleges that members of the Order of the Skull & Bones fraternity, whose members are among the most powerful and wealthy in American history, stole some of Geronimo’s remains and moved them in secret to New Haven, Connecticut. It is rumored that a group of bonesmen, allegedly including Prescott Bush — a former U.S. Senator whose son and grandson were both Republican presidents — dug up Geronimo’s grave in 1918 and brought his skull to the society’s clubhouse. LinkHere

"Her name was Neda."

Neda's Memorial Service Canceled On Orders Of Authorities

NEDA before she was shot

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Obama Gives First-Ever Interview By US President To Pakistani Media

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama, in an exclusive interview to Dawn, has said that he believes the Pakistani state is strong enough to win the military offensive against the extremists.
In this first-ever one-on-one interview by any US president to the Pakistani media, Mr Obama assured the Pakistani nation that he has no desire to seize Pakistan’s nuclear weapons or send US troops inside the country.
The US president also emphasised the need for resuming the dialogue process between India and Pakistan, which was stalled after the Mumbai terrorist attacks in November last year.
The interview covered a wide-range of subjects — from the controversy involving the Iranian presidential election to Mr Obama’s speech in Cairo earlier this month in which he called for a new beginning between the Muslim and the Western worlds.
The venue, the White House diplomatic room with murals of early settlers, brought out the importance of Mr Obama’s historic victory in last year’s general election.
Close to the murals — under the watchful eyes of George Washington — sat a man who overcame gigantic hurdles to become America’s first non-White president.
Here was a man tasked with finding a graceful end to two unpopular wars — in Iraq and Afghanistan — and to steer America, and the rest of the world, out of an unprecedented economic crisis.
Yet, when he strolled into this oval-shaped room, Mr Obama seemed completely at ease with himself. Tall and slim, the 47-year-old US president had the youngish looks of a man who works out daily.
He walked straight towards the camera, greeting everyone, shook hands, occupied the chair reserved for him, and started talking about how he had a special affection for Pakistan and its people.
Asked to comment on Ayatollah Khamenei’s statement that the US was interfering in Iran’s internal affairs, Mr Obama said what’s happening in Iran was remarkable. ‘To see hundreds of thousands of people in peaceful protest against an election that obviously raised a lot of doubts tells us that this is an issue that the Iranian people care deeply about.’
The US and the West, he said, had been very clear that this was not an issue between the West and Iran; this was an issue about the Iranian people seeking justice and wanting to make sure that their voices were heard.
‘And it’s unfortunate that there are some inside Iran and inside that government that want to use the West and the United States as an excuse,’ he said.
‘We respect Iran’s sovereignty, but we also are witnessing peaceful demonstrations, people expressing themselves, and I stand for that universal principle that people should have a voice in their own lives and their own destiny. And I hope that the international community recognises that we need to stand behind peaceful protests and be opposed to violence or repression.’
Mr Obama said that since there were no international observers in Iran, he could not say if the elections were fair or unfair. ‘But beyond the election, what’s clear is that the Iranian people are wanting to express themselves. And it is critical, as they seek justice and they seek an opportunity to express themselves, that that’s respected and not met with violence.’
‘Your speech in Cairo indeed was a speech that created a lot of stir, both in the US and in the Muslim world. Was it the beginning of something bigger to come, or was it just a one-off thing? He was asked.
‘No, I think that this is going to be a sustained process. As I said in Cairo, one speech is not going to transform policies and relationships throughout the Middle East or throughout the world,’ Mr Obama responded.
‘But what I wanted to do was to describe very clearly that the United States not only respects Muslim communities around the world but that there’s an opportunity for I think a new day, where there’s mutual understanding, mutual tolerance; where the United States is seen as somebody who stands with people in their daily aspirations for an education for their children, for good jobs, for economic development,’ he said.
‘And just as the United States at times has, I think, not fully understood what’s happening in Muslim communities, sometimes there have been countries that haven’t understood the rich history of Muslims in America,’ he added.
‘As I mentioned in that speech, it was Morocco that was the first nation to recognise the United States. We have Muslim Americans who are doing extraordinary things. In fact, their educational attainment and income is generally above the average here in the United States. We have Muslim members of Congress. And, in fact, we have 5 million Muslims, which would make us larger than many other countries that consider themselves Muslim countries.’
Mr Obama then explained how he plans to further expand the peace process he introduced in Cairo.
‘So what we want to do is just begin to open up a dialogue around which we can constructively work together to deal with significant issues,’ he said, acknowledging that ‘part one of those issues is the issue of the Middle East.’
Mr Obama explained that he has been ‘very aggressive’ in saying that Israelis and Palestinians have to resolve their differences and create two states that can live side by side in peace and security.
He said he also has put forward a special envoy, George Mitchell, a former majority leader of the US Senate, to work with the parties involved.
‘But part of the key is also to isolate the extremists who have been wreaking havoc around the world. And we’re seeing that now in Pakistan, and I think the Pakistani government and the people of Pakistan recognise that the kind of mindless violence that we’ve been seeing, that that cannot be the answer to long-term prosperity.’
His comments led to a larger discussion on Pakistan and the issues confronting this nation of 170 million people.
‘Some people say that it is still too early to push Pakistan into a military offensive in South Waziristan; that the Pakistan army, and the Pakistani state, is not strong enough to win this war and that it may break up the country.
What do you say?’
‘Well, let me make two points. Number one, nobody can or should push the Pakistani government. The Pakistani government is accountable to the people of Pakistan,’ said Mr Obama.
‘I think the Pakistani government and the people of Pakistan recognise that when you have extremists who are assassinating moderate clerics like Dr Naeemi, when you have explosions that are killing innocent women and children, that that can’t be the path for development and prosperity for Pakistan,’ he said.
‘And so there’s been a decision that’s made that we support, that the Pakistani military and the Pakistani government will not stand by idly as extremists attempt to disrupt the country,’ Mr Obama said.
‘But ultimately these are decisions to be made by the Pakistani government and the Pakistani people. What the United States believes is, is that we are a partner in the process of peace-loving nations seeking to root out extremism, increase development, and that is the kind of role that we want to play with Pakistan.’
‘Do you believe the Pakistani state is strong enough to win this war?’
‘I have confidence in the Pakistani people and the Pakistani state in resolving differences through a democratic process and to isolate extremists. Dating back to Jinnah, Pakistan has always had a history of overcoming difficulties. There’s no reason why it can’t overcome those difficulties today,’ Mr Obama said.
‘Going back to what we discussed about the Muslim world, there are issues that are too difficult even to discuss – for instance, the Indians don’t even want the ‘K’ word (Kashmir) to be mentioned to them. In your inaugural speech you did mention Kashmir and after that it had been absent from your statements and those of other officials in your administration. Why?’ he was asked.
‘I don’t think that we’ve been silent on the fact that India is a great friend of the United States and Pakistan is a great friend of the United States, and it always grieves us to see friends
fighting. And we can’t dictate to Pakistan or India how they should resolve their differences, but we know that both countries would prosper if those differences are resolved,’ said Mr Obama.
‘And I believe that there are opportunities, maybe not starting with Kashmir but starting with other issues, that Pakistan and India can be in a dialogue together and over time to try to reduce tensions and find areas of common interest,’ he said. LinkHere
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