Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Edwards Challenge

The Democratic presidential primary contest has turned into the Hillary versus Obama show. But John Edwards keeps trying to elbow his way into the room. He took the opportunity of a John McCain speech--in which McCain again declared his support for George W. Bush's escalation in Iraq--to pressure (or try to pressure) HRC and Barack Obama. In a statement, Edwards declared,

McCain and Bush are brazenly trying to claim that Congress is failing to provide our soldiers the resources they need. Nothing could be further from the truth. Congress funded the troops. If the President vetoes that funding, he's the only one responsible for blocking funding for the troops. And John McCain knows that.

I have urged Congress to stand up to the President's veto threat, rather than back down in a false game of chicken. If he does veto funding for our troops, Congress should send the same bill right back to him. And they should do this again and again, until the President finally understands that he cannot reject the will of the overwhelming majority American people.

We must end the conflict in Iraq, and force the Iraqis and their neighbors to find a political solution to the conflict. The plan I announced months ago would cap funding at 100,000 troops to stop the McCain Doctrine of escalation and force an immediate withdrawal of 40-50,000 troops followed by a complete withdrawal in 12-18 months. Under my plan, complete withdrawal is not just a goal," it is a requirement backed by Congress' funding power.
Will Obama and Clinton also insist that Congress send Bush the same Iraq war supplemental bill (which includes timetables, conditions, and a deadline for withdrawal) over and over until the president bends? They haven't yet--and there's no indication either will strike such a defiant stance. Edwards is trying to establish a high bar--one that will separate him from Obama and Clinton on the war. Of course, it's easier for Edwards, who is no longer a senator, to take this position than Obama and Clinton. Still, he's essentially asking, who's the leading Democratic candidate most vigorous in his or her opposition to the war? He wants to be seen as that man.

Posted by David Corn at April 11, 2007 03:41 PM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

I think Edwards is right to use every advantage. Even not currently holding office. I think Kucinich or Richardson has a better position as anti-war candidates.



capt said...

Ancient Mega-Lake Discovered in Darfur

Scientists using radar techniques have peeled away the sandy cloak blanketing Darfur’s parched landscape to reveal an ancient basin that once housed a mega-lake larger than Lake Erie.

"When you go into these deserts and you look at the land, it’s so dry and lifeless you think there has never been anything alive there. Then you look in the past, and you see there were rivers and lakes," said study team member Farouk El-Baz, director of Boston University Center for Remote Sensing.

Dubbed the Northern Darfur Mega-lake, the large pool of water is estimated to have sprawled over nearly 12,000 square miles during its heyday, with 600 cubic miles of water when filled to the brim.


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Too cool not to share, eh?


capt said...

As I always post the quotes from ICH today I am posting the whole newsletter:

"Our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators. Your wealth has been stripped of you by unjust men... The people of Baghdad shall flourish under institutions which are in consonance with their sacred laws." (General F.S. Maude, commander of British forces in Iraq, 1917)

"Peoples of Egypt, you will be told that I have come to destroy your religion. Do not believe it! Reply that I have come to restore your rights!" (Napoleon Bonaparte, 1798)

If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law: Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849


Click here for text only version of the site (great for dialup users)!


Read this newsletter online

Number Of Iraqi Civilians Slaughtered In America's War On Iraq - At Least 655,000 + +

Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In America's War On Iraq 3,294

The War in Iraq Costs

See the cost in your community


Divide and Rule - America's Plan for Baghdad

By Robert Fisk

Faced with an ever-more ruthless insurgency in Baghdad - despite President George Bush's "surge" in troops - US forces in the city are now planning a massive and highly controversial counter-insurgency operation that will seal off vast areas of the city, enclosing whole neighbourhoods with barricades and allowing only Iraqis with newly issued ID cards to enter.


Iraqis Finally Unite-Against the U.S.

By Robert Scheer

You have to hand it to Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., for having the chutzpah to cite the fiercely anti-American rally that dominated the anniversary of Iraq's fourth year of U.S. occupation as evidence that the troop "surge" is working. As opposed to Lieberman, who continues to act as Bush's overeager lap dog, his masters in the White House knew better than to celebrate at this depressing moment.


Iacocca: Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

By Lee Iacocca with Catherine Whitney

Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. .


The Great American Catalyzing Event

By Manuel Valenzuela

Let us become the giant wave that will inevitably come crashing down upon the shores of the system and the people that hold its levers. Let us change, alter or abolish the system, let us return and restore the nation to the People, let us finally, and emphatically, join hands in unison in pursuit of a better tomorrow, using strength in numbers to defeat strength through wealth.


Alberto Gonzales is a Symptom

By William Sumner Scott, J.D.

He refuses to resign. His explanation is that he has worked too hard to surrender. After all, he gave up a Texas Supreme Court Judgeship for the opportunity to engage in this morass.


Iraq: At least 15 killed as U.S. occupation grinds on:

Gunmen killed Abdul Abbas Hashim, a general director in the Electricity Ministry, along with his driver in a drive-by shooting in northern Baghdad, police and the Electricity Ministry said


U.S. says 14 gunmen killed in Baghdad battle:

Four Iraqi soldiers were killed and 16 U.S. soldiers wounded in the fighting, including an Apache pilot, U.S. military spokesman Major General William Caldwell said, giving new details of the operation at a news briefing in Baghdad.


Myth of Tal Afar, beacon of American 'success' :

Pity the city that becomes a symbol of US success in Iraq. Last year,Tal Afar in the north-east of the country was being lauded in Washington as the one place where the US had brought peace. Perhaps the same prescription might work elsewhere in Iraq.


Iraq situation 'ever worsening' :

The situation for civilians in Iraq is "ever worsening", the International Committee of the Red Cross says.


Iraq cleric's group threatens government pull-out:

The political movement of Iraqi Shi'ite cleric and militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr threatened on Wednesday to pull out of the government to press their demand for a timetable for a U.S. troop withdrawal.


Now the South Erupts:

The eruption of demonstrations in the south of Iraq this week could rob the occupation forces of what was considered a critical bastion of support.


Breaking: Double the Troops in "Surge":

A new study by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says the real troop increase could be as high as 48,000 -- more than double the number the President initially said.


War pimp alert

EXCLUSIVE: Pentagon to Extend Service for All Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan:

Active-Duty Tours to Go to 15 Months Instead of 12 Months


Military spending soars to keep troops in the service:

The struggle to entice Army soldiers and Marines to stay in the military, after four years of war in Iraq, has ballooned into a $1 billion campaign, with bonuses soaring nearly sixfold since 2003


Medical crews airlifted 850 wounded in March:

Air Force planes and medical crews airlifted more than 850 wounded and injured servicemen out of war zones during March, according to the Air Force. In February, the Air Force flew out 767 patients.


Standing on the bodies:

McCain Assails Democrats On Iraq War:

Republican presidential contender John McCain on Wednesday called the four-year conflict in Iraq "necessary and just" and accused anti-war Democrats, including their leading White House candidates, of recklessness.


War pimp alert:

U.S. says Iraqi militiamen being trained in Iran; :

The general would not say specifically which arm of the Iranian government was doing the training but called the trainers ''surrogates'' of Iran's intelligence agency.


Iran offers 'proof' of CIA torture :

Iranian state television has shown officials from the Interational Committee of the Red Cross examining an Iranian diplomat who has accused the CIA of torturing him while he was detained in Iraq.


Iranian envoy wounds 'confirmed' :

The head of the International Red Cross in Tehran says he saw wounds on an Iranian diplomat who has alleged that US forces in Iraq tortured him.


Iran defence drill angers Moscow:

Moscow has expressed its annoyance to Tehran over an Iranian air defence exercise near a Russian-built nuclear plant, Russia's Foreign Ministry has said.


Russia threatening new cold war over missile defence:

Kremlin accuses US of deception on east European interceptor bases,,2054142,00.html


480 US nuclear warheads in Europe :

A documentary aired on Italian TV channel, RAI 24, has claimed that the U.S. military is keeping 480 nuclear warheads across Europe, 90 in Italy.§ionid=3510206


26 dead in Afghanistan airstrike, explosions:

US-led coalition and Afghan troops called in warplanes after Taliban rebels attacked them with mortars and rockets in the troubled Sangin district of southern Helmand province, the coalition said.


Nine Taliban killed in clashes in occupied Afghanistan:

Nine suspected Taliban were killed in a series of clashes in southern Afghanistan, while Afghan and US-led coalition forces captured two militants in the south-eastern province of Pakitika, officials said on Wednesday.


Murder of 8 Afghan Civilians leads to firing of Spec ops commander:

The firings occurred April 3, one month after members of the company allegedly killed eight civilians after a Marine convoy was ambushed by a car bomb in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province.


Probe finds that Marines accused of killing Afghan civilians used excessive force:

The initial investigation of the March 4 incident, in which up to a dozen Afghan civilians are reported to have died, concluded that the Marines' response was "out of proportion to the threat that was immediately there," a senior defense official said Wednesday.


U.S. citizen says FBI ordered his torture :

Jack Idema is the last of three U.S. citizens imprisoned in Afghanistan for running a private prison. Idema said they were hunting terrorists as part of a mission sanctioned by U.S. counterterrorism officials - a claim that U.S. officials have denied.


White House Considers War Overseer :

The Washington Post reported that the White House has approached at least three retired four-star generals in recent weeks, but they have declined to be considered for the position,,-6549473,00.html


23 dead in 2 bombings in Algeria: -

According to Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera, a spokesman for al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying they were carried out by three suicide bombers in trucks packed with explosives.


3 Killed As Fighting Delays Somalia Peace Talks :

On Tuesday, Hussein Aden Korgab, a Hawiye clan spokesman, said that a local assessment team had counted 1,086 people killed in four days of fighting that began on March 29.


10% of Palestinian children have lasting malnutrition effects :

About 10 percent of Palestinian children suffer permanent effects from malnutrition, according to a survey published Wednesday, a result of widespread poverty in the West Bank and Gaza.


Palestinians Need 1 Billion Euros, Minister Tells EU:

Palestinian Authority economy minister Salaam Fayad told the European Union Wednesday that his government needs 1-billion euros in international aid to "get back on our feet.


Want benefits? Prove Nazis caused your disability :

"We have been humiliated and trampled," Holocaust survivors told the Knesset yesterday, during a special hearing by the Knesset lobby for Holocaust survivors on what they called their poor treatment by the treasury.


Closed 1967 Senate protocols reveal bids to pressure Israel :

Senator William J. Fulbright is quoted as saying, "The trouble is they [the Jews] think they have control of the Senate and they can do as they please."


Palestinian family must wait in jail for case hearing:

While their case remains uncertain, 56-year-old Radi Hazahza and his four adult children Mirvat, 24; Hisham, 23; Suzi, 19; and Ahmad, 18 wait in a West Texas detention center where they say they've been mistreated.


Castro Slams U.S. Release Of Ex-CIA Agent:

Letter Accuses Washington Of Freeing "Monster" Wanted In Cuba, Venezuela For Terrorism


Fidel Castro: Court Ruling in Favor of Posada Carriles is a Brutal Reply :

George W. Bush is undoubtedly the most genuine representative of a system of terror forced on the world by the technological, economic and political superiority of the most powerful country known to this planet.


US renews terror caution:

"These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics to include assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings and bombings."


Spy chief wants expanded powers:

President Bush's spy chief is pushing to expand the government's surveillance authority at the same time the administration is under attack for stretching its domestic eavesdropping powers.


IMF Cuts U.S. Growth Forecast:

The International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for U.S. economic growth in 2007 to 2.2 percent, the slowest expansion in five years, on a weakening housing market.


Recession 2007 :

It seems increasingly clear that we will see a US recession this year. The main reason for this is that the housing bubble that fueled the recovery of the last few years has essentially burst.


Defaults Rise in Next Level of Mortgages :

Some of the problems afflicting mortgages sold to borrowers with weak, or subprime, credit increasingly appear to be cropping up in loans made to homeowners who were thought to be less risky.


Citigroup set to announce heavy job cuts: reports :

Global banking behemoth Citigroup is on the verge of announcing a major overhaul of its operations that will see over 26,000 jobs eliminated or reassigned, according to US media reports Tuesday.


Libby supporters in Republican Jewish Coalition attack Pelosi :

This is truly shameful. The Republican Jewish Coalition, a GOP front group, is doing a swiftboating of Nancy Pelosi


Hillary's pathetic ploy: Sen.

Hillary Clinton's decision to co-sponsor a bill to make it a crime to burn the American flag amounts to political pandering of the worst kind.


Electronic voting machines dumped:

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Monday to revert back to the old paper ballot voting methods here, dumping the new electronic voting machines after just a few elections.


Imus And Beyond:

Imus has a long and sordid history of trafficking in racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia. And a lot of people who consider themselves reputable-both Democratic and Republican politicians, political consultants, journalists and pundits-have shacked up in this seedy AM radio motel as if it were a five-star forum for serious political discourse.


Monsanto's GM corn MON863 shows kidney, liver toxicity in animal studies:

A variety of genetically modified corn that was approved for human consumption in 2006 caused signs of liver and kidney toxicity as well as hormonal changes in rats


Peace & Joy
Tom Feeley

David B. Benson said...

A certain General Caldwell is accusing Iran of aiding Iraqi militants with arms and training inside Iran.

Hoo boy...

capt said...

Panel demands documents in prosecutor firings

Democrats subpoenaed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Tuesday for more documents, escalating their fight with the Bush administration over the firings of eight U.S. attorneys.

The subpoena, issued a week before Gonzales is to testify under oath before Congress about the dismissals, seeks hundreds of documents either withheld or heavily blacked out by his department. The subpoena sets a Monday deadline for Gonzales to produce the documents.

‘‘We have been patient in allowing the department to work through its concerns regarding the sensitive nature of some of these materials,’’ House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., wrote Gonzales in a letter accompanying the subpoena. ‘‘Unfortunately, the department has not indicated any meaningful willingness to find a way to meet our legitimate needs.’’

He characterized the subpoena as a last resort after weeks of negotiations with Justice over documents and e-mails the committee wants in its pursuit of whether any of the firings were improper.


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Reading the demands for documents from the Judiciary Committee - I find they use a polite but firm demand for immediate response. I could not find any that mentioned a date certain. Subpoenas on the other hand . . .


capt said...

Democrats turn up heat on Gonzales


On the House side, Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (news, bio, voting record) on Tuesday issued a subpoena for hundreds of Justice Department documents that must be turned over by next Monday, less than 24 hours before Gonzales is scheduled to explain his role in the firings to the Senate Judiciary Committee in what is widely considered a last chance to save his job.

There's more where that came from, as the White House tries to balance its stated desire to be forthcoming about the firings with its fierce protection of internal documents.

The Senate panel is expected to keep up the pressure by authorizing subpoenas Thursday to compel cooperation from White House officials. On Friday, the House and Senate committees will again question Kyle Sampson, Gonzales' former chief of staff who quit over the scandal. That session, unlike Sampson's public testimony two weeks ago, will not be open to the public, according to an official close to the investigation.

Unlike Conyers, Sen. Patrick Leahy (news, bio, voting record) of Vermont, chairman of the Senate committee, has not issued any subpoenas in the firings investigation. But Leahy sent a letter to Justice requesting the blacked out, or redacted, information — often a prelude to issuing a subpoena.


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Documents by Monday - under subpoena. Go Conyers!


capt said...

Iraqis face 'immense' suffering

The International Committee of the Red Cross says the situation for ordinary Iraqis is getting steadily worse.

Four years after the US-led invasion, the ICRC says the conflict is inflicting immense suffering, and calls for greater protection of civilians.

An Iraqi woman quoted in the report said people wanted help to collect bodies lining streets every morning.

The ICRC still has a presence in Iraq despite the bombing of its Baghdad offices three and a half years ago.

In the report called Civilians Without protection - The Ever-worsening Crisis in Iraq, the Red Cross asked Iraqis what could be done to help them.

The answer was a shock, says ICRC director of operations Pierre Kraehenbuehl.


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Of course everything has gotten worse the Iraqis have not signed their oil over to big oil. The Iraqi security depends on paying for protection - just like every other criminal extortion "protection" racket.


capt said...

Hegemony Lite

How different would a Hagelian foreign policy be?

Chuck Hagel has walked the walk. His experience in military service, not to mention his medal-winning heroism in Vietnam four decades ago, distinguishes him from most of those who make American foreign policy these days. But as for talking the talk—well, his talk about foreign policy isn’t ultimately much different from that of the foreign-policy establishment that got us into Iraq and that wants to keep us imposing martial hegemony in the Middle East forever.

So those who rhapsodize over a possible Hagel run for the White House might consider the question: if the Cornhusker senator becomes the 44th president, would a Hagelian foreign policy represent a true change in direction, or would it be merely a slow-boat chug along the same route we are on now?

Indeed, that’s a good question to ask all of those who seek to replace George W. Bush in the Oval Office. Is the next president, whoever he or she might be, going to offer a bold-colors alternative to the Bush/neoconservative status quo, or will we get a pale-pastel continuation of Bushconism?

As far back as February 2002, in the days following the 43rd president’s "axis of evil" speech, the Nebraskan recalled his own wartime service as a counterweight to the Texan’s soaring bear-any-burden rhetoric. The rime of an ancient soldier, one might say. Hagel had been there and done that in ’Nam; he and his two Purple Hearts knew better about war than the unscarred ex-Guardsmen and draft-deferring grad students sitting in the White House.

Yet in October of 2002, Hagel voted "aye" on the Bush-Cheney Iraq War resolution, joining forces with those who took Uncle Sam waist-deep into the Big Sandy.

Since then, of course, Hagel has frequently compared Iraq to Vietnam, referring to each as a "national tragedy." Warming to his theme, he has condemned the Surge of ’07 as "the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam." And in his curious announcement of non-announcement for the presidency on March 12, he declared that in Iraq, "America is facing its most divisive and difficult issue since Vietnam."


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I have posted before that Hagel will say anything to get (s)elected. He will then serve the same masters as Bunnypants. I am more likely to vote for HRC than Hagel.

"If God had wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates."
~ Jay Leno (1950 - )


capt said...

Citigroup to cut 17,000 jobs, take $1.38 billion charge


NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Citigroup Inc., which failed to fully capitalize on one of the most prosperous eras for U.S. financial services companies in recent years, today announced a sweeping expense-reduction that includes 17,000 job cuts and a $1.38 billion pre-tax charge.

The financial-services giant also will take an additional $600 million in pre-tax charges spread during the last three quarters of the year. Citigroup, which is thinning its back-office ranks and moving another 9,500 jobs to lower-cost locations, said the cuts are aimed at reducing $2.1 billion in expenses.

"This effort should enhance our capacity to grow," said Robert Druskin, who was named chief operating officer in December and given a mandate to find waste. "There will be very little impact on client-facing functions, other than additional efforts to enhance our service levels."

Citigroup said the expense reductions will lead to savings of $3.7 billion in 2008 and $4.6 billion in 2009. The numbers of job cuts come in the middle to high end of analysts’ expectations. Druskin said the company included cost cuts when it created a budget for 2007, but the budget did not included the charges. He also said about $1 billion of the first-quarter charge is severance costs.


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Seems like hardly anything is said in the MSM about the economy?


capt said...

Scientists create virus size 'nanolamps'

U.S. scientists have produced microscopic "nanolamps" -- light-emitting nanofibers about the size of a virus or the tiniest of bacteria.

In a collaboration of experts in organic materials and nanofabrication, the Cornell University researchers developed what they say is one of the smallest organic light-emitting devices to date, consisting of synthetic fibers just 200 nanometers wide. One nanometer is one-billionth of a meter.

The fibers, made of a compound based on the metallic element ruthenium, are so small they are less than the wavelength of the light they emit. The scientists said such a localized light source could prove beneficial in applications that include sensing, microscopy and flat-panel displays.

Using a technique called electrospinning, the researchers spun the fibers from a mixture of the metal complex ruthenium tris-bipyridine and the polymer polyethylene oxide. They found the fibers emitted orange light when excited by low voltage through micro-patterned electrodes -- not unlike a tiny light bulb.

The work was a collaboration of nine Cornell researchers, including first author Jose Moran-Mirabal, professor Hector Abruna, associate professor George Malliaras and professor Harold Craighead.

The research was published in the February issue of the journal Nano Letters.


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I assumed the nano-bots would have headlamps - how else can they see what they are doing?


capt said...

Long-standing Neutrino Question Resolved

Scientists of the MiniBooNE1 experiment at the Department of Energy's Fermilab2 have announced their first findings. The MiniBooNE results resolve questions raised by observations of the LSND3 experiment in the 1990s that appeared to contradict findings of other neutrino experiments worldwide. MiniBooNE researchers showed conclusively that the LSND results could not be due to simple neutrino oscillation, a phenomenon in which one type of neutrino transforms into another type and back again.

The announcement significantly clarifies the overall picture of how neutrinos behave.

Currently, three types or "flavors" of neutrinos are known to exist: electron neutrinos, muon neutrinos and tau neutrinos. In the last 10 years, several experiments have shown that neutrinos can oscillate from one flavor to another and back. The observations made by the LSND collaboration also suggested the presence of neutrino oscillation, but in a neutrino mass region vastly different from other experiments. Reconciling the LSND observations with the oscillation results of other neutrino experiments would have required the presence of a fourth, or "sterile" type of neutrino, with properties different from the three standard neutrinos. The existence of sterile neutrinos would throw serious doubt on the current structure of particle physics, known as the Standard Model of Particles and Forces. Because of the far-reaching consequences of this interpretation, the LSND findings cried out for independent verification.

The MiniBooNE collaboration ruled out the simple LSND oscillation interpretation by looking for signs of muon neutrinos oscillating into electron neutrinos in the region indicated by the LSND observations. The collaboration found no appearance of electron neutrinos as predicted by a simple two-neutrino oscillation scenario.


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Science, always learning always self-correcting.


capt said...

His popular novels blended social criticism, dark humor

KURT VONNEGUT: 1922-2007

Kurt Vonnegut, an American cultural hero celebrated for his wry, loonily imaginative commentary on war, apocalypse, technology, materialism and other afflictions in "Slaughterhouse-Five" and other novels, has died. He was 84.

One of the last of a generation of great American novelists of World War II, Vonnegut died Wednesday night in New York City.

Vonnegut suffered brain injuries in a fall several weeks ago, said his wife, photographer Jill Krementz. He had homes in Manhattan and Sagaponack, N.Y.

"There was never a kinder and, at the same time, wittier writer to be with personally," author Tom Wolfe, a friend and admirer of Vonnegut's, told The Times. "He was just a gem in that respect. And as a writer, I guess he's the closest thing we had to a Voltaire. He could be extremely funny, but there was a vein of iron always underneath it, which made him quite remarkable.

"He was never funny just to be funny," Wolfe added.


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Rest in peace.


capt said...

Creating a Market for Security

The War on Terror is a marketing campaign for security industries and terrorism experts. The latter are pulling in the consulting fees, and the former are rapidly inventing new products that enable "our" government to watch our every move and to know our location at every moment.

Although it should be working on its corporate ethics, BAE Systems is working on an "Onboard Threat Detection System." The system consists of tiny cameras and microphones implanted in airline seats. The Onboard Threat Detection System records every facial expression and every whisper of every passenger, allowing watchful eyes and ears to detect terrorists before they can strike. BAE says its system is so sophisticated that it can differentiate between nervous flyers and real terrorists.

Think about this for a moment. Aside from the Big Brother aspect, the Onboard Threat Detection System is either redundant or the security authorities have no confidence in the expensive and intrusive airport security through which passengers are herded.

We have reached the point where we can no longer fly with more than three ounces of lotions, shampoo, toothpaste, and deodorants, because the government pretends that we might concoct a bomb out of the ingredients. Three ounces of shampoo is safe, but three and one-half ounces blows the airliner to smithereens.

We must shed coats, shoes, and belts to pass through airport security. We are wanded and patted down. Luggage is x-rayed and searched. IDs and boarding passes are endlessly checked as we proceed from check-in to gate. And we still need an Onboard Threat Detection System to monitor our expressions and words.

Other firms are developing chip implants that identify a person to scanning machines and allow our movements to be monitored by GPS systems. Still others are developing ID cards that have retina scans and our DNA. No doubt we will be required to have both.

All of this is to protect us from terrorists.

No thought is given to whether the intrusion from the protection is a greater threat than possible terrorist acts by foreigners protesting American hegemony over their own lives. If American hegemony has this big a price, I can do without it.


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PCR might not be the smartest guy in the room but he is observant and I thank all that is good and right in this world that Dr. Roberts takes the time to write.


capt said...

Upending the Mayberry Machiavellis

On Jan. 26, J. Scott Jennings, the White House deputy political director working for Karl Rove, delivered a PowerPoint presentation to least 40 political appointees, many participating through teleconferencing, at the General Services Administration, which oversees a $60 billion budget to manage federal properties and procure office equipment. Jennings' lecture featured maps of Republican "targets" for the House of Representatives and the Senate in the 2008 election. His talk was one of perhaps dozens given since 2001 to political appointees in departments and agencies throughout the federal government by him, Rove and Ken Mehlman, the former White House political director and Republican National Committee chairman. Rove and Co. drilled polling data into the government employees and lashed them on the necessity of using federal resources for Republican victory. "Such intense regular communication from the political office had never occurred before," Los Angeles Times reporters Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallsten wrote in their book, "One Party Country: The Republican Plan for Dominance in the 21st Century."

At the GSA presentation, the agency's chief, Lurita Alexis Doan, according to a witness, demanded of her employees, "How can we use GSA to help our candidates in the next election?" But when the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing on March 28, Doan's short-term memory loss grew progressively worse as she spoke. "There were cookies on the table," she said. "I remember coming in late -- honestly, I don't even remember that." At a break, she ordered an assistant to remove her water glass, unaware that the microphone in front of her was still on. "I don't want them to have my fingerprints," she said. "They've got me totally paranoid!"

The Oversight Committee is investigating multiple charges against Doan -- her attempt to grant a no-bid contract to a friend; her effort to thwart contract audits and to cut funds of the GSA Office of the Inspector General, which she called "terrorists" after it began a probe into her conduct; and her potential violation of the Hatch Act, which forbids the use of government offices for partisan activity. A major Republican contributor who made a fortune as a military and homeland security contractor, Doan had held no previous government posts before being appointed last year to head the GSA. Like the fabled ("heck of a job, Brownie") Michael Brown, the former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Doan is another stellar example of the culture of cronyism that has permeated the federal government under George W. Bush.


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Bush and his neo-cronies are not packing the courts and federal positions because they fear losing power in '08, it because they fear the people and how we will react to the big lie as they steal another election.


capt said...

From a PDA Email:

In 2000, Team Bush took over the Republican Party and laid out its promises to the American people. The following pledges and claims are taken directly from the 2000 GOP Platform. Should we laugh or cry at promises made by an administration that has ruled through deception, endless war, politicization of intelligence and the Justice Dept., outing CIA officers, and the like? SHARE THIS WITH FRIENDS.

Honest Government
"Trust, pride, and respect: we pledge to restore these qualities to the way Americans view their government."

Keeping Intelligence Free of Politics
"Nor should the intelligence community be made the scapegoat for political misjudgments. A Republican administration working with the Congress will respect the needs and quiet sacrifices of these public servants as it strengthens America's intelligence and counter-intelligence capabilities."

Diplomacy and Maintaining Allies
"The arrogance, inconsistency, and unreliability of the [Clinton] administration's diplomacy have undermined American alliances, alienated friends, and emboldened our adversaries."

Endless Military Missions, Exit Strategies and Troop Readiness
"The current administration has casually sent American armed forces on dozens of missions without clear goals, realizable objectives, favorable rules of engagement, or defined exit strategies." [Emphasis added.]

"Sending our military on vague, aimless, and endless missions rapidly saps morale. Even the highest morale is eventually undermined by back-to-back deployments, poor pay, shortages of spare parts and equipment, inadequate training, and rapidly declining readiness. When it comes to military health, the administration is not providing an adequate military health care system."

Restoring the Rule of Law and the Justice Department
The rule of law, the very foundation for a free society, has been under assault, not only by criminals from the ground up, but also from the top down. An administration that lives by evasion, coverup, stonewalling, and duplicity has given us a totally discredited Department of Justice. The credibility of those who now manage the nation's top law enforcement agency is tragically eroded. We are fortunate to have its dedicated career workforce, especially its criminal prosecutors, who have faced the unprecedented politicization of decisions regarding both personnel and investigations."

Gas Prices (then $1.55 per gallon)
"Today, gas prices have skyrocketed, and oil imports are at all-time highs....By any reasonable standard, the Department of Energy has utterly failed in its mission to safeguard America's energy security. "

capt said...

Novak Fabricates ‘Confusion’ Over Wilson’s CIA Status

In a column today titled "‘Covert’ Confusion at the CIA," Robert Novak continues his efforts to distort the facts about Valerie Plame Wilson’s status with the CIA.

Novak first recounts the events at a hearing last month, when House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) stated that CIA Director Michael Hayden had authorized him to state that "Wilson was covert."

Novak writes that during a recent Washington dinner, Hayden approached him and several others and "indicated" that "he had not authorized [Waxman] to say Mrs. Wilson had been a ‘covert’ CIA employee, as Waxman claimed, but only that she was ‘undercover.’" Yet, 10 days after the dinner, Novak writes, Hayden seemingly switched positions again and "asserted to me that the wife of Bush critic Joseph Wilson indeed had been ‘covert.’"

This may sound confusing, but it isn’t. As Novak himself explains, Hayden first told Waxman that Wilson was an "undercover agent." Later, before the hearing, a CIA lawyer clarified with Waxman that Wilson was undercover, covert, and that her CIA status was classified. The CIA approved the following statements before the hearing:

During her employment at the CIA, Ms. Wilson was under cover.

Her employment status with the CIA was classified information prohibited from disclosure under Executive Order 12958.

At the time of the publication of Robert Novak’s column on July 14,2003, Ms. Wilson’s CIA employment status was covert.

This was classified information.

There is no "confusion" here, despite Novak’s best efforts to create it. Hayden hasn’t switched positions, nor has he ever said that Wilson was not covert. Hayden tells Novak he is "completely comfortable" with the CIA lawyer’s clarification.

Novak is simply trying to muddy the fact that he and his cohorts — Victoria Toensing, the Washington Post editorial board, Brit Hume, and others — got the facts about Wilson’s CIA status dead wrong.


*****end of clip*****

I posted before that the slugs would just continue to believe the lies because that is all they have and to actually face reality would be the end of their fantasy.

"They were so strong in their beliefs that there came a time when it hardly mattered what exactly those beliefs were; they all fused into a single stubbornness."
~ Louise Erdrich


capt said...

Thank you for asking your members of Congress to fight global
warming by supporting the Sanders-Boxer Global Warming Pollution
Reduction Act (S. 309) and the Waxman Safe Climate Act (HR.

These proposals offer a real opportunity for Congress to help
stop global warming. With Earth Day approaching, it's an
important time for our lawmakers to know we want their support
for these bills.

Please help us spread the word about these two bills by using
our Tell a Friend page to urge your friends to join you in
taking action before Earth Day on April 22nd. Click here:

Thanks again.

Julie Waterman

capt said...

Wilson, Plame settle into new Santa Fe digs

SANTA FE (AP) - Joseph Wilson and his wife, outed CIA spy Valerie Plame, are finally getting a chance to unwind.

They arrived at their new 4,600-square-foot adobe home in Santa Fe three weeks ago and they’ve traded in their Jaguar for a pickup truck.

Their seven-year-old twins already have found new friends and spotted three snakes.

There’s a book deal in the works, a movie on the horizon, and a pending federal lawsuit that names Vice President Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and others.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Wilson says it’ll take a couple of years to sort through the remains of this recent period.

Wilson, a former ambassador, accused the Bush administration in July 2003 of twisting prewar intelligence on Iraq.

Plame’s covert CIA identity was leaked to reporters.


*****end of clip*****

Seems like the AP gets it right.


Robert S said...

Perhaps chronosynclastic infundibulum doesn't roll off the tongue easily. But...

"If what Billy Pilgrim learned from the Tralfamadorians is true, that we will all live forever, no matter how dead we may sometimes seem to be, I am not overjoyed. Still--if I am going to spend eternity visiting this moment and that, I'm grateful that so many of those moments are nice." Kurt Vonnegut

So said, in the classic anti-war masterpiece, Slaughterhouse Five, which draws heavily on the firebombing of Dresden during WWI.

Thank you for so many moments, Kurt.

Robert S said...

Sen. Domenici faces retirement rumors
Six-term GOP lawmaker from N.M. linked to fired attorneys controversy AP

WASHINGTON - The past two months have not been easy for Sen. Pete Domenici, the six-term Republican from New Mexico accused of pressuring his state's former U.S. attorney on a political corruption investigation.


Domenici's office declined several requests for the senator to be interviewed for this story. He does seem to be feeling the stress, despite the support his campaign donors showed.

At an Albuquerque, N.M., banquet last month honoring his years of public service, Domenici called recent weeks "hell" like he had never experienced his entire career. In a quiet, gravelly voice, he thanked the audience for their accolades and support.



Poor Pete, the last few months have been hell. A hell of his own making and choosing. A hell which came from using US Attorneys to influence US elections. Elections which have plunged this nation into a hell far worse than the poor senator called "el jefe" will ever know. And nowhere near the 3 months of extended hell that our service members will now endure in Iraq, thanks in part, to Senator Pete Domenici.

Robert S said...

Iraq lacked practically all the requirements for a democratic government: rule of law, an elite with a shared commitment to democratic procedures, a sense of citizenship, and habits of trust and cooperation. - Jeanne Kirkpatrick

Oh, Thus be it ever...

Democracy supposedly cannot exist without an elite, and an elite is the antithesis of democracy.

Seemingly paradoxical? Call for the Paradoctors!

Robert S said...

[A]n elite with a shared commitment to democratic procedures, a sense of citizenship, and habits of trust and cooperation. - Jeanne Kirkpatrick

A rereading of the words causes one to notice that the commitment is to the procedures, not the practice. An elite will never give up privilege, willingly.

Main Entry: 1priv·i·lege
Pronunciation: 'priv-lij, 'pri-v&-
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin privilegium law for or against a private person, from privus private + leg-, lex law

Private Law, now that's DEMOCRACY in action. Uh, right.

Robert S said...

Leahy Doubts Bush Aides on Lost E-Mails
By Laurie Kellman
The Associated Press
Thursday 12 April 2007

President Bush's aides are lying about White House e-mails sent on a Republican account that might have been lost, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy suggested Thursday, vowing to subpoena those documents if the administration fails to cough them up.

"They say they have not been preserved. I don't believe that!" Leahy shouted from the Senate floor.

"You can't erase e-mails, not today. They've gone through too many servers," said Leahy, D-Vt. "Those e-mails are there, they just don't want to produce them. We'll subpoena them if necessary."

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said there is no effort to purposely keep the e-mails under wraps, and that the counsel's office is doing everything it can to recover any that were lost.

"The purpose of our review is to make every reasonable effort to recover potentially lost e-mails, and that is why we've been in contact with forensic experts," he said.

Leahy scoffed.

"I've got a teenage kid in my neighborhood that can go get 'em for them," he told reporters later.

Senate Democrats continued to toughen their stance against the White House over the firings of eight prosecutors over the winter.

After his speech, Leahy's committee approved - but did not issue - new subpoenas to compel the administration to produce documents and testimony about the firings.

Democrats say the firings might have been improper, but that probe yielded a weightier question: Whether White House officials such as political adviser Karl Rove are intentionally conducting sensitive official presidential business via non-governmental accounts to evade a law requiring preservation - and eventual disclosure - of presidential records.

The White House issued an emphatic "No" to those questions during a conference call with reporters Wednesday, saying the Republican National Committee accounts were used to comply with the Hatch Act, which bars political work using official resources or on government time.

But White House spokesman Scott Stanzel acknowledged that 22 White House aides have e-mail accounts sponsored by the RNC and that e-mails they sent may have been lost.

Stanzel said the White House was trying to recover the e-mails and could not rule out that some may have involved the firings.The administration also is drafting new guidelines for aides on how to comply with the law.

Leahy was not buying that.

"E-mails don't get lost," Leahy insisted. "These are just e-mails they don't want to bring forward."

The revelation about the e-mails escalates a standoff between the Democrat-controlled Congress and the White House over the prosecutor firings. The subpoenas come a few days before Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is to appear before Leahy's committee to fight for his job Tuesday.

Leahy's panel approved new subpoenas that would require the Bush administration to surrender hundreds of new documents and force two officials - Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General William Moschella and White House political aide Scott Jennings - to reveal their roles in the firings. The panel delayed for a week a vote on whether to authorize a subpoena for Rove's deputy, Sara Taylor.

Leahy has not issued any subpoenas, but permission by his committee Thursday would give him authority to require testimony from all eight of the fired U.S. attorneys and several White House and Justice Department officials named in e-mails made public as having had roles in the firings. The White House has refused to make officials such as Rove available to testify under oath.

Robert S said...

Record of Iraq War Lies to Air April 25 on PBS
By David Swanson
t r u t h o u t | Guest Columnist

Thursday 12 April 2007

Bill Moyers has put together an amazing 90-minute video documenting the lies that the Bush administration told to sell the Iraq war to the American public, with a special focus on how the media led the charge. I've watched an advance copy and read a transcript, and the most important thing I can say about it is: Watch PBS from 9:00 to 10:30 PM on Wednesday, April 25. Spending that 90 minutes will actually save you time because you'll never watch television news again - not even on PBS, which comes in for its own share of criticism.

While a great many pundits, not to mention presidents, look remarkably stupid or dishonest in the four-year-old clips included in "Buying the War," it's hard to take any spiteful pleasure in holding them to account, and not just because the killing and dying they facilitated is ongoing, but also because of what this video reveals about the mindset of members of the DC media. Moyers interviews media personalities, including Dan Rather, who clearly both understand what the media did wrong and are unable to really see it as having been wrong or avoidable.

It's great to see an American media outlet tell this story so well, but it leads one to ask: When will Congress tell it? While the Democrats were in the minority, they clamored for hearings and investigations, they pushed Resolutions of Inquiry into the White House Iraq Group and the Downing Street Minutes. Now in the majority, they've gone largely silent. The chief exception is the House Judiciary Committee's effort to question Condoleezza Rice next week about the forged Niger documents.

But what comes out of watching this show is a powerful realization that no investigation is needed by Congress, just as no hidden information was needed for the media to get the story right in the first place. The claims that the White House made were not honest mistakes. But neither were they deceptions. They were transparent and laughably absurd falsehoods. And they were high crimes and misdemeanors.

The program opens with video of President Bush saying "Iraq is part of a war on terror. It's a country that trains terrorists. It's a country that can arm terrorists. Saddam Hussein and his weapons are a direct threat to this country."

Was that believable or did the media play along? The next shot is of a press conference at which Bush announces that he has a script telling him which reporters to call on and in what order. Yet the reporters play along, raising their hands after each comment, pretending that they might be called on despite the script.

Video shows Richard Perle claiming that Saddam Hussein worked with al Qaeda and that Iraqis would greet American occupiers as liberators. Here are the Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal, William Safire from The New York Times, Charles Krauthammer and Jim Hoagland from The Washington Post, all demanding an overthrow of Iraq's government. George Will is seen saying that Hussein "has anthrax, he loves biological weapons, he has terrorist training camps, including 747s to practice on."

But was that even plausible? Bob Simon of "60 Minutes" tells Moyers he wasn't buying it. He says he saw the idea of a connection between Hussein and al Qaeda as an absurdity: "Saddam, as most tyrants, was a total control freak. He wanted total control of his regime. Total control of the country. And to introduce a wild card like al Qaeda in any sense was just something he would not do. So I just didn't believe it for an instant."

Knight Ridder Bureau Chief John Walcott didn't buy it either. He assigned Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay to do the reporting and they found the Bush claims to be quite apparently false. For example, when the Iraqi National Congress (INC) fed The New York Times's Judith Miller a story through an Iraqi defector claiming that Hussein had chemical and biological weapons labs under his house, Landay noticed that the source was a Kurd, making it very unlikely he would have learned such secrets. But Landay also noticed that it was absurd to imagine someone putting a biological weapons lab under his house.

But absurd announcements were the order of the day. A video clip shows a Fox anchor saying, "A former top Iraqi nuclear scientist tells Congress Iraq could build three nuclear bombs by 2005." And the most fantastic stories of all were fed to David Rose at Vanity Fair Magazine. We see a clip of him saying, "The last training exercise was to blow up a full-size mock-up of a US destroyer in a lake in central Iraq."

Landay comments: "Or jumping into pits of fouled water and having to kill a dog with your bare teeth. I mean, this was coming from people who are appearing in all of these stories, and sometimes their rank would change."

Forged documents from Niger could not have gotten noticed in this stew of lies. Had there been some real documents honestly showing something, that might have stood out and caught more eyes. Walcott describes the way the INC would feed the same information to the vice president and secretary of defense that it fed to a reporter, and the reporter would then get the claims confirmed by calling the White House or the Pentagon. Landay adds: "And let's not forget how close these people were to this administration, which raises the question, was there coordination? I can't tell you that there was, but it sure looked like it."

Simon from "60 Minutes" tells Moyers that when the White House claimed a 9/11 hijacker had met with a representative of the Iraqi government in Prague, "60 Minutes" was easily able to make a few calls and find out that there was no evidence for the claim. "If we had combed Prague," he says, "and found out that there was absolutely no evidence for a meeting between Mohammad Atta and the Iraqi intelligence figure. If we knew that, you had to figure the administration knew it. And yet they were selling the connection between al Qaeda and Saddam."

Moyers questions a number of people about their awful work, including Dan Rather, Peter Beinart and then Chairman and CEO of CNN Walter Isaacson. And he questions Simon, who soft-pedaled the story and avoided reporting that there was no evidence.

Landay at Knight Ridder did report the facts when it counted, but not enough people paid attention. He tells Moyers that all he had to do was read the UN weapons inspectors' reports online to know that the White House was lying to us. When Cheney said that Hussein was close to acquiring nuclear weapons, Landay knew he was lying: "You need tens of thousands of machines called 'centrifuges' to produce highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon. You've got to house those in a fairly big place, and you've got to provide a huge amount of power to this facility."

Moyers also hits Tim Russert with a couple of tough questions. Russert expressed regret for not having included any skeptical voices by saying he wished his phone had rung. So Moyers begins the next segment by saying, "Bob Simon didn't wait for the phone to ring," and describing Simon's reporting. Simon says he knew the claims about aluminum tubes were false because "60 Minutes" called up some scientists and researchers and asked them. Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post says that skeptical stories did not get placed on the front page because they were not "definitive."

Moyers shows brief segments of an "Oprah" show in which she has on only pro-war guests and silences a caller who questions some of the White House claims. Just in time for the eternal election season, Moyers includes clips of Hillary Clinton and John Kerry backing the war on the basis of Bush and Cheney's lies. But we also see clips of Robert Byrd and Ted Kennedy getting it right.

The Washington Post editorialized in favor of the war 27 times, and published in 2002 about 1,000 articles and columns on the war. But the Post gave a huge anti-war march a total of 36 words. "What got even less ink," Moyers says, "was the release of the National Intelligence Estimate." Even the misleading partial version that the media received failed to fool a careful eye.

Landay recalls: "It said that the majority of analysts believed that those tubes were for the nuclear weapons program. It turns out though, that the majority of intelligence analysts had no background in nuclear weapons." Was Landay the only one capable of noticing this detail?

Colin Powell's UN presentation comes in for similar quick debunking. We watch a video clip of Powell complaining that Iraq has covered a test-stand with a roof. But AP reporter Charles Hanley comments, "What he neglected to mention was that the inspectors were underneath watching what was going on."

Powell cited a UK paper, but it very quickly came out that the paper had been plagiarized from a college student's work found online. The British press pointed that out. The US let it slide. But anyone looking for the facts found it quickly.

Moyers's wonderful movie is marred by a single line - the next to the last sentence - in which he says, "The number of Iraqis killed, over 35,000 last year alone, is hard to pin down." A far more accurate figure could have been found very easily.

capt said...

New Thread!

Robert S said...

Thwarted Warrior: Depleted uranium and the mystery of sick and dying Gulf War vets
by Robert C. Koehler | Apr 12 2007 - 9:54am

"It's not about me," Doug Rokke said, and only reluctantly rattled off his laundry list of symptoms: fibromyalgia, broken teeth, radiation-induced cataracts, gastrointestinal pain.

And I know it's not about him, any more than it's about you or me. "It." The war, the consequences. The environmental consequences are beyond calculation, and perhaps for that reason little discussed, never "debated." What does it matter that we went into Iraq on lies, faulty intelligence, whatever? Surely the most elaborately justified of invasions would not have been worth, well . . .

We know about the VA scandal, the great betrayal, but what almost no one talks about are the numbers. According to Veterans Administration figures from last November, 205,000 GIs who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, a third of the total, have sought medical care, for such problems as malignant tumors (1,584), endocrinal and metabolic diseases (36,409), nervous system diseases (61,524), digestive system diseases (63,002), musculoskeletal diseases (87,590), and mental disorders (73,157), among many other conditions. One of the largest categories is "ill defined," a.k.a. mystery conditions (67,743). In comparison, a relatively small number (35,765) have sought VA care for injuries.



Not the first time I've posted about this issue, but the first time in a long time. Anyway, as I recall saying in the way back when,
even if our cause it is just; (not so, of course) our methods are criminal.