Thursday, August 23, 2007

Would You Give Your Life for Maliki?

A few days ago, Wayne White, a former State Department intelligence analyst on Iraq, wrote a piece about Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that noted:

One major question is why Maliki was named prime minister in the first place. Early last year, Washington pushed hard for Maliki to replace the disappointing Ibrahim al-Jafaari. Yet, Maliki hails from the same Da'wa Party origins, as does Jafaari. He was not the chosen candidate among the majority of Iraqi Shi'a powerbrokers.

To become prime minister, Maliki had to draw heavily on the support of none other than firebrand anti-US Shi'a cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. And there have been numerous indications since then that Maliki's government has close ties to and employs members and affiliates of various Shi'a militias, with their deep-seated anti-Sunni Arab agenda. His trips to Iran also suggest that he is closer to Tehran than the US would like -- something that carries negative connotations not only relating to his dealings with Washington, but in the eyes of many Iraqis as well.

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of Maliki's behavior of late is his criticism of US military cooperation with Sunni Arab insurgents against al-Qa'ida in Iraq in al-Anbar, Salahedin and Diyala governates, as well as some neighborhoods in Baghdad. In some instances, Iraqi security forces supposedly answering to Maliki have actively tried to disrupt this valuable work. His opposition threatens to get in the way of what appears to be developing into the one potential US success story in Iraq at this time.

It's important to recall that George W. Bush's strategy is to boost the U.S. military presence in Iraq in order to create political space for Maliki. That is, American GIs are dying to give Maliki a chance. But given White's not-very-radical description of Maliki, one has to wonder: does Maliki deserve to be supported by American blood and treasure?
White goes on to note:

Despite all these negatives [about Maliki], the most significant question now is whether any prime minister of Iraq can deliver on critical issues such as unity, security and public services at this juncture.

White seems to doubt that it's possible, Maliki or no Maliki. And White adds,

In Maliki's case, however, the situation might be darker still. Given his association with a militant Shi'a party and his seeming lack of a consistent sense of urgency regarding US priorities, it could very well be that he is not interested in progress toward goals set by Washington. His current efforts to pull things together appear only transitory at best.

This is why, in part, the recent political debate in the United States over Iraq has focused on Maliki. More than four years after the invasion of Iraq, what are U.S. troops fighting for? The answer: for the government led by Maliki. But if U.S. soldiers are making the ultimate sacrifice for a fellow who does not share US priorities, their deaths may be in vain. So Maliki is indeed a critical issue--because Bush has made it so.

Posted by David Corn at August 23, 2007 10:25 AM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

"Would You Give Your Life for Maliki?"

How about giving ones life for ExxonMobile? A leg or eye for Halliburton? A little brain trauma for KBR or the Carlyle Group?

Some claim they would put it all on the line for "Commander Guy" - such a high cost without any value or return.



capt said...

Beware Bailouts

In August of 1998, disaster loomed for the U.S. economy. Panic among investors after Russia defaulted on its sovereign bonds led to plummeting stock prices and a freeze on global credit markets. The hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management saw its multibillion-dollar portfolio evaporate in days, and investors pulled their money from any asset that had even a tinge of risk. But then the Federal Reserve came to the rescue, slashing interest rates three times in the space of a few weeks and pouring huge amounts of cash into the financial system. The stock market rebounded, and the economy boomed. Early the next year, Time put the Fed chairman, Alan Greenspan, on its cover, along with the Treasury officers Robert Rubin and Larry Summers, with the headline “The Committee to Save the World.”

Nine years later, it’s been another terrible August on Wall Street. The meltdown of the market in subprime loans, which over the past six months has led to the shuttering of many home lenders and mortgage brokers, has spilled over into the broader credit market. Bankers and bondholders are demanding very high interest rates for risky loans and, in some cases, refusing to lend money at all. Hedge funds and brokerages that invested in subprime securities have found themselves stuck with billions in assets that no one wants to buy, while, in the past month, panicked investors have sent the stock market down almost ten per cent. As anxiety over a global credit crunch spread, Wall Street implored an apparently reluctant Fed to rescue investors once again. And, last Friday, that’s exactly what it did, cutting the discount rate—the rate at which it lends to banks—by half a point. In response, investors sent the stock market soaring.

For anyone with a 401(k), it was hard not to greet the Fed’s move with relief. But the short-term relief comes with a long-term cost. Money managers created the current turmoil by failing to take risk seriously, enabling borrowers with sketchy credit records to borrow money nearly as cheaply as blue-chip companies. In the past weeks, managers had been paying for their folly. The Fed’s decision to flood the system with cheap money will create a textbook case of what’s usually called moral hazard: insulating fund managers from the consequences of their errors will encourage similarly risky bets in the future.

Now, you can take a fear of moral hazard, and a desire to see foolishness punished, too far. In times of real crisis, we don’t want the Fed to follow the advice that Herbert Hoover says he got from Andrew Mellon during the Great Depression: “Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate. . . . Purge the rottenness out of the system.” When the health of the U.S. economy is under serious threat, the Fed should act. But in this case it’s far from clear that the turmoil was an actual menace to the underlying economy of the U.S. Bailing out hedge-fund managers was great for Wall Street, but it may not have been such a good deal for Main Street.

Wall Street so dominates our image of the U.S. economy these days that it’s easy to assume that what’s bad for the Street must be bad for everyone else. But, while it’s true that a complete market meltdown would have disastrous effects on the economy as a whole, market downturns like those of the past few weeks often have only a small effect on businesses and consumers. In part, that’s because much of what happens on Wall Street consists of the shuffling of assets among various well-heeled players, rather than anything that’s fundamental to the smooth functioning of the U.S. economy. (The economy did fine before the advent of hedge funds and private-equity funds, and would probably do fine in their absence.) Similarly, while stock-market tumbles are always painful, they have no concrete impact on most American consumers, who own little or no stock. (In any case, the S. & P. 500 is still up ten per cent over the past year, which hardly suggests imminent disaster.) And, in the short run, they’re irrelevant to most corporations, too, since few companies actually use the stock market to raise capital.

The bond and loan markets do, of course, matter quite a bit to companies and to individuals, because no economy can run without a steady supply of credit. But, although standards for corporate lending have tightened in recent weeks, and interest rates on corporate bonds may have risen steadily, they’re still low by historical standards, while the rates for most traditional mortgages have barely risen. That may be why the economy as a whole shows few signs of imminent doom. Corporate profits continue to go up. Unemployment is still relatively low, and wages in the last quarter rose at a surprisingly fast rate. Likewise, in July, retail sales were healthier than expected, and industrial production was reasonably brisk.

That’s not to say that the economy has suffered no fallout from the subprime collapse. The fall in housing prices, the drying up of new construction, and the sharp rise in foreclosures in many areas are having a serious impact on employment and economic growth. But these are not problems that the Fed’s action will solve. Cutting the discount rate is not going to help subprime borrowers get new loans, nor will it get the housing market moving again. What it will do is reassure investors and save some money managers from well-deserved oblivion. It may be that the risk of a full-fledged credit crunch was high enough to make this worth doing. But there is something unseemly about watching the avatars of free-market capitalism rely on the government to pay for their bad bets. And there is something scary about contemplating the even bigger bets they’ll make in the future if they know that the Fed is there to bail them out.


capt said...

Iran shuts 'Western' barber shops

Iranian police have closed more than 20 barbers' shops in the capital Tehran.

The authorities say the barbers were encouraging un-Islamic behaviour by offering Western hairstyles, tattooing and also eyebrow-plucking for men.

Police say they have inspected more than 700 shops during a two-week crackdown in the city.

The move is part of an annual campaign against what is known locally as bad hijab, or un-Islamic clothing, that this year is also targeting men.

Hundreds of women and men have already been cautioned.

Police say that as well as avoiding Western hairstyles and make up, barbers should not pluck customers' eyebrows.

The closure of the shops comes several months after barbers were warned that they could lose their licences if they did not comply.

However, police have denied a report that they have ordered barbers not to serve customers wearing ties.

Some young boys in Iran sport very wild hair styles, using gel to make their long hair stand on end in a fashion not seen in other countries, correspondents say.


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Sounds so familiar.


capt said...

Scientists ID source of bitter coffee

BOSTON, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- A team of U.S. and German chemists have identified what they believe are the chemicals largely responsible for coffee's sometimes bitter taste.

"Everybody thinks that caffeine is the main bitter compound in coffee, but that's definitely not the case," said study leader Professor Thomas Hofmann of Germany's Technical University of Munich. Only 15 percent of coffee's perceived bitterness is due to caffeine, he estimates, noting caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee both have similar bitterness qualities.

"Roasting is the key factor driving bitter taste in coffee beans," he explained. "So the stronger you roast the coffee, the more harsh it tends to get,"

Using advanced chromatography techniques and a human sensory panel, Hofmann and colleagues found coffee bitterness is due to two main classes of compounds: chlorogenic acid lactones and phenylindanes -- both of which are antioxidants found in roasted coffee beans. The compounds are not present in green (raw) beans, the researchers noted.

The study -- funded in part by the Procter & Gamble Co. -- was presented this week in Boston during the 234th national meeting of the American Chemical Society.


capt said...

Soda Warning? High-fructose Corn Syrup Linked To Diabetes, New Study Suggests

Researchers have found new evidence that soft drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) may contribute to the development of diabetes, particularly in children. In a laboratory study of commonly consumed carbonated beverages, the scientists found that drinks containing the syrup had high levels of reactive compounds that have been shown by others to have the potential to trigger cell and tissue damage that could cause the disease, which is at epidemic levels.

HFCS is a sweetener found in many foods and beverages, including non-diet soda pop, baked goods, and condiments. It is has become the sweetener of choice for many food manufacturers because it is considered more economical, sweeter and more easy to blend into beverages than table sugar. Some researchers have suggested that high-fructose corn syrup may contribute to an increased risk of diabetes as well as obesity, a claim which the food industry disputes. Until now, little laboratory evidence has been available on the topic.


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Worse than table sugar and table sugar is not health food.


capt said...

The Heart of Queens

Can Nancy Pelosi single-handedly take impeachment off the table?


The prospect of an impeachment inquiry by the House judiciary committee would concentrate the minds of the president and vice president wonderfully on obeying rather than sabotaging the Constitution. But Speaker Pelosi has at least figuratively joined hands with the White House in opposition. Emulating the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, she has threatened the removal of Michigan Rep. John Conyers from his chairmanship of the House judiciary committee if an impeachment inquiry were even opened, according to reliable congressional chatter.

With more than four decades of service in the House, Chairman Conyers is a veteran of constitutional battles between the branches. The speaker, in contrast, is a novice on such matters. Unlike Conyers, she never experienced the Nixon impeachment travails that sobered and toughened the chairman against executive abuses and secrecy. If she had, she never would have emboldened President Bush and Vice President Cheney to intensify their assaults on congressional power by pronouncing that "impeachment is off the table."


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Pelosi can’t take anything off the table if the "table" is the constitution.


Gerald said...

I, Gerald, am proclaiming that I LOVE HITLER BUSH. What is there not to love about our idiot dictator? I guess the Vietnam war did not last long enough for him. The idiot wants endless wars and more carnage. The idiot is a bloodsucking vampire. I am for cutting and running!!!

Gerald said...

We cannot help the poor with welfare but we can bail out the rich with subsidies and other monetary help. I LOVE THE HYPOCRISY OF NAZI AMERICA!!!

Gerald said...


Do you honestly believe that dying for Hitler Bush is a great honor? All you are doing is dying for a mass murderer and a war criminal.

Gerald said...


capt said...

"We never see the smoke and the fire, we never smell the blood, we never see the terror in the eyes of the children, whose nightmares will now feature screaming missiles from unseen terrorists, will be known only as Americans." : Martin Kelly

"Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of today." : President Theodore Roosevelt -
"A great industrial Nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the Nation and all our activities are in the hands of a few men.

"We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the world - no longer a government of free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of small groups of dominant men." : Woodrow Wilson - From his Campaign Speeches, 1912

"If a baseball player slides into home plate and, right before the umpire rules if he is safe or out, the player says to the umpire - 'Here is $1,000.' What would we call that? We would call that a bribe. If a lawyer was arguing a case before a judge and said, 'Your honor before you decide on the guilt or innocence of my client, here is $1,000.' What would we call that? We would call that a bribe. "But if an industry lobbyist walks into the office of a key legislator and hands her or him a check for $1,000, we call that a campaign contribution. We should call it a bribe." : Janice Fine - Dollars and Sense magazine


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

Gerald said...

Please excuse this lengthy post!!!

CNN and God’s Warriors

CNN has had a three part series on God’s Warriors. The three warriors are Jewish, Muslim, and Christian. I will add a fourth part that will offer my perceptual opinions. As I watched the three part series, I wrote down some notes in order to remember some discussion and information about God’s Warriors. Between notes I will offer some of my personal thoughts. After viewing the three part series on God’s Warriors I am more convinced that martial law will be declared prior to the 2008 presidential elections and canceling the elections. I would also like to thank Christiane Amanpour for her three part series on God’s Warriors.

Part One

Jewish Warriors

The meeting of piety and politics can be a deadly mix. Israel was the first nation to start pre-emptive wars in the Holy Land. The purpose of pre-emptive wars is death and destruction. The attacked country will have to dwell on survival and not focus on a quality of life for the people. Israel violated International Law and she is more concerned with pragmatism than International Law. Religion cannot resolve legal disputes but Israel is using it to resolve their demands. Israel starts chaos to take over more land. It appears that Israel wants to create chaos and wars. Israel has broken every promise in the Middle East and the peace process. Jewish settlements have violated International Law. Settlements are a central problem in the Middle East. An abnormal mind and abnormal thinking will create an abnormal world. World leaders with abnormal behavior will eventual destroy themselves. The pro-Israel lobby in America has too much influence over American foreign policies. Israel is a big time trouble maker. As I watched the first of a three part series, I have concluded that religion screws up the minds of people. There seems to be little hope for a world where religion is used to murder God’s children. Christian Zionists are screwed up. I have no doubt that all religions must be taxed. Jewish politicians have broken every peace treaty with the Palestinians. I see the day when religious warriors of all religions will eventually have decent human beings sour on religion. Israel will provoke incidents to create chaos and problems. The Israelis are into revenge. The Jews are also terrorists. God’s Will does not condone the murder of His children. The Palestinians want to raise their children on their own land. Israel has created hell for the Palestinians. Millions of people believe that religions are more political and not concerned about faith. Religions are losing their true identities and replacing faith with politics.

Part Two

Muslim Warriors

Religions are becoming political forces throughout the world. Muslims are feared and little understood. It seems to me that the Koran is interpreted differently by the various Muslim sects. Islam is a political movement. A person will have to make a choice between Islam and the family. Muslims want an Islamic empire. Values of the West are under siege. Non-Muslims are expendable by the Muslims. Islam appears to use the Book of God to murder people. This idea is similar to the Christians use of the Bible. Islam seems very dangerous to other religions because it is expanding worldwide. The United States is looked upon as a moral wasteland. Views of America are very narrow but probably accurate. Violent jihad is acceptable to many Muslims. America is too focused on money. Greed is rampant in America. Currently, Islam is in the process of the Awakening. America and the West have let out Islam, a sleeping giant, from the box. America and the West interfere too much in Iranian affairs. America sticks her nose into everyone’s business. Iran will fight fiercely against her enemies and Iranians will die to defend their country. Islam is very important to the Iranians. Iranians believe that terrorists should go to hell but if enemies attack you, you must defend yourself. America and the West have foreign problems. They are into materialism. Women must have rights but under Islamic law women do not have full rights. Our attack of Iraq has put more fuel on the fire and there will be more Islamic martyrs. Muslims love Osama bin Laden. The United States is the main enemy of the al Qaeda. Egypt is the founder of political Islam and Egypt is the center for the Islamic brotherhood that is a radical organization. True Muslims believe that a secular state has no moral purpose. An Islamic state is everything to millions of Muslims. The radical Muslims are waiting for the Hidden Imam and similar to the Christians who are waiting for the second coming of Jesus Christ. Sharia law is a concern. The Muslims seek to convert the world to Islam. Stoning a woman for adultery is part of Islamic law. Islamic law does not accept a woman’s testimony in court. Women are like machines and Islamic law is part of the problem. Women in Iran are pushing the boundaries and men are pushing back. Muslim women are becoming more religious than their parents. Islam is a way of life. Muslim women look at American women as degrading themselves. There seems to be a connection with Saudi Arabia funding extreme Muslims. Radical Islam can become a way of life in America. There are terrorist cells throughout the world. The young people of all religions seem to be more radical in their beliefs. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. Islamic religion dominates the way of life in Europe for Muslims. Islam appears to have confusing and twisted values. Under Islamic law a person does not have freedom of speech and lack of free speech seems to be growing in America. Are we emulating Islamic law in many walks of our life? Murdering people who question Islamic law, I believe, is a sign of insecurity and a lack of confidence that Islam is the true religion. Murdering your enemies does not lead you to God and heaven as many Muslims believe. The thought that suicide bombing leads to God and to heaven is stinking thinking. Suicide bombing is the weapon of choice for Muslims. Young people of all religions are becoming more radical in their behaviors. For many people martyrdom is the highest goal in life.

Part Three

Christian Warriors

Politics and faith are too closely linked together. The Religious Right has mixed faith and politics. Religions must be taxed! The Religious Right became a powerbroker in 1980. Abortion is said to have caused 9/11. Why do pro-life movements keep silent about day care centers, adoption services, social programs, and health care for mother and babies? Faith and politics go hand in hand in Nazi America. Faith and politics should not mix. Southern Baptists want to restrict the rights of women. Fundamentalists cannot believe that they are wrong because they would be saying that God is wrong. Has the Religious Right reached its peak? Evangelical Christians favor Israel’s interests in dictating the foreign policies of the United States of Evil. Hagee believes that war is part of God’s plan. War with Iran will lead to the second coming of God. Evangelicals are raising an army of voters. Why are they not raising an army to fight Iraq and Iran? They are followers of Bush and so they will be able to raise millions of cannon fodder to fight the endless wars of Hitler Bush. Scarborough appears to be a right wing Nazi. Religions must lose their tax exemption status. Why is Scarborough silent on more day care centers, improved adoption services, helpful social programs, and adequate health care for mothers and babies? One issue, gay marriage, swung the election to Bush in Ohio. Plus, we can never overlook voter fraud that also helped Bush win in Ohio. Yes, filth must be abolished in Nazi America but filth sells in our Nazi country. Fuiten pushes for one man/one woman marriage. I do not have a problem with conventional marriage being important but why is he silent on social programs that help families, the poor, and the disenfranchised in our country? Religions must lose their tax exemption status. Today, faith and politics cannot be separated in Nazi America. Christian ideas are more like Islamic ideas and they both are political ideologues just like Judaism. The Christian Right is working to convert everyone to be Christians. Greg Boyd is a different kind of preacher. Life has many issues and not just one issue. Cizek also stresses the importance of us being stewards for our planet. Creation care for our planet is also important. We should not want our planet to be a garbage dump. Global warming is a serious moral problem as well. We must protect our environment. Our environment and economic issues are important issues for all Americans. If religions are so in love with Bush, why aren’t their military recruiters at their meetings and rallies? Home school is becoming a big trend in America. One preacher talks about virtue terrorists. This is probably another coming Nazi wedge issue. Virtues are very important but how do we dictate to people to be virtuous? I see too much hatred coming from the mouths of the Religious Right. Words hurt and they are cheap but the virtuous person spreads his faith through deeds, behaviors, and actions. There is too much hypocrisy in religions. Right is right and wrong is wrong. The Battle Cry organization has many members. They are into spreading Jesus’ Words but their dramatic leader turns me off. Christianity is behavior through our following of Jesus’ Words. Jesus practiced His Words and we must practice Jesus’ Words through our Christian behaviors. I was surprised that Catholic clerics and laypersons were not highlighted in the God’s Warriors report.

Part Four

Personal Observations

Of the three part series on God’s Warriors I eagerly awaited to hear and see what Christiane Amanpour would share with the viewers regarding Christian Warriors. The reason for my eagerness is because as a Christian I am concerned how American Christians are viewed around the world. For me my view of American Christians is very negative. I truly believe that American Christians have turned their backs on Jesus Christ.

Here are some paragraphs from Rob Kall’s article, Christiane Amanpour’s “God’s Warriors.”
Toxic Distorters of original teachings
I've been watching CNN's series on religious warriors. It's a big hit, with over two million viewers.
My conclusion-- all of the religious fundamentalists-- these people who Christiane Amanpour characterizes as religious warriors-- are disgusting-- making war, killing, forcing others to live their way.

Joe Scarborough, mocking Amanpour's comparison of Christian parents who want their daughters to wear long skirts with taliban, jokes about how many people Jerry Falwell killed, assuming it was none.

I see it a bit differently. Falwell played a major role in getting George Bush elected and in supporting the Iraq war, which has killed over a million people.

Then Scarborough suggests that the difference between Muslim extremists and Jewish and Christian extremists is terrorist killings.

The way I see it, all of them are intolerant and disrespectful of other religions, which makes all of them undeserving of the respect they demand. Let me be clear. I've said it before. Any religion that refuses to respect other religions' approaches to God does not deserve respect. That leaves out most of the "God's warriors" Amanpour covers.

Perhaps it is time for the masses of people who ARE tolerant and respectful of others' beliefs to take a stand, to speak out about the aggressive, offensive narrow-minded, intolerant Rabbis and Mullahs and Ministers who have made their money, built their power and influence by stoking mean-spirited, hateful, warmongering intolerance.

How would such a response look? How about some federal laws that treat entreaties for such approaches as illegal-- as a form of hate speech? If a minister tells his flock that he they are better, that their way is the only way, then that minister is committing a crime-- a hate crime, fomenting hate and intolerance.

If a nation forces its citizens, as a part of national law, to wear certain clothing, for religious reasons, it can't be a part of world globalization. Or maybe it would be better to put it in other ways-- if a nation forces its citizens to obey religious laws, it should not be allowed to be a part of the globalization world. Any nation can tolerate all kinds of religious rules and laws that members of the faith choose to accept and live by. The problem comes when the religious extremists attempt to force others, even resorting to religious police to force compliance, or when extremists act on their beliefs in ways that cause violent conflict, as is the case with the ultra-orthodox Jewish settlers in the West Bank.

If a nation chooses to invoke religious laws, such as Sharia law, they can make that choice knowing their intolerance will cost them participation in the World Trade Organization and other related globalization groups.

This planet's future depends upon cooperation and respect for differences. Those nations and cultures that refuse to acknowledge this reality will only cause more conflict, suffering and hatred. It is time for them to pay a price for their myopic holding on to the past and their toxic efforts to force their ways on the rest of the world.

I am 68 years old. I thought I would never see the day that Nazi America would have Hitler’s clone controlling the world hostage. Plus, I never felt that religion would be used in Nazi America to murder and maim human beings all around the world with endless preemptive wars. “I pray to God for His help in turning our evil ways around and put in its place love and mercy in our hearts.” - Gerald

"O Lord, open my eyes that I may see the needs of others, open my ears that I may hear their cries, open my heart so that they need not be without comfort. Let me not be afraid to defend the weak because of the anger of the rich."
- Alan Paton

Gerald said...

Follow Jesus and do not turn away

Gerald said...

U.S.Use of Radiological Weapons

Gerald said...

In short, our leaders are guilty of not merely incompetence, nor even malfeasance, but of outright terrorism. Indeed, if the use of DU weapons is not terrorism, the word has no meaning. No doubt, for this reason, in June 2007, at a conference in Vancouver, BC, a gathering of 9/11 scholars and peace activists called for the creation of an international tribunal to hold America’s leaders accountable for crimes against humanity and the environment. Their brave initiative deserves our support, because it is absurd to think the US government will police itself. Thus far, the US Congress has shown no sign of providing the necessary leadership. What is clear is that if we fail to end the use of these weapons and bring the guilty to justice, the people of the world will hold all Americans collectively responsible; and rightly so. Our leaders’ reckless and immoral use of DU weapons in the name of freedom has seriously undermined not only America’s standing in the world, but also her security. Far from enhancing our security, DU weapons have made us much more vulnerable. When the peoples of the earth learn the terrible truth about what we’ve done, they will hate us more than ever; and if they insist on retribution we will be lucky to escape retaliatory strikes against American cities.

With regard to 9/11, a further conclusion also appears inescapable. Given that our leaders knowingly used weapons certain to kill, injure and maim tens of thousands of our own soldiers, is it not likely they are also capable of murdering a smaller number of American civilians on 9/11 for similar reasons, i.e., out of political expedience? Given the naked facts, it would be hard to conclude anything else.

capt said...

"Given the naked facts, it would be hard to conclude anything else."

That is the truth.


capt said...

Astronomers Find Gaping Hole In The Universe

University of Minnesota astronomers have found an enormous hole in the Universe, nearly a billion light-years across, empty of both normal matter such as stars, galaxies and gas, as well as the mysterious, unseen "dark matter." While earlier studies have shown holes, or voids, in the large-scale structure of the Universe, this new discovery dwarfs them all.

"Not only has no one ever found a void this big, but we never even expected to find one this size," said Lawrence Rudnick of the University of Minnesota astronomy professor. Rudnick, along with grad student Shea Brown and associate professor Liliya Williams, also of the University of Minnesota, reported their findings in a paper accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal.

Astronomers have known for years that, on large scales, the Universe has voids largely empty of matter. However, most of these voids are much smaller than the one found by Rudnick and his colleagues. In addition, the number of discovered voids decreases as the size increases.

"What we've found is not normal, based on either observational studies or on computer simulations of the large-scale evolution of the Universe," Williams said.


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A large empty void? Maybe that is where the GOP is storing their compassion?


capt said...

California voters souring on Democratic Congress, Field Poll finds

California voters, disappointed that Congress has been unable to change policy in Iraq, are now giving federal lawmakers their lowest approval rating of the past decade, according to a Field Poll released today.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also is taking it on the chin. Her popularity with state voters has tumbled as Democrats and independents grow impatient with her party's inability to force the White House to start to bring home U.S. troops, the poll showed.

Just 20 percent of California voters approve of Congress' performance, while 66 percent disapprove. That's worse than the 23 percent approval rating state voters gave the Republican-led Congress in May 2006 before the GOP lost its decadelong control in the November elections. It's the lowest rating for Congress since the Field Poll started asking the question in 1996.

"It's a historic low, and I think the main driver has to do with disappointment with the war," said Mark DiCamillo, who directs the poll. "The reason Congress changed hands in the last election was to try to send a signal to change the administration's policy in Iraq. To this point, the Congress has not been at all effective in that regard."


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The people of California are the ones that should matter most to Pelosi. I find it hard to imagine how Nancy could be so wrong and so out of touch with the people.


capt said...

More War on the Horizon

No pullout from Iraq while I'm president, declares George W. Bush.

On to Iran, declares Vice President Cheney.

Israel is a "peace-seeking state" that needs $30 billion of US taxpayers' money for war, declares State Department official Nicholas Burns.

The Democratic Congress, if not fully behind the Iraqi war, at least no longer is in the way of it.

Nor are the Democrats in the way of the Bush regime's build up for initiating war with Iran.

The Bush regime says it is going to designate part of Iran's military – the Revolutionary Guards – a terrorist organization, whose bases and facilities Bush intends to bomb along with Iran's nuclear energy sites. Three US aircraft carrier strike forces are deployed off Iran. B-2 Stealth Bombers are being fitted to carry 30,000 pound "bunker-buster" bombs to use against hardened sites. Politicized US generals assert that Iran is providing arms and aid to the Iraqi resistance to the US occupation. The media is feeding the US population the same propaganda about nonexistent Iranian weapons of mass destruction that they fed us about nonexistent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. A former CIA Middle East field officer, Robert Baer, has written in Time magazine that the Bush regime has decided to attack the Revolutionary Guards within the next 6 months. Remember the "cakewalk war"? Well, this time the neocons think that an attack on the Revolutionary Guards will free Iran from Islamic influence and cause Iranians to back the US against their own government.

Lies, unprovoked aggression, and delusional expectations – the same ingredients that produced the Iraq catastrophe – all over again. The entire Bush regime and both political parties are complicit, along with the media and US allies.


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When we liberate the Iranians and bring democracy to their country they will be so happy we will be greeted with flowers and candy. No really, this time it will surely happen.


capt said...

Democratic Mob Censures Bush In Effigy

WASHINGTON, DC—In an emblematic move intended to stand in for the official symbolic reprimand of the president, a vehemently well-mannered mob of demonstrators censured an effigy of George W. Bush Tuesday, making known its displeasure over such actions as illegal wiretapping and the politically motivated firing of federal lawyers.

Armed with neatly lettered signs, and umbrellas in the event of rain, the group milled about the Capitol for several hours, chanting the anti-Bush slogans "Bush Must Go Through The Same Channels As Any Other President to Take Military Action—That Actually Falls Under Congress' Purview" and "Down With The Idea Of Executive Privilege, Both In General And As It Relates To Bush" before performing the mock censure.

Although some members of the crowd initially incited a metaphorical impeachment of the president, a majority felt that would be far too harsh a symbolic action to take. After agreeing on the censure, the decorous riffraff whipped themselves into a relative frenzy and clamored single file to the National Mall with the meticulously crafted Bush effigy.

"Things really got out of hand after we drafted and considered the resolution and then presented it to the mock House Judiciary Committee," participant Patrick Firth said about the mob's public representation of a procedure that neither directly affects the presidency nor carries any particular legal consequences. "After we finally adopted the motion to proceed, there was no turning back. I felt like I was watching someone else edit and redraft the approved measure."


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Anybody caught doing anything except worshiping an effigy of dear leader would be shipped off to GITMO post haste - never to be seen again. This is America.


capt said...

"When Iraq becomes strong enough in our opinion to stand alone, we shall be in a position to state that our task has been fulfilled, and that Iraq is an independent sovereign state. But this cannot be said while we are forced year after year to spend very large sums of money on helping the Iraqi government to defend itself and maintain order." : Winston Churchill - 1922


"The soul of man, the justice, the mercy that is the heart in all men, from Maine to Georgia, does abhor this business...a crime is projected that confounds our understandings by its magnitude, a crime that really deprives us as well as the Cherokees of a country for how could we call the conspiracy that should crush these poor Indians our government, or the land that was cursed by their parting and dying imprecations our country any more? You, sir, will bring down that renowned chair in which you sit into infamy if your seal is set to this instrument of perfidy; and the name of this nation, hitherto the sweet omen of religion and liberty, will stink to the world." Ralph Wald Emerson - 1838


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

David B. Benson said...

capt --- Your logo doesn't look like an


ice cream cone to me...

Gerald said...

W's history of low Expectations

Gerald said...

The Decline and Fall of Nazi America

Gerald said...

The American people are puppets

Gerald said...

Life itself has checks and balances on evil people

Gerald said...

God's Warriors

Gerald said...

Onward Christian Soldiers

capt said...

Bush: Offensive in Iraq Just Beginning

Slain Tennessee Soldier Was in Iraq Less Than a Month

Son's Death Leaves Mom Asking Why (CA)

Vidor (TX) Woman Died in 'Friendly Fire' Incident in Iraq

Family Loses Second Son in Iraq War (CA)

Rockport (TX) Soldier Dies in Blackhawk Crash

Mississippi Soldier Dies While Serving in Kosovo

Virginia Soldier Was Dedicated to Faith and Family

South Carolina Servicewoman Killed in Iraq

Maryland Woman Killed While Serving in Iraq

Paratrooper (FL) Killed in Iraq Was Former Navy Diver

Decorated Army Medic (AL) Killed by IED in Iraq

North Carolina Soldier Makes the Ultimate Sacrifice

Helena (MT) Soldier Remembered as a Warrior and a Friend

A Night of Sadness for Mourners of Slain Indiana Soldier

Fallen Soldier (WV) Remembered for Love of Family, Country

Lincoln (Ark) Man Killed in Helicopter Crash in Iraq

Green Beret From Franklin (MA) Remembered

Thousands Pay Tribute to Fallen Soldier (IL)

Army Veterinarian Dies of Natural Causes in Iraq

West Point Grad (MI) Killed in Baghdad Attack

Houston (TX) Soldier Killed in Afghanistan Laid to Rest

Army Ranger From Aberdeen (NC) Killed in Afghanistan

capt said...

We can't even get those in power to impeach Gonzo the smiling liar. UGH!


capt said...

We Were There for You, But You've Let Us Down

Excuse Us, Nancy Pelosi

It's not just the Constitution that's suffering because of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's nutty and unprincipled "impeachment-off-the-table" position blocking any effort to impeach President Bush or Vice President Cheney for their many crimes and abuses of power.

Her position on impeachment is helping to kill the Democratic Party too, by driving away not just progressive members of the party, but independents who voted for Democrats last November expecting some action in defense of the Constitution as well as stopping the war. .

I see this anger welling up among progressives and independents everywhere I travel, as people say they've simply had it with the Democrats. The support of the party for a bill continuing funding for the war through September was terrible. The Democrats' rush to pass a bill granting Bush the authority to spy without a warrant on Americans, and to expand the power to spy domestically well beyond phones and internet to even include break-ins was a last straw.

My own little call for people to sign an "I Quit This Party" petition has seen a jump from 300 to now 400 signers. When it gets to 500 I'll be sending the list off to Pelosi, as well as to the offices of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean.


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Impeachment is more trouble than war with Iran.


capt said...

US 'sole survivor' to leave Iraq

A US soldier is to return home from Iraq under a military proviso known as the "sole survivor" rule after losing both of his brothers in the war.

Jason Hubbard, 33, will be re-united with his family in Clovis, California after his brother Nathan, 21, died in a helicopter crash in Iraq on Wednesday.

His other sibling Jared Hubbard was killed by a roadside bomb in 2004.

The "sole survivor" policy, which has allowed Jason to leave Iraq, formed the premise of movie Saving Private Ryan.


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More the “Fighting Sullivans” than private Ryan.


capt said...

U.S., Canadian West set joint carbon-cutting target

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Western U.S. states and Canadian provinces on Wednesday agreed to cut greenhouse emissions 15 percent by 2020 in the latest regional pact to regulate the gases, an approach opposed by U.S. President George W. Bush.

"Our collective commitment will build a successful regional system to be linked with other efforts across the nation and eventually the world," California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

The Western Climate Initiative, led by Schwarzenegger, seeks to slash greenhouse emissions by 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. Mandatory cuts are at odds with the voluntary approach favored by his Schwarzenegger's fellow Republican Bush.

Schwarzenegger signed a landmark law last year mandating California to cut its carbon emissions 25 percent by 2020. California produces about 2 percent of the world's carbon emissions, state officials say.

"We also feel the federal government needs to step up and take action and today's action sends, I think, another strong signal to Washington," Linda Adams, California's secretary for Environmental Protection, told reporters. "In the absence of federal action, states and provinces are not waiting, they are in fact leading the way.

The White House this month announced a meeting of the biggest greenhouse gas-emitting countries on September 27-28 in Washington. The meeting is an effort to involve developing countries in the move to cut the pollutants.

Scientists say high levels of heat-trapping emissions, such as carbon dioxide, will lead to catastrophic storms, droughts and floods as temperatures rise and glaciers melt.

The group of six Western states and two provinces also agreed to design a market-based mechanism, such as a cap-and-trade program, by the end of August 2008 to help reach the goal.

The pact's goal is modest compared to reductions of 80 percent by 2050 that two states -- New Jersey and Florida -- recently adopted.


capt said...

Edwards Goes After the 'Corporate Democrats' -- Is This a Turning Point for His Campaign?

In a dramatic speech, John Edwards fired a major broadside against corporate America and, more significantly, "corporate Democrats," -- the likes of which hasn't been heard from a viable candidate with national appeal in decades.

On August 23, John Edwards showed his populist mettle, firing a broadside against corporate America and, more significantly, corporate Democrats, the likes of which hasn't been heard from a viable candidate with national appeal in decades.

Edwards is en fuego right now, and if he keeps up the heat, his candidacy will either be widely embraced by the emerging progressive movement or utterly annihilated by an entrenched establishment that fears few things more than a telegenic populist with enough money to mount a credible campaign.

"It's time to end the game," Edwards told a crowd in Hanover, New Hampshire. "It's time to tell the big corporations and the lobbyists who have been running things for too long that their time is over." He exalted Washington law-makers to "look the lobbyists in the eye and just say no."

Real change starts with being honest -- the system in Washington is rigged and our government is broken. It's rigged by greedy corporate powers to protect corporate profits. It's rigged by the very wealthy to ensure they become even wealthier. At the end of the day, it's rigged by all those who benefit from the established order of things. For them, more of the same means more money and more power. They'll do anything they can to keep things just the way they are -- not for the country, but for themselves.

[The system is] controlled by big corporations, the lobbyists they hire to protect their bottom line and the politicians who curry their favor and carry their water. And it's perpetuated by a media that too often fawns over the establishment, but fails to seriously cover the challenges we face or the solutions being proposed. This is the game of American politics and in this game, the interests of regular Americans don't stand a chance.


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Edwards is saying some of the right things. I wonder will he actually walk the walk?


capt said...

Democrats crack down on Florida over primary

WASHINGTON — The Democratic National Committee stripped Florida of its national convention delegates on Saturday, rendering the state's Democratic presidential primary officially meaningless and delivering a stern message to states looking to bump up their presidential primaries.

The move, which would become effective in 30 days unless Florida Democrats reach a compromise with the national party, came after the committee found that the Republican-dominated state legislature had violated party rules by scheduling primary balloting for Jan. 29. Party rules require that only certain primaries be held before Feb. 5.

How the decision will affect the selection of the party's presidential candidate was uncertain. Florida ordinarily would have 210 delegates to the party's national convention. But the last Democratic presidential nominating contest that was still undecided when the party's national convention was convened was 27 years ago, when then President Jimmy Carter faced a challenge from Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

The biggest impact may be on Democratic candidates' decisions whether to campaign in Florida, the nation's fourth largest state.

With no delegates at stake, the primary would become an essentially meaningless "beauty contest," and candidates might prefer to spend their time and money in states that could affect the outcome of a close race.

Campaign trail

Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, who was campaigning in South Florida on Saturday, told McClatchy Newspapers that he'd still campaign in Florida, but that a delegate-less primary would be a "consideration" in deciding how much time to spend in the state.

Mo Elliethee, a spokesman for Sen. Hillary Clinton, the front-runner in most Florida polls, noted that "the process is still ongoing and we hope that the DNC and the state party can figure out a resolution that works for everyone." He said the campaign "has always said we intend to compete in any state that holds a primary or a caucus."


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Is the DNC finally showing some spine? Now if they can do the same with regard to Kkkommander Guy it will be a very good thing.


capt said...

"If we do go to war, psychological operations are going to be absolutely a critical, critical part of any campaign that we must get involved in.": General H. Norman Schwarzkopf

"The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.": Joseph Goebbels was born in 1897 and died in 1945. Goebbels was Hitler's Minister of Propaganda

"I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.": Abraham Lincoln


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

Attorney General Gonzales resigns

Formal announcement expected later today

Alberto Gonzales, President George W. Bush's embattled attorney general, has resigned, White House sources report this morning.

The New York Times is also reporting on its web site that the scandal-scarred attorney general is stepping down, effective immediately.

The resignation comes as the latest blow to Bush's beleaguered administration, under fire for the unpopular and failing war in Iraq and under increasing scrutiny for missteps by appointees like Gonzales.

Reports The New York Times:

Mr. Gonzales, who had rebuffed calls for his resignation, submitted his to President Bush by telephone on Friday, the official said. His decision was not announced immediately announced, the official added, until after the president invited him and his wife to lunch at his ranch near here.

Mr. Bush has not yet chosen a replacement but will not leave the position open long, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the resignation had not yet been made public.

Mr. Bush had repeatedly stood by Mr. Gonzales, an old friend and colleague from Texas, even as Mr. Gonzales faced increasing scrutiny for his leadership of the Justice Department, over issues including his role in the dismissals of nine United States attorneys late last year and whether he testified truthfully about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.

Earlier this month, at a news conference, Mr. Bush dismissed accusations that Mr. Gonzales had had stonewalled or misled a congressional inquiry. "We’re watching a political exercise," Mr. Bush said. "I mean, this is a man who has testified, he’s sent thousands of papers up there. There’s no proof of wrong."

Mr. Gonzales’s resignation is the latest in a series of high-level departures that has reshaped the end of Mr. Bush’s second term. Karl Rove, another of Mr. Bush’s close circle of aides from Texas, stepped down two weeks ago.

The official who disclosed the resignation today said that the decision was Mr. Gonzales’s and that the president accepted it grudgingly. At the same time, the official acknowledged that the turmoil over Mr. Gonzales had made his continuing as attorney general difficult.

"The unfair treatment that he’s been on the receiving end of has been a distraction for the department," the official said.


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Better late than never.


David B. Benson said...

Shucks. Can't impeach him now.

But maybe now the DoJ can investigate his crimes?

capt said...

New Thread