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    14 May 2005

    George W. Bush [UPDATE]

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    bushCo. must apologize for their militaries desecration of the Koran right Fucking now! Things are starting to get bad in Arab countries all over the Globe. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia... This pause is worse than the quiet the world experienced after the tsunami.

    U.S. must apologize over Koran report-Afghan paper
    President, PM demand punishment to perpetrators
    Indonesian Muslims denounce US over alleged Koran desecration
    Afghan clerics back Koran protests, shun violence
    Karzai demands action on Koran abuse

    So much for winning the hearts and minds.

    12 May 2005

    Iraq at a tipping point.

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    I'm not a specialist but I'm not dumb either. The current Iraqi situation...
    Waited through an invasion, waves of rebellion from both sides (Shite' & Shia'), and election....
    And the life of the average Iraqi is only slightly better and that’s a generous estimate. I agree that we will be in the middle of a civil war soon if not already. One between a newly revitalized Shite’ bloc and a well armed minority of Sunni, throw in the Kurds and Turkey and Syria you have the beginning of WWIII.
    "It's just political rhetoric to say we are not in a civil war. We've been in a civil war for a long time," said Pat Lang, the former top Middle East intelligence official at the Pentagon.

    Other experts said Iraq is on the verge of a full-scale civil war with civilians on both sides being slaughtered. Incidents in the past two weeks south of Baghdad, with apparently retaliatory killings of Sunni and Shia civilians, point in that direction, they say.

    Also of concern were media accounts that hard-line Shia militia members are being deployed to police hard-line Sunni communities such as Ramadi, east of Baghdad, which specialists on Iraq said was a recipe for disaster.

    "I think we are really on the edge" of all-out civil war, said Noah Feldman, a New York University law professor who worked for the U.S. coalition in Iraq.

    He said the insurgency has been "getting stronger every passing day. When the violence recedes, it is a sign that they are regrouping." While there is a chance the current flare of violence is the insurgency's last gasp, he said, "I have not seen any coherent evidence that we are winning against the insurgency."

    "Everything we thought we knew about the insurgency obviously is flawed," said Judith Kipper of the Council on Foreign Relations. "It was quiet for a little while, and here it is back full force all over the country, and that is very dark news."

    Happy about Bolton | O'Reilly gets outed by Houston Newspaper

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    Although this wasn't the down vote we all wanted, it is a blow to Rove and bushCo. mandate. While he will likely be confirmed in the Senate (IMO), we have faced the enemy and turned them around. The vote on the filibuster is still looming and (tin-foil hat) this could be political cover for Repubs. Anyway Bolton is still fair game and now he is in our perpetual target. AS for the UN, they will not accept him and his work there will me minor. After this term I predict a bald or grey haired Bolton who returns to his life to become a child beater and a rapist.

    Now for the best news of my day...
    The 19th century American writer and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once said of a man, "The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons." Were he alive today, Emerson might be thinking of television host Bill O'Reilly.

    On The O'Reilly Factor cable television program Tuesday night, the popular host included a segment that took the Houston Chronicle to task for an editorial that had run the same day. The editorial was entitled Cold comfort: Florida's sex offender law has emotional appeal, but it's not the best way to stop sexual predators from preying on children.

    Hang on while I count our spoons:

    At the start of the segment, O'Reilly stated that the Chronicle had "taken a lot of shots at me, so it must be left of center." O'Reilly's name has appeared only once in a Chronicle editorial, which concerned not O'Reilly, but Fox News' suit against Al Franken for his use of the phrase "fair and balanced." The suit was thrown out of court.

    O'Reilly told his viewers that the Chronicle editorial said the Florida law was too harsh. He was mistaken. The editorial excerpts that O'Reilly projected on the screen said nothing about the harshness of the punishment. The editorial, citing extensive research on this subject, said hooking GPS monitors to sexual predators released from prison might prove less effective than closer supervision by parole officers and other low-tech strategies. The Chronicle did not call for lighter punishment; it called for the adoption of the most effective measures to protect our children.

    O'Reilly said the editorial advocated "community service" for sexual predators. It did not.

    O'Reilly accused his guest, Austin defense attorney Courtney Anderson, of misleading the audience when she defended the Chronicle editorial. O'Reilly then read what he said was a quote from the editorial. Unfortunately, not one word of what O'Reilly read appeared in the Chronicle editorial or anywhere else in the paper. He and his staff apparently confused someone else's commentary with the Chronicle's.

    O'Reilly claims his show is free of spin. Spin is when someone casts the facts in such a light as to reinforce his argument and weaken his opponent's. What O'Reilly did was to disregard the facts altogether, even going so far as to attribute to the Chronicle words and views it did not print and does not espouse. That's not spin; it's misrepresentation that is unprofessional, unwarranted and injurious to the public debate about a serious and urgent issue: protecting children from predators.

    The Chronicle's reader representative and letters editor received several complaints about the editorial from people who admitted they hadn't read it, or who attributed to it quotations that did not appear in the editorial. Before Chronicle readers complain about an editorial, I hope they take the time to read the editorial carefully, rather than relying on someone else's careless characterization of its contents.

    F U Bill!

    When insurgents fight back

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    Despite the wishes of the SCLM, our soldier face challenges in Iraq that are unable to be captured in words. The war is on and it won't get any better. The number of fighters trained at camps in Afghanistan and elsewhere from the 80s to 9-11-01 number in the thousands, if not more.
    The explosion enveloped the armored vehicle in flames, sending orange balls of fire bubbling above the trees along the Euphrates River near the Syrian border.

    Marines in surrounding vehicles threw open their hatches and took off running across the plowed fields, toward the already blackening metal of the destroyed vehicle. Shouting, they pulled to safety those they could, as the flames ignited the bullets, mortar rounds, flares and grenades inside, rocketing them into the sky and across pastures.
    Among the four Marines killed and 10 wounded when an explosive device erupted under their Amtrac on Wednesday were the last battle-ready members of a squad that four days earlier had battled foreign fighters holed up in a house in the town of Ubaydi. In that fight, two squad members were killed and five were wounded.

    In 96 hours of fighting and ambushes in far western Iraq, the squad had ceased to be.

    Every member of the squad -- one of three that make up the 1st Platoon of Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Regiment -- had been killed or wounded, Marines here said. All told, the 1st Platoon -- which Hurley commands -- had sustained 60 percent casualties, demolishing it as a fighting force.

    A prophetic FDR, 50 years ago

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    The conservative epidemic has always had it out for Social Security. Given the latest pension fiasco, Social Security is too important to trust in the market and in the hands of those corporations that rob their employees with immunity. In FDR’s words:
    "Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are [a] few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."

    - President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 11/8/54

    via dKos.

    11 May 2005

    More bushCo Gov't propaganda - USDA

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    Ya know, this is getting to be ridiculous. I don't care if it were a Dem or even better a progressive in charge, propaganda is unacceptable. What is happening to our country?
    A third federal agency has admitted it paid a journalist to write favorable stories about its work.

    Documents released by the Agriculture Department show it paid a freelance writer $9,375 in 2003 to "research and write articles for hunting and fishing magazines describing the benefits of NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) programs."

    Three articles by the writer, Dave Smith, appeared late last year in two magazines aimed at hunting and fishing enthusiasts: Outdoor Oklahoma, published by that state's Department of Wildlife Conservation, and Washington-Oregon Game & Fish, published by Primedia.

    Neither identified Smith as having been paid by the government. The stories focused on how money from a 2002 agricultural subsidy bill had been used to help preserve wetlands that hunting and fishing enthusiasts enjoy in Oklahoma and the Northwest.

    Smith, a biologist by profession who now works for the NRCS in Montana, said Tuesday that the magazines knew he'd been paid by the Agriculture Department. "I clearly spelled out to them," in writing, "that I'd been hired to do this," he said. He said the magazines did not pay him for the articles. "I knew I couldn't be paid by them" since he'd already been compensated, Smith said.

    Smith said he did not mention in the stories that he had been paid by NRCS. "I'd already explained to the magazines what the deal was and I thought they would take care of it from there," he said.

    Only $9k, but the list keeps growing...

    Ridge revels bushCo influence on terror alerts

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    Well we all kinda knew this already. Everyone who was paying attention that is.
    The Bush administration periodically put the USA on high alert for terrorist attacks even though then-Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge argued there was only flimsy evidence to justify raising the threat level, Ridge now says.

    Ridge, who resigned Feb. 1, said Tuesday that he often disagreed with administration officials who wanted to elevate the threat level to orange, or "high" risk of terrorist attack, but was overruled.
    "More often than not we were the least inclined to raise it," Ridge told reporters. "Sometimes we disagreed with the intelligence assessment. Sometimes we thought even if the intelligence was good, you don't necessarily put the country on (alert). ... There were times when some people were really aggressive about raising it, and we said, 'For that?' "

    So who is in charge there and how are these decisions made?
    The level is raised if a majority on the President's Homeland Security Advisory Council favors it and President Bush concurs. Among those on the council with Ridge were Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI chief Robert Mueller, CIA director George Tenet, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell.

    Ridge wasn't the direcor of homeland security. He was a moderate repub who was there to take the blame if the $hit hit the fan. How can a director have only 1/6 of the vote?

    Iraq worse under US than Saddam

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    A diarist at dKos put these stats together.

    via more or less for Saddam figures.
    Saddam Hussein is responsible for approximately 230,000 deaths or 'disappearances' from his civilian population (actual figures are not available, sources differ between 160,000 and 300,000). Military casualties are not considered, although they may be as high as 600,000 between the Iran-Iraq war and both Gulf Wars.

    His rule (estimated from the date he gained executive power as "acting deputy chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council" - 17/7/1968 - to the date of the first American military action in Iraq - 3/20/2003) was 12,664 days.

    via Anti-War for post-Saddam stats.
    The count is currently estimated at a minimum of 21,523, and grows daily. This includes Iraqi police officers, but not insurgents.

    The American occupation of Iraq is at 961 days.

    Under Saddam: 18.16 civilian deaths or 'disappearances' per day

    Under US occupation: 22.39 civilian deaths per day.

    A bit unfair, but I hope we can strive in the future as things calm down, if they calm down, to reverse this stat so that Saddam appears to be the bad guy not the West.

    Iraq propaganda update

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    More light shed on reality in Iraq. The news sounds great at first but it is all a lie, propaganda, vietnam style. The Military knows that the majority of people in America will read the first headlines and that's it, they don't follow up to get the truth. Anyway, it seems like the number of dead insurgents didn't come out to be a nice round number of 100 earlier this week, but far fewer.
    Though military commanders in Baghdad announced that 100 insurgent fighters were killed in the early fighting, along with three Marines, Davis' figures were lower. He said "a couple of dozen" insurgents had been killed in Ubaydi, about 10 at another river crossing near Al Qaim, and several who were killed by air strikes north of the river.

    Other commanders said they had recovered few bodies but had seen blood trails that suggested insurgents were dragging away wounded or dead fighters.

    The number of insurgents in the region is "in the hundreds," Davis said. "How many hundreds is tough to tell."

    Afghans Riot over American stupidity

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    Why do we embrace torture in America? It is hard to prove that it works. The events in Iraq damaged us immeasurably, and now we are faced with riots in Afghanistan over US (Gitmo) use of the Koran as a prop in torture. The situation in Afghanistan has slowly declined despite the lack of interest in American media.
    Hundreds of students rioted in the city of Jalalabad over reports that the Koran was desecrated at the US prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    President Hamid Karzai has said the violence showed the inability of Afghan authorities to handle such protests.
    In Jalalabad, buildings belonging to the United Nations are reported to have been attacked and the offices of two international aid groups are said to have been destroyed.

    Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan, Rustam Shah Mohmand, told the BBC the Pakistani consul's house had also been burned down and two cars torched.

    One international aid worker in Jalalabad told the BBC that he could see smoke rising from points across the city.

    He said there were groups of people running along the streets, reportedly looking for foreigners and anyone working for non-governmental organisations.

    The Taliban is still prominent in Afghanistan. Make no doubt, that war is still brewing. This only helps their cause. I hope the US Military got good info from this because the price has already been dear.

    10 May 2005

    Goodbye Channy-Chan!

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    “I am resigning with gratitude in my heart for all of you, particularly those of you who love me and my family,” the Rev. Chan Chandler said during a meeting at East Waynesville Baptist Church.

    Congregants of the 100-member church in western North Carolina have said Chandler endorsed Bush from the pulpit during last year’s presidential campaign and said that anyone who planned to vote for Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry needed to “repent or resign.”

    The church members said he continued to preach about politics after Bush won re-election, culminating with a church gathering last week in which the nine members said they were ousted.

    Speaking from the pulpit Tuesday night, Chandler opened the meeting with prayer before telling the gathered congregation that, “For me to remain now would only cause more hurt for me and my family.”


    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha... Ha Ha

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    O'liely [Bill O'Reilly] is sinking in popularity (tip to dKos):
    October: 3,166,000
    November: 3,080,000
    December: 2,610,000
    January: 2,478,000
    February: 2,391,000
    March: 2,320,000
    April: 2,178,000
    May-to-date: 2,096,000

    Time to blame Air America. Or the liberal who invented counting.

    Bill, your you're a douche bag.

    Iraq Propaganda

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    I am troubled by the willingness of our Government to feed the public misleading news, all in the spirit of making the misadventures of bushCo.TM. Domestically it is fact that this administration has engaged in more nonrational Propaganda than any that I can remember or that I have heard about. Internationally they are very suspect. Juan Cole:
    The remarkable thing about the operation was the claim by the US to have killed 100 guerrillas, a new move in the propaganda wars. The US military had been deliberately avoiding announcements of numbers of guerrillas killed. But this strategy, which comes from the scandals about over-estimates of Viet Cong killed in the Vietnam War, had left the guerrillas free to generate headlines such as "300 killed in bombings during the past week." Nothing the US had done could compete with that sort of number, which I believe explains why we now get a number. The problem with giving out such numbers, however, is that sooner or later there will be another scandal.

    For instance, are all 100 (a suspiciously round number) really guerrillas? Or are some innocent civilians who got caught in the crossfire? How would you tell, if all you have is a dead 16-year-old male body?

    The other problem with this operation is that it may raise false hopes. Probably less than ten percent of the guerrillas are foreign fighters, so even if the US could weaken their Qaim-area bases substantially, it would not stop most of the attacks. And, the Syrian-Iraqi border is so long and rugged that the foreign infiltrators will just develop new routes. One remembers the conviction that if only Fallujah could be reduced, the bombings would stop. It didn't happen then, it won't happen now.

    From an AP story this morning
    U.S. forces backed by helicopter gunships and warplanes swept through a large area of western
    Iraq near the Syrian border for a third day Tuesday, raiding desert outposts and safe houses belonging to insurgents, the U.S. military said.
    On Tuesday, fighting was reported in Obeidi, 185 miles west of Baghdad, and the two nearby towns of Rommana and Karabilah, an Associated Press reporter in the region said. He said large numbers of Qaim residents were fleeing the area.

    On Monday night, insurgents attempted to launch a counterattack 5 miles from U.S. Camp Gannon in Qaim, said U.S. Marine Capt. Jeffrey Pool. They attacked a Marine convoy with small arms fire, rocket-propelled grenades, roadside bombs and two suicide car bombers, Pool said in a statement.

    This is another attack on the people of Iraq. We have no idea what we are doing so we just devastate the area. Vietnam tactics. Also, where is the 150k strong Iraqi Army?

    09 May 2005

    SC Gov race Sanford v. Moore

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    I ran into a great post over at dKos re: the SC Gov election, it refered me to this article from the State and covered first by Bob Brigham at the Swing State Project.
    State Sen. Tommy Moore is the “right kind” of Democrat to beat Republican Gov. Mark Sanford next year if he gets the money, experts say.

    Moore certainly has the credentials — 26 years of state legislative experience, an understanding of state government and a moderate to conservative voting record.

    “He is the type who can get elected statewide,” says Danielle Vinson, a political scientist at Furman University.
    Image hosted by Photobucket.com
    “This is a state election, straight out,” notes Francis Marion University analyst Neal Thigpen, a GOP activist.

    Democrats tend to fare better in such elections.

    “Republicans can’t tie the national party label around their neck. It won’t stick,” says College of Charleston professor Bill Moore.

    Republicans are much more open to voting Democratic in state elections.

    Bill Moore is a Prof. I have heard great things about while at the College of Charleston. He is well revieved by both ends of the political spectrum.
    As governor, he has rubbed many the wrong way with his antics and behavior. He has failed as a negotiator.

    “Obviously, there is a disconnect between the members of the General Assembly and the governor,” says professor Moore.

    Sanford also is not a good stump campaigner. He doesn’t excite. [...]

    But some Republicans may quietly spread the word among constituents that they could live with Moore as governor.

    Contribute to the SC Dems.

    08 May 2005

    US lies to public re: recent terror catch

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    After you read the article linked to above let me warn any reader that anything that comes out of the US Govoverntments mouth about the sitation in Iraq and the War on TerrorTM is likely false and is propaganda.

    If You skipped the article I'll let Prof. Juan Cole sum it up:

    Christina Lamb and Mohammad Shehzad in Islamabad suggest in the London Times that Abu al-Faraj al-Libi, arrested recently in Pakistan, is being confused with Anas al-Libi, a mastermind of the 1998 US embassy bombings in East Africa. Abu al-Faraj the Libyan, some observers suggest, is a third-tier al-Qaeda member largely known for involvement in recent plots to assassinate Pakistani Gen. Pervez Musharraf. Lamb and Shehzad go so far as to speculate that the US and the Pakistani governments are deliberately hyping the significance of the arrest to give the impression of great progress in the "war on terror."

    Memo update

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    petition here, sign it!!:

    Some analysis by Justice not Vengeance here:
    The July 2002 memo confirms what was long known:

    that the British Government had decided on war by mid-2002; that the evidence and intelligence was 'fixed around the policy' rather than the evidence determining the policy; that dislodging Saddam Hussein (misleadingly referred to as 'regime change') rather than disarmament was the key goal from the very beginning; that UN inspectors were seen from the outset as a public relations device rather than as a means of disarmament; that Britain (and the US) were trying to create a situation in which Baghdad would refuse to re-admit the inspectors, in order to create a political and legal justification for a war they were already committed to for other reasons; that Tony Blair and his ministers lied through their teeth.

    THX to Christian Dem in NC @ dKos here

    Blair to go sooner than later

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    It is a real shame to see someones carrer come to an end in the that it appeears that Tony Blair's will. The consequences of playing with bullies and war criminals are huge. After the UK elections deminished his majority by over half in the Commons, I said that Blair would be forced out in time. But It looks like his own party is moving on him already.
    Tony Blair has been urged to quit as prime minister early into his third term, days after Labour's election win.
    Some MPs have suggested the prime minister should step down within a year to 18 months, with Chancellor Gordon Brown tipped as successor.

    Mr Cook, who resigned from the Cabinet in protest at the Iraq war, told BBC1's Politics Show that Labour had won this election despite rather than because of Mr Blair.

    The prime minister should be respected for having delivered two landslide election wins, he said, but it was now time for him to consider his future.

    "The question Tony Blair should be reflecting on this weekend is having achieved this, having secured his place in the history of the Labour Party and the history of Britain, whether now might be a better time to let a new leader in who could then achieve the unity we need if we are going to go forward," he said.
    Frank Dobson, who served as health secretary in Mr Blair's first Cabinet, told GMTV's Sunday programme the prime minister had been an "enormous liability" in this poll.

    "I don't think we can go into important local elections next year... with Tony Blair as leader and expect to keep many of the councillors we've got now," he said.

    It's too bad, but he deserves it. He was bullied and lied to, no country would reward a president-figure for leadership like that.


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