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    06 January 2006

    Hitler, Bush

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    From The Scotty Show

    05 January 2006

    A Troubling Week for Hopes of Mideast Peace

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    "Those who want to stop the progress of freedom are becoming more and more marginalized"

    - Yesterday they killed 40, today they killed 80 130 including 5 US soldiers. Yesterday guerrilas took out 20 of 60 fuel tankers in a convoy north of Baghdad. (see SWARM by John Robb) Sounds like the insurgents just bitch slapped my President.

    What's Col. Lang think?
    This begins to sound like an answer to the question I posed yesterday as to whether or not the insurgents and their supporters were going to accept a negotiated but subordinate role in the government being created by the Shia and Kurd winners of last month's election. I hear people saying things like, "Well, they will just have to GET OVER IT and learn to live with minority status.." Sorry, but they have another option and that is to continue to wage a terrorist war against us and the Iraqi government in the belief/hope that eventually something will change in the situation and a-the country will break up and they achieve independence in the Sunni Arab heartland north and west of Baghdad or b- they can dominate the same area with lines of communication running out of the region into Sunni run countries. In either case they will, by now, believe that eventually we will leave and that our departure will "level the playing field." If the United States leaves a smallish (less than 100K) force in garrisons in country and increases the number and intensity of TACAIR strikes in support of government forces this will have only a moderate effect on the scenario described above because 1-Our garrisons will become more and more occupied with securing themselves and the embassy and 2- TACAIR in the hands of the Iraqi forces will be a double edged sword, protecting those forces and at the same time adding to the recruiting efforts of the insurgents.

    - Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, the insurgency made its presence known in a Central Afghan town by injuring or killing dozens in a suicide attack. Present in the town at the time was U.S. Ambassador Ronald E. Neumann and other American officials.

    - Recent developments surrounding Israeli PM Ariel Sharon leave the region and the world reexamine the peace process in the troubled region of Palestine. Should the PM fail to recover, will his new so-called centrist party collapse? If it does or if the exit of Sharon should tip the government in either direction, what will happen? I doubt that the Labor Party will be able to retake the government, either will Sharon's centrist party. This leaves right-wing Likud and the leadership of Binyamin Netanyahu. It would seem this would be a good thing for a President like Bush, but Netanyahu may be a little to far to theright, and his policies may (IMO they would) upset the limited progress on the conflict. Bush just lost a major ally in the Middle East.

    More analysis here

    - This is an interesting report from a local news outfit on the Betrayal of several Marines in Iraq; deaths involved.
    The truth can be found in a classified report containing a completed investigation of the fatal events last August, reported NewsChannel5's Adam Shapiro.

    Shapiro spent two weeks conducting numerous conversations with families of the Marines who were killed, as well as ranking officers from the 3rd Battalion 25th Marines.

    The families of those who died are being told that on Aug. 1, six Marine snipers from the 3/25 were killed, and it appears they were set up and ambushed.

    Two days later, 14 Marines from the 3/25 were sent to arrest the insurgents who killed the snipers, but their vehicle was blown up, killing all of them.

    It now appears that they also may have been set up.

    Statements from the Marines indicate as much, and a father of one of the slain Marines says that's the story he's being told by Marines who were there.

    Paul Schroeder will never forget that awful first week in August when his 23-year-old son, Lance Cpl. Augie Schroeder, died.

    Paul Schroeder said his son's fellow 3/25 Marines told him something that the military never told him, how Augie was killed Aug. 3 while trying to capture the Iraqi insurgents who had killed the snipers.

    "They were set up. Someone knew where they would be, how they would be, and they went after them," said Paul Schroeder.

    The six Marine snipers were killed in a firefight just outside of Hadithah. The Marines said they were on an intelligence-gathering mission, but family of the fallen and Schroeder say insurgents may have infiltrated Iraqi security and betrayed the Marines.

    "What we have heard from Marines is that the six snipers who were killed on Aug. 1 were set up," said Schroeder.

    Posted by Geoff

    Drinking Liberally - Charleston, SC

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    Time to sit back and take in the entertainment. Someone fire up the popcorn maker! This calls for a celebration. How about Thursday evening?
    With a House Republican committee chairman implicated in the criminal case and the highest echelons of the Republican Party increasingly vulnerable to charges, GOP leaders moved yesterday to distance themselves from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and prepare to combat a growing corruption scandal. --Preston


    From his radio address on 10 December 2005, less than a month ago:
    The Patriot Act is helping America defeat our enemies while safeguarding civil liberties for all our people. The judicial branch has a strong oversight role in the application of the Patriot Act. Under the act, law enforcement officers need a federal judge's permission to wiretap a foreign terrorist's phone or search his property. Congress also oversees our use of the Patriot Act. Attorney General Gonzales delivers regular reports on the Patriot Act to the House and the Senate.

    That's pretty cut 'n dry folks.
    I've decided.
    He's a liar. --Geoff

    Hey, you two, why don't you tell us how you REALLY feel? To keep this conversation going, join us at Voodoo Lounge
    15 Magnolia Dr
    Thursday, January 5
    starting at 5:30 pm

    I'll be there.

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    04 January 2006

    Troubles in Palestine and Corruption Everywhere

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    - Members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade overran border checkpoints between Gaza and Egypt today. Hours later they stole construction equipment and used it to knock down the wall separating Egypt from Palestine, a large number of militants poured into the Sinai. The actors demanded a release of prisoners and more jobs from the government. They met little resistance but thousands of Egyptian troops have been mobilized and are headed toward the region. This is in addition to other events in Gaza recently in anticipation of the vote to take place later in the year (it may be delayed at the request of Israel through the US Congress). Hamas is expected to do well if given the chance, while Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Party struggles to impose authority in Gaza (the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade is affiliated with Fatah) and gain support in Palestine (which means there will be no democracy until a party that meets the Israeli and American standard).

    Meanwhile, Ariel Sharon was rushed to the hospital again after suffering what appears to be a second stroke in the last month. This all is topped of by a report that Sharon and his party have been acting like their Washington cousins and engaging in a little bit of illegal activity. But... I still hope he recovers and then takes better care of himself. And follow the damn rules!

    [UPDATE] He has been replaced and is on a respirator. His fill in is Deputy PM Ehud Olmert. Sharon stroke was much more serious than first reported, he is undergoing surgery for cerebral hemorrhage.

    And finally, perhaps the stupidest idea yet from the American Taliban (aka the Evangelical Christian right and their leader Pat Robertson), an amusement park is in the works that may be built near the Sea of Galilee. Where some guy named Jesus walked on water and fed some people. Not only does the idea of a Christian amusement park sound like a boring trip; could you imagine the security; or the value as a target for Middle East terrorists groups of any and every stripe? Let's hope Pat and his followers spend all their time and money there.

    - The Wall Street Journal has raised the bar from 12 to 60 lawmakers that may be targeted by the US government in a large and supposedly bipartisan scandal. But on the bipartisan-ness of this event, where are the Dems? Aravosis has found no proof of any Dem getting funds from Abramoff directly. Hotline agrees and they are less partisan than Aravosis. To be honest I'd be shocked if this came to an end without snagging a few Dems, but majority Repub for sure.

    Hotline is also tracking those who have returned their dirty money received from Abramoff.

    Bush/Cheney '04 has retuned the Abramoff donation to charity. Which is how Abramoff moved his money around, via bogus charities.

    So has House Speaker Dennis Hastert

    - Despite contrary reports, the Wall Street Journal has some poor numbers for Alito.
    Almost equal thirds of all adults believe that Judge Alito should be confirmed (34%), should not be confirmed (31%) or say they aren't sure (34%), according to the poll. A majority of Republicans (65% vs. 9%) favor his confirmation, the polls shows, while a plurality of Democrats (48% vs. 14%) oppose it, and Independents are split (34% for confirmation; 38% against).

    However, nearly 70% of those surveyed in the online poll of 1,961 adults would oppose Judge Alito's confirmation if they thought he would vote to make abortion illegal. That percentage rises among Democrats (86%) and Independents (74%), compared with 22% of Republicans. More than half of Republicans polled say they would support his confirmation if they thought he would vote to make abortion illegal, compared with 14% of Democrats.

    - Bush still thinks this is a tyranny and he can do whatever he wants
    When President Bush last week signed the bill outlawing the torture of detainees, he quietly reserved the right to bypass the law under his powers as commander in chief.

    After approving the bill last Friday, Bush issued a ''signing statement" -- an official document in which a president lays out his interpretation of a new law -- declaring that he will view the interrogation limits in the context of his broader powers to protect national security. This means Bush believes he can waive the restrictions, the White House and legal specialists said.

    ''The executive branch shall construe [the law] in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President . . . as Commander in Chief," Bush wrote, adding that this approach ''will assist in achieving the shared objective of the Congress and the President . . . of protecting the American people from further terrorist attacks."

    Some legal specialists said yesterday that the president's signing statement, which was posted on the White House website but had gone unnoticed over the New Year's weekend, raises serious questions about whether he intends to follow the law.

    Why doesn't he just dissolve the congress if he's going to go over their heads anyway? Heck that would make Washington less corrupt, for a little while at least.

    Posted by Geoff

    Iraq's quest for a positive future and the corruption that threatens it

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    - Sunni political groups clash over ones choice to join in a coalition with the Kurds and now a reported Shiite bloc. This will hopefully have some effect in splitting the Sunnis and isolating the insurgents but may cause more fighting in process. Also a coalition between the Sunnis and the Kurds is the best bet to keep the Shiite block well below the 180 seats it needs to form a majority government. We don't know what the numbers are exactly right now and it may be several weeks until we do. Id project that whether or not the government is formed between all three parties or just a Shiite bloc will matter little

    The White House has acted unusually WRT the coup set up by AEI pretty boy and neocon darling, Ahmed Chalabi. It's hard to say if they're being genuine or not; I doubt it. To have a man who is a powerful friend to Washington, Iran, and oil in such an opportunity for big oil to move on with the invasion of Iraq.

    The White House said "It is not up to the United States, it is up to the Iraqi people to make those decisions and it's up to their government that is elected by the Iraqi people to make those decisions." But no one elected Chalabi to anything, and I don't think the government has the balls to do much of anything right now. We'll see how this test-tube democracy handles this, I'm not optimistic, and I think the Iraqi public will see though any cover or distractions thrown up for, or by, Chalabi.

    Also in Iraq, the US tried (and is trying) to appoint a secular Sunni (ex-batthist and veteran of the old Iraqi army) as a leader in the new Iraqi army. He was to have control (as far as military control) of sensitive regions in Baghdad including the Green Zone and the road to Baghdad International Airport. This was seen as a way to bridge the gap between Sunni and Shiite but instead my prove to the Sunnis that the powerful Shiite bloc has no intentions to share power. Primarily in the Shiite dominated security forces that are quietly waging a dirty war in the face of constant attacks by the insurgency and foreign terrorists.

    Finally, 30 civilians were killed by a suicide bomber today at a funeral for a Shiite politicians family member. Other violence made today the deadliest day since the Dec. 15th parliamentary elections.

    - Although relations between India and Pakistan have warmed since all hell almost broke loose in 2001, tensions still remain today.

    - Bush returned to attacking Dems over the so called USA PATRIOT ACT yesterday. He may want to recall that it is being held up by both parties with the leadership of the Dems via Russ Feingold. Instead of complaining he should learn something. L E A D E R S H I P! Mr. President.

    On Bush, Larry Johnson calls him out after using inappropriate analogies to place himself on par with the brave soldiers who have risked it all for neocon ideals. The key word here is 'injury.' Johnson sets it up with
    he is visiting U.S. soldiers who are missing arms, legs, and eyes. Some soldiers are horribly mutilated from wounds suffered in Iraq. Most of the soldiers Bush visited were not "injured", they were "wounded". You get wounds in combat. You get injured while playing football or cutting brush.

    and now the shame of a president at Brooke Army Medical Center
    " As you can possibly see, I have an injury myself -- not here at the hospital, but in combat with a Cedar. I eventually won. The Cedar gave me a little scratch. As a matter of fact, the Colonel asked if I needed first aid when she first saw me. I was able to avoid any major surgical operations here, but thanks for your compassion, Colonel."

    What a shame.

    - Now that the Arbamoff story is official, Republicans, and likely some Dems as well, are scurring into their holes to wait for the heavy hand of justice (or what's left of it). This is all quite similar to Saddam isn’t it, only I doubt that any Washington-ite would dare get his or her clothes dirty in a hole in the ground, and faced with a country club prison, the message is 'why not?'

    The Real Abramoff Scandal: A Viewer's Guide

    Some interesting spin and speculation is erupting for major blogs on the left, as are the right-wing blogs I'd imagine. Some of the better ones are listed here
    Chris Matthews implicated in Abramoff scandal

    Abramoff prosecutor has reported ties to DeLay defense

    Religious Right Leaders Implicated in Abramoff Scandal

    Bush's connections to Abramoff. In 2002 Bush Obstructed Justice For Jack, Recount Bill NEVER PAID

    On the topic of political scandals, Aril Sharon may be in some hot water as well.

    - Swampfoot has audio up from lasts night showdown between late night funny man David Letterman and prime time liar bill O'Reilly. Dave thinks 60% of what Bill says is crap, obviously Dave has a little conservative streak but who can blame him? Having all that money and all.

    Downloads here.

    Posted by Geoff

    emotional rollercoaster ride

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    - First off I want to express my utmost sorrow for the families, and friends of the, now reported correctly, 12 dead miners in WV. Late last night, during the Orange Bowl, news broke that the trapped miners were freed, all but one. This followed a days worth of ominous signs that lead the public to believe, correctly, that things were bad and deaths were becoming more and more inevitable. After the Bowl game, on the news shows, the hype and relief was unbelievable, only to have that euphoria taken back this morning.

    Late last night I was thinking to myself, jokingly, about reconsidering my views WRT the existence of a God-like figure. A hard-fought Buckeye victory, followed by an OSU-Miami type battle between Penn State (who won in 3OT) and some other team from Florida, and then the great news about the WV miners created this event. Their faith and ability to keep up hope is admirable and they deserved to be reunited with their loved ones. Sadly, that never happened and now that feeling is gone.

    I hope someone is held accountable for the faulty news, because in this respect, and most others, it is extremely damaging.

    Posted by Geoff

    03 January 2006

    Medi-Pot becomes legal in another state

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    Medi-Pot won support from the Rhode Island legislature today. This win overrode a governor's veto. This is a huge win, given that the Feds have won the right to charge you if you legally use Medi-Pot.
    Rhode Island on Tuesday became the 11th state to legalize medical marijuana and the first since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that patients who use the drug can still be prosecuted under federal law.

    The House overrode a veto by Gov. Don Carcieri, 59-13, allowing people with illnesses such as cancer and AIDS to grow up to 12 marijuana plants or buy 2.5 ounces of marijuana to relieve their symptoms. Those who do are required to register with the state and get an identification card.

    Federal law prohibits any use of marijuana, but Maine, Vermont, Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington allow it to be grown and used for medicinal purposes.

    The U.S. high court ruled June 6 that people who smoke marijuana because their doctors recommend it can still be prosecuted under federal drug laws, even if their states allow it.

    Federal authorities, however, have conceded they are unlikely to prosecute many medicinal marijuana users.

    Posted by Geoff

    The 'War for the Hearts and Minds' and Bush's nth flip-flop

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    - The battle for the 'Hearts and Minds' took a shot (although unavoidable) yesterday.

    Fourteen members of one family have been killed in a US air strike that destroyed a house in northern Iraq, an Iraqi official has said.

    - The Israeli-Palestinian dispute in Gaza and over the elections remains ripe. The Senate has expressed concern and 'ordered' Abbas to refuse Hamas eligibility in Palestine. It's a funny thing how American Democracy works. We said nothing as the Muslim Brothers and Hezbollah gained in recent elections in Egypt and Lebanon. But Israel, and her thirst for more space in Palestine, holds strings in American politics, enough for Senators to call for the exclusion of Hamas and with it the credibility of the coming democratic cycle. Why the Israeli or American politicians think meddling will soften support for Hamas, PIJ, et cetera is beyond me. Seems they should trap them into democracy and begin to solve the problem with words rather than assignations, car bombs, bulldozers, and walls.

    - A new book looks at the 'cherry-picking' of info that mislead the public and congress into Iraq. (Never once did they even come close to misleading me. To me it was a no-brainer. Few believed me. Me. Me, me. Me)

    - The Iraqi oil minister who was given a vacation to pave the way for Chalabi to hold some power (and self-respect) in the new Iraqi government submitted his official resignation yesterday. He was troubled by the new policies and how they failed to benefit the poor. With Chalabi in, the poor can expect some price gouging and, unless someone wishes to argue otherwise, unexplained disappearing funds.

    - Units in the SC National Guard had to leave $50 million worth of Bradley Fighting Vehicles, heavy transport trucks, Humvees, radios, weapons, tools and other equipment in Iraq. it is unclear whether it will be returned in any way.

    - Bush was against governing based on poll numbers, before he was for it. Flip-flop???
    Before, 13 December 2005:
    QUESTION: So what does that say about the hill that you have to climb?

    MCCLELLAN: A couple things. Let me first correct you in terms of saying that we don’t ever look at polls. We don’t govern based on polls. The president does not govern based on polls. The president governs based on a clear set of principles and a clear set of beliefs. [WH Press Briefing, 12/13/05]

    Today, responding to why Bush is justified in continuing to conduct an illegal wiretapping program:

    MCCLELLAN: I think that clearly the American people strongly support the efforts that we are undertaking to save their lives. I think there actually was a poll last week that said 60 percent — more than 60 percent of the American people support the actions the president is taking to prevent attacks from happening in the first place. That is what this president is committed to doing. This is about saving lives.

    And the right still doesn't get it. Most people have no problem with legal wiretapping, it's the illegal, above the law wiretapping that is a problem. Reword the question correctly and I'll bet a lunch at the local restaurant of your choice that the results would be a lot different.

    I guess that might be why Scotty's mommy is running back towards the left.

    Posted by Geoff

    02 January 2006

    Israel to scrap the 'Road Map'?

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    This is just a report, but it is on Reuters and from a Sharon favorite, Maariv (a local newspaper). The report indicates that the Road Map is out, and that the West Bank is now part of Israel. This, of course, will be condemned by the EU and I'd imagine the US. The UN will condemn as well, but given Israel's history with UN orders that point is moot.

    What # intifada would this be?

    Posted by Geoff

    Repub Cut 'n Run and their veiws on 'Snoopgate'

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    - The withdrawal from Iraq became a little clearer this morning (actually late last night): We've completely rebuilt Iraq. We'll that's what you'd expect to hear, truth is that we "...never intended to completely rebuild Iraq." Really?
    The "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" says that the administration is working toward winning the war on three fronts: by training Iraqi security forces, by helping the nation establish a democracy, and by targeting economic development and rebuilding efforts in areas of the country cleared of insurgents.

    It's going to be hard to do that with no money, and to be honest Iraq hasn't been rebuilt. A new school here, spotty power there (12 hours per day on average, could you imagine?). New road here, broken pipeline there. New prison here, no sewage or sanitation there. I'd be a generous man if I even said that they broke even.

    Two paragraphs sum it all up. This also fits into the tactic of the Global Guerilla movement discussed yesterday here.
    the hundreds of Americans and Iraqis who have devoted themselves to the reconstruction effort point to 3,600 projects that the United States has completed or intends to finish before the $18.4 billion runs out around the end of 2006. These include work on 900 schools, construction of hospitals and nearly 160 health care centers and clinics, and repairs on or construction of nearly 800 miles of highways, city streets and village roads.

    But the insurgency has set back efforts across the board. In two of the most crucial areas, electricity and oil production, relentless sabotage has kept output at or below prewar levels despite the expenditure of hundreds of millions of American dollars and countless man-hours. Oil production stands at roughly 2 billion barrels a day, compared with 2.6 billion before U.S. troops entered Iraq in March 2003, according to U.S. government statistics.

    Million not billion, someone made a mistake

    Bush said (8 Aug. 2003):
    "In a lot of places, the infrastructure is as good as it was at prewar levels, which is satisfactory, but it's not the ultimate aim. The ultimate aim is for the infrastructure to be the best in the region."

    - One pipeline pumping, another one burning.

    Oil output is falling in recent months

    Iraq's oil exports in December fell to their lowest level since the official end of the conflict in 2003, Iraqi interim government figures have shown.

    Last month's exports totaled 1.1 million barrels per day, down from November's 1.2 million figure.

    Bush and the oil biz don't work to well together do they?

    - Pat Land discusses why American democracy isn't as effective in the Arab World do to vast cultural differences not accounted for by average Westerners.

    - Bush continues to deny that he misled the country when he assured us that he got a court order before he tapped into the country’s privacy. You decide.

    From his radio address on 10 December 2005, less than a month ago
    The Patriot Act is helping America defeat our enemies while safeguarding civil liberties for all our people. The judicial branch has a strong oversight role in the application of the Patriot Act. Under the act, law enforcement officers need a federal judge's permission to wiretap a foreign terrorist's phone or search his property. Congress also oversees our use of the Patriot Act. Attorney General Gonzales delivers regular reports on the Patriot Act to the House and the Senate.

    That's pretty cut 'n dry folks.

    I've decided.

    He's a liar.

    Proving that there are some honest Republicans out there, Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN) joined the Republican ranks requesting an investigation, he joins Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA). Bill Kristol, you can call this 'paranoid liberalism' no longer. A 'constitutional crisis' would be more appropriate.

    - Simon Jenkins pens a dark view of Iraq. Here are the opening two paragraphs
    The good news is that 2006 will see the effective end of the western occupation of Iraq. It will end because everyone will be exhausted: the Americans, the British, the Iraqis and their neighbours. It will end because all justification for its continuance will have evaporated.

    The election whose result is to be declared this week is good news. The federal constitution fashioned by Zalmay Khalilzad, the American ambassador, is good news. The resulting coalition government will be good news since it will put the strongest group, the cleric-backed pro-Iranian Sciri, or Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, in effective power.

    Posted by Geoff

    01 January 2006

    Gov't propaganda alert

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    You know it's government propaganda when
    1) it paints a suspiciously good looking future;

    2) it paints a future that the sitting administration will like to tell the public about;

    3) it seems to go against CW, as well as available literature, scholarly work;

    4) it is something you've heard before;

    5) no one reporting it appears on the article itself. (as of 9pm it was anonymous.)

    This is propaganda, pure and simple. I highly doubt that this is the case though, but Bush need some good news so we'll take it.

    This paragraph is highly suspect
    The fighting helped restore Iraqi control of the border with Syria to eliminate smuggling lines and paved the way for successful Sunni Arab regional participation in Dec. 15 parliamentary elections, he said in an interview with a small group of reporters at this dusty U.S. base in al Asad, in western Anbar province near the Syrian border.

    OK, so we disrupted the supply routes, which in turn "paved the way for successful Sunni Arab regional participation" in the recent elections???

    Yeah, that was it. What a joke.

    A new year, same terror and why the US efforts in Iraq will fail in time

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    - Iraqi insurgents celebrated the new year in their own twisted way by blowing up something across Baghdad and beyond. The terrifying tactic injured many but no kills have been reported.

    - Col. Lang points out another idiotic decision by the powers that be in Iraq. Remember the devastating choice by Paul Bremer to turn away anyone thought to be in the Baath Party from the new Iraqi military; thus creating a large part of the insurgency. Now the elected government has come to the same fork in the road and chose more violence instead of democracy.
    An Iraqi court has ruled that some of the most prominent Sunni Muslims who were elected to parliament last week won't be allowed to serve because officials suspect that they were high-ranking members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party.

    Knight Ridder has obtained a copy of the court ruling, which has yet to be circulated to the public.

    The ruling is likely to dampen Bush administration hopes that the election would bring more of the disaffected Sunni minority into Iraq's political process and undermine Sunni support for the insurgency. Instead, the decision is likely to stoke fears of widening sectarian divisions in a nation already in danger of descending into civil war.

    Adil al-Lami, the chief electoral official of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, told Knight Ridder that he would honor the court's decision and that none of the accused Sunnis would appear on the final list of parliament members.

    The choice is becoming clearer by the day to the Sunni population; choose the insurgents or a life of poverty and abuse.

    - Juan Cole gives us a list of 10 predictions for 2006, I'll point out a few that stem from the same thread; petro-dollars.
    2. Saudi Arabia will use the $160 billion windfall from high petroleum prices to strengthen its military and security forces, and to spread its rigid Wahhabi form of Islam.

    3. Iran's clerical elites will use the $36 billion windfall from high petroleum prices to strengthen their military and security forces, and to spread their radical Khomeinist form of Islam. The US, even if it takes some desperate step, will prove unable to shake the regime in 2006.

    4. The Iraqi government, on which the US is placing its bet, will limp along with less than $19 billion a year in petroleum income because of sabotage and guerrilla war, along with long-neglected fields and dilapidated plants and equipment. Most of that money will be absorbed by the need for internal security, reconstruction and paying off past reparations and debts, as well as by large-scale corruption and embezzlement (billions of dollars went missing during the government of Iyad Allawi in 2004).

    This last one is probably the nail in the coffin for the neocon dream in Iraq. Even if the US and the Iraqis are able to provide universal security to the population of Iraq, the infrastructure is still exposed. It (attacking the infrastructure) may not terrify the masses like a bomb in a market, but it will stifle the nation building process.

    But this isn't a second choice for the insurgents (it may be for the terrorists but they are hardly the biggest problem in Iraq), it is the plan. John Robb uses Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as a template for how to rebuild a state. It starts with basics: survival, shelter, security. From the basics it works its way up to self-actualization. The smart Guerrilla, in this period, targets the infrastructure, projects crime via kidnapping, explosions, and hijacking, and attacks the government projecting instability. In theory, the Guerrillas could be successful without killing civilians, Iraqi and American soldiers; although they do get in the way. This process breeds alternative loyalties within separate communities as we see with the Kurd's, Shi’a's, and Sunni's. This is hardly a situation in which a democracy is going to bloom from.

    To make matters worse here is the template for nation building in neocon land
    Image hosted by Photobucket.com

    In a land dominated by oil and a war based on the protection of oil, this seems backward. With the dates of drawdown made pretty clear by Washington, look for less targeting of civilians and soldiers/police and for more disruptions of the most important resource to Iraq, Baghdad, and Washington: oil, energy, and other basic necessities of life in developing states. This is worldwide and not just limited to Iraq. Look at Nigeria, the ’stans’ in Central Asia, et cetera...

    Posted By Geoff

    Ashcroft the Perjurer

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    - An assistant to then-Attorney General Ashcroft expressed concern when asked to sign onto the domestic espionage created by Bush and friends to spy on Americans. During a period when Mr. Ashcroft was in the hospital for surgery (and a difficult recovery) Deputy AG James B. Comey was pressed and ultimately refused to sign on to the program. At which point Andy Card and Alberto (Abu) Gonzales interrupted Ashcroft's recovery and either forced him to sign onto the program or went over his head as a King or dictator of some type would do.

    The top deputy to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft refused two years ago to approve important parts of the secret program that allows domestic eavesdropping without warrants, prompting two leading White House aides to try to win the needed approval from Mr. Ashcroft himself while he was hospitalized after a gall bladder operation, according to officials knowledgeable about the episode.

    With Mr. Ashcroft recuperating from gall bladder surgery in March 2004, his deputy, James B. Comey, who was then acting as attorney general, was unwilling to give his certification to crucial aspects of the classified program, as required under the procedures set up by the White House. . .

    That prompted two of President Bush's top aides - Andrew H. Card Jr., his chief of staff, and Alberto R. Gonzales, then White House counsel and now the attorney general - to make an emergency visit to George Washington University Hospital to review the program with Mr. Ashcroft during what aides have described as a difficult recovery, the officials said.

    ...It was unclear whether the White House ultimately persuaded Mr. Ashcroft to approve the program or whether the White House moved ahead without his concurrence. What is known is that in early 2004, about the time of the hospital meeting, the White House suspended parts of the surveillance program for several months and moved ahead with more stringent requirements on the National Security Agency on how the program was used, in part to guard against possible abuses.

    This brings up the perjury question.
    8 June 200 testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee:

    ASHCROFT: The information is provided to the Intelligence Committees and is available to a member of the Congress through the Intelligence Committees.

    We have reported on a regular basis to the Intelligence Committees about the operation of the Patriot Act. And we are required to do so in the Patriot Act.

    Part of the safeguards of the Patriot Act, in addition to every activity of the FISA community basically being pre-authorized by a federal judge and the fact that we have that kind of screening by the federal courts in advance, we are required twice a year to report to the Congress and the Intelligence Committees.

    Posted by Geoff


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