Sunday, July 23, 2006

Oh Yeah, There's Still That Other War Going On Too

And Things Aren't Getting Any Better There Either,

The Latest From Peace Takes Courage: Civil War in Iraq


Watch the WMP or QT version at C&L

Iraq car bombs kill 56 people
Reuters: Car bombs killed at least 56 people in Iraq on Sunday as Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki prepared for a White House visit expected to focus on easing violence that has raised doubts over his reconciliation efforts. ...(more)
Video C&L: Is the Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani pulling out of Iraq?
David Ignatius: "Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who is really the most important and powerful personality in Iraq, is signalling the bush administration this week that he is worried the situation in Iraq is spinning out of control. He is the crucial person. If he gives up on this effort-this effort is over. ..."
Iraq prisoner abuse 'routine and organised'

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Take 2 Imodium Anti-Dershoshitz's & Call Me In The Morn

It's this kind of rationale that leads to the justification for war.

Alan Dershowitz in L.A. Times: Not all civilian deaths 'tragic'


In today's Los Angeles Times, Harvard University Professor Alan Dershowitz has written a column in which he argues that the value of some civilian wartime casualties is less than others. (...)

"The Israeli army has given well-publicized notice to civilians to leave those areas of southern Lebanon that have been turned into war zones. Those who voluntarily remain behind have become complicit. Some — those who cannot leave on their own — should be counted among the innocent victims," wrote Dershowitz. ...(more)

UN envoy: Israel bombing breaks humanitarian law

Half a million Lebanese become refugees

Israeli Soldiers Push Deeper Into Lebanon, Seize Village

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

The War on Science

FDA gets back to business (as usual)
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) just released a survey of 997 FDA scientists, co-sponsored by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility to a total of 5918. (...)

One hundred eighty three scientists in this sample reported they "have been asked, for non-scientific reasons, to inappropriately exclude or alter technical information or their conclusions in a FDA scientific document." (...)

Forty percent of respondents fear retaliation for voicing safety concerns in public. This fear, scientists say, combines with other pressures to compromise the agency's ability to protect public health and safety. More than a third of the respondents did not feel they could express safety concerns even inside the agency. (...)

Only 47 percent think the "FDA routinely provides complete and accurate information to the public." ...(more)
Related:
WaPo: Top Democrat Finds F.D.A.'s Efforts Have Plunged

In Case You Missed It

And just because it totally deserves another shout out. ....

Newman's 'History of Oil' Check it out
Beelzebub's controlling Dick, Dick's controlling Bush, and Bush is fucking up the entire world.
Pictures from Sept 24, 2005 March for Peace, DC

Friday, July 21, 2006

Meanwhile Back in Tikrit, ... LMAO!


This is frickin hillarious! h/t SadButTrue from the comments.

US Soldiers Ordered to Kill All Military Age Males?


Soldiers Say Ordered to Kill Young Men
Soldiers in murder case claim they were ordered to 'kill all military age males' in Iraq raid
AP: Four U.S. soldiers accused of murdering suspected insurgents during a raid in Iraq said they were under orders to "kill all military age males," according to sworn statements obtained by The Associated Press.

The soldiers first took some of the men into custody because they were using two women and a toddler as human shields. They shot three of the men after the women and child were safe and say the men attacked them.

"The ROE (rule of engagement) was to kill all military age males on Objective Murray," Staff Sgt. Raymond L. Girouard told investigators, referring to the target by its code name. ...(more)
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Warmongers!


Britain and US Defy Demand for Immediate Ceasefire
Israeli warplanes continued their bombardment of Lebanon yesterday, defying a demand by Kofi Annan for an immediate end to fighting on the ninth day of a war that has led to the "collective punishment of the Lebanese people" .

Two countries, the US and Britain, defiantly refused to back the international clamour for an immediate ceasfire between Israel and Hizbollah guerrillas. Their ambivalence about civilian deaths in Lebanon has given Israel a powerful signal that it can continue its attacks with impunity.

However, Israel's ground offensive against Hizbollah was blunted when four of its soldiers were reported killed in clashes in south Lebanon. Across the country clouds of smoke appeared as the aerial bombardment continued and the evacuation of foreign nationals, including Americans, was stepped up. Israel said it would allow humanitarian aid to flow into Lebanon as international outrage grew over civilian casualties which are now above 300. ...(more)

The War Via Youtube

It sure looks a lot different than what we are seeing on Fox/CNN/... et al. I spent some time viewing a bunch of them this morning. Many are particularly hard to watch. Some look to be homemade works of propaganda from both sides of the conflict, and others seem more to present an unvarnished look at what is really going on.

This one seemed a little like one of Ava's videos. I picked it because it has a message of peace. The man with a sling towards the beginning brings up the stark image of David and Goliath, and the little boy with the Anderson Cooper eyes in tears really got to me.

Conflicts in the Middle East documentary Part 1


Watching these shows what a disservice the media does by showing the missiles and the explosions and none of the carnage of war. The networks glorify the heinous face of war, and thus they help perpetuate it.

There are so many videos, literally hundreds if not thousands more from the week old conflict, and many times that about Iraq. If you see any really good ones, about Israel-Hamas-Hezbollah or US-Iraq, or have any thoughts about how these videos might actually help balance governments' attempts to control the flow of information from a war zone, as I think they can, please let me know in the comments.

I want to salute video sites like Youtube for allowing people to share with us this lense into the horrors of war like the world has never seen before. I think the UN or perhaps the Gates Foundation or some other group with the means to be able to do so, ought to flood war zones with video cameras and computer/internet access. Pictures, and even more so video, represent the one true universal language. It is the most powerful medium for peace IMO.

Your thoughts?

Anyone from India: Can You See This?

In response to the Mumbai train bombing which killed over 180 people last week.

India Censors The Internet

Businessweek's blog: The first case of India censoring the internet has occurred. (...)

Niti Bhan tells me that the Indian government has "has blocked access to blogs hosted by Blogger, Typepad and sites on geocities for the moment,while they claim to be going through hard ip numbers to trace terrorists who they bleieve used these sites to coordinate the Mumbai bombings." ...(more)

h/t Die for the Elite in the comments

[Update] Government Lifts Ban on Websites

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Frist Open Thread

I'm sure I've said before I wasn't going to do open threads around here.
Oh well, I'm a flip-flopper.

What's news?

Welcome to WWIII sponsored by the USA

House Overwhelmingly Backs Israel in Vote
AP: The House, displaying a foreign affairs solidarity lacking on issues like Iraq, voted overwhelmingly Thursday to support Israel in its confrontation with Hezbollah guerrillas.

The resolution, which was passed on a 410-8 vote, also condemns enemies of the Jewish state. ...(more)
Confession: I totally cribbed the title from an A'Blog
commenter Dances with Wolves
Rawstory:
Video: Hezbollah takes BBC into 'wasteland' of southern Beirut
Video: Matthews and Buchanan slam neocons for Mideast 'warmongering'
Matthews and Buchanan. Sometimes these guys make sense afterall.

Report: US Muzzling Hurricane Victims

I can't believe how far this administration is willing to go to shit all over our Constitutionally protected rights.
AP: Residents of trailer parks set up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to house hurricane victims in Louisiana aren't allowed to talk to the press without an official escort, The (Baton Rouge) Advocate reported.

In one instance, a security guard ordered an Advocate reporter out of a trailer during an interview in Morgan City. Similar FEMA rules were enforced in Davant, in Plaquemines Parish.

FEMA spokeswoman Rachel Rodi wouldn't say whether the security guards' actions complied with FEMA policy, saying the matter was being reviewed. But she confirmed that FEMA does not allow the news media to speak alone to residents in their trailers. ...(more)

Russia to Resume Nuclear Testing?

Thanks to Bush's disregard for long-standing arms control and disarmament efforts including the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, decades of world progress towards halting the nuclear arms race is unraveling. (h/t Hornet)

Russia Prepared to Conduct Nuclear Tests — Defense Minister
“We proceed from existing reality and keep the test range in constant preparedness, while adhering to all our commitments,” the agency quoted him as saying when asked whether or not Russia would resume testing if countries that have not joined the international treaty banning test explosions and any other nuclear explosions do so.

“Certain large nuclear powers have not ratified the treaty,” Ivanov said. (...)

Ivanov last week announced plans to deploy new intercontinental ballistic missiles, saying that the nation needs a strong nuclear deterrent to protect itself from foreign “blackmail” - a comment referring at least in part to potential pressure from the United States. ...(more)
Bush admin pushes out weapons experts for croniesThe "Bush administration's arms control policies began with a refusal to submit a global treaty to ban underground nuclear-test blasts indefinitely for Senate ratification," and a withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Since then North Korea has developed its own nukes and by most accounts Iran is on the way to do so herself, if Iran doesn't have a few already. Venezuela looks to be shopping the idea too, reportedly with help from Iran. Russia and China have begun unprecedented joint military exercises and arms trading to counter the US presence in central Asia, and now just days after the G8 summit in Moscow, Russia begins backpedaling from her commitment to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). How can the US possibly try to force states like North Korea and Iran to abide by the very same treaties that the US withdrew from?

At every turn, Republicans continue to make our world less safe.

Heck of a job, chimpy.

Fueling the Nuclear Fire: Nuclear Policies of the Bush Adminstration
The George W. Bush administration came into office with the clear intention to strengthen US global military dominance, including its nuclear dominance, and it has been true to this major policy goal. Under this administration, military expenditures have increased by some $100 billion to approximately $400 billion annually, and nuclear weapons have assumed a far more central role in US security policy.

The administration’s blatant disregard for the United Nations Security Council and for long-standing arms control and disarmament efforts are clear signs that it is prepared to chart a unilateral course with regard to security issues. It has also signaled its desire to overhaul its nuclear arsenal, developing smaller and more usable nuclear weapons, which could be used as part of the new “Bush doctrine” of preemption. The administration has developed contingency plans for the use of nuclear weapons against seven other countries and against weapons of mass destruction (WMD) stockpiles of what it considers to be “rogue” states. (...)

Failure to Lead toward Nuclear Disarmament

In sum, Bush’s aggressive nuclear policy has shown scant concern for US treaty obligations, rendering many international arms control measures meaningless.

• Most prominently, the Bush administration has withdrawn from the ABM Treaty to pursue missile defenses and test space-based weapons.

• The Bush administration is not taking seriously, nor attempting to fulfill, US obligations for nuclear disarmament under Article VI of the NPT, nor has it shown good faith in fulfilling the 2000 NPT Review Conference’s 13 Practical Steps for Nuclear Disarmament - including pursuing the promised “unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear weapons states to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals….”

• Washington has made clear that it does not intend to send the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) back to the Senate for ratification. The Bush administration has indicated plans to shorten the time needed to resume underground nuclear testing, and is developing more usable nuclear weapons and contingency plans for their use.

Current nuclear policies by the Bush administration must be viewed as highly provocative to other countries. They suggest that the US reserves to itself the right to use its own weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, as it deems appropriate, while, at the same time, seeking to deny that possibility to other countries. ...(more)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I'm So Sick of All the Death & Destruction

There are Lives in the Balance

ROFLMAO!!!!!!!

This from Wonkette:
Value of "George Harris Legacy Loan" to Senate campaign: $10 million

Value of "refurbishments" to Capitol Hill residence: $100,000

Value of Handing in my Resignation Letter: Priceless
Email sent out yesterday afternoon by a Katherine Harris speechwriter.
laughing.gif

Where's the Love? :^(



Dear Lebanese/Palestinian/Arab/Muslim/Christians - Kids,

Die with love.

Yours,
Israeli Kids

7-17-06: Israeli girls write messages on artillery shells being fired into Lebanon.

AP: Lebanese PM: 300 Dead During Onslaught

[UPDATE] The Fucked-up Pictures explained
I linked this so you can make up your own mind, but I must say I don't know to believe this update story more than what the pictures apparently show. There are israeli soldiers that let this take place, at least one right there in the picture, and we're supposed to believe from this account that the kids were tricked by foreign journalists for an anti-israeli photo-op. eh, ok maybe? What do you all think?

Rawstory: GRAPHIC: Images of suffering, death on Arab TV after series of Israeli, Hezbollah strikes

Haaretz: IAF targets top Hezbollah figures in Beirut bunker
Two soldiers killed in clash with Hezbollah inside Lebanese territory

Homeland Security Spent How Much On What?!?!

NYT: Homeland Security Department Is Accused of Credit Card MisuseReport on Katrina Failures

Flat-bottomed rescue boats at double the retail price, $68,500 worth of unused dog booties, hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of computers that somehow disappeared and a $227 beer brewing kit.

These are just a few of the questionable purchases that Congressional auditors have found by digging through half a year of credit card records from the Homeland Security Department, including records for the months immediately after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita last year.

The audit, by the Government Accountability Office, which is due to be released Wednesday, concluded that the credit card misuse could probably have been avoided had the department completed a long-planned rulebook for its more than 9,000 employees who spent $420 million last year using government-issued credit cards.

Instead, “due to a lack of leadership” at the department, the draft manual has never been finished, creating accounting weaknesses that “leave D.H.S. highly vulnerable to fraudulent, improper and abusive activity,” the audit says.

The result is that in the five months examined, the investigators found that 45 percent of purchases [$190 million] did not have appropriate preauthorization by supervisors and that 63 percent did not include documentation stating whether the goods or services had been received. (...)

One employee of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is part of the department, spent $7,790 on a 63-inch plasma monitor, which sat for six months, unused, in its original carton.

Another FEMA employee spent $68,442 on the 2,000 dog boots, which were intended to protect the paws of search dogs on rescue operations; the boots ended up in a FEMA warehouse and have not been used.

Auditors also found that officials from Customs and Border Protection spent $2,492 on rain jackets for use at a firing range, even though the firing range is usually closed when it rains. And Secret Service officers spent $7,000 on iPods, which the agency explained were intended to serve as data storage devices, an explanation the auditors found unconvincing. ...(more)

(Related Posts)
Bush Caught On Video In Lie About Katrina
Bush Lies & Laughs Off Questions About Katrina
GAO: Katrina Failures Were Chertoff- DHS's Fault

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Any Lede With "Reed" and "Concede" is Sweet Indeed

Reed Concedes Defeat Ga. Lt. Gov Primary
Former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed, unable to overcome his ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, conceded defeat Tuesday in Georgia's Republican race for lieutenant governor.
This may actually be worse for the Democrats to win in November, I'm not familiar (yet) with the details between Casey Cagle(R) and whoever wins the Democratic nod (Jim Martin slight lead over Greg Hecht), but Ralph Reed was slimy as they come. Getting rid of him is reason to celebrate, in any case.

Ava's Still At It

The 32% Part II
Love Letters from the Right

(Related Posts)
Peace Takes Courage
15-yr-old Gets Death Threats for Anti-War Video

Can Republican Nutcases Do Anything They Want?

And Get Away With It?

If this is true, they had better lock her(?) skanky ass up.

Coulter: 'I Sent NYT White Powder'
If you falsely yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater and everyone tramples each other to death, you get sent to jail. So what should be done with Ann Coulter, who has argued that The New York Times should have been blown up by Timothy McVeigh and that Times executive editor Bill Keller should be executed by firing squad?

This was the question one Times source asked on Friday after an employee at the paper of record received an envelope with an X scrawled through it and a suspicious powder inside. "This thing makes all of Ann Coulter's comments a little less funny," said the source. "I wonder if she considers herself at all responsible when lunatics read her columns and she says that we should be killed."

So Memo Pad went and asked her, sending an e-mail to her AOL account. And guess what? She not only responded, but claimed to be the sender of the mysterious powder. ...(more)
She already seems to be getting a pass for flagrant plagiarism. Is there nothing she can't do without paying the normal penalties associated with such actions? It sure seems so. :(

State Dept: No Free Rides, Even if You're Dead

TPMmuckraker: State Dept.: No Free Evacuations for Dead Americans, Either

Unfuckingbelievabush!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

House Committee Subpoenas Abramoff Whitehouse Ties

This could get really interesting.

Abramoff Lobbying of White House Probed

WaPo: The House Government Reform Committee has subpoenaed the former law firm of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff for records of any contacts he or members of his lobbying team had with the Bush White House.

Chairman Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) authorized a subpoena weeks ago to Greenberg Traurig, according to several of the law firm's former clients who have been notified that it is turning over billing records, e-mails, phone logs and other material that reflects efforts to lobby the White House. ...(more)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Here's a View I'm Not Seeing in the US Corp Media

Haaretz via Truthout.

A state that takes such steps is no longer distinguishable from a terror organization. The harsher the steps, the more monstrous and stupid they become, the more the moral underpinnings for them are removed and the stronger the impression that the Israeli government has lost its nerve. Now one must hope that the weekend lull, whether initiated by Egypt or the prime minister, and in any case to the dismay of Channel 2's Roni Daniel and the IDF, will lead to a radical change. (...)

The legitimate basis for the IDF's operation was stripped away the moment it began. It's no accident that nobody mentions the day before the attack on the Kerem Shalom fort, when the IDF kidnapped two civilians, a doctor and his brother, from their home in Gaza. The difference between us and them? We kidnapped civilians and they captured a soldier, we are a state and they are a terror organization. How ridiculously pathetic Amos Gilad sounds when he says that the capture of Shalit was "illegitimate and illegal," unlike when the IDF grabs civilians from their homes. How can a senior official in the defense ministry claim that "the head of the snake" is in Damascus, when the IDF uses the exact same methods? ...(more)
This article helps hammer home the point that we don't know what is going on except for what our media reports to us.

I don't know what to make of all of what is going on. The more I hear other's well thought out opinions I find myself sympathetic to the plights of all involved. I really can't pick any side over any other, not totally anyway. I would just wish to stop the senseless self-defeating death and destruction across the board.

Who started what or who wronged who more is incomprehensible and irrelevant at this point. All sides are wrong and are pursuing policies that can only exasperate the situation more. All sides have suffered heavy losses and on their current paths they can only lose more.

Who will be the first to have the courage to stand down and end the cycle of senseless violence?

That's really all that matters now, isn't it?

Friday, July 14, 2006

What's Wrong With Bush in this Pic? Seriously?

U.S. President George W. Bush, left, and Russian President Vladimir
Putin seen during dinner at the G8 summit site in St.Petersburg, Russia, Friday,
July 14, 2006. (AP Photo/ITAR-TASS, Dmitry Astakhov, Presidential Press Service)

Is that a beer? Isn't he looking awful drunk to you? Looks to me like Putin is probably pointing to the trash can so he can hurl, because the chimperor doesn't look like he's going to make it to a bathroom.

No it's not a photoshop job. I saved a full screenshot of the comcast news page here in case they take it down, or rather for when they take it down,

Remember that Killgore appearance where Bush was slurring his words and seemed plastered? C&L has the video.

I have been collecting links to other videos of chimpy exhibiting weird behaviors. Please let me know about any others in the comments. I had a few more but they have since been moved or taken down.

Weird Bush Behavior Videos
Jaw jerking
More jaw jerking.
Weird head jerk
Lip licking
Slurring (drunk?)
Slurring (drunk?) (Ok this one's a parody, but funny. lol)
Some of these are really funny, I know, but he is an admitted alcoholic. Isn't it time more people seriously start asking ...


What's Wrong with George Bush?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Details of Wilsons' Suit against Libby, Rove, and Cheney

John Dean called for this almost 3 years ago. His advice is definitely worth giving a look now.

Salon: More vicious than Tricky Dickstuck pig?
John Dean says the Bush team's leaks are even viler than his former boss's -- and that Plame and Wilson should file a civil suit.
If the Bush White House is anything like the Nixon White House -- and there is increasing evidence of the similarities -- it will respond to such a lawsuit like a stuck pig. Leaking the name of a CIA official can under no circumstances be considered a part of any potential defendants' official duties, so they will not be given representation by the Department of Justice. ...(lots more)
TPM Muckraker: Copy of Joseph and Valerie Wilson's suit

C&L:
Joe Wilson sent out this statement:

"Robert Novak, some other commentators and the Administration continue to try to completely distort the role that Valerie Wilson played with respect to Ambassador Wilson’s trip to Niger. The facts are beyond dispute. The Office of the Vice President requested that the CIA investigate reports of alleged uranium purchases by Iraq from Niger. The CIA setup a meeting to respond to the Vice President’s inquiry. Another CIA official, not Valerie Wilson, suggested to Valerie Wilson’s supervisor that the Ambassador attend that meeting.

That other CIA official made the recommendation because that official was familiar with the Ambassador’s vast experience in Niger and knew of a previous trip to Africa concerning uranium matters that had been undertaken by the Ambassador on behalf of the CIA in 1999. Valerie Wilson’s supervisor subsequently asked her to relay a request from him to the Ambassador that he would like the Ambassador to attend the meeting at the CIA. Valerie Wilson did not participate in the meeting. As the CIA itself has officially confirmed, Valerie Wilson did not send Ambassador Wilson to Niger and she neither suggested him nor recommended him for the trip. Furthermore, the Ambassador agreed to travel to Niger pro bono with only his travel expenses being paid."

WHO: Valerie Plame Wilson
Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV
Christopher Wolf, Esq.

WHAT: News conference to announce filing of civil lawsuit

WHEN: Friday, July 14, 2006 10:00 AM

There’s a new site called WilsonSupport.
TPMM: Details of Wilsons' Suit against Libby, Rove, and Cheney
As the suit reads, it "arises out of a conspiracy among current and former high-level officials in the White House and actions taken by and on behalf of those officials in 2003 to violate the constitutional and other legal rights" of Valerie and Joseph Wilson.

Because of the administration's "whispering campaign" against the Wilsons, they say that they've suffered "gross invasions of privacy," that they "fear of their safety and for the safety of their children," that Valerie Wilson's career was ended, and that both of them "have been impaired in pursuing professional opportunities." (...)

The complaint details eight causes of action, all surrounding the trio's involvement in outing Valerie Wilson as a CIA agent:

1) Violation of First Amendment Right to Freedom of Speech
2) Violation of Fifth Amendment Right to Equal Protection of the Laws
3) Violation of Fifth Amendment Right to Privacy
4) Violation of Fifth Amendment Right to Property
5) Conspiracy to Deprive Persons of Their Civil Rights
6) Action for Neglect to Prevent Civil Rights Violation
7) Public Disclosure of Private Facts
8) Civil Conspiracy.

Yeah, What They Said ...

I admit I've been stalling on posting about this topic, all the while I've been glued to each escalation. I'm horrified at what is happening, it is spiraling out of control and no one seems willing to make any concession at all. Some of the latest news:

Israel blasts Lebanon airport, air bases
Israel intensified its attacks against Lebanon on Thursday, blasting Beirut's airport and two Lebanese army air bases near the Syrian border, and imposing a naval blockade. More than 50 people have died in violence following the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah militants.

Warplanes punched holes in the runways of Beirut's international airport and two military air bases, attacks that could draw the Lebanese army into the conflict.

Israel's army chief Brig. Gen. Dan Halutz warned that "nothing is safe" in Lebanon and said Beirut itself - particularly Hezbollah offices and residences - would be a target. Maj. Gen. Udi Adam said Israel had hit hundreds of targets and hadn't ruled out sending in ground troops. ...(more)
Hizbollah rockets rain on northern Israel
Hizbollah guerrillas from Lebanon fired barrages of rockets into nearly 20 towns across northern Israel on Thursday, killing one civilian and wounding 42 others in their heaviest bombardment in a decade. ...(more)
You can keep up with the latest here, or watch the networks, who to their credit have been giving this situation a lot of attention, notwithstanding a noticeable pro-israeli bias. I don't mean to take any side by saying that, just that the Palestinian/Hezbollah side of what is going on is under-represented in US media. As to where I stand I'm still muddled. Rather than put both feet in my mouth let me point you to opinions that I have read elsewhere that I for the most part agree with...

Froomkin: Bush the Bystander
The Middle East is exploding and what is President Bush doing about it? Not much.

Here's the transcript of this morning's joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in which Bush sounded more like a bystander on the world stage than the leader of its only superpower. ...(more)
Aravosis: The "other" Middle East: It's near all-out-war between Israel and Hezbollah - where is George Bush?
Where is George Bush? Where is America? Why are the Republicans in Congress and George Bush spending all their time worrying about flags and fags, while North Korea gets closer and closer to nuking us, and the Middle East goes up in flames?

There are serious problems in the world. And the current crop of Republicans running the country are either blind, or simply don't care. ...(more)
And I really liked this last one. Here it is in its entirety...

Josh Marshall: Where's the US?
I think I see the escalation of hostilities in and around Israel a bit differently than some readers. One TPM Reader asked yesterday in heated tones why I hadn't written anything about the "atrocities" Israel was committing in Gaza and southern Lebanon. I take a different view of this. I don't see why Israel should or really can, in the context of withdrawing from occupied territories, sit still while de facto governments to the north and the south kidnap her soldiers. And I say that as someone who thinks Israel should get out of the occupied territories in Gaza and the West Bank and support the establishment of a true Palestinian state not at some vague point in the future but now.

Israel actually faces what the Bush administration has pretended America faces, hostile neighbors using terrorist and irredentist factions as proxies in their conflict with Israel.

But retaliation has consequences. How far does this creeping war creep? Into Lebanon? We're already at that point. Into Syria? We're close. Iran? Maybe not too far in the future. Is it in Israel's or America's interest to acquire more occupied territories? Other than retaliatory bombing or occupation of buffer zones, what the the strategic objectives?

This is spinning out of control very quickly. And we need to think right now about where this leads in a week and a month. For America's interests and Israel's the US can't afford to hold back and watch where this goes. ...(more)
BTW, Josh just went bigTIME with his first article in the mag. Congratulations, Josh. You can support one of the true champions of blogland by checking it out. Besides his powerhouse blog and TPM Muckraker, he's been a columnist over at The Hill for a while now.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

OMG! WTF Is Going On At The Pentagon?

Please do tell me why the Pentagon is googling the search terms "what's really going on in iran?" On second thought, don't. I really hope they aren't trying to find out from my blog what's really going on in Iran. I mean I think I know what's going on, but shouldn't they know for sure? At least enough they don't have to google up my blog for their answer. Please tell me Rummy's not checking sans-culotte for the low-down. ROFL!!!

I wonder. Could this be part of that new $450,000 Air Force Program they just announced to monitor blogs?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Keep Your Jesus Off My Penis

ROFL!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Orwellian Times We Are a Livin In

Wrongful imprisonment without trial John at Americablog linked to this post over at TeamBIO.org about this article in Newsweek about America's nationalism. This last part really got me.

BIO: Patriotism vs. Nationalism

Torture
Orwell really has our current foreign policy dialed with this quote:

“All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labor, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral color when committed by ‘our’ side.… The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”

Sound familiar? ...(more)
Forgery. How did Orwell know forgery?assassination video game style
Sounds real familiar.
Too damn familiar.
Orwell said that in 1945.
That's downright scary.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Terrorists?

The more I learn about this case, the more I'm beginning to think the FBI just framed a bunch of dipshits whose plans were much less the work of an al Qaeda affiliate than they were the product of poverty, stupidity, and one too many episodes of Nickelodeon's Pinky and the Brain.

Paintballers Plotted World Takeover
TPMmuckraker: The ragtag, kooky group, who all belong to a sect "that mixes Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Freemasonry, Gnosticism and Taoism," had plans to destroy the Sears Tower in Chicago, prosecutors say.

Well, the judge says the crew is too dangerous to walk the streets before trial. So they'll stay locked up. But more details about the case came out during the hearing. And the more we learn, the less this crew looks like they could have toppled a tree house, let alone the Sears Tower.

That's not to say that they didn't talk up their destructive ambitions. One of them even "made reference to taking over the world," according to the FBI agent on the case.

That said, the group never got their hands on any real weapons. In fact, they apparently trained by shooting paintball guns in the woods. During their raid of the group's Temple, a windowless warehouse, FBI agents found only one knife and a blackjack.

How did the group show up on the FBI's radar? It's unclear, but from the Miami Herald's reporting of the hearing, it sounds like the group's leader, Narseal Batiste, went down to his local 7-11 to "obtain financial and military support." I'm not kidding.

He eventually got a lot of promises from another FBI informant for guns, boots and $50,000 in cash. But the lawyer for one of Batiste's followers says Batiste, who used to "roam the streets" in a bathrobe, was just scamming the informant because he was hard up for money. ...(more)

Is it still too soon for rationally talking about al Qaeda?

Apparently not. Ken Silverstein @ Harpers tries to step out of the morass..

The Al Qaeda Clubhouse: Members Lacking
The June 30 issue of Newsweek carried a story titled “The Myth of Al Qaeda” by Michael Hirsh, which argues that the threat posed by Osama bin Laden and his followers has been long overestimated by the United States. (...)

Meanwhile, Peter Bergen wrote an article in the July 2 Washington Post that paints Al Qaeda as a more potent threat and suggests that despite suffering setbacks after 9/11, the group “may be staging a comeback.” (...)

I'm a fan of Bergen's work on Al Qaeda, but I'm with Hirsh on this one. Al Qaeda Central was and is capable of carrying out deadly actions, and at some point, it's safe to say, it will again try to attack the United States. But the fact that bin Laden hasn't carried out an attack in nearly five years—and he obviously would love to—suggests that an attack on U.S. soil is something that he can’t easily accomplish. Why is that? ...(read on)
It's interesting to see any article that isn't fomenting a climate of fear these days, but especially so at a time when we learn that Bush has went from wanting bin Laden dead or alive, to being not that concerned about him, to actually axing the 6 year old CIA program trying to find Osama sometime late last year.

WTF is going on? These are bizarre times we are a livin.

Has Bush cut and run from the war on terror? Is this an admission of defeat, or is Bush trying to declare victory without ever having caught Osama, Zawhiri or Omar. Was the risk from al Qaeda totally overblown by this administration the whole time? Did they just get lucky on 9-11? Is Osama even really still alive anymore? Who is independently verifying the legitimacy of the bin Laden audio tapes, or do we still have to just take our govt's word for it?

I don't pretend to know what to make of it, but I'll be really glad when real journalists stop spewing this administration's bullshit and start really answering some of these things. IMO, Hirsh and Silverstein have provided a step in the right direction.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Canary is Dead

Yet another great video post by Nate

Monday, July 03, 2006

Lieberman Vows to Kiss The Democratic Party Goodbye

It's official: Lieberman Abandons Democrats
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman announced today he will petition for a place on the November ballot as an "independent Democrat," giving him a chance to stay alive politically should he lose an Aug. 8 primary for the Democratic nomination.

Video via C&L: Remember the Kiss? Never forget the kiss.

Also:
See Lieberman Jump For Joy at the SOTU
Watch as Bush spins his Iraq message and Lieberman jumps out of his seat faster than anyone else in the place including all of the Republicans.

Vote for Ned N Sted: http://nedlamont.com/