Is This the Death of America?

Published on Saturday, October 8, 2005 by the Daily Mirror/UK
America's sense of itself - its pride in its power - has been profoundly damaged
http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1008-32.htm

By Dermot Purgavie

This week Karen Hughes, long-time political adviser to George Bush, began her new mission as the State Department's official defender of America's image with a tour of the Middle East.

She might have been more help to her beleaguered president had she stayed at home and used her PR skills on her neighbors. At the end of a cruel and turbulent summer, nobody is more dismayed and demoralized about America than Americans.

Staying or Leaving

By Rep. Ron Paul (Republic, 14th Dist., Texas)

S upporters of the war in Iraq, as well as some non-supporters, warn of the dangers if we leave. But isn't it quite possible that these dangers are simply a consequence of having gone into Iraq in the first place, rather than a consequence of leaving? Isn't it possible that staying only makes the situation worse? If chaos results after our departure, it's because we occupied Iraq, not because we left.

The original reasons for our preemptive strike are long forgotten, having been based on false assumptions. The justification given now is that we must persist in this war or else dishonor those who already have died or been wounded. We're also told civil strife likely will engulf all of Iraq.

The Case of the Missing Notebook

The latest twist in the Plame Affair only deepens the mystery: What's in the suddenly uncovered notebook that documents the previously unknown Judith Miller/Scooter Libby chat of June 25, 2003? Who told the prosecutor about it? And why, exactly, does he want to talk to Miller again?

By Greg Mitchell, Editor and Publisher

(October 09, 2005) -- If its recent track record is any guide, The New York Times, later today or tomorrow, will get around to confirming Michael Isikoff’s Newsweek revelation late Saturday that the missing notes Judith Miller suddenly found and turned over to the federal prosecutor on Friday in the Plame case were located in a notebook in the newspaper’s Washington, D.C. bureau. The prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, has now scheduled another meeting with Miller on Tuesday.

CIA Leak: Karl Rove and the Case of the Missing E-mail

By Michael Isikoff
Newsweek
17 October 2005 Issue

The White House's handling of a potentially crucial e-mail sent by senior aide Karl Rove two years ago set off a chain of events that has led special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to summon Rove for a fourth grand jury appearance this week. His return has created heightened concern among White House officials and their allies that Fitzgerald may be preparing to bring indictments when a federal grand jury that has been investigating the leak of a CIA agent's identity expires at the end of October. Robert Luskin, Rove's lawyer, tells NEWSWEEK that, in his last conversations with Fitzgerald, the prosecutor assured Luskin "he has not made any decisions."

Good Night, and Good God What Have You Done to Our Country

By David Swanson

I recommend the movie "Good Night, and Good Luck," which is named with the line with which Ed Murrow ended his news broadcasts on CBS News, back when CBS did news. It's a well-made movie and ought to be heartening, except that it gives you an intense pain in your stomach when you realize that the corporate pressures Murrow was under have completely taken over, that we haven't just lost the literacy and the cigarettes, that we've lost the ability of news reporters to report that official assertions conflict with facts. Murrow's recent integrity-free illiterate successor at CBS, Dan Rather, was booted for less than anyone could make a movie out of. Here's a take on that pathetic episode from a forthcoming book by a producer at CBS.

Feingold Leads Way on Iraq War

Published on Saturday, October 8, 2005 by the Boston Globe
By Robert Kuttner

President Bush, faced with plummeting support for the war in Iraq, keeps turning to an old standby. In another high-profile speech on Thursday, Bush warned Americans to be terrified of terror, and tried once again to tie Iraq to Al Qaeda and the attacks of 9/11.

The public isn't buying it. A large majority -- 64 to 32 in CBS polls -- opposes Bush's conduct of the war.

Yet the opposition party has been mostly missing in action. Democratic pollsters and political advisers seem to believe that with Bush failing as a war president Democrats should stay out of the way and let him sink.

Indictment Choices For the CIA Leak

By Daniel Schorr
The Christian Science Monitor

This is, so help me, my last comment on the tangled web of the CIA leak until we get some hard news from Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, whose two years of investigation have now lasted longer than the Watergate inquiry.

Some word may come soon - now that Judith Miller, the last of the journalists involved, has been heard from. So let's recall how it all started.

In his 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush, on the defensive because of his inability to find weapons of mass destruction to justify the coming war, said he had heard from the British that Saddam Hussein had sought "significant quantities of uranium in Africa."

Violence leads only to more violence.

Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches
October 08, 2005

Ongoing military operations continue unabated in Al-Anbar province. With names like ‘Operation Iron Fist’ and ‘Operation Iron Gate’ which was launched just days after ‘Iron Fist,’ thousands of US troops, backed by
warplanes, tanks and helicopters, began attacking small cities and villages primarily in the northwestern area of Al-Anbar.

According to the US military and corporate media, the purpose of these operations is to “root out

"Verifying" the news

Eli Stephens
Left I on the News
http://lefti.blogspot.com

Consider this story from the Los Angeles Times on the fighting in Western
Iraq. The headline, and the lead, are that "Six U.S. Marines were killed by
roadside bombs." As we read further, we are told that "The U.S. military
said Friday that at least 50 suspected insurgents were killed." No mention
of Iraqi civilians, until we get to this: "Sheik Usama Jadaan, a tribal
leader in the city of Karabilah...said the fighting in the west was so
brutal that residents 'are now seeing members of their families being killed
in front of their own eyes by the American bombardment.'" And in response?

War without death

Eli Stephens
Left I on the News
http://lefti.blogspot.com

CNN Headline News had a piece on regular rotation yesterday (not online) by
reporter Jennifer Eccleston, embedded with a U.S. Army group seeking out
resistance fighters in Western Iraq. It was an intensely personal piece
called "In Harm's Way," the title referring to the CNN soldiers finding IEDs
on streets that she (and they) had walked down a few minutes before, and one
exploding and nearly killing her videographer. At the end of the piece, the
group she is with has been pinned down by fire on a rooftop. Perfectly
illustrating a point I have made before about why the "exit strategy" is a

Fomer ambassador mashes Bush, GOP

By CHARLES E. BEGGS / Associated Press

Civil war is virtually inevitable in Iraq whenever the United States withdraws its forces from the country and maybe sooner, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson told Oregon Democrats on Saturday.

Wilson, who gained national attention when the identity of his wife as an undercover CIA operative was leaked to the news media in 2003, was keynote speaker at the state Democratic Party's biennial summit conference.

The former American ambassador to Iraq and several African countries lashed the Bush administration, along with Republicans generally, in an hour-long talk to the partisan gathering.

Reuters: Was Libby Waiver That Freed Miller Really Voluntary?

Editor and Publisher
By E&P STaff

NEW YORK Reuters' Adam Entous, who has been on top of developments in the Plame probe all week, reported today that I. Lewis Libby, the top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, "got a push" from the federal prosecutor before telling New York Times reporter Judith Miller, in a Sept. 15 letter, that he wanted her to testify.

Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald's encouragement, in a letter obtained by Reuters, "has prompted some lawyers in the case to question whether Cheney‘s aide was acting completely voluntarily when he gave Miller the confidentiality waiver she had insisted on," Entous observes.

Karl Rove Lied to the FBI

Huffington Post
By Jason Leopold

Looks like Karl Rove did break the law, the same federal law that got Martha Stewart sentenced to six months in prison.

It now appears that Rove, President Bush’s chief of staff, may have lied to the FBI in October 2003 - a federal crime - when he was questioned by federal agents investigating who was responsible for leaking information about a covert CIA operative to the media.

During questioning by the FBI about his role in the Plame affair, Rove told federal agents that he only started sharing information about Plame with reporters and White House officials for the first time after conservative columnist Robert Novak identified her covert CIA status in his column on July 14, 2003. This is according to a report in the American Prospect about Rove’s testimony in March 2004, a copy of which can be found here.

The Public's Right to Know All About Judith Miller

Media Monitors Network
By Ahmed Amr

Upon her release from voluntary incarceration, it didn’t take long for Judith Miller to arrange for an appointment with CNN’s Lou Dobbs. After finally conceding that Libby was involved in the Plame scandal, she appeared on Lou’s show and declared that “"If people can't trust us to come to us to tell us the thing the government and powerful corporations don't want us to know, we're dead in the water."

Miller continues to insist on playing the farcical role of a First Amendment martyr. She is now demanding the passage of a federal shield law “so that the public’s right to know can be protected.

Time for Miller to come clean

Full Disclosure
Village Voice
By Sydney H. Schanberg

The press's role in the leak of a CIA operative's identity has made clear that if ever there was a time for transparency by the journalism community, this is it. The case is clouded in secrecy and murk, including the part about the press's involvement. At least two of the reporters involved, protecting sources, have failed to give anything resembling a complete account of their information-gathering.
I am not suggesting in any way that they name confidential sources who are not already known, but if they or their employers are to claim credibility, a full disclosure of their roles is crucial. The public needs to be given details of, among other things, how they conducted their reporting, what their conversations with their sources consisted of, what questions the special federal prosecutor investigating the case posed to them, and what their responses were. They should also bring forward any testimony they gave to the prosecutor's grand jury. Once a person testifies, he or she can make the testimony public.

Rove Assured Bush He Was Not Leaker

NationalJournal.com

By Murray Waas, Washington-based journalist, for National Journal

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove personally assured President Bush in the early fall of 2003 that he had not disclosed to anyone in the press that Valerie Plame, the wife of an administration critic, was a CIA employee, according to legal sources with firsthand knowledge of the accounts that both Rove and Bush independently provided to federal prosecutors.

If Rove purposely misled the president, the FBI, or the White House press secretary, a reasonable prosecutor might construe such acts as 'overt acts in furtherance of a criminal plan.'

Women Opening Up to Baghdad Radio Station

By Mona Mahmoud
USA TODAY

They want to be heard.

A woman called to say she had been beaten by her husband so much she feels like killing him. Another woman said she was afraid of her husband at the outset of her marriage, but she has learned to assert herself. Now he is the one who is afraid.

Other women said they never wore a hijab but are now being forced to wear the head covering because of pressures or threats from newly powerful religious groups in their neighborhoods.

Launched earlier this year, al-Mahaba, which means "love" in Arabic, is the first independent women's radio station in Iraq. The format is a mixture of news, music and talk.

ElBaradei Locked Horns with US on Iraq

By Louis Charbonneau
Reuters

Mohamed ElBaradei and his U.N. nuclear watchdog grabbed the world spotlight in the run-up to the US-led invasion of Iraq by challenging Washington's argument that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

By locking horns with the US administration, ElBaradei, a 63-year-old Egyptian lawyer, made powerful enemies but this did not prevent him winning a third term as head of the Vienna-based International Atomic Agency (IAEA).

By awarding the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize to ElBaradei and the IAEA 60 years after two nuclear bombs were dropped on Japan, the Nobel committee gives them a much-needed boost in their efforts to fight the spread of nuclear weapons.

Government Accused of Death Squads in Iraq

By Sinan Salaheddin
The Associated Press

The 22 bodies, lined up in coffins in a mosque courtyard Friday, are as shriveled as ancient mummies after lying a month in the desert where they were dumped, bound and bullet-ridden. They were Sunni Arabs, rounded up from their Baghdad homes one night by men in police uniforms.

Relatives and neighbors in mourning are convinced they were killed by government-linked Shiite death squads they say are behind corpses that turn up nearly every day in and around the capital - two more on Friday. Now some Sunnis are vowing to take action to protect themselves.

AP/Ipsos Poll: Bush's Approval Mired At Lowest levels Of Presidency

Optimism About Nation's Direction Sinks To New Depths

Sometimes numbers can be worth 1,000 words, or maybe 10,000 from our Dear Leader. Check out these poll results:
http://www.ap-ipsosresults.com/

Judy "Discovers" Her Notes (Fell Behind Cabinet With Libby's Waiver of Confidentiality?)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New York Times reporter Judith Miller discovered notes from an earlier conversation she had with Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff and turned them over the prosecutor investigating the leak of a covert CIA operative's identity, legal sources said on Friday.

Miller's notes about a June 2003 conversation with Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, could be important to prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's case by establishing exactly when Libby and other administration officials first started talking to reporters about CIA operative Valerie Plame and her diplomat husband, Joseph Wilson.

From Despair to Hope

By Cindy Sheehan
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Friday 07 October 2005

There were many nights after Casey was killed and we buried him that I had to restrain myself from swallowing my entire bottle of sleeping pills. The pain and the deep pit of hopeless despair were almost too much to cope with. How can a person be expected to live in a world that is so full of pain and so devoid of hope? I would think to myself: "It would be so easy to take these pills and go to sleep and never wake up in this awful world again."

The only thing that restrained me from committing the cowardly and selfish act of killing myself was my other three children. How could I put them through something so horrible after what they had already been through? I knew that I had to live and I knew living was going to be (and still is) the hardest thing I have ever had to do. However, I know why some people kill themselves: it is the lack of hope. For me it was the black pit of knowing that I had to wake up every day for the rest of my life with the same pain of knowing that I would never see Casey again: that I had to exist in a world without him, and just existing is no way to live.

Fall of the Rovean Empire?

By Sidney Blumenthal
Salon.com

Thursday 06 October 2005

Drunk on power, the Republican oligarchs overreached. Now their entire project could be doomed.

President Bush departs the White House with his Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, right, on July 14, 2005.
(Photo: Ron Edmonds / AP Photo)

For 30 years, beginning with the Nixon presidency, advanced under Reagan, stalled with the elder Bush, a new political economy struggled to be born. The idea was pure and simple: centralization of power in the hands of the Republican Party would ensure that it never lost it again. Under George W. Bush, this new system reached its apotheosis. It is a radically novel social, political and economic formation that deserves study alongside capitalism and socialism. Neither Adam Smith nor Vladimir Lenin captures its essence, though it has far more elements of Leninist democratic-centralism than Smithian free markets. Some have referred to this model as crony capitalism; others compare the waste, extravagance and greed to the Gilded Age. Call it 21st century Republicanism.

Pentagon Analyst Pleads Guilty in AIPAC-Israeli Spy Case

Democracy Now!
Friday, October 7th, 2005

Larry Franklin, a top Pentagon analyst, plead guilty to handing over highly classified intelligence to members of the pro-Israeli lobbying group the American Israel Public Affairs Committee or AIPAC. Franklin also admitted for the first time that he handed over top-secret information on Iran directly to an Israeli government official in Washington. We speak with investigative reporter, Robert Dreyfuss. [includes rush transcript]

Earlier this week, a top Pentagon analyst plead guilty to handing over highly classified intelligence to members of the pro-Israeli lobbying group the American Israel Public Affairs Committee or AIPAC. The official, Larry Franklin, also admitted for the first time that he handed over top-secret information on Iran directly to an Israeli government official in Washington. Franklin said he personally met with an official from the Israeli Embassy in Washington eight times. As part of a plea agreement, Franklin pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and a third charge of possessing classified documents. He faces up to 25 years in prison. Franklin has agreed to testify against Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, the two former AIPAC officials, who are facing trial.

Conyers, Harman and Thompson Seek Specifics on Disruptive Terror Plots

Congressman John Conyers, Jr.
Michigan, 14th District
Ranking Member, U.S. House Judiciary Committee
Dean, Congressional Black Caucus
www.house.gov/judiciary_democrats/index.html

Congressman John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, joined by Reps. Jane Harman and Bennie Thompson sent the following letter to White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card requesting information on terror plots:

Conyers Added: "On numerous occasions, the President has claimed successes in the war on terror without specifics to back up his assertions. We hope yesterday's speech is not one of those instances and look forward to learning about the specific details."

16 more words

Eli Stephens
Left I on the News
http://lefti.blogspot.com

Do you think the media has learned any lessons from the last famous "16
words" spoken by George Bush: "The British government has learned that
Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from
Africa"? Those words, like so many others spoken by George Bush, were either
lies*, intentionally misleading, or simply mistaken; no such thing had
happened.

Yesterday Bush gave us 16 more words: "The United States and our partners
have disrupted at least ten serious al Qaeda terrorist plots." True to form,

Repeat after me: cronyism, corruption, and incompetence

The Mix

Perspectives, insight and news from AlterNet.

Repeat after me: cronyism, corruption, and incompetence
Posted by Rachel Neumann on October 6, 2005 at 11:22 AM.
The perfect talking point about the Bush administration has to be accurate, cut across party and class lines, and stay simple. So here it is:

The Bush administration is corrupt and incompetent. The cronies who run the government are more interested in rewarding their friends and patting themselves on the back then getting a single thing done.

Here's my recipe for putting the last five years behind us:

1. Use these three words "cronyism, corruption, and incompetence" in every paragraph, t-shirt, sign, bumper sticker, and article about the Bush administration.

2. Fight like hell in the 2006 elections.

3. Get us out of Iraq.

Stir, rinse, repeat.

LINK TO ORIGINAL

Flim-Flam and Hoo-Hah

Flim-Flam and Hoo-Hah

By Molly Ivins, AlterNet. Posted October 7, 2005.

Everybody and his dog in the political commentating trade now agrees the Bush administration is experiencing hard times -- the going is getting tough, and Bush is getting testy. Tools

Sometimes it helps to draw back from what's going on, to see if any patterns emerge from the chaos of daily events. In the news biz, attempts to see the Big Picture are known as thumbsuckers and regarded with appropriate contempt.

On the famous other hand, it's also sometimes the only way to see the much bigger stories that seep and creep all around us without anyone ever calling a press conference, or issuing talking points, or having gong-show debate over them.

Wal-Mart Turns in Student’s Anti-Bush Photo, Secret Service Investigates Him

Published on Thursday, October 6, 2005 by the Progressive
By Matthew Rothschild

Selina Jarvis is the chair of the social studies department at Currituck County High School in North Carolina, and she is not used to having the Secret Service question her or one of her students.

But that’s what happened on September 20.

Jarvis had assigned her senior civics and economics class “to take photographs to illustrate their rights in the Bill of Rights,

Bush will veto anti-torture law after Senate revolt

Bush will veto anti-torture law after Senate revolt
By Francis Harris in Washington
(Filed: 07/10/2005)

The Bush administration pledged yesterday to veto legislation banning the torture of prisoners by US troops after an overwhelming and almost unprecedented revolt by loyalist congressmen.

The mutiny was the latest setback for an administration facing an increasingly independent and bloody-minded legislature. But it also marked a key moment in Congress's campaign to curtail the huge powers it has granted the White House since 2001 in its war against terrorism.

The late-night Senate vote saw the measure forbidding torture passed by 90 to nine, with most Republicans backing the measure. Most senators said the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal and similar allegations at the Guantanamo Bay prison rendered the result a foregone conclusion.

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