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I see a parallel here in the United States to what has recently happened in Pakistan.
President Pervaz Musharaff of Pakistan on August 18 tendered his resignation in an announcement released just hours before the Pakistani Parliament was to have launched impeachment proceedings against him. Thus, a military dictator removed himself from power. One might observe: How simple – if the goods are there, just the threat of exposure and trial is a sufficient motivator to resign.
By Dave Lindorff
I was a speaker last night at an anti-war event sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County, Progressive Democrats of America and Democrats For America in Lincroft, NJ, near the shore. It was a great group of activist Americans who want to see this country end the Iraq War, turn away from war as a primary instrument of policy, and start dealing with the pressing human needs of the country and the world.
Yet even in this group of committed people, one woman stood up during the question-and-answer session and said, “I want to get involved in writing emails to members of Congress urging them to cut off funding for the war and other things, but if I do that won’t I end up getting put on a `watch list’” or something?”
House Democratic leaders and protesters waving McCain signs had a war of words Tuesday at a press event outside an old train station. The demonstrators interrupted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with chants of “Drill here! Drill now!”
Pelosi paused and asked the group, “Right here?”
Seeming to enjoy the back and forth, she followed with another question: “Can we drill your brains?”
She went on to refer to the protesters, who continued to chant sporadically, as “handmaidens of Big Oil.” Arguing that increased offshore drilling would reduce gas prices by only a couple of pennies a decade from now, she referred to the demonstrators as the “2-cents-in-10-years-crowd.”
A federal judge denied the White House's last-ditch attempt to block a former aide from testifying before Congress as part of the investigation into the U.S. Attorney scandal.
Today's ruling by Judge John Bates of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is expected to pave the way for former White House Counsel Harriet Miers, who returned to her old law firm in Texas, to testify before Congress in the coming months. It also urges the White House to turn over documents subpoenaed from former chief of staff Joshua Bolten.
"If the government is trying to run out the clock on the 110th Congress, today's decision suggests that Judge Bates won't let them," said Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at American University.
Rep. John Conyers, Jr., D-Mich., chair of the House Judiciary Committee, praised the decision and pledged to schedule a hearing for Miers shortly.
"I am heartened that Judge Bates recognized that the public interest in this matter is best served by the furtherance of the Committee's investigation," he said in a statement.
by Linda Milazzo
IS THIS REALLY WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE?!
Text of Rep. Dennis Kucinich's (D-OH-10) Speech Today at the Democratic National Convention:
It’s Election Day 2008. We Democrats are giving America a wake-up call. Wake up, America. In 2001, the oil companies, the war contractors and the neo-con artists seized the economy and have added 4 trillion dollars of unproductive spending to the national debt. We now pay four times more for defense, three times more for gasoline and home heating oil and twice what we paid for health care.
Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, their homes, their health care, their pensions. Trillions of dollars for an unnecessary war paid with borrowed money. Tens of billions of dollars in cash and weapons disappeared into thin air, at the cost of the lives of our troops and innocent Iraqis, while all the president’s oilmen are maneuvering to grab Iraq’s oil.
Borrowed money to bomb bridges in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. No money to rebuild bridges in America. Money to start a hot war with Iran. Now we have another cold war with Russia, while the American economy has become a game of Russian roulette.
If there was an Olympics for misleading, mismanaging and misappropriating, this administration would take the gold. World records for violations of national and international laws. They want another four-year term to continue to alienate our allies, spend our children’s inheritance and hollow out our economy.
U.S. officials say the 11-year-old American son of a suspected Pakistani militant is being held by authorities in Afghanistan.
Assfia Siddiqui's son, Ahmed, is a U.S. citizen by birth and has been in Afghan custody since July when his mother was arrested after a shootout with Afghan police in Ghanzi, the Washington Post (NYSE:WPO) said Tuesday.
Siddiqui, a neuroscientist who had been sought as a suspected al-Qaida operative since 2003, is currently lodged in a U.S. federal prison.
Her disappearance five years ago sparked accusations that she had been kidnapped in Pakistan by the CIA.
[Note for TomDispatch Readers This is the second post in a pre-Labor Day "best of TomDispatch" series. The first was Chalmers Johnson's 2005 "Smash of Civilizations." Now, we backpeddle another year to 2004 and reconsider the Pentagon's ceaseless efforts to dream up and build ever more effective, ever more invasive and destructive weaponry not just for 2010, but for 2020, 2030, 2040, and beyond. The new model car or the next version of the iPhone has nothing on the Pentagon, which fully expects to roll out the next version of destruction until Hell freezes over. This makes TomDispatch Associate Editor Nick Turse's 2004 piece -- in those distant days he still signed his posts "Nicholas" -- on ways the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was planning to weaponize the wild kingdom as shiny new as tomorrow's HDTVs.
The Future That Never Comes; The Past That Never Was; The Present Inscrutable
By Gary Corseri
Why am I not surprised by Obama’s choice of Joe Biden as his running mate? Because I learned as a child: in America, the future never comes!
Should we shake our heads, wondering, when the candidate for “change we can believe in” chooses a consummate Washington “insider” as his co-agent for that change? Not if we understand that we have lived for decades in a military-industrial, media-fashioned, academia-certified, legally sanctioned Disney World/Murdoch World in which the future never comes.
Expecting the promised future is like expecting to find Weapons of Mass Destruction. Eventually, it becomes a vicious joke: like Bush looking under a table in the White House, then smirking at the camera, “Nope, not here, either.”
In 1989, the Wall Street Journal reported that Richard Perle and Douglas Feith had set up a lobbying company called International Advisors Inc [IAI] to lobby for “appropriation of U.S. military and economic assistance’ to Turkey."” When news of the $600,000 per annum contract got too hot to handle, Perle and Feith folded IAI and helped establish the American Turkish Council (ATC) to accomplish the same goals, but with a more respectable veneer.
Now, nineteen years later, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Richard Perle is “exploring going into the oil business in Iraq and Kazakhstan” with a “consortium founded by Turkish company AK Group International... Potential backers include two Turkish companies as well as Kazakhstan.”
Corporate Media Bashes New Chavez Enabling Law Decrees
by Stephen Lendman
In January 2007, Hugo Chavez announced his "Bolivarian Socialism" project for the 21st century and explained its dependence on five revolutionary "motors:"
by Janet Weil
More than seventy CODEPINKers converged on Denver from at least 26 states around the country yesterday, Sunday, August 24, to bring our joyous, intense woman spirit and our peace and "war is not green" messages to the DNC. Nine of us took the Peace Train from the Bay Area; see here for photos.
Deidra Lynch of Orlando, FL, Dana Balicki of New York City, Rae Abileah of San Francisco, and Gael Murphy greeted women (and a few men) with an activist orientation and pink fabric activist goodie bags with our "War Is Not Green" message at the Mercury Café, a phenomenal cafe that is providing us with hospitality, healthy organic food, and endless self-serve coffee.
The National Security Archive released a report Friday Aug. 22, 2008 that sheds even more light on the premeditated lying and deception that took the United States to war in Iraq. The findings are based on new evidence compiled by Dr. John Prados and published by the National Security Archive. (See "White Paper" Drafted before NIE even Requested, "Scoop" Independent News, Aug. 24, 2008)
In his latest column for the New Statesman, John Pilger digs beneath the received wisdom for the break-up of Yugoslavia and points to a largely ignored memoir by the former chief prosecutor in The Hague - and an echo from current events in the Caucasus.
The secrets of the crushing of Yugoslavia are emerging, telling us more about how the modern world is policed. The former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia in The Hague, Carla Del Ponte, this year published her memoir The Hunt: Me and War Criminals. Largely ignored in Britain, the book reveals unpalatable truths about the west's intervention in Kosovo, which has echoes in the Caucasus.
Click here to: Vote in the National Cheney Impeachment Poll
When you vote, your vote will be sent to members of Congress.
Here's the coded link: http://www.usalone.com/blogvoices.php?Cheney%20Impeachment%3F
Care to add a comment? Review the resolutions?
Cindy Sheehan Bugged in Denver
by Rob Kall
Cindy Sheehan returned to her Denver hotel room today to find the door unlocked and ajar. She walked in to discover a man working on her phone, screw driver in hand.
Sheehan reported, in an email,
"As I walked toward my room, I noticed that the door was opened with the security bolt blocking the complete closing of the door. I knew immediately that I had not left the door open, and I double checked to make sure it was the right room because, as a frequent traveler, I have been known to forget my room number, but it was the right room.
I was upset at first thinking that housekeeping had made a mistake and left my room open and I was worried that something might be missing. So I walked into my room and bigger than life, there was a man standing by my desk holding the room phone with a screwdriver in his hand!
Digg CEO Jay Adelson will be interviewing Nancy Pelosi tomorrow, Wednesday, 8/27. He will be asking her the most popular questions submitted by Digg members.
Go here to see my video question and Digg it. Hope you can share it with others too: http://digg.com/dialogg/Nancy_Pelosi_1?t=18151050#c18151050
Try not to think of it in terms of whether or not impeachment will happen, but in terms of forcing the Speaker of the House to answer for her complete refusal to exercise the accountability her job demands.
On the right side of the page you can read the current top questions to Pelosi.
What It Means To Be Progressive
Think Progress' guest blogger is John Podesta, the President and CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
What is progressivism? We all have our own answers to this question. But it’s hard to beat Maury Maverick’s famous — and concise — description of democracy as “liberty plus groceries.” That’s as good an explanation of progressivism as anything I’ve heard.
As I travel the country speaking with students and activists, I’m often asked to offer my own definition of progressive. This is what I frequently suggest:
By Dave Lindorff
We’ve come a long way towards imperial government in the US—towards a view of the relationship between the federal government, and especially the administration, and the citizenry that has more of a ruler-subjects than a democratic feel to it.
Now I know it is easy to gloss over the way things were, and since I spent a few days in federal prison for protesting the Indochina War at the Pentagon in 1967, after being beaten by federal marshals for doing nothing more than exercising my constitutional right to protest on public ground, I am well aware that 40 years ago we were also often treated like serfs. But that said, there was something different back then—a sense that you could deal with powerful officials as an equal.
Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, has signed a decree under which Russia formally recognises the breakaway Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.
"I have signed decrees on the recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia," Medvedev said in a pre-recorded address broadcast on national television.
"This is not an easy choice but this is the only chance to save people's lives," he said a day after Russia's Kremlin-controlled parliament voted unanimously to support the diplomatic recognition.
Medvedev's announcement came a day after Russia's parliament passed resolutions calling for the recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.
The Georgian conflict over South Ossetia is spiraling into a contest between the US and Russia over control of the Black Sea region and the eastern Mediterranean.
The US Vice President Dick Cheney will stop over in Georgia, the Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Italy during a trip starting Sept. 2. President Bush “felt it was important to have the vice president consult with allies in the region on our common security interests,” said the White House spokesman Monday, Aug. 25.
These steps were Washington’s response to a rapid volley of decisions in Moscow: one was taken by the Russian Navy chief, Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky - as disclosed earlier by DEBKAfile - to place its warships bound for Syria’s Mediterranean port of Tartus under the command of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol.
What to do with Pakistan? In the week the jig was up finally for the wily and wilful Pervez Musharraf, most of America's leading foreign policy experts were stumped on a key element of George Bush's so-called "war on terror".
The specialists, more than 100 of them, conclude that under the Musharraf-Bush axis, Pakistan went from bad to worse. They say the US has failed to manage a conflict zone, which a greater number of them than in a similar survey a year ago now judge to have had a negative impact on American national security.
This iReport is a question for the Digg Dialogg interview with Nancy Pelosi. Think it ought to be asked? Cast your vote on Digg.com by clicking here or http://digg.com/dialogg/Nancy_Pelosi_1?t=18151050#c18151050 .
Here's what you can do to get this question asked of Speaker Pelosi.
- Watch it and click the link to cast your vote. This campaign ends this Wednesday, 8/27, so please do it now.
- Use the "Email this page" link at the bottom to email it to others, or send them this link: http://digg.com/dialogg/Nancy_Pelosi_1?t=18151050#c18151050 - and ask them to send it on, too.
- Remember that this thing is judged on the number of Diggs, so please Digg, Digg, Digg!
- And by the way, who ever thought we, as citizens and constituents, would have to resort to this gamesmanship to get an answer out of an elected official on such high crimes and misdemeanors?
- One more thing: If you haven't yet signed Rep. Kucinich's petition aimed at a "Million and More" signatures supporting impeachment to present to Speaker Pelosi on September 10th, please drop by http://www.kucinich.us/ to sign and forward to others, too.
by Linda Milazzo
At the very core of patriotism is the desire to preserve and enhance democracy. For true patriots - those who take their love of nation beyond the confines of their cushy sofas and wide screen TVs - there are no limits to their efforts to hold leaders accountable to uphold the Constitution and safeguard its inherent freedoms. Thus, for the past three days that I've been in Denver - in the hotbed of this mecca of "this is what democracy looks like," I've witnessed the GOOD and the NOT so good.
The GOOD are the thousands of Americans who have traveled from every part of this country to engage in actions to spread their personal messages of democracy: peace above conflict, government's responsibility to provide for its citizens, and an immediate stop to the constant rape of our resources and our once fine name by those who base success on the depth of their fortunes rather than the depth of their humanity.
Kevin Rose of Digg.com wrote to introduce the new "Digg Dialogg":
We want to give the Digg community an opportunity to pose questions to some of the individuals and leaders of the moment (sans editors), who are taking action to change the world in cool ways. To do this, we’re launching a new program called “Digg Dialogg.” The concept is simple – we identify a featured guest that you will be able to submit questions to (text or video) which the Digg community Diggs up or down. We’ll pose the top questions to the guest during a live interview. Featured guests will represent thought leaders and tastemakers across diverse topics including technology luminaries, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, musicians and filmmakers.
The Defense Department is looking for an "energetic and imaginative executive" to run its newly formed Defense Media Activity, according to an advertisement on the agency's Web site.
The executive would earn as much as $172,200 a year overseeing DMA, which since its establishment in January combines formerly separate Pentagon media organizations, such as the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service, the Stars and Stripes newspaper, and the Pentagon Channel on television. It also includes the DefenseLink Web site and the military services' Web sites, the Bloggers Roundtable, and the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine magazines.
The Russian Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to recognise the independence of two breakaway Georgian regions, while President Dmitry Medvedev linked the Georgia conflict to tensions over another separatist region.
Both houses of Russia's Parliament convened for emergency sessions to consider their stance on the future status of the two disputed regions in Georgia.
With Russian troops still inside Georgia and tensions heightened by the arrival in a Georgian port of a US warship carrying aid, Russia's two Parliament chambers approved a resolution calling on Mr Medvedev formally to recognise the two regions.
Only the president can officially recognise a foreign state and so far, there has been no response to the vote from the Kremlin.
Reinventing the Evil Empire
by Stephen Lendman
For the West, everything changed but stayed the same, hard-wired and in place. Things just lay dormant in the shadows during the Yeltsin years, certain to reemerge once a more resolute Russian leader took over. If not Vladimir Putin, someone else little different.
Russia is back, proud and reassertive, and not about to roll over for America. Especially in Eurasia. For Washington, it's back to the future, the new Cold War, and reinventing the Evil Empire, but this time for greater stakes and with much larger threats to world peace. Conservatives lost their influence. Neocons are weakened but still dominant. The Israeli Lobby and Christian Right drive them. Conflict is preferred over diplomacy, and most Democrats go along to look tough on "terrorism." Notably their standard-bearer, vying with McCain to be toughest.
JP Commentary: Bush's Gitmo Guilt (3 minutes)
Try to contain your shock.
URGENT CALL TO ACTION - "RELAY LOBBYING" IN D.C.
On September 8th the House is back in session - maybe for the last time this year. Democrats.com, AfterDowningStreet.org, Veterans For Peace, and the National Impeachment Network invite as many people as possible to come to D.C. and help us lobby congressional members for impeachment. We hope to have "relay" teams in place so there are always organizers present up through at least September 24th or when Congress adjourns for the year. In addition, there will be scheduled events that you won't want to miss.
We want to pull out all the stops, but we need your help. Please email Sophie de Vries at firstname.lastname@example.org for details or leave a message at (415)789-8469. If you've never met with congress members before, not to worry. There will be plenty of support and some training beforehand.
Let's all pull together and make this work. Your contribution to this effort is invaluable. Relay for the Rule of Law and the Republic!