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July 25, 2007
By WILLIAM YARDLEY
New York Times
FORT LEWIS, Wash. — Twenty soldiers deployed to Iraq from this Army base were killed in May, a monthly high. That same month, the base announced a change in how it would honor its dead: instead of units holding services after each death, they would be held collectively once a month.
The anger and hurt were immediate. Soldiers’ families and veterans protested the change as cold and logistics-driven. Critics online said the military was trying to repress bad news about deaths. By mid-June, the base had delayed the plan.
As his Iraq adventure disintegrates before his eyes, and as more and more Americans are unwilling to give him any benefit of the doubt, George W. Bush is once again pulling out the let’s scare’em with terrorism card.
And while there is no doubt that this despicable ploy is just that, we should not fall into the trap of only accusing him of crying wolf. Because, putting aside the lies that our government dishes out everyday, there is no question that at this point, there are indeed terrorists who would love nothing more than to launch an attack in The United States.
Published in JAMS Magazine:
For the United States of America, the only westernized nation (other than Belarus) where the execution of humans is sanctioned by law, the quality of their mercy is decided by their peers. In this death penalty nation, the burden on those citizens who determine life or death can be a heavy weight to bear.
Time and again, capital punishment has painful consequences for the juror, as well as the condemned. For the condemned, the consequences are obvious, although the degrees of the horrors may vary. There is the anguished anticipation of the death, and the flawed methods of the execution, which in far too many cases produce painful inhumane results. Just studying the details of botched executions since the death penalty was reinstated in 1977, leaves a history of error too grotesque to ignore. (http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?scid=8&did=478)
For the decider, or juror, in cases where evidence is circumstantial and/or principally reliant on witness recall, there is always the possibility of murdering an innocent. Though the defendant's guilt must be proven beyond a doubt, ominous shadows of doubt have emerged after executions - when it was already too late.
Funny eyebrows, clean bullet...
THE DECISION of President Bush to keep Dick Cheney on as his vice presidential running mate in 2004 may have been the worst thing he has done to America.
I say this not on the basis of whatever policy impact Mr. Cheney may have had on the Bush Administration - the Iraq war, torture, obsessive secrecy, plumping up the executive branch, or whatever. The problem is the phenomenon of having in the vice presidency a person who will not be running for president in the next election. (Mr. Cheney cannot and never could have run on the basis of his heart illness.)
Jeffrey Feldman of Frameshop writes:
The one photo the GOP does not want anyone to see was snapped at yesterday's NAACP GOP Presidential Candidate Forum. The NAACP invited all 9 Republican candidates to the forum, but only one showed up: Tom Tancredo. All the Democratic Presidential hopefuls showed up for their forum.
The excuses given by the Republican campaigns mostly had to do with scheduling conflicts--just too busy to make it.
The resulting photo of Tancredo--standing on a stage of empty podiums--sums up the Republican party's commitment to civil rights in America: the only Republican interested is the guy running to deny immigrant workers their rights.
One has to wonder why this photo was not the lead on every morning show and on the front pages of every morning newspaper in America.
The reason, most likely, is a coordinated effort by Republicans to pressure news agencies to downplay the obvious implications of having 8 out of 9 of their Presidential candidates as "no shows" for a debate at the NAACP.
What is keeping the obvious story about Republicans and racism out of today's headlines? David Beckham's arrival in Hollywood.
Last year Johns Hopkins researchers produced a study estimating that 650,000 Iraqis had died as of July, 2006 as a result of the U.S. invasion. The organization Just Foreign Policy has now created a new estimate, based on the original study, of deaths to the present day. The number they came up with is just under one million.
For more information on the new estimate, including an explana
Today I received an in-depth blog (http://www.newsdissector.org/blog/) from Danny Schechter (The News Dissector), reporting from Durbin, South Africa where he's screening his film, "In Debt We Trust." This was the second blog Danny has sent from South Africa in a little over a week. The blog was typical Danny. Not a superficial account of the customs and terrain. Not a self-indulged travelogue on the effects of the environs on "me." You don't get that from Danny. He's not about sensory conjecture. He's about facts. He's a journalist. He doesn't write. He reports.
Better yet, he informs.
Danny's blogs from South Africa are energized, rich and learned accounts of the people, history, politics and economics of a burgeoning land. They're so well written they're intimidating for this writer to read. I marvel at how he gathers such detailed information on the road and delivers it with originality and ease. I'm impressed by his intense desire to share facts that enlighten and inform. And I'm amazed that he's been doing this for such a long time, before anyone ever heard of a "blog."
Press TV has 26 correspondents in various international locations; Iran's state broadcaster has launched a 24-hour English-language news channel.
Press TV, based in Tehran but with 26 correspondents around the world, says it aims to break a "stranglehold" it says the West has over world media.
With Great Britain under extreme alert after three car bomb attempts over the past two days, George W. Bush and his high level White House cohorts are doing their utmost to goad the terrorists to try harder next time. To be more "PROFESSIONAL" in their planning. To detonate bombs that are certain to cause harm.
By all accounts, the failed detonations of the two cars in London and the blazing SUV in Scotland weren't huge or impressive enough for Bush and his buddies. They didn't do enough damage. They didn't produce real harm. They weren't "PROFESSIONAL" enough to get America's attention.
The underlying message: to be worth your salt as terrorists, you'll have to do better next time! Another case of: "Bring it on!"
The big question right now among Republicans is how to remove Vice President Cheney from office. Even before this week's blockbuster series in The Post, discontent in Republican ranks was rising.
As the reputed architect of the war in Iraq, Cheney is viewed as toxic, and as the administration's leading proponent of an attack on Iran, he is seen as dangerous. As long as he remains vice president, according to this thinking, he has the potential to drag down every member of the party -- including the presidential nominee -- in next year's elections.
Democrats in Congress, this message is for YOU! There's a reason Republicans call Democrats weak. IT'S BECAUSE YOU DAMN FREAKING ARE!!
When Democrats took the majorities of the Senate and the House in November of 2006, your promise to America, YOUR PRIORITY (although NOT why you were elected), was to make Washington a more civil place. You pledged to take the high road and not do to the Republicans what the Republicans did to you. Your goal was to show America just how freaking nice you were, and to change the tone in Washington from bellicose to genteel. What you failed to realize is that America doesn't need you to be nice. America needs you to be strong. You've succeeded at being nice. But not at being strong.
Most of us buy gasoline for our vehicles. Usually, we have control over which brand we buy, which station we patronize and, within a few cents a gallon, how much we pay. All brands seem to be pretty much the same in the way they power our transportation.
But all brands are not the same in terms what they mean in the world, not only with respect to the environment but as to whether we have war or peace.
As much as I personally believe in the goals of ONE VOTE '08 (http://www.onevote08.org), I cannot and will not endorse former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist as its spokesperson. Bill Frist misused his roles as political leader, businessman, citizen and doctor (Terri Shiavo being a prime example) and does not warrant such a reputation-restoring role.
NEW MEDIA mustn't permit Frist to use his position with ONE VOTE '08 to resurrect his public image. NEW MEDIA should be aware that Frist's attempted resurrection is timed conspicuously just prior to the June 29th release of Michael Moore's latest movie, SICKO, which spotlights the sorry state of America's healthcare system.
Long Island Poet Deprived of Being Named Laureate Because of his Anti-Bush Writings June 6, 2007 By Matthew Rothschild
Monday, June 4, was supposed to be Maxwell Corydon Wheat’s big day. The 80-year-old poet, who lives in Nassau County, New York, was to be announced as the county’s first poet laureate.
But the announcement never came. Instead, he saw his name sullied, and then his nomination shot down.
All because he’s written some poems critical of Bush and the Iraq War....
Judge Halts Award Of Iraq Contract
By Alec Klein and Steve Fainaru
A federal judge yesterday ordered the military to temporarily refrain from awarding the largest security contract in Iraq. The order followed an unusual series of events set off when a U.S. Army veteran filed a protest against the government practice of hiring what he calls mercenaries, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The contract, worth about $475 million, calls for a private company to provide intelligence services to the U.S. Army and security for the Army Corps of Engineers on reconstruction work in Iraq. The case, which is being heard by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, puts on trial one of the most controversial and least understood aspects of the Iraq war: the outsourcing of military security to an estimated 20,000 armed contractors who operate with little oversight.
As surely as the sun rises in the east, those who shriek the loudest about how much they Luv America have contempt for other Americans. Here's more from The Final Days:
Almost from the beginning, Kissinger had secretly had all his telephone calls, including those with the President, monitored and transcribed...
Nixon was often on the phone with Kissinger for fifteen minutes or longer. The President was repetitive, sometimes taking minutes to come to a point, or he might suddenly shift to another topic...
During one call, the President drunkenly related to Dr. Kissinger the Vietnam policy of his friend Bebe Robozo...
During another call, Kissinger mentioned the number of American casualties in a major battle in Vietnam. "Oh, screw 'em," said Nixon.
An interesting thing about this is that if it were about a Democratic president, it would be famous. Every schoolchild would learn about the hatred that Democrats secretly harbor in their hearts for our Brave Men In Uniform. In every presidential debate the Democrat would be asked how they could possibly convince the country they weren't like their damnable predecessor. But since Nixon was a Republican, it's dropped out of history entirely. (I can find only one reference to it online.)
From a column today by Georgie Anne Geyer:
...by all reports, President Bush is more convinced than ever of his righteousness.
Friends of his from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated "I am the president!" He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of "our country's destiny."
Here's the famous "crazy" section from The Final Days by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein:
I Lost My Son to a War I Oppose - We Were Both Doing Our Duty By Andrew J. Bacevich Sunday, May 27, 2007
Parents who lose children, whether through accident or illness, inevitably wonder what they could have done to prevent their loss. When my son was killed in Iraq earlier this month at age 27, I found myself pondering my responsibility for his death.
A Different Memorial Day Remembrance by Colonel Dan Smith, USA (Ret.) 05/22/2007
“Humility must always be the portion of any man who
receives acclaim earned in blood of his followers and
sacrifices of his friends.” - Dwight David Eisenhower
Every national holiday develops traditions that pass from generation to generation. Except for Armistice Day – now called Veterans Day – no holiday is observed with more melancholy than is Memorial Day. But this day, unlike, say, July Fourth, seems to have developed two traditions depending on whether or not the United States is at peace or the armed forces are in a hot war when the last weekend of May arrives...
The Democrats, fresh from selling out the soldiers and marines in Iraq by handing the mad George Bush $120 billion to continue funding his war, are claiming victory.
Oh, they can’t hide the fact that they gave up on the war issue. But they’re quick to brag that they won a big one by cleverly including in the war funding supplemental bill a hike in the minimum wage, bringing the federal rate from the current $5.15/hour to $7.25.
On Tuesday night, attendees at the Wilshire Theater in Beverly Hills witnessed an invigorating match of wit and wisdom, as Al Gore sat down with Harry Shearer to discuss Gore's latest book, "The Assault On Reason." Believe me, sitting down with Harry Shearer is no easy task, for there is no such thing as a banal discussion with Harry. In fact, anyone who knows Harry Shearer is keenly aware of his astute, well-studied social commentary, and hysterically funny spot-on political satire.
Harry does his homework and let's loose his opinion with no holds barred. His irreverence is akin to Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert, who are actually latter-day versions of Harry, with significantly shorter resumes.
In a display of gratitude for taking the high road for their nation, Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame Wilson were honored tonight by the Pacific Palisades Democratic Club. The impressive couple, appearing confident and relaxed, addressed a packed audience in the ballroom of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel.
Introducing the Wilsons was Arianna Huffington, applying her customary irreverent wit. It's always difficult with Arianna to select her best line since they're all so topical and on the mark. But in my opinion she hit it best when describing the late-night Comey caper, with Alberto Gonzales, Andy Card and James Comey rushing to the hospital bed of ailing John Ashcroft. In an act of good conscience, heretofore unheard of for Ashcroft, the former Attorney General refused Gonzales and Card's dubious request to approve the electronic surveillance act. To which Arianna quipped, "Who would have ever thought John Ashcroft would be the good guy?"
Why I Fight by Tom Baxter
Now at the fourth anniversary of the proclamation of ‘Mission Accomplished’ and the ‘end of major combat operations’ of ‘Operation Iraq Liberation’ I have been standing on Thursdays and Sundays in front of the (Florida) Capitol with my antiwar signs for almost six years in the 'Eternal Peace Vigil'. People have asked, “Why?” Some of the reasons are the lives and deaths of Dwight H Johnson, David Funchess and Jeffrey Lucey...
By Dave Lindorff
In case you’re wondering why crude oil prices are down from last year, hanging around at about $60 a barrel, while gasoline prices have soared past $3.10/gallon nationwide, just check out the latest profit reports from the oil companies. They are at record levels.
The answer for this seeming contradiction is simple: Americans are being robbed blind by the oil industry.
What a bunch of jackals at National Journal! Completely dissin' Mike Gravel and treating Dennis Kucinich none too kindly either, rating him 67th... and this from what's considered the most authoritative news source inside the beltway...
White House 2008 rankings: The Democrats
A bi-weekly rating of the presidential candidates
Updated: 10:45 a.m. ET April 30, 2007
WASHINGTON - After the first debate, things changed -- and stayed the same. We still have two front-runners, John Edwards is solid and Joe Biden is flourishing, relatively speaking. Forty-five more debates to go...
(We're not ranking Mike Gravel... This guy's not just a third-tier longshot, he might be a little, um, off. Seriously, he was downright rude. Why should anyone agree to appear on stage with him? And why should any mainstream Democratic group invite him?)...
Published on Saturday, April 28, 2007
by General William Odom
The following is a transcript of the Democratic Radio Address delivered by Lieutenant General William E. Odom, U.S. Army (Ret.) on Saturday April 28, 2007:
“Good morning, this is Lieutenant General William E. Odom, U.S. Army, retired.
“I am not now nor have I ever been a Democrat or a Republican. Thus, I do not speak for the Democratic Party. I speak for myself, as a non-partisan retired military officer who is a former Director of the National Security Agency. I do so because Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, asked me.
“In principle, I do not favor Congressional involvement in the execution of U.S. foreign and military policy. I have seen its perverse effects in many cases. The conflict in Iraq is different. Over the past couple of years, the President has let it proceed on automatic pilot, making no corrections in the face of accumulating evidence that his strategy is failing and cannot be rescued.
“Thus, he lets the United States fly further and further into trouble, squandering its influence, money, and blood, facilitating the gains of our enemies. The Congress is the only mechanism we have to fill this vacuum in command judgment.
“To put this in a simple army metaphor, the Commander-in-Chief seems to have gone AWOL, that is ‘absent without leave.’ He neither acts nor talks as though he is in charge. Rather, he engages in tit-for-tat games.