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I'm too old for the typical website with lots of posted back-and-forth commentary. So the Tomdispatch e-mail box is -- and often I regret this -- normally my own private adventure. I'm regularly amazed by the letters that come in, many encouraging, some stunningly thoughtful (often with striking turns of phrase), and every now and then ones that are startlingly abusive. E-notes and e-letters arrive from all over the world -- this is surely the glory of the Internet -- and all over this country; often from small towns or out of the way spots that I would never have a chance to visit on my own; often representing points of view that I might never run across face to face. They always remind me of how much real human beings cross the boundaries and categories we would prefer them to be enclosed in. I'm regularly slightly awed and often moved. It's an experience, and I do my best, however briefly and inadequately, to answer most of them. (To those of you I haven't answered, my apologies because your messages are greatly appreciated and the intent is there.)
Woman who questioned first lady now is activist against the war
BY KATIE WANG
The Star-Ledger (New Jersey)
The firehall in Hamilton Township was alive with hundreds of giddy Republicans when Laura Bush stepped to the podium last September to deliver a campaign stump speech for her husband.
The first lady was in the middle of her remarks about the war in Iraq when a loud, booming voice cut her off.
"If this war is so justified, why aren't your children serving?" barked Sue Niederer.
All eyes turned to Niederer, a stout, bespectacled woman who stood wearing her dead son's floppy Army camouflage hat and a white T-shirt stamped with his wedding day photo and the message, "President Bush, You Killed My Son."
BY DENNIS JETT, email@example.com
The problem with having a hatchet man is that sometimes he carries an ax that cuts both ways. Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori discovered that the hard way. President Bush may be on the same learning curve.
When Fujimori was president during the 1990s, the debate in Peru was often whether he was the first or merely the second most important man in the country. The other person some considered even more powerful than the president was Vladimiro Montesinos.
Montesinos carried the title of intelligence advisor, an unpaid position in Fujimori's government. He did not let the lack of a paycheck or any designated responsibilities limit his ambition, however. He accumulated vast authority over the workings of the government because he was able, articulate and dedicated to constantly ingratiating himself to the president. He also was ruthless. Bribing congressmen and journalists was all in a day's work, and he has been accused of human-rights abuses, drug and arms trafficking and numerous other offenses.
Falls Church News-Press (Virginia)
By Nicholas F. Benton
Ray McGovern, a 27-year analyst for the CIA speaking in Falls Church, Virginia, to a gathering of the Virginia Votes group Sunday, unleashed a scathing indictment of the Bush’s administration’s handling of an array of intelligence, military and human rights matters in the context of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. He said the people that are currently running U.S. foreign and military policy were affectionately known as “The Crazies
MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
By Felicity Arbuthnot, GlobalResearch.ca
A year after the 'handover' to a US handpicked 'independent Iraqi administration'-few of whose leaders have Iraqi passports or allegiance; and the skulking departure of US 'Viceroy' Paul Bremer, who said few farewells, gave no press conference and slunk out at dawn, surreally, reportedly, to 'take cookery lessons'-a little noticed and truly terrible report has been released.
The World Monument Fund has, for the first time, named an entire country-Iraq-on its list of endangered sites. The Fund, which publishes every two years an inventory of the world's most endangered historical and archeological sites and monuments, lists the 'cradle of civilization' as, effectively, in danger of extinction. The illegal invasion, built on monumental lies, from Whitehall to Washington, has not alone 'destroyed the village in order to save it', it has destroyed the country, the land of the biblical Tigris and Euphrates- described by Gertude Bell, writer, colonialist-nevertheless captivated by this 'land between two rivers'-in the 1920's -'... great twin rivers gloriously named, The huge Babylonian plains, now desert, Which were once the garden of the world...'
By Leilla Matsui and Stella La Chance
Cognitive dissonance occurs when a long held assumption or existing belief is thrown into question by new or contradictory information, causing a person to reinterpret this evidence after it has been presented to justify a falsely held notion. The theory refers to the phenomenon of the mind's failure to assume its equilibrium after having to accept an unwelcome intrusion of this kind into its “comfortably held assumption zone.
Radio Free Maine presents Jim Hightower and Cindy Sheehan
Jim Hightower speaking on Mixed Blessings We are in days of Mixed Blessings, that's when your 16 year old daughter returns from the prom with a Gideon Bible under her arm, said Jim Hightower as he addressed an SRO crowd at the Blue Hill Fairgrounds grandstand for about 45 minutes. Hightower dismissed those who say that organizing the left, Greens, Democrats, et al is like trying to herd cats. "I got to tell you, anybody who says that you cannot herd cats, never heard of a can opener. You can do it and our can openers are the values of fairness, justice and opportunity for all people."
C-Span will finally air tape today of Congresswoman Maxine Waters' Town Hall Forum on the Downing Street Memos on July 23rd in Los Angeles. If you are one of the lucky few who can watch C-Span 3, you can watch it at 5:21 p.m. ET today. Or watch it through the C-Span website at that time. Or you can find it archived on http://www.c-span.org starting tomorrow morning, or watch the event at any time archived on TruthOut.org HERE.
David Swanson, Co-Founder of AfterDowningStreet discussing Downing Street and other topics on "Self Determination" on KPFT in Houston, Texas:
LISTEN HERE TO MP3
Cobblestones: Mad Dog at Recess
By Steve Cobble
George W. made his continuing contempt for the Senate official this morning, giving John "Mad Dog" Bolton a recess appointment, only days after Bolton confessed he lied to the Senate.
Well, why not? Why should he be the only liar left out? After all, it's not like the "Liar's Club" is some exclusive group in the Bush Administration, like Skull & Bones. Heck, the Bush & Co. Liar's Club isn't even whites-only or male-only. They can all join.
Of course, in the polite circles in which top Democrats and media big-foots circulate, the word "lie" is so definitive, so harsh. I should be nice, and find synonyms.
The following was written by London Sunday Times reporter Michael Smith for Raw Story.
LONG-RUNNING disputes between UK and American intelligence and security services over intelligence in the war on terror rose to the surface last week with US sources accusing the British of blocking the capture of a key member of the al-Qaeda team that carried out the London bombings.
The claims followed leaks of British police photographs, including a nail bomb found in the trunk of a bomber's car, passed to the US-based ABC News, apparently by a member of the US team sent to London to assist the investigation.
HOUR 2 (8pm ET): FBI 9/11 Whistleblower, Coleen Rowley
HOUR 3 (9pm ET): Carl Conetta of Project on Defense Alternatives on "400
Days and Out of Iraq" Plan.
HOUR 4 (10pm ET): Patricia Birnie of the Raging Grannies, arrested for
All listenable via http://www.BradShow.com
Here's a wonderful portion of Rep. Conyers' July 23rd Town Hall meeting in Detroit, Mich., captured by Symbolman at the scene featuring Lila Lipscomb's inspiring speech.
We will be producing and releasing more sections of this wonderful event in the near future.
Currently Symbolman is hard at work on Rove's War DVD which you can see a preview and order here and if you're interested in the full 5 hours of the June 16 hearing and rally in Washington D.C., you can donate and receive the two DVD set here.
By Uwe E. Reinhardt
The Washington Post
President Bush assures us that the ongoing twin wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are worth the sacrifices they entail. Editorialists around the nation agree and say that a steadfast American public was willing to stay the course.
Should anyone be surprised by this national resolve, given that these wars visit no sacrifice of any sort -- neither blood nor angst nor taxes -- on well over 95 percent of the American people?
At most, 500,000 American troops are at risk of being deployed to these war theaters at some time. Assume that for each of them some 20 members of the wider family sweat with fear when they hear that a helicopter crashed in Afghanistan or that X number of soldiers or Marines were killed or seriously wounded in Iraq. It implies that no more than 10 million Americans have any real emotional connection to these wars.
Bush Appoints Bolton as U.N. Envoy, Bypassing Senate
By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS
Published: August 1, 2005
President Bush bypassed the Senate confirmation process today and appointed John R. Bolton as the new United States ambassador to the United Nations.
At the White House, President Bush announced his decision today with John R. Bolton at his side.
The appointment, while Congress is in recess, ends a months-long standoff between the White House and Senate Democrats who deem Mr. Bolton unfit for the job and have been holding up his confirmation.
"I chose John because of his vast experience in foreign policy, his integrity and his willingness to confront difficult problems head on," Mr. Bush said in making the announcement at the White House.
Mark Schmitt: Constitutional Crisis
LINK TO ORIGINAL
I'm grateful to Steve for inviting me to fill in at The Washington Note. I've been encouraging Steve for a few weeks to make the leap across the thin barrier that separates the Bolton nomination from the Rove-Plame scandal. Being a very responsible, seasoned foreign policy professional, however, Steve hesitates to go further than the available information justifies. And while I admire that restraint, I'm glad Steve has allowed his blog to be temporarily held hostage by people like me with a little more penchant for speculation.
Why would a news channel have a show called "The Big Story" and leave out the big story of Karl Rove and Traitorgate? Because it's Fox News following the GOP game plan of misdirection.
"The Big Story" on Wednesday (July 27, 2005) avoided mentioning the grand jury investigation into Rove's involvement in revealing the identity of a CIA agent. The outing was in retaliation for her husband's op-ed piece disproving the administration's claim that Saddam Hussein was trying to buy uranium to build a nuclear bomb.
The White House has been trying to divert attention from the scandal, even moving up its announcement of a Supreme Court nominee by ten days to get the press looking in another direction.
By Tony Thompson, Mark Townsend, Martin Bright and Barbara McMahon Rome
The Observer UK
One of the men accused of taking part in the failed terror attacks in London on 21 July has claimed the bomb plot was directly inspired by Britain's involvement in the Iraq war.
In a remarkable insight into the motives behind the alleged would-be bombers, Hussain Osman, arrested in Rome on Friday, has revealed how the suspects watched hours of TV footage showing grief-stricken Iraqi widows and children alongside images of civilians killed in the conflict. He is alleged to have told prosecutors that after watching the footage: 'There was a feeling of hatred and a conviction that it was necessary to give a signal - to do something.'
By Linda McQuaig
In the official, mainstream view of terrorism — the view trumpeted by western governments, think tanks and media commentators — terrorists are freedom-loathing zealots with an irrational hatred of our western lifestyle and culture.
But another view, polls suggest, is gaining ground with the public: Terrorism is actually a response to military interventions perpetrated by western governments.
These sharply diverging views are central to the question of how to deal with terrorism. Under the "irrational hatred" view, there's not much we can do other than ratchet up our security and hunker down for a long fight with a bunch of lunatics.
By C. Fraser Smith
IF YOU leave aside the war in Iraq and the spread of terrorism, this thing about leaks and presidential adviser Karl Rove is just another inside-the-beltway story.
It's the usual slashing and burning told in the obscure language of Washington politics. Lives and limbs are hanging in the balance, along with the nation's good name, but that's just collateral damage.
News stories about leaked information and reporters protecting sources and special prosecutors float out to the rest of the nation on a turbid sea fathomable only by the wily inside players.
By Carl Doerner
Each time I encounter constitutional attorney John Bonifaz I am more impressed with his grasp of contemporary political problems and historical analysis and with his ability to crisply articulate the issues before us. On Saturday afternoon he addressed 160 of us packed tightly into the meeting room of the Media Education Foundation in Northampton, MA. This was one of 350 such July 23 meetings throughout the country, marking the third anniversary of preparation of what is referred to in infrequent media accounts as the Downing Street Memo.
The Huffington Post
By Arianna Huffington
The more I'm reading about Judy Miller and her actions leading up to and during the early days of the war, and then through the unfolding Plame-Rove-Libby-Gonzalez-Card scandal, the more I’m struck by the special access and relationships she enjoyed with many of the key players in the Iraq debacle (which, at the end of the day, is really what Plamegate is all about).
For starters, of course, we have her still unfolding involvement in the Plame leak. Earlier this month, Howard Kurtz reported that Miller and Libby spoke a few days before Novak outed Plame -- and I’m hearing that the Libby/Miller conversation occurred over breakfast in Washington. Did Valerie Plame come up -- and, if so, who brought her up? There is no question that Miller was angry at Joe Wilson… and continues to be. A social acquaintance of Miller told me that, once, when she spoke of Wilson, it was with “a passionate and heated disgust that went beyond the political and included an irrelevant bit of deeply personal innuendo about him, her mouth twisting in hatred.
The media’s perplexing performance on the Downing Street memo
American Journalism Review
By Rem Rieder
Rem Rieder is AJR's Editor and Senior Vice President.
Back before I became obsessed with journalism, I was obsessed with drag racing.
I loved nothing more than heading to South Jersey–-there were no drag strips in Philadelphia–-to Atco or Vineland, to see just how quickly my '60 Chevy (the one with the spray-painted gold wheels and Sun tach and lakes pipes) could navigate the quarter mile.
It was my good fortune to do this on a number of occasions with the Untouchables, a car club based in Philly's western suburbs whose members' red shirts featured an embroidered roller skate enhanced by a huge, souped-up engine.
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
by Daniel Patrick Schamle
Recently in my local Kansas paper, a man wrote a Letter to the Editor deriding Democrats for, "carping, whining, crying and having much gnashing of teeth about nothing." (Lawrence Journal World - Public Forum, Friday, July 22, 2005). With a mischievous grin towards former President Clinton, I would respond that this depends on what your definition of "nothing" is.
This man, and others like him, would have us believe that an Iraq war, based on lies, is "nothing." Perhaps you too remember statements such as, "We know exactly where these Weapons of Mass Destruction are." The threat of nuclear mushroom clouds, springing forth over American cities, was trumpeted by President Bush, Vice-President Cheney, Secretary of Defence Rumsfeld, National Security Advisor Rice and others. The Downing Street Minutes show clearly that these were known lies. This Administration lied to the United States Congress, but more importantly they lied to the American People. And yet, the cry echoing throughout our land from a large part of the media is usually something like, "Have you noticed how weird Michael Jackson is?" or "Oh my God, look, it's the Runaway Bride!!"
Reporters are questioning dubious claims that could be being employed for the purpose of launching the next war, and they are doing so BEFORE the war kills tens of thousands of people. This is a sign of MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT! Don't let up now!
Today at the White House:
Q On another matter, does the White House have an update on the investigation into Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's role in the Iran hostage crisis?
MR. McCLELLAN: Sure. A couple of things. One, it is something that we have been looking into. In terms of the President, we've looked into the allegations that were made, and -- about his involvement in the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. We know he was a leader of the student movement that organized the attack on the embassy and the taking of American hostages. However, we are still looking into whether or not he was actually one of the hostage-takers. That's something we continue to look into.