Saturday, December 29, 2007

Progressives, To Arms!


Why progressives should forget the middle ground | By Paul Krugman | Slate Magazine
"Here's a thought for progressives: Bush isn't the problem. And the next president should not try to be the anti-Bush.

No, I haven't lost my mind. I'm not saying that we should look kindly on the Worst President Ever; we'll all breathe a sigh of relief when he leaves office 405 days, 2 hours, and 46 minutes from now. (Yes, a friend gave me one of those Bush countdown clocks.) Nor am I suggesting that we should forgive and forget; I very much hope that the next president will open the records and let the full story of the Bush era's outrages be told.

But Bush will soon be gone. What progressives should be focused on now is taking on the political movement that brought Bush to power. In short, what we need right now isn't Bush bashing—what we need is partisanship...."

Continue reading.

ILLUSTRATION: Slate Magazine

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Dumping The Dollar

Offshoring Interests and Economic Dogmas Are Destroying the US Dollar
By Paul Craig Roberts
"The US media has no investigative capability and serves up the lies that serve short-term corporate and political interests. If it were not for the Internet that provides Americans with access to foreign news sources, Americans would live in a world of perfect disinformation...."
Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan administration. He is credited with curing stagflation and eliminating “Phillips curve” trade-offs between employment and inflation, an achievement now on the verge of being lost by the worst economic mismanagement in US history.

Also See:

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wake Up, America!

The majority of Americans continue to bury their heads in the sand, refusing to see the writing on the wall.

This is a Must-Read:

  • AlterNet: The End of America? Naomi Wolf Thinks It Could Happen:
    "An interview with author Naomi Wolf, whose new book, 'The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot,' may confirm your worries about democracy in America...."
  • Freedom Rider: Black America Left Behind:
    "The racial economic gap is growing, with whites moving ahead more quickly than Blacks. Even more damning to African American prospects, a new study shows that nearly half the children of the Black 'middle class' are worse off than their parents. Decades of accumulated, systemic assaults on Black upward mobility are definitively taking their toll, making a lie of the vaunted 'American Dream.' There is no mystery behind the disaster: 'If big business destroys entire industries that provide well paid employment, poverty is not far behind. If black people are targeted for prison, low marriage rates and lower incomes will be the result....'"
  • Bush May Still Bomb Iran, Despite NIE | The Progressive | By Matthew Rothschild
    "Hold on a second here. The risk of Bush attacking Iran is not yet over. When the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran came out earlier this week, a lot of people jumped to the conclusion that Cheney and the hardliners have lost, and so we can all breathe a sigh of relief. Well, I’m not exhaling at the moment. Because I still believe Bush and Cheney are going to do the deed...."
  • Tuesday, December 11, 2007

    GATA Begins Campaign to Wrest Gold Documents from Fed, Treasury

    Good news. GATA has just issued this press release:
    MANCHESTER, Conn. & DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc. has begun a campaign to use the federal Freedom of Information Act to reveal the disposition of United States gold reserves.

    On Thursday, December 6, GATA delivered to the Federal Reserve Board and the Treasury Department formal requests for access to all documents in their possession that have been generated since 1990 and mention swaps of gold involving the U.S. government. Such swaps of gold are commonly used by governments to intervene surreptitiously in the gold and currency markets, and in May this year provisions for swaps began to be cited in Treasury Department records of the U.S. government's international financial reserve position:

    GATA's requests seek not only any documents showing gold swaps but also any documents identifying the legal authority for swaps and any documents describing the U.S. government's policy for engaging in them. "These requests to the Federal Reserve and the Treasury are only the first we plan to make to seek a full accounting of the U.S. gold reserve," GATA Chairman William J. Murphy III explains. "We also plan to ask for documents involving gold loans and leases and any other possible impairments of the gold reserve.

    "That reserve has not been audited in 60 years, even as intervention by governments in the currency and gold markets has been increasing dramatically. Investors have the right to know exactly what the U.S. government is doing to affect what are supposed to be free markets. And the U.S. gold reserve is part of the national patrimony, the birthright of every citizen. All we want is the truth. Who can be against that?" GATA's FOI requests were prepared by the McLean, Virginia, law firm of William J. Olson, P.C., in association with GATA's consultant, the constitutional scholar and lawyer Edwin Vieira Jr., author of the monetary history of the United States, "Pieces of Eight."

    If the Fed and the Treasury fail to respond to the requests in a reasonable time, refuse to provide the documents sought, or provide documents with excessive redactions, GATA can bring the agencies to court. "This campaign for the truth will incur substantial expense for GATA," Murphy says. "So as always GATA will be grateful for contributions from its supporters."

    Since GATA is recognized by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt educational and civil rights organization, contributions are federally tax-deductible in the United States. Information on contributing to GATA is available here:

    GATA's request to the Federal Reserve has been posted on the Internet here:

    GATA's request to the Treasury Department has been posted on the Internet here:
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    By Peter Chamberlin
    Online Journal Contributing Writer
    There is no shortage of speculation about "why" our leaders are still adamantly planning for the destruction of Iran, in the face of overwhelming popular opposition, even though everyone except the neocons and their allies believes that America would not survive our own actions. An irrational attack is planned and apparently the decision has been chiseled in stone. It may be for Israel. It may be for oil. Maybe it is for world domination?

    We are launching a nuclear world war to save us from ourselves. "We have found the enemy and he is us." --Pogo. We risk blowing the world apart, to avoid watching America slowly choke on its own excesses.

    The government has known for decades that America is on a countdown to self-destruction. Among the elite it is common knowledge that our "global economy" must one day collapse from its own dead weight. In 1974 an intensive research project was undertaken by the Stanford Research Institute and the Charles F. Kettering Foundation for the Dept. of Education. Their final report was released as the Changing Images of Man. It was compiled by the SRI Center for the Study of Social Policy, Director Willis Harmon. This is a far-reaching investigation into how the basic nature of man might be changed. The Aquarian Conspiracy describes the implementation of their work in the real world.


    The most reassuring part of "Images" is that it confirms my own conclusions about our crisis, but it is also the most disturbing part, for it confirms my worst reservations about this time.

    The object of the research was the development of a plausible vision of the future in which democratic methods survive, major problems are managed successfully if not resolved, and the unfolding of the human potential continues to expand. In other words, the postulation of a "desirable future" including feasible paths to its realization . . .

    The government was looking forward to a very troubling future, trying to figure out the best path through it. The plan was to find ways to shape and mold mankind into a new cultural image, complete with new ideas and ideologies, even religious ones. The root of the problem was human nature, and solution was to reshape the competing forces of daily life, in order to forge a new image of a new human nature. The researchers were brutally honest in seeking all available knowledge pertaining to their research, and in assessing the current common image of man-on-earth.

    The research revealed that there were a multitude of crises that were about to intersect in America's near future. Not the least of these converging catastrophes was a rapidly approaching breakdown of both American capitalism and democracy. The collapse was a natural result of globalism and monopoly capitalism. The basic greed that powers the system eroded the American political and economic structures, exposing the foundation of immorality and unfairness that amplifies the social unrest. The Stanford researchers clearly predicted that the American economy was destined to collapse from its own dead weight. The data also showed that that economic collapse was to be accompanied by disastrous social repercussions, such as rioting and upheaval, which would lead us into a "garrison state."

    The thing about this research is that this work has confirmed that our economy based on parasitic capitalism, where the small elite sits atop the heap of men and gorges on their lifeblood, is destroying the social fabric of America. This system is based on a stacked deck, where the top elite always reap the profits that are made to rise to the top through the corporate profits-based system. The research confirmed that the growing inequities of such a system were ever increasing and with them, elevated social tensions. A system based on usury and putting everyone in the "poor house" is an economic order that is guaranteed to produce a democratic revolution, whenever the misery index of the armed populace exceeds the limits that they are willing to peacefully bear, without striking back at the source of their misery.

    Changing Images of Man predicts an American economic collapse and a "garrison" (police) state," if the overwhelming inequities of our economic system are not corrected by powerful multinationals making more humane decisions. Alternatives to this doomsday scenario are discussed, all of which point to the need to devote all available resources towards transforming the image of man, changing man's nature, instead of altering the corrupted economic system which has brought America to this dire state. In this government study it was inappropriate to denounce the evil culprits behind all our troubles (who pull the strings on government itself), even though the task was to document and remedy the damage that they have done. Instead, they are cited as the hopeful "saviors," that we should look to for help and leadership. The hypocrisy of the hegemons! The authors admit that it is "utopian in 1974 to think of the multinational corporations as potentially among our most effective mechanisms for husbanding the earth's resources and optimizing their use for human benefit -- the current popular image of the corporation tends to be more that of the spoiler and the exploiter."

    Instead of charging the people who are responsible for our situation (such as men like David Rockefeller), for manipulating our economy and our democracy to maximize their profits, the multi-national corporations and their owners were exalted as the potential saviors of mankind. Rockefeller and the elite have consistently taken steps to dominate the world by controlling people through "humanitarian" projects which, in the end, turn out to be profit mechanisms. The "green revolution" to spread corporate farming to the Third World has been the key to globalization's destabilizing of world labor markets, in order to create populations of "refugee workers," who are willing to go anywhere to find work for slave wages. This is the cause of the wave of illegal immigration into the US from Mexico. This is part of the proof that there are powerful individuals who are using their economic power to undermine nations in a long-term scheme to gain control of nations and multiply their profits.

    Here David Rockefeller admits media collusion with his one world plans: "We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the light of publicity during those years. But now the world is more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supra-national sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries."

    Rockefeller writes on page 405 of his memoirs: "Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as 'internationalists' and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure - one world, if you will. If that is the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it." (Activists Go Face to Face With Evil As Rockefeller Confronted)

    Continue reading.
    Hat tip to Al Buono.

    Photo Credit: David Rockefeller, Sr. (Wikipedia)

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    No Wonder Impeachment is Off The Table

    Bipartisan Brutality: Senior Dems Also Got Sneak Peak at Waterbording in 2002
    Melissa McEwan: Democrats have also been engaging in quite the charade with their supposed outrage about the Bush administration's torture policy.

    "It's bad enough when an opposition party merely fails to effectively oppose, or when they are give tacit approval to a criminally corrupt majority party's radical policies with passive indifference, but when they are active supporters of extremist departures from the nation's most basic principles, they make themselves complicit in the coup by a thousand cuts. Per Lambert, no wonder Pelosi took impeachment off the table....

    Continue Reading.
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    Saturday, December 08, 2007

    Unfit to Serve

    Olbermann: "You, Mr. Bush, are a bald faced liar."

    "A Special Comment about the President’s cataclysmic deception about Iran."

    Trouble viewing this video? CLICK HERE.

    For a complete transcript CLICK HERE.

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    Saturday, December 01, 2007

    Watch the Heartland Presidential Forum LIVE on MVL

    The Heartland Presidential Forum is TODAY December 1st, 2:30 pm eastern, 1:30 pm central, 11:30 am pacific

    Heartland Presidential Candidate Forum to Ignite New Values Debate

    Community Groups to Lead Nation in Challenging Status Quo
    Launch Campaign for Community Values

    (Washington, DC) This presidential campaign season will see more stories and hear more debate about our country’s values. The real conversation begins at the Heartland Presidential Candidate Forum when grassroots community groups ignite a new values debate in American politics as five presidential candidates are challenged to offer bold solutions for getting America back to where we are at our best. Senator John Edwards, Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator Chris Dodd, Senator Barack Obama and Congressman Dennis Kucinich have confirmed to attend the forum on December 1, 2007 at HyVee Hall in Des Moines, in which hundreds of community groups will launch a major national campaign for Community Values that is about creating a new standard in politics and advancing a new national agenda that does not accept leaving people behind, as we strive for prosperity as a nation.

    “This nation is at its best when we recognize our individual success and prosperity depends on the collective responsibility of us all working together to solve our shared problems. Whether it’s providing relief for hurricane victims, building an immigration system that is just and humane or ensuring fair wages and decent working conditions for us all, America can and must do better,” says Deepak Bhargava, executive director of Center for Community Change. “Community values are core American values that our politicians have forgotten. We hear America’s call and with this campaign we are getting America back on track.”

    Community leaders who have been in the trenches dealing with social issues have bold and fresh ideas to offer in the perennial debate over the condition of the nation. The Campaign for Community Values is not a Washington-led campaign, rather is deeply rooted in the community and is diverse, authentic and powerful with membership in the hundreds of thousands and the power to reach millions. This campaign will boldly defy the ‘on your own’ mentality in Washington that is failing America and will lead the nation in challenging political leaders to end the status quo and build a society that shares the ladder of opportunity.

    Healthcare, immigration reform and worker rights are key issues that impact us all and are a focus of the Campaign for Community Values. When the Democratic presidential candidates gather at HyVee Hall on December 1, they can expect to hear personal stories that reflect the need for a new political direction that improves the lives of all people and serve the common good. Five thousand everyday Americans will witness this interaction that will surely be the most authentic America has seen thus far on the campaign trail. On election day 2008, community value voters will choose the candidate brave enough to lead. Visit for more information and to apply for media credentials.

    --Moira Mack


    Saturday, November 24, 2007

    MUST SEE: Noam Chomsky on Iran

    Noam Chomsky on U.S. Policy Towards Iran: Are assumptions about Iran wrong?

    "Suppose it was true that Iran is helping insurgents in Iraq. I mean, wasn't the United States helping insurgents when the Russians invaded Afghanistan? Did we think there was anything wrong with that? I mean, Iraq's a country that was invaded and is under military occupation. You can't have a serious discussion about whether someone else is interfering in it. The basic assumption underlying the discussion is that we own the world."

    Noam Chomsky on Democratic presidential race and Iran: Do the Democrats have a different answer on Iran?

    Original Source: The Real News

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    Nevada Democratic Debate - Dennis Kucinich Interview

    "This is [an] uncut interview with presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, discussing health care, UFOs, and Peak Oil. Afterwards, his wife Eilizabeth [discusses] reopening the investigation of 9/11 and the possibility that Dennis might run on a ticket with Ron Paul."

    Original Post: Raw Vegas

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    Friday, November 23, 2007

    McClellan's Dish: Impeachment is Back on the Table

    The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White House briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.

    There was one problem. It was not true.

    I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the Vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the President himself.
    --Excerpt from Scott McClellan's forthcoming book "What Happened"

    (Public Affairs Books, due out in April 2008)

    Dave Lindorf (Counterpunch):
    With that one little statement, released on the Public Affairs Books website this week, all excuses for not impeaching President Bush and Vice President Cheney, not to mention indicting Cheney (who of course has no immunity from prosecution while in office), have evaporated.

    Here is rock-solid evidence from a man who, as press secretary, was privy to the inner workings of the White House, of a vile conspiracy involving the two top men in the Bush/Cheney administration, as well as their top three staffpeople, to expose the identity of an important CIA undercover operative, Valerie Plame, and then, when caught, to obstruct a criminal investigation by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, into that crime.

    Forget for a moment the administration's other high crimes and misdemeanors and acts of bribery and treason, though many, like defying laws passed by the Congress, or violating the Nuremburg Charter, are surely far more egregious. This particular set of crimes--conspiracy, obstruction of justice, lying, and of course the underlying crime of abuse of power and perhaps treason (since Plame's responsibility as a high-rankiing CIA operative was preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, particularly in the Middle East!)--is serious enough.

    There is no way that American democracy can continue to survive, even in its current truncated form, if the Congress continues to duck this issue and pretend that it has "more important things to do," as Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her retinue of "leaders" in the House have continued to claim for an entire year in control of the Congress.

    To keep impeachment "off the table," knowing that the president and vice president brazenly lied to the American people and to the Special Counsel's office about such a serious offense, is to make a mockery of the Constitution and the law....

    Read more.
    Photo Credit: "White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan and President Bush announce that Mr. McClellan is resigning his position on the South Lawn Wednesday, April 19, 2006. "One of these days he and I are going to be rocking on chairs in Texas, talking about the good old days and his time as the Press Secretary," said the President. "And I can assure you I will feel the same way then that I feel now, that I can say to Scott, job well done." White House photo by Eric Draper"

    Related Articles:

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    Gaza's Reality

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    Thursday, November 22, 2007

    Your Big Thanksgiving Surprise?

    If you've been paying attention, this should come as a surprise to no one.

    The New York Times writes that Foreign Fighters in Iraq Are Tied to Allies of U.S.
    "Saudi Arabia and Libya, both considered allies by the United States in its fight against terrorism, were the source of about 60 percent of the foreign fighters who came to Iraq in the past year to serve as suicide bombers or to facilitate other attacks, according to senior American military officials.

    The data come largely from a trove of documents and computers discovered in September, when American forces raided a tent camp in the desert near Sinjar, close to the Syrian border. The raid’s target was an insurgent cell believed to be responsible for smuggling the vast majority of foreign fighters into Iraq.

    The most significant discovery was a collection of biographical sketches that listed hometowns and other details for more than 700 fighters brought into Iraq since August 2006..."
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    Sunday, November 11, 2007

    My Sentiments Exactly

    Frank Rich (NY Times) writes:
    "...Last weekend a new Washington Post-ABC News poll found that the Democratic-controlled Congress and Mr. Bush are both roundly despised throughout the land, and that only 24 percent of Americans believe their country is on the right track. That’s almost as low as the United States' rock-bottom approval ratings in the latest Pew surveys of Pakistan (15 percent) and Turkey (9 percent).

    Wrong track is a euphemism. We are a people in clinical depression. Americans know that the ideals that once set our nation apart from the world have been vandalized, and no matter which party they belong to, they do not see a restoration anytime soon."

    Must Read:

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    Friday, November 09, 2007

    Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Effort to Impeach Vice President Cheney Still Alive

    Democracy Now! 11/09/07:
    Despite the best efforts of the Democratic leadership, impeachment was indeed on the table this week in Washington. On Tuesday, Congressmember and presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich nearly forced the full House to vote on his measure to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney. House Resolution 333 accuses Cheney of deliberately manipulating intelligence and deceiving the public to build support for the invasion of Iraq and now towards a possible attack on Iran. Twenty-one House Democrats have supported the bill, but it's met fierce opposition from the Democratic leadership.

    Democratic leaders were able to send the bill to the House Judiciary Committee, where they expect it to languish. In a bizarre sequence, Republican lawmakers initially voted against tabling the bill after their leadership apparently decided a House debate would embarrass the Democrats. The bill was eventually sent to committee after a back-and-forth wrangling between Kucinich and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.

    Democratic leaders have famously declared that impeachment is off the table. But their view does not fall in line with recent polling figures. An American Research Group poll in July found that fifty-four percent of Americans support beginning impeachment proceedings against Vice President Cheney. Seventy-four percent of Democrats were also in favor.

    Congressmember Dennis Kucinich of Ohio introduced the measure. He joins me now from Washington.
    Listen to the interview and/or read a transcript here.

    Thanks to Information Clearing House.

    Photo Credit: "Double Rainbow" � Kucinich 2008 Action Center

    Also See:

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    Thursday, November 08, 2007

    Friday, November 02, 2007

    Draft Gore or Forever Hold Your Peace

    The chances of Al Gore running for President in 2008 are not likely -- but not impossible. Do what you can to encourage him to run.

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    Sunday, September 16, 2007

    Will the Democrats Betray Us?

    Another superb Frank Rich op ed. Must Read.

    Will the Democrats Betray Us?
    By Frank Rich
    The New York Times

    SIR, I don't know, actually": The fact that America's surrogate commander in chief, David Petraeus, could not say whether the war in Iraq is making America safer was all you needed to take away from last week's festivities in Washington. Everything else was a verbal quagmire, as administration spin and senatorial preening fought to a numbing standoff.

    Not that many Americans were watching. The country knew going in that the White House would win its latest campaign to stay its course of indefinitely shoveling our troops and treasure into the bottomless pit of Iraq. The only troops coming home alive or with their limbs intact in President Bush's troop "reduction" are those who were scheduled to be withdrawn by April anyway. Otherwise the president would have had to extend combat tours yet again, mobilize more reserves or bring back the draft.

    On the sixth anniversary of the day that did not change everything, General Petraeus couldn't say we are safer because he knows we are not. Last Sunday, Michael Scheuer, the former chief of the C.I.A.'s Osama bin Laden unit, explained why. He wrote in The Daily News that Al Qaeda, under the de facto protection of Pervez Musharraf, is "on balance" more threatening today that it was on 9/11. And as goes Pakistan, so goes Afghanistan. On Tuesday, just as the Senate hearings began, Lisa Myers of NBC News reported on a Taliban camp near Kabul in an area nominally controlled by the Afghan government we installed. It is training bomb makers to attack America.

    Little of this registered in or beyond the Beltway. New bin Laden tapes and the latest 9/11 memorial rites notwithstanding, we're back in a 9/10 mind-set. Bin Laden, said Frances Townsend, the top White House homeland security official, "is virtually impotent." Karen Hughes, the Bush crony in charge of America's P.R. in the jihadists' world, recently held a press conference anointing Cal Ripken Jr. our international "special sports envoy." We are once more sleepwalking through history, fiddling while the Qaeda not in Iraq prepares to burn.

    This is why the parallels between Vietnam and Iraq, including those more accurate than Mr. Bush's recent false analogies, can take us only so far. Our situation is graver than it was during Vietnam.

    Certainly there were some eerie symmetries between General Petraeus's sales pitch last week and its often-noted historical antecedent: Gen. William Westmoreland's similar mission for L.B.J. before Congress on April 28, 1967. Westmoreland, too, refused to acknowledge that our troops were caught in a civil war. He spoke as well of the "repeated successes" of the American-trained South Vietnamese military and ticked off its growing number of combat-ready battalions. "The strategy we're following at this time is the proper one," the general assured America, and "is producing results."

    Those fabulous results delayed our final departure from Vietnam for another eight years — just short of the nine to 10 years General Petraeus has said may be needed for a counterinsurgency in Iraq. But there's a crucial difference between the Westmoreland show of 1967 and the 2007 revival by General Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. Westmoreland played to a full and largely enthusiastic house. Most Americans still supported the war in Vietnam and trusted him; so did all but a few members of Congress, regardless of party. All three networks pre-empted their midday programming for Westmoreland's Congressional appearance.

    Our Iraq commander, by contrast, appeared before a divided and stalemated Congress just as an ABC News-Washington Post poll found that most Americans believed he would overhype progress in Iraq. No network interrupted a soap opera for his testimony. On cable the hearings fought for coverage with Britney Spears's latest self-immolation and the fate of Madeleine McCann, our latest JonBenet Ramsey stand-in.

    General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker could grab an hour of prime television time only by slinking into the safe foxhole of Fox News, where Brit Hume chaperoned them on a gloomy, bunkerlike set before an audience of merely 1.5 million true believers. Their "Briefing for America," as Fox titled it, was all too fittingly interrupted early on for a commercial promising pharmaceutical relief from erectile dysfunction.

    Even if military "victory" were achievable in Iraq, America could not win a war abandoned by its own citizens. The evaporation of that support was ratified by voters last November. For that, they were rewarded with the "surge." Now their mood has turned darker. Americans have not merely abandoned the war; they don't want to hear anything that might remind them of it, or of war in general. Katie Couric's much-promoted weeklong visit to the front produced ratings matching the CBS newscast's all-time low. Angelina Jolie's movie about Daniel Pearl sank without a trace. Even Clint Eastwood's wildly acclaimed movies about World War II went begging. Over its latest season, "24" lost a third of its viewers, just as Mr. Bush did between January's prime-time address and last week's.

    You can't blame the public for changing the channel. People realize that the president's real "plan for victory" is to let his successor clean up the mess. They don't want to see American troops dying for that cause, but what can be done? Americans voted the G.O.P. out of power in Congress; a clear majority consistently tell pollsters they want out of Iraq. And still every day is Groundhog Day. Our America, unlike Vietnam-era America, is more often resigned than angry. Though the latest New York Times-CBS News poll finds that only 5 percent trust the president to wrap up the war, the figure for the (barely) Democratic-controlled Congress, 21 percent, is an almost-as-resounding vote of no confidence.

    Last week Democrats often earned that rating, especially those running for president. It is true that they do not have the votes to overcome a Bush veto of any war legislation. But that doesn't mean the Democrats have to go on holiday. Few used their time to cross-examine General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker on their disingenuous talking points, choosing instead to regurgitate stump sentiments or ask uncoordinated, redundant questions. It's telling that the one question that drew blood — are we safer? — was asked by a Republican, John Warner, who is retiring from the Senate.

    Americans are looking for leadership, somewhere, anywhere. At least one of the Democratic presidential contenders might have shown the guts to soundly slap the "General Betray-Us" headline on the ad placed by in The Times, if only to deflate a counterproductive distraction. This left-wing brand of juvenile name-calling is as witless as the "Defeatocrats" and "cut and run" McCarthyism from the right; it at once undermined the serious charges against the data in the Petraeus progress report (including those charges in the same MoveOn ad) and allowed the war's cheerleaders to hyperventilate about a sideshow. "General Betray-Us" gave Republicans a furlough to avoid ownership of an Iraq policy that now has us supporting both sides of the Shiite-vs.-Sunni blood bath while simultaneously shutting America's doors on the millions of Iraqi refugees the blood bath has so far created.

    It's also past time for the Democratic presidential candidates to stop getting bogged down in bickering about who has the faster timeline for withdrawal or the more enforceable deadline. Every one of these plans is academic anyway as long as Mr. Bush has a veto pen. The security of America is more important — dare one say it? — than trying to outpander one another in Iowa and New Hampshire.

    The Democratic presidential candidates in the Senate need all the unity and focus they can muster to move this story forward, and that starts with the two marquee draws, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It's essential to turn up the heat full time in Washington for any and every legislative roadblock to administration policy that they and their peers can induce principled or frightened Republicans to endorse.

    They should summon the new chief of central command (and General Petraeus's boss), Adm. William Fallon, for tough questioning; he is reportedly concerned about our lapsed military readiness should trouble strike beyond Iraq. And why not grill the Joint Chiefs and those half-dozen or so generals who turned down the White House post of "war czar" last fall? The war should be front and center in Congress every day.

    Mr. Bush, confident that he got away with repackaging the same bankrupt policies with a nonsensical new slogan ("Return on Success") Thursday night, is counting on the public's continued apathy as he kicks the can down the road and bides his time until Jan. 20, 2009; he, after all, has nothing more to lose. The job for real leaders is to wake up America to the urgent reality. We can't afford to punt until Inauguration Day in a war that each day drains America of resources and will. Our national security can't be held hostage indefinitely to a president's narcissistic need to compound his errors rather than admit them.

    The enemy votes, too. Cataclysmic events on the ground in Iraq, including Thursday's murder of the Sunni tribal leader Mr. Bush embraced two weeks ago as a symbol of hope, have never arrived according to this administration's optimistic timetable. Nor have major Qaeda attacks in the West. It's national suicide to entertain the daydream that they will start doing so now.

    Photo Credit: Frank Rich. (Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times)
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    Thursday, August 23, 2007

    Poof! Gone!

    I Will return .... exactly when, of course, is unkown.

    In the meantime, stay informed by clicking on the sidebar links, and keep up the pressure on your elected officials.

    Oh, yes, if you're still trying to figure out who the heck the Unknown Candidate is, watch this:


    Peace to all,


    Wednesday, August 22, 2007

    The C.I.A. Report

    The New York Times reports: :
    "The C.I.A. inspector general's report on the agency's failures before Sept. 11 was devastating-- but not because it showed that America's spies missed the rise of Al Qaeda. George Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, rang the Qaeda alarm. He sent a memo to the entire intelligence community saying that he wanted no effort spared in the 'war' with Osama bin Laden. He took on the president's closest advisers to agitate for a strike on a Qaeda base in Afghanistan.

    The disturbing thing was that this all happened under President Bill Clinton. When George W. Bush won the White House, Mr. Tenet seems to have shifted his priorities. The C.I.A. chief suddenly seemed consumed with hanging on to his job (through such innovative antiterrorism measures as naming the C.I.A.'s Langley, Va., headquarters for Mr. Bush's father).

    The Bush team was so busy in 2001 trying to upend America’s global relationships according to a neo-conservative agenda that the then national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, did not see any urgency in reports that Al Qaeda was determined to strike in the United States...."
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    FOX Attacks Iran

    Sign the Open Letter:
    Tell the networks not to follow FOX down the road to war

  • Sources for Fox Attacks Iran video
  • Iran Fact Sheet
  • Transcript for Fox Attacks Iran

  • Robert Greenwald reports:
    I remember very clearly the daily fearmongering led by FOX as they cheered for war with Iraq. The 24/7 images, sound effects, yelling and threatening were an ever-present drumbeat for war. We had to invade, and we had to invade now.. anyone who didn't see that was a traitor. They viciously attacked those of us who worked to get out the truth.

    You'd think that with the complete failure in Iraq, those days would be behind us. Sadly, you'd be wrong.

    FOX wants war with Iran.

    It's almost too ridiculous to believe, but it's shockingly real. We've already compiled over 4 hours of FOX footage... the same images, sound effects, yelling and threatening that led the U.S. to invade Iraq is happening right now to sell a war with Iran. They are saying the exact same things!!

    Here is the video evidence, side-by-side with what they said about Iraq.

    This time is different though. We're prepared, and we have the means to alert people to what FOX is doing. Everyone has seen the terrible tragedy and the awful price paid by so many Iraqis and Americans. We know this is coming, and we can stop it.

    It was about this time in the lead-up to the Iraq war when the other TV networks started following FOX's lead. As CNN's Christiane Amanpour says in the video, they were intimidated by FOX into cheerleading for the Iraq war.


    This is a critical moment, and we must send a message to the major television networks urging them to ask tough questions, be skeptical, and tell us what is really happening. They must not follow FOX down the road to another war.

    We've put together an open letter to the networks. Will you sign it?

    Please pssst the video and forward it to everyone you know. We must raise our voices now. This is so important, we cannot let history repeat itself.

    P.S. Here are some recent articles on the Iran issue:
    • "Cheney pushes Bush to act on Iran" (Guardian)
    • "Prelude to an attack on Iran" (Bob Baer, Time)
    • Bush admin labels Iran's 125k Revolutionary Guard troops "terrorists" (New York Times)
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    Margolis Says TV News Hiding Truth About Iraq Civil War

    Eric Margolis, contributor to American Conservative magazine and The Real News, says television news is misleading people about the responsibility of the U.S. in fueling the Iraq civil war.

    Watch the video:

    Trouble viewing this video? Click Here.

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    "The Mother of All Energy Paradigm Shifts"

    Go Green and Save Money
    By Thomas L. Friedman
    The New York Times
    Have your eyes recently popped out of your head when you opened your electric bill? Do you, like me, live in one of those states where electricity has been deregulated and the state no longer oversees the generation price so your utility rates have skyrocketed since 2002?

    If so, you need to listen to a proposal being aired by Jim Rogers, the chairman and chief executive of Duke Energy, and recently filed with the North Carolina Utilities Commission. (Duke Energy is headquartered in Charlotte.) It’s called “save-a-watt,” and it aims to turn the electricity/utility industry upside down by rewarding utilities for the kilowatts they save customers by improving their energy efficiency rather than rewarding them for the kilowatts they sell customers by building more power plants.

    Mr. Rogers’s proposal is based on three simple principles. The first is that the cheapest way to generate clean, emissions-free power is by improving energy efficiency. Or, as he puts it, “The most environmentally sound, inexpensive and reliable power plant is the one we don’t have to build because we’ve helped our customers save energy.”

    Second, we need to make energy efficiency something that is as “back of mind” as energy usage. If energy efficiency depends on people remembering to do 20 things on a checklist, it’s not going to happen at scale.

    Third, the only institutions that have the infrastructure, capital and customer base to empower lots of people to become energy efficient are the utilities, so they are the ones who need to be incentivized to make big investments in efficiency that can be accessed by every customer.

    The only problem is that, historically, utilities made their money by making large-scale investments in new power plants, whether coal or gas or nuclear. As long as a utility could prove to its regulators that the demand for that new plant was there, the utility got to pass along the cost, and then some, to its customers. Mr. Rogers’s save-a-watt concept proposes to change all of that.

    “The way it would work is that the utility would spend the money and take the risk to make its customers as energy efficient as possible,” he explained. That would include installing devices in your home that would allow the utility to adjust your air-conditioners or refrigerators at peak usage times. It would include plans to incentivize contractors to build more efficient homes with more efficient boilers, heaters, appliances and insulation. It could even include partnering with a factory to buy the most energy-efficient equipment or with a family to winterize their house.

    “Energy efficiency is the ‘fifth fuel’ — after coal, gas, renewables and nuclear,” said Mr. Rogers. “Today, it is the lowest-cost alternative and is emissions-free. It should be our first choice in meeting our growing demand for electricity, as well as in solving the climate challenge.”

    Because energy efficiency is, in effect, a resource, he added, in order for utilities to use more of it, “efficiency should be treated as a production cost in the regulatory arena.” The utility would earn its money on the basis of the actual watts it saves through efficiency innovations. (California’s “decoupling” systems goes partly in this direction.)

    At the end of the year, an independent body would determine how many watts of energy the utility has saved over a predetermined baseline and the utility would then be compensated by its customers accordingly.

    “Over time,” said Mr. Rogers, “the price of electricity per unit will go up, because there would be an incremental cost in adding efficiency equipment — although that cost would be less than the incremental cost of adding a new power plant. But your overall bills should go down, because your home will be more efficient and you will use less electricity.”

    Once such a system is in place, Mr. Rogers added, “our engineers would wake up every day thinking about how to squeeze more productivity gains out of new technology for energy efficiency — rather than just how to build a bigger transmission or distribution network to meet the growing demands of customers.” (Why don’t we think about incentivizing U.S. automakers the same way — give them tax rebates for save-a-miles?)

    That is how you produce a more efficient energy infrastructure at scale. “Universal access to electricity was a 20th century idea — now it has to be universal access to energy efficiency, which could make us the most energy productive country in the world,” he added.

    Pulling all this off will be very complicated. But if Mr. Rogers and North Carolina can do it, it would be the mother of all energy paradigm shifts.

    Photo Credit: Thomas Friedman. (Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times)
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    Tuesday, August 21, 2007

    In Case You Missed It ...

    • U.S. foreign policy experts oppose Bush's surge:
      Reuters reports that "more than half of top U.S. foreign policy experts oppose President George W. Bush's troop increase as a strategy for stabilizing Baghdad, saying the plan has harmed U.S. national security, according to a new survey...."
    • Army Specialist Buddhika Jayamaha, Sergeant Wesley D. Smith, Sergeant Jeremy Roebuck, Sergeant Omar Mora, Sergeant Edward Sandmeier, Staff Sergeant Yance T. Gray and Staff Sergeant Jeremy A. Murphy report The War as We Saw It for the New York Times:
      "VIEWED from Iraq at the tail end of a 15-month deployment, the political debate in Washington is indeed surreal. Counterinsurgency is, by definition, a competition between insurgents and counterinsurgents for the control and support of a population. To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched...."
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    Matt Cooper Says Rove DID Leak Valerie Plame's Identity To Him

    Crooks and Liars reports:
    "Following Karl Rove’s appearance this morning on “Meet The Press” David Gregory (who is involved in the Plame scandal. More on that later.) held a round table discussion which included former Time Magazine reporter Matt Cooper. Cooper, who was dead center in the Valerie Plame scandal, stops just short of calling Karl Rove a liar, insisting that he did, in fact, leak Valerie Plame’s name to him in 2003...."
    For transcript, video and more CLICK HERE.

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    Online Voters Pick Kucinich as Winner of ABC Debate

    Hat Tip to Crooks and Liars.

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    War's Chilling Reality

    Bob Herbert reports that "a new documentary offers a portrait of combat and its aftermath that bears no relation to the sanitized version of war that often comes from politicians and the news media."

    War's Chilling Reality
    By Bob Herbert
    The New York Times
    Bryan Anderson, a 25-year-old Army sergeant who was wounded in Iraq, was explaining, on camera — to James Gandolfini, of all people — what happened immediately after a roadside bomb blew up the Humvee that he was driving.

    “I was like, ‘Oh, we got hit. We got hit.’ And then I had blood on my face and the flies were landing all over my face. So I wiped my face to get rid of the flies. And that is when I noticed that my fingertip was gone. So I was like, ‘Oh. O.K.’

    “So that is when I started really assessing myself. I was like, ‘That’s not bad.’ And then I turned my hand over, and I noticed that this chunk of my hand was gone. So I was like, ‘O.K., still not bad. I can live with that.’

    “And then when I went to wipe the flies on my face with my left hand, there was nothing there. So I was like, ‘Uh, that’s gone.’ And then I looked down and I saw that my legs were gone. And then they had kind of forced my head back down to the ground, hoping that I wouldn’t see.”

    HBO’s contribution to an expanded awareness of the awful realities of war continues with a new documentary, “Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq.”

    Mr. Gandolfini, one of the executive producers of the film, steps out of his Tony Soprano persona to quietly, even gently, interview 10 soldiers and marines who barely escaped death in combat.

    The interviews are powerful, and often chilling. They offer a portrait of combat and its aftermath that bears no relation to the sanitized, often upbeat version of war — not just in Iraq, but in general — that so often comes from politicians and the news media.

    Dawn Halfaker, a 28-year-old former Army captain, is among those featured in the documentary. She lost her right arm and shoulder in Iraq, along with any illusions she might have had about the glory of war.

    “I think I was a little bit naïve to what combat was really like,” she told me in an interview on Sunday. “When you’re training, you don’t really imagine that you could be holding a dying boy in your arms. You don’t think about what death is like close up.

    “There’s nothing heroic about war. It’s very tragic. It’s very sad. It takes a huge emotional toll.”

    Still, she said, there was much about her experience in Iraq that she was grateful for.

    “Nobody in the film is asking for pity or sympathy,” she said. “We’re just saying we had this experience and it changed our lives, and we’re coping with it.”

    The term “alive day” is being used by G.I.’s to refer to the day that they came frighteningly close to dying from war wounds, but somehow managed to survive. There are legions of them.

    Miraculous advances in emergency medicine, communication and transportation are enabling 90 percent of the G.I.’s wounded in Iraq to survive their wounds, although many are facing a lifetime of suffering.

    It’s become a cliché to talk about the courage of the soldiers and marines struggling to overcome their horrendous injuries, but it’s a cliché embedded in the truth. Sergeant Anderson, a chatty onetime athlete, is doing his best to put together a reasonably satisfactory life without his legs or his left hand, and with a damaged right hand

    He told Mr. Gandolfini, “If I didn’t have my hand, if I lost both my hands, I’d really think, you know, it wouldn’t be worth it to be around.”

    He has a wry take on the term “alive day.”

    “Everybody makes a big deal about your alive day, especially at Walter Reed,” he said. “And I can see their point, that you’d want to celebrate something like that. But from my point of view, it’s like, ‘O.K., we’re sitting here celebrating the worst day of my life. Great, let’s just remind me of that every year.’ ”

    Last year HBO produced a harrowing documentary called “Baghdad E.R.” that showed the relentless effort of doctors, nurses and other medical personnel to save as many lives as possible from what amounted to a nonstop conveyor belt of G.I.’s wounded in combat. At the time, Shelia Nevins, the head of documentary programming at the network, said, “We tried to put a human face on the war.”

    They’ve done it again with “Alive Day Memories,” which is scheduled to premiere Sept. 9.

    There are no politics in either production. They are neither pro- nor anti-war.

    But the intense focus on the humanity of the men and women caught up in the chaos of Iraq, and the incredible sacrifices some of them have had to make, is an implicit argument in favor of a more thoughtful, cautious, less hubristic approach to matters of war and peace.
    Photo Credit: Bob Herbert. (The New York Times)

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    New-Fangled Bank Runs

    The Krug Man reports that "new-fashioned bank runs" are "at the heart of the current financial crisis."

    It's a Miserable Life
    By Paul Krugman
    The New York Times
    Last week the scene at branches of Countrywide Bank, with crowds of agitated depositors trying to withdraw their money, looked a bit like the bank run in the classic holiday movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

    As it happens, Countrywide’s customers were overreacting. True, the bank is owned by Countrywide Financial, the nation’s largest mortgage lender — and mortgage lenders are in big trouble these days. But bank deposits up to $100,000 are protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Old-fashioned bank runs just don’t make sense these days.

    New-fashioned bank runs, on the other hand, do make sense — and they’re at the heart of the current financial crisis.

    The key to understanding what’s happening is taking a broad view of what constitutes a bank. From an economic perspective, a bank is any institution that offers people liquidity — the ability to convert their assets into cash on short notice — while still using their money to make long-term investments.

    Traditional banks promise depositors the right to withdraw their funds at any time. Yet banks lend out most of the money depositors place in their care, keeping only a fraction in cash. The reason this works is that normally a bank’s depositors want to withdraw only a small proportion of their money on any given day.

    Banks get in trouble, however, when some event, like a rumor that major loans have gone bad, leads many depositors to demand their money at the same time.

    The scary thing about bank runs is that doubts about a bank’s soundness can be a self-fulfilling prophecy: a bank that should be safely in the black can nonetheless fail if it’s forced to sell assets in a hurry. And bank failures can have devastating economic effects. Many economists believe that the banking panic of the early 1930s, not the stock market crash of 1929, was the principal cause of the Great Depression.

    That’s why bank deposits are now protected by a combination of guarantees and regulation. On one side, deposits are federally insured, and the Federal Reserve stands ready to rush cash to troubled banks if necessary. On the other side, banks are required to keep adequate reserves, have adequate capital and make conservative loans.

    But these guarantees and regulations apply only to traditional banks. Meanwhile, a growing number of unregulated bank-like institutions have become vulnerable to the 21st-century version of bank runs.

    Consider the case of KKR Financial Holdings, an affiliate of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, a powerhouse Wall Street operator. KKR Financial raises money by issuing asset-backed commercial paper — a claim that’s sort of like a short-term C.D., used by large investors to temporarily park funds — and invests most of this money in longer-term assets. So the company is acting as a kind of bank, one that offers a higher interest rate than ordinary banks pay their clients.

    It sounds like a great deal — except that last week KKR Financial announced that it was seeking to delay $5 billion in repayments. That’s the equivalent of a bank closing its doors because it’s running out of cash.

    The problems at KKR Financial are part of a broader picture in which many investors, spooked by the problems in the mortgage market, have been pulling their money out of institutions that use short-term borrowing to finance long-term investments. These institutions aren’t called banks, but in economic terms what’s been happening amounts to a burgeoning banking panic.

    On Friday, the Federal Reserve tried to quell this panic by announcing a surprise cut in the discount rate, the rate at which it lends money to banks. It remains to be seen whether the move will do the trick.

    The problem, as many observers have noticed, is that the Fed’s move is largely symbolic. It makes more funds available to depository institutions, a k a old-fashioned banks — but old-fashioned banks aren’t where the crisis is centered. And the Fed doesn’t have any clear way to deal with bank runs on institutions that aren’t called banks.

    Now, sometimes symbolic gestures are enough. The Fed’s surprise quarter-point interest rate cut in October 1998, at the height of the crisis caused by the implosion of the hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management, was similarly a case of providing money where it wasn’t needed. Yet it helped restore calm to the markets, by conveying the sense that policy makers were on top of the situation.

    Friday’s cut might do the same thing. But if it doesn’t, it’s not clear what comes next.

    Whatever happens now, it’s hard to avoid the sense that the growing complexity of our financial system is making it increasingly prone to crises — crises that are beyond the ability of traditional policies to handle. Maybe we’ll make it through this crisis unscathed. But what about the next one, or the one after that?

    Photo Credit: Paul Krugman. (The New York Times)

    Also See:

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    Read Between the Lines ...

    US to Give Israel Record Military Aid:
    "The United States offered Israel an unprecedented $30 billion of military aid over 10 years on Thursday, bolstering its closest Mideast ally and ensuring the state's military edge over its neighbors long into the future. ����The package was meant in part to offset U.S. plans to offer Saudi Arabia advanced weapons and air systems that would greatly improve the Arab country's air force. Israel has said it has no opposition to the Saudi aid. ����The deal represents a 25 percent rise in U.S. military aid to Israel, from a current $2.4 billion a year to $3 billion a year over the next 10 years...."
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    Take Al Qaeda to Court

    KELLY ANNE MOORE (NYTimes) reports that "the United States does not need a new and untested detention system for terrorists....


    ... While being held in military custody, Jose Padilla was denied due process for more than three years because of assertions that his case was too difficult or sensitive for the federal courts. His conviction last week demonstrated otherwise. The transfer of his case to a federal court could have and should have occurred much earlier.

    Many people around the world have come to question America’s commitment to the rule of law. There are few places in the world where that principle is more hallowed than in the United States federal courts. The best course of action now, in dealing with terrorism suspects, is to use these courts — the keystone of American jurisprudence — and show the world that America can protect itself while it respects the rule of law."

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    Sunday, August 19, 2007

    A Not-So-Fond Farewell to Rove

    Bill Moyers bids a not-so-fond farewell to Karl Rove, who "figured out a long time ago that the way to take an intellectually incurious draft-averse naughty playboy in a flight jacket with chewing tobacco in his back pocket and make him governor of Texas, was to sell him as God's anointed in a state where preachers and televangelists outnumber even oil derricks and jack rabbits."

    For transcript, go to

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    News Unreported By "The Most Trusted Name in News"

    • Rick Jacobs (The Huffington Post): Blackwater West
      "...How long before we see Blackwater's trained killers turning up in metropolitan Los Angeles after an earthquake or fire, uninvited, soliciting work? On May 1, 2007, we saw what happens when a well-trained police force gets out of control. Imagine what will happen if a bunch of former special operations soldiers, who are trained to kill show up in an urban setting. And then, say no to Blackwater. We can't have them here. Not now. Not ever.
    • Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility:
      "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency increasingly relies upon corporate research joint ventures, according to agency documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). These corporate partnerships are on the rise as EPA research funding is on the wane, magnifying the effects of diversions of resources away from public health priorities toward regulatory topics that serve commercial bottom lines...."
    • NY Times: Concerns Raised on Wider Spying Under New Law
      "Broad new surveillance powers approved by Congress this month could allow the Bush administration to conduct spy operations that go well beyond wiretapping to include — without court approval — certain types of physical searches on American soil and the collection of Americans’ business records, Democratic Congressional officials and other experts said...."
    • BBC NEWS | EU biofuel policy is a 'mistake':
      "The EU target of ensuring 10% of petrol and diesel comes from renewable sources by 2020 is not an effective way to curb carbon emissions, researchers say...."
    • The old Iran-Contra death squad gang is desperate to discredit Chavez | John Pilger:
      "Democracy and hope in Latin America have been revived by Venezuela's leader. But the forces allied against him are formidable.... "
    • Chinese leader urges Iranian flexibility in nuke dispute
      "Bishkek - Chinese President Hu Jintao called Thursday on Iran to show flexibility in order to resolve peacefully the dispute over Tehran's nuclear programme.


      The Chinese leader said he understood Iran's concerns in the controversy, while Ahmedinejad promised Hu that his country would continue to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's watchdog on nuclear affairs.

      Ahmedinejad attended the SCO summit as an observer, amid Iran's wish to join the regional group which consists of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan...."
    • US 'Surges', Soldiers die. Blame Iran.
      "When a top US commander in Iraq reported last week that attacks by Shi'ite militias with links to Iran had risen to 73% of all July attacks that had killed or wounded US forces in Baghdad, he claimed it was because of an effort by Iran to oust the United States from Iraq, referring to "intelligence reports" of a "surge" in Iranian assistance.

      But the obvious reason for the rise in Shi'ite-related US casualties - ignored in US media coverage of Lieutenant-General Raymond

      Odierno's charge - is that the Mahdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr was defending itself against a rising tempo of attacks by US forces at the same time attacks by al-Qaeda forces had fallen...."
    • The Truth About Hugo Chavez:
      "Few governments in the world have been victims of devastating campaigns full of hatred. The Venezuelan government, led by President Hugo Chávez, is one of those victims. His enemies have tried everything: Coup d’État, oil strike, flow of capital, plots… After the attack against Fidel Castro, a similar situation has not ever happened in Latin America.

      The most miserable lies have been said about Chávez, all of them orchestrated by the new propaganda office called -National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House, financed by Bush Administration. With unlimited financial resources, this lying machine manipulates important media and organizations for the defense of Human Rights which are at the service of sinister plans.

      Likewise, part of the social-democrat left-branched party surrender before these groups of liars...."
    • You Have No Rights:
      In a Truthdig interview by James Harris and Josh Scheer, "Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive and author of 'You Have No Rights,' explains how our president became a 'medieval king,' and why your civil liberties are in greater danger than ever...."
    • Howard warns Maliki: act or face pullout | The Australian
      "JOHN Howard has demanded the Iraqi Government make faster progress towards resolving the country's political differences or face the prospect of a withdrawal of Australian troops and those of other Western nations...."
    • U.S. backs Maliki, avoids talk of Iraq government collapse:
      "Talk about whether Iraq's government will survive is taboo among U.S. officials, but experts and diplomats say the hobbled coalition is in big trouble and the betting is it won't last...."
    • No End in Sight :
      Robert Ebert writes: "Remember the scene in "A Clockwork Orange" where Alex has his eyes clamped open and is forced to watch a movie? I imagine a similar experience for the architects of our catastrophe in Iraq. I would like them to see "No End in Sight," the story of how we were led into that war, and more than 3,000 American lives and hundreds of thousands of other lives were destroyed...."
    • American Bar Association Criticizes Bush Terror Policies:
      Mark Sherman of The Associated Press reports that the American Bar Association has criticized President Bush's terror policies, demanding that the president's "recent order on CIA interrogations of terror suspects be overturned because it still allows harsh treatment in violation of international treaties...."
    • Yet again, the Democrats roll over:
      Longtime White House reporter Helen Thomas writes in her most recent syndicated Hearst Newspapers column that "President Bush has the Democrats' number on Capitol Hill. All he has to do is play the fear card and invoke the war on terror and they will cave...."
    • Iraq Contractors Accused in Shootings:
      Deborah Hastings of The Associated Press reports that mercenaries in Iraq "operate with little or no supervision, accountable only to the firms employing them. And as the country has plummeted toward anarchy and civil war, this private army has been accused of indiscriminately firing at American and Iraqi troops, and of shooting to death an unknown number of Iraqi citizens who got too close to their heavily armed convoys...."
    • How the Fight for Vast New Spying Powers Was Won:
      Joby Warrick and Walter Pincus report in Sunday's Washington Post about the jockeying between the Bush administration and Congress that led the White House to use the threat of a terrorist attack to resurrect Cold War-era wiretap powers over Democrat objections.
    • Fatigue cripples US army in Iraq:
      "Exhaustion and combat stress are besieging US troops in Iraq as they battle with a new type of warfare. Some even rely on Red Bull to get through the day. As desertions and absences increase, the military is struggling to cope with the crisis..."
    • U.S. Pays Millions In Cost Overruns For Security in Iraq:
      Steve Fainaru reports in Sunday's edition of The Washington Post that the US military "has paid $548 million over the past three years to two British security firms that protect the US Army Corps of Engineers on reconstruction projects, more than $200 million over the original budget, according to previously undisclosed data that show how the cost of private security in Iraq has mushroomed...."
    • Democrats Say Leaving Iraq May Take Years:
      "Even as they call for an end to the war, Democratic presidential candidates are setting out positions that could leave the U.S. engaged in Iraq for years...."
    • World's Best Medical Care?:
      "Many Americans are under the delusion that we have “the best health care system in the world,” as President Bush sees it, or provide the “best medical care in the world,” as Rudolph Giuliani declared last week. That may be true at many top medical centers. But the disturbing truth is that this country lags well behind other advanced nations in delivering timely and effective care...."
    • Venezuela Tries To Create Its Own Kind of Socialism:
      Juan Forero writes for The Washington Post: "Like the Venezuelan economy itself, the assembly line here is designed to put workers ahead of the bottom line and, in the process, serve as a building block in Chavez's dream of constructing what he calls 21st-century socialism. According to a 59-page economic blueprint for the next six years, free-market capitalism's influence will wane with the proliferation of state enterprises and mixed public-private firms called social production companies, the objective being to generate funding for community programs...."
    • PAUL KRUGMAN: The Substance Thing
      "...All of the leading Democratic candidates are articulate and impressive. It’s easy to imagine any of them as president. But after what happened in 2000, it worries me that Mrs. Clinton is showing an almost Republican aversion to talking about substance."