Thursday, May 31, 2007

Bring It On hahajustkidding

Cease-fire eyed to stop violence in Iraq - 31 May 2007 at 11:50am - WASHINGTON -- U.S. military commanders are talking with Iraqi militants about cease-fires and other arrangements to try to stop the violence, the No. 2 American commander said Thursday.

N.H. governor signs civil unions law - 31 May 2007 at 10:24am - CONCORD, N.H. -- Gay couples in New Hampshire will able to join in civil unions starting next year under a bill Gov. John Lynch signed into law Thursday.

Marine vet faces hearing over protest - 31 May 2007 at 11:14am - KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- An Iraq war veteran could lose his honorable discharge status after being photographed wearing fatigues at an anti-war protest.

Judge will release letters in Libby case - 31 May 2007 at 11:09am - WASHINGTON -- A federal judge said Thursday he will release more than 150 letters he received regarding next week's sentencing of former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Ex-spy Plame and publisher sue CIA over her memoir - 31 May 2007 at 2:20pm - NEW YORK (Reuters) - An ex-spy whose unmasking led to the conviction of Vice President Dick Cheney's top aide is suing the Central Intelligence Agency, accusing it of unconstitutionally interfering with publication of her memoir.

Thought for the day:
"Power consists in one's capacity to link his will with the purpose of others, to lead by reason and a gift of cooperation." -Woodrow Wilson (1856 - 1924), letter to Mary A. Hulbert, September 21, 1913

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

From One PNAC'er To Another

Bush names Zoellick as new World Bank chief - 30 May 2007 at 12:20pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush on Wednesday nominated Robert Zoellick, the former U.S. deputy secretary of state, to be the new World Bank president, describing him as a "committed internationalist."
That's one way of putting it. Zoellick is a PNAC'er who was among the signers (along with Elliott Abrams, Richard Armitage, William Bennett, Jeffrey Bergner, John Bolton, Paula Dobriansky, Francis Fukuyama, Robert Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, William Kristol, Richard Perle, Peter W. Rodman, Donald Rumsfeld, William Schneider Jr., Vin Weber, Paul Wolfowitz, and James Woolsey) of the PNAC's 1998 letter to President Clinton urging him to take military action to depose Saddam Hussein. Some company. Anyone betting that someone in this list will be nominated to serve as the next U.S. Attorney General? Appearing later in the article is this paragraph:

Unlike Wolfowitz, who drew broad criticism because of his role in the planning of the Iraq war, Zoellick's nomination was largely welcomed in the United States and abroad.
*whew* Zoellick didn't plan the disastrous war; he was merely one of its strongest proponents. So I guess that's OK, then.

Rights group sues Boeing unit over CIA transfers - 30 May 2007 at 9:57am - NEW YORK (Reuters) - The American Civil Liberties Union said on Wednesday it is suing a unit of plane maker and defense contractor Boeing Co. for providing flight services to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency as it secretly flew abducted foreigners to overseas prisons where they were held and interrogated.

U.S. ranks low, just above Iran on new peace index - 30 May 2007 at 12:48pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is among the least peaceful nations in the world, ranking 96th between Yemen and Iran, according to a new index released on Wednesday that evaluates 121 nations based on their peacefulness.

Thought for the day:
"Behind the phony tinsel of Hollywood lies the real tinsel." -Oscar Levant (1906 - 1972)

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Blank Check

Senate, House OK billions more for Iraq - 25 May 2007 at 9:25am - Bowing to President Bush, the Democratic-controlled House and Senate reluctantly approved fresh billions for the Iraq war on Thursday, minus the troop withdrawal timeline that drew his earlier veto.
Muqtada al-Sadr celebrated the bill's passage by returning to Iraq:

Al-Sadr returns to Iraq - 25 May 2007 at 9:34am - Radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr appeared in public for the first time in months on Friday, delivering a fiery anti-American sermon to thousands of followers and demanding U.S. troops leave Iraq. The U.S. military also announced the deaths of six U.S. soldiers.
While the U.S. encourages some other Iraqis to leave...

More visas for Iraqi translators - 25 May 2007 at 2:09pm - WASHINGTON -- Congress has agreed to a tenfold increase in special immigrant visas for Iraqi and Afghan translators and interpreters, whose work with U.S. military personnel and diplomatic officials makes them targets for terrorist violence.
Bush blames everything that's gone wrong on one bombing in Samarra', but he seems to have neglected to take something into account:

Report: Iraq problems were anticipated - 25 May 2007 at 12:27pm - WASHINGTON -- U.S. intelligence analysts predicted, in two papers widely circulated before the 2003 Iraq invasion, that al-Qaida would see that as an opportunity to increase its operations and that Iran would try to shape the post-Saddam era.
Has Gates not received the memo re. the primacy of the unitary executive?

Gates: Congress, press not the enemy - 25 May 2007 at 2:43pm - ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates encouraged the graduating U.S. Naval Academy class of 2007 Friday to "remember the importance of two pillars of our freedom under the Constitution: the Congress and the press."
Science wins, for once?

Government scraps species law reforms - 25 May 2007 at 3:05pm - WASHINGTON -- Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said Friday he has scrapped a proposal that critics said would seriously weaken the law protecting endangered species.

Thought for the day:
"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn." -Alvin Toffler

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Fighting Them There So That We're More Likely To Have To Fight Them Everywhere

Candidate Paul assigns reading to Giuliani - 24 May 2007 at 2:28pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Longshot Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul on Thursday gave front-runner Rudy Giuliani a list of foreign-policy books to back up his contention that attacks by Islamic militants are fueled by the U.S. presence in the Middle East.
GWB again plays the fear card...

Bush: Bin Laden isolated, not leading parades - 24 May 2007 at 2:10pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who has eluded a U.S. manhunt, is plotting against the United States but has been isolated and driven into hiding, President George W. Bush said on Thursday.
...while conditions in Iraq continue to worsen...

IRAQ: Domestic violence against children on the rise - Thursday, May 24, 2007 06:21:00 PM - BAGHDAD, 24 May 2007 (IRIN) - Mental health specialists say there has been an increase in domestic violence against children largely a result of the violence that has gripped Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003. They say the violence has affected people's behaviour.
...and we're warned that things will get even worse before they get better...

Gates: Violence in Iraq likely to go up - 24 May 2007 at 2:37pm - WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday he expects the insurgents and terrorists in Iraq to accelerate their bombings and other attacks this summer before Gen. David Petraeus reports to Washington on whether he thinks the new U.S. strategy for securing Baghdad is working.
...and the U.S. wonders whether the "better" part will ever arrive...

CBS Poll: 76% Say War's Going Badly - 24 May 2007 at 12:15pm - A CBS News/New York Times poll shows the number of Americans who say the war in Iraq is going badly has reached a new high: 76 percent. A record number also say it was a mistake for the U.S. to get involved in Iraq in the first place.

Thought for the day:
"To be feared is to fear: no one has been able to strike terror into others and at the same time enjoy peace of mind." -Seneca (5 BC - 65 AD)

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Capturing Usama vs. Endless War In Iraq: No-Brainer?

Bin Laden tried to create Iraq unit to strike in U.S.: Bush - 23 May 2007 at 1:34pm - Recently declassified U.S. intelligence reports show al-Qaeda views Iraq as a crucial battleground to plan and stage attacks against American targets, President George W. Bush said Wednesday. Bush said the intelligence — released publicly on Tuesday — indicates Osama bin Laden ordered his senior operative in Iraq in early 2005 to form a unit to hit targets outside Iraq and told him the United States should be first in his sights.
How is that search for UBL going, George -- since you bring it up? Still "job number one"? Is fighting an endless war against an ill-defined enemy in Iraq somehow better than directly going after Usama bin Laden, the supposed root of the problem?

'War on terror' dividing world, warns Amnesty - 23 May 2007 at 1:17pm - LONDON (AFP) - Fears stoked by the post-9/11 "war on terror" are increasingly dividing the world, Amnesty International said Wednesday, while rapping rights abuses from China to Darfur and Russia to the Middle East.

Thought for the day:
"The important thing is not to stop questioning." -Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

You Will Be (Comfortably) Assimilated

Poll: 26% Of Young U.S. Muslims OK Bombs - 22 May 2007 at 12:34pm - While a new poll shows that the majority of Muslims in America are comfortably assimilated and accepting of U.S. society, one in four younger U.S. Muslims say suicide bombings to defend their religion are acceptable in some circumstances.
It's also quite possible a poll would show that 25% or more of younger U.S. non-Muslims find the illegal U.S. invasion of Iraq and continuing occupation of that country acceptable, but I haven't heard it suggested that those who find it acceptable aren't "comfortably assimilated and accepting of U.S. society".

U.S. seeks support for IAEA complaint - 22 May 2007 at 1:58pm - The U.S. wants to lodge a formal complaint against the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency over his suggestion that Iran be allowed to keep some elements of its uranium enrichment program, diplomats said Tuesday. They said such a concession could undermine U.N. Security Council attempts to pressure Tehran to fully scrap enrichment.
Why not encourage peaceful, transparent use of nuclear technology? The United States current approach vis-à-vis Iran seems certain to drive them to develop any nuclear program, whether peaceful or not, in secret, to the extent possible.

Thought for the day:
"The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words." -Philip K. Dick (1928 - 1982), How To Build A Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later (1978)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Blinded By Pseudoscience?

Smithsonian toned down exhibit on Arctic - 21 May 2007 at 2:34pm - WASHINGTON -- The Smithsonian Institution toned down an exhibit on climate change in the Arctic for fear of angering Congress and the Bush administration, says a former administrator at the museum.

U.S. bids to stop G8 push for climate deal - 21 May 2007 at 2:41pm - LONDON (Reuters) - The United States is battling to stop next month's Group of Eight summit in Germany from pushing for urgent talks on a new deal to fight global warming after the Kyoto Protocol lapses in 2012.
In Iraq...

Iraq's Zebari urges Britain, U.S. to maintain troops - 21 May 2007 at 9:58am - CANBERRA (Reuters) - Iraq urged Washington and incoming British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Monday to stand firm against domestic political pressures and maintain troop numbers in Iraq despite ongoing militia and insurgent violence.
But they don't appear 100% confident:

Iraqi military drawing up contingency plans - 21 May 2007 at 2:04pm - Iraq's military is drawing up plans on how to cope if U.S.-led forces leave the country quickly, the defense minister said Monday.
Meanwhile, back at the ranchette...

U.S. Weighs Keeping Troops in Iraq for Decades - 21 May 2007 at 9:00am - The White House and Pentagon are under increasing pressure from Congress and the public to end U.S. military involvement in Iraq. But the Pentagon is considering maintaining a core group of forces in Iraq, possibly for decades.
Peanutdent vs. Pretzeldent:

Carter says comments were ?careless? - 21 May 2007 at 9:09am - Former President Jimmy Carter on Monday said his comments over the weekend about the Bush administration were "careless."
Careless, but nevertheless, dead on?

Cheney alone as foreign -policy heavy - 21 May 2007 at 7:23am - WASHINGTON -- Most of the war hawks who stood with President Bush on Iraq are gone or departing, leaving Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney increasingly without much company in trumpeting steely resolve.
Too bad to have them feeling so lonely... the sooner they join company with their ilk, the better for everyone.

Thought for the day:
"No one can earn a million dollars honestly." -William Jennings Bryan (1860 - 1925)

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Do Not Make This Man President

Gingrich: Confront "Radical Secularism" - 19 May 2007 at 3:30pm - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Liberty University's graduating class to honor the spirit of school founder Jerry Falwell by confronting "the growing culture of radical secularism" with Christian ideals. "Anybody on the left who hopes that when people like Reverend Falwell disappear that the opportunity to convert all of America has gone with them fundamentally misunderstands why institutions like this were created," Gingrich said.
The current one is bad enough...

Carter: Bush 'Worst' in World Relations - 19 May 2007 at 3:29pm - Former President Carter says President Bush's administration is "the worst in history" in international relations, taking aim at the White House's policy of pre-emptive war and its Middle East diplomacy. The criticism from Carter, which a biographer says is unprecedented for the 39th president, also took aim at Bush's environmental policies and the administration's "quite disturbing" faith-based initiative funding. "I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history," Carter told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in a story that appeared in the newspaper's Saturday editions. "The overt reversal of America's basic values as expressed by previous administrations, including those of George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon and others, has been the most disturbing to me."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What A Coincidence

Gonzales: Outgoing deputy knew best about firings - 15 May 2007 at 11:29am - Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Tuesday he relied on his resigning deputy more than any other aide to decide which U.S. attorneys should be fired last year. His comments come a less than a day after Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty announced he would resign at the end of the summer — a decision that people familiar with the plans said was hastened by the controversy over the purge of eight prosecutors. "You have to remember, at the end of the day, the recommendations reflected the views of the deputy attorney general. He signed off on the names," Gonzales told reporters at a National Press Club forum in Washington. "And he would know better than anyone else, anyone in this room, anyone — again, the deputy attorney general would know best about the qualifications and the experiences of the United States attorneys community, and he signed off on the names."
Now he remembers, McNulty was the one responsible for the list of names -- yeah, yeah, it's all coming back to him now.

Iraq a "terrorist Disneyland" if U.S. goes: expert - 15 May 2007 at 10:56am - LONDON (Reuters) - A U.S. troop pullout from Iraq would leave the country as a potent launchpad for international terrorism and Washington would be forced to go back in within a couple of years, a leading al Qaeda expert said on Tuesday.
Whereas now, Iraq is merely a terrorist "Six Flags"? Let's not rest until Iraq has been successfully transformed into a terrorist "public library" or a terrorist "concert hall".

Japan extends support for U.S. in Iraq war - 15 May 2007 at 8:55am - TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's parliament on Tuesday passed a bill extending air force support for the U.S.-led war in Iraq for another two years, despite opposition calls for the troops to be brought home.

Feds push terrorist label on arsonists - 15 May 2007 at 9:26am - EUGENE, Ore. -- Their guilt isn't in question. The six men and four women already admitted being involved in a series of arson fires that did $40 million in damage to research facilities, a ski resort and other businesses in the West. But are they terrorists as the government says?

Thought for the day:
"The men the American public admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth." -H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Vital To the Mission

Cheney defends extended deployments - 10 May 2007 at 8:24am - CAMP SPEICHER, Iraq -- Vice President Dick Cheney saluted U.S. troops stationed near former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's hometown on Thursday and defended the Bush administration's recent decision to extend military deployments as "vital to the mission."
Why doesn't the U.S. use more troops, rather than extending the deployments of fewer troops?

Blair leaves saying 'I did what I thought was right' - 10 May 2007 at 9:26am - TRIMDON, England (AFP) - Prime Minister Tony Blair announced his resignation Thursday, ending a tumultuous decade as one of Britain's most successful leaders who divided the nation over the Iraq war.

Thought for the day:
"Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Give a fish a man, and he'll eat for weeks!" -Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka and Toshihiro Kawabata, Animal Crossing: Wild World, 2005

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Despite Increased Levels Of Violence, Violence Hasn't Abated

Cheney, Iraq PM discuss violence - 9 May 2007 at 11:25am - Vice President Dick Cheney and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki acknowledged problems in the pace of reducing violence in Iraq on Wednesday, but both pledged their governments would continue working together toward a solution.
Strange that they should be discussing the pace of reducing violence in Iraq, since Cheney seems to have been quite firmly committed to increased violence for some time now.


Cheney: Iraq still dangerous - 9 May 2007 at 12:04pm - BAGHDAD -- Vice President Dick Cheney said Wednesday that Iraq remains a dangerous place...
Which you would never guess, just from seeing that one car-bombing per month in Iraq being shown over and over and over and over and over and over on television news programs.

Americans don't buy Bush reasons to stay in Iraq - 9 May 2007 at 9:06am - Most Americans don't believe that the continued presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is the key to preventing a full-scale civil war

U.S. air strikes kill 21 civilians in Afghanistan: official - 9 May 2007 at 8:59am - At least 21 civilians were killed in southern Afghanistan this week after the U.S. military launched air strikes to help U.S. coalition soldiers battling Taliban fighters, a provincial governor said Wednesday.

Thought for the day:
"There are two times in a man's life when he should not speculate: when he can't afford it, and when he can." -Mark Twain

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007


White House: World Bank can be effective with Wolfowitz - Tue May 8, 2007 1:08PM EDT - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Tuesday the World Bank could continue to be effective with embattled World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz in charge.
Well, yeah, and the White House has been effective in implementing Wolfowitz's plans for Iraq -- but is it the kind of effectiveness anyone (besides the White House) is interested in?

Better veterans stress testing urged - 8 May 2007 at 11:54am - WASHINGTON -- The surge in the number of veterans suffering post-traumatic stress disorder requires development of better tests to evaluate affected personnel and determine how best to compensate them, a panel of medical experts said Tuesday.

GOP senator: Patience on Iraq is limited - 8 May 2007 at 11:10am - WASHINGTON -- Senate Republican Whip Trent Lott says President Bush's new strategy in Iraq has until about fall before GOP members will need to see results.
At face value, interesting rhetoric, coming from a diehard right-winger. But has anyone any doubt that Republicans will "see results", no matter what happens in Iraq between now and fall?

Thought for the day:
"Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance." -Laurie Halse Anderson

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Heckuva Job, May-08 Edition

Infant mortality in Iraq soars as young pay the price for war - Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - Two wars and a decade of sanctions have led to a huge rise in the mortality rate among young children in Iraq, leaving statistics that were once the envy of the Arab world now comparable with those of sub-Saharan Africa.

Iraq's Christian Minority Flees Violence - 7 May 2007 at 9:00am - Christians felt relatively safe living as a minority in Iraq, tolerated by their Muslim neighbors while achieving a measure of success. But since Saddam fell, anti-Christian attacks have increased, forcing many to abandon their homes and flee.

White House: U.S. should brace for more casualties - 7 May 2007 at 11:13am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - After another bloody weekend for U.S. troops in Iraq, the White House said on Monday Americans should brace for more U.S. casualties in the push for greater security in Baghdad.
Can any "push" lead to "greater security"? So far, every push seems to have resulted only in increased deaths.

Early departures from Bush security team - 7 May 2007 at 2:20pm - WASHINGTON -- Top members of President Bush's national security team are leaving in one of the earliest waves of departures from a second-term administration - nearly two years before Bush's time ends.

Thought for the day:
"No matter how far you have gone on the wrong road, turn back." -Turkish proverb

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Surge: Good; Religious Freedom: Bad

Religious freedom in Iraq questioned - 2 May 2007 at 11:29am - WASHINGTON -- Soaring sectarian violence and government abuses have caused an alarming deterioration in religious freedom in Iraq, prompting a U.S. advisory panel for the first time to place it on a watch list of countries where worship is under severe threat.
Heckuva job, Bushie.

Brit War Chief: We Underestimated Cheney - 2 May 2007 at 8:30am - Former British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon says the U.K. failed to comprehend Dick Cheney's strong influence on President Bush as the coalition planned and executed the war in Iraq " a plan he admits failed to foresee a violent, vengeful aftermath.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Tap, Tap, Tap...

Record number of secret warrants in 2006 - 1 May 2007 at 2:10pm - WASHINGTON -- A secret court approved all but one of the government's requests last year to search or eavesdrop on suspected terrorists and spies, according to Justice Department data released Tuesday.

But in its three-page public report, sent to Senate and House leaders, the Justice Department said it could not yet provide data on how many times the FBI secretly sought telephone, Internet and banking records about U.S. citizens and residents without court approval. The department is still compiling those numbers amid an internal investigation of the FBI's improper - and in some cases illegal - use of so-called national security letters. The letters are administrative subpoenas that do not require a judge's approval.

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Sound Familiar?

Israelis clamour for Olmert to quit after war report - 1 May 2007 at 9:34am - JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israelis clamoured for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to resign as his ruling coalition began to fray on Tuesday after a government probe blasted his leadership for serious failure in the Lebanon war. ... Monday's partial report accused Olmert of "serious failure in exercising judgement, responsibility and prudence," of acting "hastily" and personally contributing to "over-ambitious" and unfeasible war aims.

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