Friday, July 29, 2005

What is fueling the growth of terrorist?

George Bush's Policies, that what.

I do wonder why it is the UK media who reports this.

Only 4 Days to go, Follow Paul Hacketts Run

2 good sites for regular updates.

Ohio 2nd, a progressive Blog


The Swing State Project

With under 90 hours left, he can use any help he can get. If you can, pitch in and help.

Friday's places to visit.

Click over and read up, it will be worth your time.

Over on American Street they have some inside information on Jean Schmidt, who is busy smearing her foe in the race for Ohio's district two congressional seat. Also drop by and learn more about Paul Hacket who is doing an amazing job in one of the most republican districts in the Nation.

Deacon Tim over at Sacraments Wholesale looks at Sam Harris and his book 'The End of Faith'.

From the Faithful Progressive a look at Bolton and how Fox handled that latest revelation of his lie.

The Green Knight considers when Roe goes

I -didn't leave the Republican Party, it left me declairs Badtux the Snarky Penguin.

And for those interesting in the ongoing issues of the Episcopal Church, visit Fr. Jake and his look at CAPAC; Justifying Criminal Actions.

The Republican Culture of Corruption

and other evidence of slime, Friday's roundup.

The Toledo Blade is showing the rest of the world what investigative journalism is all about. They have led the way on 'coingate' and now have added this.

COLUMBUS : Tom Noe used state money to try to pump up an online gambling company in which he and other prominent Republicans were investors, records show.

Mr. Noe invested at least $100,000 of the state's rare-coin money into financially troubled Games Inc., which has plummeted in value in the last year as its CEO Roger Ach II, a politically connected Cincinnati businessman, sought public contracts.

The people at Fox News (a division of the Republican National Committee) display just how much they are willing to twist the truth to hide the errors of the right.

Yesterday morning on "Fox News Live" ( I filled that in ) was basically saying that the Brazilian that the london police shot and killed was actually all part of Al Quaeda's plan to dress up Brazilian's and other tan-skinned people and have them run from the police and get shot just to make us look bad. Amazing that Fox always manages to justify anything the U.S. or British do, even when there are MISTAKES made!!

Crooks and Liars has the video of this sick justification.

The Free Press is looking at how the actions of the Ohio Republican Party in coingate may be tied to the 2004 Presidential election in Ohio.

As if there was ever any real doubt, John Bolton did lie to congress durring his hearings. Of course this now assures his appointment to the UN, since the surest way to gain a raise or promotion in the Bush White House is to be inept or to lie cheat and steal.

And Speaking of Raises, Karl 'the Traitor' Rove just recievied a pay raise.

US Christianity, Miles Wide but Only an Inch Deep

From Harpers, an excerpt of the story "The Christian Paradox" is worth a read.

So how 'Christian' are we?

Ours is among the most spiritually homogenous rich nations on earth. Depending on which poll you look at and how the question is asked, somewhere around 85 percent of us call ourselves Christian. Israel, by way of comparison, is 77 percent Jewish.

But when asked about some of the details of the faith, a new reality develops.

Only 40 percent of Americans can name more than four of the Ten Commandments, and a scant half can cite any of the four authors of the Gospels. Twelve percent believe Joan of Arc was NoahÂ’s wife. This failure to recall the specifics of our Christian heritage may be further evidence of our nation's educational decline, but it probably doesn't matter all that much in spiritual or political terms.

Pandagon has also noticed this

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Right Back at ya George

It appears that Bush enjoys the single finger salute, over at Outside the Tent you can catch his act last night. But this wasn't his first public display. He was fond of this act back in his Texas days.

Bringing honor (or Bird Flipping) back to the White House.

IRA to Lay Down Their Arms

Decades of terror may be coming to an end with this announcement.

The IRA has formally ordered an end to its armed campaign and says it will pursue exclusively peaceful means. In a long-awaited statement, the republican organisation said it would follow a democratic path ending more than 30 years of violence.

I pray that we don't have to spend he next 3+ decades fighting the 'war or terror' or as ti si renamed 'the global struggle against extremism', but I fear if we continue down the inept path Bush has outlined, we have far more that 30 years ahead of us.

DeLay Steals 1.5 Billion for US Taxpayers?

If what Henry Waxman says is true, that is exactly what he has done.

At its essence, this provision is a $1.5 billion giveaway to the oil industry, Halliburton, and Sugar Land, Texas. The provision was inserted into the energy legislation after the conference was closed, so members of the conference committee had no opportunity to consider or reject this measure. Before the final energy legislation is brought to the House floor, this provision should be deleted.

You have to wonder if another $25,000.00 round of golf is behind this latest theft.

Don't forget, your chance to buy a piece of the American Dream is soon coming to South Carolina. Our own Joe Wilson, who it appears deeply respects crooks, will be hosting a Hilton Head golf outing with Tom. Get your 'contributions' in early and you too might get a billion dollar gift.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Precursor to the end of Legal Contraception?

or is it just Rick Santorum again putting his boundless stupidity on display.

It appears that he is now proposing that Griswold v. Connecticut (the 1967 court ruling that made contraception legal) was bad law, and states should have the right to regulate the use of contraception.

What is interesting is that political movements often float wild trial balloons or extreme positions using those who's statements are often seen as absurd. So that leaves the question, is this just Rick being Rick, or after they kill Roe v. Wade, will Griswold be the next ruling under attack?

Army Recruiting, it is Looking Worse and Worse.

Delayed entry is a popular tool for both the Army, and those who are joining up. The new recruit knows when he or she is going in, and the army is assured of a new warm body coming in.

At the start of the 2004 recruiting cycle the Army had over 33,000 people on the delayed entry list.

At the start of the 2005 recruiting cycle the Army had over 14,500 people of the delayed entry list (a decline of over 50%)

At the start of the 2006 recruiting cycle, the Army hopes to have 7,200 people on the delayed entry list (another drop of over 50%), and remember this is what the army hopes to have.

The army also hoped to have 80,000 new troops added to the force in 2005, and it looks like they will miss that target by about 12,000 bodies.

Thanks George for destroying our Army.

Bush lied us into the Iraq Invasion

and the American People are starting to figure it out. The latest CNN/USAToday/Gallup poll has some interesting numbers.

51% of those polled now agree that the Bush administration deliberately misled the public about whether Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

58% of those polled say the United States will not establish a stable and democratic government there.

and over half of those polled now don't think we can't win.

Of course proving that consistent thinking isn't a hallmark of the American Way of life; 53% of those polled still don't think that our attack of Iraq was not a mistake.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Lie from the Army. Lies from the Administration

Just another day in Iraq.

The Army has been forced to admit that quotes it reported from Iraqi witnesses to insurgent attacks were included in error in at least one report as a result of administrative error. When media reports no longer contain truth, they are simply propangdia, I think we are getting close at this point.

and from Think Progress a look at what the administration claims about the Iraqi forces, what the inspectors have found.

Monday, July 25, 2005

George Bush has Given a Huge Gift to Bin Laden

and Al Qaida.

First he does a half-assed job in Afghanistan. When indications are that we soon will win, he starts removing forces and assets. This act gives the terrorist and their government protectors time and space to get away, and then he attacks another country.

Danica Kirka
at the Chicago Sun Times has a lot to say about this.

LONDON -- Car bombs at an Egyptian luxury hotel. Explosions in London subways. Suicide blasts in Baghdad.

With the frequency of terror attacks apparently mounting, experts searching for common threads behind the attacks suggest that the war on terror is being waged against an ever-increasing well of recruits, bound together by motives and cause -- rather than a single al-Qaida mastermind.

With havens in Afghanistan under pressure and their finances under scrutiny, militants may take philosophical guidance from the likes of Osama bin Laden but are largely relying on their own resources in carrying out operations, experts said Saturday.

''They all want to be part of this phenomenon,'' said Loretta Napoleoni, author of Terror Incorporated: Tracing the Dollars Behind the Terror Networks, as she explained the terror wave. ''It's not like someone is telling [the militants], 'You bomb on the first of July.'"

John Roberts, finding little that adds comfort

Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. has repeatedly said that he has no memory of belonging to the Federalist Society, but his name appears in the influential, conservative legal organization's 1997-1998 leadership directory.

You can not trust a man who uses the 'No Memory' excuse to try to hide his membership is what is for all effect a secrete society.

The organization keeps its membership rolls secret, but many key policymakers in the Bush administration are acknowledged current or former members.

It was only 7 years ago, and this is not a group of light weights. This is a power group, expressing a distinct political ideal and goal. How can a person not know if he was associating with a secrete society, when that society include him in it's leadership list? His current position is laughable, he has to tell the truth, not try to tap dance around it. His efforts to maintain plausible deniability is disgusting.

This just adds more darkness into a process that should cast light. The Bush Administration is already trying to hide some of the work he did while employed by our government, now he is trying to hide his past associations.

A person trying to secure a life time position on the highest court of the land should not start out in the quest by trying to cover up his past.

How ineffective can military justice be?

Just ask Cyrus Kar who spent 55 days as a guest of the US military in Iraq.

Amazing what you miss in 48 hours

When spending 2 days away from all media a lot of new events can occur.

This weekend, while I was avoiding the news:

Terrorist in Egypt kill almost 100 people.
insurgents in Iraq a blowing up bombs, killing scores.
Mysterious illness in China killing farmers.
Lance Armstrong wins the Tour de France.

Lots of occurrences, but nothing new.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Gone Fishin'

Not really, but I will be doing a little of this;

And then a little of this;

But at no time will I be anywhere near this;

Sadly, we will also be without this;

I will be home Sunday night, until then check out some of the links on the right.

Joe Wilson Sliming up with Tom DeLay

My Congressman has again decided to publicly display his love of corruption and power. He is hosting a Golf outing at Hilton Head with Tom DeLay as a special guest.

For only $2,000.00 you can join them, but heck that is a lot less than Westar Energy paid for their turn.

Tim and Laurin have also noticed this wonderful opportunity.

Larry Johnson Testimony on Valerie Plame

that he will be giving to a Joint meeting of Congressional Democrats is now available at the Talking Points Memo Cafe.

I submit this statement to the Congress in an effort to correct a malicious and disingenuous smear campaign that has been executed against a friend and former colleague, Valerie (Plame) Wilson. Neither Valerie, nor her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson has asked me to do anything on their behalf. I am speaking up because I was raised to stop bullies. In the case of Valerie Plame she is facing a gang of bullies that is being directed by the Republican National Committee.

A great read.

Dads, Little League and Parental Pride

Or, why did they re-make the Bad News Bears. Go read TBoggs report

Part Two from the Creation Mega Conference

is up at Panda's Thumb

Happy Brithday Downing Street Memo

On the 23rd of July 2002, a meeting was held in London. This was a high level gathering, involving the top tier of the British Government. It was about the War in Iraq.

about 33 months later, the minutes of this meeting became public. The Downing Street Memo was born. This memo, and the other memos that have come out lately, make it clear that the US and the UK were involved in an coordinated effort to start a war.

The Downing street memo shows us that, in the US, the intelligence was being cooked to justify an attack. Later Memos make it clear that the war was view as illegal; That one goal was to try to trick Saddam into attacking us to start the war, and that while the US was still claiming ties to Bin Laden, none existed.

Our leaders lied to the people of this nation in an effort to justify an illegal war. This fact, this series of memos, have to be investigated, and those responsible for any illegal actions must be held accountable.

Don't let Roberts distract from Rove (and Scooter), Don't let Rove distract from Downing Street. Don't let the alarming culture of corruption this is the Republican party and the Bush Administration overwhelm us. Each act must be investigated and exposed, and we dare not forget one, in the chase of another.

Karl Rove, Scooter Libby and Perjury

Well, it now seems that Karl and Scooter tales they told don't match up with what other witnesses have said.

Lewis ``Scooter'' Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, told special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that he first learned from NBC News reporter Tim Russert of the identity of Central Intelligence Agency operative Valerie Plame, the wife of former ambassador and Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson, one person said. Russert has testified before a federal grand jury that he didn't tell Libby of Plame's identity, the person said.

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove told Fitzgerald that he first learned the identity of the CIA agent from syndicated columnist Robert Novak, according a person familiar with the matter. Novak, who was first to report Plame's name and connection to Wilson, has given a somewhat different version to the special prosecutor, the person said.

I remember, only 6 maybe 7 years ago, that the whole of the right considered lying to be an offense worthy of burning at the stake.

I wonder if they still consider this to be the case.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Creation Mega Conference, a View Inside

Panda's Thumb went down to Liberty University to view the creationism in action.

With the Intelligent Design (ID) proponents sucking up all the anti-evolution oxygen these days, it is easy to forget that the young-Earthers are still around. No doubt motivated partly by a desire to remind everyone they're still here, they have organized the Creation Mega Conference this week at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Diversions and the Flood of Scandel in Bush's 2nd Term

JJ at the Big Brass Blog reminds us the flowing river of disclusures that we have seen this year.


Whatever happened with Jeff Gannon/Guckert? Who lobbed softball questions and gained unprecedented access to the White House via his press pass even when there were no press conferences scheduled. The stories he reported apparently had links to Rove and the Valerie Plame exposure as well as assiting in the defeat of Democratic Senator Tom Daschle. Everyone thought that was the story that was the "smoking gun" to start bringing this administration down. What happened with that story?

Ohhhh what a great joke

at Progressive Christian

World Terrorism Trends

Bin Laden should send Bush a thank you card, this BTC graph of terrorism incidents by year is stunning.

No war on terror is far better than a bad war on terror, and that is what our President has created. As long as out leadership continues down the path of responding to their fear, we are destined to fail

The Muppet Comes up Again

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

A venerated sage with vast power and knowledge, you gently guide forces around you while serving as a champion of the light.

Judge me by my size, do you? And well you should not - for my ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is. Life greets it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us, and binds us. Luminescent beings are we, not this crude matter! You must feel the Force around you, everywhere.

Yoda is a is a character in the Star Wars universe. More Yoda information is available at the Star Wars Databank.

I guess you must accept it.

Hat Tip to The Green Knight

11 Former CIA officer write Congress

and remind them of the damage that Karl Rove's Treasonous actions can do.

A copy of it is viewable at Talking Point Memo, a pfd file.

2 South Carolina Bloggers added to the list

Lynne at Big Fat Liberal


Deacon Tim at Sacraments Wholesale

Drop by and say hello

People for the American Way

Has a report up on John Roberts, Bush's distraction (nomination, whatever works )for the Supreme Court.

There is also a report at the Swing State Project.

Interesting Perceptions on Reality

Every day we hear so many on the Right denounce the US media for slanted reporting of the situation on Iraq. The scream and cry that the 'good news' isn't reported, and the US media is presenting a distorted and negative view.

I have to ask, have they even bothered to read the International media?

The work of the British, Australian, and New Zealand press (etc) make it appear that the US media, who the right are denouncing, are closer to cheerleaders for the war effort than impartial media.

In you want to get real reporting you almost have to look to the overseas media to get a story that has any depth, perspective, and impact. Unfortunately the story presented in the UK, and Australia, and Italy, and Germany and France and the Middle East countries is also depressing. It presents a much less positive view of the situation than the US media ever appears to consider.


The US media is presenting and distorted and negative view of the war, just ask those on the right.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

It's Getting Better all the Time

"On average we have 28 bodies turning up every day - 90% of them victims of violence," he says.

"And we don't even see the people killed by explosions because they don't require autopsies."

Last month, his teams had to deal with over 860 bodies, some of them bound and shot in the head.

A significant number, he believes, have been murdered for sectarian motives.

And several had been wearing handcuffs.

Baker thinks they may have been killed by the Iraqi police.

Just another day in Baghdad.

It is even worse for the women of Iraq, who are now the target of Islamist who demand an acceptance of conservative standards.

Just as Iraqi women were anticipating a new era of democracy and freedom, a wave of intimidation by extremist groups has arisen to crush their hopes. Violent oppression of women is spreading across Iraq, a weapon of mass mental and physical destruction. And yet there is silence from world leaders, religious leaders, politicians and the media.

Insurgents and religious extremists use rape, acid and assassination to force Iraqi women to wear the veil – the symbol of submission, first signal of further repression to come. Many Iraqi women have never worn the scarf. Now, dead bodies of girls and women are found in rivers and on waste ground with a veil tied around the head, as a message.

As well as unveiled women, key targets are those who wear make-up, who are well educated and in the professions, and who work with organisations connected with the coalition forces.

Political Islamists target universities in particular. A male university professor told me about a bright, highly intelligent young student from Babylon University, Hilla, south of Baghdad. She had never worn the scarf. Despite death threats to compel her to wear it, she refused to do so and continued to attend university. She was raped and murdered. The professor spoke of the mess made of her body. He has since told his daughter she must either wear a scarf or leave university. He doesn’t want her to wear the scarf nor does he want her to leave university, but he is terrified for her life.

Bush Plan to Withdraw Troops from Iraq

May take a while.

If the prerequisites for US military withdrawal from Iraq are the building of an effective fighting force and the Iraqis being capable of defending themselves, American troops may be here for a long, long time. What I saw of the Iraqi forces on the ground was sobering.

A long read, but worth every second.

Will Bush Protect Rove at Any Cost?

Is sure looks that way.

You have to love this stuff.

President Bush said yesterday that he will fire anyone in the administration found to have committed a crime in the leaking of a CIA operative's name, creating a higher threshold than he did one year ago for holding aides accountable in the unmasking of Valerie Plame.

After originally saying anyone involved in leaking the name of the covert CIA operative would be fired, Bush told reporters: "If somebody committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration."

This is a small, but potentially very significant, distinction, because details that have emerged from the leak investigation over the past week show that Karl Rove, Bush's top political aide, and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, discussed Plame with reporters before her name was revealed to the public.

And, if they are convicted, then Bush can just change the standard again. Something along the lines of "If somebody committed Murder, they will no longer work in my administration.". He can just keep shifting the standard any time it appears he should take action.

Monday, July 18, 2005

ECUSA, the Global South and change

Why bother to try to write something up when the Green Knight does it so well.

thoughtful and well-meaning people have said that the Northern churches need to slow down and wait for the Southern churches to "catch up." The argument is that the North is imposing things on the South for which the South is simply not ready.

Here's why that argument is wrong.

First, the argument is based on a false idea of what the Anglican Communion is. It is not actually a worldwide church in the same way that the Roman Catholic Church is; it is instead a fairly loose affiliation of national churches that have traditions and historical roots in common.

On the contrary, the Southern churches have reacted in an unprecedented way, by interfering with the Northern churches. They have, for example, ordained anti-bishops and sent them into the Northern churches in order to undermine the authority of legitimate Northern bishops.

Second, the idea that the South has to be permitted to "catch up" is based on a false idea of historical progress. It is based on the false assumption, as the philosopher John Gray puts it, that modernity is always and everywhere the same:

So if they have to go their own way, then fine. We can't stop them and shouldn't try, especially not at the expense of justice. We've got to listen to what we think the Spirit is telling us, not what a group of people is telling us. They have to do the same thing. There's really nothing else we can do and remain truthful to what we believe to be right.

Anyhow, if there is a formal schism it's not the end of the world. Christendom has never really been united despite what some people claim; sectarian breakups have happened before and will happen again. It's inevitable in a world of differences and change. That's not a disaster. It's just a little thing called life.

Al-Sadr Call for Restraint is not a Good Sign

The radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr , who's private army was involved in two uprisings against the American occupation of Iraq, is urging Iraqis to show self-restraint.

He is a man who has used violence, still thinks violence is a legitimate choice, and had a great desire to establish an Islamic state.


At this time the direction of the country and the current situation is such that he is encouraging self-restraint. I suspect that the Iraq he envisions, is not one that most of us would be happy to see, and he knows that the Iraq of his dream is where they are headed.

Nice work George.

Support Paul Hackett in his race for Congress

He is running in Ohio 2nd district. This spot opened when Rob Portman (R) resigned to take another government job. Paul is a marine officer, served in Iraq, with some hard work he could take this hard core republican seat.

The Democrats have a chance to take back a seat in the house. Want to help?

Go to his web site and see how you can pitch in and help to turn the tide.

So, how many times has Karl Rove's story changed

in the last week. I have lost track, but Think Progress is trying to keep track.

At last we are getting information from someone other the Rove, and his lawyer. Matthew Cooper speaks out.

Taxpayer money well spent

The FBI admits it has been monitoring the ACLU, Greenpeace and god only knows who else.

You have to wonder if they have also been 'monitoring' the US Chamber of Commerce or Americans for Job Security?

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Miles to go till I sleep?

Your Travel Profile:

You Are Very Well Traveled in the Midwestern United States (75%)

You Are Very Well Traveled in the Southern United States (69%)

You Are Well Traveled in the Northeastern United States (57%)

You Are Well Traveled in the Western United States (42%)

You Are Somewhat Well Traveled in Western Europe (36%)

You Are Somewhat Well Traveled in the United Kingdom (25%)

You Are Mostly Untraveled in Canada (20%)

You Are Mostly Untraveled in Eastern Europe (20%)

You Are Mostly Untraveled in Latin America (20%)

You Are Untraveled in Africa (0%)

You Are Untraveled in Asia (0%)

You Are Untraveled in Australia (0%)

You Are Untraveled in New Zealand (0%)

You Are Untraveled in Scandinavia (0%)

You Are Untraveled in Southern Europe (0%)

You Are Untraveled in the Middle East (0%)

Saturday, July 16, 2005

More Truth from Iraq

Bush has repeated his promise that we will leave as soon as Iraqis can defend themselves. On the cover this appears a reasonable and rational position to take. We have been in control of Iraq for over 2 years now. We have spent billions of dollars in developing the defense forces that Iraq will need to defend themselves. One could convince themselves that it is months, not years till we can depart.

Then we hear the truth, and not 'the truth' that the 'truth tour' is trying to promote, but real truth.

We have been working for over 24 months to develop a standing army, and viable police forces in Iraq. At this time we hear the Bush administration make claims of hundreds of thousands of troops now serving.

The cold water of reality then comes crashing down.

A tidal wave of corruption may ensure the Iraqi army and police will be too few and too poorly armed to replace American and British forces fighting anti-government insurgents. That could frustrate plans in Washington and London to reduce their forces in Iraq.

The Iraqi armed forces are full of "ghost battalions" in which officers pocket the pay of soldiers who never existed or have gone home. "I know of at least one unit which was meant to be 2,200 but the real figure was only 300 men," said a veteran Iraqi politician and member of parliament, Mahmoud Othman. "The US talks about 150,000 Iraqis in the security forces but I doubt if there are more than 40,000."

And it isn't just manpower.

The army and police are poorly armed despite heavy expenditure. "The interim government spent $5.2bn (£2.6bn) on the ministry of defence and ministry of the interior during six months but there is little to show for it," said a senior Iraqi official who did not want his name published.

He cited the case of more than $300m spent on buying 24 military helicopters and other equipment from Poland. When Iraqi experts examined the helicopters they found them to be 28 years old - and their manufacturer recommended that they be scrapped after 25 years. Iraq is now trying to get its money back.

The corruption started under the US-run Coalition Provisional Authority in 2003 when Iraqis, often with little experience, were appointed to senior positions in ministries. The Iraqis did not act alone. "The Americans were the partners of the Iraqis in all this corruption," says Dr Othman. The results of the failure to buy effective arms are visible at every Iraqi police or army checkpoint. The weapons on display are often ageing Kalashnikovs. The supposedly elite police commandos drive about in elderly pick-ups with no armour. The ministry of the interior was recently unable to provide a presidential guard with 50 pistols.

Yet, we were spending money so wildly that we still can not account for nine billion dollars.

What is real funny is to comparer this story as is was presented in the UK against the same basic story in the local rag. While the UK edition covers both the manpower and the equipment issue, the US story make no mention of the Iraqi manpower corruption (the bigger issue), and focuses on corruption alone.

99 Degrees in the Canadian arctic

Who would have thought the arctic circle would be a great place to sell window units.

Kuujjuaraapik suffers under 37°C heat

If you wanted to find someone in Kuujjuaraapik earlier this week, the best place to look was along the shores of the Great Whale River.

As two sea-doos bounced around in the cool water, the river was an ideal place for residents of this Nunavik community to escape from the oppressive heat.

"Half the community is there, I've never seen so many people in the water before," said one woman who confessed to going to work wearing a wet swimsuit under her clothes to keep cool.

Temperatures in this Eastern Hudson Bay community hit 36.6 C on Monday, making Kuujjuaraapik the hottest place in Quebec and breaking the previous record of 29.4 C, set in 1969.

But Tuesday was even hotter. The day's high climbed to 37 C, breaking the previous record high of 28.3 C set in 1998.

They are breaking the old records by more than 16 degrees (Fahrenheit).

Falluja, again

But Falluja is approaching a turning point, American officials acknowledge, precariously balanced between rebuilding or degenerating into the urban battlefield it once was.

Despite being attacked twice, overrun and destroyed once, and locked down by US and Iraqi troops since it's destruction, insurgents are moving back in to town.

Bush seems determined to prove that resistance this strong can't be beaten by force.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Bush war on Science continues

From the Union of Concerned Scientists who surveyed over 400 National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration fisheries biologists, ecologists, botanists and other science to get this data.

More than one third of respondents positioned to make such recommendations (37 percent) have “been directed, for non-scientific reasons, to refrain from making findings that are protective” of marine life and nearly one in four (24 percent) of those conducting such work reported being “directed to inappropriately exclude or alter technical information from a NOAA Fisheries scientific document;”

More than half of all respondents (53 percent) knew of cases where “commercial interests have inappropriately induced the reversal or withdrawal of scientific conclusions or decisions through political intervention;” and

More than half of the scientists (58 percent) knew of cases “where high-level U.S. Department of Commerce administrators and appointees have inappropriately altered NOAA Fisheries determinations.” A substantial minority (42 percent) also cited incidents where members of Congress “inappropriately influenced NOAA Fisheries determinations.”

and much more.

Science will not stand in the way of commerce or religion.

More truth, without the Iraq Truth Tour's help

A interesting story about a trip to visit Camp Lima Base in Karbala.

It tells of how a drive of 60 miles can take over four hours. We learn how hard the US forces are working, but how their best efforts don't meet Iraqi over-hopeful expectations. It is amazing to see some of the US forces still justifying the war on WMD claims, and then assert that we are still looking for them.

The causal attitude the military has about recovering sent munitions is displayed in the tragic death of Ali Hamza. But most confusing about the whole bit is in the last paragraph.

On the way out of Camp Lima Base were two latrines, one marked "Iraqis Only" and the other "No Iraqis -- Americans Only". Asked for an explanation, Major Booth replied that this was due to 'cultural differences'.

How many of our other difficulties, including the very start of the war, can be based in 'cultural differences', and the Bush Administration's failure to understand them.

Friday's places to visit.

Click over and check them out.

The Green Knight has noticed what may be one of the biggest failures in the Bush 'War on Terror'

Skippy has noted that JAG did not approve of the Bush administrations plans to ease torture rules. The suburban guerilla points out that Gen. Miller may have Lies to Congress about this. Andrew Sullivan recaps some of this mess.

It is funny how when the truth is presented, claims of Christian persecution tend to fall apart, as noted Outside the Tent.

Think Progress has a quick guide to the lies the republicans are using to shield Karl Rove. The Sloppy reporting on the Rove case if the focus of AMERICABlog. Of course, Tom Burka has his own take on the White House response.

And Roger Alies notices that Duke Cunningham is going to take the money and not run. It appears that after getting millions in creative gifts from his supporters, he at last has enough to retire.

The Iraq Torture was approved in DC and began in Guantanamo

Absolute sickening.

The interrogations went on for up to 20 hours a day, day after day. The prisoner was told his mother and sisters were whores. He was forced to wear a bra and put a thong on his head. At one point, an interrogator tied a leash to him and forced him to conduct a series of dog tricks.

It all took place at the U.S. detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in an effort to get suspected al-Qaeda member Mohamed al-Kahtani to co-operate with his interrogators.

But here is the kicker (emphasis added)

According to General Bantz Craddock, head of the U.S. Southern Command which oversees Guantanamo, when Mr. al-Kahtani resisted "standard" questioning methods for several months, approval was obtained from higher authorities to use "more aggressive interrogation techniques."

Please note this, the officer in chagre at Guantanamo, Major General Geoffrey Miller, was later placed in charge of Abu Ghraib.

It is interesting how the abuse at Abu Ghraib appeared to start only after Gen. Miller's arrival in Iraq. How, even US army reports find violation of US Army policy and the Geneva Accords, but the Army and the administration still insist that this was all the action of a few low ranking bad apples.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

A Good idea about right now.

You Are an Irish Coffee

At your best, you are: wild, spontaneous, and outgoing

At your worst, you are: too extreme and reckless

You drink coffee when: you want to keep drinking booze

Your caffeine addiction level: low

What is the truth about the situation in Iraq?

Some on the left think that the media are not focused enough on the cruelty of war. Some on the right know that the media wants to show the US in the worse light. One group of right wing activist are on a so called 'truth tour' to bring, what they consider, the real picture home.

A Knight Ridder editorialist in Minnesota, Mark Yost, attacked the 'negative reporting' coming out of Iraq as intentionally false and negative. A couple of Knight Ridder reporters, stationed in Baghdad, replied to Mark, the self professed Iraq expert, living comfortably in Minnesota.

From Clark Hoyt:

It's astonishing that Mark Yost, from the distance and safety of St. Paul, Minnesota, presumes to know what's going on in Iraq. He knows the reporting of hundreds of brave journalists, presumably including his own Knight Ridder colleagues Hannah Allam and Tom Lassetter, is bad because his Marine colonel buddy tells him so.

Yost asks why you don't read about progress being made in the power grid, which the colonel oversaw. Maybe it's because there is no progress. Iraqis currently have electricity for an average of nine hours a day. A year ago, they averaged 10 hours of electricity. Iraq's oil production is still below pre-war levels. The unemployment rate is between 30 and 40 percent. New cases of hepatitis have doubled over the rate of 2002, largely because of problems with getting clean drinking water and disposing of sewage.

The "unfiltered news" Yost gets from his military friends is in fact filtered by their isolation in the Green Zone and on American military bases from the Iraqi population, an isolation made necessary by the ferocity of the insurgency. To say that isn't to argue that their perspective is invalid. It's just limited and incomplete.


From Hannah Allam:

It saddens me to read Mark Yost's editorial in the Pioneer Press, the Knight Ridder paper that hired me as a rookie reporter and taught me valuable lessons in life and journalism during the four years I spent there before heading to Iraq.

I invite Mr. Yost to spend a week in our Baghdad bureau, where he can see our Iraqi staff members' toothbrushes lined up in the bathroom because they have no running water at home. I frequently find them camping out in the office overnight because electricity is still only sporadic in their sweltering neighborhoods, despite what I'm sure are the best-intentioned efforts of people like his Marine buddy working on the electrical grid.

Mr. Yost could have come with me today as I visited one of my own military buddies, who like most officers doesn't leave the protected Green Zone compound except by helicopter or massive convoy. The Army official picked me up in his air-conditioned Explorer, took me to Burger King for lunch and showed me photos of the family he misses so terribly. The official is a great guy, and like so many other soldiers, it's not politics that blind him from seeing the real Iraq. The compound's maze of tall blast wall and miles of concertina wire obscure the view, too.

Mr. Yost can listen to our bureau's morning planning meetings, where we orchestrate a trip to buy bottled water (the tap water is contaminated, when it works) as if we're plotting a military operation. I wonder whether he prefers riding in the first car -- the most exposed to shrapnel and bullets -- or the chase car, which is designed to act as a buffer between us and potential kidnappers.

Perhaps Mr. Yost would be moved by our office's tribute wall to Yasser Salihee, our brave and wonderful colleague, who at age 30 joined the ranks of Iraqi civilians shot to death by American soldiers. Mr. Yost would have appreciated one of Yasser's last stories -- a rare good-news piece about humanitarian aid reaching the holy city of Najaf.

Mr. Yost's contention that 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces are stable is pure fantasy. On his visit to Baghdhad, he can check that by chatting with our resident British security consultant, who every day receives a province-by-province breakdown of the roadside bombs, ambushes, assassinations and other violence throughout the country.

If Baghdad is too far for Mr. Yost to travel (and I don't blame him, given the treacherous airport road to reach our fortress-like hotel), why not just head to Oklahoma? There, he can meet my former Iraqi translator, Ban Adil, and her young son. They're rebuilding their lives under political asylum after insurgents in Baghdad followed Ban's family home one night and gunned down her 4-year-old daughter, her husband and her elderly mother in law.

Freshly painted schools and a new desalination plant might add up to "mission accomplished" for some people. Too bad Ban's daughter never got to enjoy those fruits of her liberation.

From Editor and Publisher.

Bush's poll numbers still look bad.

The approval numbers are in the same old area, piss poor, but the honesty numbers have tanked. A reminder, this was taken before Karl Rove story broke. It will be entertaining to see what impact that has on both of these.

WASHINGTON - The last two weeks certainly have been eventful ones in America and across the globe: President Bush gave a prime-time speech on Iraq and attended a G-8 summit in Scotland; Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement from the Supreme Court (with perhaps another retirement on the way); and suicide bombers killed approximately 50 people in London. After these events, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that Bush's overall job rating has slipped and that his rating for being "honest and straightforward" has dropped to its lowest point.

Regarding Bush's upcoming pick to replace O'Connor on the court, moreover, the poll shows that strong majorities believe Bush would be taking a step in the right direction if he appointed a woman and someone who supports references to God in public life. But a majority also thinks that Bush would take a wrong step if he chose someone who would vote to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

The survey, which was conducted from July 8-11 among 1,009 adults, and which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, finds that respondents, by a 49 percent-to-46 percent margin, disapprove of Bush's job performance. That's a drop from the last NBC/Journal poll in May, when 47 percent approved and 47 percent disapproved. In addition, the only time when Bush's job rating has been worse was in June 2004, when 45 percent approved of his performance.

Nevada Young Republican Leader is in Trouble

It seems his little party in Vegas was a financial failure.

Nevada's chapter of the Young Republicans has basically imploded, leaving its chairman with up to $25,000 in personal debt and allegations that he mishandled money.

All but three people have resigned from the statewide group, but the fallout could prove increasingly embarrassing to the entire state Republican Party.

Today, the chairman of the group, Reno resident Nathan Taylor, plans to hold a press conference attacking three of the state's party leaders -- Sen. John Ensign, Rep. Jim Gibbons and Rep. Jon Porter.

Taylor argues that the state's Republican delegation should have helped him fund the national Young Republican convention held last week at Mandalay Bay.

"I've got bills at the hotel I can't pay," said Taylor, a 29-year-old political science senior at UNR who said he had to quit his food service job and drop classes to plan the convention.

Taylor estimates that the convention, attended by about 600 people from around the nation, is at least $10,000 -- and up to $25,000 -- in the red.

As the chairman, he said he'll personally have to cough up the cash.

Somebody (Jesus' General maybe) should get in touch with him. I am sure he supports the war, and I under the army has some nice signing bonuses.

Swiss study claims 39,000 Iraqi civilians killed in war.

Nearly 40,000 Iraqis have been killed as a direct result of combat or armed violence since the US-led invasion. It is a figure considerably higher than previous estimates, a Swiss institute reported yesterday.

The public database Iraqi Body Count, by comparison, estimates that between 22,787 and 25,814 Iraqi civilians have died since the March 2003 invasion, based on reports from at least two media sources.

No official estimates of Iraqi casualties from the war have been issued, although military deaths in the US-led coalition forces are closely tracked and now total 1937.

The new estimate of more than 39,000 was made by the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International Studies and published in its latest annual small arms survey.

More is at The Age.

The reality is we will never know the true number of civilians killed, in part because the Bush Administration ordered that such a count NOT be kept.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Republican Talking Points on Rove Destroyed

Thanks to the efforts of The Left Coaster.

TALKING POINT: Valerie Plame (Joseph Wilson's wife) was not covert.
FACT: She was.

TALKING POINT: Karl Rove did not leak Valerie Plame's name.
FACT: Please. Her name was not the secret, her identity was (which is the issue here) and he leaked that. (also see here and here).

TALKING POINT: Karl Rove was "not the leaker".
FACT: Rove's attorney's statement and Cooper's email shows this claim is false. Rove did leak Plame's identity. (Whether or not this is found to be prosecutable is another matter).
P.S. It's not like this is the first time Rove has been in the spotlight for leaking secrets.

TALKING POINT: Karl Rove has never lied about his role in this matter.
FACT: Yes, he has.

HT to Seeing the Forest

Carl Cameron and Fox News again lie to Protect Bush

This is just disgusting.

Carl, Fox's lead White House reporter, went out of his way (including presenting 1 supporting sound bite) in claiming that Bush never said he would fire the Plame leaker.

Fox, and it's supporters, are some of the most dishonest people in this nation.

John Stewart does Karl Rove

and, no one could do it better. Visit Crooks and Liars for the video.

Just think about it, Chief Justice Karl Rove.

A look back, who is Valerie Plame ?

As noted by The Green Knight, and others, the Republican talking points on the Rove affair have been leaked. These points try to spin Karl's traitorous actions by hiding behind partisianship and by attacking both Wilson, and His wife Valerie Plame.

The standard attack is that this is all Wilson's and Plame's fault. They attack those two, and even question their service to our nation. One commenter on this site tried to argue that we don't even know if she was covert.

One of Valerie Plame's ex-coworkers offers this information about her.

The misinformation being spread in the media about the Plame affair is alarming and damaging to the longterm security interests of the United States. Republicans' talking points are trying to savage Joe Wilson and, by implication, his wife, Valerie Plame as liars. That is the truly big lie.

For starters, Valerie Plame was an undercover operations officer until outed in the press by Robert Novak. Novak's column was not an isolated attack. It was in fact part of a coordinated, orchestrated smear that we now know includes at least Karl Rove.

Valerie Plame was a classmate of mine from the day she started with the CIA. I entered on duty at the CIA in September 1985. All of my classmates were undercover--in other words, we told our family and friends that we were working for other overt U.S. Government agencies. We had official cover. That means we had a black passport--i.e., a diplomatic passport. If we were caught overseas engaged in espionage activity the black passport was a get out of jail free card.

A few of my classmates, and Valerie was one of these, became a non-official cover officer. That meant she agreed to operate overseas without the protection of a diplomatic passport. If caught in that status she would have been executed.

The lies by people like Victoria Toensing, Representative Peter King, and P. J. O'Rourke insist that Valerie was nothing, just a desk jockey. Yet, until Robert Novak betrayed her she was still undercover and the company that was her front was still a secret to the world. When Novak outed Valerie he also compromised her company and every individual overseas who had been in contact with that company and with her.

This paints a clear picture of just how treasonous Karl Roves action was.

Only the Grunts will be punished

The rest will be shielded and protected, in the US, RHIP.

general rejects call to penalize ex-guantanamo prison chief

Military investigators recommended that the former commander of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, be reprimanded for his role in detainee mistreatment at the facility, but a top Army general rejected the conclusion, defense and congressional sources said Tuesday.

Investigators had recommended a reprimand for Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who ran the Guantanamo Bay prison until March 2004 and was sent to Iraq the next month to overhaul a dysfunctional U.S. military prison system there, shortly before the Abu Ghraib prison scandal became public.

This man oversaw two of the greatest scandals in US military penal history. Only in the Bush world does this decision make sense.

whereas schmidt and furlow recommended that miller be disciplined for his failure to monitor the interrogation, craddock rejected that conclusion on the grounds that miller did not violate u.s. "law or policy," according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because portions of the investigation were classified.

So, abuse, and violations of the Geneva Convention DO NOT violate US Law or Policy. Not a surprise, but very disappointing.

A hat tip to Local Tint who add this.

See, this is why phrases like "self-regulation" are meaningless to me. Here's a good one:

Craddock concluded that Miller did not violate any U.S. laws or policies, the report said, according to the aide.


The investigation also found that interrogators violated the Geneva Convention and Army regulations three times at the base, the aide said.

So, once again, someone in Bushland is either criminal or woefully ignorant about the goings-on on their watch. Did this many people really come to this many positions of power by being this incompetent? Either way, we have a problem.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A not so Quick Review of Current Republican Fraud

Lets start with Iraq, where we sill can not find 9 Billion dollars. This isn't new news, but what is interesting is no one in DC seems to care about the missing money.

In San Diego, we have Duke Cunningham, who Sold his home to M. Wade, while living on Mr. Wades Boat, Since he had sold his yacht to Thomas T. Kontogiannis. The trouble is, Duke still filed paperwork with the Coast Guard claiming ownership of the boat.

Ohio is still learning about the interesting fiscal decisions made by the Republicans in charge. This will take time, since the Republican leadership is still trying to cover up their corruption. The end result is predictable, Injured workers' drug benefits cut by state bureau

Ralph Reid efforts to get elected in Georgia are being impacted by the Abramoff investigation. This has also touched Bob Ney, back to Ohio. Of course, the name Tom DeLay is now synonymous with corruption, and he is a close friend and business associate of Tom Abramoff.

And, in Kentucky three close associates of the Republican Governor have been indicted for crimes involving discrimination based on political alliances.

Of course we can not forget the whole Karl Rove mess. Just more in the Republican Culture of Corruption.

Falwell had decided that I am not a Christian

and it appears I am not the only person who had that mistaken belief.

Last month, a new leftist religious organization announced its inception to battle the alleged domination that Dr. James Dobson, Pat Robertson and I have on modern-day politics. This organization, the Christian Alliance for Progress, is hardly "Christian."

But, there is hope. Fr. Jake has stood up and defended my (and many others) Christianity .

Thanks Father Jake.

Army's own report indicates it is Stretched Thin.

WASHINGTON - (KRT) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has consistently rejected any contention that the Army is stretched too thin in fighting simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But a new Army study has concluded the service is so strained that the United States will soon "need to decide what military capabilities the Army should have and what risks may be prudent to assume."

Numerous critics and outside defense policy groups have warned that the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan has taxed the Army so badly that it will have difficulty meeting any new crises elsewhere, but the new assessment comes from an in-house undertaking prepared by the RAND Corp.'s Arroyo Center, the Army's own federally funded research institute.

"The challenge the Army faces is profound," senior RAND analyst Lynn Davis, lead author of the report, said in a statement accompanying the study's completion. "Any approach is fraught with risks and uncertainties, along with significant costs and some possible changes in the Army's long-term goals."

Right not we are in a very dangerous position. Our standing army is under high pressure. Private Contractor are skimming the many of the best of experienced troops. The Guard and Reserve have been damaged by 2 years of hard use. Recruiting for the Army is still well off target, and the Marine Corp is also under target.

As this report makes clear, we are in trouble.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Army National Guard, a cornerstone of the U.S. force in Iraq, missed its recruiting goal for at least the ninth straight month in June and is nearly 19,000 soldiers below its authorized strength, military officials said Monday.

The Army Guard was seeking 5,032 new soldiers in June but signed up only 4,337, a 14 percent shortfall, according to statistics released Monday by the Pentagon. It is more than 10,000 soldiers behind its year-to-date goal of almost 45,000 recruits, and has missed its recruiting target during at least 17 of the last 18 months.

All of this because of a war of choice, a war based on lies, a war that has made the world less safe. If George had been trying, I don't think he could have screwed up any worse.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Rove, I Want to see This

Karl, the traitor, Rove deserves no less.

So we ask What did Rove know and when did he know it?

Can Bush now be committed?

There is only one course of action. We will continue to take this fight to the enemy and we will fight until this enemy is defeated.

Bush speaking today about the 'war on terror'.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
-- Albert Einstein

Karl Rove's lawyer took payment in Gold Bars

This is just too funny

Karl's lawyer is Robert D. Luskin.

One case that jumps out at you is his representation of Stephen A. Saccoccia.

Saccoccia and his wife Donna were eventually convicted of laundering more than a hundred million dollars for various Colombian drug kingpins. Stephen is currently serving a 660 year sentence. Their racket was laundering drug money through companies which traded in precious metals.

Saccoccia was convicted in 1993. And Luskin took up his case on appeal.

Eventually the Feds got the idea that the money Saccoccia had paid Luskin and his other attorneys for their services was itself part of the $137 million in drug money he was ordered to forfeit. Now, on the face of it this seems a bit unfair since under our system everyone is entitled to good representation and how was Luskin to know it was tainted money.

Well, the prosecutors thought he should have gotten some inkling when Saccoccia started paying Luskin's attorney's fees in gold bars.

Yep, you heard that right. Luskin got paid more than $500,000 of his attorney's fees in gold bars from his client who was trying to appeal his conviction on charges that he laundered drug money through precious metals dealers. Who woulda thought that was drug money?

Anything for a buck, any lie to get more power, it all fits into the Republican's Culture of Corruption.

Skippy's blogiversary.

Drop by today and congratulate them.

The Wisdom of our US Senate

Well, only a month ago, the US Senate, after reviewing all the relevant data, checking the risk and cost, cut 33% from the budget aimed at securing mass transit in the US.

Now, after the London bombing they, in the infinite wisdom, have decided to revisit that decision.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Three weeks before London's bus and subway bombings Thursday, a Senate committee voted to slash spending on mass transit security in the United States, a decision sure to be reversed when Congress returns next week.

What is totally amazing, was the Madrid attacks were only a year ago, and our Senators appear to have completely forgotten about those far more deadly atttacks.

New blog up and running

Go visit the Religious Right Watch.

Leaked documents show British plan Iraq pullout.

The UK hopes to remove about two-thirds of is forces in the next nine months.

It also indicates a US drawdown is in the works.

The paper, by defense Secretary John Reid, suggests the UK's 8,500 troops in Iraq could be cut to 3,000, saving around £500m a year.

The document, leaked to the Mail on Sunday, also sets out US plans to cut its troops from 176,000 to 66,000.

These are all based upon the Iraqi ability to keep the peace themselves.

Romans 1 and Homosexuality

A very good look at what Romans 1 really says about homosexulaity.

One would think that with the vehemence with which they press their case, that the Religious Right would have entire books of the Scripture which addressed homosexuality at their disposal from which to draw their core arguments. But there is actually a paucity of biblical texts that even mention same-sex activities, and none of them are useful for drawing public policy conclusions. The story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is certainly one of the fundamentalist’s favorite, belief in the Old Testament itself makes it clear that the primary sin of the two cities was inhospitality towards the needy (Ezek. 16:49). The passages in Leviticus are generally disregarded even by conservatives, because they are imbedded in what scholars call the Holiness Code of biblical law, which does not apply to Gentiles outside of the land of Israel. They include provisions for the death penalty for those who engage in same-sex practice, which all but the theocrats on the Religious Right would reject. There are a couple other alleged references in lists found in 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy which conservative biblical translations recklessly translate as “homosexuals” and “sodomites,” but five minutes with a concordance and a Greek lexicon will demonstrate that this is simply bias masquerading as scholarship.

HT to I am a Christian too

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Iraqi insurgents "mostly eliminated"

Gen. Webster advises us that we have all but won.

"I do believe, however, that the ability of these insurgents to conduct sustained, high-intensity operations as they did last year, we've mostly eliminated that."

He said that about 1,700 suspected insurgents had been captured during Operation Lightning, including 51 foreigners.

Wow.. Those evil foreign fighters are again mentioned, and they are all of 3% of those captured. What no one ever mentions is that about 5% of those fighting for the US Armed forces are also foreign fighters.

as to the views of Gen. Webber, Iyad Allawi (past interim Iraqi PM) presents his own, his claim; this is the start of civil war.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

A new Islamic State, is this what Bush Wanted?

"They say it's forbidden by Islam," Ali, 18, said as he went back to his own shop, its shelves stocked with drums. "We're afraid of everything. I'm afraid of it all. I'm afraid even when I'm talking to you."

The once-libertine oil port of Basra, 560 kilometers, or 350 miles, south of the capital and far from the insurgency raging in much of Iraq, is steadily being transformed into a mini-theocracy under Shiite rule.

There is perhaps no better indication of the possible flash points in a Shiite-dominated Iraq, because the political parties that hold sway here also wield significant influence in the central government in Baghdad and are backed by the country's top clerics.

Efforts to impose strict Shiite religious rule across Iraq would almost certainly spur resistance from Sunni Arabs and the more secular Kurds. But here in Basra, the changes have accelerated since the January elections, which enabled religious parties to put more radical politicians into office.

Small parties with names like God's Vengeance and Master of Martyrs have emerged. They work under the umbrella of more established Shiite groups, but many Iraqis suspect them of being agents of the Iranian government. One of the leading parties was formed in Iran by an Iraqi cleric living in exile during the reign of Saddam Hussein.

The growing ties with Iran are evident. Posters of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the 1979 Iranian revolution, are plastered along streets and even at the provincial government center.

Of course some of this (God's Vengeance and Master of Martyrs) does sound like what he wants for this country, so maybe this was his goal.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Ethics push may be gaining steam

It appears that Cunningham or Ney will be the first targets. Since this action will no doubt bring counter charges by the Republicans, there is still a great resistance to taking this action by some in the Democratic establishment. They must be ignored, so the scum who are the core of the current Republican party will be exposed.

If a few Democrats are also charged as crooks, so be it, the culture of corruption that is the Republican party has to be cleaned out of our government.

More Science for Bush to Ignore or Hide

North Atlantic Ocean Temps Hit Record High

ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland - Ocean temperatures in the North Atlantic hit an all-time high last year, raising concerns about the effects of global warming on one of the most sensitive and productive ecosystems in the world.

Sea ice off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador was below normal for the tenth consecutive year and the water temperature outside St. John's Harbor was the highest on record in 2004, according to a report released Wednesday by the federal Fisheries Department.

But, as long as we ignore it or spin it just right, it will all be OK.

Friday's places of interest

Drop by and check them out.

Majikthise has noticed that malpractice payouts have been stable for the last five years, yet premiums are up 120%, interesting.

Some times dark humor is needed. Stageleft can just hear the advice that George has give to Tony Blair

Bob's Links and Rants has the best cartoons, and here is another.

From the news department, 103 members of the Iraqi parliament are demanding a timetable for US withdraw.

The VIETNAM 2 PREFLIGHT CHECK is found at Agitprop.

London Olympics to Include Rugby ?

It could happen, Baseball and Softball are out, and Rugby is one of the sports being considered as a replacement.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Rehnquist rumors picking up

He may retire Friday, leaving two open spots.

DeLay again exposes the Republican Culture of Corruption

Just more evidence that DeLay has been bought and paid for more often than a back alley whore.

A Kansas energy company said it donated $25,000 so that it could attend a golf outing with U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to try to influence pending energy legislation.

The admission from Topeka, Kan.-based Westar Energy marks the first time a company has publicly admitted to donating to DeLay's political action committee in exchange for a meeting and possible legislative help.

Paying $25,000.00 for a round of golf makes it clear that Westar was expecting more than a little fresh air.

The company claims it sent the money to talk with DeLay about getting an exemption in federal law, but not to affect legislative elections in Texas.


The provision the company sought was included in a House bill with DeLay's support, but it was later withdrawn after a grand jury began investigating corporate fund-raising during the state's 2002 legislative races.

In this bit we get the clearest indicator of corrupt intent. The provision was included, DeLay supported it, until it was investigated. Once the action was public, it was removed.

DeLay, Cunningham, The Ohio Republican Party, Katharine Harris, and all of those who fund, support and protect them have to be removed from positions of power. The degree of corruption is astounding.

London bombed, 4 near simultaneous explosions

Three bombs were placed in the Underground, and one was on a double-deck Bus. Mass casualties are being reported.

A new group, the "Secret Organization - al-Qaida in Europe" claims responsibility.

I note that this is indicates that this may not be Al Qaida, but a group inspired by Al Qaida. If this is the reality, our nations screwed up efforts to fight terror has instead resulted in a spread of terror.

In response, Tony Blair call the attack 'barbaric' (a rather obvious statement), and is flying back to London for a visit. He plans on returning to the G-8 later in the day.

George has come out, and has already tried to make political hay over this attack.

The Mayor of London, Ken Livingston, had this to say:

"This is not an attack against the rich and powerful. It is not an attack on the politicians, but on the common working people of London," Livingstone told reporters in the Asian city where he spearheaded London's winning bid to host the 2012 Olympics.

Addressing those behind the bomb blasts, he said: "We have seen that you are not afraid to take your own lives but what you did is just mass murder."

He added: "I can tell you now that you will fail in your long-term objectives to destroy our free society."

"In the days that follow, look at our airports and seaports, and even after your cowardly attacks, you will still see people from around the world coming to London to achieve their dreams."

Bartholomew has some information on who may be behind this attack.

A previously unknown group claimed responsibility in the name of al Qaeda for a series of blasts in London, the Italian news agency ANSA said.

The "Secret Group of al Qaeda's Jihad in Europe" claimed the attack in a Web site posting and warned Italy and Denmark to withdraw their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The claim could not be verified and did not appear on any of the Web sites normally used by al Qaeda…ANSA quoted the message as saying on a site it named as "el".

and more information on who may be the head of this group.

These names are of concern, as they are believed to be associated with terrorist Saad Rashed Mohammed Al-Fagih.

Al-Fagih has been associated with Al Qaida and the global jihad since the mid-1990's. On 21 December, 2004, Al-Fagih was named a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the United States. Al-Fagih's associates have included Osama bin Laden, Khaled al Fawwaz, Mustafa Setmariam Naser, Lewis Attiyatullah, Mohammed al-Massari and Ziyad Khalil.

Al-Fagih provided logistical support for the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa[8]. In addition, and in particular since Sept. 11, 2001, Al-Fagih has been at the forefront of efforts to promote the global jihad by maintaining online communities of Islamic extremists and facilitating communications among Islamic extremists around the globe. He does this both under the cover of his MIRA organization, aka Al-Islah, and through a separate online entity known commonly as ‘The Castle' or Al-Qal3ah.

Flickr has some photographs

Homeland defense has responded in the US.

Commuter services and Railways have had threat level elevated to orange.

Everyone else is still

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) again leads the way.

He is leading the charge on the Downing Street Memos, and now is leading the charge against Rove. He had demanded that Rove explain his role in CIA outing or resign.

July 7, 2005

The President
The White House
Washington, DC

Dear Mr. President:

We write in order to urge that you require your Deputy White House Chief of Staff, Karl Rove, to either come forward immediately to explain his role in the Valerie Plame matter or to resign from your Administration.

Notwithstanding whether Mr. Rove intentionally violated the law in leaking information concerning former CIA operative Valerie Plame, we believe it is not tenable to maintain Mr. Rove as one of your most important advisors unless he is willing to explain his central role in using the power and authority of your Administration to disseminate information regarding Ms. Plame and to undermine her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson.

We now know that e-mails recently turned over by Time, Inc. between writer Matthew Cooper and Time editors reveal that one of Mr. Cooper’s principal sources in the Plame matter was Mr. Rove. This has been confirmed by Newsweek and two lawyers representing witnesses involved in the investigation. Mr. Rove’s attorney, Robert Luskin, also has confirmed that Mr. Rove was interviewed by Mr. Cooper in connection with a possible article about Ms. Plame three or four days before Robert Novak wrote a column outing Ms. Plame as a CIA operative.

We also know that Mr. Rove told Chris Matthews that Ambassador Wilson’s wife and her undercover status were “fair game.” A White House source also appears to have previously acknowledged that Mr. Rove contacted Mr. Matthews and other journalists, indicating that “it was reasonable to discuss who sent Wilson to Niger.”

The above facts appear to be directly inconsistent with previous statements by you and representatives of your Administration concerning leaking in general and the Plame case in particular. For example, on September 30, 2003, you stated “there’s just too many leaks [in Washington]. And if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is.” You also stated “I want to know the truth. If anybody has got any information inside our administration or outside our administration, it would be helpful if they came forward with the information so we can find out whether or not these allegations are true and get on about the business.” On October 10, 2003, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan was asked if Mr. Rove or two other aides in your Administration had ever discussed the Plame matter with any reporter, and he stated he had spoken to Mr. Rove and the others and “they assured me that they were not involved in this.”

Regardless of whether these actions violate the law – including specific laws against the disclosure of classified information as well as broader laws against obstruction of justice, the negligent distribution of defense information, and obligating reporting of press leaks to proper authorities – they seem to reveal a course of conduct designed to threaten and intimidate those who provide information critical of your Administration, such as Ambassador Wilson.

We hope you agree with us that such behavior should never be tolerated by any Administration. While it is acceptable for a private citizen to use every legal tool at his or her disposal to protect himself against legal liability, high-ranking members of your Administration who are involved in any effort to smear a private citizen or to disseminate information regarding a CIA operative should be expected to meet a far higher standard of ethical behavior and forthrightness. This is why we believe it is so important that Mr. Rove publicly and fully explain his role in this matter.

What is judicial activism, and who are the activists?

The Green Knight brings us this little piece of data.

We found that justices vary widely in their inclination to strike down Congressional laws. Justice Clarence Thomas, appointed by President George H. W. Bush, was the most inclined, voting to invalidate 65.63 percent of those laws; Justice Stephen Breyer, appointed by President Bill Clinton, was the least, voting to invalidate 28.13 percent. The tally for all the justices appears below.

Thomas 65.63 %
Kennedy 64.06 %
Scalia 56.25 %
Rehnquist 46.88 %
O'Connor 46.77 %
Souter 42.19 %
Stevens 39.34 %
Ginsburg 39.06 %
Breyer 28.13 %

About 180 degrees different from how those on the far-right try to portray things.

This work was developed by Paul Gewirtz and Chad Golder of Yale Law School .

Shanghai Cooperation Organization wants a deadline

From the Christian Science Monitor.

A six-nation security bloc comprised of China, Russia, and four former Soviet states has urged the US-led coalition in Afghanistan to set a deadline for withdrawing troops from member states, reports BBC.

Meeting in the Kazakh capital of Astana, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) - which includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, China, and Russia - issued a joint statement saying the active military phase of the Afghan operation was coming to an end and calling on the US-led coalition to agree to a deadline for ending the temporary use of bases and air space in member countries.

There are about 18,000 coalition forces in Afghanistan, and the US has hosted bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan since the anti-Taliban operations began in 2001.

The timing is ironic in light of the US Military losses of the last 7 days.

London pull past Paris win the right to host the

2012 Summer games (in case anyone missed the news).

New Youk was knocked out earlier, but I suspect is now the leader for either 2016 or 2020 games.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

A look back at the Anglican Consultative Council

Fr. Jake looks at the result of the meetings in Nottingham.

The points that stand out to me are.

1. The vote to exclude he US and Canadian churches was close, and the punishment was nothing more than we have already imposed on ourselves. So close that if the N. American churches had voted it would have failed.

2. There is little or nothing that I can do about any of this, so I will watch, and not worry.

An interesting little Meme

Details at Philosophy, et cetera.


Age: 42
Gender: Male
Location: Columbia SC
Religion: Episcopal
Occupation: Small business Owner
Began blogging : 03/26/05

Your political compass
Economic Left/Right: -6.63
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Track List:
1. Philosophy, et cetera - - pixnaps97a2
2. A Lie a Day -

Fighting for freedom, just don't expect to use it.

A soldier in Iraq is told to shut up, or face the consequences.

Last message from Leonard Clark:

He has been called in and threatened in a way that not only worried him about a court martial at this time - he also is fearful of his personal safety. Thus I will begin to take down this site per his ranking officer's request. I will post his final voicemail later today. I will continue to keep this site open for those who want to speak out. I will also post stories from vets that have returned from there. I will post stories like that later on today or tomorrow. From now on and then, pray for Leonard. Keep him in your thoughts. You will be seeing changes to this site over the next week.

Take some time and visit with Leonard Clark, who is Stationed just outside Baghdad, Iraq.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

For the 4th, I too love my country.

I love my country. I love it first because it is my country, just as I love my family because they are my family. And while some things might make me decide to just give up on either my family or my country, it takes a lot more than it would to make me give up on some other family or country, just because they are mine.

But I also love it for the noble experiment I take it to be. We have never completely lived up to our ideals. We enslaved people, slaughtered the indigenous peoples of North America, and so on. But we also always had a set of ideals that we tried to live up to, however imperfectly, and these shine through even the darkest parts of our history, and let us see it as a still unfinished attempt to be something truly great.

I take those ideals to be: that we are a nation of laws; that we are entitled to freely choose our own government, and that that government is legitimate only in virtue of our consent; that our government should leave us free to debate political and social questions and decide them for ourselves, rather than trying to constrain debate, and that it should leave us free to choose our own faith, rather than trying to impose one on us; that we should trust one another, and our government should trust us, to act like responsible adults who can be counted on to choose responsibly, on the whole, even if Rush Limbaugh and Ward Churchill and people like them are allowed to try to convince us of idiotic things; and that the 'we' I speak of should encompass all competent adults, not just members of some privileged group. In other words, liberty and equality under the rule of law.

The rest can be found at Obsidian Wings

The Grim World of Iraqi Torture Camps

No, not the ones operated under Saddam, these were created by our client leaders. You have to wonder it this means we have to invade again, in the name of freedom and democracy.

Secret torture chambers, the brutal interrogation of prisoners, murders by paramilitaries with links to powerful ministries... Foreign affairs editor Peter Beaumont in Baghdad uncovers a grim trail of abuse carried out by forces loyal to the new Iraqi government

Sure doesn't sound very free or democratic, when do we attack George?

The video camera pans across Hassan an-Ni'ami's body as it is washed in the mosque for burial. In life he was a slender, good-looking man, usually dressed in a dark robe and white turban, Imam at a mosque in Baghdad's Adhimiya district and a senior official of the Muslim Clerics Association.
When I first interviewed him a year ago he was suspected of contacts with the insurgency. Certainly he supported resistance to US forces.

More recently, an-Ni'ami had dropped out of sight. Then, a little over a month ago, relatives say, paramilitary police commandos from 'Rapid Intrusion' found him at a family home in the Sha'ab neighbourhood of northern Baghdad. His capture was reported on television as that of a senior 'terrorist commander'. Twelve hours later his body turned up in the morgue.

What happened to him in his 24 hours in captivity was written across his body in chapters of pain, recorded by the camera. There are police-issue handcuffs still attached to one wrist, from which he was hanged long enough to cause his hands and wrists to swell. There are burn marks on his chest, as if someone has placed something very hot near his right nipple and moved it around.

A little lower are a series of horizontal welts, wrapping around his body and breaking the skin as they turn around his chest, as if he had been beaten with something flexible, perhaps a cable. There are other injuries: a broken nose and smaller wounds that look like cigarette burns.

An arm appears to have been broken and one of the higher vertebrae is pushed inwards. There is a cluster of small, neat circular wounds on both sides of his left knee. At some stage an-Ni'ami seems to have been efficiently knee-capped. It was not done with a gun - the exit wounds are identical in size to the entry wounds, which would not happen with a bullet. Instead it appears to have been done with something like a drill.

Remember, these are the people WE have put in-charge.