Bush 08 Budget Big on War, Small on Soldiers
A. BIG INCREASE ITEMS OVER $200 BIL 100-199 bIL
MED RES X
B. BIG DECREASE ITEMS
MIL. RET. X
VET BENE X
Contributors (otherwise known as "The Aerheads"):
Walldon in New Jersey ----
Marketingace in Pennsylvania ---- Simoneyezd in Ontario
ChiTom in Illinois -- KISSweb in Illinois -- HoundDog in Kansas City -- The Binger in Ohio
"If Fascism ever comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag, carrying the cross." This prophetic statement from Sinclair Lewis is being played out in Kearny right now.
My seventeen-year-old son is at the center of a "controversy" about a history teacher who was misusing his position to proselytize biblical fundamentalism (he is a Baptist) in a public school. Among the many galling aspects of this saga is that the matter is considered a controversy at all.
This teacher did not merely say "Jesus loves you," or lead a prayer. He told high school juniors who do not share his beliefs that they "belong in hell" --- not merely that they will go to hell, but that they belong there.
In the face of my son's obvious skepticism, he dogmatically asserted that the universe must have been created by a being. On this and many other points, he was not expressing a mere opinion, but stating his beliefs as fact.
He dismissed evolution and the big bang in favor of biblical creationism, in direct violation of settled Constitutional law. Quite apart from the illegality of this behavior, his "knowledge" of science is questionable to say the least. After all, how many high school teachers are publicly called "ignorant and scientifically illiterate" by a world-renowned astrophysicist? He also implied that all non-conservatives (we can only imagine what he means by that) are like Nazi appeasers.
He even had the audacity to tell my son that if he is sincerely seeking, he will "put his hand into Jesus' side," implying that the young man's mother and I are not sincere in our religious beliefs. Where I was raised, that sort of thing would be considered --- let's put it charitably --- rude.
Since my son reported this misbehavior, Mr. Paszkiewicz and his apologists have persisted in a series of denials, obfuscations and shell-gaming that would make Karl Rove proud. True to form, Paszkiewicz and his radical-right apologists have circled the wagons around him with a pitiful collection of arguments, including the notion that my son somehow forced him to say these outrageous things. Next they'll be telling us that Matthew can walk on water.
Do not underestimate for one moment what is at stake here. This sort of thing goes on in the Bible belt all the time. Looking at the abuse my son has endured ten miles west of Manhattan, can you imagine what would happen to a student who had the courage to report something like this in those parts of this country?
Paszkiewicz's behavior is part of a movement called dominionism: right wing Christians literally and fervently believe that because most Americans are Christian, they have the right to have dominion over everyone else. History tells us where that leads, as group after group is dropped from the list of the acceptable. We are confident the vast majority of Americans reject this dark vision.
Thank you Mr. Speaker and Members of the Committee.
I am not going to speak of specifics regarding this bill, but rather talk about history and philosophy in regards to this issue.
It is an exciting time to be in the legislature while this issue is being debated. I believe this is the Civil Rights struggle of my generation.
Being a student of history, as many of you are, and going back through history, most of history has been driven by the struggle of man against government to endow him with more rights, privileges and liberties to be bestowed upon him.
In all of my high school courses, we only made it through history to World War 2. It wasn’t until college that I really learned of the civil rights movement in the 60’s. My American History professor was black, and we spent a week discussing civil rights. I watched video after video where people stood on the sidelines and yelled and threw things at black students walking into schools, I’ve read editorials and reports by both sides of the issue, and I would think, how could society feel this way, only 40 years ago.
Under a democracy the civil rights struggle continues today, where we have one segment of our society trying to restrict rights and privileges from another segment of our society. My parents raised me to know that this is wrong.
It is wrong for one segment of society to restrict rights and freedoms from another segment of society. I believe many of you have had this conversation with your children.
And children have listened, my generation, the twenty-somethings, and those younger than I understand this message of tolerance. And in 20 years, when they take the reigns of this government and all governments, society will see this issue overturned, and people will wonder why it took so long.
My kids and grandkids will ask me, why did it take so long? And I can say, hey, I was there, I discussed these issues, and I stood up for basic rights for all people.
I echo Representative Childers concerns, that testifying against this bill may cost me my seat. I have two of my precinct committee persons behind me today who are in favor of this bill, as I stand here opposed, and I understand that I may very well lose my election. It cost 4 moderate Republican Senators in Kansas their election last year for standing up on this same issue. But I tell myself that there are some issues that are greater than me, and I believe this is one of them. And if standing up for equal rights costs me my seat so be it. I will let history be my judge, and I can go back to my constituents and say I stood up for basic rights. I will tell my children that when this debate went on, I stood up for basic rights for people.
I can debate the specifics of this bill back and forth as everyone in this room can, but I won’t because the overall theme is fairness, and you know it. I hope you will all let history be your judge with this vote. You all know in your hearts where this issue is going, that it will come to pass in the next 30 years. For that, I ask you to vote no today on the bill. Thank you.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - The leader of Iraq's biggest Shiite militia complained Sunday that bombs "continue to explode" in Baghdad and that U.S.-led security crackdown is doomed to fail, issuing a statement the same day a suicide attacker struck outside a college campus, killing at least 41 people.
Many Shiites believe that bombings have continued because the Shiite-led government bowed to American pressure and persuaded the radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to take his Mahdi Army fighters off the streets.
Al-Sadr's statement, read to his followers in Sadr City, is likely to add pressure on U.S. and Iraqi forces to show results in the nearly two-week-old crackdown.
"I'm certain, just like all oppressed Iraqis are certain, that no security plan will work and no good will come of any occupier," al-Sadr said in the statement. "Here we are, watching booby trapped cars exploding to harvest thousands of innocent lives from our beloved people in the middle of a security plan that is controlled by an occupier who does as he pleases."
In a revelation that will stun the nation, the Rev. Al Sharpton, one of America's most powerful black leaders, has unearthed a shattering family secret - his ancestors were slaves owned by relatives of the late South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond.I don't know that that changes anything. After all, it's all history. The facts are the facts, whatever they are. But, it does put a modern face on the more disgusting part of our history and acts to remind us of what once was true of this country. May we never forget.
SOME of America’s most senior military commanders are prepared to resign if the White House orders a military strike against Iran, according to highly placed defence and intelligence sources.
Tension in the Gulf region has raised fears that an attack on Iran is becoming increasingly likely before President George Bush leaves office. The Sunday Times has learnt that up to five generals and admirals are willing to resign rather than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack.
“There are four or five generals and admirals we know of who would resign if Bush ordered an attack on Iran,” a source with close ties to British intelligence said. “There is simply no stomach for it in the Pentagon, and a lot of people question whether such an attack would be effective or even possible.”
A British defence source confirmed that there were deep misgivings inside the Pentagon about a military strike. “All the generals are perfectly clear that they don’t have the military capacity to take Iran on in any meaningful fashion. Nobody wants to do it and it would be a matter of conscience for them.
“There are enough people who feel this would be an error of judgment too far for there to be resignations.”
A generals’ revolt on such a scale would be unprecedented. “American generals usually stay and fight until they get fired,” said a Pentagon source. Robert Gates, the defence secretary, has repeatedly warned against striking Iran and is believed to represent the view of his senior commanders.
In Part II of the Washington Post series, was the story of Cpl. Dell McLeod:
Dell McLeod's injury was utterly banal. He was in his 10th month of deployment with the 178th Field Artillery Regiment of the South Carolina National Guard near the Iraqi border when he was smashed in the head by a steel cargo door of an 18-wheeler...Dell was knocked out cold and cracked several vertebrae. [...]
Doctors have concluded that Dell was slow as a child and that his head injury on the Iraqi border did not cause brain damage. "It is possible that pre-morbid emotional difficulties and/or pre-morbid intellectual functioning may be contributing factors to his reported symptoms," a doctor wrote, withholding a diagnosis of traumatic brain injury. [...]
"They said, 'Well, he was in Title I math,' like he was retarded," Annette says. "Well, y'all took him, didn't you?"
No brain injury? For a man who graduated from high school, had some college, worked in a steel mill and spent 19 years in the National Guard, here is a conversation with his wife:
"My name is Wendell," he says. "Wendell Woodward McLeod Jr."
Annette tells him to sit up. "Spell 'dog,' " she says, softly.
Spell 'dog,' " he repeats.
"Listen to me," she says.
"Listen to me." He slumps on the pillow. His eyes drift toward the wrestlers on TV.
"You are not working hard enough, Dell," Annette says, pleading. "Wake up."
"Wake up," he says.
Labels: supporting the troops
"Since 2002, pretty much all the intelligence that's come to us has proved to be wrong," a senior diplomat at the IAEA said. Another official here described the agency's intelligence stream as "very cold now" because "so little panned out."
The intelligence and counterterrorism officials back then [summer 2001] were privately sounding urgent warnings like those in last week’s Times, culminating in the President’s Daily Brief titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” The system “was blinking red,” as the C.I.A. chief George Tenet would later tell the 9/11 commission. But no one, from the White House on down, wanted to hear it.
The White House doesn’t want to hear it now, either. That’s why terrorism experts are trying to get its attention by going public, and not just through The Times. Michael Scheuer, the former head of the C.I.A. bin Laden unit, told MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann last week that the Taliban and Al Qaeda, having regrouped in Afghanistan and Pakistan, “are going to detonate a nuclear device inside the United States” (the real United States, that is, not the fictional stand-in where this same scenario can be found on “24”). Al Qaeda is “on the march” rather than on the run, the Georgetown University and West Point terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman told Congress. Tony Blair is pulling troops out of Iraq not because Basra is calm enough to be entrusted to Iraqi forces — it’s “not ready for transition,” according to the Pentagon’s last report — but to shift some British resources to the losing battle against the resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan.
Late Saturday, the US Air Force launched a series of bombing raids on southeast Baghdad. This is absolutely shameful, that the US is bombing from the air a civilian city that it militarily occupies. You can't possibly do that without killing innocent civilians, as at Ramadi the other day. It is a war crime. US citizens should protest and write their congressional representatives. It is also the worst possible counter-insurgency tactic anyone could ever have imagined. You bomb people, they hate you. The bombing appears to have knocked out what little electricity some parts of Baghdad were still getting.
Florida election officials announced yesterday that an examination of voting software did not find any malfunctions that could have caused up to 18,000 votes to be lost in a disputed Congressional race in Sarasota County, and they suggested that voter confusion over a poor ballot design was mainly to blame.
The finding, reached unanimously by a team of computer experts from several universities, could finally settle last fall’s closest federal election. The Republican candidate, Vern Buchanan, was declared the winner by 369 votes, but the Democrat, Christine Jennings, formally contested the results, claiming that the touch-screen voting machines must have malfunctioned.
The state official in charge of the audit was prejudiced against finding problems. David Drury, the state official in charge of the audit, told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that “they’re not going to find anything” before the source code review part of the audit began (12-05). Drury, who is chief of the Florida Bureau of Voting Systems Certification, had a clear conflict of interest: he is the official who certified the machines in the first place and his reputation depends on how they are seen as functioning.
That same official’s competence has been called into question. In addition to questions about his partiality, questions about Drury’s competence have been raised by his pre-election decision to authorize the distribution of uncertified voting machines. (See a complaint filed by the Florida Fair Elections Coalition here.)
The audit tested just ten voting machines—only five of which were used on Election Day. Approximately 1,500 iVotronic machines were deployed in Sarasota County on Election Day, but the parallel testing portion of the audit—the only part where machines were evaluated—involved only ten machines (AP 11-22). With such a small sample size, malfunctioning machines could easily have been missed.
The audit’s lack of independence was scrutinized and criticized by the press. The Palm Beach Post weighed in with an editorial calling for a more “credible” and “impartial” audit (11-22). A St. Petersburg Times news headline asked if this was “An audit to nowhere?” (11-27). And Miami Herald writer Fred Grimm wrote, “No one really thinks [the] paperless, virtual audit that begins today will find 18,300 votes that disappeared” (11-28).
The expert appointed to lead the source code review was a partisan paper trail opponent. Alec Yasinsac, who led the part of the audit reviewing the software that runs the voting machines, wore a button reading “Bush Won” while working against a recount in the 2000 presidential race. Yasinsac is an avowed opponent of voting machine paper trails and cannot be considered independent.
A critic of the audit was incorrectly listed by the Secretary of State’s office as one of the auditors, further undermining the audit’s credibility. Princeton University computer science professor Ed Felten, who has criticized the audit process and declined an invitation to take part, was incorrectly listed as a “principal investigator” for the audit in a document on the Secretary of State’s website (for more information, click here). If we can’t even rely on the auditors to tell us who’s on their team, how can we possibly rely on their conclusions about the voting machines?
OTTAWA, Feb. 23 — Canada’s highest court on Friday unanimously struck down a law that allows the Canadian government to detain foreign-born terrorism suspects indefinitely using secret evidence and without charges while their deportations are being reviewed.
In a match-up between the early 2008 frontrunners, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) leads New York Senator Hillary Clinton (D) 52% to 43%. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds Giuliani’s lead growing in recent months. His current nine-point advantage is up from a six point lead in January and a four-point lead in December.
The Oxycontin patent was just one of thousands of instances of lax scrutiny at the patent office in recent years. Paxil and Prozac are two other multibillion dollar drugs that earned monopoly profits for their makers before their patents were struck down. And the office's errors range far beyond the pharmaceutical industry to include everything from software to biotechnology to e-commerce. Greg Aharonian, a Bay-Area patent consultant who sends out an almost-daily email newsletter on every patent-related development under the sun (an item from February was headed, "Kazakhstan Patent Office Runs Out of Paper") highlighted one recently granted patent, which included a "graphical traceroute"--a technology used to map online traffic events to physical locations. As he points out, had examiners simply Googled "graphical traceroute," they would have found, under the first entry, an excellent example of the technology, along with a link to an explanatory paper, published by a different team of technologists in November 1999--more than two years before the patent application was filed.
No one knows how many mistaken patents the office issues each year. But the results of one patent office experiment suggest that, in some areas, the error rate may be as many as half of those issued may be faulty. Faulty patents may be doing immense damage to the economy. They not only allow patent-holding firms to gouge consumers with exorbitant prices, but they also inhibit innovation and research, put a drag on economic growth, and may even create an investment bubble. (See sidebar.)
The cause of the problem is easy to pinpoint. Over the last decade and a half, the patent office has been set up in such a way that it's an easy mark. The system overwhelms many patent examiners, operates under laws and bureaucratic incentives that favor applicants, and can potentially be hoodwinked by the unscrupulous. A recent Federal Trade Commission report, which laid out these criticisms, concluded that in key industries such as pharmaceuticals, software, biotechnology, and the Internet, the office now "hamper[s] competition that would otherwise stimulate innovation." For some companies, armed only with dubious claims, the patent office has become not something to fear but a patsy, as easy to fool as those elderly couples who send cash to the Nigerian prime minister's wife.
Sometimes I think they're living in some sort of parallel universe, but upside down universe.
At first, I thought the “Conservapedia” was some kind of joke. Billed as a conservative rival to Wikipedia, Conservapedia would be an ideologically pure, right-wing online collaborative encyclopedia. Except the site was so laughably right-wing, and so intentionally devoid of diversity of thought, it seemed obvious that this was some Onion-like parody.
No such luck. Conservapedia is a project of Andy Schlafly, Phyllis’ son, which is serious about its goals.
Conservapedia is a much-needed alternative to Wikipedia, which is increasingly anti-Christian and anti-American. On Wikipedia, many of the dates are provided in the anti-Christian “C.E.” instead of “A.D.”, which Conservapedia uses. Christianity receives no credit for the great advances and discoveries it inspired, such as those of the Renaissance. […]
Conservapedia is an online resource and meeting place where we favor Christianity and America. Conservapedia has easy-to-use indexes to facilitate review of topics. You will much prefer using Conservapedia compared to Wikipedia if you want concise answers free of “political correctness”.
Again, this isn’t a joke. A Bush White House aide famously said a few years ago, “We create our own reality.” I suppose it stands to reason, then, that Bush’s supporters would want to do the same thing.And Conservapedia seems to fit the bill nicely. Far-right visitors to the site won’t be confronted with anything that might bother them, ever. Pages are scrubbed of inconvenient truths, and replaced with right-wing talking points. In some instances, whole subjects (such as biological evolution) are denied pages, lest anyone get confused.
If you ask fundamentalists about evolution, it becomes clear that they seldom understand what they are opposing. Instead they seem to be repeating things they have heard from the leaders of their in-groups, such as "Darwin's theory of evolution says that humans descended from monkeys," and "These is a crucial 'missing link' in the fossil evidence that shows humans could not have descended from the apes," and "It's just a theory." They will sometimes tell you evolution violates the laws of thermodynamics, but when you ask them what those laws are, the conditions under which the featured Second Law applies, and what it has to do with evolution, they stumble all over themselves.
The soldier, Sgt. Paul E. Cortez, 24, also was given a dishonorable discharge. Sergeant Cortez will be eligible for parole in 10 years under the terms of his plea agreement.I suppose it's okay since Iraqis are sub-human. Sort of like raping and killing a pig, I guess. No big deal.
Sergeant Cortez, of Barstow, Calif., pleaded guilty this week to four counts of felony murder, rape and conspiracy to rape in a case considered to be among the worst atrocities by American forces in Iraq.
In his plea agreement, he said he had conspired with three other soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division to rape a 14-year-old girl, who was then killed with her parents and a younger sister.
Feb. 22, 2007 - The British are leaving, the Iraqis are failing and the Americans are staying—and we’re going to be there a lot longer than anyone in Washington is acknowledging right now. As Democrats and Republicans back home try to outdo each other with quick-fix plans for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and funds, what few people seem to have noticed is that Gen. David Petraeus’s new “surge” plan is committing U.S. troops, day by day, to a much deeper and longer-term role in policing Iraq than since the earliest days of the U.S. occupation. How long must we stay under the Petraeus plan? Perhaps 10 years. At least five.
The 2000-year-old cave had already been discovered in 1980 in Jerusalem's Talpiyot neighbourhood. In it were 10 coffins, six of which bore inscriptions, which - translated into English - included the names "Jesus son of Joseph," twice "Maria," and "Judah son of Jesus."
The second Maria is hypothesized to be Maria Magdalene, while the tomb bearing the name Judah could indicate Jesus had a son.
Senate Democratic leaders intend to unveil a plan next week to repeal the 2002 resolution authorizing the war in Iraq in favor of narrower authority that restricts the military's role and begins withdrawals of combat troops.The problem is that a bill like this has to be passed affirmatively. In the very unlikely event that it got through the Senate at all (with Lieberman et al opposing it), it would almost certainly be vetoed by the prez. Or, if he really wanted to give Congress the finger, he might just write a "signing statement" saying he would ignore it.
LT. GEN. KEVIN KILEY: Well, I think it's not that we weren't aware that that building needs and requires continued maintenance and upkeep. And since 2001, we've had two overhauls and one major renovation.
In the last year, we've done over 200 what we call "work orders" to fix things that were, again, reported in the paper. It's an old building. You can walk into it today, and if you walk into it six months from now, you're going to find issues.
Senior leaders, platoon sergeants, company commanders, brigade commanders should be walking through those facilities at least on some kind of a periodic basis. But, remember, more than half the rooms were actually perfectly OK.
The United States demanded that Israel desist from even exploratory contacts with Syria, of the sort that would test whether Damascus is serious in its declared intentions to hold peace talks with Israel.
In meetings with Israeli officials recently, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was forceful in expressing Washington's view on the matter.
The American argument is that even "exploratory talks" would be considered a prize in Damascus, whose policy and actions continue to undermine Lebanon's sovereignty and the functioning of its government, while it also continues to stir unrest in Iraq, to the detriment of the U.S. presence there.
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- In his latest remarkable political reincarnation, onetime U.S. favorite Ahmed Chalabi has secured a position inside the Iraqi government that could help determine whether the Bush administration's new push to secure Baghdad succeeds.
In a new post created earlier this year, Mr. Chalabi will serve as an intermediary between Baghdad residents and the Iraqi and U.S. security forces mounting an aggressive counterinsurgency campaign across the city. The position is meant to help Iraqis arrange reimbursement for damage to their cars and homes caused by the security sweeps in the hope of maintaining public support for the strategy.
BAGHDAD, Feb. 19 — It looked like a scene out of a counterinsurgency training video. Dressed in crisp uniforms with a computer-generated camouflage of blue, gray and brown, Iraqi national police officers joined United States troops on searches late last week through relatively calm districts of Shaab and Ur in northeast Baghdad in the first large operation of the Baghdad security plan.
But appearances in Iraq can often be deceiving. At least two of the national police officers who turned out for the operation were moving ahead of the American troops not to lead the security drive but to warn the residents to hide their weapons and other incriminating evidence.
Some policemen on the sweep advertised their Shiite sympathies. Infiltration by militias has always been a major problem for the Iraqi security forces, and particularly the police, viewed by many Sunnis in the capital as de facto Shiite militia fighters.
WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 — The Bush administration said Thursday that there was no need for greater government oversight of the rapidly growing hedge fund industry and other private investment groups to protect the nation’s financial system.
Instead, the administration, in an agreement it reached with the independent regulatory agencies, announced that investors, hedge fund companies and their lenders could adequately take care of themselves by adhering to a set of nonbinding principles.
Much of the intelligence on Iran's nuclear facilities provided to UN inspectors by US spy agencies has turned out to be unfounded, diplomatic sources in Vienna said today.No great surprises here. It's par for the course with this administration.
The claims, reminiscent of the intelligence fiasco surrounding the Iraq war, coincided with a sharp increase in international tension as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that Iran was defying a UN security council ultimatum to freeze its nuclear programme.
That report, delivered to the security council by the IAEA director general, Mohammed ElBaradei, sets the stage for a fierce international debate on the imposition of stricter sanctions on Iran and raises the possibility that the US could resort to military action against Iranian nuclear sites.
At times, even municipal employees were unprepared.
"Civil what?" asked the operator at the Hackensack City Hall on Tuesday. "You mean marriages?"
"A civil union?" asked the operator at Paterson City Hall. "What's that?"
From where I sit, the issue here isn't that Clinton ... isn't willing to "admit" that supporting the war resolution was a mistake. The issue is that she doesn't think it was a mistake and she doesn't want to pretend otherwise. Clinton's executive power theory of why she votes the right way ("She believes in executive authority and Congressional deference, her advisers say, and is careful about suggesting that Congress can overrule a commander in chief") seems very plausible to me. When liberals are trying to get conservatives to worry about executive power one line a lot of us use is you realize Hillary Clinton may be president some day, right? But from Clinton's point of view, she may be president some day. What's more, as someone who was First Lady for much longer than she'd been a Senator at the time of the vote, it's natural that she would have a great deal of appreciation for the president's-eye-view take on the matter.
We know, we know! We say that we hate the corporate media—but God almighty, how we love their Big Narratives! Inevitably, their stories will worm their way into our heads, and we often don’t even know how they got there; even as we denounce these media, we end up repeating their tales!
. . . . Can we tell you a dirty secret? We progressives don’t play this game very well. We thunder about that corporate media. But we’ve heard their tales again and
again, and we’re often too weak and too dumb to resist them. Inside their board
rooms, fixers laugh hard as they watch their tales pop from our heads.
Al Jazeera has uncovered evidence that Taliban fighters are now in effective control of large parts of a key province in southwest Afghanistan, despite recent claims by Nato that their bases had been destroyed.
James Bays spent three days with the Taliban in Helmand and found that the group is running schools and medical facilities, and is travelling armed and unchallenged by Nato-led forces.
Baghdad- Another US helicopter has crashed in Iraq, Al-Arabiya television reports said Thursday. The reports quoted witnesses as saying that a helicopter hadAlso, attacking them while they are packing to go, the Shi'as are bombing British bases in southern Iraq:
crashed north of Baquba, 60 kilometres north of Baghdad. None of the crew were hurt, according to the reports.
If the US military command in Baghdad confirms the report, this would be the eighth helicopter lost by the US military in Iraq within the last month.
An Iraqi security source said Thursday that two British military bases in Basra, which has a predominantly Shiite population, had been bombarded with rocket-propelled grenades in the past 24 hours.These are surely signs that Cheney is right and that things are going just splendidly in Iraq.
The two British bases, located in downtown Basra and in the city's Shat al-Arab hotel, were bombed Wednesday night and early Thursday morning, the source added.
“We’re behind the power curve, and we can’t piddle around,” Maj. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt III, commander of the Oklahoma National Guard, said in an interview. He added that one-third of his soldiers lacked the M-4 rifles preferred by active-duty soldiers and that there were also shortfalls in night vision goggles and other equipment. If his unit is going to be sent to Iraq next year, he said, “We expect the Army to resource the Guard at the same level as active-duty units.”
By Rick Jervis, USA TODAY
BAGHDAD — Britain's planned reduction in its force in southern Iraq could empower Iran and lead to more bloodshed between rival Shiite Muslim groups, analysts warned Wednesday.
The area around Basra is less violent than Baghdad, and sectarian killings are rare, in part because it is overwhelmingly Shiite. But the government's authority there is rivaled by armed groups that are "thoroughly intertwined with criminal enterprises," according to a report from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
"In the coming year, the drawdown of British forces in the deep south will likely be accompanied by an upsurge of factional violence as the long-delayed fight for local supremacy begins in earnest," said the report, written by Iraq security specialists Michael Knights and Ed Williams.
TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- As I sat down recently with a senior Iranian government official, he urgently waved a column by Thomas Friedman of The New York Times in my face, one about how the United States and Iran need to engage each other.
''Natural allies,'' this official said.
It was a surprising choice of words considering the barbs Washington and Tehran have been trading of late.
"We are not after conflict. We are not after crisis. We are not after war," said this official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "But we don't know whether the same is true in the U.S. or not. If the same is true on the U.S. side, the first step must be to end this vicious cycle that can lead to dangerous action -- war."
Well, aren’t most people likely to trust someone who seems to agree with them?
Probably, but people differ enormously in gullibility. Low RWAs are downright
suspicious of someone who agrees with them when they can see ulterior motives
might be at work. They pay attention to the circumstances in which the other fellow is operating. But authoritarians do not, when they like the message.
So (to foreshadow later chapters a little) suppose you are a completely
unethical, dishonest, power-hungry, dirt-bag, scum-bucket politician who will say
whatever he has to say to get elected. (I apologize for putting you in this role, but it will only last for one more sentence.) Whom are you going to try to lead, high RWAs or low RWAs? Isn’t it obvious? The easy-sell high RWAs will open up their arms and wallets to you if you just sing their song, however poor your credibility. Those crabby low RWAs, on the other hand, will eye you warily when your credibility is suspect because you sing their song? So the scum-bucket politicians will usually head for the right-wing authoritarians, because the RWAs hunger for social endorsement of their beliefs so much they’re apt to trust anyone who tells them they’re right. Heck, Adolf Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany running on a law-and-order platform just a few years after he tried to overthrow the government through an armed insurrection.
WASHINGTON, DC (Feb. 21) -- The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is extremely disappointed in the decision in which a divided panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that none of the prisoners at Guantanamo Naval Base have any right to challenge their indefinite imprisonment in federal court. The court ruled, in effect, that the United States can imprison people virtually forever without judicial review. These prisoners were captured by the United States, are confined in prisons built by the United States, are guarded by members of the United States Armed Forces, are subjected to interrogation by the United States intelligence services, and may be imprisoned for the rest of their lives, yet they cannot even petition a court for a writ of habeas corpus for determination whether their imprisonment was the result of a mistake.
Dissenting, Judge Judith W. Rogers reminded the majority that the United States Supreme Court has already stated that “[a]pplication of the habeas statute to persons detained at the [Guantanamo] base is consistent with the historical reach of the writ of habeas corpus." She further wrote that the D.C. court "offers no compelling analysis to compel the contrary conclusion.” The Constitution’s Suspension Clause, she said, acts as a limitation on the powers of Congress.
“The United States Supreme Court has twice ruled that the writ of habeas corpus extends to the prisoners at Guantanamo Navy Base, yet the lower courts and the Congress refuse to get this message,” said NACDL President Martin S. Pinales. “We hope the case proceeds quickly to the Supreme Court and that the court again will vindicate the historic and fundamental right to habeas corpus and uphold the right of the imprisoned to seek redress in court. Anything less is unthinkable in a democratic society that prides itself on upholding the rule of law and fidelity to the traditional values on which its legal system is based.”
NACDL also urges Congress quickly to rectify the problem it created last year in the Military Commission Act, which, by denying the Guantanamo detainees and others access to the courts, has regrettably returned us to the dark era predating not only the Geneva Conventions, but the Magna Carta.
TOKYO, Feb. 21, 2007 — British Prime Minister Tony Blair's announcement that British troops will begin withdrawing from Iraq would appear to be bad news for the Bush administration.
Blair said today that Britain will cut its forces in Iraq to 5,500 by summer, down from 7,100 currently. And additional cuts to as few as 5,000 British troops in Iraq are possible by the end of summer, Blair said.
But in an exclusive interview with ABC News, Vice President Dick Cheney said the move was actually good news and a sign of progress in Iraq.
Denmark has announced that it will pull all of its troops out of Iraq in August, as Britain unveiled a plan to scale down its forces in the country.
HAMILTON -- Charley and Susan Rouse consider themselves an environmentally conscientious couple. They recycle, use energy- conserving light bulbs and even have a compost pile in their back yard.
Last August, the couple took their environmentalism a step further by installing solar panels on their Hamilton Lakes Drive home. Energy from the sun would heat their house, saving them money while using less fossil fuels.
But in early fall, the couple got a surprise from the township in the form of a property tax increase based on the value the solar panels.
"We were surprised," said Charley Rouse. "When we asked the tax assessor about it, we were told that it's considered an improvement to the home."
According to township records, the Rouses' property assessment jumped $12,000 for the solar panels, increasing their taxes by more than $400 this year.
The extra tax, Rouse said, outweighs the savings they have been realizing on their energy bills.
JACKSON, Tenn. - A Jackson woman who contracted polio 57 years ago and continues to rely on an iron lung to breathe recently celebrated her 60th birthday, defying doctors' expectations that she could live so long and so fully. Dianne Odell, who turned 60 last week, is among only 30 to 40 people in the U.S. who depend on the devices.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Wednesday fired a top Sunni official who had called for an international investigation into the rape allegations leveled by a Sunni Arab woman against three members of the Shiite-dominated security forces.
A statement by al-Maliki's office gave no reason in announcing the dismissal of Ahmed Abdul-Ghafour al-Samaraie, head of the Sunni Endowments. Al-Samaraie, whose organization cares for Sunni mosques and shrines in Iraq, had joined other prominent Sunnis in criticizing the government's handling of the case.
Al-Samaraie, speaking from Amman in neighboring Jordan, disputed al-Maliki's right to fire him, arguing that only Iraq's Presidential Council — which comprises President Jalal Talabani and his two deputies — has that authority.
He said the woman who made the rape allegations was one of many who he said are sexually assaulted by the security forces. "Many girls are raped but they refuse to appear in the media so as not to tarnish their reputations," he said.
The 20-year-old woman said she was assaulted Sunday at a police garrison where she was taken on suspicion of helping Sunni insurgents.
Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell, the chief U.S. military spokesman, said the woman was admitted to a U.S.-run medical facility Sunday and was released the next day. He refused to divulge details of her medical treatment or examination, saying she left the hospital with her medical reports.
Al-Maliki's office released what it said was a medical report indicating no signs of rape.
Al-Maliki has said the rape allegations were being used by his critics to discredit the security forces and undermine a major, U.S.-led Baghdad crackdown. In exonerating the three officers Tuesday, al-Maliki said they should be rewarded as a sign of confidence in the force.
Al-Samaraie said Monday the rape allegations offered what he called proof of the failure of the security push in Baghdad to protect the city's residents.
"The Sunni Endowments strongly denounces this horrific crime and lets out a cry for help from the international community and human rights organizations, demanding that they launch an immediate investigation into this crime," said the statement, signed by al-Samaraie.
His dismissal is the latest move in a highly publicized and increasingly bitter tussle over the rape allegations, pitting al-Maliki's Shiite-dominated government of al-Maliki against its Sunni Arab critics. The public quarrel is fueling charges by the Sunnis that the Baghdad crackdown was targeting Sunni neighborhoods and leaving unaffected Shiite areas harboring militias blamed for sectarian killings.
WASHINGTON - Federal prosecutors counted immigration violations, marriage fraud and drug trafficking among anti-terror cases in the four years after 9/11 even though no evidence linked them to terror activity, a Justice Department audit said Tuesday.And, oh yes, why do you suppose they counted all these things as terror activity? I'm sure it was purely accidental, aren't you?
The numbers, used to monitor the department's progress in battling terrorists, are reported to Congress and the public and help, in part, shape the department's budget.
Analysis produced by the United States Intelligence Community must be "objective and independent of political considerations." This directive was issued last month by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and signed by John Negroponte, the outgoing Director of National Intelligence, and recently made public.
Labels: fixing the intelligence
WASHINGTON - Guantanamo Bay detainees may not challenge their detention in U.S. courts, a federal appeals court said Tuesday in a ruling upholding a key provision of a law at the center of President Bush's anti-terrorism plan.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled 2-1 that civilian courts no longer have the authority to consider whether the military is illegally holding foreigners.
Barring detainees from the U.S. court system was a key provision in the Military Commissions Act, which Bush pushed through Congress last year to set up a system to prosecute terrorism suspects.
Attorneys for the detainees immediately said they would appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, which last year struck down the Bush administration's original plan for trying detainees before military commissions.
The fact that so many of these attorneys, all of whom were appointed by President Bush (and thus are not susceptible to charges of liberal bias), were investigating corruption among the GOP caucuses on Capitol Hill raises some serious questions about the motivations of the Bush administration. What's more, it also raises serious questions about the media's unwillingness to cover this story with even a tenth of the fervor with which they dealt with relatively unimportant scandals like Whitewater and Monica-gate during the previous administration. Had President Clinton even considered firing a prosecutor looking into corrupt Democratic Party officials, the David Broders of the world would have been up in arms, not resting until each of the fired attorneys was restored to his or her office. But such a move by the Bush administration elicits coverage at the bottom of a story on page 11 of The Post and few other mentions from the pillars of the establishment media beyond that.
As I write this, Oprah is on Channel 4 (one of the MBC channels we get on Nilesat), showing Americans how to get out of debt. Her guest speaker is telling a studio full of American women who seem to have over-shopped that they could probably do with fewer designer products. As they talk about increasing incomes and fortunes, Sabrine Al-Janabi, a young Iraqi woman, is on Al Jazeera telling how Iraqi security forces abducted her from her home and raped her. You can only see her eyes, her voice is hoarse and it keeps breaking as she speaks. In the end she tells the reporter that she can’t talk about it anymore and she covers her eyes with shame.
She might just be the bravest Iraqi woman ever. Everyone knows American forces and Iraqi security forces are raping women (and men), but this is possibly the first woman who publicly comes out and tells about it using her actual name. Hearing her tell her story physically makes my heart ache. Some people will call her a liar. Others (including pro-war Iraqis) will call her a prostitute- shame on you in advance.
I wonder what excuse they used when they took her. It’s most likely she’s one of the thousands of people they round up under the general headline of ‘terrorist suspect’. She might have been one of those subtitles you read on CNN or BBC or Arabiya, “13 insurgents captured by Iraqi security forces.” The men who raped her are those same security forces Bush and Condi are so proud of- you know- the ones the Americans trained. It’s a chapter right out of the book that documents American occupation in Iraq: the chapter that will tell the story of 14-year-old Abeer who was raped, killed and burned with her little sister and parents.
... And yet, as the situation continues to deteriorate both for Iraqis inside and outside of Iraq, and for Americans inside Iraq, Americans in America are still debating on the state of the war and occupation- are they winning or losing? Is it better or worse.
Let me clear it up for any moron with lingering doubts: It’s worse. It’s over. You lost. You lost the day your tanks rolled into Baghdad to the cheers of your imported, American-trained monkeys. You lost every single family whose home your soldiers violated. You lost every sane, red-blooded Iraqi when the Abu Ghraib pictures came out and verified your atrocities behind prison walls as well as the ones we see in our streets. You lost when you brought murderers, looters, gangsters and militia heads to power and hailed them as Iraq’s first democratic government. You lost when a gruesome execution was dubbed your biggest accomplishment. You lost the respect and reputation you once had. You lost more than 3000 troops. That is what you lost America. I hope the oil, at least, made it worthwhile.
Valentine's Day is a day when there is a lot of talk about love and relationships so it's a good time to talk about sexual dysfunction - which could mean anything from an inability to maintain an erection, to lack of sexual desire. This failure to enjoy full intercourse is more common than most people think - affecting a significant number of men and women, at some time in their life. It can be very distressing and people are hesitant to get support because they feel embarrassed.
National Impotence Day aims to raise public and medical profession awareness of this stigmatised but common condition.
If Libby is found guilty, investigators are likely to probe further to determine if Libby devised what they consider a cover story in an effort to shield Cheney. They want to know whether Cheney might have known about the leaks ahead of time or had even encouraged Libby to provide information to reporters about Plame's CIA status, the same sources said.
Labels: CIA leak case
For the past three years, Michael J. Wagner directed the Army's largest effort to help the most vulnerable soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. His office in Room 3E01 of the world-renowned hospital was supposed to match big-hearted donors with thousands of wounded soldiers who could not afford to feed their children, pay mortgages, buy plane tickets or put up visiting families in nearby hotels.
But while he was being paid to provide this vital service to patients, outpatients and their relations, Wagner was also seeking funders and soliciting donations for his own new charity, based in Texas, according to documents and interviews with current and former staff members. Some families also said Wagner treated them callously and made it hard for them to receive assistance.
In making continency plans for war against Iran, the Pentagon is thinking big. Not just surgical strikes on the civilian nuclear energy program, but hitting virtually everything of importance in the country. The Air Force kept telling us they could bomb Vietnam into submission. They couldn't. Then it was shock and awe in Iraq. Didn't work. Just remember, it is always the Army that has to come in and clean up the mess.
AP -- In 2005, when government scientists tested 60 soft, vinyl lunch boxes, they found that one in five contained amounts of lead that medical experts consider unsafe — and several had more than 10 times hazardous levels.
But that's not what they told the public.
Instead, theConsumer Product Safety Commission released a statement that they found "no instances of hazardous levels." And they refused to release their actual test results, citing regulations that protect manufacturers from having their information released to the public.
That data was not made public until The Associated Press received a box of about 1,500 pages of lab reports, in-house e-mails and other records in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed a year ago.