Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Number of Iraqis Fleeing Country Up To 4 Million

"An estimated 4.2 million Iraqis have been uprooted from their homes, with the monthly rate of displacement climbing to over 60,000 people compared to 50,000 previously," UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokeswoman Jennifer Pagonis told journalists."
More Iraqis flee as figure tops four million: UNHCR - Yahoo! News

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Fox News, Getting Caught Too Many Times Mislabeling Disgraced Republicans, Just Doesn't Label Sen. Craig

Crooks and Liars » FOXNews Isn’t Sure What Party Senator Larry Craig Belongs To

UPDATE: As Media Matters points out, on August 27th, between 5:00pm and 11:00pm, FOXNews devoted just 3:47 seconds to the Larry Craig scandal as opposed to 8:26 from MSNBC and 20:38 from CNN.

If You Disagree with Someone, Call Them a "Terrorist"

In 2003, Iraq occupation architect Richard Perle slapped investigative journalist Seymour Hersh with the term, saying, "Look, Sy Hersh is the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist, frankly." As if filing a story about the doomed occupation of a sovereign state in the pages of the New Yorker was the same thing as flying a 747 into the World Trade Center.

In 2004, Secretary of Education Rod Paige called the National Education Association, the country's largest teachers union, "a terrorist organization" because of what Paige defined as the "obstructionist scare tactics" used by its lobbyists. Because we all know it's every educator's dream to buck the systemby blowing themselves up in front of their students.

And just this month, the Bush administration decided to employ the term to legally target the entire Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a sovereign nation's standing army numbering in the hundreds of thousands. When you want a war that badly, you'll pretty much do or say anything to get it.

So how does the Bush administration get away with crying terrorist at every opportunity? Say hello to the Military Commissions Act. Thanks to this 2006 piece of legislation, terrorism has become the basis of American foreign and domestic policy. Yes, the term has become equivalent to everything from ideologically driven violence to petty theft, and can be used to incarcerate, exterminate or character assassinate anything in sight.

AlterNet: DrugReporter: Pot Growers Are New Target in "War on Terror"

No, YOU'RE a terrorist!

Gonzales is the 11th to Resign Over U.S. Attorney Firings

This Republican Strategist Gets It, Why Don't You?

“The real question for Republicans in Washington is how low can you go, because we are approaching a level of ridiculousness,” said Mr. Reed, sounding exasperated in an interview on Tuesday morning. “You can’t make this stuff up. And the impact this is having on the grass-roots around the country is devastating. Republicans think the governing class in Washington are a bunch of buffoons who have total disregard for the principles of the party, the law of the land and the future of the country.”
A Scandal-Scarred G.O.P. Asks, ‘What Next?’ - New York Times

Republicans need to nominate a candidate with impeccable integrity to attempt to restore their party's image. Ron Paul is obviously the only choice. He lives by the principles he espouses. He does not participate in Congress' pension plan. He gives a portion of his salary back to the Treasury. His voting record shows he is not influenced by lobbyists. It's not a time for subtle changes here, Repubs. It's time to clean house. It's time for a dramatic change of course. If you're sick of looking like fools, then take the proper steps to restore your credibility. Support Ron Paul.

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Half of Militants in Iraq are Saudi, Not Iranian

"The Los Angeles Times is reporting nearly half of all foreign militants targeting U.S. troops in Iraq have come from Saudi Arabia – one of Washington's closest allies in the Middle East. U.S. officials have so far refused to publicly criticize Saudi Arabia's role in Iraq, focusing instead on Iran. Democracy Now! spoke with an L.A. Times correspondent in Iraq, Ned Parker, and Toby Jones, a former Persian Gulf analyst with the International Crisis Group and history professor at Rutgers University."
AlterNet: War on Iraq: Why Is the White House Pretending That Saudi Insurgents in Iraq Are Iranian?

Bush is trying to blame Iran, though. Just like with the 9-11 hijackers, this administration if focusing attention away from Saudi Arabia and on other nations. Does this seem suspicious to you?

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Not to Mention We Are Arming the Insurgents, Too

"The Pentagon has lost track of about 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols given to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005, according to a new government report, raising fears that some of those weapons have fallen into the hands of insurgents fighting U.S. forces in Iraq."
Weapons Given to Iraq Are Missing -

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U.S. Funds Going to Iraqi Insurgents

"Iraq's deadly insurgent groups have financed their war against U.S. troops in part with hundreds of thousands of dollars in U.S. rebuilding funds that they've extorted from Iraqi contractors in Anbar province.The payments, in return for the insurgents' allowing supplies to move and construction work to begin, have taken place since the earliest projects in 2003, Iraqi contractors, politicians and interpreters involved with reconstruction efforts said."
McClatchy Washington Bureau | 08/27/2007 | Iraqi insurgents taking cut of U.S. rebuilding money

So, in essence, we are funding the "terrorists." We are railing against Syria and Iran, but we are doing it just as bad if not worse.

Bush Officially Labels Iranian Army "Terrorist" Group

"It authorizes the United States to identify individuals, businesses, charities and extremist groups engaged in terrorist activities. The Revolutionary Guard would be the first national military branch included on the list, U.S. officials said -- a highly unusual move because it is part of a government, rather than a typical non-state terrorist organization."
Iranian Unit to Be Labeled 'Terrorist' -

Why would Bush label just the military of Iran a "terrorist group?" The military works at the behest of the government. It would be as if Germany designated the U.S. Marines a "terrorist group." It seems fishy that he would do one and not the other.

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U.S. detains Iranians in Iraq

"The Iranians, who work for Tehran's power ministry, were in the capital at the invitation of Iraqi government officials to sign an electricity supply contract, the news agency said."
U.S. detains Iranians in Iraq -

We are detaining Iranians from the power ministry who are there at the invitation of the Iraqi government. It seems to me we are more upset with Iran about the oil and gas contracts they are making with Iraq than anything else. Blindfolding and shackling invitees of the Iraqi government seems to me to be provocation. We are not attempting to improve relations with Iran, we are attempting to make them worse.

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Washington Times acknowledges reckless GOP spending

This morning, the Washington Times may have shocked its conservative readership by pointing out that Republicans, not Democrats, are responsible for today's budget mess... federal spending as a share of the economy jumped from 18.5 percent in 2001 (a recession) to 20.2 percent in 2007 (the sixth year of an expansion).
The Blue State: Washington Times acknowledges reckless GOP spending

As a percent of GDP!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

U.S. Reading SAT Scores Lowest in 13 Years

Report: Average SAT scores dip again - Yahoo! News

No child left behind. Is it even possible for this administration to fail on more of its policies?

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Japan Election Results in Loss of U.S. Military Aid

"The Democratic Party of Japan now has the most seats in the Upper House and will oppose Prime Minister Abe's plans to allow Japan's navy to continue to support the U.S. in the Indian Ocean for the war in Afghanistan, the party's leader Ichiro Ozawa said on July 31." Japan's LDP Loses Upper House to DPJ

For decades the U.S. has been working with Japan to get them to build up their military so that we didn't have to be their defacto defense. The problem has been that the Japanese constitution says that they cannot build one up and use it in foreign places. The LDP had done some things that bordered on military intervention, and was making progress on convincing its electorate that they needed to build up. However, in the July 29 election, the opposition party gained control of the Upper House of the Diet for the first time in decades. This party, the DJP, has vowed to pullback all foreign military operations, including those that are helping the U.S. right now in the Middle East.

This is yet another global election moving away from U.S. policy.

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Elections in Turkey Move Toward

This country has the 2nd largest standing military in NATO behind the U.S. The army supports a separation of mosque and state. This secular code was introduced by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkey's founder. The army has worked actively against Gul, who was just elected president, and in 1997 helped ban his Welfare Party for mixing Islam and politics. At the time, Gul and the Welfare Party, "advocated closer relations with Libya and Iran, accused Western nations of immorality and encouraged women to wear Islamic-style headscarves." This is a shift away from western ideals. Gul is Elected Turkey's President

Now Bush's foreign policy isn't directly responsible for this, but it is my belief that it has had a significant influence. Bush is NOT a uniter, he's a divider. He is not only dividing the U.S., he is making us less safe by dividing the world against us. His push to break down the walls between church and state are catching on. Other countries are taking notice, and breaking down their own walls.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Another Member of the "Family Values" Party Showing True Colors

Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested in June at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men's public restroom, according to an arrest report obtained by Roll Call Monday afternoon.
Idaho's Craig Arrested in June at Minnesota Airport - Real Clear Politics - Mid Term Elections - Elections 2008 - TIME

It seems that the louder people scream about the "immorality" of others, the more skeletons they have in their own closet...Mark Foley, Ted Haggard, Ken Mehlman, Charlie Crist, David Vitter, Strom Thurmond, Henry Hide, Bob Packwood, Newt Gingrich. The obvious solution is to accept people for who they are, and not support politicians who attempt to legislate morality.

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Great Ron Paul Video

The Army's $20,000 Quick Ship Program

"More than 90 percent of the Army's new recruits since late July have accepted a $20,000 "quick ship" bonus to leave for basic combat training by the end of September, putting thousands of Americans into uniform almost immediately. Many recruits who take the bonus -- scoring in many cases the equivalent of more than a year's pay -- leave their homes within days, recruiters said. The initiative is part of an effort by Army officials to meet year-end recruiting goals after a two-month slump earlier this year. With the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, the Army hopes the extra cash motivates those interested in joining or entices those just considering enlisting."
Many Take Army's 'Quick Ship' Bonus -

More bad side-effects of an unpopular, contrived, poorly executed war.

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US ambassador to UN: Middle East turmoil could cause world war

"Zalmay Khalilzad told the daily Die Presse the Middle East was now so disordered that it had the potential to inflame the world as Europe did during the first half of the 20th century," Reuters reports."
The Raw Story | US ambassador to UN: Middle East turmoil could cause world war

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Friday, August 24, 2007

9-11 Was the Reason for the Change to Pre-Emptive War, Right? Nope.

'00 Bush Disagrees With '07 Bush on Lessons from Vietnam

"A generation shaped by Vietnam must remember the lessons of Vietnam: When America uses force in the world, the cause must be just, the goal must be clear and the victory must be overwhelming." [Bush address to RNC convention, 8/4/00]

"The Republican presidential front-runner also says he learned “the lesson of Vietnam.” “Our nation should be slow to engage troops. But when we do so, we must do so with ferocity. We must not go into a conflict unless we go in committed to win. We can never again ask the military to fight a political war,” Bush wrote. [AP, 11/15/99, reporting on Bush’s biography A Charge To Keep]

Think Progress » Post-War Bush Forgets Pre-War Bush’s ‘Lessons Of Vietnam’

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Obama, Brownback, and Paul only Candidates Willing to Sign Transparancy Oath

"But they alone among would-be White House occupants have signed off a trans-partisan initiative that has the potential to radically transform not just the presidency but the way the federal government does business. Obama, Brownback, and Paul have all signed The Oath of Presidential Transparency, a pledge to follow through on two actions."
Reason Magazine - Calling All Presidential Candidates: Who Will Stand Up and Be Transparent?

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Powerhouse GOP firm working to undermine Iraqi PM

"A powerhouse Republican lobbying firm with close ties to the White House has begun a public campaign to undermine the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, CNN has confirmed."
Powerhouse GOP firm working to undermine Iraqi PM -

Republican lobbying firm: "You know what would be a really neat idea? Let's undermine the government of Iraq that we spent 6 years at the cost of $500 billion and nearly 4,000 American lives trying to create. All the while we'll prove we DON'T support Iraq's democratic process, and drive him to look to other, possibly more hostile, nations for help.

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Executive Branch Heads Continue to Accept Trips Paid by Firms They Regulate

"At a time when Congress has moved to ban most lobbyist-funded travel, executive- branch officials are routinely accepting trips from companies and trade associations with a stake in their agencies' decisions, according to a USA TODAY review of public records."

One of the first things the Democratic congress does when gaining a majority in 2007 was to change ethics rules to remove giveaways like this. Bush doesn't see a problem with it. Likes getting free stuff from his position of power.

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Bush is Fiscally Iraq

Mother Teresa Not a Christian?

Because she was "forever smiling", people thought "my faith, my hope and my love are overflowing and that my intimacy with God and union with his will fill my heart. If only they knew . . ."
Mother Teresa's diary reveals her crisis of faith - Telegraph

Christianity does not have a monopoly on morality.

Putin says U.S. wants to dominate world

MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin, in one of his harshest attacks on the United States in seven years in power, accused Washington on Saturday of attempting to force its will on the world.
Putin says U.S. wants to dominate world | Reuters

Bush's legacy will be re-starting the Cold War. "You're either with us, or against us." What a brilliant foreign policy!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Anti-American Sentiment Grows Worldwide

"European and world views of the United States and President George Bush have dramatically worsened since 2000; the trend has intensified since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. There has been a decline in perceptions of the United States throughout the European Union, including in such traditional U.S. allies as the United Kingdom and Poland, and in Muslim and Latin American countries, according to annual polls undertaken by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Pew Research Center and the BBC World Service."
Anti-American Sentiment Grows Worldwide -

Does this make us safer?

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Russia steps up military production amid tense relations with West

"Meanwhile, British jets were scrambled for the first time this week to intercept a long-range Russian nuclear bomber that was nearing British airspace over the north Atlantic. That follows similar action by US fighter jets, which have recently escorted Russian bombers from airspace near Alaska and Guam."
The Raw Story | Russia steps up military production amid tense relations with West

Russia is simply responding to what it perceives as geopolitical threats the US has made, literally, in its own back yard, particularly regarding missile defense shield sites in Poland and the Czech Republic (not to mention what's going on in Georgia).

The most apt description of current US foreign policy - if one can call it a "policy" - seems to be that total belligerence, then wondering, wide-eyed, why the rest of the world is so annoyed at us.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bill O'Reilly's Two Months Are Up

Bill O’Reilly, on June 20, talking about the war in Iraq:

“I’m gonna tell you that the big picture is, the Iraqis have two more months. They’ve got two more months. And if they don’t step up and help more than they’re helping — and by help, I mean, they have to pass oil legislation so everybody gets a piece of the oil pie.” He added, “Their armed forces have to fight more aggressively and bravely alongside us, and if they don’t do it in two months, it’s over.”

Crooks and Liars » Two months later

He's not going to stick to what he said, just like Neocons and their supporters aren't going to stick to any of the rhetoric or timelines they've suggested over the past 4 years. They don't even believe what they say anymore. The only thing that is important is that they don't admit they were wrong. They will keep pushing back the goalposts until they can be right, even if that means we occupy the country for 50 years. Talk about flip-flopping.

Friday, August 17, 2007

AP fact check Obama that U.S. is killing Afghans faster than insurgents...turns out he's right.

"It is hard to imagine that anyone who aspires to be commander in chief would say such a thing about our brave men and women in uniform," Duncan said. "Obama owes our armed forces an apology — today.

"THE FACT CHECK:A check of the facts shows that Western forces have been killing civilians at a faster rate than the insurgents have been killing civilians.
Fact Check: Obama on Afghanistan - Yahoo! News

In Neocon land facts aren't important, jingoism and talking like a tough guy are important.

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Political Compass: Where Are You on the Graph?

Ahmadinejad to join Chinese, Russian leaders for regional security summit

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived Wednesday in Kyrgyzstan to join the leaders of Russia and China for a summit of a regional group seen as a platform for countering U.S. interests in strategic, energy-rich Central Asia.
Ahmadinejad to join Chinese, Russian leaders for regional security summit - International Herald Tribune

Changing minds through diplomacy works. It does not work at the point of a gun. Especially in this day and age. Bush is just driving enemies together.

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Russia delivers air defence units to Syria

Russia has begun delivery of modern air defence units to Syria while rejecting speculation that some of the weapons could be forwarded secretly to Iran, a newspaper reported on Friday.
Russia delivers air defence units to Syria: Report-Rest of World-World-The Times of India

More fruits of Bush's brilliant tough-talking foreign policy. Driving Russia to back Iran and Syria and join with China...against the U.S. It appears they are answering your question about being with us or against us.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bush Has Borrowed More Than All Other 42 Presidents. Combined.

Bush borrowed more than all previous 42 Presidents. Combined. Rome, here we come:

According to the Treasury Department, from 1776-2000,
the first 224 years of U.S. history, 42 U.S. presidents borrowed a
combined $1.01 trillion from foreign governments and financial
institutions, but in the past four years alone, the Bush administration
borrowed $1.05 trillion.

By the way, that was in 2005.

Eteraz.Org » US Comptroller Slams US Economic Inequity

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Inflation is Only 2-3%...Right?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Child's Guide To United States Foreign Policy

Q: Daddy, why did we have to attack Iraq?

A: Because they had weapons of mass destruction honey.

Q: But the inspectors didn't find any weapons of mass destruction.

A: That's because the Iraqis were hiding them.

Q: And that's why we invaded Iraq?

A: Yep. Invasions always work better than inspections.

Q: But after we invaded them, we STILL didn't find any weapons of mass
destruction, did we?


Satire: A Child's Guide To United States Foreign Policy [July 19, 2003]

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Founding Fathers Intended a Christian Nation? Nope.

The Treaty of Tripoli, 1796

Signed by George Washington, ratified under John Adams.

Below is from Wikipedia:

Article 11, reads:

"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

Article 11 has been a point of contention regarding the proper interpretation of the doctrine of separation of church and state. Supporters of the separation of church and state contend that this article is significant in that it confirms that the government of the United States was specifically intended to be religiously neutral. Supporters of the "Christian Nation" theory dispute this, arguing that the article in the treaty carries little or no significance. [citation needed]

Official records show that after President John Adams sent the treaty to the Senate for ratification in May of 1797, the entire treaty was read aloud on the Senate floor, including the famous words in Article 11, and copies were printed for every Senator.

A committee considered the treaty and recommended ratification, and the treaty was ratified by a unanimous vote of all 23 Senators. The treaty was reprinted in full in three newspapers, two in Philadelphia and one in New York City. There is no record of any public outcry or complaint in subsequent editions of the papers.[2]

Treaty of Tripoli - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

When confronted with the very clear laws regarding separation, of church and tate, the Fundies love to say that the founding fathers intended the U.S. to be a Christian country, but nothing could be further from the truth. It is their attempt at revisionist history. Christians do not have a monopoly on ethics or morals. Christianity is not the only path to morality. In fact, if I look at most the its practitioners, I'd say Christianity leads people away from morality...just look at how the majority of them justify the killing of innocent Iraqis. "Who Would Jesus Bomb?", indeed.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Comptroller General of U.S. Says We Are Headed Down Rome's Path

Drawing parallels with the end of the Roman empire, Mr Walker warned there were “striking similarities” between America’s current situation and the factors that brought down Rome, including “declining moral values and political civility at home, an over-confident and over-extended military in foreign lands and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government”.

“Sound familiar?” Mr Walker said. “In my view, it’s time to learn from history and take steps to ensure the American Republic is the first to stand the test of time.

”Mr Walker’s views carry weight because he is a non-partisan figure in charge of the Government Accountability Office, often described as the investigative arm of the US Congress. / World - Learn from the fall of Rome, US warned

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In 2003-Q2, 2005 the Bush Administration spent $1.6 bil. Paying for Fake News Propaganda

Around the same time, a spat erupted between the GAO and the White House over whether the government's practice of feeding TV stations prepackaged, ready-to-air news stories that touted administration policies (but did not disclose the government as the source) amounted to "covert propaganda." The GAO said that it did. The administration disagreed, saying spreading information about federal programs is part of the agencies' mission, and that the burden of disclosure falls on the TV stations.

Your tax dollars paying to propagandize you. It's a bit like paying your hard earned money for a cable bill, then watching Fox News.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Dick Cheney '94: Invading Baghdad Would Create "Quagmire"

Iraq, Iran Sign Oil-Pipeline Deal

The Iran news network reported that the pipeline would carry oil from Iraqi oil fields to refineries in Iran.
It said the deal was signed in Tehran on August 10 by Iraqi Oil
Minister Husayn al-Shahristani and his Iranian counterpart, Kazem
Iraq, Iran Sign Oil-Pipeline Deal - RADIO FREE EUROPE / RADIO LIBERTY

Well, there goes $1 trillion. We don't even get the oil Bush was going after.

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Bush Tells Karzai That His Own Experiences in Afghanistan Are Wrong

A foreign leader from a region of supreme interest to the United States comes to Camp David to brief the American president on what is going on. The foreign leader speaks his mind, offering his best assessment of the experience he is living. Then the president tells the visitor from abroad that he is wrong.

As Bush famously declared at a policy session in 2005, "See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."
Bush to Karzai: Will You Just Shut Up About Iran?

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Iraqi Gov't Tries to Buy $40 million in Black Market Weapons Without U.S. Knowledge

"As the secretive, $40 million deal neared completion, Italian authorities moved in, making arrests and breaking it up. But key questions remain unanswered. For one thing, The Associated Press has learned that Iraqi government officials were involved in the deal, apparently without the knowledge of the U.S. Baghdad command _ a departure from the usual pattern of U.S.-overseen arms purchases."
Italy Probe Unearths Huge Iraq Arms Deal - The Huffington Post

If their own government is working against us, how can we "win"? Perhaps they just want us out.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Russia Resumes Cold War Flights (must read)

"Two Russian bombers flew thousands of miles across Pacific Ocean waters to the vicinity of Guam, site of a major U.S. military base, where U.S. jets intercepted them, the Russian air force said Thursday. The flights renewed a type of military gamesmanship that has been largely dormant in the Pacific since the Cold War ended.

"It was always a tradition for our long-range aircraft to fly far over the ocean, where pilots met American airplanes and visually greeted them," Maj. Gen. Pavel Androsov told reporters Thursday. "On Wednesday, we renewed that tradition.

"The maneuver was Moscow's latest display of a resurgent armed forces after years of decline in the 1990s. Restoring the luster of the military has been a key element of President Vladimir Putin's effort to renew Russian pride, which collapsed along with the Soviet Union.

An influx of oil money has allowed Russia to invest in new weaponry, expand its military presence in Europe and Asia, and conduct costly, elaborate exercises using aging elements of its arsenal." (emphasis mine)

Russia Says U.S. Intercepted 2 of Its Bombers Over Pacific -

Bush and the NeoCons' short-sighted, pre-emptive, bullying foreign policies, including the war for oil, are restarting the Cold War. Further, he's helping fund the other side by spending $1 trillion on annexing another country's oil, thus driving up oil prices for Russia, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia. Even further, he's bringing the other side together with new, more powerful allies, i.e. China.

You cannot put a price on integrity and credibility. Bushco has ruined what took this country generations to build. The result is that we no longer lead nations of the world by example. It is now easy for communist dictators and fascist leaders to discredit the U.S. by simply pointing toward our hypocritical wars, secret torture prisons, abuses of power, executive branch secrecy, and spying on citizens. These despots no longer need to fear their own citizens, because their citizens don't have an untarnished shining beacon on the hill to give them hope and courage to demand change.

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Musharraf set to declare state of emergency

The political crisis in Pakistan deepened last night as President Musharraf was poised to impose a state of emergency, a move that would grant him sweeping powers.
Musharraf set to declare state of emergency - Times Online

Do you feel us getting safer? Leaders of Muslim nations have a choice, cuddle up to the U.S. via the Bush Administration and get overthrown, or move policies and rhetoric away from those of the U.S. This is where Bush's bullying foreign policy has left us. They are pushing allies and potential allies away. Pakistan is a nuclear power. Pushing ideals in that country away from those of freedom and democracy at this time is not making us safer.

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Giuliani Quote in 1994: "Freedom is About Authority"

"What we don't see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do." - Rudy Giuliani 1994
'Freedom Is About Authority': Excerpts From Giuliani Speech on Crime - New York Times

This guy doesn't even understand the concept of freedom. The term freedom, when used by a politician, refers to the degree of government intervention. He contradicts the very nature of the term in his twisted attempt at consolidating more power for himself.

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Thursday, August 9, 2007

Who Controls the U.S.'s Foreign Policy? Its Bank, of Course...China (must read)

"No country on earth, except for Israel, supports the Bush regimes’ desire to attack Iran. It is China’s decision whether it calls in the US ambassador, and delivers the message that there will be no attack on Iran or further war unless the US is prepared to buy back $900 billion in US Treasury bonds and other dollar assets."
Paul Craig Roberts: Digging a Hole to China

Please read this article if you'd like to understand the financial position of the U.S. The author is not a Bush-hating liberal. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He's just a guy that understands that when you go in debt, you're not free. You act at the behest of your bank. He understands that we are not more safe as a result of Bush's policies, we are less safe.

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Great Article on Ron Paul

"Paul's campaign recently scheduled several last-minute events in South Carolina with a few days notice. They drew 450 people at one and over 1,000 at another. Front-runner Rudy Giuliani would love to draw those kinds of crowds."
Ron Paul Quietly Converting GOP Believers - Markets - Market Features

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The CIA's Secret Interrogation Sites

“The C.I.A.’s interrogation program is remarkable for its mechanistic aura. ‘It’s one of the most sophisticated, refined programs of torture ever,’ an outside expert familiar with the protocol said. ‘At every stage, there was a rigid attention to detail. Procedure was adhered to almost to the letter. There was top-down quality control, and such a set routine that you get to the point where you know what each detainee is going to say, because you’ve heard it before. It was almost automated. People were utterly dehumanized. People fell apart. It was the intentional and systematic infliction of great suffering masquerading as a legal process. It is just chilling.’..
A Reporter at Large: The Black Sites: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker

If they have torture down to a science, where they can get them to say whatever they wish, what is its value? Is the worthless information we are getting from these people worth the value of our country's international reputation and credibility?

U.S. Now Attempting to Help Fight Afghanistan's Drug War

The United States plans on Thursday to unveil a strategy to fight Afghanistan's drug trade by giving provincial governors more money to eradicate poppy crops and pursue economic development, U.S. officials said.
U.S. to unveil new anti-drug strategy for Afghanistan - Yahoo! News

This is what my tax money is being spent on now? A War on Drugs in Afghanistan? It's worked so well here, of course it will work well there...

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British Commander Asks American Special Forces to Leave His Area Due to High Number of Civilians They've Killed

A senior British commander in southern Afghanistan said in recent weeks that he had asked that American Special Forces leave his area of operations because the high level of civilian casualties they had caused was making it difficult to win over local people.
British Criticize U.S. Air Attacks in Afghan Region - New York Times

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Timeline of Predictions for Iraq in "The Next Few Months" (must see)

After Four Years of Certainty, McCain ‘Not Positive We Can Win’ In Iraq

– “Because I know that as successful as I believe we will be, and I believe that the success will be fairly easy, we will still lose some American young men or women.” [CNN, 9/24/02]

– “But the point is that, one, we will win this conflict. We will win it easily.” [MSNBC, 1/22/03]

– “[I]t’s going to be long, tough, very difficult, but … we can win.” [PBS, 11/10/05]

– “I believe that we can succeed and I believe the consequences of failure are catastrophic.” [CBS, 4/8/07]

– “We’re going to win. We will. We will never surrender.” [AP, 4/18/07]

- “I’m not positive we can win this fight,” he told about 150 people at a $50-a-person fundraiser in a Highland Township barn. “But I believe we’re winning. [8/8/07]

Think Progress » After Four Years of Certainty, McCain ‘Not Positive We Can Win’ In Iraq

Too many NeoCon Republicans are coming to this realization much too late. Too many people have died while these guys struggle with their bruised egos over their own lack of wisdom, or their fear of looking "weak on terrorism." We need a leader who has the wisdom to foresee these problems BEFORE they occur, then the courage to back it up with a strong and loud voice. Only then can we save our country trillions of dollars, thousands of lives, and its lost diplomatic credibility. Ron Paul is that man.

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35W bridge collapse was predicted, well documented and totally avoidable

State bridge inspectors warned for nearly a decade before its collapse that the Interstate 35W bridge had "severe" and "extensive" corrosion of its beams and trusses, "widespread cracking" in spans and missing or broken bolts.Not only was the superstructure in poor condition, but certain components were "beyond tolerable limits," and one of the bridge's piers had "tilted to the north," they reported.
I-35W inspectors flagged serious cracks, rusting

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Romney: No Army For My Sons...They Show Patriotism By "Helping Me Get Elected"

BETTENDORF, Iowa — Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Wednesday defended his five sons' decision not to enlist in the military, saying they're showing their support for the country by "helping me get elected."Romney, who did not serve in Vietnam due to his Mormon missionary work and a high draft lottery number, was asked the question by an anti-war activist after a speech in which he called for "a surge of support" for U.S. forces in Iraq.
Romney Speaks Up for Sons' Decisions - The Huffington Post

Typical chickenhawk. War is OK as long as I don't have to suffer directly, personally. At one point Romney called the War on Terror the singularly most important fight in our country's history. You'd think if he truly believed it, and if his sons believed it (as apparently they do, as they're working for his campaign), they'd join up.

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The Results of Embedded Journalism in WWII: The Hiroshima Cover-Up

"Then the U.S. military unleashed a secret propaganda weapon: It deployed its own Times man. It turns out that William L. Laurence, the science reporter for The New York Times, was also on the payroll of the War Department....Mr. Laurence had a front-page story in the Times disputing the notion that radiation sickness was killing people. His news story included this remarkable commentary: "The Japanese are still continuing their propaganda aimed at creating the impression that we won the war unfairly, and thus attempting to create sympathy for themselves and milder terms.
Thus, at the beginning, the Japanese described 'symptoms' that did not ring true."Mr. Laurence won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the atomic bomb, and his faithful parroting of the government line was crucial in launching a half-century of silence about the deadly lingering effects of the bomb."
The Hiroshima Cover-Up

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Movie: "Day Zero" Starring Elijah Wood and the guy from American Pie

"Drafted...30 Days to Report for Duty"
Day Zero | a feature film

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US Hegemony Spawns Russian-Chinese Military Alliance (must read)

"This week the Russian and Chinese militaries are conducting a joint military exercise involving large numbers of troops and combat vehicles. The former Soviet Republics of Tajikistan, Kyrgkyzstan, and Kazakstan are participating. Other countries appear ready to join the military alliance. This new potent military alliance is a real world response to neoconservative delusions about US hegemony. Neocons believe that the US is supreme in the world and can dictate its course."
US Hegemony Spawns Russian-Chinese Military Alliance by Paul Craig Roberts

This is key. The concepts of "pre-emptive war", a "Coaliton of the Willing" (rather than a real coalition), and nation-building are hegemonic activities. These go-it-alone, bullying tactics make nations suspicious of our intentions, and ruined our credibility worldwide. As a result, nations which are serious threats to us are making alliances, improving their relations, and signing treaties to counter the threat from the U.S. Previously, they had talked to us, and not to each other. Our influence to make change in the world, based on the example we set, was strong because we had relative honesty and integrity with our foreign policy dealings. Now, our ability to convince these countries that they should move more toward freedom, democracy, and capitalism is seriously injured. A world where Russia and China are looking toward each other for advice about how to run their governments vs. looking toward the U.S. makes the world and the U.S. less safe. The human, intelligence, military, and resources of these countries make Iraq and Iran look insignificant.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

35W Bridge Hero Turns Down Meeting with Bush

Among the dozens of wrenching accounts to come out of the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis, the actions of 20-year-old Jeremy Hernandez were a bright spot: Trapped in a tipping school bus with 50 children, he kicked open the back door and began helping them one by one to safety.

U.S. Military Endorses End of Days Reglious Fanaticism for Troops

"With the endorsement of the Defense Department, OSU is mailing "Freedom Packages" to soldiers serving in Iraq. These are not your grandfather's care packages, however. Besides pairs of white socks and boxes of baby wipes (included at the apparent suggestion of Iran-Contra felon Oliver North, according to OSU) OSU's care packages contain the controversial Left Behind: Eternal Forces video game. The game is inspired by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins' bestselling pulp fiction series about a blood-soaked Battle of Armageddon pitting born-again Christians against anybody who does not adhere to their particular theology. In LaHaye's and Jenkins' books, the non-believers are ultimately condemned to "everlasting punishment" while the evangelicals are "raptured" up to heaven."
Kill Or Convert, Brought To You By the Pentagon

What's happening to our separation between church and state? Further, why are we bringing that into a Muslim country? Notice the use of the words "crusade" by the members of this group.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Troop Levels at All-Time High

Remember when we were told the surge would be 2000-4000 troops? Another lie.

The Raw Story | US troop levels in Iraq reach all-time high
US troop levels in Iraq have hit their highest point of the more than four year old war, with the numbers swelling to nearly 162,000 because of overlapping unit rotations, a Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday.

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Newt Gingrich calls War on Terror "Phony"

Instead of the current strategy to fight terrorism, Gingrich said we should focus on energy independence. "We have to have a national energy strategy, which basically says to the Saudis, 'We’re not going to rely on you.'"
Political Radar: Gingrich calls War on Terror "Phony"

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Gambling Site's Odds of a Ron Paul Victory Have Increased from 100-1 to 15-1 to 8-1 in Just a Few Months

Monthly War Cost exceeding Vietnam's

"The war in Iraq is costing the United States more per month than the Vietnam war cost per month on average over its eight-year term. In real dollars, adjusted for inflation."
Monthly War Cost exceeding Vietnam's - Free Market News Network

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What Isn't $1 Trillion Buying?

Monday, August 6, 2007

Warren Buffett Pays Lower Tax Rate Than His Secretary

Warren Buffett, the world's third-richest man, blasted the U.S. tax system earlier this summer because he pays a lower rate of taxes than his secretary. Buffett said, without trying to avoid taxes, he paid 17.7 percent on the $46-million he made in 2006 while his secretary who made $60,000 was taxed at 30 percent.
Opinion: America is taxing for all but the very rich

Again, more lying by Republicans. They cry and whine about how taxes are too high on the rich. They don't like progressive taxes. It's simply not true. And Warren, apparently, isn't even trying to avoid taxes. Most other rich folks do, so their tax rate is even lower.

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Bush said he would veto a bill that would increase the national bridge and highway maintenance budget from $4 billion to $5 billion.

"American prisons employ more people than Ford, G.M., and Wal-Mart combined. With 5% of the world population, the U.S. has 25% of its prisoners... "

Glenn C. Loury: Why Are So Many Americans in Prison?

They hate us for our freedom, right?

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FBI uses warrant to search home of Justice Department attorney who blew whistle on warrantless wiretap program

Sunday, August 5, 2007

China tells living Buddhas to obtain permission before they reincarnate

Tibet’s living Buddhas have been banned from reincarnation without permission from China’s atheist leaders. The ban is included in new rules intended to assert Beijing’s authority over Tibet’s restive and deeply Buddhist people.
China tells living Buddhas to obtain permission before they reincarnate - Times Online

Ya just can't make this stuff up. It's like a damn headline from The Onion.

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Friday, August 3, 2007

Ron Paul: The Elephant in The Room

"Ron Paul’s rivals for the Republican presidential nomination say
his opposition to the Iraq war makes him a traitor to his party.
He says it makes him the only genuine Republican in the race."

Good article on Dr. Paul.

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ABC News: GOP's Ron Paul Has Unusual Appeal

"Ron Paul's Presidential Bid Draws Legions of Fans, but Widespread Support Remains Elusive"
ABC News: GOP Long Shot Draws Die-Hard Support

ABC, why is the popularity of someone who is fiscally conservative and somewhat socially liberal "unusual." Don't the majority of Americans fit into that category?

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Gates On Iraq: "We Probably All Underestimated...How Difficult It Would Be"

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today that he was discouraged by the departure of the major Sunni Arab bloc from Iraq’s coalition government, and noted that the Bush administration may have misjudged the difficulty of achieving reconciliation among Iraq’s sectarian factions.
Gates Offers Blunt Assessment of Iraqi Progress - New York Times

No, Mr. Gates. Many of us knew with all likelihood what we were getting into. Further, we knew with all likelihood the cost estimates you gave us were complete bullshit. We knew this because we had a perfect example in our country's recent past to learn from. You told us we were wrong when we said it would likely be a quagmire. We were right. You were wrong. We "all" did NOT underestimate this. You did.

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Water taps run dry in Baghdad during peak summer heat

"Much of the Iraqi capital was without running water Thursday and had been for at least 24 hours, compounding the urban misery in a war zone and the blistering heat at the height of the Baghdad summer." - World - Water taps run dry in Baghdad during peak summer heat

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Hmmm...I Wonder if the Bridge Will Be Rebuilt by the Time the 2008 Republican Convention is in Town

2008 Republican National Convention - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pawlenty will flip-flop on his decision to fund roadway construction. It may not be the 5 cent gas tax, but he'll get it built. Probably just by borrowing the funds, which is how Republicans always get big spending funded. Taxing future generations so that they can keep their no new taxes promises to currently living voters.

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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Congressional Budget Office: Iraq to Cost $1 Trillion

"The war in Iraq could ultimately cost well over a trillion dollars — at least double what has already been spent — including the long-term costs of replacing damaged equipment, caring for wounded troops, and aiding the Iraqi government, according to a new government analysis."
Crooks and Liars » CBO: Iraq war to cost $1 trillion

Some estimates show the cost of updating our nation's infrastructure is $1.7 trillion.

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DOJ/White House tried to fire US Attorney after he refused to "back off" a successful lawsuit against big pharma

"The night before the government secured a guilty plea from the manufacturer of the addictive painkiller OxyContin, a senior Justice Department official called the U.S. attorney handling the case and, at the behest of an executive for the drugmaker, urged him to slow down, the prosecutor told the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday."
U.S. Attorney Became Target After Rebuffing Justice Dept. -

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Video Footage: Repub. Tells Us Cost of Iraq War $1.7 bil.

Not Even the FBI Takes Drug Use Seriously for Its Hiring, Yet is in Charge of Enforcing Drug Laws

"Aspiring FBI agents who once dabbled in marijuana use won't be barred from getting a job with the elite crime-fighting agency, which has loosened its drug policy amid a campaign to hire hundreds of agents."
FBI drug standard lowered for hiring -

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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

US 'loses' 190,000 weapons in Iraq

According to its July 31 report, the military “cannot fully account for about 110,000 AK-47 assault rifles, 80,000 pistols, 135,000 items of body armour and 115,000 helmets reported as issued to Iraqi forces”.
US 'loses' 190,000 weapons in Iraq |

Another example of how we are really making things worse, while we are trying to make them better.

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