Saturday, August 13, 2005SCIENCE!
Satellite and weather-balloon research released Friday removes a last bastion of scientific doubt about global warming, researchers say.
Surface temperatures have shown small but steady increases since the 1970s, but the tropics had shown little atmospheric heating - and even some cooling. Now, after sleuthing reported in three papers released by the journal Science, revisions have been made to that atmospheric data.
Climate expert Ben Santer of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, lead author of one of the papers, says that those fairly steady measurements in the tropics have been a key argument "among people asking, 'Why should I believe this global warming hocus-pocus?' "
After examining the satellite data, collected since 1979 by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather satellites, Carl Mears and Frank Wentz of Remote Sensing Systems in Santa Rosa, Calif., found that the satellites had drifted in orbit, throwing off the timing of temperature measures. Essentially, the satellites were increasingly reporting nighttime temperatures as daytime ones, leading to a false cooling trend. The team also found a math error in the calculations.
"Our hats are off to (them). They found a real source of error," says atmospheric scientist John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville, whose team produced the lower temperature estimates.
When examining the balloon data, Yale University researchers found that heating from tropical sunlight was skewing the temperatures reported by sensors, making nights look as warm as days.
Once corrected, the satellite and balloon temperatures align with other surface and upper-atmosphere measures, as well as climate change models, Santer says.
Global warming's pace over the past 30 years has actually been quite slow, a total increase of about 1 degree Fahrenheit. It is predicted to accelerate in this century.
Mark Herlong of the George C. Marshall Institute declined to comment. The group, financed by the petroleum industry, has used the data disparities to dispute the views of global-warming activists. In recent years, however, the institute has softened its public statements, acknowledging that the planet is indeed getting warmer but still maintaining that the change is happening so slowly that the impact is minimal.
Friday, August 12, 2005drove right past. Yet another chance to look like an actual human being shot down.
Bush gets first look at anti-war protest near ranch
By Patricia Wilson Fri Aug 12, 3:51 PM ET
CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) -
President George W. Bush got his first look at an anti-war vigil near his ranch on Friday as his motorcade took him by the protest site lined with small white crosses representing fallen American soldiers in
When Bush's black sport utility vehicle carried him past the site to a Republican fund-raiser, the protest leader, Cindy Sheehan, whose son was one of the nearly 1,850 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, held up a sign that said: "Why do you make time for donors and not for me?"
Other signs said: "Iraq is Arabic for Vietnam," "Bring Them Home Now" and "Meet With Cindy."
The protest vigil began last Saturday and is being led by Sheehan, who has been demanding a meeting with Bush to discuss her opposition to the Iraq war.
Two rows of state troopers faced several dozen activists behind a cordon of yellow police tape as Bush's 15-vehicle motorcade cruised by without slowing.
About two hours later, the president passed by on the return trip and did not stop. Sheehan raised a white cross as the convoy passed.
Bush left his ranch to go to Stan and Kathy Hickey's Broken Spoke Ranch for a barbecue lunch to raise more than $2 million for the
Republican National Committee. The 230 people attending were among the party's biggest donors.
Hundreds of small white wooden crosses -- each hand-painted with the name of a fallen soldier -- have been erected along the side of Prairie Chapel Road leading to the Bush ranch.
Sheehan's son, Casey, was killed in combat in Iraq in April 2004 and she met with Bush in June 2004, but she wants another meeting. The White House has refused.
With Americans increasingly questioning the U.S. involvement in Iraq, Bush tried to address Sheehan's concerns on Thursday.
"Listen, I sympathize with Mrs. Sheehan," Bush told reporters. "She feels strongly about her position. And she has every right in the world to say what she believes. This is America."
He said he has thought "long and hard" about her demand to "get out of Iraq now" and strongly disagreed, saying a premature withdrawal would betray the Iraqis just as they are being trained to defend themselves and allow for a U.S. pullout.
Sheehan's group, Gold Star Families for Peace, released a protest ad that the organization said would run on cable television channels near Bush's ranch during August.
"Mr. President, I want to tell you face to face how much this hurts. I love my country, but how many more of our loved ones need to die in this senseless war? How many more soldiers have to die before we say enough?" she said in the ad.
The total ad buy was put at $15,000. Representative Ron Paul on the passage of CAFTA. This makes me sick to my stomach. I don't really think there's any question that the major parties are trying to loot us for everything we have.
The Poison Sausage Factory
Congress passed a multinational trade bill known as CAFTA last week, but not without a feverish late night vote marred by controversy and last-minute vote switching. Leaving aside the arguments for or against CAFTA itself, the process by which the bill ultimately passed should sicken every American who believes in representative government.
Late-night arm-twisting by House leaders to get votes is of course nothing new. We witnessed far worse when Congress passed the ruinous Medicare prescription drug bill in the dead of night two years ago. Yet even after months of unprecedented wheeling and dealing by corporate lobbyists, congressional leaders, and the White House, the Washington establishment still failed to pass CAFTA in the US House. That’s right, when the 15-minute voting period expired last Wednesday evening, CAFTA seemingly had been defeated.
Here’s how. As the vote progressed, the tally was neck and neck. When the 15-minute period ended, CAFTA had gone down in flames. But pro-CAFTA forces were so determined to get what they wanted, they broke the rules. House leadership ignored the time limit and kept twisting arms and making deals until they finally had the votes to pass CAFTA nearly an hour later.
What kind of deals? Well, one member of House leadership told reluctant legislators, “We've got to have you; you tell us what you want.” And tell they did. Lawmakers in textile producing states were bought off with promises of textile subsidies. Lawmakers in sugar-producing states were bought off with promises of special treatment in the 2007 farm bill. On and on it went, with promises of new bridges, parks, and whatever else it took to pass CAFTA.
Rest assured that you will pay dearly for these bribes used to buy votes. Every favor granted and every pet project funded comes on top of the pork-laden appropriations bills already passed in the House this year. These new goodies will be added to the final House-Senate versions passed later this year. One of my colleagues estimated that the price tag for buying the CAFTA vote will be at least $50 billion. That’s right, $50 billion to win a vote. Is this what you want from your representatives in office?
Perhaps the strangest vote buyoff occurred two days before the CAFTA vote. Lawmakers from hard-hit manufacturing districts steadfastly have opposed CAFTA, arguing that it would accelerate the outsourcing of jobs to nations with cheap labor. So House leaders scrambled to craft last-minute legislation to “get tough” on China, which is the real source of concern for most American manufacturers. A bill was drawn up, and a hasty vote cast, so lawmakers could explain that they traded a yes vote on CAFTA for action against China. One small problem presented itself, however: the China bill failed on the House floor! So House leaders went back to the drawing board, struck some and held a second vote on the same bill the next day. This time it passed, but its chances of surviving the Senate or a White House veto are virtually nil. So members from manufacturing districts literally sold their votes for nothing. Their months of double-talking, coyness, and vote peddling resulted in nothing more than an empty promise.
The president’s press secretary called the CAFTA vote “a real victory for the American people.” The problem is the vast majority of Americans have not even heard of CAFTA, and those who have overwhelmingly oppose it. CAFTA was conceived and created by corporate interests, and to claim otherwise is preposterous. The CAFTA vote had nothing to do with the American public, or even trade policy per se. CAFTA was driven by politics and nothing more. Multinational corporations and political globalists share the same goals, namely the centralization of political power in international bodies and the diminution of national sovereignty. What we witnessed last week was not just the selling of votes, but also a sellout of American control over our own trade regulations. incredible piece from Truthout that describes the efforts of soldiers to stop this insane war, as well as the trials that Cindy Sheehan is undergoing with her supporters in Crawford right this moment. I highly recommend that you read the whole thing; I was very moved.
The Murder of Casey Sheehan
By Marjorie Cohn
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Friday 12 August 2005
For seven days, Cindy Sheehan has been camped down the road from George Bush's Crawford ranch where the President is on a five-week vacation. Cindy says she will never enjoy a vacation again. Her heart is broken. Her precious son Casey was murdered in George Bush's war on Iraq.
Cindy Sheehan is a patient woman. She will wait until Bush comes out and talks to her. She will wait until the man who ordered the invasion of a country that posed no threat to us explains why Casey did not die in vain.
Her skin parched by the blazing sun, her throat inflamed from the intermittent rains and the 200 interviews she has given, Cindy will wait.
I first met Cindy at a support rally in San Diego for Pablo Paredes, who was on trial for refusing to deploy with a ship that was loaded with 300 Marines and bound for Iraq. "I was told my son was killed in the war on terror," Cindy told the crowd. "He was killed by George Bush's war of terror on the world." People wept quietly as they viewed Casey's baby picture. Cindy always carries it with her.
Camilo Mejia also came to support Pablo at his court-martial. The son of the famed Sandinista troubadour Carlos Mejia Godoy, Camilo had lived in three countries in two years before coming to the United States. He joined the US Army because he was promised an education, a community, camaraderie, and friendship. But after five months in Iraq, where he witnessed the killing of innocent civilians as well as his own comrades, in a war he came to believe was illegal, Camilo refused to return to Iraq. He was court-martialed, convicted of desertion with intent to avoid hazardous duty, and served nine months in prison.
Camilo accompanied Cindy and nine other veterans to Crawford on the Impeachment Tour bus. The harassment started as soon as they arrived, Camilo told me. The sheriffs warned Cindy she would be arrested if she didn't walk in the 3-foot ditch on the side of the road. "It was horrible," Camilo said. "It was right next to a barbed wire fence; the terrain was uneven." The cops and the reporters walked on the road, but Cindy and her supporters had to walk in the ditch.
Some of the vets gave speeches. They talked about conscientious objection and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). "It was very emotional because the war is still going on," said Camilo. "We are still dealing with our demons." One-quarter of American soldiers who return from Iraq will likely develop PTSD. Some experts believe 100,000 will suffer from mental problems.
Camilo was moved by Cindy's courage. "She is an ordinary person who did something really extraordinary."
Bill Mitchell's son Mike was killed in Iraq in the same battle with Casey Sheehan. Bill is in Crawford with Cindy. "My life's been devastated," Bill told the editor of the Iconoclast. "It's been turned upside down. Very few aspects of my life have a similarity to the past. It just kind of churns you up, shakes you out, and drops you off. I'm doing much better than I have been."
"The death of any child is a devastating event for a parent," Bill said. "A piece of your heart dies when your child dies. So I just want to stop this. I don't want to hear about anybody else dying, American or Iraqi."
It is coming together with other families of the slain that empowers Bill. "I met Cindy shortly after our sons' deaths," he said. "We did some military speak-out events together. I realized there was a power in her speaking and in her stories."
Cindy Sheehan wants to ask Bush, "Why did you kill my son? What did my son die for? Last week, he said my son died for a 'noble cause' and I want to ask him what that noble cause is."
Cindy's grief is still raw. She visits the Defense Department web site each morning to see who else died in Bush's war while she was sleeping. "And that rips my heart open, because I know there is another mother whose life is going to be ruined that day. So we can't even begin to heal."
Bush claims we must stay in Iraq to honor the sacrifices of those who have fallen. Cindy says, "Why should I want one more mother to go through what I've gone through, because my son is dead ... the only way he can honor my son's sacrifice is to bring the rest of the troops home - to make my son's death count for peace and love, and not war and hatred like he stands for."
Cindy challenges Bush to level with her: "You tell me the truth. You tell me that my son died for oil. You tell me that my son died to make your friends rich. You tell me my son died to spread the cancer of Pax Americana, imperialism in the Middle East. You tell me that, you don't tell me my son died for freedom and democracy."
When questioned about the war, Bush invokes his mantra of September 11. "Yeah, but were any of those people in Iraq?" Cindy asks. "And the people who flew those planes into the Trade Center, were they from Iraq?"
"I don't believe [Bush's] phony excuses for the war," Cindy told a CBS reporter. "I want him to tell me why my son died." She said, "If he gave the real answer, people in this country would be outraged - if he told people it was to make his buddies rich, that it was about oil."
Many members of Gold Star Families for Peace, a group Cindy co-founded, Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), and Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) are in Crawford with Cindy. Both IVAW and MFSO are calling for the United States to immediately and unilaterally withdraw from Iraq.
Only 38 percent of Americans approve of Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, according to a recent Associated Press-Ipsos poll. That number could decrease as Cindy's patient protest continues.
Okay, yeah, carry on. Here's the story:
GOP Paying Legal Bills of Bush Official
He's Charged With Conspiring to Keep Democrats From VotingBy JOHN SOLOMON
James Tobin's indictment accuses him of specifically calling a GOP consultant to get a telephone firm to help in the calling scheme.
WASHINGTON (Aug. 11) - Despite a zero-tolerance policy on tampering with voters, the Republican Party has quietly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide private defense lawyers for a former Bush campaign official charged with conspiring to keep Democrats from voting in New Hampshire.
James Tobin, the president's 2004 campaign chairman for New England, is charged in New Hampshire federal court with four felonies accusing him of conspiring with a state GOP official and a GOP consultant in Virginia to jam Democratic and labor union get-out-the-vote phone banks in November 2002.
A telephone firm was paid to make repeated hang-up phone calls to overwhelm the phone banks in New Hampshire and prevent them from getting Democratic voters to the polls on Election Day 2002, prosecutors allege. Republican John Sununu won a close race that day to be New Hampshire's newest senator.
At the time, Tobin was the RNC's New England regional director, before moving to President Bush's 2004 re-election campaign.
A top New Hampshire Party official and a GOP consultant already have pleaded guilty and cooperated with prosecutors. Tobin's indictment accuses him of specifically calling the GOP consultant to get a telephone firm to help in the scheme.
"The object of the conspiracy was to deprive inhabitants of New Hampshire and more particularly qualified voters ... of their federally secured right to vote," states the latest indictment issued by a federal grand jury on May 18.
Since charges were first filed in December, the RNC has spent more than $722,000 to provide Tobin, who has pleaded innocent, a team of lawyers from the high-powered Washington law firm of Williams & Connolly. The firm's other clients include Bill and Hillary Clinton and former Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros.
The GOP's filings with the FEC list the payments to Williams & Connolly without specifying they were for Tobin's defense. Political parties have wide latitude on how they spend their money, including on lawyers.
Republican Party officials said they don't ordinarily discuss specifics of their legal work, but confirmed to The Associated Press they had agreed to underwrite Tobin's defense because he was a longtime supporter and that he assured them he had committed no crimes.
"Jim is a longtime friend who has served as both an employee and an independent contractor for the RNC," a spokeswoman for the RNC, Tracey Schmitt, said Wednesday. "This support is based on his assurance and our belief that Jim has not engaged in any wrongdoing."
The Republican Party has repeatedly and pointedly disavowed any tactics aimed at keeping citizens from voting since allegations of voter suppression surfaced during the Florida recount in 2000 that tipped the presidential race to Bush.
Earlier this week, RNC chairman Ken Mehlman, the former White House political director, reiterated a "zero-tolerance policy" for any GOP official caught trying to block legitimate votes.
"The position of the Republican National Committee is simple: We will not tolerate fraud; we will not tolerate intimidation; we will not tolerate suppression. No employee, associate or any person representing the Republican Party who engages in these kinds of acts will remain in that position," Mehlman wrote Monday to a group that studied voter suppression tactics.
Dennis Black and Dane Butswinkas, two Williams & Connolly lawyers for Tobin, did not return calls Wednesday seeking comment. Brian Tucker, a New Hampshire lawyer on the team, declined comment.
Tobin's lawyers have attacked the prosecution, suggesting evidence was improperly introduced to the grand jury, that their client originally had been promised he wouldn't be indicted and that he was improperly charged under one of the statutes.
Tobin stepped down from his Bush-Cheney post a couple of weeks before the November 2004 election after Democrats suggested he was involved in the phone bank scheme. He was charged a month after the election.
Paul Twomey, a volunteer lawyer for New Hampshire Democrats who are pursuing a separate lawsuit involving the phone scheme, said he was surprised the RNC was willing to pay Tobin's legal bills and that it suggested more people may be involved.
"It originally appeared to us that there were just certain rogue elements of the Republican Party who were willing to do anything to win control of the U.S. Senate, including depriving Americans of their ability to vote," Twomey said.
"But now that the RNC actually is bankrolling Mr. Tobin's defense, coupled with the fact that it has refused some discovery in the civil case, really raises the questions of who are they protecting, how high does this go and who was in on this," Twomey said.
Federal prosecutors have secured testimony from the two convicted conspirators in the scheme directly implicating Tobin.
Charles McGee, the New Hampshire GOP official who pleaded guilty, told prosecutors he informed Tobin of the plan and asked for Tobin's help in finding a vendor who could make the calls that would flood the phone banks.
Allen Raymond, a former colleague of Tobin who operated a Virginia-based telephone services firm, told prosecutors Tobin called him in October 2002, explained the telephone plan and asked Raymond's company to help McGee implement it.
Raymond's lawyer told the court that Tobin made the request for help in his official capacity as the top RNC official for New England and his client believed the RNC had sanctioned the activity.
Thursday, August 11, 2005through the media and still can't directly speak of the Sheehans. What a coward.
Bush to mother who lost son in Iraq: 'I grieve'
By Steve Holland 1 hour, 32 minutes ago
CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) -
President George W. Bush said on Thursday he sympathized with a mother who lost a son in
Iraq and has been leading a protest vigil near his ranch, but that he would not pull U.S. troops from Iraq now as she has demanded.
"I grieve for every death," Bush said as Cindy Sheehan remained camped out about five miles away. For six days she has been demanding Bush meet with her about her son, Casey Austin Sheehan, an Army specialist killed in combat in Baghdad in April 2004.
"It breaks my heart to think about a family weeping over the loss of a loved one. I understand the anguish that some feel about the death that takes place," Bush said.
But, he added, "pulling the troops out would send a terrible signal to the enemy."
White House officials said Bush had no plans to meet with Sheehan, saying he met with her in June 2004. National security adviser
Stephen Hadley and deputy White House chief of staff Joe Hagin met her on Saturday, the day she started her vigil.
Hadley told reporters on Thursday that Bush understands Sheehan's views on Iraq are deeply felt, but that "he just respectfully disagrees." The White House released a list showing Bush has held 24 meetings with 900 family members of 272 troops killed in Iraq and
Afghanistan since January 2002.
In response, Sheehan said the best way Bush can show compassion is by meeting with her and other mothers and family members gathered alongside Prairie Chapel Road in Crawford.
"Our sons made the ultimate sacrifice and we want answers. All we're asking is that he sacrifice an hour out of his five-week vacation to talk to us, before the next mother loses her son in Iraq. He says he is spreading peace. How can you spread peace by killing people?" she said in a statement issued through Fenton Communications, a public relations firm.
Sheehan, 48, of Vacaville, California, and her supporters hope if they speak out, more Americans will demand that U.S. troops are brought home from Iraq.
Bush answered questions at his Texas ranch after meeting with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice, Vice President
Dick Cheney, Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and national security adviser Stephen Hadley.
Bush said he had made no final decision on increasing U.S. troop strength in Iraq to help improve security during October elections, but he noted pointedly that having more troops in place helped provide stability during the Iraq elections last January and during Afghanistan elections.
"It seemed to have helped create security, and I know the secretary of defense is analyzing that possibility," Bush told reporters.
The United States has roughly 138,000 troops in Iraq.
Pentagon officials have said the number could go up this fall to bolster security for the Iraqi elections.
He sought to not raise Americans' hopes about substantial troop reductions next year, although military officials have talked openly about the possibility.
And Bush said he believed Iraqis would meet an August 15 deadline for drafting a constitution.
But with Americans increasingly questioning the U.S. involvement in Iraq, Bush tried to address Sheehan's concerns and maintain U.S. support for the troops.
"Listen, I sympathize with Mrs. Sheehan," Bush said. "She feels strongly about her position. And she has every right in the world to say what she believes. This is America."
He said he has thought "long and hard" about her demand to "get out of Iraq now" and strongly disagreed, saying a premature withdrawal would betray the Iraqis just as they are being trained to defend themselves and allow for a U.S. pullout.
"Oh, I know it's hard for some Americans to see that progress, but we are making progress. ... Withdrawing before the mission is complete would send a signal to those who wonder about the United States' commitment to spreading freedom," he said. this article correctly (and I'm quoting verbatim):
Testimonial privileges require a court to weigh the government's evidence as to why they need her testimony. Yet Judith Miller was tried, convicted and sentenced to prison based exclusively upon written evidence from witnesses whose identities and testimony were kept secret from her and her lawyers. They were given no opportunity to defend her against, question, or rebut the secret evidence the courts relied upon exclusively in convicting her. Indeed, a full eight pages of the D.C. Court of Appeals decision discussing and analyzing this secret evidence was redacted from the published opinion.
Judith Miler is unique, the first American ever to be sent to jail based on facts she never saw and a federal appellate opinion she was not permitted to read. She won't be the last. Make no mistake: This will happen again and again whenever a case involves "national security,""the war on terror," or any combination thereof. This is too big a weapon for the executive branch to ignore, especially since it was fashioned by the most prestigious of the U.S. Courts of Appeals and approved by the Supreme Court. Let's face it. If they can do it to a reporter for The New York Times, they sure as hell can do it to anyone else.
So now Americans can be jailed without facing the charges against them? Seriously, what does this mean for American citizens? Do the secret detainee trials now apply to every one of us?
Here's what's been said about this sort of thing before:
In 1983, in In re Kitchen, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New York reversed a contempt conviction before a grand jury where some of the government's evidence was secret. The Court stated:
We hold that in the sort of case now before us, a fair opportunity must at least include...the right to confront all of the government's evidence, both documentary and testimonial, unless particular and compelling reasons peculiar to the grand jury function require some curtailment of the latter right.
I don't like the way the wind out of Washington is blowing lately.
We don't stand for that kinda thing because
Now the editorial:
Americans get mixed signals on future of war in Iraq
By Joseph L. Galloway, Knight Ridder Newspapers, August 10, 2005
WASHINGTON - The dog days of summer are upon us, and the signals for the future in our war in Iraq are deeply mixed, deeply confused and confusing, depending on who you listen to and what you read.
Gen. George Casey, the ground commander in Iraq, says we will begin drawing down American forces in Iraq as soon as the dawn of the New Year 2006.
Surely it is no coincidence that 2006 will bring us midterm elections for a new Congress, while the polls show the American people beginning to turn against President Bush's war and his management of same. Only 38 percent of those surveyed in an AP-IPSOS poll now say they support the way the president is managing the war.
So we have a president who continues at every opportunity to say that he - and we - will "stay the course" in Iraq, while his political advisers look at the polling numbers and break out in cold sweat. What to do?
Send out the general to suggest the draw-down is imminent, even as the Pentagon is announcing that between now and the end of the year we will actually increase the number of American troops on the ground in Iraq to secure the ratification of Iraq's new constitution and election of its new parliament.
Some divisions nearing the end of their latest 12 months in Hell will find they are being extended for another month or two or three. Some divisions preparing to rotate back into Iraq for the second or even third time may find their departures moved up correspondingly. The overlap is the buildup.
It amounts to a stealth increase of forces in Iraq, done on the cheap, while simultaneously sending a signal to American voters that a reduction in U.S. forces -especially all those National Guard and Reserve troops who have borne a heavy and deadly burden in this war and whose families back home are voters - is just around the corner.
It's enough to make a cynic of Mother Teresa.
The old saw has it that truth is the first casualty of war. In this war the truth was murdered in cold blood well before the war ever began, and it continues to die the death of a thousand cuts every day.
The president says we are going to stay in Iraq until the mission is actually accomplished as opposed to the photo op "mission accomplished" charade staged on that aircraft carrier flight deck when the real war was only just beginning, in May of 2003.
Everyone concedes that only the Iraqi people and government can win this war. It isn't ours to win, but it has always been ours to lose.
So how are the Iraqis doing?
The optimists say that we have trained, armed and equipped a 200,000-strong Iraqi security force that can increasingly take over the job of pursuing the insurgents and terrorists. The pessimists say that, in fact, the new Iraqi force is heavily infiltrated by the very people that are the enemy, and it is so poorly trained and led that perhaps no more than 5,000 of them can be trusted to operate independently without constant American support and in company with American troops.
The insurgents, the same ones Vice President Dick Cheney declared to be in the last throes of defeat, stage ever larger suicide bombings and use ever bigger roadside bombs to kill even more American soldiers and Marines.
In two days of horror a Marine Reserve unit from Ohio lost 20 men, a few killed in a shoot-out in the open with the insurgents, but most in an IED attack that took out the vehicle the Marines were riding in -an amphibious tractor, essentially an unarmored antiquated relic of the Vietnam war that was never intended to operate more than a few hundred yards off a landing beach.
It can be fairly stated that many of America's 1,800 dead and 14,000 wounded were killed because they were riding in unarmored or lightly armored vehicles that are totally inappropriate to the nature of the war and enemy we are fighting.
This while the heaviest and deadliest divisions in the world's best Army were being ordered to leave most of their best equipment - the M1A2 Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles - parked at their home bases in orderly ranks.
This while the highly trained crews of those vehicles were ordered to dismount and become infantry to patrol the most dangerous streets and roads in the world in unarmored Humvees. We are spending $5 billion a month on this war -much of it siphoned away and sucked up by private contractors - but somehow we can't send our
soldiers and Marines to war with the best equipment in the world - the equipment we already own and know how to use to great effect. Don't tell me we are going to stay the course. We are on the wrong course and it only leads deeper into the quicksand. Tell me how we are going to change course. Tell me how we are going to do everything we can, spend whatever it takes, to give our sons and daughters what they need
to fight and survive and prevail even in a war that makes no sense. Tell me we can at least do that. Tell me that you made some serious mistakes, Mr. President and Mr. Vice President and Mr. Secretary of Defense, and that you are willing to do everything to correct those mistakes. Tell me this is not Wonderland, Alice.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005best part is that the Badr brigades are supposedly funded and trained by Iran. So an Iranian backed Shi'ite miliitia now controls Baghdad. Good times, good times. What do we have all those guys with guns there for?
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 9 - Armed men entered Baghdad's municipal building during a blinding dust storm on Monday, deposed the city's mayor and installed a member of Iraq's most powerful Shiite militia.
The deposed mayor, Alaa al-Tamimi, who was not in his offices at the time, recounted the events in a telephone interview on Tuesday and called the move a municipal coup d'état. He added that he had gone into hiding for fear of his life.
"This is the new Iraq," said Mr. Tamimi, a secular engineer with no party affiliation. "They use force to achieve their goal."
The group that ousted him insisted that it had the authority to assume control of Iraq's capital city and that Mr. Tamimi was in no danger. The man the group installed, Hussein al-Tahaan, is a member of the Badr Organization, the armed militia of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, known as Sciri.
The militia has been credited with keeping the peace in heavily Shiite areas in southern Iraq but also accused of abuses like forcing women to wear the veils demanded by conservative Shiite religious law.
"If we wanted to do something bad to him, we would have done that," said Mazen A. Makkia, the elected city council chief who led the ouster on Monday and who had been in a lengthy and unresolved legal feud with Mr. Tamimi.
"We really want to establish the state of law for every citizen, and we did not threaten anyone," Mr. Makkia said. "This is not a coup."
Mr. Makkia confirmed that he had entered the building with armed men but said that they were bodyguards for him and several other council members who accompanied him. Witnesses estimated that the number of armed men ranged from 50 to 120. Mr. Makkia is a member of a Shiite political party that swept to victory during the across-the-board Shiite successes during January's elections.
Mr. Tamimi, the deposed mayor, was appointed by the central government and held ministerial rank. He was originally put in place by L. Paul Bremer III, the top American administrator in the country until an Iraqi government took over in June 2004.
Baghdad is the only city in Iraq that is its own province, and the city council had previously appointed Mr. Tahaan as governor of Baghdad province, with some responsibilities parallel to Mr. Tamimi's. But the mayor's office was clearly the more powerful office, a fact that proved to be a painful thorn in the side of Mr. Makkia, who believed that the council, which he controls, should hold sway in Baghdad.
Mr. Makkia provided a phone number for Mr. Tahaan, but the phone did not appear to be turned on. A spokesman for the American Embassy in Baghdad said that he was aware of the developments but that he had no immediate comment.
When asked whether the Iraqi prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a politician with another Shiite Islamic party, Dawa, was concerned about developments at the municipality, a spokesman, Laith Kubba, said, "My guess is, yes, he is."
Mr. Kubba said he had not yet had a chance to talk with the prime minister about the issue. But gave clear indications that the prime minister would not stand in the way of the move.
Weeks ago, Mr. Tamimi had offered to resign or retire, saying that the budget he had been given was not adequate. For a city of six million people, the central government had given him a budget of $85 million; he had requested $1 billion.
As of Tuesday, the prime minister still had not formally accepted the offer, Mr. Kubba said. But he said the offer could be used to find a way to formally remove Mr. Tamimi.
"It's more or less a fait accompli that he's not going back to office," Mr. Kubba said. He added that Mr. Tahaan would be considered an interim mayor until the prime minister settled on someone to take the post permanently.
Leaders of the country's major political parties, meanwhile, resumed a summit meeting to break the deadlock over Iraq's new constitution, which was delayed by the same sandstorm on Monday.
The deadline for the constitution is in five days and the parties have so far failed to resolve several crucial issues like the role of Islam in the government, the future of the ethnically mixed and oil-rich city of Kirkuk and the scope of self-rule for regions outside Iraqi Kurdistan.
After the meeting, the Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani, said discussion focused mainly on the issue of autonomy and the distribution of oil revenues. He expressed confidence that the group would complete the constitution on time, but added, "As the English people would say, the devil is in the details."
Violence also continued around the city. One American soldier was killed and two were wounded when a car bomb exploded as a patrol passed through a crowded square in central Baghdad, the military said. An official at the Interior Ministry said at least three civilians were killed and 54 wounded in the same blast. Mortars landed near a mosque in southern Baghdad, killing two civilians and wounding four, the official said.
At least nine security officials were killed in four separate shooting incidents around Baghdad on Tuesday. An American marine was killed by small-arms fire on Monday in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, the military said.
In Washington, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday that Iran had become a conduit for weapons smuggled into Iraq and used by insurgents, and he criticized Tehran for not doing more to prevent the smuggling.
"Weapons clearly, unambiguously from Iran have been found in Iraq," he said at a Pentagon briefing. He added: "It's a big border. It's notably unhelpful for the Iranians to allow weapons of those types to cross the border."
Defense officials have said recently that components and fully manufactured bombs from Iran began appearing about two months ago and that a large shipment was captured last month in northeast Iraq after coming across the border.
Mr. Rumsfeld's comments were the first confirmation by a senior American official that such smuggling was occurring. Mr. Rumsfeld said it was not clear who in Iran was responsible for the shipments, which some specialists have said could be the work of smugglers or splinter insurgent groups, rather than the government of Iran.
Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also said at the briefing that Iraqi and American forces have made arrests in Haditha, where 20 marines were killed in two ambushes last week, after tips from Iraqis in the area. "The public came forward and said these are the folks," General Myers said.
Mr. Tamimi, the ousted mayor, said he believed that Shiite political parties had forced the takeover in Baghdad in order to position themselves for the elections once a constitution is agreed upon.
For his part, he said, he had lost the sense of enthusiasm that had brought him back to Iraq after nearly a decade in exile.
"When I left in 1995, every day, it is years for me," Mr. Tamimi said. "But now when I leave I don't think I will be sorry. I leave because I cannot live in such conditions." more military families are on their way to join Cindy Sheehan. The story still isn't getting picked up on the national circuits, but it has made its way into the smaller, local papers. Maybe it'll work its way up the news food chain.
Military Families to Join Cindy Sheehan in Crawford
Tuesday 09 August 2005
Gold Star and military families from across country on their way to Texas.
Crawford, Texas - More members of Gold Star Families for Peace (GSFP) and Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) are traveling to Texas to join the protest outside of President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, where he is vacationing for the month of August.
Starting today, Gold Star families from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Arkansas and other states whose loved ones have died as a result of the war in Iraq will be joining one of their members, Cindy Sheehan, at the protest. Ms. Sheehan, whose son Army Specialist Casey Sheehan was killed in Sadr City, Iraq on April 4, 2004, has been in Crawford since August 5th, demanding a meeting with the President. These families will be joined by military families with loved ones currently serving in Iraq or about to deploy or redeploy to Iraq. All of these families are coming to Crawford, Texas to share their stories about the personal costs of the war in Iraq and add their voices to the call for a meeting with President Bush.
On August 3, 2005 President Bush, speaking about the dreadful loss of life in Iraq in early August, said "We have to honor the sacrifices of the fallen by completing the mission... The families of the fallen can be assured that they died for a noble cause." Gold Star and military families coming to Crawford know that the cause was not noble; that their loved ones died, or are currently in harm's way, serving in a war based on lies.
In the first 8 days of August, 36 service members died in Iraq; countless Iraq children, women and men are dying each day. All of the families traveling to Crawford will carry the message to the vacationing President: Honor our fallen and honor our loved ones' service by ending the occupation, bringing the troops home now and taking care of them when they get here.
President Bush has consistently tried to hide, and to hide from, the cost of the war in Iraq. This August, these costs are being brought right to his doorstep.
Members of Gold Star Families for Peace and Military Families Speak Out who are traveling to Crawford will be available for interview beginning on Tuesday afternoon August 9th.
In the meantime, let's take a look at what Conservative bloggers (heh) have to say. Oh, what's that? She might have maybe met Michael Moore one time? Gotta love this quote from Pardon My English:
"I don't really know how much of a connection Sheehan has to Michael Moore -- just like her kind words for Bush at her FIRST meeting with him a year ago, you won't hear much about Cindy Sheehan's connection to Michael Moore in the liberal press. Most of them, like the New York Times on their editorial page today, are more interested in lauding Sheehan as some kind of anti-war martyr. When Bill O'Reilly mentioned the connection on his show tonight, I Googled Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore on Google News and came up empty. So I went to MichaelMoore.com and found that the majority of the home page was dedicated to Cindy Sheehan so I figure there must be a hell of a connection."
Hahahaha. Oh, excuse me. BWAHAHAHAHAHA! What a tool! "Oh noes, Michael Moore mentioned her, so they must no doubt be in cahoots!" In other news, I am now scheduling a three-way with Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore. I obviously am a stooge of Moore and connected to Sheehan, since, you know, I mentioned them twice on my blog. Goddamn liberal media is keeping this shit on the down low! Just like those scum!
Oh, and I'd also like to note that the above stupidity is the fourth result when you search Google News for Cindy. Yeah, that says something about Google, I'm just not sure what. Although, to be fair, there is a lot of left-wing stuff on the page, too. We just need to get the real news circuits covering this story.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
The Federal Communication Commission has been pretty quiet since Kevin Martin took over from the famously bumbling Michael Powell in March of this year.
Using bluster and a high profile, in 2003 Powell unsuccessfully tried to muscle through a broad set of deregulation policies that would have allowed the television and newspaper industries to create mini-monopolies in local markets, while Martin, who shares Powell's big-media dreams, has been more circumspect. The past five months have seen Martin move slowly and cautiously on most issues, while making hardly a peep about media deregulation and issuing no fines for indecent content on the airwaves -- a far cry from the $7.9 million in fines Powell handed out in 2004.
While Martin has been quiet, he has long been on record as supporting Powell's policy of fining broadcasters for content the FCC deems to be indecent; even saying that he would like to expand the fining criteria to cover more material. Moving in this direction, as Mediaweek reported today, Martin has hired lobbyist and activist Penny Nance as an advisor to the FCC.
As the magazine's Todd Shields writes, Nance is a long-time anti-pornography activist and has worked as a lobbyist for groups that "push for Christian precepts in public policy."
Until recently a board member of Concerned Women for America, which describes its mission, in part, as "helping ... to bring Biblical principles into all levels of public policy," Nance also worked as a lobbyist for a group called the Center for Reclaiming America. On its Web site, the Center claims that it "focuses on five key fronts of the modern-day culture war: (1) Religious Liberties, (2) the Sanctity of Life, (3) the Homosexual Agenda, (4) Pornography, and (5) Promoting Creationism."
The site also says that its aim is to "defend and implement the Biblical principles on which our country was founded."
Her appointment comes at a time when, as Shields reports, "Some observers believe the FCC is preparing to act, perhaps in coming weeks, on as many as 50 indecency complaints. Some see Nance's arrival as an indication the agency is leaning toward stricter enforcement."
That's putting it mildly. Nance's past affiliations give us a hint at just how much Martin wants to crack down on alleged instances of indecency on the air -- and in which direction.
Of course, none of this is written in stone. In the end, Congress and the public will both have their say, as well. But in doing some background research on Nance, we came across what may be a telling episode from last summer. A Media Matters report from July 2004 found that Nance appeared on a "Fox News Live" segment identified as a "suburban stay-at-home mom" in a piece dealing with "issues [that] matter most to suburban moms." The segment did note that Nance was a former "full-time lobbyist" who "started a nonprofit organization for moms," but in portraying Nance as an average suburban mom, Fox purposefully ignored much more.
At the time the segment aired, she was the president of Kids First Coalition, which "works to promote and encourage traditional families as well as to help those in crisis pregnancies," a group for which she was a registered lobbyist, according to Media Matters. She was also serving as a board member of Concerned Women for America (where she also once served as legislative director and lobbyist). Also ignored was that Nance, in her sunny capacity as a "stay-at-home mom," held the title of president of Nance and Associates, a public policy and media consulting firm.
In what amounted to little more than a Bush campaign pitch, Nance said that "safety issues are the things that American women are talking about on the playgrounds and on the soccer fields of America, and we believe that President Bush hears us and cares about these issues." To set the record straight, we'll note that the fact that Martin has hired a conservative is hardly cause for alarm. He is, after all, a Republican appointee for a Republican president. And Nance's religious beliefs are equally little cause for concern -- as long as she doesn't try to force them on the American viewing public. What is disconcerting are her connections to groups which use terms like "Homosexual Agenda" and want to instill "Biblical principles." All this, plus the fact that she winked and nodded her way though that dishonest Fox segment, points not to just a deficiency in character, but an active willingness to mislead the public in order to promote an agenda.
With friends like this, the American viewing public hardly needs enemies. New York Times.
Four in 9/11 Plot Are Called Tied to Qaeda in '00
By Douglas Jehl
The New York Times
Tuesday 09 August 2005
Washington - More than a year before the Sept. 11 attacks, a small, highly classified military intelligence unit identified Mohammed Atta and three other future hijackers as likely members of a cell of Al Qaeda operating in the United States, according to a former defense intelligence official and a Republican member of Congress.
In the summer of 2000, the military team, known as Able Danger, prepared a chart that included visa photographs of the four men and recommended to the military's Special Operations Command that the information be shared with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the congressman, Representative Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, and the former intelligence official said Monday.
The recommendation was rejected and the information was not shared, they said, apparently at least in part because Mr. Atta, and the others were in the United States on valid entry visas. Under American law, United States citizens and green-card holders may not be singled out in intelligence-collection operations by the military or intelligence agencies. That protection does not extend to visa holders, but Mr. Weldon and the former intelligence official said it might have reinforced a sense of discomfort common before Sept. 11 about sharing intelligence information with a law enforcement agency.
A former spokesman for the Sept. 11 commission, Al Felzenberg, confirmed that members of its staff, including Philip Zelikow, the executive director, were told about the program on an overseas trip in October 2003 that included stops in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But Mr. Felzenberg said the briefers did not mention Mr. Atta's name.
The report produced by the commission last year does not mention the episode.
Mr. Weldon first spoke publicly about the episode in June, in a little-noticed speech on the House floor and in an interview with The Times-Herald in Norristown, Pa. The matter resurfaced on Monday in a report by GSN: Government Security News, which is published every two weeks and covers domestic-security issues. The GSN report was based on accounts provided by Mr. Weldon and the same former intelligence official, who was interviewed on Monday by The New York Times in Mr. Weldon's office. Crooks and Liars. She tells the whole story of Casey's unfortunate death, as well as her reasons for being there. If you don't want to watch the interview, you can view her DailyKos diary here.
Particularly wrenching is her description of meeting him last June at a meeting to honor fallen soldiers, where he met with each family individually. He didn't know Casey's name (though you can be sure he does now), didnt't want to see pictures of Casey, and kept referring to him "as your loved one". Everytime they tried to talk about Casey, he changed the subject, and acted like it was a party (and watch Blitzer kiss the President's ass in the final accounting during the video).
Lots of good people went to join her in Crawford, taking a stand together. Good to see, you know? Well, the Bush Administration decided to take this opportunity to show its contempt for the American people by, rather than meeting with her, first threatening to arrest her as a threat to National Security, then forcing them to camp in a ditch filled with fire ants, to being blocked by the county sheriff's department for walking on the road, to the Deputy Chief of Staff and George's personal National Security advisor coming out to intimidate them into submission, to the Secret Service continuously warning the group that we were going to get run over and killed during the night. Just what you'd expect out of these people: A constant barrage of intimidation for those who dare to speak out against his bullshit war.
The American people deserve to know what their Government is doing in their names.
I think Ralph from newsfare said it best:
"George W. Bush has been and continues to be a mass murderer. He is now and will forever be surrounded by the spirits and memories of those whom he has killed.
Decent people would be wise to shun Bush as well as every one of his accomplices in genocide. Such criminals need to be removed from office, with no chance that they will become ineradicable ghouls like Oliver North, G. Gordon Liddy, Chuck Colson and John Mitchell, again to return and haunt the public sphere."
Monday, August 08, 2005
The point of public relations slogans like "Support our troops" is that they don't mean anything. They mean as much as whether you support the people in Iowa. Of course, there was an issue. The issue was, Do you support our policy? But you don't want people to think about that issue. That's the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody's going to be against, and everybody is going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything. Its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something: Do you support our policy? That's the one you're not allowed to talk about. So you have people arguing about support for the troops? "Of course I don't not support them." Then you've won. That's like Americanism and harmony. We're all together, empty slogans, let's join in, let's make sure we don't have these bad people around to disrupt our harmony with their talk about class struggle, rights and that sort of business.
That's all very effective. It runs right up to today. And of course it is carefully thought out. The people in the public relations industry aren't there for the fun of it. They're doing work. They're trying to instill the right values. In fact, they have a conception of what democracy ought to be: It ought to be a system in which the specialized class is trained to work in the service of the masters, the people who own society. The rest of the population ought to be deprived of any form of organization, because organization just causes trouble. They ought to be sitting alone in front of the TV and having drilled into their heads the message, which says, the only value in life is to have more commodities or live like that rich middle class family you're watching and to have nice values like harmony and Americanism. That's all there is in life. You may think in your own head that there's got to be something more in life than this, but since you're watching to tube alone you assume, I must be crazy, because that's all that's going on over there. And since there is no organization permitted--that's absolutely crucial--you never have a way of finding out if whether you are crazy, and you just assume it, because it's the natural thing to assume.
So that's the ideal. Great efforts are made in trying to achieve that ideal. Obviously, there is a certain conception behind it. The conception of democracy is the one that I mentioned. The bewildered herd is a problem. We've got to prevent their roar and trampling. We've got to distract them. They should be watching the Superbowl or sitcoms or violent movies. Every once in a while you call on them to chant meaningless slogans like "Support our troops." You've got to keep them pretty scared, because unless they are properly scared and frightened of all kinds of devils that are going to destroy them from outside or inside or somewhere, they may start to think, which is very dangerous, because they're not competent to think. Therefore it's important to distract them and marginalize them. Mother Jones:
The Hiroshima Cover-Up
by Amy Goodman and David Goodman
A story that the U.S. government hoped would never see the light of day finally has been published, 60 years after it was spiked by military censors. The discovery of reporter George Weller's firsthand account of conditions in post-nuclear Nagasaki sheds light on one of the great journalistic betrayals of the last century: the cover-up of the effects of the atomic bombing on Japan.
On Aug. 6, 1945, the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima; three days later, Nagasaki was hit. Gen. Douglas MacArthur promptly declared southern Japan off-limits, barring the news media. More than 200,000 people died in the atomic bombings of the cities, but no Western journalist witnessed the aftermath and told the story. Instead, the world's media obediently crowded onto the battleship USS Missouri off the coast of Japan to cover the Japanese surrender.
A month after the bombings, two reporters defied General MacArthur and struck out on their own. Mr. Weller, of the Chicago Daily News, took row boats and trains to reach devastated Nagasaki. Independent journalist Wilfred Burchett rode a train for 30 hours and walked into the charred remains of Hiroshima.
Both men encountered nightmare worlds. Mr. Burchett sat down on a chunk of rubble with his Baby Hermes typewriter. His dispatch began: "In Hiroshima, 30 days after the first atomic bomb destroyed the city and shook the world, people are still dying, mysteriously and horribly - people who were uninjured in the cataclysm from an unknown something which I can only describe as the atomic plague."
He continued, tapping out the words that still haunt to this day: "Hiroshima does not look like a bombed city. It looks as if a monster steamroller has passed over it and squashed it out of existence. I write these facts as dispassionately as I can in the hope that they will act as a warning to the world."
Mr. Burchett's article, headlined "The Atomic Plague," was published Sept. 5, 1945, in the London Daily Express. The story caused a worldwide sensation and was a public relations fiasco for the U.S. military. The official U.S. narrative of the atomic bombings downplayed civilian casualties and categorically dismissed as "Japanese propaganda" reports of the deadly lingering effects of radiation.
So when Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter George Weller's 25,000-word story on the horror that he encountered in Nagasaki was submitted to military censors, General MacArthur ordered the story killed, and the manuscript was never returned. As Mr. Weller later summarized his experience with General MacArthur's censors, "They won."
Recently, Mr. Weller's son, Anthony, discovered a carbon copy of the suppressed dispatches among his father's papers (George Weller died in 2002). Unable to find an interested American publisher, Anthony Weller sold the account to Mainichi Shimbun, a big Japanese newspaper. Now, on the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombings, Mr. Weller's account can finally be read.
"In swaybacked or flattened skeletons of the Mitsubishi arms plants is revealed what the atomic bomb can do to steel and stone, but what the riven atom can do against human flesh and bone lies hidden in two hospitals of downtown Nagasaki," wrote Mr. Weller. A month after the bombs fell, he observed, "The atomic bomb's peculiar 'disease,' uncured because it is untreated and untreated because it is not diagnosed, is still snatching away lives here."
After killing Mr. Weller's reports, U.S. authorities tried to counter Mr. Burchett's articles by attacking the messenger. General MacArthur ordered Mr. Burchett expelled from Japan (the order was later rescinded), his camera mysteriously vanished while he was in a Tokyo hospital and U.S. officials accused him of being influenced by Japanese propaganda.
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.
For four months, while still reporting for the Times, Mr. Laurence had been writing press releases for the military explaining the atomic weapons program; he also wrote statements for President Harry Truman and Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson. He was rewarded by being given a seat on the plane that dropped the bomb on Nagasaki, an experience that he described in the Times with religious awe.
Three days after publication of Mr. Burchett's shocking dispatch, 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
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. It is time for the Pulitzer board to strip Hiroshima's apologist and his newspaper of this undeserved prize.
Sixty years late, Mr. Weller's censored account stands as a searing indictment not only of the inhumanity of the atomic bomb but also of the danger of journalists embedding with the government to deceive the world.
Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!, and David Goodman, a
contributing writer for Mother Jones, are co-authors of The Exception to the
Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media That
Love Them. "Lessons Learned From "Men Of God": Circa 1950" from ourword.org. It's written by a woman who grew up in the ultra-fundamentalist world of the 1950s and what she sees returning to us today. An absolute must-read.)
Okay, well maybe not, but between this and the fact that people are now trying to flag my mother down because of her Democracy for America sticker, I’m a bit nervous about the direction of this country lately. What has it come to that we’re killing each other over this shit? Is this really the beginning of the end? I’ve dismissed a lot of the Nazi Germany comparisons, but shit like this just makes me wonder.
Man Kills Another in Dispute Over War, Press and Police Call It a First
By E&P Staff
Published: August 06, 2005 6:30 PM ET
NEW YORK It was bound to happen sooner or later, and in what newspapers in Kentucky are calling a first, one American has killed another in a dispute over the Iraq war.
It happened at Floyd County flea market on Thursday, when two friends, who were firearms vendors there, drew guns after quarreling about the war. Douglas Moore, 65, of Martin, who backs the war, shot and killed Harold Wayne Smith, 56, of Manchester, who opposed it, according to investigators.
Moore was released without being charged after he convinced police he had acted in self-defense. A grand jury may yet hear evidence in the case.
Commonwealth's Attorney Brent Turner said the episode might mark the first death in the U.S. due to a dispute over the war.
One witness, Sam Hamman of Prestonsburg, told the Lexington Herald-Leader, "Harold was talking about the 14 people that were killed in Iraq the other day and Doug said that just as many people were killed on the highways here.”
This quickly escalated into an argument, then to a scuffle, and finally both men drew pistols outside a snack shed. The dead man was apparently just a little slower in firing. Witnesses said he stood for about five seconds before toppling on the walkway.
In a telephone interview wit the Lexington paper yesterday, Moore said police had told him not to discuss his feelings about the Iraq war.
"I'm sorry this has happened," Moore, a retired railroad worker, said "but then what's done can't be undone." Moore told the Lexington reporter he thinks Smith and his family knew him well enough "to know what my thoughts are, his family does, because me and Harold was friends. That's all I'll say."
The daughter of the dead man said the two men were friends and had discussed Iraq before. She said her father "had different opinions than everybody. He felt it was wrong that all of these young people were losing their lives over what was going on. It was just a political disagreement, like a whole lot of people have."
Here’s the local piece, with some more detail:
Slaying in dispute over war might be a first
By Lee Mueller
EASTERN KENTUCKY BUREAU
PRESTONSBURG - The Iraq war has been a divisive issue in America for more than two years now, but a shooting at an Eastern Kentucky flea market this week might have marked the first time a dispute over the war has resulted in a death.
A quarrel between two firearms vendors at a Floyd County flea market on Thursday allegedly led both men -- described as "good friends" -- to draw guns. Douglas Moore, 65, of Martin, who supports the war, shot and killed Harold Wayne Smith, 56, of Manchester, who opposed it, investigators said.
Moore was questioned at the Floyd County Jail, but he was released without being charged after Kentucky State Police said it appears he acted in self-defense.
Evidence in the case will be presented to a Floyd County grand jury, said Commonwealth's Attorney Brent Turner, who said the episode might mark the first death in the United States resulting from a dispute over the war.
Both Smith and Moore maintained gun-trading tables at the Bull Creek Trade Center near Prestonsburg, and witnesses said they began arguing over the war early Thursday morning.
One witness, Sam Hamman of Prestonsburg, told The Floyd County Times that the two men always carried guns and bickered frequently about the quality of guns, knives and the war.
"Harold was talking about the 14 people that were killed in Iraq the other day and Doug said that just as many people were killed on the highways here," Hamman told the paper.
Showdown at snack stand
Another witness, Chuck Newsome, said yesterday the Sept. 11 attacks also were included in the argument, which quickly escalated into an altercation and then to a kind of showdown in front of the market's snack stand.
After a scuffle, Newsome said he saw Smith stand beside the snack shed, pull a small pistol out of his pocket, cock the hammer and say, "I'm going to blow your ... brains out."
Witnesses said Moore pulled a .38-caliber pistol from his pocket.
"Doug was just quicker," Harold Hannah of Salyersville said.
Newsome said he heard a pistol shot and assumed Smith had fired, but then saw blood spatter near Smith on the snack stand.
Coroner Roger Nelson said Smith was shot once in the upper left side of his chest. Witnesses said he stood for about five seconds before falling on the paved walkway.
'Really nice guys'
Market manager Mary Neeley Elkins said she helped administer CPR. She declined further comment yesterday, except to describe Smith as "an A-No. 1 guy."
Smith was pronounced dead at 9:29 a.m. Thursday.
Newsome described both men as "really nice guys."
"They always had words -- not fighting words -- like friends do," he said. "Doug said he didn't mean to kill him, the way he did. He just meant to hit him up in the shoulder."
In a telephone interview yesterday, Moore said police had told him not to discuss what sparked the incident or discuss his feelings about the Iraq war.
"I'm sorry this has happened," said Moore, a retired railroad worker, "but then what's done can't be undone."
Moore said he thinks Smith and his family knew him well enough "to know what my thoughts are, his family does, because me and Harold was friends. That's all I'll say."
Widow, daughter grieve
In Manchester, Smith's widow, Kathleen, a home-health nurse, and his daughter, Robin Lipps of Beckley, W.Va., were grief-stricken and stunned.
"We feel like we're in a dream right now," said Kathleen Smith, a former hospice nurse.
"It doesn't make any sense to us," said Lipps, who drove to the flea market Thursday to question witnesses about what happened.
Smith, a father of three who was being treated for diabetes and a heart condition, retired from the state highway department in 1990 after suffering a heart attack, his wife said. He underwent open-heart surgery in 1999.
Kathleen Smith said the two men had been friends for many years after meeting at a trading event.
"They had had discussions over the same thing (Iraq) before," Lipps said.
She said her father "had different opinions than everybody. He felt it was wrong that all of these young people were losing their lives over what was going on. It was just a political disagreement, like a whole lot of people have."
Sunday, August 07, 2005crap like this. One day...
CIA Commander: We Let bin Laden Slip Away
By Michael Hirsh
15 August 2005 Issue
Aug. 15, 2005 issue - During the 2004 presidential campaign, George W. Bush and John Kerry battled about whether Osama bin Laden had escaped from Tora Bora in the final days of the war in Afghanistan. Bush, Kerry charged, "didn't choose to use American forces to hunt down and kill" the leader of Al Qaeda. The president called his opponent's allegation "the worst kind of Monday - morning quarterbacking." Bush asserted that U.S. commanders on the ground did not know if bin Laden was at the mountain hideaway along the Afghan border.
But in a forthcoming book, the CIA field commander for the agency's Jawbreaker team at Tora Bora, Gary Berntsen, says he and other U.S. commanders did know that bin Laden was among the hundreds of fleeing Qaeda and Taliban members. Berntsen says he had definitive intelligence that bin Laden was holed up at Tora Bora - intelligence operatives had tracked him - and could have been caught. "He was there," Berntsen tells NEWSWEEK. Asked to comment on Berntsen's remarks, National Security Council spokesman Frederick Jones passed on 2004 statements from former CENTCOM commander Gen. Tommy Franks. "We don't know to this day whether Mr. bin Laden was at Tora Bora in December 2001," Franks wrote in an Oct. 19 New York Times op-ed. "Bin Laden was never within our grasp." Berntsen says Franks is "a great American. But he was not on the ground out there. I was."
In his book - titled "Jawbreaker" - the decorated career CIA officer criticizes Donald Rumsfeld's Defense Department for not providing enough support to the CIA and the Pentagon's own Special Forces teams in the final hours of Tora Bora, says Berntsen's lawyer, Roy Krieger. (Berntsen would not divulge the book's specifics, saying he's awaiting CIA clearance.) That backs up other recent accounts, including that of military author Sean Naylor, who calls Tora Bora a "strategic disaster" because the Pentagon refused to deploy a cordon of conventional forces to cut off escaping Qaeda and Taliban members. Maj. Todd Vician, a Defense Department spokesman, says the problem at Tora Bora "was not necessarily just the number of troops."
Berntsen's book gives, by contrast, a heroic portrayal of CIA activities at Tora Bora and in the war on terror. Ironically, he has sued the agency over what he calls unacceptable delays in approving his book - a standard process for ex-agency employees describing classified matters. "They're just holding the book," which is scheduled for October release, he says. "CIA officers, Special Forces and U.S. air power drove the Taliban out in 70 days. The CIA has taken roughly 80 days to clear my book." Jennifer Millerwise, a CIA spokeswoman, says Berntsen's "timeline is not accurate," adding that he submitted his book as an ex-employee only in mid-June. "We take seriously our goal of responding quickly."