Do not rely on boys (or men) to make birthday merriment for you.
Make your own!
...for articles of impeachment. Remember how the right-wing threw the country into insanity over what was less than an extra-marital dalliance?
Intelligence reports for more than a year had been streaming in about Osama bin Laden’s terrorism network rebuilding in the Pakistani tribal areas, a problem that had been exacerbated by years of missteps in Washington and the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, sharp policy disagreements, and turf battles between American counterterrorism agencies.
But then I would be expecting the media to do its job, right? And remember the media is already debating how Bush "was not that bad of a president." Sigh...
A group of American advisers led by a small State Department team played an integral part in drawing up contracts between the Iraqi government and five major Western oil companies to develop some of the largest fields in Iraq, American officials say.
The disclosure, coming on the eve of the contracts’ announcement, is the first confirmation of direct involvement by the Bush administration in deals to open Iraq’s oil to commercial development and is likely to stoke criticism...
But any perception of American meddling in Iraq’s oil policies threatens to inflame opinion against the United States, particularly in Arab nations that are skeptical of American intentions in Iraq, which has the third-largest oil reserves in the world.
“We pretend it is not a centerpiece of our motivation, yet we keep confirming that it is,” Frederick D. Barton, senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said in a telephone interview. “And we undermine our own veracity by citing issues like sovereignty, when we have our hands right in the middle of it.”
The height of the U.S. military surge in Iraq was a key factor in this year’s analysis of that country. And though Iraq’s score improved slightly, the gains that one might hope for—those that reflect fundamental, long-term changes—did not occur. The desperate predicament of nearly 4 million people driven from their homes, the abysmal state of public services, and the discord among sectarian factions have shown no real improvement. The incremental security and economic progress that has occurred are dependent on tenuous, short-term factors that could unravel at any time. Eager to cobble together a fragile peace, the U.S. military has armed dozens of new Sunni militia groups that could later turn their guns on the Iraqi government, their Shiite rivals, or the Americans many still regard as occupiers. Similarly, Iraq’s economy has improved only moderately, thanks largely to the spike in global oil prices, not Iraqi production. In short, progress in Iraq last year was negligible at best and deeply susceptible to reversal should the country suffer the kind of shock—a food shortage, a high-level assassination, an attack that unleashes ethnic hatreds—that has exposed so many states’ deep vulnerabilities in recent months.
But this week his campaign will try to restore a little of the old McCain style when it unveils his new campaign airplane, the flying Straight Talk Express.
The aircraft, a Boeing 737-400, which has the “Straight Talk” logo emblazoned on its fuselage, tries to recreate the feel of the back of Mr. McCain’s campaign bus in a special area near the front of the plane.
the campaign installed a captain’s chair for Mr. McCain and a couch for reporters and the retinue of Senate colleagues, war buddies and retired officials Mr. McCain likes to surround himself with on the campaign trail...
There will be 10 first-class seats up front for Mr. McCain and his guests, as well as a telephone and a fax machine. The journalists who will sit in the back, behind the Secret Service agents, are promised electrical outlets.
Sheldon Adelson, the gaming multibillionaire, accompanied a group of Republican donors to the White House to meet with George W. Bush. They wanted to talk to the President about Israel. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was organizing a major conference in the United States, in an effort to re-start the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and her initiative had provoked consternation among many rightward-leaning American Jews and their Christian evangelical allies.
Adelson, who is seventy-four, owns two of Las Vegas’s giant casino resorts, the Venetian and the Palazzo, and is the third-richest person in the United States, according to Forbes. He is fiercely opposed to a two-state solution; and he had contributed so generously to Bush’s reëlection campaign that he qualified as a Bush Pioneer.
Adelson has long preferred a low profile in many of his political activities. But one of his maneuvers did appear in the press. He has been a generous donor to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, the dominant lobby of American Jewry regarding U.S. policy toward Israel. Since the nineties, Adelson has helped underwrite many congressional trips to Israel, sponsored by an AIPAC educational affiliate. (Adelson pays only for Republican members.) Last year, he contributed funds for a lavish new office building in Washington, D.C., for the organization.
Republican consultant Sig Rogich, another longtime McCain supporter, who has also worked for Adelson...Rogich said that McCain had been “cementing his relationship with Adelson further,” and added, “All I’ve tried to do is make sure the two communicate well, and that he understands the passion John McCain has for the issues that are so important to Sheldon Adelson—first and foremost, Israel.”
The last few years, we’ve spent July Fourth at the house of friends who have had the assembled company read the entire declaration. It’s a longer document than one thinks; the charges against the king take quite a while to get through.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power...
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither
At Tim's funeral mass...communion was offered. I had only taken communion once in my life, at an evangelical church. It was soon after I had started "On Faith"; and I wanted to see what it was like. Oddly I had a slightly nauseated sensation after I took it, knowing that in some way it represented the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Last Wednesday I was determined to take it for Tim, transubstantiation notwithstanding. I'm so glad I did. It made me feel closer to him. And it was worth it just to imagine how he would have loved it.
The Justice Department announced Friday that it would pay $4.6 million to settle a lawsuit filed by Steven J. Hatfill, a former Army biodefense researcher intensively investigated as a “person of interest” in the deadly anthrax letters of 2001.
The settlement, consisting of $2.825 million in cash and an annuity paying Dr. Hatfill $150,000 a year for 20 years, brings to an end a five-year legal battle that had recently threatened a reporter with large fines for declining to name sources she said she did not recall.
Toni Locy, a former legal affairs reporter for USA Today who wrote several articles about the case, was held in contempt of court, facing fines of up to $5,000 a day from Judge Reggie Walton over her refusal to name her sources, and her case is pending before an appeals court. Ms. Locy said Friday that she was relieved by the developments but that it was too soon to celebrate.
“I hope this means that this ordeal is over and that I can get on with my life,” said Ms. Locy, who will begin teaching legal reporting at Washington and Lee University in the fall.
I may be crazy. But Bill Clinton is not going to let himself be humiliated. He's in talks with McCain before long if he's not already. He's going to salvage his name before this election is over. Like I said ...
Everyone has tried to figure out how to disarm North Korea. It will not happen. Kim Jong Il is not going to give up his nukes. The only way to disarm the regime is to destroy it. China could do that with sanctions but will not. The United States could do that with a second Korean War but will not either.
The Europeans will be less hypocritical because their visceral anti-Americanism trumps rational calculation. We will have done them an enormous favor by sparing them the threat of Iranian nukes, but they will vilify us nonetheless.
These are the costs. There is no denying them. However, equally undeniable is the cost of doing nothing.
An attack on Iran is likely to send oil prices overnight to $100 or even to $150 a barrel.
Not a flinch. Not a flicker. Not a hint of shame. By the time he's finished, Obama will have made the Clintons look scrupulous.
It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year.
The disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, making it possible to reach the Pole sailing in a boat through open water, would be one of the most dramatic – and worrying – examples of the impact of global warming on the planet. Scientists say the ice at 90 degrees north may well have melted away by the summer.
"From the viewpoint of science, the North Pole is just another point on the globe, but symbolically it is hugely important. There is supposed to be ice at the North Pole, not open water," said Mark Serreze of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado.
If it happens, it raises the prospect of the Arctic nations being able to exploit the valuable oil and mineral deposits below these a bed which have until now been impossible to extract because of the thick sea ice above.
Seasoned polar scientists believe the chances of a totally icefreeNorth Pole this summer are greater than 50:50 because the normally thick ice formed over many years at the Pole has been blown away and replaced by hugeswathes of thinner ice formed over a single year.
JOHN McCAIN CALLS FOR DRILLING AT THE NORTH POLE
(thinks Ms. Claus is hot!)
On his radio show yesterday, conservative talker Hugh Hewitt announced that he was “living for” the Sept. 13 football game between USC and Ohio State, adding that he predicts that it will be the last game played before the United States “gets blown up by the Islamists under Obama.”
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Americans have a right to own guns for self-defense and hunting, the justices' first major pronouncement on gun rights in U.S. history.
The court's 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia's 32-year-old ban on handguns as incompatible with gun rights under the Second Amendment. The decision went further than even the Bush administration wanted, but probably leaves most firearms laws intact...
...The Constitution does not permit "the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home," Scalia said. The court also struck down Washington's requirement that firearms be equipped with trigger locks or kept disassembled, but left intact the licensing of guns.
In a dissent he summarized from the bench, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that the majority "would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons."
He said such evidence "is nowhere to be found."
Justice Stephen Breyer wrote a separate dissent in which he said, "In my view, there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas."
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
When David Broder was caught last week throwing off the constraints on speaking honoraria that go with being an employee of the Washington Post, he high-handedly figured it was time to start criticizing Barack Obama for legally opting out of public financing while uttering NARY A PEEP about John McCain breaking the law by exceeding spending limits he had sworn under oath to obey.
Will gas and oil prices mean a return to the city? Are you willing to relocate back to the city?
“I also want to make sure that we will take concrete steps towards eliminating our dependence on foreign oil. And I am confident that uh, the, the conflicts that we are in in both Iraq and Afghanistan have also a bearing on that.”
The bodies of 22 tribal elders have been found in Pakistan's northwestern tribal region a day after they were captured by pro-Taliban fighters.
The bodies were found on Wednesday near Jandola, a town adjoining the South Waziristan tribal district where loyalists of Baitullah Mehsud, commander of the Pakistani Taliban, have fought pro-government tribesmen.
"According to our information 22 bodies of peace committee members have been found in Kiriwam village," Barkatullah Marwat, a district administration official, said.
A peace committee is a body of tribal elders and tribesmen working with the government to tackle pro-Taliban sentiment in the regions bordering Afghanistan.
"Some of the dead were shot and some had their throats slit," Marwat said.
A roadside bomb killed three American soldiers and an interpreter north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said Wednesday
Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen leaves Tuesday night on an overseas trip that will take him to Israel, reports CBS News national security correspondent David Martin. The trip has been scheduled for some time but U.S. officials say it comes just as the Israelis are mounting a full court press to get the Bush administration to strike Iran's nuclear complex.
CBS consultant Michael Oren says Israel doesn't want to wait for a new administration.
"The Israelis have been assured by the Bush administration that the Bush administration will not allow Iran to nuclearize," Oren said. "Israelis are uncertain about what would be the policies of the next administration vis-à-vis Iran."
Israel's message is simple: If you don't, we will. Israel held a dress rehearsal for a strike earlier this month, but military analysts say Israel can not do it alone.
"Keep in mind that Israel does not have strategic bombers," Oren said. "The Israeli Air Force is not the American Air Force. Israel can not eliminate Iran's nuclear program."
The U.S. with its stealth bombers and cruise missiles has a much greater capability. Vice President Cheney is said to favor a strike, but both Mullen and Defense Secretary Gates are opposed to an attack which could touch off a third war in the region.
John McCain's stance on the war is unambiguous: He voted for it, supports the current enhanced U.S. troop presence in Iraq and vigorously opposes any timetable to withdraw.
The public's stance on the war is as equivocal as McCain's is not: A strong majority of Americans oppose it and believe it was wrong in the first place, but more find McCain better suited to handle Iraq than his Democratic presidential rival, Barack Obama.
I never heard Carlin be as hard on himself as he was on his favorite strawmen. That wasn’t his job, of course, and you can’t fault him for the routines he didn’t do. But the more you confront and accept your own human faults the less outrage you find in the small mishaps of others, and I never got the feeling Carlin spent a lot of time interrogating his own character with the same confident derision he brought to things much greater than himself.
He really did not become immersed in black American culture until he left college and went to Chicago. The great irony is that he is much more white than black, beyond skin color.
During a June 2006 appearance on Meet the Press, New York Times reporter Anne Kornblut claimed that the Democrats were "bracing incredibly for the Karl Rove cut-and-run accusation."
Of course, that "cut-and-run accusation" came and failed spectacularly, as the American people overwhelmingly disapprove of the Iraq war and the Republicans' handling of it.
Yet Kornblut continues to insist that Democrats must be wary of being given the "cut-and-run" label. During a January 4 appearance on MSNBC's Scarborough Country, she declared, "I think the biggest nightmare for some of the Democrats in the Senate would be a Democratic Party that looks as though it just wants to, from -- the words from 2004 -- 'cut and run.' "
And I reminded the President that I am reminded of the great talent of the -- of our Philippine-Americans when I eat dinner at the White House. (Laughter.)
The Philippines was pummeled last week by a typhoon that has devastated coastal areas and flipped a ferry carrying over 800 passengers. Bush couldn't resist beginning the sober meeting with a quip about a Filipino member of his kitchen staff.
Buoyed by enthusiasm among Democrats and public concern over the economy, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has captured a sizable lead over Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) at the opening of the general election campaign for president, the Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg Poll has found.
In a two-man race between the major party candidates, registered voters chose Obama over McCain by 49% to 37% in the national poll conducted last weekend.
On a four-man ballot including independent candidate Ralph Nader and Libertarian Bob Barr, voters chose Obama over McCain by an even larger margin, 48% to 33%...
Even among voters who say they do plan to vote for McCain, more than half say they are "not enthusiastic" about their chosen candidate; only 45% say they are enthusiastic. By contrast, 81% of Obama voters say they are enthusiastic, and almost half call themselves "very enthusiastic," a level of zeal that only 13% of McCain's supporters display.
"McCain is not capturing the full extent of the conservative base the way President Bush did in 2000 and 2004," said Susan Pinkus, director of the Times Poll. "Among conservatives, evangelicals and voters who identify themselves as part of the religious right, he is polling less than 60%.
"Meanwhile, Obama is doing well among a broad range of voters," she said. "He's running ahead among women, black voters and other minorities. He's running roughly even among white voters and independents."
The administration lacks an updated and comprehensive Iraq strategy to move beyond the "surge" of combat troops President Bush launched in January 2007 as an 18-month effort to curtail violence and build Iraqi democracy, government investigators said yesterday.
U.S. officials say four Americans have been killed in an explosion at a local council building in Baghdad's Shiite Sadr City district.
Iraqi police officials say at least six Iraqi civilians also were killed and 10 others wounded in Tuesday's blast, which apparently was targeting Americans visiting the building.
The U.S. military and the embassy say two American soldiers and two American government employees were among the dead.
"Even if you never met him, you know this guy. He's the guy at the country club with the driver in the clubhouse, swinging it freely and beating the staff to death and making everyone else line up against the wall while he lets me make snide comments about everyone and select the loveliest barely post-pubescents to deflower."
-- Karl Rove, Special Assistant to
George BushRobert Mugabe.
John McCain was in town for a big event at the Minneapolis Hilton and a town hall appearance in St. Paul. My wife and I waited for an hour and a half for a photo with the candidate; as so often happens, he was running late. I figured I'd have ten seconds with him, so I wanted to choose my words carefully. I decided to introduce my wife and myself, and say, "Global warming is b***s***." That seemed like the most meaningful message I could convey in the short time available.
- Felecity J. Assrocket, Assquire
Thanks for the mind blowing record albums that I had to listen to in the dark basement with my friends that made me rethink where comedy, free speech, political activism, and more met. My parents may not have thought much of you but you always made me laugh and sometimes made me cry!
While not everyone may get your comedy, your social criticism could not have been sharper. And yes, I am thinking of those words right now.
What do you see as the gravest long-term threat to the U.S. economy?
Obama: If we don't get a handle on our energy policy, it is possible that the kinds of trends we've seen over the last year will just continue. Demand is clearly outstripping supply. It's not a problem we can drill our way out of. It can be a drag on our economy for a very long time unless we take steps to innovate and invest in the research and development that's required to find alternative fuels. I think it's very important for the federal government to have a role in that process.
McCain: Well, I would think that the absolute gravest threat is the struggle that we're in against Islamic extremism, which can affect, if they prevail, our very existence. Another successful attack on the United States of America could have devastating consequences.
In the United States, individuals can choose to serve in the military or not. The choice not to serve should carry no taint, nor should it be viewed with the least prejudice.
But there’s one obvious path of service Obama doesn’t recommend — or even mention: military service. He does mention war twice: “At a time of war, we need you to work for peace.” And, we face “big challenges like war and recession.” But there’s nothing about serving your country in uniform.
Unless we enter a world without enemies and without war, we will need young men and women willing to risk their lives for our nation. And we’re not entering any such world.
We do, however, live in a free country with a volunteer army. In the United States, individuals can choose to serve in the military or not. The choice not to serve should carry no taint, nor should it be viewed with the least prejudice.
I think that human beings were given great gifts and had great potential and they squandered it all on goods, possession, power, territory and on a superstitious God that watches everything and controls. These things, I think, crippled the human animal to the extend that we never lived up to their potential. The same thing happened in this country. We were given great potential. We were given this great system of self-government, the best one that had been devised so far. And we've given it all up for gizmos, and goods, and toys and possessions, and - in this country - God, overlooking everything and spoiling everything.
"These guys are ants. When the time comes, you crush them."
- Admiral William Fallon, giving "perspective" to our occupation of Iraq and in one sentence explaining a mindset that leads to things like Haditha.
HADITHA, Iraq — Khadija Hassan still shrouds her body in black, nearly three years after the deaths of her four sons. They were killed on Nov. 19, 2005, along with 20 other people in the deadliest documented case of U.S. troops killing civilians since the Vietnam War.
Eight Marines were charged in the case, but in the intervening years, criminal charges have been dismissed against six. A seventh Marine was acquitted. The residents of Haditha, after being told they could depend on U.S. justice, feel betrayed.
"We put our hopes in the law and in the courts and one after another they are found innocent," said Yousef Aid Ahmed, the lone surviving brother in the family. "This is an organized crime."
One by one, the cases fell apart. American and Iraqi witnesses provided conflicting accounts. The investigation began months after the incident, and many Iraqis who could have testified were unable to travel to the United States. Furthermore, several Marines were granted immunity.
Last week, a judge dismissed charges of dereliction of duty and failure to investigate filed against the highest ranking officer implicated, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani. The Marine Corps plans to appeal...
"Right now I feel hatred that will not fade," said Ahmed. "It grows every day." Charges against two Marines who allegedly killed his brothers were dropped in August 2007.
Folks are moving to rail for their transportation needs. Now personally, I would love to take rail as opposed to driving into work everyday. I am tired of the guys who want to drive 90+ and the guys for whom 65 is way too fast. (both of whom use the left lane -- can anyone explain this to me?)
I do know its not all fun and games but it would help me keep my budget afloat. Gas in my area has hit 4.29! Rail is looking pretty good to me in terms of efficiency and cost. We need to consider more investment in various forms of public transportation. To that end, it would also be nice to see more cities adopt the eco-buses as well. I would happily ride one of those buses (and have).
But I have noticed no discussion of efforts to reinvigorate municipal transportation. One would expect that under the current climate that a serious discussion of upgrades to public transit would be underway. But alas, they are not. Will that change anytime soon? I am not going to hold my breath waiting for more light rail, how about you?
Hello RH readers! This is Dirk D. writing from small town Minnesota (St. Joseph to be precise). I am here for a conference, yup they have them in out of the way places too.
As I grew up in a small town it is interesting to see how in 2008, they have not changed. The streets, bumpy roads, people watching you as you drive by -- it has not changed. Or at least it has not changed from my experience.
Are any of you from small towns? What was your experience like?
Anything you want me to do while I am here? (until Tuesday)
Thomas: And who are the black women you see on the local news at night in cities all over the country. They’re usually angry about something. They’ve had a son who has been shot in a drive-by shooting. They are angry at Bush. So you don’t really have a profile of non-angry black women.
I do know this: [Democrats] would not have made this "compromise" and then brought this to the floor without [Obama's] ok, and probably without his direction. He is the leader of the Democratic Party now, in the middle of a hotly contested presidential campaign. If he didn't come to them and say to get this thing done before the fall, then they came to him and asked his permission. That's just a fact. They aren't going to do anything he doesn't want them to do.I have a feeling that things are going to look a bit different come the end of next week. That said, in the meanwhile, I'm going to either call or drop BHO a line telling him what I think. If you're so inclined, here's his contact info.
So, it's not really a capitulation. It's a strategy.
The Bush administration wants to rewrite the official evidence against Guantanamo Bay detainees, allowing it to shore up its cases before they come under scrutiny by civilian judges for the first time.
The government has stood behind the evidence for years. Military review boards relied on it to justify holding hundreds of prisoners indefinitely without charge. Justice Department attorneys said it was thoroughly and fairly reviewed.
Now that federal judges are about to review the evidence, however, the government says it needs to make changes.
The decision follows last week's Supreme Court ruling, which held that detainees have the right to challenge their detention in civilian court, not just before secret military panels. At a closed-door meeting with judges and defense attorneys this week, government lawyers said they needed time to add new evidence and make other changes to evidentiary documents known as "factual returns."
Attorneys for the detainees criticized the idea, saying the government is basically asking for a last-minute do-over.
"It's sort of an admission that the original returns were defective," said attorney David Remes, who represents many detainees and attended Wednesday's meeting. "It's also an admission that the government thinks it needs to beef up the evidence."
An aide to Gov. Chet Culver said Thursday that Republican presidential candidate John McCain ignored the governor's request to cancel a campaign visit amid a massive flood recovery effort in the state.
McCain toured flood-damaged sites in Iowa on Thursday, including the town of Columbus Junction in the southeast.
Patrick Dillon, Culver's chief of staff, said the governor was concerned that McCain's trip would divert local law enforcement from the flood recovery effort to provide security for McCain.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama canceled a scheduled visit to eastern Iowa last week at the request of state officials.
"As a courtesy — and as we did for Senator Obama — we privately made an effort to make sure that Senator McCain knew that state and local resources were still being deployed to support the flood fight and that now may not be the best time for a campaign trip," Dillon said in a statement.
Republican presidential candidate John McCain opposed legislation last year that included money for flood control in Des Moines, which shows he is wrong to push for reforms to the congressional earmark system, a Democratic lawmaker charged Thursday.
State Sen. Jack Hatch of Des Moines said the earmarked money was needed to relieve water problems on the city's north side, which were magnified over the weekend when a levee break forced an evacuation of the Birdland area and ruined several dozen homes and businesses...
President Bush eventually vetoed the bill, which authorized more than 900 navigation, flood-control and environmental projects across the country. A report on the bill said the Des Moines metropolitan area suffered more than $152 million in flood damage in 1993.
"The Birdland Park and Central Place levees on the Des Moines River failed during the 1993 flood event and do not provide reliable flood protection, placing nearly 200 homes and businesses at risk," the report said.
Every member of the Iowa congressional delegation voted to override Bush's veto, the first override of his presidency.
McCain strongly backed Bush.
Hatch chose the wrong time to attack McCain, spokesman Jeff Sadosky added.
"We do not need to play politics with flooding that has brought so much harm and pain throughout the region," he said.
Corruption and misgovernment are defined away as properties unique to the left; conservatism, meanwhile, is a doctrine of surpassing purity, accountable for no misdeeds of any kind, standing reliably on the side of principle and freedom and goodness every time. If it didn't deliver those fine things, that's because it never really got the chance.
The comfortable course of action for Democrats will be merely to pocket the coming windfall, to burble about how they have lifted the curse of ideology from the land, to replace the current gang of free-marketeers with their own gang of free-marketeers, and to resume the merry triangulations of eight years ago. The ins will give way to the outs, and they will rule happily ever after . . . until the next culture war takes them by surprise and sweeps them again from their contented perch.
Another route is possible, though. If they are willing to go beyond the regal rhetoric of post-partisanship, Democrats might find that they are, for the first time in decades, running against a philosophy of government that has utterly discredited itself. Should they choose to make 2008 a referendum on conservatism itself, they might deliver the knockout blow. They should start with the bad ideas that have delivered such disastrous consequences.
One of the most shameful episodes of the post 9/11 era has been the way the U.S. Government — particularly the Pentagon under Don Rumsfeld — oversaw the torture and abuse of supposed terror suspects, even though there often was little or no serious evidence against them. We’ll remember Guantanamo the way we remember the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
Yet in this disgraceful episode, there have been some people fighting to salvage the nation’s honor. The defense lawyers for the Guantanamo inmates have done superb work, courageously bucking the political tide. The courts haven’t done so badly either. But some of the people I’m most impressed by are the military lawyers and other officers who saw what was happening and were so repulsed that they blew the whistle loudly — offending the Pentagon and sometimes shortening their careers. They went against their cohort, their bosses and to some extent their culture, for the sake of terror suspects of different nationalities and different religion, simply because they thought what was happening was illegal or inhumane.
Physicians for Human Rights, a terrific organization, has a devastating new report just out about Guantanamo. But above all, read the introduction by Major General Taguba; he’s a study in honor.
Through the experiences of these men in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay, we can see the full-scope of the damage this illegal and unsound policy has inflicted --both on America's institutions and our nation's founding values, which the military, intelligence services, and our justice system are duty-bound to defend.
"In order for these individuals to suffer the wanton cruelty to which they were subjected, a government policy was promulgated to the field whereby the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice were disregarded. The UN Convention Against Torture was indiscriminately ignored. . . .
"After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."- Maj. General Antonio Taguba (USA-Ret.)
The private military company Blackwater has cultivated a patriotic reputation, with its staff of retired military and former police officers, and the requirement that most of its workers swear an oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution.Don't let too many Republicans know this, but Shari'a law is apparently great for business and bad for the most evil people on earth, not Al Qaeda silly, AMERICAN TRIAL LAWYERS:
Blackwater’s aviation wing recently filed a unique request in federal court, where the widows of three American soldiers are suing the company over a botched flight supporting the U.S. military in Afghanistan.
The company, based in Moyock, doesn’t want the case heard in an American courtroom under American law: it wants the case heard under Shari’a, the Islamic law of Afghanistan.
The company argued that the lawsuit must be dismissed; legal doctrine holds that soldiers cannot sue the government, and Blackwater’s aviation wing was acting as an agent of the government.
Last year, a series of federal judges dismissed that argument.
In April, Blackwater asked a federal judge in Florida to apply Islamic law, commonly known as Shari’a, to the case. If the judge agreed, the lawsuit would be dismissed. Shari’a law does not hold a company responsible for the actions of employees performed within the course of their work.
Bush is expected to arrive in Cedar Rapids in the late morning and meet with local and state officials about the response and recovery effort before touring the flooded corridor by Marine One, the president's helicopter.
From there, he planned to visit Iowa City before departing Iowa. None of Bush's visit is to be open to the public. News media coverage is to be by a limited number of national and local outlets. He is expected to be in Iowa less than three hours.
I do not know what the Democratic Party spent, in toto, on the 2004 election, but what they seem to have gotten for it is Barack Obama. Let us savor.Indeed.
With strong support from women, blacks and younger voters, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, the apparent Democratic presidential contender, leads Arizona Sen. John McCain, expected to be the Republican candidate, among likely voters in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to simultaneous Quinnipiac University Swing State polls released today.
This is the first time Sen. Obama has led in all three states. No one has been elected President since 1960 without taking two of these three largest swing states in the Electoral College. Results from the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University polls show:
* Florida: Obama edges McCain 47 - 43 percent;
* Ohio: Obama tops McCain 48 - 42 percent;
* Pennsylvania: Obama leads McCain 52 - 40 percent.
In the three states, Obama leads McCain 10 to 23 percentage points among women, while men are too close to call. The Democrat trails among white voters in Florida and Ohio, but gets more than 90 percent of black voters in each state. He also has double-digit leads among young voters in each state.
"Finally getting Sen. Hillary Clinton out of the race has been a big boost for Sen. Barack Obama. He now leads in all three of the major swing states, although his margins in Florida and Ohio are small," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
"Sen. Obama is certainly not out of the woods, but these results are a good indication that he enters the summer slightly ahead in the race to be the next president."
A huge tornado funnel cloud touches down in Orchard, Iowa, Tuesday, June 10, 2008 at 9:04 p.m. The Globe Gazette and Mitchell County Press News reported that Lori Mehmen of Orchard, took the photo from outside her front door. Mehmen said the funnel cloud came near the ground and then went back up into the clouds. Besides tree and crop damage, no human injuries were reported.
Tells you something, graphically, about the flooding in Cedar Rapids.
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
The death toll from a devastating truck bombing in Baghdad rose to 63 on Wednesday and U.S. forces blamed a rogue Shi'ite militia for the attack...
The U.S. military blamed the attack on a "special groups" cell. This is jargon for Shi'ite militants the U.S. military says are backed by Iran.
The military said it believed the attack was ordered to incite Shi'ite violence against Sunni Arabs. Most major car bombs in Iraq are blamed on Sunni Islamist al Qaeda.
Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along...Among the specific groups singled out was Hezbollah.
...wholeheartedly endorsed Mr. Bush’s veiled rebuke in the Israeli Knesset of Senator Barack Obama that talking to “terrorists and radicals'’ was no different than appeasing Hitler and the Nazis.And this agrees with the past statements of McCain and his supporting players:
John McCain's position is clear and has always been clear, the President of the United States should not unconditionally meet with leaders of Iran, Hamas or Hezbollah.Or this:
McCain Advisor Lawrence Eagleburger, deputy secretary of State under Bush I, tacked to the right of both, saying McCain "will not talk with the Syrians, will not talk with the Iranians, will not talk with Hamas and Hezbollah...He isn't going to push the Israelis."I'm sure McCain will be absolutely condemning then on this nugget from the Bush Administration:
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says she welcomes a new power-sharing arrangement in Lebanon, even though it increases the power of Hezbollah militants at the expense of US-backed moderates...I'm sure that somehow this is
But Hezbollah's ascendancy is a bitter pill for the US, which is worried that Iran's influence is spreading in the Middle East and had spent millions backing the Lebanese government for three years.
Rice's blessing is a sign that the Bush administration has accepted that Western-backed democratic leaders who helped Lebanon throw off three decades of Syrian domination could not govern the country alone.
Military psychologists were enlisted to help develop more aggressive interrogation methods, including snarling dogs, forced nudity and long periods of standing, against terrorism suspects, according to a Senate investigation.
Before they were approved by then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, such harsh techniques had drawn warnings from military lawyers that they could be illegal, an investigation by the Senate Armed Services Committee has found. Officials familiar with the findings discussed them on condition of anonymity because the information has not been formally released.
The psychologists who helped interrogate terror suspects for the CIA were set to testify Tuesday before the Senate committee, which was expected to release details of the investigation.
The hearing is the committee's first look at the origins of the harsher methods used in Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba and Abu Ghraib in Iraq and how policy decisions on interrogations were vetted across the Defense Department. Its review fits into a broader picture of the government's handling of detainees, which includes FBI and CIA interrogations in secret prisons.
The Pentagon's top civilian lawyer at the time, chief counsel William "Jim" Haynes, was expected to testify Tuesday. Also scheduled to be present were Richard Shiffrin, Haynes' former deputy on intelligence matters, as well as legal advisers at the time to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Guantanamo Bay prison.According to the Senate committee's findings, Haynes became interested in using harsher interrogation methods as early as July 2002 ...
Shortly after requesting more information about harsh techniques, Haynes traveled in September 2002 to Guantanamo Bay with other administration lawyers, including then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and Vice President Dick Cheney's chief counsel, David Addington.
Of all the vile, fake, lying-ass, money-grubbing shyster scumbags on the face of this planet, there is perhaps none more loathsome than [Joel] Osteen, a human haircut with plastic baseball-size teeth who has made a fortune selling the appalling only-in-America idea that terrestrial greed is actually a form of Christian devotion. "God wants us to prosper financially, to have plenty of money, to fulfill the destiny He has laid out for us," Osteen once wrote. This is the revolting, snake-oil-selling dickhead that John McCain actually chose to pimp as number one on his list of inspirational authors. So much for "go, sell everything you have and give to the poor," and all that other hippie crap from the New Testament.