Middle East in Flames

July 4, 2006

  • Finding His Groove -- Hats off to Al Gore!After being constantly railed at by the media as a presidential candidate for absurd irrelevancies like that he was "wonkish", "stiff" or not the kind of guy you'd want to have a beer with, then winning the presidential election anyway and having it stolen from him, he has found a way to re-invent himself and re-emerge outside of the political media system in a way they can't seem to get at him.

    The corporate media continue to flail away at him, still absurdly, saying his warnings about global warming are "scare tactics", and similarly empty criticisms, (see MSNBC) but they can't get him because he is not running. They already took that prize from him, what can they do now? He's just Al Gore private citizen. He has nothing to lose. As such he is the only one in the realm who is able to speak boldly with conviction. None of the candidates have the luxury of being able to be authentic because they are unwilling to let go of their traditional political bases, which they have built up so methodically.

    Ironically that makes him by far more attractive as a presidential candidate than any of the actual candidates who are so careful they are virtually paralyzed and impotent. Hillary Clinton and John Kerry are such pawns of the system they are forced to speak the language of the establishment, bantering away on irrelevancies like flag burning. Both supported Bush's drive for war against Iraq. Gore didn't. He supported Dean, who was the only candidate who managed to get into the inner circle and still retain a spark of life. Now Gore is doing more good as a private citizen than he could have ever done as a candidate.

    In this week's Rolling Stone, he speaks plainly of Bush and the Bush-Cheney mob. The interviewer asks what Gore thought of Bush's bogus claim that he would reduce CO2 emissions if elected. Of course it was a lie and Gore says so. The interviewer asks if Gore thinks it was a smart move. "Well, if you define the word "smart" in an antiseptic and clinical way that excludes any ethical dimension, then, yeah, I guess it was smart. Smart, if you're willing to say things that you know are not true. But that's what Karl Rove is known for. Bush's whole pose as a compassionate conservative was fraudulent. His budget was fraudulent. Even the idea that he would be staunchly opposed to nation building was fraudulent. I don't mean that he actually knew at the time of the campaign that he was going to invade Iraq -- because I don't think Cheney had told him yet [laughs]. But the statement on global warming, and the specific pledge to reduce CO2 emissions with the force of law, was part of a larger pattern. He was completely fraudulent from head to toe." The whole interview is really worth reading. It speaks clearly about what is happening with global warming and how even big CEOs, even Republicans are all going to have to get on the bandwagon with that issue. It's not a partisan issue, notwithstanding the resistance of the oil companies and their unwillingness to give up their monopolistic control of the nation's energy. See also McClatchey Newspapers

  • CIA's Bin Laden Unit Disbanded -- Remember all that showbiz stuff with Bush saying he was going to track down Osama bin Laden "dead or alive", notwithstanding that the bin Ladens are long-time business partners with the Bushes? If it wasn't obvious then, five years ago, it's obvious not that it was another Bush fraud. According to The Guardian, the CIA dismantled the unit assigned to capture him.
  • Bush Directed the Discrediting of Joseph Wilson -- According to the National Journal, "President Bush told the special prosecutor in the CIA leak case that he directed Vice President Dick Cheney to personally lead an effort to counter allegations made by former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV that his administration had misrepresented intelligence information to make the case to go to war with Iraq, according to people familiar with the president's statement." This article is an excellent summary of the facts of the Libby case so far.
  • Raving Lunatic -- Bush's Attack on the NYTimes is, as usual, fraudulent. According to the Chronicle, "Bush's sustained outrage last week about newspaper reports on a program tracking terrorists' financial records may have seemed odd considering how urgently the administration once publicized the program's broad concepts."
  • Who's Really Destroying the Flag? Cindy Sheehan: "The star-spangled banner, which I can now see whipping in the wind outside an airport terminal where I am writing this, does not fill me with pride: it fills me with shame, and that flag symbolizes sorrow and corruption to me right now. The flag represents so much lying, fixed elections, profiting by the war machine, high gas prices, spying on Americans, rapid erosion of our freedoms while BushCo literally gets away with murder, torture and extreme rendition, contaminating the world with depleted uranium, and illegal and immoral wars that are responsible for killing so many. A symbol that used to represent hope to so many around the world now fills so many with disgust."

    July 8, 2006

  • All Showbiz -- The much-hyped "terror plot" to blow up the Holland Tunnel was "nothing more than chatter by unaffiliated individuals with no financing or training in an open forum already monitored extensively by the United States Government", according to Raw Story. Raw quotes Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer and contributor to American Conservative magazine as saying: “The so-called New York tunnel plot was a result of discussions held on an open Jihadi web site.” The three arrested are extremists, indeed, and three had been arrested before. But “they are not professionally trained terrorists, however, and had no resources with which to carry out the operation they discussed." Good rule of thumb: believe nothing your government tells you.
  • More Killing in Gaza -- Israel continued to pound Gaza with air strikes and tanks moving into neighborhoods in Gaza, the attack supposedly justified by the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier. monstersandcritics.com
  • Not So Fast -- The high court ruling against military tribunals only restores the Uniform Military Code of Justice. "Untrained monkeys in dresses could have determined the correct outcome of Hamdan vs Rumsfeld. In fact, the case should have never reached the Supreme Court. Lower ranking monkeys in dresses (this would include Chief Justice Roberts at the time) ought to also have been able to figure out constitutional from dictatorial," according to Military Week. The Bush regime will find a way around it.
  • Osama bin Laden is Dead -- Since December 2001, according to many reliable sources. See a listing of them at What Really Happened. That would explain why the CIA dismantled the unit for tracking him last year. But as legend, he lives on. He's good for stoking the neocons wars.
  • Why We Fight -- Think tanks hatching plots, pulling strings. Randi Rhodes Fan Site
  • Abramoff: Seven White House Visits -- According to Secret Service records. AP
  • Chickenhawk Hall of Fame -- Flash video at symbolman.com

    July 9, 2006

  • Mexican Deja Vu -- In Mexico, a replay of the fascist seizure of power of the Bush administration in 2000. Piles of voter irregularities producing a razor thin margin for the candidate of the elite, and a refusal to recount the votes to see who really won. At least the Mexican candidate of the people is fighting it instead of rolling over to the obvious fraud as did his American counterparts Gore and Kerry.
  • Maintaining the Fantasy -- Bush says story in The Guardian that said the CIA's Bin Laden unit was dismantled in late 2005 is false (see Raw Story )in spite of many reliable reports have said that he died in December 2001.
  • Fantasy and Gibberish -- Bush's appearance on the Larry King Show was full of blatantly incorrect assertions and nonsense. See Editor & Publisher
  • Terrorist Nations: U.S. and Israel -- Israel's attack on Gaza, what its prime minister calls "collective punishment" for a kidnapping, is state terrorism. The Nation
  • A 96% Majority -- say that Congress is NOT doing enough to clean itself up. Huffington Post
  • White House Implicated in Vote Fraud Scheme -- The fourth man to be indicted in a phone jamming scheme in New Hampshire will argue that the White House approved his actions. Raw StoryBoston Globe

    July 5, 2006

  • Unsober -- Check out this video of Bush. Drinking again? mojoflix
  • Unserious -- Craig Durrett, the conservative editorial page editor of the Shreveport Times said he's considering dropping Ann ("The Beast") Coulter because "She is more about entertainment and self-promotion, understanding that shock and outrage translate into publicity that feeds into her quest for media airtime and column space. Her comments about several women who were made widows on Sept. 11, 2001, is a prime example... To me, Ann Coulter's exercise of her right to free speech is the political equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theater. She crosses the line of decency. To me, individuals who engage in name-calling and hate speech to get attention, sell books, increase speaking fees and feather their own nests, are speaking for themselves, not any political party. My problem is the popular presumption that she represents the Republican Party. We all get painted with her tainted brush."
  • Put Away the Flags --Howard Zinn

    July 1, 2006

  • Love and Diversity -- Michael Moore meets Fred Phelps in Topeka. The Awful Truth on YouTube.com
  • Destruction of Humanity in Gaza -- The Israeli "show of force" in its brutal new wave of attacks on the Gaza Strip is creating a lot of "collateral damage" among the Palestinian civilians of Gaza. When an Israeli soldier was captured by militants, the Israeli government unleashed a massive wave of violence on all the people in the strip. The militants want the Israelis to release 1,000 prisoners. Israel will not budge. In the big stalemate, many innocent people are being destroyed. It is showing once again that increasing violence when violence has failed to work in the past only makes matters more infinitely unworkable. But the agents of violence never learn.
  • Only the Official Conspiracy Theory Allowed -- Former deputy assistant secretary of defense under the Reagan administration and a highly decorated Vietnam veteran Col. Ronald D. Ray wonders why half a trillion dollar defense budget couldn't protect Pentagon and questions official 9/11 conspiracy theory. Prison Planet
  • Bill Clinton on Vote Fraud -- A fascinating speech and interview with Bill Clinton at Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. Deep into the article, the interviewer asks Clinton about Robert Kennedy's article "Was the 2004 Election Stolen?". Clinton is careful, but says Kennedy makes "a persuasive case" and says a great deal more about it. Regarding the 2000 election he says there is no question Gore would have won if the votes had been fairly and fully counted, that the Bush v Gore decision was one of the worst four or five Supreme Court decisions in history and if the situation had been reversed they would have voted nine to nothing to count all the votes by uniform standard. In regard to Ohio, he said, "What was clear is that the Secretary of State, now their candidate for governor, was a world class expert in voter suppression and that he was doing everything he could to keep voters that he thought were Democrats from voting, in every way that he could. And I think that is wrong. And I hope that the voters of Ohio will repudiate it. I mean, you know, we ought to be in the business of getting more people to vote, not fewer." Kennedy's article, Clinton said, "made a compelling case, those numbers that he said in some of those precincts, the probability of the vote total being that much at variance with the exit polls was one in 600,000."
  • Maybe Not So "Quaint" -- It was a pleasant surprise that the Supreme Court that twisted the law like a pretzel to get George Bush into office would have actually upheld the law and the Geneva Convention when it was under attack by the Bush administration with its military tribunals. The major Bush thugs on the court: Scalia, Thomas and the new Alito all predictably voted against the Geneva Convention, and Bush's other appointee recused himself because he had voted on the same case before he got on the Supreme Court. But, as Rosa Brooks writes in The LA Times, it could be that "the real blockbuster in the Hamdan decision is the court's holding that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention applies to the conflict with Al Qaeda — a holding that makes high-ranking Bush administration officials potentially subject to prosecution under the federal War Crimes Act." Brooks explains: "Common Article 3 forbids 'cruel treatment and torture [and] outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.' The provision's language is sweeping enough to prohibit many of the interrogation techniques approved by the Bush administration. That's why the administration had argued that Common Article 3 did not apply to the war on terror, even though legal experts have long concluded that it was intended to provide minimum rights guarantees for all conflicts not otherwise covered by the Geneva Convention. But here's where the rubber really hits the road. Under federal criminal law, anyone who 'commits a war crime … shall be fined … or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.' And a war crime is defined as 'any conduct … which constitutes a violation of Common Article 3 of the international conventions signed at Geneva.' In other words, with the Hamdan decision, U.S. officials found to be responsible for subjecting war on terror detainees to torture, cruel treatment or other 'outrages upon personal dignity' could face prison or even the death penalty."

    July 12, 2006

    Bush in Chains -- A Nuremberg chief prosecutor says there is a case for trying Bush for the "supreme crime against humanity, an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign nation." Alternet.org

    July 6, 2006

  • George and Condi -- Those late nights at the office! Sometimes things get out of hand. Even a president is only human. Is it more than friendship? Well, there is some fascinating gossip going around about it. The Fireflyfans.net Forum has gathered together a few speculations about George W.'s personal life, similar to the Monica Lewinsky scandal, but not so well reported. And then there's the stuff about Jeff Gannon, and Victor Ashe, the tombs of Skull and Bones and so much more deliciously sordid gossip. Ah what one could do with $50 million and a partisan hitman like Ken Starr!
  • Secrets Upon Secrets -- One of the sources of the George and Condi speculation, the Wayne Madsen Report, is full of fascinating bits, including some discussion of Ken Lay and how many secrets he took to his grave, fortunately for the Bush crime family. There's also a report of Bush's visit to Vienna, and some of the security requirements, including Bush's own portable toilet, which reportedly shipped Bush's waste back to the states lest someone analyze it and discover some national security secret.
  • Selective Perception -- The one-sidedness of the approach to the Israeli-Palestinian catastrophe is so extreme as to be bizarre. For example, Bush spokesman Tony Snow was asked about it at a press briefing yesterday. The Israeli government is pounding Palestinian men, women and children on the Gaza strip mercilessly with its powerful military equipment, creating a humanitarian crisis that will rank among the worst ever. The justification for this particular assault is the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier by Palestinian militants. Snow expressed not a word of concern for the innocent families being slaughtered. His only concern was the return of the soldier. In the West, or the "world community", those civilian lives do not count. They have no meaning or importance at all. Snow talked about "stopping the violence" only in relation to the militants and to their acquisition of some primitive, ineffective weapons. This is essentially an unarmed population under brutal assault by a massive, state of the art military machine. The attempt of some militants to acquire some weapons is seen as a justification for killing many innocent bystanders. There are few newspapers in the West that begin to penetrate the strange blindness of this theater of horror. One that looks at the problem lucidly is Znet.

    July 13, 2006

  • Middle East in Flames -- The Israelis are expanding their warfare into Lebanon, so that in combination with the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it suddenly appears that the entire region is erupting into war, under attack by a U.S.-Israel axis of evil. Leave it to Condoleezza Rice to use it as a moment to criticize the kidnapers of two Israeli soldiers. Certainly kidnaping is not a good thing, but in comparison with Israel's aggression now it is small potatoes. Doesn't fairness require a criticism of Israel's crimes too?
  • American Savagery in Iraq -- The rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl by U.S. soldiers is one of the most horrifying, barbaric crimes ever. Too horrible for words. What has happened to the soul of the U.S. with this horrible war in Iraq? To find out what kind of horror, click on Democracy Now
  • Mexican Ruling Class Plays Election Fraud from the Bush Book -- Greg Palast went to Mexico to see how closely the election fraud followed the Florida model. He discovered that the conservatives even used the same vote purging company the Bush mob used in Jeb's Florida. Palast: "We have obtained from U.S. FBI files a copy of a secret government contract with a private firm, ChoicePoint of Alpharetta, Georgia. ChoicePoint, you may recall, is the company that provided a list to Katherine Harris in 2000, which permitted her office to wrongly scrub thousands of African Americans from Florida voter rolls." Democracy Now

    July 14, 2006

  • RFK Files Vote Fraud Whistleblower Suits --bradblog.com
  • Agent Plame Sues White House Rat Pack -- Cheney, Rove and Libby. For revealing her undercover identity in retaliation for her husband's public disagreement with the Bush Iraq policy. MSNBC, Associated Press
  • Coulter Calls for Death of Times Editor -- The sick creature says the Times editor should be executed for publishing what the Wall Street Journal published and what Bush talked about openly, the auditing of banking transactions to track terrorist activity. Editor & Publisher
  • Many Versions -- As AmericaBlog points out, Novak, Rove and CIA spokesman all appear to have given different stories about the Valerie Plame leak.

    July 15, 2006

  • Why? --In Bloomberg there's a headline,"Lebanese Leader Calls for Cease-Fire as Fighting Enters 5th Day". Why does the Lebanese leader have to call for a cease-fire? He has no fire to cease. He is not attacking Israel. Why is there an assault on his country? How can Israel get away with these attacks on civilians while the whole world just stands aside and watches helpless people being attacked and killed? How can this be happening in a world that considers itself "civilized"? What a laugh! If this is civilization give me barbarism.

    How can a government use the commission of a crime, or even call it an act of war, of a handful of people, a sect, a militant group, to justify an attack on civilians, and on their means of survival. Are you going to say they "sympathize" with it? If they didn't have any sympathy for it before, they may be developing some now as Israel pummels them.

    This is an outrage. This is terrorism. It is attacking civilians to destroy morale and try to exert pressure on someone who is eluding your grasp. Why do these people have to die? There is no justification for it. No act of Hezbollah or any other militant group, no holocaust of the 1940s, no "Israel has the right to defend itself", no "if you disagree you must be antisemitic (or insert 'antiAmerican') -- bad boys and girls!" None of this justifies this insane brutality and destructiveness. You cannot punish an entire nation or ethnic group for the illegal or aggressive acts of a few people, not with a shred of justification. This is clearly not acceptable in a post-Nuremberg world, a post-Nazi world. We as a civilization know better than this. Israel of all nations should know better than this.

    Of course we can thank George Bush for setting up a world in which the standard of behavior is that might makes right and you can attack anyone you want, use trumped up justifications that any moron could see through if he cared to look, and if you are militarily mighty enough you can rub it in their faces with an arrogant smirk and who's going to challenge you? Welcome to the world of Bush, the New World Order, the world in which the Bush cabal makes the rules.

    If the U.S. were a civilized country its leaders would have jumped forth in fury when these attacks began, would have condemned them resoundingly and brought all of their resources to bear to pressure Israel into stopping the attacks on civilians, to do everything it could to bring a cessation of aggression first before any other negotiating could be accomplished. There is no excuse for standing aside and watching civilians killed. All this from a country that pretends to be fighting the tyranny of Saddam Hussein and bringing "democracy" to Iraq, when it is really bringing out much worse tyranny than existed under Saddam.

    Because a militant group conducts acts of terrorism, does not justify a sovereign state resorting to acts of terrorism. If states conduct terrorism, they do not have any more legitimate basis for their existence than terrorist groups. Assuming nationhood requires becoming part of the community of nations that have agreed through the Geneva Accords that these kinds of acts are not acceptable.

    The U.S. and Israel really have made themselves into an axis of evil. Two terrorist states that do not believe any rules apply to them, no Geneva Conventions, no nothing. For the mighty, there are no rules. Today the mighty are those with the most advanced machinery of death. For the state of Israel to engage in this kind of unjustified application of sophisticated technology of death upon innocent civilians in light of the history of Nazism is insane. It's like some sort of post-traumatic stress syndrome acting out on the global stage. A people who endured something so unspeakable that some of them are reacting in kind, doing unto others as others did unto them. It sounds absurd, but what kind of sense can you make of it?

    There is nothing that can justify the present slaughter and destruction.

    When are these lizard brains, these feral humans (I'm not talking about any specific ethnic group or nationality -- it's not about that) going to realize that this "might makes right" stuff is utter crap. The idea that you can just increase your brutality and destructiveness, and you will eventually force people into submission only leads to an endlessly repeating cycle of violence. It doesn't work. It never has worked, except temporarily.

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