End of the occupation of Iraq – And Afghanistan

by Marjorie Cohn

So far, Bush’s plan to maintain a permanent U.S. military presence in Iraq has been stymied by resistance from the Iraqi government. Barack Obama’s timetable for withdrawal of American troops has evidently been joined by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, Bush has mentioned a “time horizon,” and John McCain has waffled. Yet Obama favors leaving between 35,000 and 80,000 U.S. occupation troops there indefinitely to train Iraqi security forces and carry out “counter-insurgency operations.” That would not end the occupation. We must call for bringing home – not redeploying – all U.S. troops and mercenaries, closing all U.S. military bases, and relinquishing all efforts to control Iraqi oil.

In light of stepped up violence in Afghanistan, and for political reasons – following Obama’s lead – Bush will be moving troops from Iraq to Afghanistan. Although the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan was as illegal as the invasion of Iraq, many Americans see it as a justifiable response to the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the casualties in that war have been lower than those in Iraq – so far. Practically no one in the United States is currently questioning the legality or propriety of U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan. The cover of Time magazine calls it “The Right War.”

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Savage, Hannity, O’Reilly Terrorists?

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On Sunday, Jim David Adkisson entered the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church during a children’s musical and began firing a 12-guage shotgun. The results were two people dead and six wounded.

According to the Knoxville News, the police stated that Adkisson wanted to kill liberals and because he couldn’t kill the elected officials, he would instead kill the people he said voted them into office.

Adkisson targeted the church, Still wrote in the document obtained by WBIR-TV, Channel 10, “because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had tied his country’s hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of media outlets.”‘


Inside the house, officers found “Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder” by radio talk show host Michael Savage, “Let Freedom Ring” by talk show host Sean Hannity, and “The O’Reilly Factor,” by television talk show host Bill O’Reilly.


Adkisson, 58, of Powell wrote a four-page letter in which he stated his “hatred of the liberal movement,” Owen said. “Liberals in general, as well as gays.”

I wonder why Mr. Adkisson has yet to be labeled a terrorist. He went on a rampage and killed Americans because of his beliefs about our government. He walked into a church and shot people because he felt they elected liberals. As such, this is an attack on the way America is governed. And as such, this should have been labeled a terrorist attack.

But it has not.

When domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh was tried for his role in the Oklahoma City bombings, it was introduced that he had clippings from a book entitled “The Turner Diaries.” “The Turner Diaries” is a novel popular on the anti-government right.

One of those clippings had this phrase highlighted: “But the real value of all of our attacks today lies in the psychological impact, not in the immediate casualties.”

Another highlighted phrase read, “We can still find them and kill them.”

It’s apparent that hate is what drove this both McVeigh and Adkisson. And that hate was, in part, fueled by the rantings of the right-wing media “darlings” who continuously espouse intolerance and lies and distortions of what “liberal” means.

If you can’t watch clips online, Rush Limbaugh states, about the Virginia Tech shooter:

If this Virgina Tech shooter had an ideology, what do you think it was? This guy had to be a liberal. You start railing against the rich… This guy is a liberal. He was turned into a liberal somewhere along the line. So it was a liberal who committed this act.

The right wing blame all the ills of our country on “Liberals” but never because of their own hate-filled speech. Care and concern for any fellow man is considered Liberal – which they have been quite effective in turning into a dirty word. But Neo-conservatives who preach war and beg for nuclear war, are good. I am at a loss at the kinds of cognitive leaps that are made to connect caring into hate and war into a blessing.

Jim N. at TalkingPointsMemo put up an interesting post relating to Adkisson:

Below I have listed one quote from the (Adkisson’s) letter. Can you guess which one it is?

1. Liberalism IS a confirmed Mental Disorder.

2. Yes, and when free thinking American Patriots take back this country, one of the first orders of business will be to deal with all of you idiotic, liberal, bleeding heart, anti American traitors appropriately

3. We have a traitor among us. GET A ROPE

4. The revolution I spoke of will not be North against South, but will be free thinking American Patriots against anti American traitors such as you, aks/ablaze, and the rest of the bleeding heart, liberal idiots

5. you anti American, liberal traitors still refuse to face the facts, and continue to live in a state of brainwashed, blind denial..

6. Muslims are a cancer on this planet, and guess what? I’m not joking 1 bit.. I say drop a nuke on the mid-east and then stuff pork up their *ss’s!

7. I think pink is great color for liberals, that and yellow

8. Liberals are a cancer on the world.

9. Why is it that spoiled kids of prominent people always become liberal and bitter, but have never made much of a difference in anything

10. [I have a] stated hatred of the liberal movement

11. As a veteran I say to you be thankful for the anonymity the internet gives you, there are probably more than a few ex-military on this site that would get gratification from a face-to-face with you, but you are not worth going to jail for. You are despicable and disgusting. Go see your proctologist, you may be developing brain damage. Now FOAD!

12. Why don’t we test out your real courage and pick a nice quiet dark spot to meet so i can bust your jaw. No more words, Just you, me, and blood. You talk awfully tough on the internet now let’s test out what your REALLY made of.

The statement written by the gunman was number 10. (One of the mildest statements from the list) Your next question should be: where did you get the rest of these quotes? The answer is simple.

Every quote (other than #10) listed, came from a MYFox Local website from across the country.

The right has become an outlet for all the anger and hatred which people in our country feel – for whatever reason. Out of a job? Blame liberals, not Bush policies. Lose your house? Blame liberals. Salary sucks? Blame liberals. Hey, you can even blame liberals for a slump in box office revenue!

Does anyone out there remember how Hitler came to power? He blamed Jews for all the woes of their society. He had a Ministry of Propaganda. We have liberals and Fox News.

But for us, it’s all the fault of the liberals, the ACLU and George Soros!

I found the statement by MissMollyHussain at ThinkProgress to be an amusing read:

This will surely bring out the people who would like to see these hateful people banned from the airwaves and banned from writing books. We already have laws against libel and laws against slander, but laws against inciting violence have always been a bit murky.

The first amendment has always been one of our most cherished freedoms. But where should the line be drawn? Are Savage, Hannity, and O’Reilly deriving any joy from what their books have wrought? Probably not — in fact, they will most likely do their utmost to downplay any role their books had in this violence, alleging that Adkisson is a total nutcase and their books wouldn’t have made any difference. In fact, the ACLU would most likely defend their right to write whatever crap they want.

Oh the irony should the ACLU defend Hannity, Savage or O’Reilly for encouraging domestic terrorism.

h/t: Wayne A. Schneider

Countdown to Bejing: Amnesty International Video – Working to Protect Human Rights

When the Olympic games were in Moscow in 1980, half the world boycotted them, because of the Afghanistan war. The constraints and dependencies of today’s globalized economy forbid such a stance. President Bush will attend the opening ceremonies and McDonald’s is busily sponsoring the games, as are others from around the world.

Economic interests have never been in the best interest of Human Rights.

My family and I will boycott the games. Although we are sports fans, we will not watch the coverage and we will not buy products from sponsors. This will have little impact, of course, but they say the movement of a butterfly’s wing can cause a hurricane.

Watch Amnesty International’s video:

more about “Amnesty International | Working to Pr…“, posted with vodpod

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Not so pretty…

Gonzales Aides Broke Laws in Hiring, Report Concludes

Senior aides to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales broke the law by using politics to guide their hiring decisions for a wide range of important department positions, slowing the hiring process at critical times and damaging the department’s credibility and independence, an internal report concluded Monday.


From the LA Times

All cartoons are posted with the artists’ express permission to TPZoo.
Nick Anderson, Houston Chronicle Editorial Cartoonist and Animation Artist.
For Nick’s animations, visit Nick Anderson: Animation Archives.
For Nick’s cartoons, visit Nick Anderson.

Obama Doesn’t Sweat. He should.

(Here is a plea from investigative journalist Greg Palast)

by Greg Palast

In swing-state Colorado, the Republican Secretary of State conducted the biggest purge of voters in history, dumping a fifth of all registrations. Guess their color.

In swing-state Florida, the state is refusing to accept about 85,000 new registrations from voter drives – overwhelming Black voters.

In swing state New Mexico, HALF of the Democrats of Mora, a dirt poor and overwhelmingly Hispanic county, found their registrations disappeared this year, courtesy of a Republican voting contractor.

In swing states Ohio and Nevada, new federal law is knocking out tens of thousands of voters who lost their homes to foreclosure.

My investigations partner spoke directly to Barack Obama about it. (When your partner is Robert F. Kennedy Jr., candidates take your phone call.) The cool, cool Senator Obama told Kennedy he was “concerned” about the integrity of the vote in the Southwest in particular.

He’s concerned. I’m sweating.

It’s time SOMEBODY raised the alarm about these missing voters; not to save Obama’s candidacy – journalists should stay the heck away from partisan endorsements – but raise the alarm to save our sick democracy.

And that somebody is YOU. Joining with US, the Palast investigative team. Here’s how:

Read on…

Watch “Free for All

Columnist Robert Novak diagnosed with brain tumor

Raw Story

Syndicated columnist and former “Crossfire” host Robert Novak has been diagnosed with a brain tumor and is suspending his journalistic work.

Novak issued a statement Monday saying the tumor was found Sunday after he had been rushed to Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital from Cape Cod, where he was visiting his daughter.

The Chicago Sun-Times columnist says he is suspending his journalistic work for an indefinite, “but God willing, not too lengthy period.” His statement did not say if the tumor was malignant.

Read entire article..

I wonder if this will be his defense in last week’s “hit and run (leave the scene)” of a pedestrian with his black Corvette in Washington.. Novak kept going until he was stopped by a bicyclist. He was issued a $50 traffic citation.

Conservatives Create Socialism

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Paul B. Farrell, a columnist for CBS Marketwatch since 1997, wrote a fascinating column entitled 11 reasons America’s a new socialist economy, How free market ideology backfired, sabotaging capitalistic democracy. This column is not only a must read because it is very well written (to lower than an 8th grade level, I might add) but because some of it is downright funny. I find much absurdity in the modern conservative.

He starts off talking about Milton Friedman’s 1962 Nobel prize winning Capitalism and Freedom (something I have always had much loathing for – and something I now feel I need to read in full for I fear that it may be far different than what I have been led to believe):

Too late to stop President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, those principles became the battle cries energizing conservatives since Reagan: Unrestricted free markets, free enterprise and free trade; deregulation, privatization and globalization; trickle-down economics and trickle-up wealth to an elite plutocracy destined to rule the new American capitalist utopia.

So what happened? Are you guys nuts? Hey, I’m talking to all you blind Beltway politicians (in both parties) … plus the Old Boys Club running Wall Street (into the ground) … plus all you fat-cat CEOs (with megamillion parachutes) … and all your buddies scamming everybody else to get on the Forbes 400. You are proof of Lord Acton’s warning: “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

He then goes on a point-by-point dissection of our economic woes – each with its own fascinating insight (which I have not included):

Here are 11 reasons your manipulations are sabotaging the great principles of leaders like Friedman and Reagan:

1. Dumber than a fifth grader with cognitive dissonance

2. Where did all the leaders go with their moral character?

3. Fed and U.S. Treasury adopted Enron accounting tricks

4. Deregulation creating new socialist housing system

5. Trade deficits outsourced more of America’s wealth than jobs

6. Banking system in meltdown, minting penny stocks

7. Ideologues preach savings, but still push spending

8. Warning, the market’s under 2000 peak, losing money

9. Inflation and dollars: Is Zimbabwe the new model for the U.S.?

10. Free-market health care failing 47,000,000 Americans

11. Conservative free-market policies inflated oil 300%!

On point number 10 (above), Mr Farrell writes (in part):

Conservative ideologues naively believe the answer is more pay-out-of-pocket insurance plans, even with 47 million already uninsured because they can’t pay. Here as in so many areas of our economy, free-market junkies really are suffering a severe case of cognitive dissonance, as blind to the facts about the uninsured as they are to their outdated free-market fantasies.

Mr. Farrell is, by all appearances, an old school conservative who, by his own words, feels that Reagan was someone with great principles. He is also a member of a group that was once called “Compassionate Conservatives.” I don’t believe much of that lives any longer.

I don’t agree with much of what Reagan did as president, nor do I hold him in such esteem that I want to see his face on Mt. Rushmore or the ten dollar bill. While I am not too often in agreement with conservative ideologies, I do believe in good fiscal policy and that is something which has been sorely lacking over the last eight years.

Clinton allowed the Republican Congress to put through legislation which led to our current economic debacle. George W. Bush and his Republican Congress made sure that greed won out and anything or anyone else did not matter. And as if a boomerang, it is now returning to slash the head off of the giant that was once capitalism (and conservatism).

One last quote:

Friedman was right: Congressional spending is the biggest cause of inflation, and, wow, those conservatives sure did love blank-check deficit spending the past eight years!

If you have any interest in our economy or markets, this is a must read.

Muse’s Monday Menagerie

Well, I’ll start this Monday’s roundup with ‘the big DUH’: A Justice report finds aides illegally discriminated against career hires who weren’t Republican

Also from Raw Story: More than 22,000 veterans have sought help from a special suicide hot line in its first year, and 1,221 suicides have been averted.

And these are acceptable numbers? What are we doing to our soldiers by putting them in the hellhole that is Iraq? Repeatedly, with extended stays?

Robert Dreyfuss from The Nation has written “Iraq: Poised to Explode“. Instead of looking at it through the lense of American politics, he looks at it from the view of Iraqi politics.

From Huffington Post: Iraq Bombings Kill Scores, Wound Hundreds in Baghdad, Kirkuk

For a more thorough reporting of events taking place in Iraq, visit  Juan Cole’s Informed Comment.

At Tom Dispatch, Chalmers Johnson writes “The Military-Industrial Complex - It’s Much Later Than You Think” (Warning: Mercenaries at Work).

This same article by Johnson is cross-posted at AlterNet under the title: The Vast and Dangerous Transfer of American Spying to Mercenary Companies

From The American Conservative: Surge: The New Loyalty Test

Don’t miss: “How Obama Became Acting President” by Frank Rich. It’s a great piece ending with:

The election remains Mr. Obama’s to lose, and he could lose it, whether through unexpected events, his own vanity or a vice-presidential misfire. But what we’ve learned this month is that America, our allies and most likely the next Congress are moving toward Mr. Obama’s post-Iraq vision of the future, whether he reaches the White House or not. That’s some small comfort as we contemplate the strange alternative offered by the Republicans: a candidate so oblivious to our nation’s big challenges ahead that he is doubling down in his campaign against both Mr. Maliki and Mr. Obama to be elected commander in chief of the surge.

From Truthout: US Concedes Iraq Victims Were Law-Abiding, Not Insurgents

The U.S. military said Sunday that the three people killed last month after U.S. soldiers shot at their car in one of the most secured areas of Iraq were civilians, not criminals as the military initially reported.

More on this from The New York Times:

The American military admitted Sunday night that a platoon of soldiers raked a car of innocent Iraqi civilians with hundreds of rounds of gunfire and that the military then issued a news release larded with misstatements, asserting that the victims were criminals who had fired on the troops.

The attack on June 25 killed three people, a man and two women, as they drove to work at a bank at Baghdad’s airport. The attack infuriated Iraqi officials and even prompted the Iraqi armed forces general command to call the shooting cold-blooded murder.

It also bolstered calls from Iraqi politicians to pressure the American military to leave Iraq after this year, when a United Nations mandate expires, unless the United States agrees to permit its soldiers to be subject to criminal prosecution under Iraqi law for attacks on civilians.

This article caught my eye this weekend: WSJ: Bush Is Just Like Batman. Too funny for words.. I went to see this movie on Saturday. Heath Ledger had better get that Oscar for best actor.. He was absolutely mesmerizing. Overall, the movie was too dark and creepy for me. Back to the point of the article..
I guess they are trying to say, by making this comparison, that GW had to do some bad things but for the right reasons – for the greater good, to save us from the terr’ists (or something like that..).

From the Wall Street Journal:

There seems to me no question that the Batman film “The Dark Knight,” currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war. Like W, Batman is vilified and despised for confronting terrorists in the only terms they understand. Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergency is past.

And like W, Batman understands that there is no moral equivalence between a free society—in which people sometimes make the wrong choices—and a criminal sect bent on destruction. The former must be cherished even in its moments of folly; the latter must be hounded to the gates of Hell.

“The Dark Knight,” then, is a conservative movie about the war on terror. And like another such film, last year’s “300,” “The Dark Knight” is making a fortune depicting the values and necessities that the Bush administration cannot seem to articulate for beans.

Excuse my French, but are you f*cking kidding me!? Un-f*cking-believable!! I might have been able to say nice things about the movie before I read this article, but not any more. This article just ruined it for me. They did get one thing right..

GW is a cartoon character…

Photo by edudflog. Used with permission.

The Boss Knows the Truth

Both of these videos originally aired last fall but they’re very relevant if you haven’t seen them. The 60 Minutes interview was on again this evening. Scott Pelley suggested some people might view Springsteen as unpatriotic because of his views. The nerve.

Our rockers have to do the job our journalists won’t.

The 60 Minutes Interview

The Music

Let’s Play “Who Said This?”

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I stumbled upon the following as I was surfing late one night. It was one of the results of a Google search I did. It was an incredible find. I took limited license with the following and it is not the entire article (which is linked below the fold).

Who do YOU think said the following?

While I am certainly not above mindless egotism, I offer the citation to demonstrate that I am aiming for consistency. In my heart of hearts I still believe that, with some obvious exceptions, you cannot judge someone’s moral worth by their political posture alone. Nevertheless, after watching the mendacity, the sanctimony, and above all, the arrogant shabbiness of the House and their incarnate dashboard-Saint President, I am sorely strained not to question my convictions.

These people say they were denied the opportunity to give voice to their “conscience” by saying, in their words that the President “egregiously failed” his constitutional oath, “violated the trust of the American people,” and “dishonored the office which they entrusted to him.”

The White House has endorsed, encouraged and contributed to a declared “War” against all enemies — partisans and apolitical domestics. The White House is so filled with dirty whisperers that from a distance it sounds like the sprinkler system is going off inside.

“If you pose a threat to this President, you’re not merely a political adversary — you’re clearly a homosexual, a homophobe, alcoholic, moron, crook, dupe, fellow traveler, embezzler, or even a murderer.”

The Defendant has personally dismissed rulings by judges because they were made by political appointees and therefor partisan and hence illegitimate. Presidents aren’t supposed to do that.

If the President has been so opposed to the Politics of Personal Destruction why has he not once ever suggested publicly that his own dogs should be called off. The frightening thing is the President believes he has fought against these dangerous trends. And for thinking that, the man is quite simply insane.


Chris Matthews observed that the Democrats were becoming the “Mommy Party” and the Republicans the “Daddy Party.” Republicans, to their credit, were the breadwinners and defenders of the home. The Democrats, to their credit, represented nurturing and concern for the underprivileged here and abroad. It was a brilliant observation at the time.

The President is their enabler and they love him for it.

[I]ntention is more important than act; political correctness has made motive for murder more deplorable than murder itself. In speech after speech, it was denounced not because they brought dubious evidence, but because of allegedly dubious intent. Some Congressmen literally said that this was payback.

Now I’m thinking of Conan’s answer to the question what is good in life? “To Crush your enemy; see him driven before you.” I think the reason is that the President is so arrogant that he couldn’t help himself. Rather than accept and admit what he’d done (which he refused to do), and say “isn’t this enough?,” he chose to be defiant in his victim status.

Find out below the fold.
Continue reading

Across the Pond: John Edwards’ past , Obama’s future, Gordon Brown’s defeat – The Sunday papers

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I hate to do this! I did not write about Larry Craig, nor Eliot Spitzer. But now I have to mention a sordid affair, which should be none of anyone’s business except of the people personally involved in it. John Edwards has effectively crossed his name out on any shortlist there may be for further influential political office. There will not be a Vice President Edwards and he won’t be Labour Secretary either, nor Attorney General. This story has an impact on how a future cabinet will look like in case of an Obama victory and this is why I think it belongs into any news round-up. It has been noted in Europe, too.

The Independent picks up the issue:

Amid scenes more suited to a Benny Hill sketch than the corridors of a luxury hotel, two journalists and a photographer chased Mr Edwards – whose wife Elizabeth is battling incurable cancer – around the building for several minutes. He eventually went to ground in the men’s lavatory for a quarter of an hour, before being escorted from the premises by security staff. (full story)

Do I think the allegations are true? Sadly, yes. And consequently a politician who spoke for the ones forgotten by the darwinistic economy of the fittest is not going to have his say in a possible Democratic Administration. ‘Nuff said.

Obama’s European Hysterics Tour is coming to an end. The French were no less enthusiastic than the Germans and British Prime minister Gordon Brown and opposition leader David Cameron fell over each other to be seen with “The Candidate”. It is not really Obama’s fault, that people react so strongly. True, his team perfectly orchestrated the trip as an opportunity to bolster Obama’s internatonal credentials, but it is indeed President Bush who is to blame. We are pretty fed up with being treated either as “Old Europe” or “poodles” and we crave – you guessed it – “Change” with a capital C.

The Telegraph sums up the trip:

In Paris, crowds gathered outside the cafes and boutiques close to the Elysée Palace to catch a glimpse of the candidate on Thursday.

In Berlin, a couple of thousand gawkers stood outside the front and back entrances of Mr Obama’s hotel all day in the hope of snapping a photo.

There were just a handful of times that President Bush came close to those kinds of crowds in Old Europe: when protestors gathered against the war in Iraq.

The only countries that displayed popular support were far less prosperous than Germany or France.

In Vietnam, curious bystanders lined Mr Bush’s motorcade route.

And in Georgia some 130,000 people gathered to hear Mr Bush speak, although one of them threw a grenade into the crowd.(full story)

The Guardian/Observer reports on the London visit:

‘He’s not the President,’ reprimands the copper keeping crowds at bay outside the House of Commons. ‘Yes, he is!’ wails a fat white sunburnt American. ‘He’s my President! Let me throooough, man, let me through!’

‘He’s not the President,’ comes the (angrier, screechier, more frustrated and didactic) cop’s reply. ‘He’s a …’

I think he went on to get it right, roughly, didactically, in the sun. He is not the President yet. A visiting dignitary. But, oh, how I wanted this copper to be a great fan of The Life of Brian and continue… ‘He’s a very naughty boy.’ Because there was something utterly messianic about the visit yesterday to London of what polls increasingly have down as the United States’ next President. Not least the presence of mortals gathering to be sprinkled with stardust, PMs and PMs-in-waiting among them. (full story)

If you are fed-up with all that “Messiah”-talk, The Times is right for you. There’s acid dripping from every other sentence of Richard Woods’ article:

IN the heat of the summer morning, a throng waited. The prophet of hope was on his way and the believers were eager for his blessing.

Hope, dreams, freedom, a world made new. Those are Barack Obama’s watchwords, and yesterday in Downing Street all manner of camera teams, scribblers, acolytes and stargazers had assembled for an audience with His Expectancy.(full story)

Obama’s host, Gordon Brown, has a whole host of difficulties, transforming the candidate’s visit into nothing more than a welcome break from the prospect of being one of Britains shortest serving Prime Ministers ever. A crushing defeat in Glasgow’s by-elections threatens to reduce Scotsman Brown’s further career to a manageable chunk of time in office. His successor is already waiting in line:

POWERFUL cabinet ministers who see themselves as potential successors to Gordon Brown are secretly plotting against him despite public protestations of loyalty.

Even as Brown met yesterday at No 10 with Barack Obama, the visiting US Democratic presidential candidate, the prime minister was an increasingly isolated figure whose days in office are now being measured in weeks.(full story)

Gordon Brown has waited so long for the opportunity to succeed Tony Blair and it is almost tragic to see him falter in so short a time. John McCain should have a close look. Succeeding George W. Bush will be every bit as toxic as succeeding Tony Blair. The both of them, Blair and Bush, have thoroughly poisoned the political ground they trod.

For all of you I wish a peaceful and relaxing Sunday.

From Around the Internets

The Internet is a Set of Tubes.  Don Young (R-AK)

"The Internet is a series of tubes." Ted Stevens (R-AK)

Are you familiar with SCAAMD? No? This is the Sudden Citizens’ Action Against Media Distortion. Taken on by Ripper McCord and Raider99 at TPM, give it a read. Every voice, every call, every email is critical.

Do you get into the financial markets? Interested in following what’s going on with the economy? Hale “Bonddad” Stewart, a contributor to the Huffington Post, has a fantastic blog just for you. He writes in (mostly) plain old English that the average person can understand. Don’t let the graphs and charts freak you out. Skip over them if they’re too much. I’m still working on those myself.

Interested in following what the Senate is up to? Senatus gives clear and concise reporting on a daily basis. He does good work.

If you’re not reading ProPublica, you should.

ProPublica is led by Paul Steiger, the former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal. Stephen Engelberg, a former managing editor of The Oregonian, Portland, Oregon and former investigative editor of The New York Times, is ProPublica’s managing editor.

Check out ProPublica’s About page. I am sure you will recognize several of the names. They have a top notch team.

Women for John McCain is a must read (if you have a sense of humor). A small sample to wet your funny bone (but only if you can get your elbow in your mouth):

As the candidate with the experience, strength, and determination to lead in having his “C-word” make sure the help keeps the refrigerators in their portfolio of vacation houses and luxury condos across the country stocked, there’s only one choice in this election that speaks to our lives and our day to day concerns as independently wealthy heiresses – John Sidney McCain III…

McCain then held a press conference (with a brief intermission as the store’s intercom drowned out the candidate to announce that an employee had a phone call) in the cheese aisle under a sign reading “DAIRY DELIGHTS”, in which he showed his Very Serious Concern for families struggling with rising food prices by reading the price of milk from a cue card, then clarifying to reporters that the surge was not the surge, but was a component of the surge that predated the surge.

Secrecy News takes on the importance of confidential sources.

“Confidential sources provide information necessary to the reporter’s function of keeping the public informed of events of national interest,” he explained. “Without the information provided by confidential sources, these events — or important aspects of these events — would remain shielded from public and congressional scrutiny and oversight.”

Amen to that!

Happy reading!

Government to Bail Out Tainted Tomato Industry?

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The Wall Street Journal reports that Rep. Tim Mahoney (D-FL) plans to introduce legislation to give tomato growers and shippers $100 million in compensation for their losses due to the recent salmonella outbreak.

The WSJ states that the FDA has listed its ban on the tainted vegetable, while the CDC says that there still may be more cases not yet reported which resulted from tomatoes. More than 1200 people were sickened in this latest produce disaster.

Congress has scheduled several hearings next week concerning the salmonella outbreak and why thee was such a lengthy delay in determining the cause.

The sought-after amount is based on an estimate from Florida growers and includes crops abandoned in the field, products thrown out by retailers and tomatoes forced to be sold as low as $5 a box, compared with as much as $20 in a normal market, said Reggie Brown, executive vice president of the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange, a cooperative of tomato farmers. The Agriculture Department hasn’t released a firm estimate of the cost to farmers or distributors.

Call me crazy, but shouldn’t we try to figure out exactly what happened first, before we opt to shovel $100 million dollars to any industry? Especially one which may be at fault?

Consumer advocates oppose the bill. Sarah Klein, a staff attorney at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said the food-industry lobby over the years has weakened federal food-safety oversight, and consumers shouldn’t foot the bill now. “We’d like to see the industry focusing on how to prevent these outbreaks for the future to protect consumers and their bottom line,” she said.

Gee, you don’t say?

Oh, and watch those Jalepeno peppers. They’re still hot. The FDA and CDC found a single pepper tainted with the Saintpaul strain of salmonella in Texas.
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Images The Government Doesn’t Want You To See

There has been a concerted effort to keep any graphic war images from reaching the eyes of the American public. There is a broad effort to completely sanitize the atrocities of war. The administration has never asked anyone to make any sacrifices in this war effort. Collectively, our “sacrifice” has been to go shopping.

This started with not allowing flag draped coffins to be shown and has grown to where most images coming out of Iraq or Afghanistan are of the dog and pony type. The military continues to try to control any graphic images, the result of war, from reaching the public.

Zoriah Miller, the photographer who took images of marines killed in a June 26 suicide attack and posted them on his Web site, was subsequently forbidden to work in Marine Corps-controlled areas of the country. Maj. Gen. John Kelly, the Marine commander in Iraq, is now seeking to have Mr. Miller barred from all United States military facilities throughout the world. Mr. Miller has since left Iraq.


Journalists say it is now harder, or harder than in the earlier years, to accompany troops in Iraq on combat missions. Even memorial services for killed soldiers, once routinely open, are increasingly off limits. Detainees were widely photographed in the early years of the war, but the Department of Defense, citing prisoners’ rights, has recently stopped that practice as well.

Prisoners’ right? Is that so? Like this?

Or maybe this?

But, wait, it’s really all about the families of those fallen soldiers. In 2007, rules were adopted requiring written permission from any troops whose photos might be displayed. A little difficult when that troop is being whisked away – hoping to survive. It would be indelicate at best to attempt such a tactic – and the military knows that.

While embed restrictions do permit photographs of dead soldiers to be published once family members have been notified, in practice, photographers say, the military has exacted retribution on the rare occasions that such images have appeared. In four out of five cases that The New York Times was able to document, the photographer was immediately kicked out of his or her embed following publication of such photos.

The NYT says that there are six Western photographers covering a war with over 150,000 troops deployed (not counting a near equal number of private contractors). News organizations say that the lack of images, as well as financial and safety concerns, are reasons for lack of war coverage in the media.

But war images continue to be blocked. The military cites respect to the dead or inured marines.

“Mr. Miller’s complete lack of respect to these marines, their friends, and families is shameful,” Captain Vickers said. “How do we explain to their children or families these disturbing pictures just days after it happened?”

Mr. Miller, was surprised by the reaction to his pictures.

“The fact that the images I took of the suicide bombing — which are just photographs of something that happens every day all across the country — the fact that these photos have been so incredibly shocking to people, says that whatever they are doing to limit this type of photo getting out, it is working,” he said.

Now this is pure speculation on my part, but I think that many families would want press coverage. In fact, recently, a family wanted media coverage at their son’s funeral.. The effort to accommodate them wound up in the firing of an Army whistleblower at Arlington National Cemetery for trying to accommodate their wishes. These are the very people who have sacrificed the most for the war effort. These are the people who have forever lost a family member; a husband or wife, son or daughter, mother or father, or a sister or brother. These are the people whose lives are forever altered.

I don’t think this is in any way about respect. The military is keeping images from a country where more than three quarters of its population want this war to end. And the military know that these images would result in a 60′s style rebellion against the war effort and there is too much money to be made for that to be allowed to happen.

Read the whole article here.

Very graphic images are here.

Better Luck Next Time

Four peace activists trying to stage a citizens arrest of Karl Rove were arrested themselves in Iowa on Friday. Rove was speaking at a state Republican party fund raiser.

One of those arrested was Chet Guinn, a retired Methodist Minister, who said, “To be silent when major crimes are being committed against all humanity makes us accomplices.”

Apparently the protesters were warned not to cross a gate and were arrested when they did. Yes they actually crossed the gate! It’s lucky they weren’t tasered or “renditioned” for a crime of this magnitude. Home of the free, land of the brave, indeed.


So, who wants to be a BILLIONAIRE?

Zimbabwe introduces Z$100bn note

Zimbabwe is to introduce a bank-note worth Z$100bn in response to rampant inflation – but the note will barely cover the cost of a loaf of bread.

..But Zimbabwe residents say the latest note is already worthless, and does not even cover their daily lunch.

“Nowadays, for my expenses a day, I need about Z$500 billion,” one resident said.

All cartoons are posted with the artists’ express permission to TPZoo.
Jeff Danziger
, Syndicated Political Cartoonist