Sunday, June 29, 2008

BushCo messing up Iran's leadership covertly....

From Information Clearing House:

The Bush Administration steps up its secret moves against Iran.

By Seymour M. Hersh

Late last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources. These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country's religious leadership.

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Say what? Suicide? You're kidding...

From Levine's Breaking News:


A European Vogue cover model fell to her death from her Manhattan apartment building Saturday in an apparent suicide, published reports said. Ruslana Korshunova, 20, died around 2:30 p.m. in a fall from a building on Water Street, in Manhattan's Financial District, The New York Post, the Daily News and Newsday reported. The newspapers cited unnamed officials and police.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

BushCo's Iraq war debt breaks the dollar's back....

From Levine Breaking News:


OPEC President Chakib Khelil predicted that the price of oil will climb to $170 a barrel before the end of the year, citing the dollar's decline and political conflicts. "Oil prices are expected to reach $170 as demand for fuel is growing in the U.S. during the summer period and the dollar continues to weaken against the euro," Khelil said today in a telephone interview.

The leader of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries also serves as Algeria's oil minister.


Oil has climbed 46 percent this year as the U.S. dollar declined against the euro and the MSCI World Index of global equity markets dropped 12 percent. Oil may extend gains if the European Central Bank boosts rates on July 3, further weakening the U.S.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Diane Feinstein: Why she voted for this FISA bill...

From Sen. Diane Feinstein:

I write this in response to your communication indicating your concerns on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) now before the Senate. This bill has passed the House of Representatives.

This legislation contains multiple sections, including one that deals specifically with liability for telecommunications companies. However, the primary intent to this new bill is to modernize our intelligence gathering capacity. The technology and communications industries have seen vast changes in the past thirty years since FISA was first written in 1978. This has changed the way surveillance is conducted, and the original law cannot adequately address these procedures. This is precisely why FISA needs to be modernized.

It is important to understand the consequences if the Senate does not pass this bill. We would either have to extend the temporary surveillance bill passed last August - which should not happen - or allow surveillance on certain foreign targets to expire which would lay the Nation bare and decrease our ability to identify and protect against terrorist threats. Neither of these options is acceptable.

I strongly believe that this bill is substantially better than the version the Senate passed in February 2008, which I opposed. It is also a major improvement from the Protect America Act that passed in August 2007, which had few privacy protections and was never intended to be a permanent solution. This bill:

oIncludes provisions I authored that make clear that FISA is the exclusive (or only) authority for conducting surveillance inside the United States. This is crucial as it requires that all future Presidents must act only within the law. FISA would be the only legal authority for conducting surveillance on Americans for intelligence purposes, and only legislation that specifically provides wiretapping authority in the future would be an exception to FISA.

oRequires the government to obtain a warrant before surveillance can begin. This applies to all Americans - anywhere in the world. The Protect America Act allowed surveillance for up to six months before getting a warrant. This bill ends all warrantless surveillance of U.S. persons. In this sense it is precedent setting.

oBans reverse targeting, which was a concern under the Protect America Act. Reverse targeting would allow the government to collect the contents of telephone calls and e-mails of an American by conducting surveillance on the people with whom they communicate. This is prohibited in this bill.

oRequires that the government implement procedures approved by the Court for minimization. If an American's communication is incidentally caught up in electronic surveillance while the Government is targeting someone else, minimization protects that person's private information. This has been a hallmark of FISA for 30 years, but court review and approval of minimization procedures was not included in the Protect America Act. It is here.

oRequires the government to receive a warrant to conduct surveillance on an American outside of the United States. This means that Americans' privacy rights are protected everywhere around the world. A court warrant has never been required outside the United States before; this would be the strongest protection ever.

I understand your concern regarding Title II of this bill, which creates a process that may result in immunity for telecommunications companies that are alleged to have provided assistance to the Government. I agree that this is not the best approach to the current legal challenges to these companies. Earlier this year, I authored an amendment that would require court review of the legality of these companies' alleged actions. Under my proposal, cases against the companies would only be dismissed if the Court found that they acted legally. I continue to believe this is the right approach. I have joined as a co-sponsor on an amendment which accomplishes this, and will vote for it when it is able to come to the floor.

There may be amendments offered to the FISA legislation to strip or modify the telecom immunity provisions. Know that I will support any that I believe improve the current bill.

Bottom line: this FISA legislation, while not perfect, would bring intelligence activities back under U.S. law. It provides significant improvement in oversight and accountability of our intelligence collection programs while still giving the intelligence community the tools needed to keep our Nation safe. And, it provides the strongest privacy protections to U.S. persons in history.

In conclusion, I have served on the Intelligence Committee for seven years and I take the responsibility extremely seriously. If there is no bill, our Nation goes bare in mid-August, unless the Protect America Act, which does not offer, even remotely, the privacy protections for U.S. persons that are included in this bill, is extended. Additionally, the President - any President - cannot enact a program outside of this law in the future.

I hope this helps you understand my concerns. Attached to this letter, you will find my statement on the Senate floor from June 25, 2008.

Statement of Senator Dianne Feinstein
FISA Amendments Act of 2008
June 25, 2008

Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Thank you very much, Mr. President.
Mr. President, I begin my remarks by thanking the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Senator ...

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

YAAAYYYYYY for Senator Feingold!!!

From Democracy Now!

Senator Feingold Will Filibuster FISA

On Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman interviews "Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin), who has been the leading Congressional voice against the Bush administration's warrantless spy program since it was exposed nearly three years ago."

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Wrap... on Immigration....

From Rory Ahern: is currently running a video series that I thought your readers might be interested in. We all know that illegal immigration is a gigantic ticking time bomb issue here in the States. There are no easy answers to the problem and at we were not interested in trying to give em. What we were interested in and what we think has been lost in the hysteria, are the humans behind the issue. Whether they be pro or con immigration or just a bystander to it, we wanted to hear their take.

So we want out to LA, the flash point for illegal immigration, to put a face to the issue not to water down the complexities or come up with some easy peasy answer that does not exist. You may not agree with what the characters have to say, but you do get to at least hear their point of view, minus all the yelling and shouting.

Here are the list of characters in this tale:

Jim Gilchrist - Founder and President of the Minuetmen Project -

Walter Wheeler - One of the founders of the Crips gang and now outspoken anti immigrant activist

Dov Charney - CEO of American Apparel -
Oscar, Kiko, Sesai, Eddy, Johnson + friends - A group of young illegal immigrant skater kids from South Central LA

Illegal LA on

Part 1 - 5 are up now on -

To follow the series, see photos and other info check out the Illegal LA showpage:

Thanks for watching, love to know what you think,

Rory Ahearn
97 North 10th St
Suite 204
Brooklyn, NY 11211
AIM - roedood


San Diego braces for ComicCon Int'l 2008...


Discover What's New at 2008 Comic-Con in San Diego
Published : 6/23/2008 by Jon Smith

Prepare yourself: San Diego Comic-Con 2008 is ever approaching. In just over a month, this town will be over run with excited fans from all over the world. The streets surrounding the Convention Center will be flooded with eight-year-old Peter Parkers, overweight, middle-aged Luke Skywalkers, and everyone and everything in between.

Forget Sundance and E3, Comic-Con is the epicenter for entertainment premieres. Teaser trailers and excerpts from some of the most anticipated films and video games have been revealed at Comic-Con. During the 2007 Comic-Con in San Diego, J.J. Abrams not only hosted a Q&A panel with cast members of LOST, he also surprised audiences by premiering the teaser trailer for his then-secret project, the Star Trek prequel.

One quizzical aspect of Comic-Con is the hush-hush attitude toward the expected guests. Last year, half of the guests and panels were not announced until days before the event started, when the official schedule was released to the public.

Little has been said about what major projects will be announced this year at Comic-Con. Many have speculated that Stephen Sommers, director of The Mummy films and Van Helsing, will be giving the audience something to scream for by disclosing a trailer for the upcoming children's show turned live-action film G.I. Joe. Fans are also hoping to be wowed when they attend the Q&A panel for the highly anticipated character spin-off X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

So freshen up on your Klingon and make sure to break in those new combat boots you purchased for your Punisher costume. Comic-Con is almost here, and only one thing is for sure: it will be awesome.


More on Bush's "Executive Privilage"....

From American Progress:

Bush's Executive Priviilege

As the Bush era winds down, the President is asserting executive privilege to impede congressional oversight of his administration. With a contempt of Congress vote looming by Rep. Henry Waxman's (D-CA) House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, President Bush asserted executive privilege last Friday morning, blocking the committee's subpoenas for documents relating to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) decision to reject California's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to override scientific recommendations on ozone standards.

Waxman found Bush's action on Friday "extraordinary," especially since EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson "has repeatedly insisted he reached his decisions on California's petition and the new ozone standard on his own."

n a separate case, lawyers for Congress tried yesterday to convince a federal judge to take the "unprecedented step" and compel the administration to obey subpoenas related to the U.S. Attorneys scandal -- the first lawsuit ever "filed by either chamber of Congress seeking to force the executive branch to comply with a subpoena." Bush had cited executive privilege to prevent former White House counsel Harriet Miers from testifying and White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten from turning over documents.

As with President Nixon's attempts to block the Watergate investigation and President Reagan's efforts to hide the EPA dioxin scandal, Bush appears to be using his assertion of executive privilege as a tool to cover up his administration's illegal actions.


Bush's assertion of executive privilege on Friday put a halt to the contempt vote that Waxman's committee had scheduled for Johnson and White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulatory administrator Susan Dudley.

Despite the White House's complaint that such a vote represented a "sudden, significant escalation," Waxman was investigating the EPA's decisions for months. His committee's investigations have revealed that Johnson's decision to reject California's waiver petition was made only after discussions with the White House.

Similarly, the Washington Post reported that Bush personally intervened in a between Dudley's office and the EPA, prompting the EPA to reject scientific recommendations for smog standards. What is being withheld is Bush's legal justification for his actions -- important because the Clean Air Act strictly defines permissible considerations for air quality standards and waivers. The documents withheld from Congress include 1,956 OMB documents regarding Bush's ozone decision, 25 EPA documents on the California waiver, and 71 more that are being turned over with the "identities of the meeting participants" redacted.

On May 20, Johnson and Dudley appeared before the committee without the subpoenaed documents and refused to answer questions about Bush's involvement. At the hearing, Waxman sharply criticized Bush's role, saying, "The president does not have absolute power, and he is not above the law."


Following Bush's executive privilege claim, Waxman declared that he would "talk with my colleagues on both sides about this new development and consider all our options before deciding how we should proceed." Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) said the "committee should approve a contempt resolution immediately," and "reiterated his call to impeach the president" to hold the administration accountable.

The courts are reluctant to get involved, as Judge John D. Bates said in Monday's hearing on congressional subpoeanas: "Whether I rule for the executive branch or I rule for the legislative branch, I'm going to disrupt the balance."

The House counsel asked the court to "order Miers to testify and allow her to invoke executive privilege only on a question-by-question basis" and for Bolten "to provide a log of White House documents and to explain why each was being withheld." Lawyers for the administration argued top advisers deserve "absolute immunity" and Congress should use political tools instead of the courts, such as "withholding funds for the Justice Department or stalling presidential appointments."

When asked in March if Congress would continue the U.S. attorneys investigation if it continues into the next administration, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, "Absolutely. ... [W]e might as well just shred the Constitution and forget about taking the oath of office if we’re just going to do it for a Republican President and not a Democratic President."


The invocation of executive privilege, needed to protect presidential confidentiality to preserve separation of powers, is relatively rare. Nixon and Reagan claimed it in three cases; Ford, Carter, and George H. W. Bush each once. President Clinton invoked executive privilege repeatedly during the investigations of the White House during his second term.

Friday's assertion of executive privilege marks Bush's fourth case. Bush invoked the privilege in the U.S. Attorneys scandal to prevent Josh Bolten from turning over documents, and to protect Harriet Miers, Sara Taylor, Karl Rove, and Scott Jennings from being forced to testify.

This February, the House voted to hold Miers and Bolten in contempt of Congress. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, however, declined to investigate the issue, spurring the civil lawsuit. In May 2004, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the documents were not covered by executive privilege.

Although the administration has resisted turning over documents relating to several other cases, such as the Pat Tillman and Energy Task Force investigations, executive privilege was not explicitly asserted. Instead, the White House has used what the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press dubbed "quasi-executive privilege," invoking phrases like "Executive Branch confidentiality interests" and the "constitutional duties of the Executive Branch."


Monday, June 23, 2008

Bush: Executive Privilage covers law-breaking...

From American Progress:


Today, the refusal Bush administration's to honor House Judiciary Committee subpoenas compelling White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers to testify, will be considered today in federal court.

The committee is seeking information into the 2006 dismissal of nine U.S. attorneys, but the White House claims that executive privilege allows the White House to ignore subpoenas, asserting that the executive branch has "absolute immunity" to congressional subpoenas.

The House will argue that the Bush administration "is seeking to expand presidential power in a dramatic fashion, one that cannot go unchallenged by Congress."

An array of "former U.S. attorneys, watchdog groups, congressional experts, and current and former lawmakers" have filed briefs supporting the House's position. The lawsuit came after Attorney General Michael Mukasey ordered the Department of Justice to ignore the House's contempt citations.

Oral arguments today come just two days after Bush again asserted executive privilege, this time in refusing to hand over documents related to an investigation into whether the administration has "pressured the Environmental Protection Agency to weaken decisions on smog and greenhouse."


Lara Logan threatens with an RPG....

From NY Times via

Reporters Say Networks Block War Reports

Brian Stelter, of The New York Times, reports: "Getting a story on the evening news isn't easy for any correspondent. And for reporters in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is especially hard, according to Lara Logan, the chief foreign correspondent for CBS News. So she has devised a solution when she is talking to the network.

'Generally what I say is, "I'm holding the armor-piercing R.P.G.,"' she said last week in an appearance on 'The Daily Show,' referring to the initials for rocket-propelled grenade. '"It's aimed at the bureau chief, and if you don't put my story on the air, I'm going to pull the trigger."'

Ms. Logan let a sly just-kidding smile sneak through as she spoke, but her point was serious. Five years into the war in Iraq and nearly seven years into the war in Afghanistan, getting news of the conflicts onto television is harder than ever."

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Versace compliments Obama...

From Levine Breaking News:


The latest "first" for Barack Obama comes off the Milan runway. Calling the U.S. presidential hopeful "the man of the moment," Donatella Versace dedicated her Spring-Summer 2009 collection presented Saturday evening to Obama, creating a style she said was designed for "a relaxed man who doesn't need to flex muscles to show he has power."


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fireworks to ComicCon....

Right now I'm listening to fireworks going off at SeaWorld. Sounds as tho we're being bombed...especially with the guy next door cheering something. Must be watching television. And the fan in my office here is just whirring away.

So I'm wondering who invented electric fans. Man, he/she did a priceless thing. Probably got the idea from people fanning themselves with whatever was handy.

I'd bet that most people who live in houses or older apartments in San Diego don't have air conditioning. Just don't need it with the ocean breezes and our normal temps. Sure is good to walk into a place that does have it when the weather gets as hot as it's been the last couple of days.

But tomorrow morn, I'll be having breakfast on a sidewalk type patio, high up on a hill in Old Town, where I can see across the harbor to Pt Loma, and if there's even the slightest breeze, it's gonna be coming down that patio. Have to wear 3 or 4 layers of shirts in colder weather, plus get the guys to turn on the portable patio heater next to my table.

Won't be long now till ComicCon International hits the Conv. Ctr. Somewhere around 130,000 people at least. Every hotel and motel room in town will be full to the rafters, and the trolleys as well. To say it's an experience is an understatement. Been there, done that. Enjoyed.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

1st day of summer...& it was HOT!!!

Man, I thought I was gonna perish in the heat here today and I'm in San Diego only about 5 miles from the coast. It had to be in the 80's. Don't laugh. For us, that's just entirely too warm and I don't care if it is the first day of summer. Perfect temp, as far as I'm concerned is somewhere between 68 and 72 degrees. No more, no less.

The thing I love most about San Diego is that no matter how hot the day, at sundown it begins to cool down. Temp just drops and drops when the marine layer of low clouds comes in...and stays in, usually, until mid-morning.

I suspect the beaches were jam-packed today. Most people don't linger too long in the Pacific unless they're surfers...or gluttons for punishment. The Pacific is not a friendly ocean.

I once asked a Navy SEAL how he felt about it. Seemed to me that since he'd volunteered to be a SEAL, he probably loved the ocean since SEALs spend a lot of time in the water. Know what he said when I asked him what his first thoughts were about the Pacific?

"Cold. Dark. Dangerous."

Which it truly is unless you're in Hawaai. Even then it's dark and dangerous. Always dangerous.

But the cool breezes that come ashore after a hot summer day like today are worth their weight in platinum.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Hah! Lou Dobbs wants Bush impeached...


Lou Dobbs: Bush Should Be Impeached for Salmonella Outbreak

CNN host says leadership in 'sorry condition' and inability to 'protect the American consumer' is 'sufficient reason to impeach a president.'

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Mystery: 5 left feet, 1 right foot, in tennis shoes..washed up on beaches...

From :

Six feet washed up on the same shore in ten months. Freak coincidence, or something far more sinister?

Sandra Malone was working at her morning chores at the coastal caravan park she owns when she heard the first cry of distress. She looked up to see a beachcomber, a woman, hurrying towards her with shock in her eyes.
Oh my God,' the woman stammered. 'I've found one of those feet.'

There was no need to explain what she meant. For what the woman had stumbled on was simply the latest in a series of gruesome discoveries that have come to haunt this scenic stretch of the west coast of Canada.

Curious coincidence or something more sinister? So far six feet have washed up on on the shores around Vancouver

Since August last year, no fewer than six individual feet have washed up from the deep - all wearing rubber-soled training shoes. Only this week, two have been found poking from the seaweed, the latest on Tyee Spit beach near Vancouver.

As we shall see, there may be more to this latest find than first seemed the case, but whatever the truth behind Wednesday's discovery, what seemed, at first, a curious coincidence has become the subject of a major investigation, with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and British Columbia's coroner's office still baffled as to where the feet could have come from.

Are they from people who have died at sea or fallen into the swollen rivers that flow into the Pacific? Could they be from the victims of a local plane crash three years ago, in which five men died? Could it, in fact, all be part of a twisted prank? Or is there a more sinister explanation - perhaps even a serial killer on the loose?

That is the fear, as the local community around Fraser River come to terms with the latest discovery on their shoreline.

The woman who found the foot on Wednesday had been searching for decorative stones along the tide line when she stumbled on what appeared to be a man's shoe and stopped to take a closer look. It didn't take long for her to suspect what she had found.

'You could see two leg bones sticking up out of it,' says Sandra Malone, who joined the woman at the scene. 'They were sticking up about three to four inches. You could make out the remains of the foot inside the sneaker, like a skeleton, with no flesh or anything attached. It was the grisliest thing I have ever seen.'

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All credit transactions to be reported to BushCo....

From Information Clearing House:

Senate Housing Bill Requires eBay, Amazon, Google, and All Credit Card Companies to Report Transactions to the Government:

Hidden deep in Senator Christopher Dodd's 630-page Senate housing legislation is a sweeping provision that affects the privacy and operation of nearly all of America's small businesses.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cheney refuses to hand over his secrets...

From Secrecy News:


The cost of implementing the national security classification system in government and industry reached an all-time high of $9.91 billion last year, according to the latest annual report from the InformationSecurity Oversight Office (ISOO).

The 2007 classification cost figure, which includes physical security, computer security and other aspects of classified information security, was a 4.6 percent increase over the year before and is the highest amount ever reported by the ISOO.

Is that too much? Not enough? The right amount? The new report doesn't venture an opinion. Instead, it suggests that "the annual rate of growth for total security costs is declining."

That is not strictly true, since the rate of growth actually increased from 2006 to 2007, though it is now lower than it was in the immediate post-2001 period.

The ISOO annual report each year presents a unique snapshot of classification and declassification activity throughout the executive branch, though the data provided are often of uncertain significance and are cited with exaggerated precision.

The number of new secrets ("original classification decisions") increased by 1% in 2007 to 233,639, ISOO reported. Meanwhile,"derivative" classification decisions, referring to the restatement of previously classified information in a new form or a new document, increased sharply by 12.5 percent for a combined total of 23,102,257 classification actions (original and derivative) in 2007.

Again, no judgment on the quality or propriety of these classifications is offered. Of 59.7 million pages reviewed for declassification last year, 37.2 million pages were declassified government-wide, a decrease both in the number reviewed and the number declassified but an increase in the rate of declassification. (At the Central Intelligence Agency, the situation was reversed: There was a 138 percent increase in the number of pages reviewed and a slight increase in the number declassified, but "a significant decrease" in the proportion of reviewed pages that were declassified.)

The Department of Transportation reviewed 380,000 pages but declassified none of them because they all had to be referred to other agencies for further processing. The President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (recently renamed the President's Intelligence Advisory Board) reviewed 130 pages and declassified 40 of them.

ISOO reported uneven compliance with basic classification system rules and regulations at several agencies. "Disappointingly, we continued to find deficiencies at multiple agencies relating to basic requirements concerning implementing regulations, security education and training, self-inspections, classification, and document markings," the report stated.

One interesting data point that does not appear in the report is the number of classification challenges filed by authorized holders of particular information who believe that it is improperly classified. (Section 1.8 of Executive Order 12958, as amended, authorizes and encourages such classification challenges.)

In response to an inquiry from Secrecy News, ISOO indicated that there were 275 classification challenges filed by cleared personnel in FY2007. The number of challenges that were actually accepted or approved by the originating agencies was not available.

The "2007 Report to the President" from the Information Security Oversight Office, which is the first issued by the new ISOO directorWilliam J. Bosanko, was transmitted to the White House on May 30 and made public today.

The new report makes no mention of the Office of the Vice President(OVP) and its continuing refusal to cooperate with ISOO's reporting requirements on classification and declassification activity. That refusal, highlighted by a complaint filed by the Federation of American Scientists in 2006, led to a confrontation between the OVP and ISOO's former director J. William Leonard last year, and the issue remains technically unresolved.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

US General says: Prosecute Bush Admin for War Crimes...


US General Accuses Bush Administration of War Crimes

Truthout's Matt Renner and Maya Schenwar report: "Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba (now retired) served as the deputy commanding general for support for the Third Army for ten months in Kuwait during the early days of the Iraq occupation. In a statement released today, he bluntly accuses the Bush administration of war crimes and lays down a challenge for prosecution."

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Spec Forces, SERE, and torture....

From The Washington Independent via

Roadmap to Torture

Spencer Ackerman, for The Washington Independent, reports on Tuesday's Senate Armed Services Committee's release of numerous classified documents: "In a marathon hearing spanning eight hours and three separate panels, the committee revealed, in painstaking detail, how senior Pentagon officials transformed a program for Special Forces troops to resist torture -- known as Survival Evasion Resistance Escape, or SERE -- into a blueprint for torturing terrorism detainees."

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Vets are guinea pigs for pharms...SICK!!!!

From ABC News via

"Disposable Heroes": Suicide-Linked Drugs Tested on Veterans

Brian Ross and Vic Walter, ABC News, say that "Mentally distressed veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are being recruited for government tests on pharmaceutical drugs linked to suicide and other violent side effects, an investigation by ABC News and The Washington Times has found."

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Advice to Obama from Horwitz...If you got 'em, smoke 'em...

From Levine Breaking News:


As the Democratic primaries revealed, Barack Obama is having a hard time winning the support of blue-collar voters. So here's a piece of strategic advice for the candidate: Lose the Nicorette. Light up instead.

Consider these statistics, culled from studies of smoking patterns. Americans who make between $24,000 and $36,000 a year smoke at twice the rate of those earning $90,000 or more. The same applies to Americans with a high-school education rather than a college degree. Rural Americans smoke more than city-dwellers.

As for race, there's a close correlation between states with high rates of white smokers and those where Mr. Obama polled worst in the primaries. Leading the pack of smoking states are Kentucky and West Virginia; industrial states like Ohio aren't far behind.

Bottom line: small-towners in the Rust Belt and Appalachia don't cling to guns and religion so much as they do cigarettes.


Future reading...Books a batch....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:


Associate director of The New School's MFA program Jackson Taylor's THE BLUE ORCHARD, based on the true story of a white nurse and a black doctor who were arrested for performing "illegal surgeries" in 1955 Harrisburg, Pa., to Sulay Hernandez at Touchstone Fireside, for publication in Fall 2009, by Ryan Fischer-Harbage at the Fischer-Harbage Agency (NA).


Author of literary historical suspense novels Amagansett and The Savage Garden Mark Mills' THE INFORMATION OFFICER, to Jennifer Hershey at Random House, in a two-book deal, by Stephanie Cabot as The Gernert Company (NA).

Helen Humphreys's THE FROZEN THAMES, chronicling the 40 times that this fabled river completely froze from the years 1142 to 1895, to Caitlin Alexander at Bantam Dell, in nice deal, at auction, by Bill Hanna of Acacia House.

Colin McAdam's FALL, the story of a late-blooming bully and his American roommate, whose girlfriend goes missing during their final year of school, to Sarah McGrath at Riverhead, by Douglas Stewart at Sterling Lord Literistic (US).Canadian rights to Nicole Winstanley at Penguin Canada.

Biting the Wax Tadpole: Confessions of A Language Fanatic author Elizabeth Little's TRIP OF THE TONGUE: A Cross-Country Quest for American Language, sussing out firsthand the fascinating history of language in our country, to Colin Dickerman at Bloomsbury, in a pre-empt, by Kate Garrick of DeFiore and Company (World English).


Commonwealth Prize for overall Best Book winner Lawrence Hill's THE BOOK OF NEGROES, a fictional slave narrative, to Marianne Velmans at Doubleday UK, by Claire Roberts at Trident Media Group, on behalf of Ellen Levine.


NYT bestselling author Terry Goodkind's A DIFFERENT KIND OF HUMAN and THE HINGES OF HELL, to Maya Mavjee and Kristin Cochrane at Doubleday Canada, for publication in 2009 and 2010, by Danny Baror at Baror International, on behalf of Russell Galen at Scovil Chichak Galen Literary Agency.


Journalism professor at New York University and Fast Company contributing writer Adam Penenberg's VIRAL LOOP: BUILDING A BILLION-DOLLAR BUSINESS FROM SCRATCH, explaining this paradigm-busting phenomenon, which is the essence of how the most successful Web 2.0 companies are growing, as each new user begets more users (just by using a product they spread it), and telling the colorful story of its main players, with viral loop, to Will Balliett at Hyperion, by Kate Lee at ICM, for publication in Fall 2009 (World English).


Journalist and author (Wild Ride, Ransom, Beyond the River, Savage Peace) Ann Hagedorn's investigative book about private military contractors (PMCs), focusing on one highly influential company and how the PMCs have become a vital part of the US defense establishment even as they have grown globally and owe loyalty to no one, to Bob Bender at Simon & Schuster, by Alice Martell of Alice Martell Agency (world).

NYT bestselling author Steven Johnson's THE INVENTION OF AIR, about British scientist Joseph Priestley who discovered not only the existence of oxygen, but how it interacts with the ecosystem, and after moving to America, went on to influence his two great comrades, Jefferson and Franklin, and their defining values of the integration of science and politics, to Sean McDonald at Riverhead, by Lydia Wills at Paradigm (World).

Journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's account of the presidential election of 2008, aiming for a "sweeping, novelistic" portrait of this historic and unusual race, to Tim Duggan at Harper, for publication in the fall of 2009, by Andrew Wylie at The Wylie Agency.


Christopher Ciccone's LIFE WITH MY SISTER MADONNA, based on his life and forty-seven years of growing up with and working with his sister - the most famous woman in the world, written with Wendy Leigh, to Jennifer Bergstrom at Simon Spotlight Entertainment, for publication on July 15, 2008, by Fredrica Friedman of Fredrica S. Friedman and Company.


Pentagon torture techniques & Condi's name now a verb...

From American Progress:

Think Fast...

A Senate investigation has found that "top Pentagon officials began assembling lists of harsh interrogation techniques in the summer of 2002 for use on detainees at Guantanamo Bay and that those officials later cited memos from field commanders to suggest that the proposals originated far down the chain of command." It provides evidence that the policies were "not the work of out-of-control, lower-ranking troops."

Yesterday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a lawsuit brought by a Pakistani man who was living in the United States before being imprisoned after Sept. 11, 2001. The man was held for in solitary confinement for several months, "where he was subjected to daily body-cavity well as to beatings and to extremes of hot and cold," after which he pleaded guilty to document fraud.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, former Justice Department official John Yoo condemns last week's Supreme Court habeas corpus ruling as "judicial imperialism of the highest order," arguing against giving rights to those "captured fighting against the U.S." Salon's Glenn Greenwald responds, "[A] huge bulk of our 'War on Terror' prisoners, including those at Guantanamo, were not 'captured fighting against the U.S.' at all."

Charles M. Smith, the Army official who oversaw a multibillion-dollar contract with KBR, "says he was ousted from his job when he refused to approve paying more than $1 billion in questionable charges to KBR." "They had a gigantic amount of costs they couldn’t justify," he said. His successors "approved most of the payments he had tried to block."

In a letter sent to Karl Rove's attorney Robert Luskin, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee said they may be willing to accept "that Rove appear 'without a transcript or oath,' but without any limit on the committee's right to seek sworn testimony later."

In the past two fiscal years, nearly 20,000 soldiers have been discharged. Many of them run the risk of "financial ruin" while they wait for their "claims to be processed and their benefits to come through." Injured soldiers are usually "discharged on just a fraction of their salary and then forced to wait six to nine months, and sometimes even more than a year, before their full disability payments begin to flow."

"The global number of refugees and displaced people reached 67 million last year," according to the UN refugee agency. Once again, Afghanistan and Iraq topped the list of the countries of origins for refugees with 3.1 million and 2.3 million respectively. In Iraq, "the number of internally displaced rose from 1.8 million at the start of the year to close to 2.4 million by the end of 2007" due to sectarian and political divisions.

"Congressional leaders lost millions in last year's economic downturn," financial disclosure reports show. Yet "while House members suffered losses, senators defied the odds and saw their profit margins rise." Both Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) "added hundreds of thousands to their holdings between 2006 and 2007."

And finally: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has made 22 trips to Israel during the Bush administration, including this past weekend. Yet as Time's Jerusalem Bureau Chief Tim McGirk notes, "[S]he has little to show for it." There was "no fanfare, no motorcades snarling up the city's traffic," and she couldn't even book a room at her usual hotel, having to settle for a "less grand" one. Israeli TV announcers have even "coined her name as a verb, meaning to go endlessly around in circles, accomplishing nothing."


Monday, June 16, 2008

Torture in Afghanistan...

From American Progress:


An eight-month McClatchy investigation has found systematic torture and mistreatment of detainees in detention centers throughout Afghanistan, starting in 2001 and lasting at least 20 months. Sixty-eight percent of former detainees interviewed reported being assaulted in Afghanistan, a rate higher than the 42 percent of cases in Guantanamo Bay.

Detainees said abuse ranged from being baptized by prison guards dressed as Roman Catholic priests to being "chained hand and foot in a fetal position on the floor" and "left there for 18, 24 hours or more."

While most press attention has focused on the detention center at the Soviet-built Bagram Airbase, where two detainees were beaten to death by guards in December 2002, former detainees of internment centers in Kandahar also reported being hit by guards on a regular basis during the same period.

Though the Department of Defense maintains that such detainee abuse is isolated, prison guards say they were deployed to Afghanistan with inadequate training, were placed in an environment where the rules were unclear, and in the absence of supervision, "everybody hit their boiling point."


Blackwater Worldwide...Intel, combat & $$$$$$$$$$

From The Los Angeles Times via Karen Pomer:

From the Los Angeles Times
Blackwater's bright future
No matter who wins the White House, the security firm is shooting for lucrative work.
By Jeremy Scahill
June 16, 2008

From California to Iraq, business has never been better for the controversial private security firm Blackwater Worldwide. Company President Gary Jackson recently boasted that Blackwater has "had two successive quarters of unprecedented growth."

Owner Erik Prince recently spun his company as the "FedEx" of the U.S. national security apparatus, describing Blackwater as a "robust temp agency." Such rhetoric may seem brazen, given Blackwater's deadly record in Iraq and troubled reputation at home, but here is the cold, hard fact: Blackwater knows its future is bright no matter who next takes up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The company's most infamous moment came last September, when Blackwater operatives were alleged to have gunned down 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad's Nisour Square. A U.S. military investigation labeled the shootings a "criminal event," and a federal grand jury in Washington is hearing evidence in the case.The father of one of the dead, a 9-year-old boy shot in the head, testified before the grand jury in late May. He has rejected offers of monetary compensation from the U.S. government and Blackwater; he demands a public admission of guilt by the company. "This is important for me, morally, for my family and my tribe," said Mohammed Hafidh Abdul-Razzaq. Other survivors have been offering testimony to the United Nations, and some have filed a lawsuit in federal court in this country.

At the end of the day, perhaps criminal charges will be brought against a handful of Blackwater operatives as a token gesture. But this will not bring substantive change to the unaccountable private war industry. Indeed, the killing of Iraqi civilians and other scandals do not seem to hurt Blackwater's business at all. Quite the opposite.,0,5769512.story

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

US Detainees..who are they? where from? Take a look...

From :

Guantánamo: Beyond the Law

A McClatchy Newspapers probe found that dozens, and perhaps hundreds of men held at Guantánamo Bay Naval Base and in Afghanistan were wrongfully imprisoned. First of four parts.

Expanded coverage:Video: Watch a report about this project
Database: Find out more about the 66 former detainees interviewed
Interactive map: Find out where each of the detainees is from
Slide shows: See additional photographs(more)

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Want to replace oil? GROW HEMP!!!!

From :

New Fuel, End Of Fluoride EraBy Mary Sparrowdancer
© 2008 by Mary Sparrowdancer6-11-8

If America's farmers and city growers planted crops of industrial hemp today, within 120 days we could harvest an abundant new source of clean-burning hemp seed fuel oil that is safe, efficient, renewable, sustainable, edible, uniquely nutritious, and easy to grow. The cultivation of hemp oil could end our dependency on nonrenewable petroleum fuel, a dependency that has been dictated to us since 1937. In addition, this fast-growing, tall green plant is quite efficient in absorbing carbon dioxide contamination while also putting oxygen back into the air. The absorption of carbon dioxide and creation of oxygen is one of the most important benefits that old-growth forests once provided for us, however, we have not only polluted the air with CO2 toxins but we have also destroyed much of our old forests, leaving us with nothing immediately available to clean up our mess - - except hemp.

In addition to providing solutions to the above problems, unlike corn that is currently being grown for test fuels, hemp is easily grown without chemicals or pesticides and can be grown on poor soils. Hemp's fibers produce paper products, clothing, and building materials that are far superior, cleaner, and safer than products made from trees, cotton, and petrochemical plastics. Hemp cultivation would allow us to restore, conserve, and respect what is left of the world's ancient forests. If this plant is truly so very useful, one might wonder why we have not yet "discovered" it. The answer is that it was discovered long ago. Humanity had been relying upon superior hemp products for all of known history, but hemp was outlawed in the United States in 1937.

Some say it is merely coincidental that in the same year that hemp was outlawed, DuPont filed its initial basic patent applications for a new synthetic product called "nylon." Coincidental or not, natural hemp was strong-armed out of the picture by placing an enormous tax on the cultivation and sale of hemp, a move that effectively taxed hemp out of existence in the United States. This piece of legislation was called the "Marihuana Tax Act" of 1937. (1)

Industrial hemp is a member of the cannabis sativa family, but it contains little or no THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is one of the medicinal elements in its cousin, a plant that was demonized as "marijuana" by newspaper sensationalist, William Randolph Hearst. Hearst, along with Harry Anslinger of the Treasury Department's Federal Bureau of Narcotics, (hemp is not a "narcotic") whipped the 1930s gullible public into a frenzy of terror with their reefer-madness machinations. Unfortunately, many people, including physicians who were still prescribing medicinal cannabis for their patients at that time, did not realize that marijuana was hemp and hemp was cannabis, and that the banning of "marijuana" due to "reefer-madness" would also result in the total banning of all hemp cultivation in the United States, but that is exactly what happened.

It is worth noting that in 1935, as the reefer-madness campaign was raging in order to save the public from hemp's contrived "deadly potential to do harm," the "E. I. DuPont de Nemours & Company" obtained a patent on improving the manufacture of hydrofluoric acid. Much of DuPont's work in creating synthetic petrochemical products has involved the use of fluorides, and fluoride was destined to quickly become a new major, deadly pollutant. According to statements found in The Fluoride Deception, (by Christopher Bryson), "from 1957 to 1968, fluoride was responsible for more damage claims than all twenty other major air pollutants, combined." But it was hemp that was banned from the nation due to claims that it was potentially harmful. (2)

After fluoride wastes suddenly became prevalent and increasingly difficult to dispose of cheaply, Americans would soon become victims of more trickery, hysteria, and promotional media lies. Americans were soon told that toxic fluorides were "good for us." A brand new "use" for fluorides was discovered that would miraculously turn a nation angry over toxic wastes into a nation suddenly grateful for toxic wastes. In fact, Americans would be so grateful and so easily swayed by the unethical media and government promotion of fluorides, entire communities would pay to have this toxic waste poured into their drinking water. This would be based upon our government's promise that fluorides were now going to prevent tooth decay. For the first time in human history humans now needed fluorides to achieve optimum dental health. We are still paying for this HAZMAT to be poured into our drinking water, and their promise has yet to come true.

Fluorides had never before been needed for healthy teeth, and in fact, fluorides are known to cause periodontal (gum) disease. The body recognizes fluoride as a toxin that it tries to eliminate, including through the kidneys. Hemp, on the other hand, is treated quite differently by the human body. Hemp appears to have had a very ancient and unexplained connection with the human being as well as with other animal life forms. Within our bodies, there are natural cannabinoid receptors indicating an ancient, historic bond and therefore a need for what may in fact one of the most sacred plants on this planet: hemp. (3)

Current evidence suggests fluorides damage the body, and professional commentary is focused now on thyroid and kidney damage. In view of this, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) recently ended its position of endorsing water fluoridation, stating the "NKF position paper on fluoridation is outdated. The paper is withdrawn and will no longer be circulated." The NKF now claims that it "has no position." The NKF also stated, "Individuals with CKD [chronic kidney disease] should be notified of the potential risk of fluoride exposure" CKD is in turn linked to bone deformities, including brittleness, bone density problems, fractures, kyphosis, etc. (4) (5) (6)

While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates 19 million U.S. adults have CKD, and that there was a "104%" increase in kidney failure during 1990 to 2001, the NKF describes a different number: "26 million Americans have CKD and another 20 million more are at increased risk." Many do not even know they have CKD, due to the wide range of symptoms that can include high blood pressure, fatigue, restless leg syndrome, insomnia, etc. Sadly for the millions of Americans now suffering or at risk for CKD the warnings about fluoride have been rather quiet and have seen little mainstream publicity. Although hemp continues to be banned from our use, the entire nation has been inundated with fluorides to such a degree it now contaminates most of our foods, as well as most of the national water supply, and yet the government continues to aggressively promote it. (7) (8) (9)

When hemp and its many products and uses were eliminated by Congress in 1937, the United States headed into a new direction. The ban created an immediate need in the marketplace for the soon-to-be-created synthetic petroleum and fluoride-based plastic products. That year can actually be seen as the one that led the US toward its dependency on petrochemicals. It was also the starting point for the hysterical "War on Drugs," which continues today to needlessly ruin and end lives. The dependency on nonrenewable petrochemicals has also ruined and ended lives. It has devastated the U.S.

We were not always dependent upon petroleum and petrochemicals, and there is no reason for us to remain dependent upon this unhealthy source of fuel today. As though the list of uses for the miraculous hemp plant is unending, at about the time of hemp's ban, Henry Ford was perfecting a hemp vehicle that was nearly indestructible. He had built a car constructed of a hemp-resin plastic that was lighter than steel but "ten times stronger." In a demonstration to prove this claim, a sledge hammer was used to pound repeatedly upon the shiny vehicle's trunk, but this action failed to create a single dent. The engine of this incredible car was humming quite nicely on the clean-burning fuel made from the renewable hemp oil that Henry was growing in his fields. (10)

The list of honorable uses for hemp continues and it appears to be nothing short of a miracle plant. In recent medical studies, hemp has been observed and reported as a potentially safe, effective and promising treatment for numerous cancers. The studies have shown that cannabinoids readily destroy cancer cells even in difficult-to-treat malignancies, including glioblastoma (a type of brain tumor), lung and pancreatic cancers, cervical carcinoma, and malignant melanomas. (11) (12) (13) (14) (15)

As the age of petrochemical dependency and our resulting contamination with fluorides finally draws to a close, an age of reason is being born. Hemp can no longer be labeled as having no "accepted medical use" as falsely claimed by the DEA. Fluoride can no longer be called a "safe for all" drinking water medication, as is falsely and unethically claimed by the CDC. (16)

In fact, The Lillie Center (a public health training firm) recently filed a charge of "Formal Ethics Complaint and Request for Investigation" against the CDC for its continued promotion of water fluoridation. It was in part this ethics complaint that caused the National Kidney Foundation to reconsider its position on water fluoridation. Lawyers throughout the United States are now educating themselves about fluoride and the damage it has done to an increasing number of new clients. The damage claims seen back in the 1950s and 1960s might pale in comparison to the long-overdue lawsuits we are now going to see regarding fluoride damage to human beings. (17)

In addition to the damage to humans, one must also ask how far-reaching the deliberate poisoning of our drinking water might be with regard to animals. Thorough investigation is certainly called for in view of the increasing incidence of injuries now occurring in racehorses. Many working horses drink far more than ten gallons of water a day, and Kentucky is one of few states that is nearly 100% artificially fluoridated. (Despite this, Kentucky continues to have one of the worst dental health ranks in the nation.) (18)


Friday, June 13, 2008

Pelosi strikes again...


Nancy Pelosi Pulled Iran Bill On Request of Israel


Ron Paul: in a speech given on 06 June 2008, congressman Ron Paul, tells how speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi, acting on behalf of israel and AIPAC, 'deliberately' pulled a supplemental bill requiring congressional approval for attacking Iran.

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Obama KNOWS the Constitution & Bill of Rights...

From The Nation via The Washington Post:

During the Democratic presidential primary campaign, more than 125 constitutional lawyers and legal experts signed a "Habeas Lawyers for Obama" letter that read:

Dear Friends:
We are at a critical point in the Presidential campaign, and as lawyers who have been deeply involved in the Guantanamo litigation to preserve the important right to habeas corpus, we are writing to urge you to support Senator Obama.

The Administration's Guantanamo policies have undercut our values at home and stained our reputation around the world. All of us are lawyers who have worked on the Guantanamo habeas corpus litigation for many years, some of us since early 2002, and we were all deeply involved in opposing the Administration's attempt to overturn the Supreme Court's Rasul decision by stripping the courts of jurisdiction to hear the Guantanamo cases. We have talked with Senator Obama about why the Guantanamo litigation is so significant, and we have worked closely with Senator Obama in the fight to preserve habeas corpus.

Some politicians are all talk and no action. But we know from first-hand experience that Senator Obama has demonstrated extraordinary leadership on this critical and controversial issue. When others stood back, Senator Obama helped lead the fight in the Senate against the Administration's efforts in the Fall of 2006 to strip the courts of jurisdiction, and when we were walking the halls of the Capitol trying to win over enough Senators to beat back the Administration's bill, Senator Obama made his key staffers and even his offices available to help us. Senator Obama worked with us to count the votes, and he personally lobbied colleagues who worried about the political ramifications of voting to preserve habeas corpus for the men held at Guantanamo. He has understood that our strength as a nation stems from our commitment to our core values, and that we are strong enough to protect both our security and those values. Senator Obama demonstrated real leadership then and since, continuing to raise Guantanamo and habeas corpus in his speeches and in the debates.

The writ of habeas corpus dates to the Magna Carta, and was enshrined by the Founders in our Constitution. The Administration's attack on habeas corpus rights is dangerous and wrong. America needs a President who will not triangulate this issue. We need a President who will restore the rule of law, demonstrate our commitment to human rights, and repair our reputation in the world community. Based on our work with him, we are convinced that Senator Obama can do this because he truly feels these issues "in his bones."

We urge you to support Senator Obama.

Among the signers of that January 28 letter were:

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NYTime breaking news..Tim Russert dead...

Tim Russert Is Dead at 58
By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE 3 minutes ago

Tim Russert, the host of “Meet the Press,” was a towering figure in American journalism and moderated several debates during the recent presidential primary season.


Radical McCain...The end justifies the means...

From Truthdig via

Elliot Cohen John McCain's Chilling Project for America

Elliot Cohen for Truthdig: "John McCain has long been a major player in a radical militaristic group driven by an ideology of global expansionism and dominance attained through perpetual, pre-emptive, unilateral, multiple wars.

The credo of this group is 'the end justifies the means,' and the end of establishing the United States as the world's sole superpower justifies, in its estimation, anything from military control over the information on the Internet to the use of genocidal biological weapons."

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Re. Pelosi...My sentiments exactly...

From TPM via Raw Story:

From: Cafe, Election Central, Muckraker
Speaker Must Be Removed For Her Illegal Position on Impeachment Investigation
By testing - June 11, 2008, 11:32AM

Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced 35 Articles of Impeachment against the President of the United States. Speaker Pelosi's position remains, "Impeachment is off the table." This is not leadership, but complicity with war crimes:

“Speaker Pelosi will continue to lead legislative efforts to find a new direction in Iraq but believes that impeachment would create a divisive battle, be a distraction from Congress’ efforts to chart a new course for America’s working families and would ultimately fail,” said her spokesman Nadeam Elshami.

The Speaker's excuses are frivolous. One does not agree to remain complicit with tyranny on the illusion fact finding might be divisive. Division is the intent of the Framers: To ensure power is not centralized, and divided. Pelosi supports centralizing unchecked power under tyranny, not just this President and CongressAn investigation to gather facts -- which she opposes -- is not the same as a decision to impeach. Pelosi cannot explain how she arrived at her conclusion: To not investigate, and without any review of evidence, trump the House.

C&Lhas some comments from Jonathan Turley, raising the prospect he might be Attorney General under President Obama. Until then, the roadblock to an investigation remains the Speaker of the House. She must decide whether she would like to remain Speaker. She has not chosen wisely..Pelosi's inaction on impeachment is reckless assault on the foundations of this Constitution and Republic. She remains a domestic enemy. She is a threat to this Constitution. She has exhausted her useful service to the United States. She must be lawfully removed as Speaker.

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NJ Judge refuses to give results of evoting machine test...

From The Star-Ledger via :

ACLU, Press Groups Seek to Open Voting Case

Diane C. Walsh for The Star-Ledger: "The American Civil Liberties Union and press associations from throughout New Jersey are asking a Superior Court judge to reconsider her ruling barring computer experts from publicly revealing the results from their tests of Sequoia voting machines."

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From Bush in Italy to Gospel Music...

From American Progress:

Think Fast...

As Bush arrived in Italy yesterday for meetings with Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi and Pope Benedict XVI, he was greeted by hundreds of anti-war activists and other demonstrators who marched through the capital. The AP writes that these protests show "anti-Bush sentiment over the war in Iraq still lingers."

A new WSJ/NBC poll finds that, increasingly, voters don't like President Bush personally. "By 60% to 30%, they have negative views of him, his worst showing ever." By a majority of 54 percent to 42 percent, "voters say they'd prefer a president 'who will bring greater changes' over one who is ‘more experienced and tested.'"

Despite fierce opposition by Iraqis to his call for a long-term occupation of Iraq, President Bush yesterday expressed confidence that a status of forces agreement would pass. "Bush said that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki 'appreciates our presence there'" and suggested much of the opposition "is based on inaccurate media reports and misunderstandings."

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) "said he's not going to let his effort to impeach President Bush die a quiet death in committee. He said Wednesday that he'll bring his resolution back in 30 days if the Judiciary Committee...doesn't act on it." "In 30 days, I'll be joined by many more" members, he said.

"As Bush travels across Europe to gain support for possible new sanctions against Iran, Israeli leaders have been working to lay the psychological foundation for a possible military strike if diplomacy falters. In public threats and private briefings with American decision-makers, Israeli officials have been making the case that a military strike may be the only way to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions."

Sens. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) are expected to introduce legislation today that would close "loopholes that lobbyists for foreign clients sometimes use to keep their activities under wraps." The bill would "require those who meet with American officials outside the country on behalf of foreign politicians to register as lobbyists, a step that existing law does not require."

A CNN investigation has found "FEMA gave away about $85 million in household goods meant for Hurricane Katrina victims." FEMA said, "We determined that they were excess to FEMA's needs; therefore, they are being excessed from FEMA's inventory." But Martha Kegel, the head of a New Orleans nonprofit agency, responded, "These are the very things that we are seeking right now.""The financial credit crisis is squeezing student loan programs that offer breaks to borrowers who enter critical fields such as nursing and teaching," as state-backed lenders in at least six states "have dropped or scaled back programs."

And finally: June seems to be music month on Capitol Hill. On Monday, the House passed legislation honoring recently deceased blues legend Bo Diddley. On Tuesday, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) "introduced a resolution to make September 'Gospel Music Heritage Month,'" and Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) proposed "a bill honoring country singer Toby Keith's commitment to the armed forces. "Although the troops have been hearing his hit 'I Love this Bar,' our office is so proud of our hometown hero that we hope he’ll be singing, 'I love this bill,'" Cole's spokeswoman said.


Monday, June 09, 2008

Was torture of Padilla on that tape?...Probably...

From Secrecy News:


In a report to the National Archives released last week, the DefenseIntelligence Agency (DIA) said it could not locate a recording of the final interrogation of Jose Padilla, the American citizen who was designated an enemy combatant and later convicted of conspiracy to commit murder.

The missing Padilla interrogation video was first reported in February 2007 by Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball in Newsweek. Their story triggered a legal inquiry by the National Archives, which advised DIA that the disposal of such a record is "not authorized."

DIA reported back to the National Archives in December 2007 in a terse four-paragraph letter concerning the loss. Unlike the case of the CIA's reported destruction of videotaped interrogations of al Qaeda suspects, DIA did not say that the Padilla tape was deliberately destroyed, only that it could not be found.

A government official with some knowledge of the events told Secrecy News that he "heard" the Padilla DVD had been transferred from DIA to CIA, which may have destroyed it. But there is no independent evidence of that, and it may not be true. What is true is that DIA and the National Archives failed to establish exactly how the loss of the Padilla interrogation recording actually occurred.

An agency that unlawfully or accidentally destroys a record is required by regulation (36 C.F.R. 1228.104) to provide "a statement of the exact circumstances surrounding the alienation, defacing, or destruction of the records."

But in its report, DIA did not explain "the exact circumstances" of the loss and the National Archives did not press the matter. The exchange of correspondence between DIA and the Archives regarding the Padilla interrogation video was released to the Federation ofAmerican Scientists last week under the Freedom of Information Act.

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Sunday, June 08, 2008


From Information Clearing House:

Blackwater's Private Spies

By Jeremy Scahill

In Colombia alone, US military contractors are receiving nearly half the $630 million in annual US military aid for the country.

Just south of the US border, the United States has launched Plan Mexico, a $1.5 billion counternarcotics program. This and similar plans could provide lucrative business opportunities for Blackwater and other companies.

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Harvard researchers selling out...$$$$$$$ rules...

From Levine Breaking News:


A world-renowned Harvard child psychiatrist whose work has helped fuel an explosion in the use of powerful antipsychotic medicines in children earned at least $1.6 million in consulting fees from drug makers from 2000 to 2007 but for years did not report much of this income to university officials, according to information given Congressional investigators.

By failing to report income, the psychiatrist, Dr. Joseph Biederman, and a colleague in the psychiatry department at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Timothy E. Wilens, may have violated federal and university research rules designed to police potential conflicts of interest, according to Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa. Some of their research is financed by government grants.


Obama's political killer instincts....

From The New York Times via

Frank Rich
One Historic Night, Two Americas

Frank Rich, writing for The New York Times, says: "When Barack Obama achieved his historic victory on Tuesday night, the battle was joined between two Americas. Not John Edwards's two Americas, divided between rich and poor. Not the Americas split by race, gender, party or ideology. What looms instead is an epic showdown between two wildly different visions of the country, from the ground up."

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Dan Rather gives 'em hell....

From Free Press:

Dan Rather Slams Corporate News at National Conference for Media Reform
By Dan Rather
Free Press
Created 06/08/2008 - 00:15
Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather delivered a blistering critique of corporate news on Saturday night at the National Conference for Media Reform hosted by Free Press.

The following are Dan Rather's prepared remarks:

I am grateful to be here and I am, most of all, gratified by the energy I have seen tonight and at this conference. It will take this kind of energy — and more — to sustain what is good in our news media... to improve what is deficient... and to push back against the forces and the trends that imperil journalism and that — by immediate extension — imperil democracy itself.

The Framers of our Constitution enshrined freedom of the press in the very first Amendment, up at the top of the Bill of Rights, not because they were great fans of journalists — like many politicians, then and now, they were not — but rather because they knew, as Thomas Jefferson put it, that, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was and never will be."

And it is because of this Constitutionally-protected role that I still prefer to use the word "press" over the word "media." If nothing else, it serves as a subtle reminder that — along with newspapers — radio, television, and, now, the Internet, carry the same Constitutional rights, mandates, and responsibilities that the founders guaranteed for those who plied their trade solely in print.

So when you hear me talk about the press, please know that I am talking about all the ways that news can be transmitted. And when you hear me criticize and critique the press, please know that I do not exempt myself from these criticisms.

In our efforts to take back the American press for the American people, we are blessed this weekend with the gift of good timing. For anyone who may have been inclined to ask if there really is a problem with the news media, or wonder if the task of media reform is, indeed, an urgent one... recent days have brought an inescapable answer, from a most unlikely source.
A source who decided to tell everyone, quote, "what happened."

I know I can't be the first person this weekend to reference the recent book by former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, but, having interviewed him this past week, I think there are some very important points to be made from the things he says in his book, and the questions his statements raise.

I'm sure all of you took special notice of what he had to say about the role of the press corps, in the run-up to the war in Iraq. In the government's selling of the war, he said they were — or, I should say, we were "complicit enablers" and "overly deferential."

These are interesting statements, especially considering their source. As one tries to wrap one's mind around them, the phrase "cognitive dissonance" comes to mind.

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Blackwater..San Diego protests coming up...


Carol JahnkowDirector, Peace Resource Center of San Diego / 760-390-0775

Martin EderActivist San Diego / 619-226-1116Raymond

LutzCoordinator, Citizens' Oversight Projects (COPs)http://www.StopBlackwater.net / 619-447-3246

June 8, 2008
Locals Battle Blackwater on the Border

Blackwater Opponents Announce Two Upcoming Public EventsCommunity Forum on Tuesday, June 10th and Wednesday, June 11th Rally Outside Front Door of Blackwater's New Site

Jeremy Scahill, Renowned Author of International Bestseller "Blackwater: The World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army" Special Guest SpeakerCommunity Groups Charge Blackwater Misused Federal Court to Muscle into Cal-Mex Border Site and Call for Facility Including Shooting Range to Be Shut-Down

"No to Baghdad on the Border"

New Facility 500 Yards From International Border Will Exacerbate the Potential for Increased Human and Civil Rights Violations to Both Migrants and Members of Border Communities
SAN DIEGO, CA (June 8) - -

San Diego locals continue protest against Blackwater's new foothold on the West Coast, only blocks from the Cal-Mex border in Otay Mesa, California. Blackwater opened the facility under clouds of subterfuge and obvious circumvention of local laws, finally using temporary restraining order issued by Federal Judge, a President Bush Sr. appointee, to muscle their way into the facility and avoid public hearings, environmental review and traditional public scrutiny.

WHEN: Tuesday, June 10, 2008, 7 p.m.
WHAT: Community Forum on Stopping Blackwater Featuring Jeremy Scahill, AuthorBestseller "Blackwater: The World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army"
WHERE: Unitarian Universalist Church, 4190 Front Street, San Diego

ANDWHEN: Wednesday, June 11, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
WHAT: Locals Rally Outside the New Blackwater Training Facility, speakers include, Jeremy Scahill, Blackwater Author and others
TBA WHERE: 7685 Siempre Viva Rd, San Diego, CA 92154.

The public is invited to both events where community members will express their views about the miscarriage of local laws, the inappropriate use of mercenaries for public security training, and the desire to have the facility shut down in Otay Mesa, California.

For many who were successful in blocking Blackwater's attempt to build an more than 800 acre para -militiary facility in Potreo, California, Blackwater represents the ultimate expression of the worst decisions made by the Bush administration and their extreme privatization agenda.

Jeremy Scahill, author of the International and New York Times bestseller and the winner of prestigious Polk Book Award, "Blackwater: The World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army" will speak to the community at both events. Scahill, whose book inspired San Diego's local movement, is currently on a national tour to launch the fully updated paperback edition of his bestseller, featuring an exposé on "Baghdad's Bloody Sunday," a shooting spree carried out by Blackwater in Baghdad's Nisour Square on September 16, 2007 where 17 innocent civilians were cut down by Blackwater gunfire without provocation.

"Despite the deadly events of the past year, Blackwater's business has never been better," said Jeremy Scahill. "Amidst the scandals, controversies and allegations of killing innocent civilians, Blackwater continues to be rewarded with lucrative, multi-million dollar contracts from the federal government, all the while expanding its reach inside the US and now into California. The residents of Potrero and their allies were right to confront Blackwater as it attempted to open shop in their community on the US-Mexico border and the people of San Diego are justified in their deep concerns about Blackwater's facility in Otay Mesa."

On April 25, 2008, Rep. Bob Filner (CA-51) held a press conference at the same site about the project. "This is a private company that would profit from instability and insecurity at the border," said San Diego City Councilmember Ben Hueso, who represents the 8th District where the project is located and who spoke at event. "It's their motive and it's their interest that we have conflict and that we have problems at the border. The more there are, they more they'll profit. This is why we do not want private companies engaging in national security objectives. It is a complete conflict of interest when you mix corporate profits with community benefit."

"The people of Potrero and San Diego is delivering a strong message to Blackwater," said Carol Jahnkow, Director of the San Diego Peace Resource Center and lead organizer for the rally. "You are not wanted here!. Blackwater, with its lack of transparency and accountability, is bad for San Diego and why private companies like Blackwater who profit from war, suffering, insecurity and civil unrest undermine our democratic values."

"Any Navy training should be handled internally by the Navy itself and not by war profiteers who seek to by-pass public scrutiny," said Martin Eder, spokesperson for Activist San Diego. "Blackwater has a history of running roughshod over the interests of civilians, whether it is in Iraq and Potrero and now Otay Mesa. What they did in Otay in blatant disregard to the rights of government and citizens to know the truth about this so-called 'vocational training facility'. Blackwater is known for shooting first, and asking questions never – San Diego has good reason to fear Blackwater on our sensitive international border."

Reacting to the audit report of the Blackwater permits provided by the City of San Diego on June 6, Ray Lutz, coordinator for Citizens' Oversight Projects (COPs) said, "The audit report completely sidestepped the most important issue: how Blackwater used the various permits and multiple identities to allow processing of the mercenary-type training facility under rubber-stamp 'Ministerial' review instead of allowing the public to review and approve their plans under 'Discretionary' processing. Finally, suing the city in federal court to force the permits to be issued steps far over the line of propriety, a blatant violation of traditional local control traditions. The character of Blackwater can be seen in these actions. This is not the sort of operation we want in this county, whether it is in Potrero or in Otay Mesa."

DIRECTIONS: 805 South to 905 East, Turn right at Britannia (just opposite Brown Field Control Tower), Turn left on to Siempre Viva (third light). Info: 619-263-9301, or

SPONSORED BY San Diego Peace Resource Center, Activist San Diego, , plus others.


Friday, June 06, 2008

Speculators on gas & food working us over bad...

From Les Echos via :

Risk of a Raw Materials Bubble

Les Echos's reporter Nicolas Madelaine wonders, "... aren't financial investors making the prices of foodstuffs and oil climb artificially? In spite of the assurance from financial milieus - which maintain that speculators merely go along with increases essentially due to the progress of physical supply and demand - this question is justified. For the debate is far from being settled."


San Diego: Blackwater is up and running....

From The Anchorage Daily News via :

Blackwater Opens San Diego Training Center

Allison Hoffman reports for The Anchorage Daily News: "A new counterterrorism training facility operated by military security contractor Blackwater Worldwide echoed with the grunts of Navy sailors, a day after a federal judge ordered the city to let classes begin."

Note: Sailors are working on hand-to-hand combat...


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Forget cyberspace freedom...

From Tom :

Tomgram: William Astore, Militarizing Your Cyberspace

Be depressed. Be very depressed. You thought that cyberspace -- a term conjured up long ago by that neuromancer, sci-fi author William Gibson -- was the last frontier of freedom. Well, think again. If the U.S. Air Force has anything to say about it, cyber-freedom will, in the not so distant future, be just another word for domination.

Air Force officials, despite a year-long air surge in Iraq, undoubtedly worry that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates's "next wars" (two, three, many Afghanistans) won't have much room for air glory. Recently, looking for new realms to bomb, it launched itself into cyberspace. The Air Force has now set up its own Cyber Command, redefined the Internet as just more "air space" fit for "cyber-craft," and launched its own Bush-style preemptive strike on the other military services for budgetary control of the same.

If that's not enough for you, it's now proposing a massive $30 billion cyberspace boondoggle, as retired Air Force Lt. Col. William Astore writes below, that will, theoretically, provide the Air Force with the ability to fry any computer on Earth. And don't think the other services are likely to take this lying down. Expect cyberwar in the Pentagon before this is all over. In the meantime, think of cyberspace, in military terms, as a new realm for nuclear-style strategy, with its own developing version of "first-strike capability," its own future versions of "mutually assured destruction," its own "windows of vulnerability" to be closed (while exploiting those of the enemy), and undoubtedly its own "cyber-gaps."

In fact, it looks like the national-security version of cyberspace may soon be a very, very busy place. Noah Shachtman, who covers the subject like a rug at his Wired Magazine Danger Room blog, recently noted that Comcast, the country's second-largest Internet provider, "has just advertised for an engineer to handle 'reconnaissance' and 'analysis' of 'subscriber intelligence' for the company's 'National Security Operations'" -- that is, for the U.S. government. ("Day-to-day tasks, the company says in an online job listing, will include 'deploy[ing], installing] and remov[ing] strategic and tactical data intercept equipment on a nationwide basis to meet Comcast and Government lawful intercept needs.'") Ain't that sweet.

And it shouldn't be too tough a job. As Shachtman also points out, "Since May 2007, all Internet providers have been required to install gear for easy wiretapping under the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act."

Sigh. Those who don't learn from history are bound to… get ever more bloated budgets. Tom

Attention Geeks and Hackers
Uncle Sam's Cyber Force Wants You!
By William J. Astore

Click here to read more of this dispatch.