Saturday, July 16, 2005 - News - EXCLUSIVE: WAS IT SUICIDE?

Were the London suicide bombers duped? Very interesting report from the British Mirror website. - News - EXCLUSIVE: WAS IT SUICIDE?: "The evidence is compelling: The terrorists bought return rail tickets, and pay and display car park tickets, before boarding _ a train at Luton for London. None of the men was heard to cry 'Allah Akhbar!' - 'God is great' - usually screamed by suicide bombers as they detonate their bomb.

Their devices were in large rucksacks which could be easily dumped instead of being strapped to their bodies. They carried wallets containing their driving licences, bank cards and other personal items. Suicide bombers normally strip themselves of identifying material.

Similar terror attacks against public transport in Madrid last year were carried out by recruits who had time to escape and planned to strike again.

Bomber Hasib Hussain detonated his device at the rear of the top deck of a No 30 bus, not in the middle of the bottom deck where most damage would be caused."

A Quarter of a Million Dollars Per Settler - by Charley Reese

Some scathing commentary from Charley Reese.

A Quarter of a Million Dollars Per Settler - by Charley Reese: "A Quarter of a Million Dollars Per Settler
by Charley Reese

The state of Israel – which, the last time I checked, was both a foreign and a sovereign nation – wants the American taxpayers to cough up $2.2 billion in addition to our regular $3 billion-or-so annual subsidy to pay for the withdrawal from Gaza.

Unless the American people raise hell about this, it's a done deal. In Washington, whatever Israel wants, Israel gets. Nevertheless, there are several reasons why the American people should rebel at the latest brazen attack on our treasury by Israel and its American supporters.

First, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided unilaterally to withdraw from Gaza. This was in lieu of following the president's peace plan, which Sharon has ignored from the very beginning. Where is it written, on stone or parchment or paper, that the head of a foreign government can decide to do something unilaterally and automatically send the bill to the American taxpayers?
We will derive no benefits at all from the withdrawal.

Furthermore, Sharon's adviser spilled the beans in an Israeli newspaper interview. The withdrawal from Gaza is not part of any peace plan. It was just an excuse to put off serious peace negotiations. Sharon will remove about 8,000 settlers from Gaza who are a pain in the government's rear end anyway, shut down four tiny settlements on the West Bank, and that's it. As Sharon's adviser admitted, there won't be any serious negotiations with the Palestinians until they 'turn into Finns.'"

I would normally agree with Charlie on matters relating to the funding of Israel, but I think he is being unpragmatic, and far too cynical. First of all disengagement, even if it was not negotiated, will be of practical benefit to the US. Many polls of people in the middle east show that the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank is the number one complaint against the US on the part of the Arab world. Al Qaeda definately brings this up whenever they have made pronouncements in public. Getting Sharon to leave by any means necessary will definitely dry up potential Al Qaeda recruts.

Another thing Charlie is failing to comprehend is that Sharon completely miscalculated the affect settler violence would have on the Israeli middle. Sharon believed that it would cause them to think disengagement wasn't worth the trouble, so they would give up on disengaging from the rest of the occupied territories in the west bank. Instead, settler radicalism has inspired so much contempt from the mushy middle, that it wants to uproot the rest of settlers too.

Secondly, our capitulation to Israel is not just a result of weak willed politicians. There are definately bad political consequeces if you don't give aipac what it wants. The Israeli lobby has run several successful primary challenges against those who opposed their projects. Ed Hilliard, and Cynthia McKinney come to mind. There was a reason Fritz Hollings didn't denounce AIPac until he announced retirement from the Senate. Anyone, who proposed a cut in aid to Israel can expect his/her political career to die a nasty death. The pro-Israel lobby will tell its voters that the politician doesn't support Israel, and an opponant will be funded generously. It isn't primarily Conservative Jews who will finance your opponant. They are a dinky minority, within a dinky minority. It is the religious right, inspired by a belicose "Christian Zionsim" who can command the money and votes of at least 25% of the population. .

Finally, no-one asked us ordinary folks whether we wanted to support the settlements in the first place, and frankly the vast majority of us didn't complain about it either, so why should we get in a snit now that they are at least beginning to disengage? I for one and happy to pay for them to leave if I don't have to finance the settlements in the future!

FOX Carolina The Ten O'Clock News Christian Exodus Planned For South Carolina

Strange story! I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I would not like this if I were South Carolinian. On the other hand, it would be undoubtedly good for the rest of the country to lose some of their Religious Right types to South Carolina. Afterall, the state's politics have already been taken over by "Christian" Conservatives, more or less, and it can't get any worse than it presently is.

FOX Carolina The Ten O'Clock News Christian Exodus Planned For South Carolina: "Plans to reform our government to more Christian-like principals are in the works and we may feel the effects, right here in the Upstate. That is because South Carolina has been chosen as the place for hundreds, even thousands of Christians to move to, in hopes of impacting the government. But people who live here have mixed opinions about the Christian Exodus.

Denise Collins-Bennett lives in Florence, SC and says, 'I guess it's great to have more Christian groups moving here.'

Here, is South Carolina: the chosen location for the Christian Exodus, a non-profit group organizing Christians to move to the Palmetto State to concentrate the number of Christians in one location with the intent to influence how the state governs. A plan that some residents say we need.

'I think it's fantastic, I think we need more of that actually. I don't know which direction our government is heading in, but I think they need Christian influence, it would go a long way, I really think so,' says Mauldin resident, Reggie Brow"

Gay Marriage Critics Are Misguided, by Gene C. Gerard - Democratic Underground

Just to clarify matters: High divorce rates correlate more strongly to lack of education than Gay marriage!

Gay Marriage Critics Are Misguided, by Gene C. Gerard - Democratic Underground: "

However, contrary to the arguments put forward by Mr. Dobson and others, the divorce rate is not increasing due to the demand by gays and lesbians for marital rights. The culprit appears to be far less sinister, and much more pervasive. According to Steven P. Martin, Ph.D., a professor of sociology at The University of Maryland-College Park, who just released a monumental study of divorce in America over the last 30 years, the divorce rate is directly correlated to a lack of education, especially among women.

Dr. Martin’s study demonstrates that from 1970 to the 1990s, divorce rates declined by approximately one-half among recipients of a bachelor’s degree. By contrast, divorce rates were high and remained essentially constant among women without a bachelor’s degree
. For some time now, social scientists have known that less educated people tend to have higher rates of divorce than the national average. Dr. Martin’s analysis demonstrates just how accurately education is correlated to the success and stability of marriage.".............

Given the results of this study, those who are concerned about the institution of marriage should be criticizing the Bush administration for cuts in education, rather than gay marriage advocates. In February, the Bush administration announced severe cuts in federal funding for Pell Grants. Since 1973, Pell Grants have been the principal form of federal funding for low-income college students. The grants are only available to those demonstrating financial need. The average recipient of a grant comes from a family whose parents have a combined annual income of less than $35,000.

The Bush administration will eliminate Pell Grants for approximately 90,000 low-income students, affectively preventing them from completing their education. Another 1.3 million students will suffer a reduction in the amount of their grants. The Department of Education predicted a savings of $300 million as a result of the reductions. The cuts will be devastating in 2008, which is predicted to be the largest high school graduating class in American history. .............

I don't know why this should shock anyone. The idea that allowing gays to marry will harm other married people is completely irrational anyway!

There is another correlation the study ignored. For instance, isn't it rather likely that women without bachelors degrees are more likely to be poor than women who have them? Let's face it, the working class make much less money than they did in the 60s when a high percentage had union jobs, and the minimum wage was much higher than it is presently.

Friday, July 15, 2005

AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth

Oh boy! According to America Blog Novak's story appears to contradict Roves!

AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth: "Today's big story is that Rove supposedly never gave Valerie Plame's name to Novak - but rather that Novak mentioned Plame was CIA and Rove said 'yeah I heard that too,' or something to that effect.

In fact, here's what Novak said in his first interview that we know of just after he leaked Plame's name in print:

Novak, in an interview, said his sources had come to him with the information. 'I didn't dig it out, it was given to me,' he said. 'They thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it.'

Read that again. I didn't dig it out, it was given to me - they gave me the name.
That does not jibe with Rove's anonymous buddy telling the NYT that it was Novak who first brought up Plame as CIA and NOT Rove."

As America Blog observes the only way this does not contradict Rove is if there were two leakers and not one!

The Nation | Lookout | Aristide in Exile | Naomi Klein

The Great Naomi Klein shows that the overthrow of Aristide was an attempt to force unpopular privatization down the throats of the Haitian people.

The Nation | Lookout | Aristide in Exile | Naomi Klein: "A few weeks ago I visited Aristide in Pretoria, South Africa, where he lives in forced exile. I asked him what was really behind his dramatic falling-out with Washington. He offered an explanation rarely heard in discussions of Haitian politics--actually, he offered three: 'privatization, privatization and privatization.'

The dispute dates back to a series of meetings in early 1994, a pivotal moment in Haiti's history that Aristide has rarely discussed. Haitians were living under the barbaric rule of Raoul Cedras, who overthrew Aristide in a 1991 US-backed coup. Aristide was in Washington and despite popular calls for his return, there was no way he could face down the junta without military back-up. Increasingly embarrassed by Cedras's abuses, the Clinton Administration offered Aristide a deal: US troops would take him back to Haiti--but only after he agreed to a sweeping economic program with the stated goal to 'substantially transform the nature of the Haitian state.'

Aristide agreed to pay the debts accumulated under the kleptocratic Duvalier dictatorships, slash the civil service, open up Haiti to 'free trade' and cut import tariffs on rice and corn in half. It was a lousy deal but
, Aristide says, he had little choice. 'I was out of my country and my country was the poorest in the Western hemisphere, so what kind of power did I have at that time?'

But Washington's negotiators made one demand that Aristide could not accept: the immediate sell-off of Haiti's state-owned enterprises, including phones and electricity. Aristide argued that unregulated privatization would transform state monopolies into private oligarchies, increasing the riches of Haiti's elite and stripping the poor of their national wealth. He says the proposal simply didn't add up: 'Being honest means saying two plus two equals four. They wanted us to sing two plus two equals five.'"

Unfortunately, the poor in the world don't get a better break even with New Democrats, like Bill Clinton!

Thursday, July 14, 2005


Steve Gilliard debunks yet another spin!

THE NEWS BLOG: "Bob Somersby makes this wrong, but interesting argument

Did King Karl know that Plame was covert? Let's note one key point for the record: Under terms of the most relevant statute, it isn't clear that Plame really was such an agent. (Under terms of this statute, a 'covert' agent is someone 'who is serving outside the United States or has within the last five years served outside the United States.' It isn't clear that Plame qualifies.) At any rate, if Rove didn't know that Plame was covert, it isn't clear that he committed a crime--and no one has really begun to show that he had such knowledge. But so what? This hasn't stopped the triumphalist liberal web from aping the pseudo-con world of the 90s. In that decade, everything Clinton did was a crime, and every bit of 'evidence' 'proved' it. This produced a decade of sheer stupidity--a decade the liberal web starts to match.

Why is it wrong?

Because unless Joe Wilson is lying, and her collegues as well, she was a NOC (non-official cover) agent. Her resume didn't list CIA as her employer, but a front based in DC. I mean, a lot of her activities as a NOC are in the public record. | Rove's war

Sidney Blumenthal persuasively debunks two lies from the Rove apologists. 1)It was Cheney, not Plame that recommended Wilson be sent to Niger! | Rove's war: "When the Italian report on Niger uranium surfaced, Vice President Cheney's office contacted the CIA's counter-proliferation office to look into it. Such a request is called a 'tasker.' It was hardly the first query the task force had received from the White House, and such requests were not made through the CIA director's office, but directly. Plame's colleagues asked her if she would invite her husband out to CIA headquarters at Langley, Va., for a meeting with them, to assess the question.

It was unsurprising that the CIA would seek out Wilson. He had already performed one secret mission to Niger for the agency, in 1999, and was trusted. Wilson had also had a distinguished and storied career as a Foreign Service officer. He served as acting ambassador in Iraq during the Gulf War and was hailed by the first President Bush as a 'hero.' Wilson was an important part of the team and highly regarded by Secretary of State James Baker and National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft. Wilson was also an Africa specialist. He had been a diplomat in Niger, ambassador to Gabon and senior director for Africa on the National Security Council during the Clinton administration. (I first encountered Wilson then, and we have since become friends.) No other professional had such an ideal background for this CIA mission."

Two)The fact that Rove didn't give Plame's name to Novak doesn't mean he didn't betray her identity!

Washington, meanwhile, is an echo chamber of Rove's agents. His lawyer, Robert Luskin, has trashed Cooper: "By any definition, he burned Karl Rove." RNC chairman Ken Mehlman has appeared on talk shows, given newspaper interviews and circulated a three-page memo of talking points to Republican surrogates. In one brief statement, for example, Mehlman said: "The fact is Karl Rove did not leak classified information. He did not, according to what we learned this past weekend, reveal the name of anybody. He didn't even know the name ... He tried to discourage a reporter from writing a story that was false."

Mehlman's farrago of lies and distortions may be a fair representation of Rove's fears. Is it "the fact" that Rove didn't leak classified information? Plame's identity of course was classified. That is why the CIA referred the matter to the Department of Justice for investigation. But is Mehlman disclosing yet another Rove worry? The prosecutor can indict under any statute, including simply leaking classified information. Is Rove afraid of being indicted under that law, not just the one that makes it a crime to identify Plame? Mehlman raises a further Rove anxiety. No, Rove didn't "reveal the name." But the law doesn't cite that as a felony; it only specifies revealing the "identity" as a crime. It says nothing about a "name." Rove revealed "Joe Wilson's wife." That qualifies as an "identity." By the way, Plame did not go by the name of Plame, but Wilson -- in other words, Mrs. Wilson, or "Joe Wilson's wife." Rove seemed to know that much -- her identity.

Leak of Agent's Name Causes Exposure of CIA Front Firm (

The Washington Post finally reports on the real damage done when Rove outed Plame. Really people if this isn't illegal activity it ought to be!

Leak of Agent's Name Causes Exposure of CIA Front Firm ( "The leak of a CIA operative's name has also exposed the identity of a CIA front company, potentially expanding the damage caused by the original disclosure, Bush administration officials said yesterday.

The company's identity, Brewster-Jennings & Associates, became public because it appeared in Federal Election Commission records on a form filled out in 1999 by Valerie Plame, the case officer at the center of the controversy, when she contributed $1,000 to Al Gore's presidential primary

After the name of the company was broadcast yesterday, administration officials confirmed that it was a CIA front. They said the obscure and possibly defunct firm was listed as Plame's employer on her W-2 tax forms in 1999 when she was working undercover for the CIA. Plame's name was first published July 14 in a newspaper column by Robert D. Novak that quoted two senior administration officials. They were critical of her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, for his handling of a CIA mission that undercut President Bush's claim that Iraq had sought uranium from the African nation of Niger for possible use in developing nuclear weapons........

The inadvertent disclosure of the name of a business affiliated with the CIA underscores the potential damage to the agency and its operatives caused by the leak of Plame's identity. Intelligence officials have said that once Plame's job as an undercover operative was revealed, other agency secrets could be unraveled and her sources might be compromised or endangered.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

TPMCafe || Politics, Ideas & Lots Of Caffeine

Ok, I am posting this because of the many untruthful claims the republicans have been making about Valerie Plame. They keep saying that she was not undercover, so Rove and Novak did nothing wrong. This is patently untrue. They not only outed Plame, they outed all the operatives that worked for Plame. Her company "Brewster Jennings and Associates", was a CIA front. It was supposed to infiltrate groups, smuggling nuclear materials to places like Israel and Pakistan. They damaged National Security badly even if no laws were technically broken. Anyway, read it straight from former CIA operative Joe Wilson if you don't believe me.

"For starters, Valerie Plame was an undercover operations officer until outed in the press by Robert Novak. Novak's column was not an isolated attack. It was in fact part of a coordinated, orchestrated smear that we now know includes at least Karl Rove.

Valerie Plame was a classmate of mine from the day she started with the CIA. I entered on duty at the CIA in September 1985. All of my classmates were undercover--in other words, we told our family and friends that we were working for other overt U.S. Government agencies. We had official cover. That means we had a black passport--i.e., a diplomatic passport. If we were caught overseas engaged in espionage activity the black passport was a get out of jail free card.

A few of my classmates, and Valerie was one of these, became a non-official cover officer. That meant she agreed to operate overseas without the protection of a diplomatic passport. If caught in that status she would have been executed.

The lies by people like Victoria Toensing, Representative Peter King, and P. J. O'Rourke insist that Valerie was nothing, just a desk jockey. Yet, until Robert Novak betrayed her she was still undercover and the company that was her front was still a secret to the world. When Novak outed Valerie he also compromised her company and every individual overseas who had been in contact with that company and with her."....

The Big Lie About Valerie Plame