Archive for October 11th, 2007

by GEF @ 3:02 PM MST

“How come Ron Paul is the only Republican who isn’t a complete retard??”

“Read the Constitution!”



Chris Matthews asks the GOP candidates an easy question: Does Congress need to authorize a strategic attack on Iran? When Mitt Romney says that he would have to consult his lawyers (the same disturbing answer he gave to a question about detaining American citizens without charge or trial), Ron Paul goes off and gets a strong round of applause.

It’s quite astonishing that a majority of the Republican candidates for President of the United States simply do not understand the Constitution and that the power to declare war lies with the Congress. Can you even begin to imagine what the founders would have to say about this?

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Bush: Protect America, or at Least Its Telecom Companies

anthony @ 21:00 BST

Truthdig | Posted on Oct 10, 2007
This phone call may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance purposes:  Bush chats on the phone aboard Air Force One in this undated photo.

First we had “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” Then came the Patriot Act.  And now, President Bush has co-opted another vague term that’s hard to argue with, emptied it of its intended significance, and altered it to mean “let big telecom companies that aided the administration in its dubious wiretapping activities off the hook.” Yes, folks, this latest round of rhetorical gymnastics has brought us “the Protect America Act.”

AP via Huffington Post:

President Bush said Wednesday that he will not sign a new eavesdropping bill if it does not grant retroactive immunity to U.S. telecommunications companies that helped conduct electronic surveillance without court orders.

A proposed bill unveiled by Democrats on Tuesday does not include such a provision. Bush, appearing on the South Lawn as that measure was taken up in two House committees, said the measure is unacceptable for that and other reasons.

“Today the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees are considering a proposed bill that instead of making the Protect America Act permanent would take us backward,” the president said.

Read more

Bonus!:  You, too, can learn more about the Protect America Act, thanks to this informative White House fact sheet.

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Anthony @ 20:50 BST

Oval office

Raw Story | October 11, 2007

An injured survivor and the three families of men killed in a Sept. 16 shooting in Baghdad, filed suit against Blackwater USA in a Washington, D.C. federal court this morning.

The case was brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the firms of Burke O’Neil LLC and Akeel & Valentine, P.C.

Talib Mutlaq Deewan, who was wounded in the incident, and the estates of the deceased men – Himoud Saed Atban, Usama Fadhil Abbass, and Oday Ismail Ibraheem – sued Blackwater and its affiliated companies alleging the firm violated U.S. law and “created and fostered a culture of lawlessness amongst its employees, encouraging them to act in the company’s financial interests at the expense of innocent human life.”

The lawsuit is seeking unspecified compensatory damages for “death, physical, mental, and economic injuries,” as well as punitive damages.


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Sudhan@21:25 CET

by Stephen Zunes,  October 10, 2007

This week marks the fifth anniversary of the Congressional vote granting President George W. Bush unprecedented war-making authority to invade Iraq at the time and circumstances of his own choosing. Had a majority of either the Republican-controlled House or the Democratic-controlled Senate voted against the resolution or had they passed an alternative resolution conditioning such authority on an authorization from the United Nations Security Council, all the tragic events that have unfolded as a consequence of the March 2003 invasion would have never occurred. As a result, the responsibility for the deaths of nearly 4000 American soldiers, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, the waste of over a half trillion dollars of our national treasury, and the rise of terrorism and Islamist extremism that has come as a result of the invasion and occupation of Iraq rests as much in the hands of the members in Congress who authorized the invasion as it does with the administration that requested it.

Those who express surprise at the refusal of today’s Democratic majority in Congress to stop funding the war should remember this: the October 2002 resolution authorizing the invasion had the support of the majority of Democratic senators as well as the support of the Democratic Party leadership in both the House and the Senate.

Keep reading . . . 

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Yankee Fans Hate Rudy

anthony @ 19:50 BST

Jane Hamsher | firedoglake | Thursday October 11, 2007

I understand the true volume levels didn’t make it on TV, but during the Yankee game on Monday night Rudy Giuliani was resoundingly booed by New Yorkers:

For years, George Steinbrenner and right wing nutcases running the New York Yankees have subtly and overtly attempted to turn a nonpolitical sporting event such as watching a baseball game at Yankees stadium into a 1930s style German propaganda event to promote right wing politicians, right wing views on religion, and right wing views on Iraq. It’s no longer take me out to the ballgame and as a Yankee fan, I find it disgusting.

The most frequent use of mixing politics and baseball at Yankee stadium is Steinbrenner’s promotion of right wing extremist Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani gets a front row, unimpeded view of Yankee games because these seats are given to him by Steinbrenner. Then Yankee stadium officials and the networks try to plaster Rudy Giuliani’s face all over the big screen and the television. This amounts to millions of dollars of free advertising, something quite beneficial when you are running for President.

But Steinbrenner overplayed his hand. Giuliani got roundly booed at Yankee Stadium and this will play out on the campaign trail.

I was there and Giuliani was booed not once but twice, the second time during God Bless America, which he did not appear to know the words to.

It doesn’t look like his “Hero of 9/11″ crap is selling too well to hard core New Yorkers, does it?

Update: Olbermann:

During the 7th inning stretch, as the tenor Ronan Tynan sang �God Bless America� was sang he was shown on the video screen and there was no mistaking what happened next. He was briefly but lustily booed. No cheers or applause at all. Kind of uncouth, during �God Bless America,� but perhaps very telling.

trick or treaters

Let’s Talk Baseball for a Change

Marie Cocco | Truthdig | October 11, 2007

WASHINGTON—They’re gone! 

How to describe the euphoria, the smug satisfaction, the unrestrained elation at seeing the New York Yankees eliminated once again so early in postseason play? I’m thinking something silly, like, Eureka!


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Giuliani Gets Exposed As Fraud by Firefighters

by Geezer Power …11:12 am

About This Video

Giuliani Bungled Preparation in Years After 1993 Attack on Trade Center.

Critical failures by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani before, during and after the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, raise serious questions about his ability to be commander-in-chief.

In this thirteen minute documentary, fire fighters, fire officers and family members give dramatic testimony about Giuliani’s leadership failures. Their dramatic stories tell how Giuliani failed to provide the FDNY with radios that worked, which led to the deaths of 121 fire fighters inside the World Trade Center’s North Tower because they were unable to hear orders to evacuate.

Fire fighters also point to Giuliani’s poor judgment in placing his emergency command center at 7 World Trade Center, a known terrorist target after the 1993 bombing.

This video documents the mayor’s lack of respect for the fallen when he called off the recovery effort at Ground Zero on Nov. 1, 2001, after $200 million in gold bullion was recovered.

“We produced this documentary because we need to make sure our members know Giuliani’s real record,” said IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger.

“The UFA participated in this video to correct the myth that Rudy Giuliani has perpetrated on the American public,” said Steve Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York, IAFF Local 94.

The Giuliani campaign defended the former mayor’s record by issuing a release that lists items he purchased for FDNY.

“But the campaign, with its response, has neglected to address the charges of failed leadership outlined in our documentary,” President Schaitberger said.

“Purchasing equipment for a fire department doesn’t qualify any mayor to be president,” said Jack McDonnell, president of New York City Local 854, the Uniformed Fire Officers Association.

Giuliani was also aware that WTC tower was going to collapse.

Rudy Knew Video

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Sudhan@19:30 CET

Posted: 2007/10/11
From: Mathaba



The Bush administration does torture prisoners in violation of international law, former President Jimmy Carter said Wednesday…

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) — The Bush administration does torture prisoners in violation of international law, former President Jimmy Carter said Wednesday.

President George W. Bush recently defended his administration’s techniques used to interrogate terror suspects, insisting that “this government does not torture people.”

However, Carter disagreed with Bush in an interview with CNN.

“That’s not an accurate statement if you use the international norms of torture as has always been honored — certainly in the last 60 years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was promulgated,” he said.

Responding to the remarks, a senior White House official said, “Our position is clear. We don’t torture.”

The official added, “It’s just sad to hear a former president speak like that.”

In the interview, Carter also criticized some of the 2008 Republican presidential candidates, calling former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani “foolish” for his contention the United States should be open to use force on Iran.

“I hope that he doesn’t become president and try to impose his conviction that we need to go to war with Iran,” Carter said.

Democratic Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois, both forerunners among the Democratic presidential candidates, also drew Carter’s criticism for refusing recently to pledge to withdraw all troops from Iraq by the end of their first terms if they win the presidency in 2008.

“I disagree with their basic premise that we’ll still be there; I think the American people want out,” Carter said.


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Carter says U.S. tortures prisoners

by Geezer Power …10:23 am

Jimmy Carter: “Our country for the first time in my life time has abandoned the basic principle of human rights”


The United States tortures prisoners in violation of international law, former President Carter said Wednesday.

“I don’t think it. I know it,” Carter told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

“Our country for the first time in my life time has abandoned the basic principle of human rights,” Carter said. “We’ve said that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to those people in Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo, and we’ve said we can torture prisoners and deprive them of an accusation of a crime to which they are accused.”

Carter also said President Bush creates his own definition of human rights.

Carter’s comments come on the heels of an October 4 article in The New York Times disclosing the existence of secret Justice Department memorandums supporting the use of “harsh interrogation techniques.” These include “head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures,” according to the Times.

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Hillary Clinton: Fooled Again or Neo-Conned?

punditman says @ 11AM EDT: Punditman welcomes guest columnist Donna Saggia, who has written for counterpunch and CommonDreams.

Hillary Clinton is fond of saying that, if she knew in 2002 what she knows now, she would not have voted to give Bush the power to invade Iraq. To this day Clinton does not regret her vote, she only regrets “the way the president used the authority that Congress gave him.” Her campaign mantra, “The mistakes were made by this president, who misled this country and this Congress,” is an attempt to draw a veil of innocence over her vote and implicate all of us in the Iraq swindle.

Well, “all of us” really can’t continue to buy this argument. George Bush may have pulled the trigger, but Republicans and too many Democrats were holding the gun. Iraq was and continues to be a bipartisan war, and Hillary Clinton, until only recently, has been a vociferous cheerleader. Had events in Iraq taken a different turn, Clinton would be first in line to congratulate Bush on a job well done.

So, was Hillary “fooled” on Iraq? And what about her recent vote to give Bush an opening to attack Iran? Was she “fooled again”? If she indeed was misled by Bush, we’d expect her speeches to be filled with alternative strategies and policies, but they’re not. In fact, if we look at Clinton’s words and votes regarding the Middle East, it becomes clear what a foreign policy under “President Hillary Clinton” would look like – indistinguishable from Bush’s and bearing a strong resemblance to the neocon agenda.

Keep Reading…

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Spreading Awareness or Smearing a Religion?

Sudhan@10:40 CET

Horowitz’s Latest Hate Campaign

Heads for Campus

By Gary Leupp

With much fanfare, a collection of far-right ideologues backed by right-wing “think tank” money are proclaiming an “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” on college campuses beginning Oct. 22. It is a calculated effort to vilify Islam in general, place Muslim Student Associations on the defensive, and generate support for further U.S. military action in the Islamic world.

Muslims constitute about a quarter of the world’s population and around two percent of the U.S. population. They include members of many ethnic groups. Arabs are a minority in the Muslim world; the most populous Muslim countries (Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh) are non-Arab. The Muslim world is complex and divided, religiously (into Sunni, Shiite, and other groups) and politically. There are Muslim absolute monarchies, constitutional monarchies, secular states and Islamic republics. To understand this world, one needs to dispassionately examine it, avoiding stereotypes.

But immediately after 9-11, the Bush administration, having no patience with “nuance,” set about trying to link the secular republic of Iraq with the (mostly Saudi) al-Qaeda religious fanatics. It believe that having been attacked by al-Qaeda most Americans would support an attack on the completely unrelated target of Iraq. But what did al-Qaeda and Iraq have in common? The former hated the latter for its suppression of Islamic religious activism, and its tolerance for Christians and other religious minorities. But somehow Bush was able to conflate the two, so that even today about a third of Americans believe Saddam was involved in 9-11. Those on the Christian right are most inclined to this view, and to embrace sentiments like those expressed by right-wing extremist Ann Coulter in National Review Sept. 13, 2001: “We should invade [Muslim] countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.” But they’re joined by secular neoconservatives like Norman Podhoretz who has called on Bush to bomb Iran, which he calls “the currently main center of the Islamofascist ideology.”

Keep reading . . . 

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