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Archive for August 13th, 2008

By- Suzie-Q @ 9:00 PM MST

McCain: “In The 21st Century Nations Don’t Invade Other Nations”

Huffington Post- Sam Stein

August 13, 2008 04:46 PM

Speaking to reporters about the situation in Georgia, Sen. John McCain denounced the aggressive posture of Russia by claiming that:”in the 21st century nations don’t invade other nations.”

VIDEO

It was the type of foreign policy rhetorical blunder that has regularly plagued the McCain campaign and could have diplomatic ripples as well. Certainly the comment was meant in innocence. But for those predisposed to the notion that the U.S. is an increasingly arrogant international actor, the suggestion by a presidential candidate that, in this day and age, countries don’t invade one another — when the U.S. is occupying two foreign nations — does little to alleviate that negative perception.

There is another, less controversial undertone to McCain’s remark. Since the Georgia-Russia hostilities have commenced, parallels have been drawn to U.S. intervention in Iraq. The two scenarios are highly different in all intents and purposes, both due to regional significance and the longstanding territorial disputes. But some still would dispute the idea, as McCain seemed to imply, that America’s involvement in Iraq is any less an invasion than Russia’s involvement in Georgia.

Later in his press conference, McCain was asked to address how the Georgian crisis — which has ceded to a tenuous ceasefire — was amplified on the campaign trail. The presumptive Republican nominee demurred from attempts to get him to engage with Barack Obama.

“This isn’t a time for partisanship and sniping between campaigns,” he said. “This is about hundreds of thousand of individuals whose lives are being taken… Maybe later on in the campaign let’s have a back and forth about whose comments and statements… but now lets devote all our efforts to resolving a situation that is fraught with tragedy.”

A subsequent questioner asked McCain whether this non-partisan window applied to Sen. Joseph Lieberman as well, who, at a townhall on Tuesday, suggested that Barack Obama had not always “put his country first.” McCain’s answer was classically evasive.

“Let me respond by just saying that I think that whatever we think at the moment that we can all reserve that for a future time. And I think that judgments will be made about how we handled this situation and approached the situation in Iraq and how much experience knowledge and background means in selecting who should be the next commander in chief, all I can say is there will be plenty of time for that and we can move forward. “

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By- Suzie-Q @ 6:00 PM MST

Conyers Criticizes Attorney General For Ruling Out Charges in Hiring Scandal

TPM Muckraker- Andrew Tilghman – August 13, 2008, 5:55PM

Yesterday Attorney General Michael Mukasey made it clear he has no plans to prosecute any of the DOJ officials who clearly violated the law by using political criteria to select career judicial officials.

Apparently, that’s not what Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) wanted to hear. The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said there’s good reason to think somebody broke the law — not just for screening out Democrats from key positions, but also failing to fully cooperate with the DOJ Inspector General’s investigation.

In a statement today, Conyers said:

I am distressed that Attorney General Mukasey has been so quick to determine that no criminal offense has been committed in connection with the illegal hiring practices at the Department of Justice.

It is not enough for Mr. Mukasey to assert that things are different under his watch. The Department of Justice cannot reestablish its credibility so long as it persists in a strategy designed to avoid revealing all the facts that have so compromised the integrity of the Department of Justice and to prevent real accountability for misconduct by former DOJ officials.

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GEF @ 7:48 PM ET

Prince Charles warns GM crops risk causing the biggest-ever environmental disaster

By Jeff Randall

The mass development of genetically modified crops risks causing the world’s worst environmental disaster, The Prince of Wales has warned.

Prince Charles warns GM crops risk causing the biggest-ever environmental disaster
Listen: The Prince of Wales speaks out

In his most outspoken intervention on the issue of GM food, the Prince said that multi-national companies were conducting an experiment with nature which had gone “seriously wrong”.

The Prince, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Telegraph, also expressed the fear that food would run out because of the damage being wreaked on the earth’s soil by scientists’ research.

He accused firms of conducting a “gigantic experiment I think with nature and the whole of humanity which has gone seriously wrong”.

“Why else are we facing all these challenges, climate change and everything?”.

Relying on “gigantic corporations” for food, he said, would result in “absolute disaster”.

“That would be the absolute destruction of everything… and the classic way of ensuring there is no food in the future,” he said.

“What we should be talking about is food security not food production – that is what matters and that is what people will not understand.

“And if they think its somehow going to work because they are going to have one form of clever genetic engineering after another then again count me out, because that will be guaranteed to cause the biggest disaster environmentally of all time.”

Small farmers, in particular, would be the victims of “gigantic corporations” taking over the mass production of food.

“I think it’s heading for real disaster,” he said.

“If they think this is the way to go….we [will] end up with millions of small farmers all over the world being driven off their land into unsustainable, unmanageable, degraded and dysfunctional conurbations of unmentionable awfulness.”

The Prince of Wales’s forthright comments will reopen the whole debate about GM food.

They will put him on a collision course with the international scientific community and Downing Street – which has allowed 54 GM crop trials in Britain since 2000.

His intervention comes at a critical time. There is intense pressure for more GM products, not fewer, because of soaring food costs and widespread shortages.

Many scientists believe GM research is the only way to guarantee food for the world’s growing population as the planet is affected by climate change.

They will be dismayed by such a high profile and controversial contribution from the Prince of Wales at such a sensitive time.

The Prince will be braced for the biggest outpouring of criticism from scientists since he accused genetic engineers of taking us into “realms that belong to God and God alone” in an article in the Daily Telegraph in 1998.

In the interview the Prince, who has an organic farm on his Highgrove estate, held out the hope of the British agricultural system encouraging more and more family run co-operative farms.

When challenged over whether he was trying to turn back the clock, he said: “I think not. I’m terribly sorry. It’s not going backwards. It is actually recognising that we are with nature, not against it. We have gone working against nature for too long.”

The Prince of Wales cited the widespread environmental damage in India caused by the rush to mass produce GM food.

“Look at India’s Green Revolution. It worked for a short time but now the price is being paid.

“I have been to the Punjab where you have seen the disasters that have taken place as result of the over demand on irrigation because of the hybrid seeds and grains that have been produced which demand huge amounts of water.

“[The] water table has disappeared. They have huge problems with water level, with pesticide problems, and complications which are now coming home to roost.

“Look at western Australia. Huge salinisation problems. I have been there. Seen it. Some of the excessive approaches to modern forms of agriculture.”

He said that the scientists were putting too much pressure on nature.

“If you are not working with natural assistance you cause untold problems. which become very expensive and very difficult to undo.

It places impossible burdens on nature and leads to accumulating problems which become more difficult to sort out.”

In a keynote speech last year the Prince of Wales warned that the world faces a series of natural disasters within 18 months unless a £15 billion action plan is agreed to save the world’s rain forests.

He has set up his own rain forest project with 15 of the world’s largest companies, environmental and economic experts, to try to find ways to stop their destruction.

Only two weeks ago British GM researchers lobbied ministers for their crops to be kept in high-security facilities or in fields at secret locations across the country to prevent them from being attacked and destroyed.

They spoke out after protesters ripped up crops in one of only two GM trials to be approved in Britain this year.

Scientists claim the repeated attacks on their trials are stifling vital research to evaluate whether GM crops can reduce the cost and environmental impact of farming and whether they will grow better in harsh environments where droughts have devastated harvests.

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Honeybee population collapses in UK as one in three hives wiped out in a year

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anthony @ 23:45 BST

Gene Cappa | opednews | August 13, 2008

As hard as he tried, twice or more and failed, Bush could NOT get the United Nations Security Council to approve his invasion of Iraq.

The United Nations Charter “prohibits the use of military force against any member nation without the approval of the Security Council”, but lacking the required authorization, Bush decided to attack Iraq asserting that Congress gave him the authorization to do so by approving House Joint Resolution 114, the “Authorization to Use Military Force”.

However, a closer look at the Resolution reveals that Bush did NOT COMPLY with the “most critical WHEREAS clauses” CLICK HERE http://www.impeachbush.tv/args/noiraqauthority.html

“Basically Bush tricked Congress into signing HJR114 by fraudulent means which negated his authority to invade Iraq. (more…)

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McCain’s Chief Foreign Policy Adviser Paid By Georgia

By- Suzie-Q @ 3:30 PM MST

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., top foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann, center and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., second from left, speak to reporters on board the Straight Talk Air campaign charter airplane before take off from Harrisburg, Pa., Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2008. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

McCain’s Top Foreign Policy Advisor Got Money From Georgia

PETE YOST | August 13, 2008 04:14 PM EST | AP

WASHINGTON — John McCain’s chief foreign policy adviser and his business partner lobbied the senator or his staff on 49 occasions in a 3 1/2-year span while being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the government of the former Soviet republic of Georgia.

The payments raise ethical questions about the intersection of Randy Scheunemann’s personal financial interests and his advice to the Republican presidential candidate who is seizing on Russian aggression in Georgia as a campaign issue.

McCain warned Russian leaders Tuesday that their assault in Georgia risks “the benefits they enjoy from being part of the civilized world.”

On April 17, a month and a half after Scheunemann stopped working for Georgia, his partner signed a $200,000 agreement with the Georgian government. The deal added to an arrangement that brought in more than $800,000 to the two-man firm from 2004 to mid-2007. For the duration of the campaign, Scheunemann is taking a leave of absence from the firm.

“Scheunemann’s work as a lobbyist poses valid questions about McCain’s judgment in choosing someone who _ and whose firm _ are paid to promote the interests of other nations,” said New York University law professor Stephen Gillers. “So one must ask whether McCain is getting disinterested advice, at least when the issues concern those nations.”

“If McCain wants advice from someone whose private interests as a once and future lobbyist may affect the objectivity of the advice, that’s his choice to make.”

McCain has been to Georgia three times since 1997 and “this is an issue that he has been involved with for well over a decade,” said McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers.

McCain’s strong condemnation in recent days of Russia’s military action against Georgia as “totally, absolutely unacceptable” reflects long-standing ties between McCain and hardline conservatives such as Scheunemann, an aide in the 1990s to then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott.

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The Fix Is In — Again!

anthony @ 23:25 BST

Ernest Partridge | OpEdNews | August 13, 2008

Better get used to the idea: John McCain will probably be the next President of the United States.

The fix is in, as it has been in every election since 2000.

These are the facts: the software that records the individual votes, and the software that “compiles” (collects) the vote totals, is “proprietary” which means, in a word, secret. It is known only to the private companies that write the codes, and these companies are owned and managed by Republican partisans. Accordingly, if the software is programmed to “fix” an election, there is no direct way to expose the fraud. Conversely, even if the vote tabulation is entirely accurate and honest, there is still no way to validate the vote. It is, as some have called it, “faith-based voting.” (See my “The Greatest Story Never Told”).

Last April, the Democratic Congress attempted to pass a bill that would fund state efforts click here replace DREs with paper ballots. The GOP members, at the request of George Bush, defeated the measure.

Now why would they want to do that? With all the suspicion of GOP election fraud at large in the public, one might suppose that the Republicans would be eager to require means of validation. Yet somehow they are not.

For while there is no direct means of validating DRE totals, there is abundant statistical, circumstantial and anecdotal evidence that numerous elections, including the past two presidential elections, have in fact been stolen. (Because I have presented this evidence in numerous articles on the internet, I won’t repeat it here. But for documentation of these allegations, see my “Where’s the Outrage?” and “Evidence? We Don’t Want Your Stinkin’ Evidence!,” then follow the links therein).

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Chairman Of Arkansas Democratic Party Shot

By- Suzie-Q @ 1:00 PM MST

Chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party shot and in critical condition

Think Progress- By Think Progress at 1:58 pm

The AP reports that Bill Gwatney, chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party, is currently hospitalized and in critical condition after three shots were fired at party headquarters. According to Gwatney’s secretary, the suspect — who has been “shot and apprehended” — came “into the party’s office and asked to speak with Gwatney. When the secretary said she wouldn’t allow him to meet with Gwatney, the man went into his office and shot him.” Watch a CNN report:

The blog of the Arkansas Times is keeping up with developments here.

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UPDATE 2100 EDT: The Associated Press has reported the shooting suspect as 50-year-old Timothy Dale Johnson of Searcy, Arkansas. No motive is known, but it is reported that moments after he fired shots at Gwatney, he told the building manager at the nearby Arkansas Baptist headquarters, “I lost my job.”

http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Gunman_wounds_Arkansas_Democratic_party_chairman_0813.html

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The meeting of the chiefs

by Geezer Power…8:51 am

Chief Daniel Nigro replaced Chief Peter Ganci who was killed during the building collapse of WTC2. He is the only fire chief,(actually an ex fire chief), on the panel of the new Task Force for terrorism Preparedness, and I imagine that he felt a bit challenged by PNAC member Woolsey, who is also a former CIA director. But maybe a little more challenged by Shabtai Shavit. Mr. Shavit served as Director of the Mossad, the Israeli Intelligence Agency responsible for intelligence collection, covert action, and counter-terrorism. Chief Nigro retired shortly but remained as an advisor.

Is it just me, or is it a bit over the top to have the ex heads of intelligence from different countries, a nuclear physicist from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and two Doctors on a panel of this nature…G:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 3, 2002
PR-236-02
http://www.nyc.gov

MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG AND FIRE COMMISSIONER NICHOLAS SCOPPETTA ANNOUNCE FORMER CIA DIRECTOR R. JAMES WOOLSEY AS CHIEF ADVISOR TO FDNY ON TERRORISM PREPAREDNESS

VIDEO

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today announced that former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency R. James Woolsey will serve as Chief Advisor to the newly created FDNY Terrorism Preparedness Taskforce. The Taskforce will examine and evaluate the FDNY’s terrorism preparedness capabilities and will comprise a panel of leading nationally and internationally renowned experts on terrorism, including: Gregory H. Canavan, a nuclear physicist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory; Margaret Hamburg, a former New York City Health Commissioner; Dr. Joshua Lederberg, a winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology; Daniel Nigro, Chief of Department for the FDNY; and Shabtai Shavit, a former Director of Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad. Following the announcement, Mr. Woolsey and Commissioner Scoppetta joined FDNY chief officers and personnel in a visit to the quarters of Hazardous Materials Unit 1 and Squad Company 288 in Queens, for a presentation on the units’ responsibilities, capabilities, and needs.

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Georgia War a Neocon Election Ploy?

anthony @ 13:37 BST

Robert Scheer | Truthdig | Aug 12, 2008

October comes early? Sen. John McCain and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer/Irakli Gedeniedze, Pool)

October comes early? Sen. John McCain and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer/Irakli Gedeniedze, Pool)

Is it possible that this time the October surprise was tried in August, and that the garbage issue of brave little Georgia struggling for its survival from the grasp of the Russian bear was stoked to influence the U.S. presidential election?

Before you dismiss that possibility, consider the role of one Randy Scheunemann, for four years a paid lobbyist for the Georgian government who ended his official lobbying connection only in March, months after he became Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s senior foreign policy adviser.

Previously, Scheunemann was best known as one of the neoconservatives who engineered the war in Iraq when he was a director of the Project for a New American Century. It was Scheunemann who, after working on the McCain 2000 presidential campaign, headed the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which championed the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

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Mikhail Gorbachev: We had no choice

Sudhan @14:15 CET

Leaders in the Caucasus must stop flexing military muscle and develop the grounds for lasting peace

The past week’s events in South Ossetia are bound to shock and pain anyone. Already, thousands of people have died, tens of thousands have been turned into refugees, and towns and villages lie in ruins. Nothing can justify this loss of life and destruction. It is a warning to all.

The roots of this tragedy lie in the decision of Georgia’s separatist leaders in 1991 to abolish South Ossetian autonomy. Each time successive Georgian leaders tried to impose their will by force – both in South Ossetia and in Abkhazia, where the issues of autonomy are similar – it only made the situation worse.

Nevertheless, it was still possible to find a political solution. Clearly, the only way to solve the South Ossetian problem on that basis is through peaceful means. The Georgian leadership flouted this key principle.

What happened on the night of August 7 is beyond comprehension. The Georgian military attacked the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali with multiple rocket launchers designed to devastate large areas. Russia had to respond. To accuse it of aggression against “small, defenceless Georgia” is not just hypocritical but shows a lack of humanity.

The Georgian leadership could do this only with the perceived support and encouragement of a much more powerful force. Georgian armed forces were trained by hundreds of US instructors, and its sophisticated military equipment was bought in a number of countries. This, coupled with the promise of Nato membership, emboldened Georgian leaders.

Now that the military assault has been routed, both the Georgian government and its supporters should rethink their position. When the problems of South Ossetia and Abkhazia first flared up, I proposed that they be settled through a federation that would grant broad autonomy to the two republics. This idea was dismissed, particularly by the Georgians. Attitudes gradually shifted, but after last week it will be much more difficult to strike a deal even on such a basis.

Small nations of the Caucasus do have a history of living together. It has been demonstrated that a lasting peace is possible, that tolerance and cooperation can create conditions for normal life and development. Nothing is more important. The region’s political leaders need to realise this. Instead of flexing military muscle, they should devote their efforts to building the groundwork for durable peace.

Over the past few days, some western nations have taken positions, particularly in the UN security council, that have been far from balanced. As a result, the security council was not able to act effectively from the very start of this conflict. By declaring the Caucasus, a region that is thousands of miles from the American continent, a sphere of its “national interest”, the US made a serious blunder. Of course, peace in the Caucasus is in everyone’s interest. But it is simply common sense to recognise that Russia is rooted there by common geography and centuries of history. Russia is not seeking territorial expansion, but it has legitimate interests in this region.

The international community’s long-term aim could be to create a sub-regional system of security and cooperation that would make any provocation, and the very possibility of crises such as this one, impossible. Building this type of system would be challenging and could only be accomplished with the cooperation of the region’s countries themselves. Nations outside the region could perhaps help, too – but only if they take a fair and objective stance. A lesson from recent events is that geopolitical games are dangerous anywhere, not just in the Caucasus.

· Mikhail Gorbachev was the last president of the Soviet Union; he was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1990

© Washington Post

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