Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Donna Marsh O'Connor Speaks Out

Donna Marsh O'Connor spoke at the Rally for 9/11 Truth outside the United Nations in New York on 9/11/2005. Her daughter died on 9/11 in the south tower. This seven-minute speech is so powerful it's hard to watch.

What About Building 7?

The collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 and the subsequent comment by leaseholder Larry Silverstein

Even More Video Proof of Controlled Demolitions

Close-up video from ground zero on the afternoon of 9/11. Watch this, and activate the logic section of your brain. What you're seeing is not the result of structural failure (like what happens when a building falls over in an earthquake), it's the result of a controlled demolition using pre-planted explosives to pulverize the structures to dust and pools of molten steel.THIS is what structural failure looks like:

Unusual Evacuations & Power-Downs in the WTC Prior To 9/11

There were many unusual evacuations and power-downs in the WTC in the days just prior to 9/11. Marvin Bush, George W. Bush's brother, was one of the owners of Securacom (now called Stratasec) which was the company in charge of security for the World Trade Center.

U.S. Army General Says Flight 77 Did Not Hit Pentagon

A U.S. Army General has gone on record that he believes it was not American Airlines Flight 77 that hit the Pentagon

NBC anchor: "WTC collapse planned"

"This was clearly -- the way the structure is collapsing -- this was the result of something that was planned. This is not, it's not accidental that the first tower just happened to collapse and then the second tower just happened to collapse in exactly the same way. How they accomplished this, we don't know. But clearly this is what happened."


Lou Dobbs believes the government to be incompetent and deceitful and that is the positive stuff in this clip from a week ago on the latest revelations regarding 9/11. ... (more)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

AT&T: Hackers accessed credit card data

AT&T: Hackers accessed credit card data
Company notifying 'fewer than 19,000' at-risk customers

SAN FRANCISCO - AT&T Inc. said Tuesday that computer hackers illegally accessed credit card data and other personal information from several thousand customers who bought DSL equipment from AT&T’s online store.
The phone company said it is notifying "fewer than 19,000" customers whose data was accessed over the past weekend.
The company said it noticed the hacking "within hours," immediately shut down the online store, notified credit card companies and is working with law enforcement agencies to investigate the incident and find the hackers.


NYT: Ohio to destroy '04 election paper ballots: Developing...

Lawyer tells NYT that Armitage admitted to leak on CIA; Ex-dep. sec. of state 'not confortable' with public knowing


Lawyers subpoena Bush, telecoms for NSA spying

Senate moves to give Bush more wiretap power


BREAKING: Wiretap lawyers to subpoena Bush

Cheney: NSA ruling 'will be reversed'VP: Recent surveillance ruling 'dead wrong,' predicts overturn on appeal.

Rove Employing Same Defamation Tactics Used In ‘04 For ’06 Elections…

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Nine Tough Questions for Congress Capitol Hill is way overdue

Sweet Subpoena
: Nine Tough Questions for Congress Capitol Hill is way overdue for a blockbuster investigation. Here are 
nine questions to get Congress rolling—if it has the guts.
James Ridgeway September 01 , 2006

The stately Russell Senate Office Building stands at one corner of a domestic Green Zone, just northeast of the Capitol building at the intersection of Delaware and Constitution avenues. In the past few years a maze of blockades has sprouted along the shaded avenues and curving drives of the Capitol complex. Checkpoints are patrolled by heavily armed police; guards watch for suspicious characters and prohibited items (which now include food and beverages; cans, bottles, and sprays; and bags larger than 13 by 14 inches). At the Russell Building, visitors encounter another set of barriers and metal detectors before being granted admittance to the elegant structure, its ring of Corinthian columns and soaring rotunda recalling a more worldly and optimistic past. Then, at the top of a sweeping staircase, they'll find a room walled in white marble, draped in deep red, overhung by a gilded ceiling, and fronted, altarlike, with a raised dais.

Depending on how much faith in American democracy still resides in the visitor's soul, the site's history may seem to justify its grandeur. Here in the humbly named Caucus Room, the U.S. Congress has held some of its most famous public hearings, beginning with a 1912 investigation into the fate of the Titanic. The Teapot Dome scandal of the 1920s was broached here, in what would become a watershed investigation of executive branch corruption. Thirty years later, people around the country got their first glimpse of the Caucus Room in the nationally televised Army-McCarthy hearings, witnessing the famous exhortation by Army Special Counsel Joseph Welch: "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"
The Watergate hearings unfolded here in the early '70s, beneath the ever-watchful gaze of Senator Sam Ervin (D-N.C.). It was here that Rep. Barbara Jordan (D-Texas), the first Southern black woman elected to Congress, declared: "My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total. I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution." Here, too, the erect figure of Oliver North, straight from the basement of the Reagan White House, first hinted at the existence of a secret government to be deployed in times of crisis.

But in the past six years, congressional investigations of such bold, searching nature have disappeared. In a post-9/11 environment of silence and fear, the mood inside Congress has mirrored the bunkers and barriers outside: No one dares question the military or the intelligence services too closely, or to push the president too far. The Caucus Room continues to be used for party meetings and social events, and every so often there is a potted inquiry, as in the case of the 2003 hearings on the space shuttle. But on issues of war and peace, of corruption and graft, of civil rights, civil liberties, and constitutional breaches, meek questions are the rule, answered by dull assurances from the White House.

If the Democrats win back control of Congress (or even one of its chambers), if they can come up with the requisite moxie, and if they can muster the political will to reach out to their own base as well as to disaffected Republicans, they will have an opportunity to begin to change all that. They will need to overcome the myriad obstacles the Bush administration has created to keep lawmakers from obtaining and releasing critical information, such as its resistance to briefing congressional committees on intelligence issues, or its heavy hand in redacting congressional reports. When explosive information has leaked out—the fact that documents offering "proof" of Saddam Hussein's intent to buy uranium from Niger had been forged, or that the United States is operating a network of secret prisons in other countries—the administration's response has focused on condemning critics for politicizing national security—a charge before which the Democrats usually crumble.

Still, there is a chance that some of the gutsier Dems, with the support of an increasingly fed-up public, could make progress toward exposing the truth. A Democratic majority in the Senate could, for example, place the chairmanship of the intelligence committee in the hands of Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), who has largely been stymied in his efforts to spur a thorough investigation of the Niger forgeries and what he suspects may be a broader campaign of deception. Among other things, such an inquiry could lead straight to the Pentagon's shadowy Office of Special Plans; under gop leadership, no one is too eager to learn much about this office, which led the prewar intelligence cherry-picking, and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chair Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) is holding up an inquiry.

Regardless of the election result in November, a few independent-minded Republicans in key positions offer hope that important investigations may gain traction. Under Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), the national security subcommittee of the powerful House Committee on Government Reform has actually summoned the mettle to subpoena Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in its investigation of the chain of command in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse case.

But if lawmakers of either party do not begin to reclaim their constitutional powers—by asking questions such as those listed below—it's not hard to envision a time when visitors may come to the venerable Caucus Room as if to a museum, to learn about a bygone era when congressional investigations still served as a check on the imperial presidency.

1.Who lost Iraq? It goes without saying that a congressional investigation—a joint inquiry by both houses, given the gravity of the matter—should address the causes, conduct, and effects of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, going back to the days immediately after Bush's election when the plans for invading Iraq were laid (see "A War Foretold," Page 61). But beyond that, the conduct of the war on terror has raised myriad vital questions that, at another time, would have been subjects of full-fledged inquiries on their own: the Pentagon's failure to adequately equip troops with armor, ammunition, radios, and the like; the use of mercenary forces; the contracting process; and the government's efforts to manipulate the press through outside PR agencies. Also worthy of scrutiny is the role of oil and gas, including the work of the secret Cheney energy task force, which points to prewar discussions with the ceos of major companies about Iraqi oil.

A congressional investigation into the Iraq war must make full use of subpoena power and must be prepared to forward findings of illegal acts to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution. Just as important, public hearings could provide an opportunity—and protection—for would-be whistleblowers: Recall that Daniel Ellsberg didn't take his trove of documents, showing the Defense Department's true assessment of the war in Vietnam, to the New York Times until after he had been rebuffed by congressional Democrats. Somewhere inside the Defense Department and the intelligence agencies today's Pentagon Papers are waiting.
2. Did Rumsfeld order torture (and if not, who did)? Last year, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) sought to clear up any confusion over the legality of torture with an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill. As McCain explained on the Senate floor, the measure was designed to "restore clarity on a simple and fundamental question: Does America treat people inhumanely?" This set off a bitter behind-the-scenes battle between the senator and Vice President Dick Cheney, who even as the White House was negotiating with McCain over the exact wording of the bill was privately cornering senators, arguing that the legislation would harm the CIA's operations. The result was a bill that bans torture at U.S. facilities but leaves open the question of foreign governments mistreating prisoners at the United States' behest. President Bush then wrote his own interpretation of the legislation, after it passed, in the form of a signing statement that said the White House was free to ignore the measure in the interests of national security. In the end, McCain's ban may have accomplished nothing except to give the administration an occasion to reaffirm its policy of permitting torture—so long as it involves foreigners being held in prisons that are not on U.S. soil.

Congress should demand a no-holds-barred public accounting of "inhumane treatment" since 9/11 by U.S. intelligence services and by third-country surrogates. Did Bush know about these practices? Did Rumsfeld order torture or supervise the chain of command? How far up the chain did knowledge of, and assent for, the horror at Abu Ghraib go? To which countries were prisoners sent for interrogation? When and how were these prisoners tortured? What are the CIA's policies on "unorthodox" interrogation techniques? Such hearings would go a long way toward halting the creeping normalization of torture—and they would almost certainly produce prosecutable evidence about the abuses that have already happened.

3. Who blew 9/11? It's high time to follow up on the startling discoveries of the Senate and House's joint inquiry, back in December 2002, on pre-9/11 intelligence. In reconstructing the hijackers' trail, the inquiry's staff discovered that the FBI had failed to report, and had later balked at making public, information showing that it knew that a bureau informant in the San Diego Muslim community had socialized with two of the hijackers, and that another man who had been investigated by the FBI had rented an apartment to one of them. Both of the future hijackers had been closely followed by the CIA as they made their way from the Middle East to Malaysia; the agents lost track of the men before they boarded a plane to California, where they then lived openly, with driver's licenses and a phone book listing in their own names. So far, no one has been able to discover how they escaped detection by the FBI—and why the bureau refused to let Congress find out what happened.

The joint inquiry also discovered a Saudi spy operating in California—the same man who had rented an apartment to one of the hijackers—along with suggestions of a larger network, according to former Senator Bob Graham (D-Fla.). The spy nominally worked for a Saudi government contractor, and the committee followed a money trail going back to the royal family and the Saudi government, according to Graham. This was a tantalizing find. Congressional sources have suggested that Saudi spooks may have been sent to California to keep tabs on Saudi students who might be tempted by democratic ideas; it has also been speculated that some of these undercover agents could have become enmeshed with Al Qaeda. In any event, the White House has adamantly refused to declassify 28 pages of the final committee report that dealt with Saudi Arabia. When Congress later set up an independent commission to look into 9/11, it pointedly ordered the panel to "build upon the investigations of other entities" such as the joint inquiry. Yet the commission's report glossed over many questions involving Saudi Arabia. A new select committee could pick up where other probes left off.

4. What did the airlines know, and when did they know it? The bombing of PanAm Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 ought to have been a wake-up call to aviation across the world. But 13 years later, the FAA was still ignoring warnings from its own staff about security holes at every airport that inspectors checked out. With airlines lobbying against tighter standards and Congress sitting by, the nation's airline security system was caught flat-footed on 9/11.

As far back as 1993, FAA inspectors showed that people with no authorization made it through San Francisco's airport security system 60 percent of the time. At Frankfurt in 1996, the FAA's undercover team broke through security every time it tried—a 100 percent failure rate. By way of addressing the problem, the FAA began telling the airlines when tests were going to be held, and negotiated fines for violations down to a pittance. There was idle talk of hardening the cockpit doors, but the airlines resisted additional security measures because they cost too much. The airlines ran wild in Washington, hiring top lobbyists such as Linda Daschle, the wife of then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, threatening that their industry would face wholesale bankruptcy unless they got their way. (Most of them, of course, have since gone Chapter 11 anyway—but not before their ceos socked away millions more in salaries and bonuses.)
In the months before 9/11, the FAA warned that hijackers could turn a commercial airliner into a suicide missile and conducted classified briefings at 19 of the nation's largest airports, including Logan, Dulles, and Newark—the points of departure for the hijacked flights—warning of an imminent terrorist attack. Osama bin Laden's name was repeatedly mentioned. During the same period, FAA officials received 52 different intelligence briefings concerning threats from Al Qaeda.

The moment of truth ought to have come a little after 8 a.m. on September 11, 2001, when Betty Ong, a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11 out of Logan, called AA headquarters and calmly began to describe the hijacking going on aboard that plane. She provided a detailed account of what she saw and heard and stayed on the line until the moment the plane crashed into the first tower.

Did AA officials, as family members later reported based on tapes and transcripts they were shown by the FBI in closed briefings, respond by saying, "Don't spread this around," "Keep it close," and "Let's keep this among ourselves"? Did that attitude prevent warnings to other pilots—warnings that could have kept Flight 93 on the ground, and could have helped bring Flight 77 down safely before it crashed into the Pentagon? Some member of Congress must have the decency and the guts to ask those questions—not in some backroom closed session, but in the full glare of the TV lights.

5. How wide is the domestic surveillance net? In the mid-1970s, the Church Committee, named after Idaho Democratic senator Frank Church, put out 14 separate reports that exposed the intelligence agencies' abuses of law. The Pike Committee, named after Rep. Otis Pike (D-N.Y.), conducted a parallel inquiry in the House, focusing mostly on the CIA. Among other things, the investigations discovered the notorious COINTELPRO operation to spy on and disrupt left-wing groups. Thirty years later urgent questions are once again piling up: Just what is the extent of the agencies' spying inside the United States? What are the true motivations and outcomes of this surveillance? How much money is going into spying programs? There is much evidence that domestic intelligence gathering is not limited to the infamous NSA surveillance project. The ACLU, for one, has obtained numerous files describing FBI cooperation with local police in joint terrorism task forces that have targeted groups such as Greenpeace, United for Peace and Justice, Code Pink, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

6. Is Big Oil pulling an Enron? The last serious investigation of the oil industry concluded in 1952 with the Federal Trade Commission's staff report on the International Petroleum Cartel, published by the monopoly subcommittee of the Senate. That study laid out a now-familiar pattern: A major concern of the oil industry has always been the threat of surpluses driving down prices. To prevent surpluses, oil and gas companies have employed means such as instituting quota systems, closing off reserves from market, and setting up cartels, or agreements among producers.

Today, while many experts believe oil will soon run out, there is no actual shortage that could be blamed for driving up gas prices. The hurricanes of 2005 did not put the supply in any serious jeopardy, nor was lack of refinery capacity a real factor. (According to the U.S. Department of Energy, refineries along the Gulf Coast and elsewhere frequently run below capacity, meaning that there was some slack in the system.)

There is, however, evidence to suggest practices reminiscent of Enron's market rigging: Last year, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a California-based consumer group, released a series of internal memos from Chevron, Texaco, and Mobil that laid out the industry's thinking. A Texaco memo, for example, warned that "supply significantly exceeds demand year-round. This results in very poor refinery margins and very poor refinery financial results. Significant events need to occur to assist in reducing supplies and/or increasing the demand for gasoline." An investigation would subpoena internal company documents and take testimony from oil executives under oath—not just in an "unsworn" chitchat like the sideshow put on by the Senate commerce and energy committees last year—to discover whether the companies conspired to rig prices or manipulate supply.

7. Who's making money off your retirement? It's been predicted that at least 1 in 10 retirees in 2020 will teeter on the edge of financial collapse or plunge into outright poverty. Social Security is just a small bit of the problem. The potentially much bigger challenge is the disappearance of pensions, most of which have been replaced with 401(k)-type accounts dependent wholly on the securities market. This is an enormous shift: Corporations have succeeded, with amazingly little protest from labor, in transferring the cost—and the risk—of retirement from employer to employee. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. provides some backup when a company with a standard pension plan goes under (think United Airlines). With 401(k)s, there is no insurance. The Securities and Exchange Commission is supposed to regulate mutual funds, which handle most 401(k) money; the sec has nowhere near the resources to keep tabs on the $9 trillion business, so policing is largely left up to the funds themselves.

Before this crisis grows greater, Congress ought to launch a serious investigation into the retirement system. We've got to know all the ways companies are bailing on their pension plans—by converting them into 401(k)s, by filing for bankruptcy, or simply by quietly not paying into (or "underfunding") them for years at a time. We need to understand who controls the money in 401(k)s, what the hidden costs are, and to what extent these accounts are threatened by Wall Street conflicts of interest. For example, thanks to deregulation laws passed during the Clinton administration, commercial banks can now sell the mutual funds that their investment-banking arms manage, but investors have no recourse if their 401(k)s lose value because of bad management. With Social Security privatization refusing to die, and Wall Street eager to get its hands on that money, Congress should do some due diligence.

8. Why is the morning-after pill not at your 7-Eleven? After numerous clinical trials, thousands of pages of reports, and supportive resolutions from major medical groups including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, two Food and Drug Administration advisory committees in 2003 recommended that the FDA allow the emergency contraception pill Plan B to be sold over the counter. Conservative groups threw a fit, and House Republican leaders, including then-Majority Leader Tom DeLay, urged the FDA to reconsider. When Democrats fought back, challenging the nomination of Lester Crawford to head the FDA until they got answers on Plan B, Crawford assured them that "the science part is generally done. We're just now down to what the label will look [like]. This is going to be a very unusual sort of approval." After promising a decision on Plan B by September 1, 2005, Crawford instead launched a public comment period. Not much later, he left the agency amid unrelated conflict-of-interest allegations. Now Congress deserves some answers: Why did Crawford overrule his own scientists? On what grounds? And was anyone outside the FDA involved? What about, for example, the calendar entry for then-FDA head Mark McClellan on April 21, 2003—just a few days after the agency got the application for over-the-counter Plan B—for "Conference call w/Jay Lefkowitz re: Plan B submis"? Lefkowitz, a White House go-to guy for conservatives, was at the time the deputy assistant to the president for domestic policy.

9. Grounds for impeachment? Congressional investigators digging into the aforementioned questions cannot ignore the possibility of impeachment proceedings against Vice President Cheney, who figures prominently in almost every one of the scandals engulfing the administration. It was Cheney who ran the government's response to the 9/11 attacks without constitutional authority, at one point ordering shoot-downs of commercial planes and what would turn out to be a medevac helicopter; who led the secret meetings of administration officials and oilmen to set energy policy; who allowed Ahmed Chalabi to play the U.S. government like a violin; who very well may be the origin of the whisper campaign that culminated in the Plame leak; and, of course, it was Cheney's former employer (and source of continuing deferred compeNSAtion paychecks) that benefited enormously from no-bid contracts in Iraq. Judicial Watch, the conservative legal outfit in Washington, has unearthed an email dated March 5, 2003, sent by an Army Corps of Engineers official whose name had been blacked out, that said of a pending deal under which Halliburton would rebuild the Iraqi oil industry, "We anticipate no issue since the action has been coordinated w VP's office." There's plenty more where that came from; whether any of Cheney's actions constitute "high crimes and misdemeanors" is for Congress, and the nation, to debate.

Bush Contemplates Rebirth of Dictatorship for Iraq

Bush Contemplates Rebirth of Dictatorship for Iraq
By Matthew RothschildAugust 17, 2006

There was a big clue planted at the bottom of the very long lead article in The New York Times of August 17.

That story noted the alarming rise in insurgent attacks against American and Iraqi forces.
The number of IEDs in July was 2,625, just about twice what it was back in January, when Zarqawi was still prowling around.

Clearly, his death did nothing to slow the pace down or snuff out the insurgency.
The shelf life of Bush propaganda is only about one week these days.
Maybe Chalabi is waiting in the wings still—or some other Saddam wannabe.
Bush appears to be taking applications.But back to the clue.

The last three paragraphs of this story revealed that “senior administration officials . . . are considering alternatives other than democracy,” according to a military expert who was just briefed at the White House.

Hmmm, “alternatives other than democracy.”
My, what can those be?
Monarchy? Dictatorship?

In that same edition, The New York Times ran a headline about the death of the brutal Paraguayan strongman Alfredo Stroessner, proclaiming him to be a “colorful dictator.”
That’s an obscenity. According to Amnesty International, “During Stroessner's military dictatorship, gross and systematic violations of human rights occurred. Amnesty International repeatedly expressed concern to the Paraguayan Government about long-term prisoners of conscience and allegations of torture, ‘disappearance’ and death in custody of political prisoners, as well as reports of prolonged detentions of political opponents.”

(For a glimpse at the horrors he committed, go to
The Bush Administration may be looking for an Iraqi Stroessner, or another, more reliable Saddam.

That may have been what Cheney and Rumsfeld had in mind all along. From the very beginning, they wanted to install in power Ahmad Chalabi and his groups of exiles roosting in the Iraqi National Congress, writes George Packer in his book The Assassin’s Gate. When the situation in Iraq began to deteriorate, Cheney blamed those in the Administration who refused to go along with this plan.

“In the fall of 2003, Dick Cheney approached his colleague Colin Powell, stuck a finger in his chest, and said, ‘If you hadn’t opposed the INC and Chalabi, we wouldn’t be in this mess,’ ” Packer reports.

Maybe Chalabi is waiting in the wings still—or some other Saddam wannabe.
Bush appears to be taking applications.



Arrest, Death Threats, for Farmer with Upside Down Flag
July 19, 2006 By Matthew Rothschild“If the flag is flying upside down, it means he is in trouble, right? I think we Marines should show up and get him ‘out’ of trouble.”
read more

McCARTHYISM WATCH • Homeland Security Spies on Student Anti-War GroupsMother of Iraq War Vet Who Committed Suicide Flies Flag Upside Down

Judge Taylor Makes It Clear: Bush Is a Criminal
By Matthew Rothschild, August 21, 2006Judge Taylor’s decision not only puts the Administration on notice. It puts Congress and all of us as citizens on notice: Bush is a law-breaker of the highest order.
read more

Bush Contemplates Rebirth of Dictatorship for Iraq
By Matthew Rothschild, August 17, 2006Maybe Chalabi is waiting in the wings still—or some other Saddam wannabe. Bush appears to be taking applications.
read more

Bush Administration Twists Arms for Coke, Pepsi
By Amitabh Pal, August 15, 2006It is warning India of the dire consequences of caring for the well-being of its people.
read more


Davenport Police Confiscate Little Flagsticks to Protect Cheney, They Say
July 31, 2006 By Matthew Rothschild“It was absolutely ridiculous,” says a 66-year-old retired schoolteacher, who had her flagstick taken away. “Talk about overkill.”
read more

No Upside Down Flag in Iowa
By Matthew Rothschild, July 12, 2006"Flag desecration prosecutions are only used for political persecution. Either this statute goes or the right to free speech goes. The two cannot peacefully coexist.”
read more

MORE McCARTHYISM WATCH • Instructor Keeps Job Despite 9/11 CommentsTariq Ramadan Wins OneState Trooper, Santorum Team Member Sued for Rights Violations at Barnes & Noble

GOP Candidate Says 9/11 Attacks Were a Hoax

A Republican candidate for this area's congressional seat said Wednesday that the U.S. government was complicit in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

by Albert McKeonThe Nashua Telegraph24 August 2006

A courageous stand in the "Live Free or Die" state by a GOP challenger, no less, who has also called for Cheney's resignation and quotes Dr. David Ray Griffin on her site, See also the Telegraph's subsequent sneering editorial, "Maxwell Too Far Out To Be 'Real' Candidate," which concludes "her willingness to embrace an unsubstantiated theory as fact should steer voters away from her candidacy." We encourage all truth advocates to check out her campaign and perhaps lend a hand in whatever way they can. - Ed.

In an editorial board interview with The Telegraph on Wednesday, the candidate, Mary Maxwell, said the U.S. government had a role in killing nearly 3,000 people at the World Trade Center and Pentagon, so it could make Americans hate Arabs and allow the military to bomb Muslim nations such as Iraq.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Ret. Gen: Rumsfeld served 'chicken feces''Outrageous...He served up our great military a huge bowl of chicken feces.'

7 flights evacuated, diverted or searchedUtility knife, dynamite found on 2 planes; England to Chicago flight diverted.

Democrats overturn lesbian's election


EPA scientist says agency hid dangers at ground zero from first responders, others
Brian Beutler
Published: Friday August 25, 2006
A scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency has written a letter to Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and other members of the New York congressional delegation blasting the EPA for hiding dangerous toxins from Ground Zero workers in the aftermath of 9/11, RAW STORY has learned.
The letter, written by Dr. Cate Jenkins and obtained by RAW STORY, claims that EPA-funded research on the toxicity of breathable alkaline dust at the site “falsified pH results” to make the substance appear benign, when it was, in reality, corrosive enough to cause first responders and other workers in lower Manhattan to later lose pulmonary functions and, in some cases, to die.
Jenkins writes:
"These falsifications directly contributed not only to emergency personnel and citizens not taking adequate precautions to prevent exposures, but also prevented the subsequent correct diagnosis of the causative agents responsible for the pulmonary symptoms. Thus, appropriate treatment was prevented or misdirected, and loss of life and permanent disability undoubtedly resulted."
Jenkins has loudly criticized the office in the past for—among other malfeasances—improperly handling evidence that the World Trade Center disaster site
was a major health hazard.
The letter, as acquired by RAW STORY, follows:

Friday, August 25, 2006

Twenty-first Century Rome

Gary Hart

Twenty-first Century Rome

For those of us who believe history holds valuable lessons, there is instruction to be had from the experience of other great powers. In the particular case of the American Republic it is important to consider the history of other republics. Not the least of these examples is the demise of the ancient Roman Republic and its transition to the Roman Empire.

That history is well known. The civil wars of the mid-first century BC led to the acquisition of dictatorial power by Julius Caesar lasting from about 49 BC until his assassination on the Ides of March 44 BC. Further unrest if not chaos ensued until, in 27 BC, Caesar’s adopted son Octavianus became the first Roman emperor as the first Augustus.

So much for the dates and names. The question is how Augustus became emperor. How did he go about finally ending a republic founded in 510 BC?

First, “he took steps to neutralize the army as a political force.” Of course, in a republic that would be a good thing, because in republican Rome the armies as political forces had helped bring about the demise of the Republic. But in Augustus’s case he achieved his objective by making the army his instrument. Control of the army was control of state power.

Second, he took control of the system of laws and justice. Little could happen with the magistrates and judges that did not meet his approval and conform to his policies. To control the legal system was to control the entire nation.

And, third, like his adoptive father Caesar, Augustus was “imaginative and innovative in his exploitation of religious sentiments.” Augustus understood that the integration of the state with religion was the key to control of the nation’s culture.

The army, the courts, and religion. The keys to the creation of the Roman Empire.
In 21st century America the current government (the presidency and Congress of one party) has taken control not only of defense and military policy, but also military operations. No other administration, including that of Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War or Franklin Roosevelt in World War II, has ever done that. The unprecedented imposition of neoconservative ideology on military operations has led directly and inevitably to the debacle in Iraq.

In the last five years we have seen an effort by the current government to control the American judicial system by the appointment of ideologically selected judges. The unprecedented attempt to make the administration of justice the instrument of ideology is incompatible with the Constitution of the Republic whose flag we salute.

And, of course, the Republican party has been imaginative and innovative in its exploitation of religious sentiments. The unprecedented submission of social policy, and foreign policy in the Middle East, to religious fundamentalists violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and has weakened America in the world.

The army, the courts, and religion. The keys to the creation of the American Empire.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Bush on vacation again

Hirsh: Bush Takes Another August Vacation While “Peace And History Could Be Hanging In The Balance”...

Why Not Impeachment?

Bill Maher

Why Not Impeachment? (136 comments )

So a judge has ruled that not only is Bush's warrantless wiretapping program illegal, it's also unconstitutional. And not just unconstitutional, but doubly unconstitutional; it violates both the 1st and 4th amendments. We're talking a smackdown of Judge Judy-esque proportions.

Now, I'm not really pushing the impeachment of George Bush, unless it's about lying about that fish I talked about last season. Them I'm all for it.

But if this decision stands, and this program is unlawful and unconstitutional, federal law expressly makes the ordering of surveillance under the program a federal felony. That would mean that the president could be guilty of no fewer than 30 felonies while in office. Moreover, it is not only illegal for a president to order such surveillance, it is illegal for other government officials to carry out such an order. And that means Alberto Gonzalez could be tried, convicted, and deported.

So let's just say for the sake of argument that the Supreme Court upholds this decision and says Bush broke the law and violated the Constitution. President Clinton was impeached for lying under oath in a civil case, a case that had no bearing on the public as a whole. This would - unquestionably - be a greater offense.

How would you square impeaching Clinton and not impeaching Bush? Or would Bush have to sleep with this judge in Detroit?

It's sort of like the 7 minutes question I always ask Republicans. Are you loyal to the man, or to the principle?

Bill Maher is the host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” which returns to the air 11PM Friday, August 25.

PM Olmert's speech to the Knesset

I wonder how many of you are familiar with the full text of PM Olmert's speech to the Knesset on 7/31/2006, which follows below. Very few people, outside of Israel, I would wager. What we got were a few sound bites essentially showing Olmert's defiance but not one word of his reasoning. This is a further example of the asymmetrical reporting to which we are being subjected, daily. Read this and weep for the demise of balanced reporting and if you can try to ensure that your efforts make up for the ways in which the media representatives fail all of us day in and day out:

July 31, 2006

Ladies and gentlemen, leaders of the world. I, the Prime Minister of Israel, I am speaking to you from Jerusalem in the face of the terrible pictures from Kfar Kana. Any human heart, wherever it is, must sicken and recoil at the sight of such pictures. There are no words of comfort that can mitigate the enormity of this tragedy.

Still, I am looking you straight in the eye and telling you that the State of Israel will continue its military campaign in Lebanon. The Israel Defense Forces will continue to attack targets from which missiles and Katyusha rockets are fired at hospitals, old age homes and kindergartens in Israel. I have instructed the security forces and the IDF to continue to hunt for the Katyusha stockpiles and launch sites from which these savages are bombarding the State of Israel.

We will not hesitate, we will not apologize and we will not back off. If they continue to launch missiles into Israel from Kfar Kana, we will continue to bomb Kfar Kana. Today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. Here, there and everywhere. The children of Kfar Kana could now be sleeping peacefully in their homes, unmolested, had the agents of the devil not taken over their land and turned the lives of our children into hell.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's time you understood:

The Jewish state will no longer be trampled upon. We will no longer allow anyone to exploit population centers in order to bomb our citizens. No one will be able to hide anymore behind women and children in order to kill our women and children. This anarchy is over. You can condemn us, you can boycott us, you can stop visiting us and, if necessary, we will stop visiting you.

A voice for six million citizens.

Today I am serving as the voice of six million bombarded Israeli citizens who serve as the voice of six million murdered Jews who were melted down to dust and ashes by savages in Europe. In both cases, those responsible for these evil acts were, and are, barbarians devoid of all humanity, who set themselves one simple goal: to wipe the Jewish race off the face of the earth, as Adolph Hitler said, or to wipe the State of Israel off the map, as Mahmoud Ahmedinjad proclaims.

And you - just as you did not take those words seriously then, you are ignoring them again now. And that, ladies and gentlemen, leaders of the world, will not happen again.
Never again will we wait for bombs that never came to hit the gas chambers. Never again will we wait for salvation that never arrives.

Now we have our own air force. The Jewish people are now capable of standing up to those who seek their destruction - those people will no longer be able to hide behind women and children. They will no longer be able to evade their responsibility. Every place from which a Katyusha is fired into the State of Israel will be a legitimate target for us to attack. This must be stated clearly and publicly, once and for all. You are welcome to judge us, to ostracize us, to boycott us and to vilify us. But to kill us? Absolutely not.

Four months ago I was elected by hundreds of thousands of citizens to the office of Prime Minister of the government of Israel, on the basis of my plan for unilaterally withdrawing from 90 percent of the areas of Judea and Samaria, the birth place and cradle of the Jewish people; to end most of the occupation and to enable the Palestinian people to turn over a new leaf and to calm things down until conditions are ripe for attaining a permanent settlement between us.

The Prime Minister who preceded me, Ariel Sharon, made a full withdrawal from the Gaza Strip back to the international border, and gave the Palestinians there a chance to build a new reality for themselves.

The Prime Minister who preceded him, Ehud Barak, ended the lengthy Israeli presence in Lebanon and pulled the IDF back to the international border, leaving the land of the cedars to flourish, develop and establish its democracy and its economy.

What did the State of Israel get in exchange for all of this? Did we win even one minute of quiet? Was our hand, outstretched in peace, met with a handshake of encouragement? Ehud Barak's peace initiative at Camp David let loose on us a wave of suicide bombers who smashed and blew to pieces over 1,000 citizens, men, women and children.

I don't remember you being so enraged then. Maybe that happened because we did not allow TV close-ups of the dismembered body parts of the Israeli youngsters at the Dolphinarium? Or of the shattered lives of the people butchered while celebrating the Passover Seder at the Park Hotel in Netanya?

What can you do - that's the way we are. We don't wave body parts at the camera. We grieve quietly. We do not dance on the roofs at the sight of the bodies of our enemy's children - we express genuine sorrow and regret. That is the monstrous behavior of our enemies.

Now they have risen up against us. Tomorrow they will rise up against you. You are already familiar with the murderous taste of this terror. And you will taste more. In a loud and clear voice.

And Ariel Sharon's withdrawal from Gaza: What did it get us? A barrage of Kassem missiles fired at peaceful settlements and the kidnapping of soldiers. Then too, I don't recall you reacting with such alarm.

And for six years, the withdrawal from Lebanon has drawn the vituperation and crimes of a dangerous, extremist Iranian agent, who took over an entire country in the name of religious fanaticism and is trying to take Israel hostage on his way to Jerusalem - and from there to Paris and London. An enormous terrorist infrastructure has been established by Iran on our border, threatening our citizens, growing stronger before our very eyes, awaiting the moment when the land of the Ayatollahs becomes a nuclear power in order to bring us to our knees.

And make no mistake - we won't go down alone. You, the leaders of the free and enlightened world, will go down along with us. So today, here and now, I am putting an end to this parade of hypocrisy. I don't recall such a wave of reaction in the face of the 100 citizens killed every single day in Iraq. Sunnis kill Shiites who kill Sunnis, and all of them kill Americans - and the world remains silent. And I am hard pressed to recall a similar reaction when the Russians destroyed entire villages and burned down large cities in order to repress the revolt in Chechnya. And when NATO bombed Kosovo for almost three months and crushed the civilian population - then you also kept silent.

What is it about us, the Jews, “the minority”, “the persecuted”, that arouses this cosmic sense of justice in you? What do we have that all the others don't?

In a loud clear voice, looking you straight in the eye, I stand before you openly and I will not apologize.

I will not capitulate.

I will not whine.

This is a battle for our freedom.

For our humanity.

For the right to lead normal lives within our recognized, legitimate borders.

It is also your battle.

I pray and I believe that now you will understand that. Because if you don't, you may regret it later, when it's much too late.

Please forward to everyone on your address book.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The First Frat Boy Loves Flatulence Jokes...That's Why Bush Is Paranoid Around Women...

Washington Whispers
By Paul Bedard
Posted Sunday, August 20, 2006

Up Politics Creek With a Paddle

Don't laugh, but a loaner training kayak in the pool of the House of Representatives gym made the difference in President Bush's House victory for a pork-busting line-item veto. "That's spot on," says Colorado Rep. Mark Udall, who helped talk 34 other Democrats into backing the measure 247 to 172. It now faces Senate action. Say outdoor enthusiasts Udall and former Rep. Rob Portman, now Bush's budget director: It was their passion for kayaking and Portman's loaner to the gym that led to their friendship and eventual pairing to seek passage of the line-item veto. "It's an icebreaker," Republican Portman says of kayaking, "something you can talk about."

And more. Both say that practicing together in the House pool built a trust uncommon in politics. "You can develop relationships through that," says Portman, a former Ohio lawmaker. "I trust Mark, he trusts me, because we've gotten to know each other through the outdoors," adds Portman, who's kayaked thousands of miles since he built his first boat out of fiberglass in college. "It's a shared experience of what it takes to stay calm, not overreacting," says Udall, who says: "It applies in the human world, too." If only Portman could find a kayaking senator to help there. Ironically, the duo has never really paddled anywhere together. "We talk about it a lot," says Portman. "That's more fun than going on the trip."

Animal House in the West Wing

He loves to cuss, gets a jolly when a mountain biker wipes out trying to keep up with him, and now we're learning that the first frat boy loves flatulence jokes. A top insider let that slip when explaining why President Bush is paranoid around women, always worried about his behavior. But he's still a funny, earthy guy who, for example, can't get enough of fart jokes. He's also known to cut a few for laughs, especially when greeting new young aides, but forget about getting people to gas about that.

Spy Mom's Sale: Discount Tights

She might be the most famous ex-spy in America, but Valerie Plame is still a mom stuck with mommy duties. Like taking her daughter to ballet and trying to sell off the cute dancing ensemble that doesn't fit anymore. We know because her ad showed up on the DC Urban Moms site last week offering a complete outfit in "soft lemon yellow" from the exclusive "Ballet Petite" school in her neighborhood. It includes a size 5/6 Repetto bodysuit, matching chiffon yellow tie-shirt, kids size 12 pink ballet shoes, and white leotards. "All in excellent condition! If bought separately, would easily cost $75; selling for $45." Naturally, when we contacted her she was a bit cautious, having just sued the veep and others for blowing her cover in the Iraq weapons case. She did, however, stay on focus. "I guess my only comment is: Do you want to buy the Ballet Petite outfit or know someone who does?" she E-mails. "My 6-year-old daughter has outgrown it."
Next »

Is Bush An Idiot?

Joe Scarborough started his program tonight asking the question "is Bush an idiot?" (Is that really debatable?). Not only did he do a great run down of clips involving some of the most famous "Bushisms", but he did have an interesting conversation about this question with Lawrence O'Donnell and John Fund.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Lebanon warns against inciting Israel

Lebanon warns against inciting Israel
By STEVEN R. HURST, Associated Press Writer1 hour, 26 minutes ago

Lebanon's defense minister said Sunday he is certain Hezbollah will not break the cease-fire but warned all militant groups of harsh measures and a traitor's fate if they incite Israeli retaliation by firing rockets into the Jewish state.

Defense Minister Elias Murr's strong remarks indicated concern that Syrian-backed Palestinian militants might try to restart the fighting by drawing retaliation from Israel.

Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, meanwhile, toured the devastated Hezbollah stronghold in south Beirut and decried the destruction by Israeli bombs as a "crime against humanity." Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, a Shiite and Hezbollah backer, stood at the Sunni premier's side and said they spoke with one voice.

In Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he would name a panel to investigate the military and government's performance during the war, which has been criticized by many Israelis as weak and indecisive.

A day after Israeli commandos staged a pre-dawn raid deep into Lebanon, prompting U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to declare the Israelis in violation of the Security Council cease-fire resolution, no new clashes were reported.

Residents in the mountains east of Beirut, however, described continued overflights by Israeli warplanes on the truce's seventh day.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said Saturday's raid was aimed at disrupting arms shipments to Hezbollah and such operations may continue until international peacekeepers arrive to enforce an arms embargo.

"In the situation where there was a flagrant violation of the embargo, Israel had the right to act. Had there not been a violation, Israel would not have to respond," he said Sunday, expressing impatience with the slow international response in offering troops for the peacekeeping force.
Siding with Jerusalem, the U.S. government also said the Israeli raid underscored the importance of quickly deploying an expanded U.N. peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon.
"We've seen the press reports and noted the Israeli statement saying that the operation was a reaction to arms smuggling," White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore said, adding that preventing the resupply of weapons to Hezbollah by Syria and Iran is a key provision of the cease-fire plan.

The Lebanese defense minister insisted that Hezbollah would hold its fire.

"We consider that when the resistance (Hezbollah) is committed not to fire rockets, then any rocket that is fired from the Lebanese territory would be considered collaboration with Israel to provide a pretext (for Israel) to strike," Murr said.

He added that "the Lebanese army will decisively deal with" any attack on Israel and that anyone arrested for violating the truce "will be considered by the military tribunal as an agent of the Israeli enemy."

Murr did not repeat his threat of Saturday to stop the deployment of Lebanon's army in the south to protest Israel's helicopter-borne commando raid near the town of Boudai on the west side of the Bekaa Valley, a Hezbollah stronghold.

Such a halt would be a blow to the U.N. cease-fire plan, which calls for the army and a strong U.N. peacekeeping force to police the truce and separate Israeli troops and Hezbollah's guerrillas.

Murr apparently was satisfied by a declaration from Annan warning Israel against a repeat of the raid.

Townspeople in Boudai said 300 residents grabbed guns after the Israeli raid began at 3 a.m. and fought at the side of 15 Hezbollah guerrillas for 90 minutes before the commandos retreated and were flown back to Israel. Residents said there were no casualties on the Lebanese side. One Israeli officer was killed and two soldiers were wounded.

Under the U.N. cease-fire that took effect a week ago Monday, Lebanon has started deploying 15,000 soldiers in its southern region, putting a government force there for the first time in four decades.

It is to be joined by an equal force of international peacekeepers, but wrangling among countries expected to send troops has delayed the mission and U.N. officials are pleading for nations to participate to bolster the fragile truce.

France, which commands the existing U.N. force in Lebanon, UNIFIL, on Sunday called for a meeting of European Union countries this week to determine the number of troops they are prepared to contribute to the U.N. mission.

"We are asking that Europe express its solidarity toward Lebanon as rapidly as possible," Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy told radio Franco Info.

The Israeli prime minister complicated the effort with a reported decision Sunday to reject peacekeepers in Lebanon from countries that don't have diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.

Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh — Muslim countries that do not have diplomatic ties with Israel — are among the only countries so far to have offered front-line troops for the expanded force.

The U.N. cease-fire resolution does not explicitly give Israel authority to block countries from joining the peacekeeping mission, but it does say the force should coordinate its activites with the Lebanese and Israeli governments.

Saniora, the prime minister, made his first visit Sunday to Hezbollah's south Beirut stronghold, where airstrikes wrecked whole neighborhoods.

"What we see today is an image of the crimes Israel has committed ... there is no other description other than a criminal act that shows Israel's hatred to destroy Lebanon and its unity," Saniora told reporters and television crews invited on the tour.

"I hope the international media transmits this picture to every person in the world so that it shows this criminal act, this crime against humanity," the Western-backed prime minister said.
While he visited, Hezbollah's operatives were still handing out bundles of $100 bills to people who lost homes to Israeli bombs — $12,000 for each claimant. The stipend is to pay a year's rent and refurnish homes.

Arab foreign ministers held an emergency meeting in Egypt, and Arab League Deputy Secretary-General Ahmed Ben Heli said they would discuss setting up a fund to rebuild Lebanon, which lost an estimated 15,000 apartments, 140 bridges and other structures.
Diplomats said Arab governments wanted to counter the flood of Iranian money that is believed to be financing the Hezbollah handouts.

Iran, which is not an Arab nation, denied that Sunday. "Hezbollah is a legitimate body in Lebanon; they have their own economic resources and popular support there," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said in Tehran.

Senate Candidate Promises Cancer Cure

Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, running for the Senate, is promising that, if elected, he'll make sure there is a cure for cancer by 2015. Details: The Baltimore
Sun 15-Aug-06,0,7797933.story?coll=bal-mdpolitics-headlines
The Washington Times

U.N. peacekeepers probed in sex racket
Published August 18, 2006

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) -- The United Nations said yesterday it is looking into reports that U.N. peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have been paying women for sex.

U.N. officials said in a statement that they had received reports of a prostitution ring involving minors operating outside military bases in South Kivu province. Some of the prostitutes reported that U.N. staff were among their clients, the statement said.

The peacekeeping force "takes these allegations very seriously and has expressed extreme shock at the testimonies of the victims of this illegal activity," the statement said.

The U.N. has said it has a zero-tolerance policy regarding prostitution, instituted last year after an investigation found that peacekeepers in the Congo had sex with women and girls, usually in exchange for food or small sums of money.

The statement made no mention of the nationalities of the U.N. staff involved.
Past cases of sexual abuse have also been reported in peacekeeping missions in Bosnia, Kosovo, Cambodia, East Timor and West Africa.

The U.N. has 17,000 peacekeepers in the Congo.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Another Great Jon Stewart

Another great Jon Stewart

Government, Pentagon seal once-public Cold War nuke data

Government, Pentagon seal once-public Cold War nuke data
RAW STORYPublished: Friday August 18, 2006

The U.S. military and government have sealed access to previously available data from the Cold War era, RAW STORY has learned.

The Pentagon and the Energy Department have now stamped as national security secrets the long-public numbers of U.S. nuclear missiles during the Cold War, including data from the public reports of the Secretaries of Defense in 1967 and 1971, according to government documents posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive.

Pentagon and Energy officials have now blacked out from previously public charts the numbers of Minuteman missiles (1,000), Titan II missiles (54), and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (656) in the historic U.S. Cold War arsenal, even though four Secretaries of Defense (McNamara, Laird, Richardson, Schlesinger) reported strategic force levels publicly in the 1960s and 1970s.

Documents posted today by the National Security Archive include:
Recently released Defense Department, NSC, and State Department reports with excisions of numbers of nuclear missiles and bombers in the U.S. arsenals during the 1960s and70s.
Unclassified tables published in a report to Congress by Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird as excised by Pentagon reviewers.

A "Compendium of Nuclear Weapons Arrangements" between the United States and foreign governments that was prepared in 1968 and recently released in a massively excised version under Defense Department and DOE guidelines.

Canadian and U.S. government documents illustrating the public record nature of some information withheld from the 1968 "Compendium."

"It would be difficult to find better candidates for unjustifiable secrecy than decisions to classify the numbers of U.S. strategic weapons," remarked Archive senior analyst Dr. William Burr, who compiled today's posting. "This problem, as well as the excessive secrecy for historical nuclear deployments, is unlikely to go away as long as security reviewers follow unrealistic guidelines."
Government officials have legally classified once-public information since the passage of the 1998 Kyl-Lott amendments, which authorized reclassification of sensitive archival documents.
"The government is reclassifying public data at the same time that government prosecutors are claiming the power to go after anybody who has 'unauthorized possession" of classified information," said Archive director Thomas Blanton. "What's really at risk is accountability in government."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

77 Stations Queried about Fake News

TV Stations' 'Fake News' Scrutinized

Owners Of 77 Stations Queried About Using Video News Releases

WASHINGTON, Aug. 16, 2006



"You can't tell any more the difference between what's propaganda and what's news."

FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein

(AP) The Federal Communications Commission has mailed letters to the owners of 77 television stations inquiring about their use of video news releases, a type of programming critics refer to as "fake news."

Video news releases are packaged news stories that usually employ actors to portray reporters who are paid by commercial or government groups.

The letters were sparked by allegations that television stations have been airing the videos as part of their news programs without telling viewers who paid for them.

FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein said Tuesday the letters ask station managers for information regarding agreements between the stations and the creators of the news releases. The FCC also asked whether there was any "consideration" given to the stations in return for airing the material.

"You can't tell any more
the difference between what's propaganda and what's news," Adelstein said.

The probe was sparked by a study of newsroom use of material provided by public relations firms. The study, entitled "Fake TV News: Widespread and Undisclosed," was compiled by the Center for Media and Democracy, a Madison, Wis.-based nonprofit organization that monitors the public relations industry.

When stations air video news releases, they are required to disclose to viewers "the nature, source and sponsorship of the material that they are viewing," according to the FCC.

The rules were prompted by payola scandals of the past, in which broadcasters accepted money from companies to hype their products without labeling the effort as advertising.

Diane Farsetta, senior researcher with the Center for Media and Democracy and co-author of the study, said that did not appear to be the case in the study but that "the main reason is economy. These are free stories that are
given to stations that are continually under-resourced."

Farsetta said despite the publicity, stations are continuing to air releases without disclosure.

Stations that received the letters have been given 60 days to respond. If the FCC decides they have violated the rules, punishment could include fines or license revocation.


Video: MSNBC show debates if 'Bush is an idiot'

Video: Olbermann's 'Nexus of politics and terror'...

Breaking: United London to DC flight diverted to BostonWoman on board had note referencing al-Qaeda

Schwarzenegger whitewashes gas price gouging

GOP House member supports racial profiling at airports

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Wisconsin anti-gay crowd goes too far in anti-marriage amendment

Wisconsin anti-gay crowd goes too far in anti-marriage amendment
by John in DC - 8/15/2006 01:22:00 PM

And this is from a conservative radio show host in the state:
Legislative Republicans thought they had an electoral magic bullet when they voted to put an amendment banning gay marriage on the November general election ballot. The constitutional amendment would allow them to highlight a popular issue, motivate a big conservative turnout, and help Republicans up and down the ballot stem what appears to be a Democratic tide in 2006.

But it increasingly looks as if the GOP miscalculated: making at least three major strategic errors:

First, they overreached, by making the amendment far broader than it had to be, including a ban on civil unions and perhaps on an array of other domestic benefits.
But this is what the mean-spirited right is all about. It's not about marriage. It's about actively trying to hurt gay people. And they finally got caught.

Salon: Voter suppression efforts seen in six states

Salon: Voter suppression efforts seen in six states
RAW STORYPublished: Tuesday August 15, 2006

After votes were suppressed in Florida and Ohio during the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, Salon warns that four additional states could see voters prevented from casting ballots, with the greatest impact felt by Democratic candidates.

The report shows business as usual in Ohio where gubernatorial candidate and current Secretary of State Ken Blackwell has pushed regulations working to hinder voter registration efforts in the state. Similar efforts are afoot in Florida, as well as new authority for partisan pollwatchers to challenge the registration of individual voters.

But it is in four new states where Salon emphasizes new troubles might break out:
In Arizona, legislation that requires proof of citizenship to vote is taking a toll beyond the illegal immigrants it seeks to keep out of polling places.

In Indiana, difficulties in securing state identification have complicated the ability of many to register to vote.

In California, problems have been identified with electronic voting machines, and the consolidation of statewide voter registration lists is being used to bar voters from the rolls.
In Missouri, rigid ID laws for voters are seen to be targeting minority voters likely to vote against Republicans.

An excerpt of the article, which is available to subscribers or after watching Salon advertisting, is presented below.

But Steele's plight has gotten relatively little notice from pundits and progressive activists confidently predicting a sweeping Democratic victory in November. Opinion polls show that a majority of the public wants a Democratic Congress, but whether potential voters -- black and Latino voters in particular -- will be able to make their voices heard on Election Day is not assured. Across the country, they will have to contend with Republican-sponsored schemes to limit voting. In a series of laws passed since the 2004 elections, Republican legislators and officials have come up with measures to suppress the turnout of traditional Democratic voting blocs. This fall the favored GOP techniques are new photo I.D. laws, the criminalizing of voter registration drives, and database purges that have disqualified up to 40 percent of newly registered voters from voting in such jurisdictions as Los Angeles County.

"States that are hostile to voting rights have -- intentionally or unintentionally -- created laws or regulations that prevent people from registering, staying on the rolls, or casting a ballot that counts," observes Michael Slater, the election administration specialist for Project Vote, a leading voter registration and voting rights group. And with roughly a quarter of the country's election districts having adopted new voting equipment in the past two years alone, there's a growing prospect that ill-informed election officials, balky machines and restrictive new voting rules could produce a "perfect storm" of fiascos in states such as Ohio, Florida, Arizona and others that have a legacy of voting rights restrictions or chaotic elections. "People with malicious intent can gum up the works and cause an Election Day meltdown," Steele says.

There is rarely hard proof of the Republicans' real agenda. One of the few public declarations of their intent came in 2004, when then state Rep. John Pappageorge of Michigan, who's now running for a state Senate seat, was quoted by the Detroit Free Press: "If we do not suppress the Detroit [read: black ] vote, we're going to have a tough time in this election cycle."

For the 2006 elections, with the control of the House and the Senate in the balance, Salon has selected six states with the most serious potential for vote suppression and the greatest potential for affecting the outcome of key races. In nearly every case, the voter-suppression techniques have been implemented since 2004 by Republican legislators or officials; only one state has a Democratic secretary of state, and only one has a Democratic-controlled legislature.

Monday, August 14, 2006


HOMELAND INSECURITYAll missing Egyptian students now in custody Final pair apprehended in Richmond, others scattered across country --

Associated Press WorldNetDaily ExclusiveDHS scrapped flight-list plan as transatlantic threat grew Advanced database necessary to target high-risk passengers still eludes Customs --

WND WorldNetDaily ExclusiveU.S. terror group ignored amid raised threat? Investigator says domestic cells involved in 9-11 still in business -
WND Woman carries machete outside White House Secret Service arrests 32-year-old 'for possession of a prohibited weapon'
--Agence France-Presse Chertoff: Let Big Brother get bigger DHS chief seeks more electronic surveillance, detention of possible terror suspects --Associated Press Liquid medicine, lipstick OK on flights Feds ease restrictions on flying from U.S. airports --

Associated Press Terror-plot probe underway in U.S. FBI assigns 200 investigators to track down potential links to UK suspects --Associated Press 3 Texas men arraigned on terror charges Trio found with 1,000 cell phones linked to possible Michigan-bridge bomb plot --Associated Press

Saturday, August 12, 2006


After September 11, we did get hit again by John in DC - 8/12/2006 02:45:00 PM
It was called Anthrax. And Bush still hasn't caught the killer. So next time Bush/Cheney claim we haven't been hit again, ask them what happened to the Anthrax killer.Then ask them where Osama is.

Religious right wants activist judges to help it cheat in marriage debate by John in DC - 8/12/2006 01:09:00 PM
I love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning. They don't like the rules the state legislature established so they want a federal court to overturn it. Nice. Every bigot loves a fascist.

Don't forget: Bush stayed on vacation in August 2001 by Joe in DC - 8/12/2006 11:40:00 AM
The August 6, 2001
Presidential Daily Briefing warned Bush that "Bin Ladin (sic) was determined to attack in the U.S." Bush stayed on vacation. Just like he did during Katrina. Just like he did this week.36 days after Bush got the warning, Bin Laden did attack in the U.S.


More Mideast Crisis Photos Called Into Question...

Scientists Call HIV Prevention Pill Tests “Incredibly Encouraging”...

Teenage Boys Steal Cheney's Security Equipment...

Snow to O'Reilly: Bush doesn't use terror to scare

Bush, Dems argue about 'politicizing' war on terror...

NYT: Clearer timeline for wiretap 'scoop:' Developing...

AP: Is armament sickening US troops?

Time: When terror imitates the soda commercial


With America under "imminent attack," Bush stays on vacation and holds a BBQ at his ranch for rich Republican donors by John in DC - 8/11/2006 09:58:00 PM
Nice. Not like there's anything else to worry about, like the first Red Alert we've ever had since September 11. The man will never learn from his mistakes, and the Republican party will never challenege him. Until the Republicans are thrown out of office, we are in serious danger with an incompetent commander in chief at the helm.

America threatened by imminent attack of Chanel lip gloss by John in DC - 8/11/2006 12:34:00 PM

The horror the horror.Just got the following email from my friend Cate:
"Yesterday, the TSA was confiscating MAKE UP at America's airports. Yes, MAKE UP. What kind of make up, you ask? LIP GLOSS. Yesterday, a friend of mine informed me that a girlfriend of hers waited in line for FIVE HOURS yesterday at National Airport.. and if you got out of line, to um, I don't know, TAKE A PISS, you had to go to the back of the line. Then the TSA made her hand over her Chanel lip gloss. Apparently Chanel Lip Gloss is a massive threat to national security. Let me show you this dire threat to our nation:"And as women began to talk with each other about yesterday's debacle, we discover other things: women all over America were forced to take their lip gloss, foundation, and liquid eyeliner out of their purses and hand them over to the TSA. I'm sorry, but I find this ridiculous and grossly unfair. Let's be honest -- this is unfair to women, as men really don't go about their day to day lives with lip gloss in their pocket (unless they're a drag queen). "I wonder if the NSA is going to start spying on Clinique, Chanel and Bobbi Brown. Apparently, the threat is massive."

Duct Tape?

How can they give the confiscated airport items to the homeless if they don't know if they're explosives or not? by John in DC - 8/12/2006 12:04:00 AM

I'm talking about the new things they're confiscating at the airport. They say the products are unopened, but they're giving them to the homeless in Phoenix. Okay, then how do you know they're not explosives that you're handing to the homeless, since you haven't opened them? Apparently, the airport people, in Phoenix at least, know quite well that the stuff they took off of the passengers in line were not explosives. So why did they take it in the first place?

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport planned to give 11 boxes of surrendered items to the city's human services department, which will give the unopened bottles of shampoo, toothpaste and other items to homeless shelters, airport spokeswoman Lexie Van Haren said.Same thing in Pennsylvania - seems YOU can't take it on the plane because it might be a bomb, but THEY can sell it on eBay without knowing if it's a bomb, or they're sure it's not a bomb, so then why did they take it in the first place?:

In Pennsylvania, state officials were considering pulling some discarded items for a state program that resells on eBay any items of value relinquished at airport security checkpoints, said Edward Myslewicz, spokesman for the General Services Department.It's duct tape all over again.

Supremes Decimate Bush's Spying Argument

Shayana Kadidal

Supremes Decimate Bush's Spying Argument

When the Supreme Court rejected President Bush's executive power claims in last month's decision invalidating the Guantánamo military tribunals, it also shredded the administration's arguments for domestic spying. Now a bipartisan group of legal experts and former government officials are explaining to Congress exactly how the court's ruling affects the NSA's illegal domestic spying program.

President Bush (and his attorneys) argue that he can bypass the law because of his wartime authority as Commander in Chief. That is a fundamental part of the administration's defense of everything from unlimited detentions in Cuba to warrantless spying in Nebraska. For spying, the Justice Department argues that the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) actually authorized the spying program by implicitly repealing the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which makes warrantless wiretapping a felony. Second, they claim that the President has inherent authority to wage war under Article II of the Constitution, and can therefore disregard any statutes that restrict his ability to do so.

Now turn to the Court's Guantánamo decision, Hamdan. The administration was first claiming that the AUMF implicitly authorized Bush to create his military commissions, and second that the President has inherent constitutional powers to contravene existing statutes in order to defeat the enemy in times of war. Sound familiar?

The Court ruled that neither of these arguments has any merit. The majority opinion concluded that "there is nothing in the text or legislative history of the AUMF even hinting that Congress intended to expand or alter" the Uniform Code of Military Justice--clarifying the fact that the President had no right to create commissions that violate pre-existing military law. In response to the administration's Article II claim, the Court found that although the President has the power to convene military commissions without congressional authorization, he may not disregard what limitations Congress has placed on his powers.

Given Hamdan's sweeping rejection of these two core arguments, it would seem that Bush's case for wiretapping is toast. But Bush's lawyers don't think so. They are straining to argue that NSA situation is totally different from Hamdan.

Enter some of the most eminent constitutional scholars in the country. This letter is signed by professors from law schools like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, many with a history of government service, and it systematically rebuts the government's attempts to distinguish the NSA case from Hamdan.

As for the government's first argument, the case for wiretapping under the AUMF is actually weaker than its case for military commissions. Wiretapping is like the military commissions in that there is "nothing in the text or legislative history" of the AUMF indicating that Congress intended to repeal FISA's guidelines. Unlike military commissions, however, the law governing wiretapping is crystal clear. As the law professors aptly remind us: "FISA expressly declares that FISA itself prescribe[s] the 'exclusive means' of engaging in electronic surveillance." If the AUMF could not implicitly alter a set of vague guidelines about military commissions, then it certainly could not overturn a clear rule restricting spying.

Furthermore, FISA provides a special wartime surveillance provision that authorizes surveillance outside of the FISA guidelines for only 15 days after a declaration of war. It was clearly the intent of Congress to limit the President's surveillance powers even in times of war. If Bush was interested in modifying this provision for wiretapping, he could lawfully do so by amending the 15-day provision set-forth by congress.

The President's Article II argument is equally dubious. He contends that, unlike the rules governing military commissions--which were enacted in compliance with Congress's Article I authorities--Congress did not even have the constitutional authority to enact FISA. According to the letter, "this argument borders on the frivolous." FISA has been in place for many years, passed by Congress and signed by the President, and has operated appropriately since its inception. It was enacted pursuant to Congress' long recognized powers to regulate communication between states and nations, to make legislation "necessary and proper" to carry out other constitutional powers, and to make rules governing the country's military forces.
Finally, the DOJ argues that FISA prevents the President from performing his duty to defend the Nation. But as the letter argues, "the President also has a duty to take care that Congress's laws are faithfully executed. And the duty to defend the Nation does not give the President a blank check to ignore congressional statutes or the Constitution."

Concurring opinions from Justices Kennedy and Breyer made the same points. Justice Kennedy stated that judicial enforcement of rules laid down by Congress, even during national emergencies, "gives some assurance of stability in time of crisis. The Constitution is best preserved by reliance on standards tested over time and insulated from the pressures of the moment. These principles seem vindicated here, for a case that may be of extraordinary importance is resolved by ordinary rules." As Justice Breyer put it:

"Where, as here, no emergency prevents consultation with Congress, judicial insistence upon that consultation does not weaken our Nation's ability to deal with danger. To the contrary, that insistence strengthens the Nation's ability to determine--through democratic means--how best to do so. The Constitution places its faith in those democratic means. Our Court today simply does the same."

The same could be said of the process of judicial review: As I've argued repeatedly in this space, oversight by courts ensures (among other things) that the executive is doing a competent job in its law-enforcement efforts against terrorism. The overwhelming majority of scholars agree that the administration has no argument left in defense of the NSA Program after Hamdan--making the real question whether the administration can somehow evade judicial review (via the state secrets doctrine, or the provisions in the Specter bill that would send our case to a secret court). The administration has argued that allowing judicial review is as dangerous to the national security as following the rules about wiretapping laid down by Congress in FISA. Luckily--as Hamdan proved--the last word on these issues belongs to the courts.