Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bush envisions U.S. presence in Iraq like S.Korea

Bush envisions U.S. presence in Iraq like S.Korea
Wed May 30, 2007 2:54PM EDT
By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush would like to see a lengthy U.S. troop presence in Iraq like the one in South Korea to provide stability but not in a frontline combat role, the White House said on Wednesday.

The United States has had thousands of U.S. troops in South Korea to guard against a North Korean invasion for 50 years.

Democrats in control of the U.S. Congress have been pressing Bush to agree to a timetable for pulling troops from Iraq, an idea firmly opposed by the president.

White House spokesman Tony Snow said Bush would like to see a U.S. role in Iraq ultimately similar to that in South Korea in which "you get to a point in the future where you want it to be a purely support model."

"The Korean model is one in which the United States provides a security presence, but you've had the development of a successful democracy in South Korea over a period of years, and, therefore, the United States is there as a force of stability," Snow told reporters.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said in a statement he believes it is time for Bush to "recognize the reality on the ground in Iraq," that U.S. troops are mired in an Iraqi civil war and a change in course is urgently needed.

"Democrats know that Americans demand realistic plans, not more White House rhetoric, rosy predictions and best-case scenarios. Our troops and the American people deserve better," Reid said.

Iraq's neighbors have raised concerns about the possibility of the United States maintaining permanent bases in Iraq, and some U.S. lawmakers have said they think the Iraqi insurgency may have been fueled by perceptions the United States wants a permanent presence in the country.

Washington has consistently denied wanting permanent bases in Iraq.

Snow said U.S. bases in Iraq would not necessarily be permanent because they would be there at the invitation of the host government and "the person who has done the invitation has the right to withdraw the invitation."

"I think the point he's (Bush) trying to make is that the situation in Iraq, and indeed, the larger war on terror, are things that are going to take a long time. But it is not always going to require an up-front combat presence," Snow said.

"The president has always said that ultimately you want to be handing primary responsibility off to the Iraqis," he said.

"You provide the so-called over-the-horizon support that is necessary from time to time to come to the assistance of Iraqis but you do not want the United States forever in the front."
The madness of conservatives: An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal is actually advocating the bombing of Iran by the U.S. with the exhortation 'I hope and pray that President Bush will do it.' Let's hope and pray the Dems get the cojones to impeach Bush and Cheney before they launch Operation Armageddon.

Why the towers fell: Two theories

Why the towers fell: Two theories
By William Rice
Posted March 1, 2007

Having worked on structural steel buildings as a civil engineer in the era when the Twin Towers were designed and constructed, I found some disturbing discrepancies and omissions concerning their collapse on 9/11.

I was particularly interested in the two PBS documentaries that explained the prevailing theories as determined by two government agencies, FEMA and NIST (National Institute of Science and Technology). The first (2002) PBS documentary, Why the Towers Fell, discussed how the floor truss connectors failed and caused a “progressive pancake collapse.”

The subsequent 2006 repackaged documentary Building on Ground Zero explained that the connectors held, but that the columns failed, which is also unlikely. Without mentioning the word “concrete,” the latter documentary compared the three-second collapse of the concrete Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building with that of the Twin Towers that were of structural steel. The collapse of a concrete-framed building cannot be compared with that of a structural steel-framed building.

Since neither documentary addressed many of the pertinent facts, I took the time to review available material, combine it with scientific and historic facts, and submit the following two theories for consideration.

The prevailing theory

The prevailing theory for the collapse of the 110-story, award-winning Twin Towers is that when jetliners flew into the 95th and 80th floors of the North and South Towers respectively, they severed several of each building’s columns and weakened other columns with the burning of jet fuel/kerosene (and office combustibles).

However, unlike concrete buildings, structural steel buildings redistribute the stress when several columns are removed and the undamaged structural framework acts as a truss network to bridge over the missing columns.

After the 1993 car bomb explosion destroyed columns in the North Tower, John Skilling, the head structural engineer for the Twin Towers, was asked about an airplane strike. He explained that the Twin Towers were originally designed to withstand the impact of a Boeing 707 (similar in size to the Boeing 767). He went on to say that there would be a horrendous fire from the jet fuel, but “the building structure would still be there.”

The 10,000 gallons of jet fuel (half capacity) in each jetliner did cause horrendous fires over several floors, but it would not cause the steel members to melt or even lose sufficient strength to cause a collapse. This is because the short-duration jet fuel fires and office combustible fires cannot create (or transmit to the steel) temperatures hot enough. If a structural steel building could collapse because of fire, it would do so slowly as the various steel members gradually relinquished their structural strength. However, in the 100-year history of structural-steel framed buildings, there is no evidence of any structural steel framed building having collapsed because of fire.

Let’s assume the unlikelihood that these fires could weaken all of the columns to the same degree of heat intensity and thus remove their structural strength equally over the entire floor, or floors, in order to cause the top 30-floor building segment (South Tower WTC #2) to drop vertically and evenly onto the supporting 79th floor. The 30 floors from above would then combine with the 79th floor and fall onto the next level down (78th floor) crushing its columns evenly and so on down into the seven levels below the street level.

The interesting fact is that each of these 110-story Twin Towers fell upon itself in about ten seconds at nearly free-fall speed. This violates Newton’s Law of Conservation of Momentum that would require that as the stationary inertia of each floor is overcome by being hit, the mass (weight) increases and the free-fall speed decreases.

Even if Newton’s Law is ignored, the prevailing theory would have us believe that each of the Twin Towers inexplicably collapsed upon itself crushing all 287 massive columns on each floor while maintaining a free-fall speed as if the 100,000, or more, tons of supporting structural-steel framework underneath didn’t exist.

The politically unthinkable theory

Controlled demolition is so politically unthinkable that the media not only demeans the messenger but also ridicules and “debunks” the message rather than provide investigative reporting. Curiously, it took 441 days for the president’s 9/11 Commission to start an “investigation” into a tragedy where more than 2,500 WTC lives were taken. The Commission’s investigation also didn’t include the possibility of controlled-demolition, nor did it include an investigation into the “unusual and unprecedented” manner in which WTC Building #7 collapsed.

The media has basically kept the collapse of WTC Building #7 hidden from public view. However, instead of the Twin Towers, let’s consider this building now. Building #7 was a 47-story structural steel World Trade Center Building that also collapsed onto itself at free-fall speed on 9/11. This structural steel building was not hit by a jetliner, and collapsed seven hours after the Twin Towers collapsed and five hours after the firemen had been ordered to vacate the building and a collapse safety zone had been cordoned off. Both of the landmark buildings on either side received relatively little structural damage and both continue in use today.

Contrary to the sudden collapse of the Twin Towers and Building #7, the four other smaller World Trade Center buildings #3, #4, #5, and #6, which were severely damaged and engulfed in flames on 9/11, still remained standing. There were no reports of multiple explosions. The buildings had no pools of molten metal (a byproduct of explosives) at the base of their elevator shafts. They created no huge caustic concrete/cement and asbestos dust clouds (only explosives will pulverize concrete into a fine dust cloud), and they propelled no heavy steel beams horizontally for three hundred feet or more.

The collapse of WTC building #7, which housed the offices of the CIA, the Secret Service, and the Department of Defense, among others, was omitted from the government’s 9/11 Commission Report, and its collapse has yet to be investigated. Perhaps it is time for these and other unanswered questions surrounding 9/11 to be thoroughly investigated. Let’s start by contacting our congressional delegation.

William Rice, P.E., is a registered professional civil engineer who worked on structural steel (and concrete) buildings in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. He was also a professor at Vermont Technical College where he taught engineering materials, structures lab, and other building related courses.

Army Puts Amputees Back Into Combat

Army Puts Amputees Back Into Combat


Scientists find bird flu antibody

Scientists find bird flu antibody
By Neil Bowdler BBC science reporter

Antibodies that could protect against bird flu in humans have been isolated by an international team of scientists.

The discovery could lead to treatments that complement flu vaccines in the event of a human epidemic of the virus.

The H5N1 bird flu virus is estimated to have killed more than 180 people around the world since 2003.

Some countries are already stockpiling vaccines for a possible bird flu outbreak in humans, but no one knows how effective they might be.

'Emergency antidote'
This is because the particular strain of bird flu that might eventually spark a human pandemic is unknown.

But scientists working in Switzerland, Vietnam and the United States say they have isolated antibodies that they hope could offer protection against several different strains of the virus simultaneously.

Antibodies are used by our immune system to neutralise bacteria and viruses - in this case, the scientists have isolated antibodies that bird flu survivors in Vietnam produced to fight off the disease.

Professor Antonio Lanzavecchia, at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Switzerland, says the antibodies have already proven effective in the lab and in mice and he is confident that they could be used in humans.

"We in a way exploit the immune response of an individual who has been infected and has survived the infection and of course has made antibodies that neutralise these viruses," he said.
"And using this technique, we can isolate the cells that make these antibodies so that this antibody can now be reproduced in vitro and eventually massively produced to treat other individuals."

The antibodies could be used to protect key workers, such as nurses and doctors, in countries where a bird flu epidemic strikes.

The researchers say it could also be used as an emergency antidote in people who have already been infected with bird flu - if administered within a few days.

It is hoped human trials could begin shortly.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Plame was ‘covert’ agent at time of name leak

Plame was ‘covert’ agent at time of name leak
Newly released unclassified document details CIA employment
By Joel Seidman

WASHINGTON - An unclassified summary of outed CIA officer Valerie Plame's employment history at the spy agency, disclosed for the first time today in a court filing by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, indicates that Plame was "covert" when her name became public in July 2003.

The summary is part of an attachment to Fitzgerald's memorandum to the court supporting his recommendation that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's former top aide, spend 2-1/2 to 3 years in prison for obstructing the CIA leak investigation.

The nature of Plame's CIA employment never came up in Libby's perjury and obstruction of justice trial.

Undercover travelThe unclassified summary of Plame's employment with the CIA at the time that syndicated columnist Robert Novak published her name on July 14, 2003 says, "Ms. Wilson was a covert CIA employee for who the CIA was taking affirmative measures to conceal her intelligence relationship to the United States."

Plame worked as an operations officer in the Directorate of Operations and was assigned to the Counterproliferation Division (CPD) in January 2002 at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
The employment history indicates that while she was assigned to CPD, Plame, "engaged in temporary duty travel overseas on official business." The report says, "she traveled at least seven times to more than ten times." When overseas Plame traveled undercover, "sometimes in true name and sometimes in alias -- but always using cover -- whether official or non-official (NOC) -- with no ostensible relationship to the CIA."

Criminal prosecution beat national securityAfter the Novak column was published and Plame's identity was widely reported in the media, and according to the document, "the CIA lifted Ms Wilson's cover" and then "rolled back her cover" effective to the date of the leak.

The CIA determined, "that the public interest in allowing the criminal prosecution to proceed outweighed the damage to national security that might reasonably be expected from the official disclosure of Ms. Wilson's employment and cover status."

The CIA has not divulged any other details of the nature of Plame's cover or the methods employed by the CIA to protect her cover nor the details of her classified intelligence activities. Plame resigned from the CIA in December 2005.

Plame and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson have filed a lawsuit against four current or former top Bush administration officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, accusing them and other White House officials of conspiring to destroy her career at the CIA.
'I felt like I had been hit in the gut'In March at a House of Representatives hearing, Plame testified saying, "My name and identity were carelessly and recklessly abused by senior government officials in both the White house and the State Department"

She described how it felt to see her true identity exposed in the morning paper, her career destroyed she said.

"I felt like I had been hit in the gut, it was over in an instant, I immediately thought of my family's safety."

Plame's identity was leaked to reporters in 2003, after her husband began criticizing the Bush administration. She claims her constitutional rights were violated by the administration and is demanding compensation.

No leak chargesSeveral administration officials, including Libby, former State Department official Richard Armitage and Bush advisor Karl Rove, disclosed Plame's identity to reporters.
No one was ever charged with the leak of Plame's name itself, which would have been a crime only if someone knowingly gave our information about someone covered by a specific law protecting the identities of covert agents.

Fitzgerald wrote last week in the 18-page memo, "Particularly in a case such as this, where Mr. Libby was a high-ranking government official whose falsehoods were central to issues in a significant criminal investigation, it is important that this court impose a sentence that accurately reflects the value the judicial system places on truth-telling in criminal investigations."

The special counsel recommended to the judge that Libby not receive any leniency, because, he writes, "He has expressed no remorse, no acceptance of responsibility, and no recognition that there is anything he should have done differently - either with respect to his false statements and testimony, or his role in providing reporters with classified information about Ms. Wilson's affiliation with the CIA."

Libby was convicted in March of four of five felony counts against him. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 5th before U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton.

Joel Seidman is an NBC producer, based in Washington.

Cindy Sheehan is not giving up

On Tuesday, peace activist Cindy Sheehan appeared on The Ed Schultz Show to talk about her recent declaration that she is leaving the anti-war movement.

Sheehan starts off the radio interview sounding tired and dispirited. She explains that she has kept pushing herself because "I can't say no, especially when people are dying" but that the recent failure of the Democrats to vote against the war caused her to conclude, "I think I've gone as far as I can in this movement."

Sheehan's tone then becomes stronger and more positive as she looks to the future, making it clear that she is not giving up activism. She says, "We're gonna see what other direction we can come at it, because obviously the direction that we're going has stopped being effective. ... We're gonna close up the factory, we're gonna retool, and we're gonna see how we can come at this problem from a different angle."

Sheehen's strongest criticism is directed at the Democratic Party. She says, "It's all about the presidential elections, it's all about politics. And the Democrats have to stop being careful and stop playing politics with human flesh and blood and they're going to have to be courageous. ... If we're gonna get a Democrat in the White House that acts like a Republican, what's the difference?"

It is clear from the interview that Sheehan hopes that as she stands down, millions more anti-war activists will stand up. "I'm not giving up," she concludes, promising to announce her new campaign within the next two months.

The following audio clip is from The Ed Schultz Show.

"Is this the real reason?"

"Is this the real reason?" Fox News asked Tuesday, why Rosie O'Donnell is no longer on The View, before playing a YouTube video of O'Donnell warming up her audience by "ranting" about suspicious events she says were omitted from the 9/11 Commission Report.

Most accounts have stated that O'Donnell's departure was due to an on-air fight over Iraq with co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

The Fox hosts speculate that the video might have come from an audience member's cellphone, and then comment briefly on how "people go off on this topic when Rosie talks about World Trade Center Building Number 7," before cutting to a story about a giant lizard.

The video was also posted at the Screw Loose Change blog, which characterized O'Donnell as "raving about WTC 7 being omitted from the 9-11 Commission Report" -- adding "like the 9-11 Commission was concerned about a building in which nobody died, which was not a direct target of the attacks."

Loose Change is an internet documentary which has received widespread press coverage over the last couple of years. Although many "9/11 truth movement" activists have criticized prior edits of the documentary, including a since-removed section which claimed video "proof" that the World Trade Center had been blown up, billionaire Mark Cuban is planning to finance a theatrical release after its latest edit, with actor Charlie Sheen possibly providing narration.

"And anyway, the notion that the 9-11 Commission Report (PDF file) does not mention WTC 7 is wrong," Pat at Screw Loose Change writes, before citing four references to it, including page numbers.

However, none of these selections refer to the destruction of WTC 7, which has perplexed many scientists, government investigators and architects over the years.

"Never in the history of the world has a building fallen from a fire into its own footprint eliminating the core, twenty-five steel beams," O'Donnell said during the warm-up. "Physics-wise," O'Donnell said, such an occurrence is "impossible."

Reporting for New York Magazine last November, Mark Jacobson noted that, along with the 9/11 Commission Report, WTC 7 was also "given much shrift in the subsequent 'Final Report on the Collapse of World Trade Center Towers,' compiled by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)."

Dr. S. Shyam Sunder, head of NIST, told Jacobson that they had "preliminary hypotheses" regarding WTC 7 and "are studying the horizontal movement east to west, internal to the structure, on the fifth to seventh floors."

"But truthfully, I don’t really know," Sunder admitted. "We’ve had trouble getting a handle on building No. 7."

Sunder told Jacobson that the building's omission from their report was only "a matter of staffing and budget," and that they "hoped to release something on 7 WTC by the end of the year." However, no NIST explanation has been released as of yet.

The following video clip is from Fox News' America's Newsroom, broadcast on May 29.

Monday, May 28, 2007

NYT: Female Iraqi refugees forced into prostitution to survive

NYT: Female Iraqi refugees forced into prostitution to survive

Iraqi refugees, in dire straits, turn to Syrian sex trade
RAW STORYPublished: Monday May 28, 2007

With no jobs and no money, many female Iraqi refugees in Syria have turned to prostitution to survive, reports the New York Times.

"Many of these women and girls, including some barely in their teens, are recent refugees," writes Katherine Zoepf. "Some are tricked or forced into prostitution, but most say they have no other means of supporting their families."

Excerpts from the article follow:

According to the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, about 1.2 million Iraqi refugees now live in Syria; the Syrian government puts the figure even higher.

Given the deteriorating economic situation of those refugees, a United Nations report found last year, many girls and women in “severe need” turn to prostitution, in secret or even with the knowledge or involvement of family members. In many cases, the report added, “the head of the family brings clients to the house.”

Aid workers say thousands of Iraqi women work as prostitutes in Syria, and point out that as violence in Iraq has increased, the refugee population has come to include more female-headed households and unaccompanied women.

"So many of the Iraqi women arriving now are living on their own with their children because the men in their families were killed or kidnapped," said Sister Marie-Claude Naddaf, a Syrian nun at the Good Shepherd convent in Damascus, which helps Iraqi refugees.

Do Teletubbies have genitalia?


Poland Investigates Teletubbies For Homosexual Propaganda

(I don't know if you noticed, but none of the Teletubbies have genetalia )

In memory of Arthur W. Strickler

In loving memory of Arthur W. Strickler, District Manager of Community Board 2 in New York City.

GI's daring raid

RUDE AWAKENING: Soldiers storm a home in the Al-Jamia neighborhood of Baghdad yesterday, looking for weapons and bombs.


American forces yesterday pulled off a daring rescue of 42 Iraqis held captive by al Qaeda, U.S. military officials said.

The results of the raid, at an al Qaeda hideout northeast of Baghdad, revealed evidence of torture as several prisoners had sustained broken bones and other injuries, a senior military official said.

The freed Iraqis...more >


Alabama Homeland Security Linked Gay And Anti-War Groups With Terrorists

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Ron Paul Continues His Assault on Rudy Giuliani
realtime-paul.jpg  If Rudy Giuliani thought he silenced Ron Paul at the FOX News debate — by displaying his own ignorance, ironically — he was sadly mistaken. The remarks may have drawn loud applause, but they were factually inaccurate and Ron Paul continues to hammer him for it. Last week Paul gave Rudy a reading assignment starting with the 9/11 Commission report.
Bill Kristol: Bush furious over the NY Times article about a withdrawal from Iraq
kristol-fns.jpg The warmongerererer—William "the Bloody," Kristol got a call from a White House official telling him that Bush was furious, just furious with the NY Times article that says the administration is debating whether to cut the troop levels in half in 2008.
The Bush administration is developing what are described as concepts for reducing American combat forces in Iraq by as much as half next year, according to senior administration officials in the midst of the internal debate…read on
Kristol was furious too. How dare anybody from the White House discuss this! A common tactic with RW hack pundits like William is to make bogus predictions, but say them in an even tone that makes their ideas sound almost plausible. He says that:
Petraeus and Odierno assume that if they can sustain the surge through the beginning of 2008, at that point, maybe there will be enough Iraqi forces that we can begin to draw-down.
That's not a comedy routine folks. Maybe Will didn't get the call from his WH pals about
Military planners have abandoned the idea that standing up Iraqi troops will enable American soldiers to start coming home soon and now believe that U.S. troops will have to defeat the insurgents and secure control of troubled provinces.
Training Iraqi troops, which had been the cornerstone of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy since 2005, has dropped in priority, officials in Baghdad and Washington said.
Kristol is a joke that's not Joe Klein–is always wrong—helps to perpetuate a dismal foreign policy—it goes on and on—and is rewarded with a plump TIME magazine column. Think Progress has more

Dissecting Goodling's Testimony

Daily Show: Dissecting Goodling’s Testimony
tds-goodling.jpg Jon
Stewart meticulously picks through Monica Goodling's testimony and finally figures out how the USAs were selected for firing…
video_wmv Download (7734) Play (8695) video_mov Download (3047) Play (5555)
"I know how this happenned. This was a miracle virgin firing. An immaculate termination…"

Aborigines mark 40 years as 'human beings'
Aborigines mark 40 years as 'human beings'
By Kathy Marks Saturday May 26 2007

Before that they were classified as native wildlife, along with kangaroos and koalas.
This weekend Aborigines are converging on Canberra, the national capital, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of a referendum that led to the constitution being amended.

The anniversary is a reminder of the massive inequalities that still exist in housing, health, education, employment and life expectancy.

Until the referendum, Aborigines were not, officially, human beings. They were "flora and fauna". They were confined to white-controlled reserves and forbidden to travel without special permission. They were not allowed in pubs, and were paid wages in meat and salt.

While some traditional lands have been handed back to indigenous people, they remain, on thewhole, marginalised - socially, politically andeconomically.

Ms Burney is one of only a handful of Aboriginalpoliticians. The same istrue of academia and the professions.

Many communities are blighted by alcoholism and violence.

Black Australians are still waiting for an official apology to the "Stolen Generation" - the thousands of children forcibly removed from their families and assimilated into white society, under a policy introduced early last century and not abandoned until 1975.

For the past decade the Prime Minister, John Howard, has resisted calls to apologise.

- Kathy Marks

Arabs make plans for nuclear power

Arabs make plans for nuclear power

Iran's program appears to be stirring interest that some fear will lead to a scramble for atomic weapons in the volatile region.
By Bob Drogin and Borzou Daragahi, Times Staff Writers
May 26, 2007

VIENNA — As Iran races ahead with an illicit uranium enrichment effort, nearly a dozen other Middle East nations are moving forward on their own civilian nuclear programs. In the latest development, a team of eight U.N. experts on Friday ended a weeklong trip to Saudi Arabia to provide nuclear guidance to officials from six Persian Gulf countries.

Diplomats and analysts view the Saudi trip as the latest sign that Iran's suspected weapons program has helped spark a chain reaction of nuclear interest among its Arab rivals, which some fear will lead to a scramble for atomic weapons in the world's most volatile region.

The International Atomic Energy Agency sent the team of nuclear experts to Riyadh, the Saudi capital, to advise the Gulf Cooperation Council on building nuclear energy plants. Together, the council members — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the seven sheikdoms of the United Arab Emirates — control nearly half the world's known oil reserves.

Other nations that have said they plan to construct civilian nuclear reactors or have sought technical assistance and advice from the IAEA, the Vienna-based United Nations nuclear watchdog agency, in the last year include Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Yemen, as well as several North African nations.

None of the governments has disclosed plans to build nuclear weapons. But Iran's 18-year secret nuclear effort and its refusal to comply with current U.N. Security Council demands have raised concerns that the Arab world will decide it needs to counter a potentially nuclear-armed Iran. The same equipment can enrich uranium to fuel civilian reactors or, in time and with further enrichment, atomic bombs.

"There is no doubt that countries around the gulf are worried … about whether Iran is seeking nuclear weapons," Gregory L. Schulte, the U.S. representative to U.N. agencies in Vienna, said in an interview. "They're worried about whether it will prompt a nuclear arms race in the region, which would be to no one's benefit."

The United States has long supported the spread of peaceful nuclear energy under strict international safeguards. Schulte said Washington's diplomatic focus remained on stopping Iran before it could produce fuel for nuclear weapons, rather than on trying to restrict nations from developing nuclear power for generating electricity.

But those empowered to monitor and regulate civilian nuclear programs around the world are worried. Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the IAEA, warned Thursday that the surge of interest in sensitive nuclear technology raised the risk of weapons proliferation. Without singling out any nation, he cautioned that some governments might insist on enriching their own uranium to ensure a steady supply of reactor fuel.

"The concern is that by mastering the fuel cycle, countries move dangerously close to nuclear weapons capability," ElBaradei told a disarmament conference in Luxembourg.

Iran is the obvious case in point. Tehran this week defied another U.N. Security Council deadline by which it was to freeze its nuclear program. The IAEA reported that Iran instead was accelerating uranium enrichment without having yet built the reactors that would need the nuclear fuel. At the same time, the IAEA complained, Iran's diminishing cooperation had made it impossible to confirm Tehran's claims that the program is only for peaceful purposes.

That has unnerved Iran's neighbors as well as members of the Security Council.

"We have the right if the Iranians are going to insist on their right to develop their civilian nuclear program," said Mustafa Alani, a security expert at the Gulf Research Center, a think tank based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. "We tell the Iranians, 'We have no problem with you developing civilian nuclear energy, but if you're going to turn your nuclear program into a weapons program, we'll do the same.' "

Iran sought to rally Arab support for its nuclear program at the World Economic Forum meeting of business and political leaders this month in Jordan.

"Iran will be a partner, a brotherly partner, and will share its capabilities with the people of the region," Mohammed J.A. Larijani, a former deputy foreign minister, told reporters.

Arab officials were cool to his approach, however, and openly questioned Iran's intentions.

The IAEA team's weeklong foray to Saudi Arabia followed ElBaradei's visit to the kingdom in April. The Gulf Cooperation Council plans to present the results of its study on developing nuclear plants to the leaders of council nations in the Omani capital of Muscat in December.

"They don't say it, but everyone can see that [Iran] is at least one of the reasons behind the drive to obtaining the nuclear technology," said Salem Ahmad Sahab, a professor of political science at King Abdulaziz University in Jidda, Saudi Arabia. "If the neighbors are capable of obtaining the technology, why not them?"

Officially, leaders of the Arab gulf states say they are eager to close a technology gap with Iran, as well as with Israel, which operates two civilian reactors and is widely believed to have built at least 80 nuclear warheads since the 1960s. Israel does not acknowledge its nuclear arsenal under a policy aimed at deterring regional foes while avoiding an arms race.

Advocates argue that the gulf states need nuclear energy despite their vast oil and natural gas reserves.

The region's growing economies suffer occasional summer power outages, and the parched climate makes the nations there susceptible to water shortages, which can be offset by the energy-intensive processing of seawater.

Bush Bungles Press Conference

war stories

If you tuned in at the end of George W. Bush's press conference Thursday morning, just in time to watch him defend the immigration bill, you caught a glimpse of the leader he might have been, the "compassionate conservative" of the 2000 Republican Convention—impassioned, inclusive, empathetic, yet practical.

If you sat through the rest of the conference, which dealt mainly with the war in Iraq, you saw the bedraggled president he has become—defensive, doctrinaire, scattershot, and either deceptive or delusional.

Iraq has dominated his agenda for four years now, yet he still sees the conflict through a prism rife with cliché.

The topper, which he has recited several times before, is that if we fail in Iraq, the terrorists will follow us home. He uttered a few variations of the line this morning: "If we were to fail, they'd come and get us. … If we let up, we'll be attacked. … It's better to fight them there than here."

Clearly, this is nonsense, on three levels.

First, the vast majority of the insurgents have nothing to do with al-Qaida or its ideology. They're combatants in a sectarian conflict for power in Iraq, and they have neither the means nor the desire to threaten North America.

Second, to the extent that the true global terrorists could attack us at home, they could do so whether or not U.S. troops stay or win in Iraq. The one issue has nothing to do with the other.

Third, what kind of thing is this to say in front of the allies? If our main goal in bombing, strafing, and stomping through Iraq is to make sure we don't have to do so on our own territory, will any needy nation ever again seek our aid and cover? Or will they seek out a less blatantly selfish protector?

At today's press conference, President Bush tagged on a sort of addendum to this cliché, one that I hadn't heard him utter before. Asked about reports that the U.S. presence in Iraq has in fact strengthened al-Qaida, he replied, "Al-Qaida is going to fight us wherever we are," adding, "The fundamental question is, 'Will we fight them?' "

The dissonances here are a bit subtler, but again three things stick out.

First, it isn't true. U.S. troops are deployed, to varying degrees, all over the world; al-Qaida is fighting us in only a couple of places and, even there, hardly as the dominant force.

Second, by making such remarks, the president is only hyping al-Qaida's power. What a great recruitment slogan: "Al-Qaida—fighting wherever the Americans are!"

Third, if the claim is true, why doesn't Bush play strategic jujitsu? He should amass a lot of troops someplace where we have a great advantage, lure al-Qaida to come fight us, then spring the trap and crush them. Clearly, Iraq isn't that place.

It's also time to reassess what has been the Bush administration's strongest argument for staying the course—that if we fail in Iraq, "al-Qaida will be emboldened." The argument may be true. Then again, if we keep fighting to no avail in Iraq, al-Qaida might be emboldened as well—and, the longer this futile fight goes on, and the longer they can portray us as infidel occupiers, the more resentful warriors they can rally to their cause.

By exaggerating both al-Qaida's significance and its omnipresence generally, President Bush is only helping fulfill his direst fears.

At the start of a fight, there's some strategic sense in hyping the consequences of defeat: It galvanizes the troops, builds popular support, and discourages political critics from even talking about withdrawal.

However, if it becomes clear that victory (especially victory as it was originally defined) might be impossible, and if there's little a commander or leader can do to reverse the trend, it's strategically shrewd to start lowering the stakes. In this case, the president, in his rhetoric, should start downplaying the role of al-Qaida. And he should start revving up the diplomatic machinery, so that when we do withdraw (or scale back), the move can be presented in the context of some regional security arrangement—in other words, to make it look as little as possible like a rout.

Some of President Bush's remarks this morning were not so much wrong or right as simply odd. For instance, in recounting America's view of the world before 9/11, he said:

The Middle East looked nice and cozy for a while. Everything looked fine on the surface, but beneath the surface, there was a lot of resentment, there was a lot of frustration, such that 19 kids got on airplanes and killed 3,000 Americans. It's in the long-term interest of this country to address the root causes of these extremists and radicals...

Where to begin?

First, complacent as many Americans may have been in those halcyon years between the Berlin Wall's crumbling and the Twin Towers' toppling, nobody—least of all Bush's predecessors in the White House—mistook the Middle East for a "nice and cozy" place.

Second, Bush is right about "the root causes" of extremism, but he has done virtually nothing to "address" them. This is one reason Lebanon is falling apart: Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas swiftly exploited the extremists' passions, while the United States (and the rest of the Western world) did absolutely nothing to co-opt or counter them and only slightly more to bolster the Lebanese government's power and appeal.

Bush still seems to think that democracy is the answer to all problems and that elections are the essence of democracy. Once more, he touted the 12 million Iraqis who turned out at the polls—ignoring how the pattern of their voting only hardened the country's sectarian divisions. "Democracy," he said, "has proven to help change parts of the world from cauldrons of frustration to areas of hope." True, but in places that lack democratic institutions, it has often had the reverse effect. Hezbollah became a major political party in Lebanon, Islamist militia leaders gained a foothold in the government in Iraq, Hamas came to power in the Palestinian territories—all through democratic elections that the Bush administration encouraged.

Again, does he believe all this, or does he just think he needs to keep up an encouraging face? Has he learned anything the past four years, and if he has, what will he do the next year and a half? Is he looking to solve the crises in Iraq, or is he just running out the clock so that his successor has to make the tough decisions?

Fred Kaplan writes the "War Stories" column for Slate. He can be reached at

The Framers Got It Right: Congress is the Decider

The Framers Got It Right: Congress is the Decider
Created by evan_at_rockridge (Rockridge Institute staff member) on Friday, May 25, 2007 04:35 PM --->

In this new article by George Lakoff and Glenn Smith, the Rockridge Institute issues a call to action in response to Congress's passage of the Iraq supplemental spending bill.

Critics of Congress's passage this week of the Iraq supplemental spending bill lament a lack of political courage. But Congress would find it easier to act courageously if the public understood the constitutional stakes. And that public understanding requires correct and persistent framing by Congress itself. What needs to have been framed — indeed what still needs to be framed — is Congress's constitutional responsibility and power to set the course on military missions like Iraq.

Here is what two of the country's most distinguished scholars on Constitutional powers testified to Congress on January 30, 2007:

"Congress possesses substantial constitutional authority to regulate ongoing military operations and even to bring them to an end."— David J. Barron, Harvard Law School

"The legislative judgment to take the country to war carries with it a duty throughout the conflict to decide that military force remains in the national interest. ... Congress is responsible for monitoring what it has set in motion. In the midst of war, there are no grounds for believing that the President's authority is superior to the collective judgment of its elected representatives. Congress has both the constitutional authority and the responsibility to retain control and recalibrate national policy whenever necessary."— Louis Fisher, Constitutional Specialist, Library of Congress (PDF)

Here's what this means:

The Framers of the Constitution framed the current debate over Iraq: Congress sets the overall strategy, and retains control over troop levels, redeployment dates, etc. The president's job is to carry out the strategic mission set by Congress.

The United States Constitution designates Congress as The Decider: they decide on overall military strategy. That is their constitutional duty. The president is the commander in chief of the military — and only the military. He is not commander over Congress, nor is he commander over the people of the United States. As such, the president's duty is to carry out the strategic mission given to him by Congress.

But Congress has abdicated its duty.

Congressional leaders have neglected to remind the nation what the Constitution says. They have allowed the president to reframe the Constitution, usurping their power for himself. The Framers framed it right. The Congress irresponsibly let the president reframe the Constitution.
The issue is more than the vital details of Iraq spending, withdrawal, timetables, and the safety of our troops. The issue is whether Congress will continue to allow the president to exercise dictatorial powers. Or whether Congress will insist on the framing of the Framers.
Framing has been vital. Opponents of the president's Iraq policies should have framed the issue immediately when Democratic leaders took control in January 2007. The message should have been: Congress defines the strategic mission; the president's job is to carry it out. He is refusing to carry out his mission.

Congress allowed the president to take over its job to decide the strategic mission and to put Congress in the role of merely providing funding. This allowed the president to cast Congress in the role of "refusing to fund the troops," "endangering the safety of our troops," "playing chicken with the lives of our troops," "hamstringing our troops," and so on. It allowed President Bush to portray Congress as responsible for the safety of our troops, whereas the real responsibility lay with him. By allowing the president to reframe the Constitution and take away their powers, Congress made itself fatally vulnerable. Most of the Democrats wound up adopting the president's framing of them as responsible for the safety of the troops.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid excused the vote by saying that the Democrats did not have a veto-proof Congress. But they did not need one. They could have chosen to exercise their authority by refusing to pass a spending bill without redeployment timetables.
House Appropriations Committee chairman David Obey said it was the best deal Congress could make because "the White House is in a cloud somewhere in terms of understanding the realities of Iraq." This is tantamount to saying that Congress has no choice but to accede to an irrational demand of the President.

Representative Louise Slaughter defended her vote this way:

"As such, we had a choice. We could send Mr. Bush the same bill, or allow something to pass that wouldn't be vetoed. And we elected to let something pass - to let Republicans, if they so choose, fund their own war.Considering that 90% of the Out of Iraq Caucus was with us in this decision, there must have been at least some reason for it. In fact, there are two in my opinion. With this White House, and with this Republican minority, it is safe to say that a standoff with the Administration would have meant that our troops would be left in harm's way, only now with even less funding to back them up. I don't think that would have been right to do - to make them do even more with even less. The President doesn't seem to care how much our troops suffer. All evidence indicates that he will make them fight if they have needed funding or not.Secondly, a standoff would have allowed the President to keep using our soldiers as pawns, accusing Democrats of abandoning them while it is really his war that has left them to fend for themselves."

In other words, allowing themselves to be framed in a subordinate position, many who originally voted to impose timetables retreated, thinking that they were forced to accept the president's framing of them. And being progressives — with the fundamental values of empathy and responsibility — they were doubly trapped. Their empathy for the troops — and their inability to take on their Constitutional role — forced even many Out of Iraq Caucus members to vote against their own position.

Now, one might read the Constitution a bit differently, perhaps maintaining that the Congress is only co-equal with the president. But that still does not put the president in a superior position and Congress in the position of merely a funding funnel for the mission he determines. Even under this interpretation, Congress has abdicated its Constitutional duty.

If you mistakenly believe that framing is mere PR or spin, recall that there is a reason why we speak of the "Framers" of the Constitution. All of our concepts come in the form of frames. Our deepest values and most enduring truths were "framed" by our "Framers." To protect those values and those truths requires the right framing. And to remind the public of those values and truths requires repeating over and over how the Framers framed our form of government, and why it matters today. Framing is a matter of life and death — and the survival of our democracy.

Many public critics of the Iraq occupation have accused the Democrats of cowardice, of weakness, of "caving in" — even of "betraying" the American people who voted for withdrawal from Iraq. But that is too easy a judgment. The result was determined in January 2007 when they allowed the president to reframe the Constitution.

The good news is that the present spending authorization is for "only" until September. We have until then to get the Framers' framing right. By "we," we don't mean just those in Congress, or those on the blogs. We mean the progressive grassroots throughout the country. We all need to act, and we can!

But before discussing actions, it is important to recognize other framing mistakes that need to be avoided.

Using the term "war." Literally, a war is a battle between two armies over territorial control. It is over when one army defeats the other. That happened in May, 2003, with the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime and when President Bush stood on that battleship under the "Mission Accomplished" banner. At that point an "occupation" began — an "occupation" of a country engaged in ethnic and religious conflict. Bush is technically no longer a war president; he is an occupation president. "War" has given the president a chance to claim extraordinary powers. There are other terms to use: occupation, military engagement, military operation, and so on. If Senator Jim Webb can use the term "occupation," as he did in his campaign, so can every other elected official.

"The power of the purse." Controlling appropriation is a constitutional duty. Referring to this duty with such a dismissive term promotes the idea that the president sets the mission and the job of Congress is just a cashier.

"Providing a check on presidential power." This sounds like Congress is just getting in the way, keeping the president from exercising his legitimate authority.

"Micromanaging the war," "overriding the commanders in the field." Congressional leaders should never let the president get away with such claims. Congress sets the overall policy agenda. The job of the commander-in-chief is to carry out that agenda, making sure that the commanders in the field are serving the Congressional mission. Say this over and over.
Permitting the Betrayal Myth: America, as a moral country with a strong military, should defeat all enemies. If America does lose a war, it is a result of too little support at home. In other words, but for betrayal, our good intentions and military might would win all conflicts. If the U.S. loses, the opponents of the military operation at home are to blame for "not supporting our troops," and for "undermining their morale."Progressives must point out that it is the president, with an enabling Congress, who commenced a foolhardy adventure with no clear exit strategy or way to "win." That same president has refused to properly prepare or adequately equip soldiers — and now he is blaming Congress. When Congress passed a supplemental spending bill with reasonable timetables attached, he refused it. The betrayer is the president. Say it over and over: The president has betrayed our troops and the nation.

Allowing the question to be asked whether "Congress has a constitutional duty to fully fund troops during wartime." It is Congress that determines what "wartime" is.That is its Constitutional duty. The president does not have the Constitutional authority to declare whether we are at war. Only Congress has that authority, and it can only exercise it for at most two years at a time.The president wants the country to believe that he is the soldier's protector and Congress is the villain. This is a cynical, revisionist narrative. The storyline that must be maintained casts Congress as the helper of heroic troops, the president as the false-hero or villain who sent them into harm's way inadequately armed and unprotected on a mission based upon lies. It is Bush who, with his veto, stood in the way of providing the troops with the funding they need. Progressives have missed this framing opportunity.

The continued abdication of the proper Constitutional role for Congress comes from the fear of blame for military casualties. Opponents of the Iraq occupation are concerned, and rightly so, that the Bush administration will frame killed or wounded soldiers as victims of Democratic mismanagement or partisan politicking. It is a fair guess that Democratic consultants are fretting that, if the Democratic Congress takes control of setting the mission in Iraq, Bush will lift the blackout on news coverage of returning injured and dead U.S. soldiers, using them as props in allegations that the casualties are the fault of "politicians." Progressives must publicly confront the president about this as they reclaim their Constitutional power, derailing any attempt to shift responsibility.

Those are the pitfalls to be avoided. Now it is time to plan a course of unified grassroots action.
ACTION: Write to your Congresspersons and Senators and ask them to frame their Constitutional role as the Framers did. We suggest that you raise the following issues:
The Constitution provides Congress with the power to define the military agenda, including troop re-deployment and the establishment of timetables.

The role of the president is to carry out the agenda defined by Congress.

Congress must continuously assert its Constitutional power and responsibility.
Congress must not give in to the betrayal myth. The president was offered funding with timetables but he turned it down — he is the betrayer.

Congress must frame the matter as an issue of Constitutional authority
Congress must place the safety of the troops directly in the hands of the commander-in-chief, whose job is to carry out the agenda given by Congress, which includes protecting the safety of our troops.

Don't just write to your Congressperson. Write to the editors of your local newspapers. Flood the email boxes of the television and radio news shows, as well as national magazines. Send this call for action to your email lists. And write to progressive activist organizations like MoveOn, Democracy for America, and so on, to ask their memberships to support this action.
And don't do it just once. Repetition is the key to success. Keep it up until the next funding vote in September.

Research Assistant Christina M. Smith contributed to this report.

Al Gore on The Daily Show

Al Gore was the guest on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Thursday night, talking about his new book, The Assault on Reason, and discussing the breakdown of the "conversation of democracy" because we have shifted from reasoned arguments and serious discussion to sound bites and 30-second TV ads.

Here's the annotated transcript of the interview, for the purpose of facilitating that "conversation":
Jon Stewart: Welcome back. My guest tonight, a former Vice President of the United States, and a former Presidential candidate, his new book is called The Assault on Reason. Please welcome to the show Al Gore.

[humorous banter elided; watch the video via the embedded link above]

Stewart: The book is called The Assault on Reason; has something happened to Reason that I haven't heard about? What's going on?

Al Gore: Well, Reason had it coming. Yeah, logic, reason, facts play less of a role now in the way we make decisions in America, and that's really what the invasion of Iraq has in common with the climate crisis. In both cases, there were all these facts, all this evidence, enough to convince any reasonable person that, hey, by the way, Saddam Hussein was not the one responsible for the attack on 9/11, so maybe [audience cheers] maybe we shouldn't have withdrawn most of our troops from the search in Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden was, to invade a country that did not attack us. And in the same way, all the scientists tell us that, hey, the climate crisis is the most serious that we've ever faced, and yet our official policy in the country is still that, you know, we're not going to do anything serious about it, and there are lots of other similar examples.

Stewart: How is reason — you know, you lay out that case and people say that's very reasonable. So how is it that, as a group, we continue to go, "Ah, I see: let's do the unreasonable thing"? What is it about the arguments, and why then are the people not using reason doing so much better arguing than the reasonable people? Even in the Senate, you have people — you know, they were just saying, we're going to, the Senate and the House are going to send a bill to the President, it's gonna stop the war and do the thing, and just recently they went, "Ah, you know what? Forget it, let's just go away for the weekend."

Gore: Well, you know, before the vote to go to war in the first place in Iraq, our longest-serving Senator, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, stood in an empty chamber, and he said "Why is this Senate silent? Ominously silent?" There was no effort to lay out the pros and cons, and in fact that was the case. I think the answer to his question is, People don't care that much any more about what's said on the floor of the Senate because the news media doesn't cover it any more —

Stewart: You haven't seen C–SPAN 5.

Gore: — and the Senators are often not there, because the system that we have now makes them feel like they have to go out and spend all their time raising money to buy 30-second television commercials, because that's the principal way that political dialogue takes place now. And when you have a conversation that's still mainly over television, it's a one-way communication. The average American is watching television 4½ hours a day —

Stewart: Although we have great respect for you, and that in no way insinuates that it's not a good use of your time. [cheers] It is a passive medium.

Gore: Yes, and my position is that all television is bad except my network, current_ TV, and The Daily Show, and whatever show I happen to be watching at the time.

Stewart: Exactly.

Gore: But in all seriousness, the television news programs have probably spent a lot more time on Britney Spears' shaving her head, and Paris Hilton going to jail, and Anna-Nicole Smith's estate lawyers and Joey Buttafuoco, and all this stuff, than they have spent giving us the facts — for example, telling us before the invasion of Iraq, that actually Iraq had nothing whatsoever to do with the attack of 9/11.

Stewart: You keep coming back to this: Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11?

Gore: It's shocking, isn't it? 70% of the American people were convinced at the time of the vote that Saddam Hussein was primarily responsible for the attack, 50% still think he was involved with the attack.

Stewart: But isn't that because — I think the reason that always strikes me that that is because the people that want you to believe something are actively manipulating information, and the people whose responsibility it is to filter through that manipulation, don't seem to be doing that. Is that where the disconnect is?

Gore: I think that's part of the problem. I think that the boundary between entertainment and news has been blurred — not on this show!

Stewart: Why are you looking at me? [pause] You know what's sad? On this show, I've actually blurred the line between entertainment and entertainment. We gotta take a commercial break, but when we come back, tell me what is actually wrong, and you can even use my name if you want to. We'll be right back with Al Gore.

[commercial break]

Stewart: Welcome back. We're talkin' to Al Gore.

Gore: I want to say something about your show.

Stewart: Please, say something about our show.

Gore: I want to say something about your show, and not just to flatter you, but it makes a point. I know that there are a lot of people here who feel the way that I do [audience cheers], that actually if you want to get through a lot of the nonsense and get to the heart of what the most important news of the day is, this is really one of the places to go to get the straight story, and it's ironic. I mean, it's true, it's true, Jon. You know, back in the Middle Ages — this'll sound a little weird, high-fallutin', but — the court jester was sometimes the only person who was allowed to tell the truth without getting his head cut off, and in the current media environment, making jokes about serious stuff is about the only way you can get past the —

Stewart: Let me ask you something: that's a compliment, right?

Gore: You're in this book!

Stewart: Thank you. Let me ask you this, though: why is it that the news media — and they're clearly being manipulated by government, by other — why don't they push back just as hard? In terms of, why do they feel that they have to be symbiotic with government? Why do they feel they have to be in a close, mutual relationship?

Gore: First of all, the networks have made the news divisions part of the cash-generating machine, and they have to meet the bottom line, first and foremost. That didn't used to be the case. The line between entertainment and news, as I said earlier, has been blurred badly, and also they can be intimidated. For example, in the run-up to the Iraq War, a lot of politicans, but also a lot of newscasters, were actually scared that they would be branded as unpatriotic —

Stewart: — or lose access —

Gore: — or lose access, or lose ratings. Some of the businesses that advise television networks on how to build their ratings, advised them point-blank, do not put on opponents to this invasion of Iraq, because the others are waving the flag and saying, "Let's go."

Stewart: But isn't the Internet, then, the great equalizer? The Internet is a much more populous — they're the ones that can generate the momentum that put these opposing viewpoints and these other truths into the marketplace, and by keeping that momentum up, isn't the Internet then maybe the counterbalance?

Gore: It is the single greatest source of hope that we will be able to fix what ails the conversation of democracy. And yes, for all its problems and excesses and abuses, and there are a lot of them —

Stewart: Porn.

Gore: Not just that, but the Internet has low entry barriers for individuals, who are then able to join the conversation. And even now, even though it's not at the point where it can really seriously compete with television, even now, the television broadcasters are getting feedback over the Internet that blows the whistle on them. If the Internet had been as strong 6 years ago as it is now, maybe, maybe there would've been a lot more attention paid to the real facts, and we would not have had our troops stuck over there in the middle of a civil war.

Stewart: I'm with you: I blame the Internet. [laughter] Hey, wait a minute!

The Assault on Reason: it's really a fascinating book, and between that and Inconvenient Truth, you need to write something funny. This is really.... Something about five dogs that go to heaven. Al Gore!

[commercial break]

Stewart: Hey, everybody, that's our show. For those of you at home who wonder sometimes, like, hey, what happens when they run out of time, what didn't they get to, what did they miss? Here's what we didn't get to: I was going to say to Al Gore, "Are you running for President? And if you're not running for President you can prove it by putting this hat [a beer helmet] on." Because clearly, somebody who's running for President is not going to do this, and I thought we'd have a great funny thing there, and then he started making so much sense I was like, "Nah, fuck it," and so that's our show; here's your Moment of Zen.
Reporter Jim Axelrod, CBS News: The phrase you just used, "a different configuration in Iraq" that you'd like to see, is that a "Plan B"?

President George W. Bush: Uhhh, we'll, let's see, actually, I would call that [pause] a plan recommended by Baker–Hamilton, so that would be a "Plan B–H."
[Full text of the press conference is available on the White House website; search for "config" to find the quoted passage.]
I can't help remarking on how much more comfortable Gore looks in public speaking than he did just a few short years ago. Still and all, to get an idea of what's really going on, beyond what The Daily Show brings you, you need a variety of sources, including places like Al Jazeera, C–SPAN, MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, and a big dollop of PBS.

The Goods on Goodling and the Keys to the Kingdom

And The No Longer 'Missing' Rove Emails Revealing the Cagey Scheme to Steal 2008...

*** Special to The BRAD BLOG [1] by Greg Palast

[2]This Monica revealed something hotter --- much hotter --- than a stained blue dress. In her opening testimony yesterday before the House Judiciary Committee, Monica Goodling, the blonde-ling underling to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Department of Justice Liaison to the White House, dropped The Big One....And the
Committee members didn't even know it.

Goodling testified [3] that Gonzales' Chief of Staff, Kyle Sampson, perjured himself, lying to the committee in earlier testimony. The lie: Sampson denied Monica had told him about Tim Griffin's "involvement in 'caging' voters" in 2004.
Huh?? Tim Griffin? "Caging"???

The perplexed committee members hadn't a clue --- and asked no substantive questions about it thereafter. Karl Rove is still smiling. If the members had gotten the clue, and asked the right questions, they would have found "the keys to the kingdom," they thought they were looking for. They dangled right in front of their perplexed faces.

The keys: the missing emails
--- and missing link --- that could send Griffin and his boss, Rove, to the slammer for a long, long time.
Kingdom enough for ya?

But what's 'caging' and why is it such a dreadful secret that lawyer Sampson put his license to practice and his freedom on the line to cover Tim Griffin's involvement in it? Because it's a felony. And a big one.

Here's how caging worked, and along with Griffin's thoughtful emails themselves you'll understand it all in no time.

The Bush-Cheney operatives sent hundreds of thousands of letters marked "Do not forward" to voters' homes. Letters returned ("caged")
were used as evidence to block these voters' right to cast a ballot on grounds they were registered at phony addresses. Who were the evil fakers? Homeless men, students on vacation and --- you got to love this --- American soldiers. Oh yeah: most of them are Black voters.

Why weren't these African-American voters home when the Republican letters arrived? The homeless men were on park benches, the students were on vacation --- and the soldiers were overseas. Go to Baghdad, lose your vote. Mission Accomplished.
How do I know? I have the caging lists...

I have them because they are attached to the emails Rove insists can't be found. I have the emails. 500 of them --- sent to our team at BBC after the Rove-bots [4] accidentally sent them to a web domain owned by our friend John Wooden.
Here's what
you need to know --- and the Committee would have discovered, if only they'd asked:
  1. 'Caging' voters is a crime, a go-to-jail felony.
  2. Griffin wasn't "involved" in the caging, Ms. Goodling. Griffin, Rove's right-hand man (right-hand claw), was directing the illegal purge and challenge campaign. How do I know? It's in the email I got. Thanks. And it's posted below.
  3. On December 7, 2006, the ragin', cagin' Griffin was named, on Rove's personal demand, US Attorney for Arkansas. Perpetrator became prosecutor.
The committee was perplexed about Monica's panicked admission and accusations about the caging list because the US press never covered it. That's because, as Griffin wrote to Goodling in yet another email (dated February 6 of this year, and also posted below), their caging operation only made the news on BBC London: busted open, Griffin bitched, by that "British reporter," Greg Palast.

There's no pride in this. Our BBC team broke the story [5] at the top of the nightly news everywhere on the planet --- except the USA --- only because America's news networks simply refused to cover this evidence of the electoral coup d'etat that chose our President in 2004.

And now, not bothering to understand the astonishing revelation in Goodling's confessional, they are missing the real story behind the firing of the US attorneys. It's not about removing prosecutors disloyal to Bush, it's about replacing those who refused to aid the theft of the vote in 2004 with those prepared to burgle it again in 2008.

Now that they have the keys, let's see if they can put them in the right door. The clock is ticking ladies and gents...

(Ed Note: You can easily contact your Congress Members to
call and/or email them this information by clicking here [6]. Let them know they need to take action. Now. And feel free to point them towards this article, URL: [7]
Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Armed Madhouse: from Baghdad to New Orleans - Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone WILD. For more info, or to hear Brad Friedman, Ed Asner and other troublemakers read from Armed Madhouse, go to [8]

Bob Dylan's Birthday

C&L’s Late Nite Music Club with Bob Dylan: 60 Minutes interview
guest blogged by BlueGal

Today is Bob Dylan's birthday. Maybe I should show a vid of the man himself, but this one with the lyrics works, because what with Keith Olbermann's special comment last night and all the betrayals and the war and the
strong feeling that we bloggers and a few brave souls are the only resistance left… dearest readers: I just thrust my fist in the air, sang it as loud as I could, and CRIED.

bobdylan-60.jpgHere's a 60 Minutes interview from 12/04 that was his first interview in like 20 years.

video_wmv Download (2267) Play (1704) video_mov Download (1818) Play (1226)

Friday, May 25, 2007

NYT: Bush to clash with Europe on greenhouse reductions

NYT: Bush to clash with Europe on greenhouse reductions

RAW STORYPublished: Friday May 25, 2007

President Bush is set to clash with European allies who are pushing for deep long-term cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, according to an article that will run on the front page of tomorrow's New York Times.

"In unusually harsh language, Bush administration negotiators took issue with the German draft of the communique for the summit meeting of the Group of 8 industrialized nations," reported the Times, "complaining that the proposal 'crosses multiple red lines in terms of what we simply cannot agree to.'"

"We have tried to tread lightly but there is only so far we can go given our fundamental opposition to the German position," the U.S. response said.

Germany, backed by Britain and Japan, has proposed cutting global greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2050. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, who will be host of the summit meeting in the Baltic Sea resort of Heiligendamm next month, has been pushing hard to get the Group of 8 to take significant action on climate change.

It had been a foregone conclusion that the Western European members of the Group of 8 -- Germany, Italy, France and Britain -- would back the reductions. But on Thursday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan threw his lot in with the Europeans, and proposed cutting carbon emissions as part of a new framework to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.
"The Kyoto Protocol was the first, concrete step for the human race to tackle global warming, but we must admit that it has limitations," Abe said at a conference in Tokyo. He specifically called on the United States and China, the world's two biggest producers of carbon emissions, to take the lead in the fight against global warming.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Report: Cheney aide clearing path to bomb Iran

Report: Cheney aide clearing path to bomb Iran

05/24/2007 @ 1:51 pmFiled by RAW STORY
A report published today reveals a growing game of tug-of-war between President Bush and his No. 2 regarding the US approach towards Iran.

Vice President Dick Cheney believes the US should not be pursuing a diplomatic path with Iran, and a senior aide to the vice president has been meeting with national security think tanks and consultants in Washington to "help establish the policy and political pathway to bombing Iran," Steve Clemons reported Thursday on his blog, The Washington Note.

Cheney is the person in the Bush administration who most desires a "hot conflict" with Iran and believes the administrations pursuit of diplomacy, led by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, is a mistake, Clemons reports.

The Cheney aide, who has met with policy hands of the American Enterprise Institute along with other groups, "has stated to several Washington insiders that Cheney is planning to deploy an 'end run strategy' around the President if he and his team lose the policy argument," according to Clemons.

Cheney's team wants to work with Israel, nudging the country at some key moment to mount a small-scale attack on the suspected site of Iran's nuclear infrastructure, which could lead to an Iranian counter attack on US forces stationed in the Persian Gulf, Clemons reports.
The vice president has in recent weeks been ramping up his rhetoric against Iran. Earlier this month, he spoke aboard a US aircraft carrier just 150 miles of Iran's coast to warn the country against continuing to pursue a nuclear weapons program.

This strategy would sidestep controversies over bomber aircraft and overflight rights over other Middle East nations and could be expected to trigger a sufficient Iranian counter-strike against US forces in the Gulf -- which just became significantly larger -- as to compel Bush to forgo the diplomatic track that the administration realists are advocating and engage in another war.

There are many other components of the complex game plan that this Cheney official has been kicking around Washington. The official has offered this commentary to senior staff at AEI and in lunch and dinner gatherings which were to be considered strictly off-the-record, but there can be little doubt that the official actually hopes that hawkish conservatives and neoconservatives share this information and then rally to this point of view. This official is beating the brush and doing what Joshua Muravchik has previously suggested -- which is to help establish the policy and political pathway to bombing Iran.

The zinger of this information is the admission by this Cheney aide that Cheney himself is frustrated with President Bush and believes, much like Richard Perle, that Bush is making a disastrous mistake by aligning himself with the policy course that Condoleezza Rice, Bob Gates, Michael Hayden and McConnell have sculpted.

According to this official, Cheney believes that Bush can not be counted on to make the "right decision" when it comes to dealing with Iran and thus Cheney believes that he must tie the President's hands.