August 24th, 2008


Biden's Bill: The Patriot Act

"I drafted a terrorism bill after the Oklahoma City bombing. And the bill John Ashcroft sent up was my bill." -- Joe Biden on the Patriot Act in 2001.

The New Republic
Rhetorical Question

Michael Crowley,  The New Republic  Published: October 22, 2001

It's a bright early October morning on Capitol Hill. Joe Biden is bounding up the steps of the Russell Senate Office Building, wearing his trademark grin. As he makes for the door, he is met by a group of airline pilots and flight attendants looking vaguely heroic in their navy-blue uniforms and wing-shaped pins. A blandly handsome man in a pilot's cap steps forward and asks Biden to help pass emergency benefits for laid-off airline workers. Biden nods as the men and women cluster around him with fawning smiles. Then he speaks. "I hope you will support my work on Amtrak as much as I have supported you," he begins. (Biden rides Amtrak to work every day and is obsessed with the railroad.) "If not, I will screw you badly."

A dozen faces fall in unison as Biden lectures on. "You've not been good to me. You're also damn selfish. You better listen to me..." It goes on like this for a couple of minutes. Strangely, Biden keeps grinning--even fraternally slapping the stunned man's shoulder a couple of times. When we finally head into the building, Biden's communications director, Norm Kurz, turns to me. "What you just witnessed is classic Senator Biden."

Meet the current chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the Democratic Party's de facto spokesman on the war against terrorism. No other Democrat has been as visible in the weeks since September 11, and Biden, who began promoting himself almost immediately after the attacks, is likely to speak, for the foreseeable future, for a party lacking in foreign policy experts. That's good news for a man who is thinking seriously about running for president in 2004. But is it good for the Democratic Party? Biden is tough and he's an internationalist. Unfortunately he's also legendary for speaking impulsively and leaving others to clean up the mess. "He lacks the filter," says one Democratic strategist. Or as a senior Senate foreign policy aide put it: "Biden is an unguided missile." Not exactly the persona you want out front when the country is at war.



Organized Crime Dumping US Dollar For Euro

Criminals dumping weak US dollar for euro

1 day ago

OTTAWA (AFP) — The weakened US dollar has fallen out of favor with organized crime groups to pay for drug shipments or to settle scores, a Canadian government report said Friday.

And if the greenback continues its slide in 2008, as expected, more and more criminals are likely to exchange euros for illicit goods, said Criminal Intelligence Service Canada in its annual report.

"The US dollar weakened significantly against other major currencies in 2007 and according to some economists, is expected to depreciate further in 2008," said the report.

"As a consequence, other currencies -- particularly the euro -- are poised to weaken the US dollar's dominance as the currency of choice for international remittances and payments," it said.


Olbermann: US Caught Lying About Iran Supplying Weapons to Insurgents

Added: 23 August 2008

Keith Olbermann warns America that the Bush Administration is attempting to manufacture phony evidence linking American deaths in Iraq to weapons supplied by Iran. Why would they do this? Well, to justify attacking Iran, for starters.


Please keep this video in mind in case the Bush (or, god forbid, McCain) Administration claims that Iran launched a terrorist attack on America somehow. It's clear that the Republican war profiteers want an excuse to invade Iran, and it's clear that they are willing to manufacture any excuse to do so.

Originally aired on May 13, 2008 on Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

Sorry about the Windows Media Center border around the video; I had to use screen capture software to get around all the DRM garbage built into Windows.

The Liar called out in this clip is US Major General Kevin J. Bergner, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Iraq.

Elegy for a rubber stamp

24 August 2008

“Elegy for a rubber stamp”, by Lewis Lapham

Filed under: America — Tags: , , — Fabius Maximus @ 12:01 am
Lewis Lapham draws a portrait of the America press, showing why it provides so little assistance in our attempts at self-government. He does not tell us if this results from defects in the institution — or in us, their customers.
As usual with his monthly articles, it is both entertaining and provides a valuable perspective on America. On us.
Elegy for a rubber stamp“, By Lewis H. Lapham, Harper’s Magazine, September 2008 — Subscription only. Excerpt:

Having seen the original broadcast of the interview with President Bush, I remember Russert’s attitude as that of a trend-setting restaurateur anxious to please his best customer. The President delivered himself of his customary bombast (”Saddam Hussein was dangerous, and I’m not gonna leave him in power and trust a madman. . . . A free Iraq will change the world. It’s historic times”); Russert was content to favor the harangue with polite suspensions of disbelief.

The attitude doesn’t lead to the digging up of much news that might be of interest to the American people, but it endeared Russert to his patrons and clients.



Correcting the gov't's grammar illegal

Self-styled typo vigilantes sentenced for vandalizing Grand Canyon park sign

Fri Aug 22, 2:03 PM

By The Associated Press

PHOENIX - When it comes to marking up historic signs, good grammar is a bad defence.

Two self-styled vigilantes against typos have been sentenced to probation and banned from national parks for a year.

Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson pleaded guilty Aug. 11 for defacing a more than 60-year-old, hand-painted sign at Grand Canyon National Park on March 28.


Obama doesn't mention lobbying work of Biden's son

Biden's Son Employed in Profession Obama Disdains: Lobbying

Timothy J. Burger Sun Aug 24, 1:11 AM ET

Aug. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Barack Obama's speech announcing his running mate Joe Biden singled out the Delaware senator's son who is headed for Iraq. Obama didn't mention the profession of Biden's other son, who lobbied for two drug companies and five universities.

Hunter Biden, 38, described as a lawyer in the biography of his father distributed yesterday by the Obama campaign, lobbied for clients that paid his firm at least $380,000 in the first six months of this year, federal records show.

Both Obama and Republican presidential rival John McCain have said lobbyists may not work on their campaigns. McCain recently called lobbyists ``birds of prey,'' and Obama has refused to accept their contributions. In his speech yesterday in Springfield, Illinois, Obama said he's running in part to repair ``a government that has fallen prey to special interests.''


More clearly see our changing world

Another brillant metaphor by Tom Barnett, helping us to more clearly see our changing world

Filed under: Post-WWII Geopolical Regime, End of — Tags: , — Fabius Maximus @ 12:01 am

Tom Barnett is one of our leading geopolitical visionaries, whose analysis helps us more clearly see how our rapidly changing world.  Even those, like myself, who often disagree with his analysis gain from reading his work.  This essay strongly displays his strengths.


Here is a brief except from Barnett’s essay.  I strongly recommend reading it in full.  At the end are links to articles on other sites discussing Barnett’s essay.

The Core comes with competing rule sets“, Thomas Barnett, posted at his blog, 21 August 2008 — Excerpt:

We didn’t invite Russia properly into our 21st century, so, denied any acceptable ownership of its own 20th century history (better it be all buried, say I), it slipped back into its 19th … We denied them proper attention for a long time and now they’re acting out to garner negative attention: “You don’t let us decide some of your rules, then we’ll simply decide on our own where we can!”



Tommy Chong: Biden 'authored the bill that put me in jail'

Joe Biden Coined The Term “Drug Czar”, Wrote Laws Banning Drug Paraphenilia

Aug 23 2008 12:00AM

It turns out that Obama’s new running mate is one of the leading crusaders in the war on drugs. Which isn’t something that’s likely to sit well with Obama’s base of young, college-aged supporters

Earlier this week, in an interview with the Washington Post, Tommy Chong was asked what the average citizen can do to further the cause of decriminalization. “Check out the people you’re voting for,” Chong replied. “For instance, Joseph Biden comes off as a liberal Democrat, but he’s the one who authored the bill that put me in jail. He wrote the law against shipping drug paraphernalia through the mail - which could be anything from a pipe to a clip or cigarette papers.”

Barack Obama’s V.P. selection Sen. Joe Biden also spnsored the Rave Act, which targets music events where drug use is allegedly prevalent.


Taliban win over locals at the gates of Kabul

Anti-US demonstrations in Afghanistan
Military offensive displaces 300000 in north-west Pakistan
Afghan Army open fire on Shindand protesters, Karzai worried

While clashes in remote Helmand dominate the headlines, another battle is being waged by the insurgents on Kabul's doorstep. There, the Taliban are winning support by building a parallel administration, which is more effective, more popular and more brutal than the government's
Checkpoint on the Kabul to Kandahar road

A man chops wood at a checkpoint on the Kabul to Kandahar road. Photograph: David Trilling/Corbis

Ismatullah stood at the crossroads in the dusty Afghan town of Maidan Shah, squinted in the blinding noon sun and stroked his long, grey beard. 'What the governor said in our meeting was very good,' he said diplomatically. 'He quoted the Koran very correctly. But I am not sure how much power he has. Now I am going home - and the Taliban control my district, not him.'

The tribal elder lives only a few miles from Maidan Shah, in a part of Afghanistan which, until a few months ago, was considered under the authority of President Hamid Karzai's central government. Maidan Shah is a typical Afghan town - a scruffy huddle of mechanics' workshops, stalls selling out-of-date Iranian jam, the charred frames of two fuel trucks burnt out in a recent insurgent attack, and a clutch of battered barrows from which destitute farmers in rags sell bruised apples and tiny brown pomegranates. A dozen men lie on the flat floor of the single restaurant amid clouds of flies, sip smeared glasses of tea and stare hard at strangers.

Follow the main road back towards the Afghan capital and in 15 minutes you will be at the narrow pass in the ring of craggy, dusty hills around the city known for centuries as 'the Gates of Kabul'. If there is a front line between the insurgents and the government, it is here, just a dozen miles south of the capital. There is no clear front line, of course - which is part of the problem.



WSJ: Ron Paul's Supporters in Nevada Could Cause McCain Trouble

GOP Fight in Nevada Could
Cause McCain Trouble

Delegation Split
May Prompt Votes
For Libertarians
August 23, 2008; Page A4

PAHRUMP, NEV. -- Two Nevada delegations are packing their bags for the Republican National Convention Sept. 1, and if the latest party ruling stands, neither of them will be seated.

A fiasco at the state convention spawned the dueling delegations -- one for John McCain and one for Ron Paul -- and their continued wrangling has exposed a split in the party that may spell trouble in a key state for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Associated Press
Former presidential candidate Ron Paul speaks to the crowd as he is welcomed at the Nevada Republican Convention on April 26.

Running a strident libertarian campaign in the primaries, Texas Rep. Ron Paul tapped a seam of Republican frustration across the country, railing against the Bush administration's impact on civil liberties, foreign policy and the growing federal government. Mr. Paul's message resonated particularly in Nevada, a state where frontier spirit and personal freedom runs deep, and he captured second place in the January state caucuses, ahead of Sen. McCain.



McCain Hid Six Figure Home Repair Under Fake Name

August 22, 2008
Categories: Campaigns

The GOP's 2008 nominee is...Eldon Smith?

It turns out that this isn't the first time the issue of John McCain's lavish multiple residences has emerged in the heat of a campaign.

In 1986, when then-Rep. McCain was running for the Senate seat vacated by Barry Goldwater, he quietly began remodeling a $500,000 house in central Phoenix owned by his wealthy father-in-law James Hensley. The $225,000 project -- which included the construction of a 4,000-square-foot addition, swimming pool, jacuzzi, cabana and barbecue -- held political peril for McCain, who was already fighting charges that he was as an opportunistic carpertbagger.

The new house was located in Phoenix's fourth congressional district -- outside of the first district in Tempe which he represented at the time.


Pelosi defends Pickens' investment

By JEN DIMASCIO | 8/24/08 12:23 PM EST

House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi answered questions from Tom Brokaw on “Meet the Press” this morning about yesterday’s Wall Street Journal article reporting that she and her husband have invested in former swift boat ads financier and more recent alternative energy convert T. Boone Pickens’ Clean Energy Fuels Corp.

“As speaker, I have to put everything on the table,” Pelosi told host Tom Brokaw on the subject of off-shore drilling. “I don’t think it’s a good alternative, but if they can prove that it is, and they want to pay royalties to the taxpayer, let us use those royalties to invest in renewable energy resources, then we have something to talk about.”

When she mentioned natural gas as a transition to new alternatives to fossil fuels, Brokaw followed up with a question about a Wall Street Journal article detailing investments that Pelosi and her husband have made in T. Boone Pickens’ plan—one that includes developments in natural gas.


Nigerian official wants to jail scam victims

Jail the 'greedy' scam victims, says Nigerian diplomat

Asher Moses

August 22, 2008

* Scammers defraud Aussies of $36m a year: police

THE Nigerian high commissioner says people who are ripped off by so-called Nigerian scams are just as guilty as the fraudsters and should be jailed.

Responding to a story in yesterday's Herald, which revealed Australians lose at least $36 million a year to the online scams, Sunday Olu Agbi said Australians had failed to heed repeated warnings not to deal with shady characters on the internet.

He said media coverage of fraudulent activity stemming from Nigeria had given the country "a bad image" and "those who want to transact business with us are always very suspicious".


Top judge: No such thing as privacy

Jonathan Pearlman

August 21, 2008

PEOPLE'S willingness to talk loudly on mobile phones and reveal personal information about themselves online indicates that the privacy laws may require a rethink, says the country's top judge, Murray Gleeson.

In his final public address as Chief Justice of the High Court, Justice Gleeson said yesterday that he had begun to change his view that "certain things … were self-evidently private".

"The ground seems to me to be shifting," he said.


Biden is anti-privacy, pro-Patriot Act, pro-RIAA, repeatedly sponsored FBI snooping legislation

August 23, 2008 6

Posted by Declan McCullagh

By choosing Joe Biden as their vice presidential candidate, the Democrats have selected a politician with a mixed record on technology who has spent most of his Senate career allied with the FBI and copyright holders, who ranks toward the bottom of CNET's Technology Voters' Guide, and whose anti-privacy legislation was actually responsible for the creation of PGP.

That's probably okay with Barack Obama: Biden likely got the nod because of his foreign policy knowledge. The Delaware politician is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee who voted for the war in Iraq, and is reasonably well-known nationally after his presidential campaigns in 1988 and 2008.


But back to the Delaware senator's tech record. After taking over the Foreign Relations committee, Biden became a staunch ally of Hollywood and the recording industry in their efforts to expand copyright law. He sponsored a bill in 2002 that would have make it a federal felony to trick certain types of devices into playing unauthorized music or executing unapproved computer programs. Biden's bill was backed by content companies including News Corp. but eventually died after Verizon, Microsoft, Apple, eBay, and Yahoo lobbied against it.



Why does Israel have so much influence in U.S.?

Saturday, August 23, 2008 12:04 AM CDT

Ex-Rep. Paul Findley, R-Illinois, continues to state that Israel has a vast, undue influence in the United States.

The American Israeli Public Affairs Committee is considered the most powerful lobby in Washington. How else could anyone explain why we are still fighting in Iraq, a country that is not a threat to us?

Findley states that we attacked Iraq for ``Israel and for oil.'' But he's not the only important American to say this. Ralph Nader, ex-President Jimmy Carter, Noam Chomsky, the Washington Post, ambassadors and newsmen have all stated that Israel has undue influence in American foreign policy.

How can AIPAC be the most powerful lobby in our nation's capital? Israel only has 6.4 million people.


Town councils accused of spying on residents' sex lives

Council have been accused of using surveillance powers to pry into residents sex lives.

By James Kirkup

Last Updated: 5:35PM BST 24 Aug 2008

The Conservatives say local government officials are monitoring couples' sleeping arrangements for council tax purposes.

They have released documents they say shows that councils are invading households' privacy to check on claims for council tax discounts.

More than 7.5 million people claim a 25 per cent discount on their council tax bill because they live alone.


Disarming the bomb in the basement

Israel's weapons policy jeopardises the country's own security and undermines efforts to create a nuclear-free Middle East

Khaled Diab

o Sunday August 24 2008 13:00 BST

Israel's interior minister Meir Sheetrit – who is vying to take over the reins from outgoing prime minister Ehud Olmert – has struck a welcome note of caution on Iran in his campaign for the ruling Kadima party's leadership.

On Wednesday, he said: "Israel must on no account attack Iran, speak of attacking Iran or even think about it … Israel must defend itself only if attacked by Iran, but attacking Iran on our own initiative is a megalomaniacal [and] reckless idea."

Earlier, former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy also struck alarm bells against calls to bomb Iran. He warned that an attack could hurt Israel's interests for a century. "It will have a negative effect on public opinion in the Arab world."


PAX AMERICANA: That frontier mythology now threatens the world - Books - That frontier mythology now threatens the world
U.S. Army engineers line up in formation as a huge Stars and Stripes flag flutters on top of a Humvee as wind whips up sand in the desert outside Kuwait City, March 13, 2003.
America's New World Order is not just under global siege, its values are now downright dangerous to our survival, fears Richard Wright
August 24, 2008
Geoff Pevere

What Is America? A Short History of the New World Order

by Ronald Wright,
Knopf Canada,
368 pages, $29.95

There may be no other country in the world in which myth and history are as intimately entwined as the United States of America.

As history buff and novelist Ronald Wright (Stolen Continents; A Short History of Progress) points out in his eloquently impertinent and persuasive book What Is America?, it's a dance of co-dependency that dates back to 1492. Without the self-serving embellishments of myth – especially that which pertains to the endlessly exploitable horizon of the frontier — American history stands to lose the rudder of progress that sustains its "manifest destiny" as the anointed leader of the free world.

But freedom's a cunning little word, isn't it? If evoked with due persuasiveness, it can conceal a multitude of sin and hypocrisy. It is this history of persuasion, held against 500-plus years of events, actions and policies that contradict freedom's good name, that What Is America? deconstructs with such provocative rhetorical passion.



The next president will disappoint you

Andrew Bacevich’s analysis

"The very structure of American politics imposes its own constraints. For all the clout that presidents have accrued since World War II, their prerogatives remain limited. A President McCain will almost certainly face a Congress controlled by a Democratic and therefore obstreperous majority. A President Obama, even if his own party runs the Senate and House, won't enjoy all that much more latitude, especially when it comes to three areas in which the dead hand of the past weighs most heavily: defense policy, energy policy and the Arab-Israeli peace process. The military-industrial complex will inhibit efforts to curb the Pentagon's penchant for waste. Detroit and Big Oil will conspire to prolong the age of gas guzzling. And the Israel lobby will oppose attempts to chart a new course in the Middle East. If the past provides any indication, advocates of the status quo will mount a tenacious defense."

From the Los Angeles Times


Forget the promises; there's only so much a president can achieve.

By Andrew J. Bacevich
Andrew J. Bacevich, a professor of history and international relations at Boston University, is the author of the new book "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism."

August 24, 2008

On inauguration day, a new U.S. president is a demigod, the embodiment of aspirations as vast as they are varied. Over the course of the years that follow, the president inevitably fails to fulfill those lofty hopes. So the cycle begins anew, and Americans look to the next occupant of the Oval Office to undo his predecessor's mistakes and usher in an era of lasting peace and sustained prosperity.

This time around, expectations are, if anything, loftier than usual. The youthful and charismatic Sen. Barack Obama casts himself as the standard-bearer of those keenest to fix Washington, redeem America and save the world. "Yes, we can," Obama's anthem proclaims, inviting supporters to complete the thought by inserting their own fondest desire. Yes, we can: bring peace to the Middle East; reverse global warming; win the global war on terrorism.



We hit a nerve, says leader of Gaza sail


Prof. Jeff Halper, only Israeli who took part in peace sail to Gaza, says idea came from realization that Israel, world governments sluggish about lifting blockade on Strip; adds restrictions on Gaza symptomatic of more than security needs

Anat Shalev

Published: 08.24.08, 08:10 / Israel News

Prof. Jeff Halper, a former anthropology lecturer at the Ben Gurion University and the head of the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, was the only Israeli aboard the human rights boat which made its ways to the Gaza Strip shores on Saturday.

In a phone interview with Ynet, Halper spoke about the reasons which motivated him and other left-wing activists to try and break the siege on the Strip: "There are people here yearning to live in peace with us, yearning for freedom.

"All these restrictions, they're not just for security reasons, they're symptomatic to something much, much deeper."


Obama's campaign HQ in Minn. vandalized

Aug 24 2008 1:11PM

Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Police say Barack Obama's Minnesota campaign headquarters in St. Paul had two plate glass windows and a glass door smashed early Sunday morning.

Police arrived at the Democratic senator's headquarters about 1:15 a.m. A report says they found the windows and door smashed and paint splattered on the outside and inside the building.

One person was at the headquarters at the time of the incident but was unharmed.


The view from the boat / 'Ordinary people can do something'

w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m
Last update - 12:03 24/08/2008

By Ofri Ilani

Haaretz spoke last night by phone with Jeff Halper, an Israeli professor who was among the activists who sailed to Gaza.

"We proved that ordinary people can do something and succeed," he said. "Even Tony Blair can't go to Gaza, but ordinary people with drive can. The welcome was amazing. There were tens of thousands of people. People came out in boats and on windsurfers to meet us. Children swam out to sea and flashed the victory sign. I feel like we're fresh air entering a prison where a million and half people are living.

"I tell myself: We're in the modern world, the 21st century, and yet such excitement - over what? Over something we take for granted, that two boats arrived. Here it's a national holiday. Their isolation is so complete," he said.

Halper said that Gazans were eager to speak Hebrew with him, and to reminisce about the years they spent working in Israel. "Our impression that Gaza is Hamas, that there is only hatred there, is mistaken," he said, adding that he learned that "we are more of an obstacle to peace than the Palestinians."


Biden called for unilateral Iraq invasion - in 1998

Biden, Iraq, and Obama's Betrayal

Stephen Zunes | August 24, 2008

Editor: John Feffer

Foreign Policy In Focus

Incipient Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama’s selection of Joseph Biden as his running mate constitutes a stunning betrayal of the anti-war constituency who made possible his hard-fought victory in the Democratic primaries and caucuses.


Supported an Invasion Before Bush

Rather than being a hapless victim of the Bush administration’s lies and manipulation, Biden was calling for a U.S. invasion of Iraq and making false statements regarding Saddam Hussein’s supposed possession of “weapons of mass destruction” years before President George W. Bush even came to office.

As far back as 1998, Biden was calling for a U.S. invasion of that oil rich country. Even though UN inspectors and the UN-led disarmament process led to the elimination of Iraq’s WMD threat, Biden – in an effort to discredit the world body and make an excuse for war – insisted that UN inspectors could never be trusted to do the job. During Senate hearings on Iraq in September of that year, Biden told Ritter, “As long as Saddam’s at the helm, there is no reasonable prospect you or any other inspector is ever going to be able to guarantee that we have rooted out, root and branch, the entirety of Saddam’s program relative to weapons of mass destruction.”

Calling for military action on the scale of the Gulf War seven years earlier, he continued, “The only way we’re going to get rid of Saddam Hussein is we’re going to end up having to start it alone,” telling the Marine veteran “it’s going to require guys like you in uniform to be back on foot in the desert taking Saddam down.”

When Ritter tried to make the case that President Bill Clinton’s proposed large-scale bombing of Iraq could jeopardize the UN inspections process, Biden condescendingly replied that decisions on the use of military force were “beyond your pay grade.” As Ritter predicted, when Clinton ordered UN inspectors out of Iraq in December of that year and followed up with a four-day bombing campaign known as Operation Desert Fox, Saddam was provided with an excuse to refuse to allow the inspectors to return. Biden then conveniently used Saddam’s failure to allow them to return as an excuse for going to war four years later.



The Wild Card; Questions for Dennis Kucinich

The New York Times

August 24, 2008


Before you ended your quixotic bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in January and continued on as a congressman from Cleveland, did you believe you could really be president? No one runs unless they think they can.

But you’re a vegan. Do you think America is ready to elect a non-beef-eating president? I think America is ready for a president with a blood pressure of 90 over 60 who could beat most people half his age in a sprint.

I see you are scheduled to speak at the convention on Tuesday, at the Pepsi Center, which sounds like the name of a soda plant. Why is it called that? My guess is that Pepsi probably bought the naming rights. Naming rights are another thing my subcommittee — the Domestic Policy Subcommittee — is looking into.


Pelosi Censors Poster Honoring Fallen Soldiers in House Office Building


Pelosi censors poster of troops

Bruce Fein

Friday, August 22, 2008

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-S.F., has done something worse than commit a crime against the First Amendment. The speaker's censorship of nonobtrusive posters featuring men and women who gave that last full measure of devotion in service to their country is a blunder that could alienate 23 million veterans and their families from the Democratic Party. If she is endowed with a crumb of constitutional or political sense, she will reverse course. The tale of Pelosi's folly begins with Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C. He wished to pay tribute to the service members of Camp Lejeune who had been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. Accordingly, Walter placed a poster flat against the wall in the corridor outside his office showing their names and pictures. It was altogether fitting that Jones saluted the fallen soldiers on congressional premises. Congress authorized the wars that occasioned their tragic deaths. Congress appropriated the money that dispatched them to mortal danger. The posters communicated to congressional visitors that war is a combination of heroism and hell. Voters would leave with more informed judgments about the costs of the twin wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There was no tension between Jones' wall poster and the ordinary use of the House Rayburn Office Building to host direct communications between Members of the House and the public. On one occasion, for instance, a mother from Minnesota entered Jones' office with tears in her eyes to thank him for displaying the picture of her son who had been killed while serving the nation.


Hotel threat evacuates Speaker of House: Man Arrested Carrying Rifles and Guns

posted by: Deborah Sherman Date last updated: 8/24/2008 5:02:50 PM

KUSA - Denver Police evacuated House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from the Grand Hyatt hotel in Denver Saturday after a man carrying two long rifles and two handguns walked into the lobby of the hotel.

Denver Police spotted the man, Joseph Calanchini, 29, of Pinedale, Wyo., walking through the hotel Saturday around 4 p.m. He is not a registered guest at the hotel, according to Grand Hyatt General Manger Ed Bucholtz.

Calanchini told police he is in Denver on business and is planning a safari to Africa. Police say Calanchinihad just had two of his rifles scoped at a nearby gun shop and carried them in cases through the hotel lobby, where Pelosi is staying, according to Lt. Ron Saunier, Denver Police Spokesman.


Report: Israeli guards regularly abuse inmates

Investigation conducted by Israeli Bar finds prison wardens regularly subject inmates to inhumane conditions including unleashing of dogs, debasement. Prisoners also complain of delay in medical treatment to point of death

Aviad Glickman

Published: 08.24.08, 20:26 / Israel News

Wardens who set dogs on inmates, an inmate being held under administrative detention for 10 years, and serious flaws in prison medical care are only some of the conclusions of an investigation conducted by the Israel Bar at Hadarim Detention Center and Hasharon Prison.
The investigation, summed up in a report by attorneys Amnon Zikhroni and Michael Atiya, probed the conditions afforded by the felony and security wards at Hadarim, where most of the Palestinian organization's leaders are held in Israel, as well as the conditions in the juvenile and women's wards in Hasharon Prison

The report stipulates that in many cases inmates are subjected to unprovoked and whimsical chastisement by the prison guards, and presents charges of assault made by several inmates against the wardens. Some of them claim the guards responsible for moving them to different venues unleash dogs upon them, humiliate and debase them, and later file unfounded charges against them in order to justify their actions.


N Korea's Kim died in 2003; replaced by lookalike, says Waseda professor

Today at 06:39 AM

Is Kim Jong Il dead? Yes, North Korea’s “Dear Leader” is no more, having passed away in the fall of 2003, writes Waseda University professor
Toshimitsu Shigemura in Shukan Gendai  (Aug 23-30).

A one-time Mainichi Shimbun journalist posted in Seoul, Shigemura is introduced by the magazine as a leading authority on the Korean Peninsula. His latest book, released this month, is titled “The True Character of Kim Jong Il.”

If true, the implications are potentially vast. Among them: former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s summit partner during one or both of his landmark visits to Pyongyang in 2002 and 2004 was not Kim himself but a dummy — the stand-in Shigemura claims has been fooling the world for at least five years.

A dictator having one or multiple doubles is a familiar notion since Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was shown to have deployed them. But Saddam was alive at the time. Kim, in Shigemura’s scenario, was not manipulating a look-alike; he was replaced by one.


Afghan president 'pardoned rapists'

By Kate Clark in Kabul

Sunday, 24 August 2008

The Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, has pardoned three men who had been found guilty of gang raping a woman in the northern province of Samangan.

The woman, Sara, and her family found out about the pardon only when they saw the rapists back in their village.

“Everyone was shocked,” said Sara’s husband, Dilawar, who like many Afghans uses only one name. “These were men who had been sentenced and found guilty by the Supreme Court, walking around freely.”



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11:16 am: Biden's Bill: The Patriot Act
11:22 am: Organized Crime Dumping US Dollar For Euro
11:23 am: Olbermann: US Caught Lying About Iran Supplying Weapons to Insurgents
11:26 am: Elegy for a rubber stamp
11:29 am: Correcting the gov't's grammar illegal
11:31 am: Obama doesn't mention lobbying work of Biden's son
11:51 am: More clearly see our changing world
11:53 am: Tommy Chong: Biden 'authored the bill that put me in jail'
12:01 pm: Taliban win over locals at the gates of Kabul
12:05 pm: WSJ: Ron Paul's Supporters in Nevada Could Cause McCain Trouble
12:19 pm: McCain Hid Six Figure Home Repair Under Fake Name
12:23 pm: Pelosi defends Pickens' investment
12:26 pm: Nigerian official wants to jail scam victims
12:28 pm: Top judge: No such thing as privacy
12:45 pm: Biden is anti-privacy, pro-Patriot Act, pro-RIAA, repeatedly sponsored FBI snooping legislation
12:55 pm: Why does Israel have so much influence in U.S.?
01:02 pm: Town councils accused of spying on residents' sex lives
01:05 pm: Disarming the bomb in the basement
01:06 pm: Obama: Biden 'the next president of the United States'
01:17 pm: PAX AMERICANA: That frontier mythology now threatens the world
01:21 pm: The next president will disappoint you
01:44 pm: We hit a nerve, says leader of Gaza sail
01:47 pm: Obama's campaign HQ in Minn. vandalized
01:53 pm: The view from the boat / 'Ordinary people can do something'
02:09 pm: Fox coverage of DNC protest quickly cut as activists turn on their reporter (w/video!)
02:34 pm: Biden called for unilateral Iraq invasion - in 1998
02:54 pm: The Wild Card; Questions for Dennis Kucinich
02:56 pm: Pelosi Censors Poster Honoring Fallen Soldiers in House Office Building
03:01 pm: Hotel threat evacuates Speaker of House: Man Arrested Carrying Rifles and Guns
03:08 pm: Report: Israeli guards regularly abuse inmates
03:14 pm: N Korea's Kim died in 2003; replaced by lookalike, says Waseda professor
03:23 pm: Afghan president 'pardoned rapists'