"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Theodore Roosevelt
Four miles from Bush's Ranch, the supporters of Cindy Sheehan, co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace, stopped because the McLennan County Sherriff's Department said the group had disobeyed orders by walking on the roadway, not the grassy shoulder. Supporters included members of Veterans for Peace, Gold Star Families for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against War, Vietnam Veterans Against War, CodePink Austin, and the Crawford Peace House. More information at George's hometown paper, the Iconoclast...
The Lone Star Iconoclast is covering today's visit to the Crawford by several groups, including Veterans For Peace, Military Family Speak Out, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Code Pink, Crawford Peace House, and others.
Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq last year, is seeking a meeting with President Bush, who is vacationing in Crawford, to have some of her questions answered about the war. Several busloads of interested individuals are expected in Crawford to support her cause. Sheehan has said that she is willing to camp out in Crawford until she gets to meet with the President.
Only 48% of respondents to an AP-Ipsos survey think he's honest, while 50% do not, the poll indicated. That is a five-point drop from January, when 53% of Americans thought Bush was an honest President. Moreover, some 56% of Americans think he's too cocky, up from the 49% in January who said they view Bush's confidence as arrogance.
A mother who's son was killed in Iraq, defines President Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, on MSNBC's Hardball:
"Well, I personally believe that, since it is not working, then we have to make a change, that it is not worth the sacrifice if it is just more bodies on to the heap. Like President Bush said, he wanted to stay the course and honor the memory of the ones who died by continuing to fight. If it didn't work before, why does fighting more you know, you do the same thing over and over, that's expecting a different result is, I think, the explanation of insanity."
How else could one explain the lack of rational displayed by George Bush, his administration, and those Americans who continue to support a failed, insane policy?
With the last of 16 Ohio families notified that their Marines were dead in Iraq, other military families rallied to help, and hundreds gathered for a prayer vigil in Cleveland. [...] The losses came in quick succession for the suburban Cleveland-based 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines. Two soldiers died July 28 in a gun battle, followed by five on Monday while on sniper patrol. Then nine members of the battalion were killed Wednesday along with five other Marines and an interpreter in the deadliest roadside bombing of U.S. troops in Iraq.
Were you just too busy on the ranch, to give some support to the families whose sons and daughters died in your needless war?
There is a seemingly passive acceptance of the conflict-without-end. Some have called the unquestioning silent assent obscene. It is surely that and more. Where, in God's name, is the outrage? Where are the protests in the streets against a government that has lied to its citizens and taken them for everything they hold dear?
Some say a massive public revolt is missing in action because the country as a whole doesn't feel the pain of war yet. While many may be unsettled about the regular litany of deaths and bombings coming from Iraq, it's simply not personal yet. Certainly it's tragic when a U.S. soldier dies over there but chances are it's nobody you knew.
So the mournful event passes with flags and tears until another and another and another brings the pain home somewhere else in America. Given time the pain of young men and women lost forever will reach into even more homes. Maybe, heaven forbid, it will eventually reach out and tap someone you know.
Then the loss will be personal, or personal enough. An uneasiness is already creeping into our collective comfort zone about the Bush War no matter how firmly one supports the troops with a zillion car magnets or flowing yellow ribbons. This isn't about supporting the troops. It's about bringing them home alive in one piece.
The Daily Texan reports some strange request in preparation for President Bush's arrival:
Roads were shut down Wednesday and residents living in nearby apartments between Dooley and Ruth Wall Roads were warned not to look out of their windows Wednesday. School busses from Grapevine-Colleyville ISD formed a perimeter around the site where President George W. Bush was scheduled to land. No one was going to get a glance of the president on his way to the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center.
Stranger over at Blah3, suspects George is hitting the bottle again, and may have had a binder on Air Force One. While I am certainly not ruling out the fact that George has fallen off the wagon, I am suspicious that there is something more peculiar behind the request. What I find most intriguing, is the warning to the local residents "not to look out of their windows"...
Tomorrow marks the 4-year anniversary of President Bush's receipt of a daily briefing titled, Osama bin Laden Determined to Attack Within the United States. George received this memo while on his ranch in Crawford, but did not perceive the possible threat as worthy of interrupting his Texas vacation. We all know what happened 5 weeks later... Could the attacks have been thwarted? We will never know. But what is clear, is the absence of any reaction from Team Bush. They do not deny this, but claim the August 6th PDB was merely a historical document.
"What you have seen in New York and Washington, you Americans, and the losses you see in Afghanistan and Iraq, despite all the media blackout, are merely the losses from the initial clashes. If you go on with the same policy of aggression against Muslims, you will see, God willing, what will make you forget the horrible things in Vietnam. There is no exit from Iraq except in immediate withdrawal. Any delay in taking that decision means nothing but more dead, more losses. If you don't leave today, certainly you will leave tomorrow, but after tens of thousands of dead and double the number of disabled and wounded."
Once again, George is on a 5-week summer vacation and a threat is received. This time the threat is received not from a memo, which could be construed as historical information, but from the enemy in the flesh. But despite past experience, and present threats, George continues to play Cowboy at Camp Crawford...
Approval of Bush's handling of Iraq, which had been hovering in the low to mid-40s most of the year, dipped to 38 percent. Midwesterners and young women and men with a high school education or less were most likely to abandon Bush on his handling of Iraq in the last six months.
As the great Abraham Lincoln once said... "You can fool some of the people some of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time."
Osama bin Laden's No. 2 man in al-Qaida has threatened more destruction in London, saying that British Prime Minister Tony Blair would be to blame. [...] "To the British, I am telling you that Blair brought you destruction in the middle of London and more will come, God willing"
CNN suspended commentator Robert Novak indefinitely after he swore and walked off the set Thursday during a debate with Democratic operative James Carville. [...] The exchange during CNN's Inside Edition came during a discussion of Florida's Senate campaign. CNN correspondent Ed Henry noted when it was through that he had been about to ask Novak about his role in the investigation of the leak of a CIA officer's identity.
Wow. That was quick. As usual, Crook and Liars has the clip...
"The comments of the No. 2 man of al-Qaida make it clear that Iraq is part of this war on terror, and we're at war. As I have told the American people, people like Zawahri have an ideology that is dark, dim, backwards. They don't trust, they don't appreciate women. If you don't agree to their narrow view of religion, you're whipped in the public square. [al-Zawahri] was a part of the team that attacked us on Sept. 11, 2001. Part of their goal is to drive us out of the broader Middle East: precisely what this Zawahiri said. He's threatening. They have come up against a nation that, one, will defend itself. We will stay the course. We will complete the job in Iraq."
George then jumped in his white pickup truck, and drove around the ranch to chase off pesky varmints... A pastime he calls "windshield ranching".
"We fear that what we have heard from these two men is just one small part of the much broader picture of U.S. secret detentions around the world," said Sharon Critoph, a researcher at Amnesty International who interviewed the men in Yemen.
"These men were stripped of their dignity, at times beaten, spat on, deprived of sleep and threatened with sexual abuse and electric shocks," William F. Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International USA , said in a statement. "Their testimony will hopefully shed light on U.S. detention centers just as sinister, yet less well-known, than Guantanamo."
The Bush Administration recently renamed the War on Terror, to the broader more encompassing Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism... A bit hypercritical, don't you think?
North Korea's Dear Leader Kim Jong-il never forgets a phone number, a cadre's career or a line of computer code. [...] Kim wakes up early every day for intensive memory training where he sits down and commits to his keen mind items such as the phone numbers of workers in his Stalinist state. [...] Kim pilots jet fighters, pens operas, produces movies and accomplished a feat unmatched in the annals of professional golf by shooting 11 holes-in-one on the first round he ever played.
Wow. Pushing egomania to new limits of insanity... Is this what we can look forward to in George's 3rd term?
Looks like we might have another Veteran as a contender for a Congressional seat in '06...
A retired Air Force officer could be the Democratic Party challenger for the District 4 congressional seat held by U.S. Rep. John Doolittle since 1990. Roseville's Charles Brown, who retired as a lieutenant colonel after 26 years in the Air Force, said that he's in the process of speaking to clubs and Democrat groups to gather support for a campaign to run as his party's flag bearer against Doolittle. [...] A 1972 Air Force Academy graduate, Brown said his efforts in the Veterans for Kerry campaign convinced him that current politicians in Washington are not only voting against adequate benefits for active-duty military and veterans but are also cutting back on needed programs for the young and elderly.
Another Veteran is running for Congress on a Democratic ticket... What will the Chickenhawks do? What they do best of course... lie, cheat, and steal.
"It should serve as a wake-up call to Republicans, and I certainly take it very seriously in analyzing how the public mood evidences itself. Who is willing to show up and vote is different than who answers a public opinion poll. Clearly, there's a pretty strong signal for Republicans thinking about 2006 that they need to do some very serious planning and not just assume that everything is going to be automatically okay."
President Bush, following the deadliest roadside bomb attack on U.S. forces in Iraq, said on Wednesday the best way to honor the dead was to fight the insurgents and train Iraqi troops, and he rejected any early U.S. pullout.
"We're at war. We're facing an enemy that is ruthless. If we put out a [pullout] timetable, the enemy would adjust their tactics," he said in a speech in Grapevine, a Dallas suburb. Bush spoke on the first day of a 33-day break from Washington, to be spent mostly on vacation at his Texas ranch, his 51st visit there since taking office in 2001.
It's nice to know that our Commander in Chief has his priorities straight.
Steven Vincent, a fellow blogger has been murdered in Iraq, in what appears to be retaliation for his scoop on the Shiite militia infiltrating the Iraqi security forces...
An American freelance journalist, who accused Basra's police of being infiltrated by Shiite militiamen in a recent New York Times column and his Internet blog, was found shot to death in the southern city after being abducted by armed men driving a police car. Steven Vincent, whose work also has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, and his female Iraqi translator were abducted at gunpoint by five men Tuesday evening as they left a currency exchange shop, police Lt. Col. Karim al-Zaidi said Wednesday.
An Iraqi police lieutenant, who for obvious reasons asked to remain anonymous, confirmed to me the widespread rumors that a few police officers are perpetrating many of the hundreds of assassinations - mostly of former Baath Party members - that take place in Basra each month. He told me that there is even a sort of "death car": a white Toyota Mark II that glides through the city streets, carrying off-duty police officers in the pay of extremist religious groups to their next assignment.
As most of the world knows, Steven is dead in Iraq, murdered, it seems likely, by those he criticized in his New York Times piece last Sunday. It was a privilege to work with Steven, a brave journalist and a man of integrity, and I can do no better than Kathryn Jean Lopez on National Review Online in paying tribute to him.
Whatever plans Dick Cheney and his neo-conservatives may have had to conjure up a nuclear threat from Iran as "justification" for military action have been sharply undercut by some timely leaks to the Washington Post. In a redux of President George W. Bush's spin on the "grave and growing" danger from Iraq, Cheney protégé and newly appointed U.N. Ambassador John Bolton is on record warning that Iranian "deception" must not be allowed to continue much longer: "It will be too late. Iran will have nuclear weapons."
Not for ten more years, report sources close to the U.S. intelligence community in yesterday's lead story in the Post. Several government officials with access to the most recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iran have told journalist Dafna Linzer of its main judgments. By doing so, Linzer's sources seem determined not to sit idly by as our country is misled once again into a war favored only by "neo-conservatives" in Washington and their counterparts in the far-right Likud government in Israel who share a vision of remaking the map of the Middle East.
"We will not continue to tolerate the persecution of the minority, the killing of the many, and their forcible removal under the most cruel conditions. I should despair of any honorable future for my own people if we were not, in one way or another, to solve this question."
It appears, the CIA leak investigation is becoming increasingly focused on Karl Rove. Last Friday, two of Rove's aides testified before a federal grand jury:
The aides, Susan B. Ralston and Israel Hernandez, were asked about grand jury testimony given on July 13 by Matthew Cooper, a reporter for Time magazine, the person who was briefed said. Mr. Cooper has said that he testified about a July 11, 2003, conversation with Mr. Rove in which the C.I.A. officer was discussed.
At one point, the aides were asked why Mr. Cooper's call to Mr. Rove was not entered in Mr. Rove's office telephone logs. There was no record of the call, the person who has been briefed said, because Mr. Cooper did not call Mr. Rove directly, but was transferred to his office from a White House switchboard.
The aides have worked closely with Mr. Rove, screening his calls and coordinating his activities with other White House officials. Mr. Hernandez had been an aide to President Bush since his successful campaign for governor of Texas in 1994, and Ms. Ralston is known as one of Mr. Rove's most trusted associates.
Expect the smear machine to crank up any day now. Straight from the GOP's playbook... If you can't refute the evidence, destroy the credibility of the source.
King Fahd was laid to rest in an unmarked desert grave Tuesday after his body, wrapped in a simple brown robe, was borne from a prayer service by his sons. Vice President Dick Cheney and other world leaders headed to Saudi Arabia to pay condolences and honor Crown Prince Abdullah's ascension to the throne as the sixth king of the wealthy oil power.
Unmarked grave? Doesn't seem like a funeral fit for a King...
US HOUSE Ohio 2nd District 753 precincts of 753 reporting
JEAN SCHMIDT 57,974 52% PAUL HACKETT 54,401 48%
A little perspective... The OH-02 is extremely Republican. The 2000 and 2004 President elections went to Bush 63-37. The Republican margin in the past four Congressional races averaged 75 to 25 percent.
New Ohio Democratic superstar Paul Hackett went into the lion's den of pure Red Southern Ohio and scared the pants off of the GOP losing by less than 4 points in the face of a NRCC promise to "bury him."
No spin - the GOP is on the run.
Congratulations to Southern Ohio Democrats, the Lefty blogs, especially Swing State Project, and Dems everywhere. We have delivered a lesson - Fighting Dems will win the day.
Increased frequency of hurricanes, another benefit of global warming...
Note to the millions of people living near the Atlantic and Gulf coasts: Be prepared to batten down the hatches, it'll be a rougher than normal season for tropical storms.
With seven storms, including two hurricanes, already recorded, a record for this early in the year. National Weather Service Director David L. Johnson said Tuesday there could be 11 to 14 more tropical storms, including seven to nine more hurricanes, by the end of November. Hurricane forecaster Gerry Bell said a combination of warmer waters, low wind shear and low pressure, as well as the jet stream, favor storm formation.
The facts are in: record temps across the nation, dramatic increase in the frequency of hurricanes, the poles are melting; all signs of global warning, but the Bush Administration refuses to comply with the Kyoto Protocol... Greed? Cognitive dissonance? Take your pick.
Dick has his sights on Iran, and his trigger finger is getting itchy. The American Free Press reports:
A number of political observers and activists today sounded "a red alert" after allegations surfaced this week that Vice President Dick Cheney has ordered Strategic Command (STRATCOM) to make contingency plans for a nuclear strike against Iran in the aftermath of another “9-11 type attack” on the United States.
The danger of such a mad, Hitler-in-the-bunker action from the Cheney circles would be even further heightened were the United States Congress to stick with its present schedule, and go into recess on July 30 until Sept. 4. With Congress out of Washington, the Cheney-led White House would almost certainly unleash a “Guns of August” attack on Iran.
Iran is being trumpeted as a threat, the administration's approval ratings are at an all time low, George is safely in Crawford for the next 5 weeks, half of Wahington is on vacation, and Dick is sitting in the war bunker with his finger on the big-red-button... This is not good.
Most of the opposition to John Bolton has been based on his brutish hostility towards his coworkers and his obvious disdain for the United Nations. While this is reason enough, to not appoint him to the ambassadorship, there is also a much more pragmatic reason; he is a Failure on National Security:
Fewer weapons-grade nuclear materials were secured in the two years after September 11, 2001, than in the preceding two years.
North Korea, which had two nuclear weapons, now has eight. Bolton's scathing insults of President Kim Jong Ill provoked a dangerous reaction from the North Koreans, who called Bolton "human scum" and a "bloodsucker" who was "not entitled to take part in the [six-nation] talks.. "We have decided," they declared, "not to consider him as an official of the US administration any longer nor to deal with him."
On Bolton's watch, Iran has increased its nuclear program. Alarmingly, Bolton often blocked former Secretary of State Colin Powell from receiving “information vital to US strategies on Iran,” according to today's Washington Post.
Bolton successfully pushed to cut funding for the Nunn-Lugar program to halt the proliferation of nuclear materials, and failed to conclude a Plutonium Disposition Agreement with Russia to eliminate 70 tons of weapons-grade plutonium.
It has been reported that John Bolton's abusive demeanor only fuels the support of the president, that he in fact wants to put a "junkyard dog" in the United Nations to "shake up the beaurocracy"... Once again, George Bush is placing politics over National Security.
"Arrogance, abuse of power. This Administration is drunk with power. They control the House and Senate and seven of nine members of the Supreme Court, and therefore, they feel they need not compromise. They need not communicate with the minority."
Thank you Harry, it's about time someone uses that kind of language, when describing the abuses of the Bush Administration.
Nearly half of the survey respondents say cost savings did not materialise as a result of outsourcing and 70 per cent had a "significant negative" experience. The argument against outsourcing is backed by a finding in the report that, in the past eight years, 38 of 50 randomly selected outsourcing deals had problems resulting in litigation or termination.
From a sample of 50 problem deals, 74 percent failed because of vendor under-performance and cost overruns, the Deloitte study finds.
Other issues raised in the study include 10 percent of participants experiencing confidentiality and intellectual property rights violations. One respondent found its vendor selling its software to other clients.
More than half of the study's participants rank cost-related issues as the main risks of outsourcing. About 60 percent say the contract required more management efforts in comparison with original estimates and 81 per cent say transparency of vendor pricing and cost structure was limited or non-existent, resulting in additional costs.
Cost overruns, additional management cost, under-performance, intellectual property theft... Sounds great. Where do I sign? Corporate America, wake up, before it's to late. The American tech worker is not the only loser in the New Global Economy.
"I consider the insistence on pressing ahead with cases that would be marginal even if properly prepared to be a severe threat to the reputation of the military justice system and even a fraud on the American people. After all, writing a motion saying that the process will be full and fair when you don't really believe it is kind of hard, particularly when you want to call yourself an officer and lawyer."
From Captain John Carr's email:
"When I volunteered to assist with this process and was assigned to this office, I expected there would at least be a minimal effort to establish a fair process and diligently prepare cases against significant accused. Instead, I find a half-hearted and disorganised effort by a skeleton group of relatively inexperienced attorneys to prosecute fairly low-level accused in a process that appears to be rigged."
It appears the White House may have yet another investigation to contend with. What's the word again? Oh yeah... Shadenfreud.
It appears the White House has told the media to Shut-the-Hell-Up on the CIA leak investigation, because the flow of new information has slowed to a drip. Take the time to review the scandal from the beginning, with this great collection of news articles, via Perrspectives.
We often hear our elected officials, both Republican and Democrat, speak of outsourcing as a reality of the new Global Economy... It is indeed a reality, but don't think they are not playing an active role in its prevalence:
The Bush administration is anxious to court India, hoping that through increased Indo-US economic, geo-political and military linkages, India can be transformed into a viable counterweight to China and one malleable to US objectives and pressure. Buoyed by India's emergence as a major center for outsourced business processing, research and manufacturing operations and the country's growing military prowess, India's economic and political elite is eager, meanwhile, to lay claim to world-power status, including a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
One indication of the importance powerful sections of the Washington establishment attach to the "India card" is demonstrated by a recent CIA report which reputedly identified India as the most important "swing state" in the world's geo-political system, that is to say a state that could either ally with the US or become a party to anti-US alliance.
So when your called into the corner office on a Friday afternoon... Rest assured, you're not just losing your job, your helping forge an alliance with a burgeoning superpower.
U.S. foreign policy has always had "a streak of idealism, which means that we care about values, we care about principle," Rice said in an interview last week. "The responsibility, then, of all of us is to take policies that are rooted in those values and make them work on a day-to-day basis so that you're always moving forward toward a goal."
The former Oil Queen, has the nerve to tell us about principles and values... Stunning.