And, yes, I DO take it personally: 07/17/2005 - 07/24/2005
Mandy: Great blog!
Mark: Thanks to all the contributors on this blog. When I want to get information on the events that really matter, I come here.
Penny: I'm glad I found your blog (from a comment on Think Progress), it's comprehensive and very insightful.
Eric: Nice site....I enjoyed it and will be back.
nora kelly: I enjoy your site. Keep it up! I particularly like your insights on Latin America.
Alison: Loquacious as ever with a touch of elegance -- & right on target as usual!
"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."
- Noam Chomsky
I'm sorry I have left profmarcus to carry the load here, but I have been in Berkeley attending the Spiritual Activism Conference. I have been listening to well-known leaders such as Jim Wallis, Rabbi Michael Lerner, George Lakoff, Matthew Fox among many others. I have participated in workshops and work groups, and connected with the members of my own small group.
The purpose of the conference is simple. It is to take back territory that we on the left have ceded to the religious right. In the absence of an alternative voice, where will people turn when seeking a greater sense of meaning and purpose to their lives?
The execution will be more difficult. For many, fear of "looking like the religious right" deters them from expressing their own faith or spiritual path. For others, concern with the separation of Church and State has held them back. The wish not to impose one's religious view on another is held as a sacrament by we on the left. And yet, there must be room for us in the discussion as well. As one speaker at the conference said, and I paraphrase: "Religious values have always been part of and reflected in politics in America. The question is, what values do you want reflected?"
And furthermore, we need to be here to remind those on the right who sincerely believe in the moral teachings of their faith and strive to follow them that there are more than two issues that determine a moral platform. In my faith, and in all the others in this world, care of the poor, the sick, the helpless and the hungry rank high, as does peacemaking, good stewardship of the resources of our planet, and pursuing a world in which there is no want, where domination by one person, party or country over another is a distant memory. In other words, the values of connectedness far surpass the values of us vs them, the "I've got mine, and there isn't enough for my neighbor" value system that is so prevalent in our culture and across the world.
Gotta go. I will try to write something more cohesive after I get home. Today is the last day and I am off to a non-violence workshop.
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when fitzgerald draws back the curtain, i think we're gonna have quite a show... and, for somebody who's managed to keep a grand jury investigation damn near leakproof, fitz suddenly seems to have a sieve on his hands...
The special prosecutor in the CIA leak investigation has shifted his focus from determining whether White House officials violated a law against exposing undercover agents to determining whether evidence exists to bring perjury or obstruction of justice charges, according to people briefed in recent days on the inquiry's status.
Even gradually reducing the value of the dollar by an amount large enough - say 30 percent to 40 percent - so that Americans are finally discouraged from buying increasingly expensive Asian goods, may have unpleasant consequences. Among other dangers there is the risk that China will cut back on its purchases of American government securities, contributing to a sharp rise in long-term interest rates.
"The circumstances seem to be as dangerous and intractable as any I can remember," Mr. Volcker said Thursday, repeating an earlier warning in a February speech. "If people lose confidence in the dollar as a store of value, or lose confidence in the political strength of the United States relative to other countries, there is going to be trouble. I'm not saying a crisis is inevitable or that an orderly adjustment is impossible, but at some point big adjustments will have to be made."
The problem stems from America's persistent buying of much more from other countries, particularly China and Japan, than those countries purchase from the United States. The payment for the imports is in dollars, and because the foreigners do not use all of the dollars to make offsetting purchases here, they lend the excess back to Americans, who then use the loans to purchase more from abroad.
That satisfies this country's desire to consume and Asia's desire to step up production and employment for its vast population. But America's indebtedness to the rest of the world is rising at an annual rate approaching $700 billion. Everyone agrees that this indebtedness cannot continue to go up indefinitely. But while the pessimists see a sharp painful correction in the not-so-distant future, the optimists, a camp that includes the Bush administration and much of Wall Street, argue that the present arrangement is quite sustainable.
while the entire financial underpinnings of the u.s. teeter on the brink of possible disaster, we get all sucked up in karl rove and john roberts, not that they're not important, mind you... the point is, nobody's got our back, bushco is whistling in the dark, and we keep flocking to walmart...
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Lawyers for the Defense Department are refusing to cooperate with a federal judge's order to release secret photographs and videotapes related to the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal.
The lawyers said in a letter sent to the federal court in Manhattan late Thursday that they would file a sealed brief explaining their reasons for not turning over the material, which they were to have released by yesterday.
The judge said they would be the "best evidence" in the debate about the treatment of Abu Ghraib prisoners.
"There is another dimension to a picture that is of much greater moment and immediacy" than a document, Judge Hellerstein said in court.
He rejected arguments from the government that releasing the photographs would violate the Geneva Conventions because prisoners might be identified and "further humiliated," but he ordered any identifying features to be removed from the images.
[i was looking for something good to end the week with but couldn't find anything that really did it for me so i decided to "promote" this post from earlier in the week... it makes me smile every time i read it and smiling is good, right...?]
in the often ugly course of daily events, it's delightful to be able to post something like this... even cooler is that it came about because of a gay activist and a homophobe working together... i dare you to look at that young face and not smile back...
Ayad al-Sirowiy came to America this week hoping doctors here could remove the war embedded in his face.
Thirteen years old, small and skinny, Ayad was severely burned and blinded in one eye when an American cluster bomb blew up in his face at the beginning of the Iraq war.
A cluster bomb left Ayad al-Sirowiy blind in one eye and peppered his face with scars. He hides them by wearing sunglasses, even in his sleep.
The explosion blasted thousands of fragments into his skin and left scars deeper than that. The village boys tease him, calling him "Mr. Gunpowder." Even on sweltering days, Ayad wraps a scarf around his face when he leaves home, and most nights he sleeps with sunglasses still on.
But all that may change.
On Friday, Ayad and his father walked into a laser surgery clinic in Washington to begin a series of treatments to clear his skin.
Ayad curled up on the doctor's chair, eyeing the business end of a washing machine-sized laser.
"Ma, ma, ma," he wailed.
It was the end of one odyssey, which began in a mud hut in southern Iraq, and the start of another.
Doctors say a full recovery for Ayad may be a long shot, but at the urging of a lawyer who read about his plight and labored for more than a year to bring the boy to America, top dermatologists and cornea surgeons are willing to try.
What finally got Ayad here was an unlikely alliance between Joe Tom Easley, a lawyer and well-known gay activist, and Robert Reilly, a Defense Department adviser reviled in gay circles for an article he once wrote calling homosexuality "morally disordered."
Mr. Reilly used his influence to get Ayad into the United States, where the boy joined a small but growing circle of Iraqi children who have been airlifted to the country for medical help.
"People ask me why this boy, why help him, when there are so many others worse off," Mr. Easley said in an interview. "I tell them, well, I don't know about the other boys. But I do know about Ayad."
with love, from a citizen of neuvo california (via minnesota and macedonia)...
Dear Red States,
We're ticked off at the way you've treated California, and we've decided we're leaving. We intend to form our own country, and we're taking the other Blue States with us.
In case you aren't aware, that includes Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and all the Northeast. We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and especially to the people of the new country of New California.
To sum up briefly: You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave states. We get stem cell research and the best beaches. We get Elliot Spitzer. You get Ken Lay.
We get the Statue of Liberty. You get OpryLand. We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom. We get Harvard. You get Ole' Miss.
We get 85 percent of America's venture capital and entrepreneurs. You get Alabama. We get two-thirds of the tax revenue, you get to make the red states pay their fair share.
Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the Christian Coalition's, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms.
Please be aware that Nuevo California will be pro-choice and anti-war, and we're going to want all our citizens back from Iraq at once. If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals. They have kids they're apparently willing to send to their deaths for no purpose, and they don't care if you don't show pictures of their children's caskets coming home.
We do wish you success in Iraq, and hope that the WMDs turn up, but we're not willing to spend our resources in Bush's Quagmire.
With the Blue States in hand, we will have firm control of 80 percent of the country's fresh water, more than 90 percent of the pineapple and lettuce, 92 percent of the nation's fresh fruit, 95 percent of America's quality wines (you can serve French wines at state dinners) 90 percent of all cheese, 90 percent of the high tech industry, most of the U.S. low-sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools, plus Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.
With the Red States, on the other hand, you will have to cope with 88 percent of all obese Americans (and their projected health care costs), 92 percent of all U.S. mosquitoes, nearly 100 percent of the tornadoes, 90 percent of the hurricanes, 99 percent of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100 percent of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of Georgia.
We get Hollywood and Yosemite, thank you.
Additionally, 38 percent of those in the Red states believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62 percent believe life is sacred unless we're discussing the death penalty or gun laws, 44 percent say that evolution is only a theory, 53 percent that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and 61 percent of you crazy bastards believe you are people with higher morals than we lefties.
By the way, we're taking the good pot, too. You can have that dirt weed they grow in Mexico.
"It should be legal to kill illegals," said Carl, a 69-year old retired Special Forces veteran who fought in Vietnam and now lives out West. "Just shoot 'em on sight. That's my immigration policy recommendation. You break into my country, you die."
Carl was armed with a revolver chambered to fire shotgun shells. He wore this hand cannon in a holster below a shirt that howled "American bad asses" in red, white and blue. The other vigilantes assigned to Station Two [armed vigilantes camped along Border Road in Cochise County, Arizona, in a series of watch posts set-up for the Minuteman Project during April this year] included a pair of self-professed members of the National Alliance, a violent neo-Nazi organization. These men, who gave their names only as Johnny and Michael, were outfitted in full-body camouflage and strapped with semi-automatic pistols.
Earlier that day, Johnny and Michael had scouted sniper positions in the rolling, cactus-studded foothills north of Border Road, taking compass readings and drawing maps for future reference.
"I agree completely," Michael said. "You get up there with a rifle and start shooting four or five of them a week, the other four or five thousand behind them are going to think twice about crossing that line."
i used to be a tom friedman fan, having been seduced by his articulate and reasoned approach which, only later, did i come to see as relatively shallow... but, this piece, condemning hate speech of any flavor from any quarter along with those who enable it, is a winner... personally, i am sick unto death of what i call "wwe" (world wrestling entertainment), testosterone-fueled rhetoric that is destroying any semblance of rational dialogue...
We need to shine a spotlight on hate speech wherever it appears.
We also need to spotlight the "excuse makers," the former State Department spokesman James Rubin said. After every major terrorist incident, the excuse makers come out to tell us why imperialism, Zionism, colonialism or Iraq explains why the terrorists acted. These excuse makers are just one notch less despicable than the terrorists and also deserve to be exposed.
Finally, we also need to shine a bright light on the "truth tellers." Every week some courageous Arab or Muslim intellectual, cleric or columnist publishes an essay in his or her media calling on fellow Muslims to deal with the cancer in their midst. The truth tellers' words also need to be disseminated globally.
but, please, let's not forget the hate-mongers in our midst...
One of the lead religious right groups, the American Family Association is again promoting the work of a known hate group, a group that has been put in the same group as the Klan and white supremacists by the Southern Poverty Law Center. That group is the Family Research Institute, run by quack "doctor" Paul Cameron, who was kicked out of various medical professional societies over twent years ago for his embrace of quackery.
just for grins and giggles, let's take a look at what this hate group "in our midst" says about gays...
As opposed to animals, where homosexuality appears to be irrelevant, we know that homosexuality in humans is harmful . We know that those who engage in it:
• get and transmit blood borne diseases at high efficiency; • generate high medical costs; • often deliberately try to infect others; and • shorten their lifespan.
Those who engage in homosexuality also:
• frequently seek to ‘convert' others, particularly the young, to their sexual tastes • are generally rebellious, unstable and troubled; • are disproportionately disturbed (most who want ‘sex-change' operations engage in homosexuality); • are more frequently criminal; • more frequently take mind-altering substances; • more frequently engage in sex with animals (e.g., dogs, etc.); • more frequently engage in odd sex practices (e.g., sadomasochism, anal-oral sex); • are less productive in terms of fertility, raising well-bred children, and in their economic contributions; and • are more self-centered, selfish, and self-concerned.
the arrogance and megalomania of bushco is beyond belief...
The White House on Thursday threatened to veto a massive Senate bill for $442 billion in next year's defense programs if it moves to regulate the Pentagon's treatment of detainees or sets up a commission to investigate operations at Guantanamo Bay prison and elsewhere.
In a statement, the White House said such amendments would "interfere with the protection of Americans from terrorism by diverting resources from the war."
"If legislation is presented that would restrict the president's authority to protect Americans effectively from terrorist attack and bring terrorists to justice," the bill could be vetoed, the statement said.
Predictions of a "grim vision" revised - it's worse
robert parry at consortium news is a thoughtful guy... he works hard to see and articulate the big picture and, as near as i can tell, does a pretty good job... with things like this, however, there's little satisfaction in being right about an already ugly prediction...
Three years ago, I wrote an article entitled “Bush’s Grim Vision.” It began with the observation that since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, “George W. Bush has put the United States on a course that is so bleak that few analysts have – as the saying goes – connected the dots. If they had, they would see an outline of a future that mixes constant war overseas with abridgement of constitutional freedoms at home.”
Since then, the dots have not only been connected, but many of the shapes have been colored in. The immediate fear and anger following the Sept. 11 attacks have given way to the grinding permanence of a never-ending state of emergency. In many ways, the reality has turned out worse than the article's expectations.
Bush’s “grim vision” always recognized that the “war on terror” abroad would require restricted freedoms at home – as well as expanded powers for the police and military. So, just as in 2002, when the “Bush Doctrine” on preemptive wars laid the intellectual groundwork for invading Iraq, new doctrines are now being promulgated to justify the creation of a full-scale “security state” inside the United States.
China revalues renminbi - no dominoes tumbling yet
there's been lots of speculation that a major revaluation of the chinese currency could force a hike in u.s. treasury bond interest rates (necessary to satisfy china's need for a higher return rate on china's u.s. treasury bond holdings, offsetting the higher price they would be paying for the bonds) which could, in turn, spark increases in u.s. mortgage interest rates which could, again in turn, pop the u.s. real estate bubble... however, it doesn't look like this revaluation will be enough to set the wheels in motion...
China bowed to months of market and political pressure on Thursday by revaluing the yuan [renminbi] by 2.1 percent and abandoning the currency's decade-old peg against the dollar.
The new rate, initially, will be 8.11 yuan per dollar, well short of the 10 percent revaluation that Washington had been seeking to head off protectionist pressure in Congress.
Foreign pressure has been especially intense in the United States, where many law-makers blamed their country's $162 billion 2004 trade deficit with China on an unfairly cheap yuan.
Senators were preparing a bill that would have slapped a 27.5 percent tax on Chinese imports if Beijing did not revalue but last month delayed a vote on the measure after U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said it would be counterproductive.
To keep the yuan's exchange rate fixed, China was obliged to buy up huge quantities of dollars. Its foreign exchange reserves swelled to $711 billion at the end of June, the world's largest stockpile after Japan's. Much of the money has been invested in U.S. bonds, helping to keep U.S. interest rates low.
what makes absolutely no sense to me is why the u.s. would be so hell-bent on chinese revaluation when the downside risk for the u.s. real estate market could be so disastrous... then again, i'm probably making a cardinal mistake thinking that conventional reason even applies...
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it's gratifying to watch latin american countries coming together in an atmosphere of mutual assistance... however, i can't help but feel that the u.s. will take a dim view of these kinds of efforts because 1) they are local and regional initiatives, largely independent of u.s. influence; 2) allocation of energy production within latin america is likely to mean a future reduction in oil and gas exports to the u.s.; and 3) the person driving a lot of it is president hugo chavez of venezuela, currently no. 1 on the white house's latin american shit list... chavez isn't anybody's definition of a shrinking violet as a couple of my more recent posts (here and here) amply demonstrate...
During the Andean Community summit this week in Lima, the participating leaders approved Venezuela's proposal to create Petroandina, a ”strategic alliance” of state-owned energy companies in the bloc's five member countries - Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela - aimed at ”promoting electric power and natural gas interconnection, the mutual provision of energy resources and joint investment in projects.”
In June, Venezuela reached an agreement with Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Suriname and ten English-speaking Caribbean nations to create Petrocaribe, through which it will sell 170,000 barrels of crude oil a day (including 98,000 to Cuba) with soft credits for 30 to 40 percent of the total.
Chávez is also promoting a similar energy alliance, known as Petrosur, with the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) nations, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
All of these agreements are based on Venezuelan offers and proposals, from putting its oil reserves (roughly 360 billion barrels of crude) ”at the disposal” of its neighbours, to providing urgently needed refining services.
Schoolchildren, take note. There will still be high standards for you, your teachers and your schools. But at the White House, the rule is a little different: No pal left behind. Unless, of course, he is an out-and-out criminal. That's quite a standard.
A classified State Department memorandum central to a federal leak investigation contained information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked "(S)" for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified, according to current and former government officials.
Countless recent news stories have one thing in common -- denial of rights.
A British-born pilot for Cape Air is denied the right to take a course to qualify him to fly larger planes as a security risk. No evidence is offered.
The Bush administration reasserts its right to torture and hold indefinitely prisoners at Guantanamo, on the premise that it is part of Cuba (tell that to Castro!) where presumably totalitarian rules rather than American rules apply -- even though the United States runs the place.
A distinguished and moderate Muslim British educational leader is denied entry at the US border, en route to a conference discussing religious reconciliation and healing. No reason is given. [See my earlier post here.]
Immigrants attending required classes on worker safety find that the safety agency is doing the bidding of the immigration police. They can be detained indefinitely if the country of their birth won't admit them, even if they came here as infants.
The administration reasserts that citizens as well as immigrants can be detained indefinitely as security risks.
Congress is on the verge of reauthorizing the misnamed USA Patriot Act with only very modest refinements of its worst features.
Governors complain that Congress rushed through a national ID law with little concern for cost or privacy.
In America, certain practices are not permitted -- in any context. We have the right to confront accusers and know the charges. We cannot be arbitrarily detained indefinitely. Trials must be speedy and public. We may speak freely without political retribution.
Now there is a perfect authoritarian storm -- a genuine terrorist threat coupled with an administration that disdains the Constitution and will soon control all three branches of government. As a pretext for arbitrary rule, we have the premise of permanent warfare predicted by Orwell combined with the unchallengeable denial of rights described by Kafka.
my take...? it's all so very convenient, fitting perfectly with the plan to extend control and maintain power through fear... just watch as more "convenient" opportunities present themselves...
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But even that [the FBI investigation of the American Civil Liberties Union] is superseded by what lies at the heart of Plamegate, and that is lying in order to get this country into war. If the Washington press corps had a memory bank longer than 10 minutes, they could have exposed this years ago: the lies so often directly contradict one another. Before the war, the CIA was such a wussy organization it kept trying to downplay weapons of mass destruction in Iraq: After the war, it was all the CIA's fault, they had exaggerated the weapons of mass destruction. And so on and so on.
The trouble with piling lies on top of lies is that we can't even agree on facts anymore. I read the right-wing commentators, and it's not that we're not on the same page -- we're not even in the same library. They read the Downing Street memos and convince themselves they don't mean what they say. I really don't understand: Is it that hard to admit you're wrong when you're wrong? Is it that hard to admit that the invasion of Iraq has been a disaster? Isn't it self-evident?
If you support someone politically, you are not required to believe they are perfect. Did I think Bill Clinton had a sleazy affair while he was president? Yes. I just didn't care. I didn't think it had anything to do with the way he was running the country. You can't dismiss this. You can't not care about lies and war. Not if you care about American soldiers.
"The president is a man of his word," said Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group. "He promised to nominate someone along the lines of a Scalia or a Thomas, and that is exactly what he has done."
despite tensions between the imf and argentina since argentina's fall from grace (argentina was imf's poster child prior to the financial collapse in 2000/2001), the imf has nonetheless been forced to acknowledge the country's recovery WITHOUT toeing the rigid imf macroeconomic line...
Argentina is emerging from an extraordinarily difficult period in its history, and has achieved a significant measure of political, social, and financial stability. Since 1998,the country has experienced a major recession, the largest financial crisis in its history, and a period of severe social problems reflecting historically high levels of poverty and unemployment. Since 2003, however, confidence has begun to return, helped by a successful political transition and responsible macroeconomic policies. After two years of remarkable growth, which continues into 2005, real wages are recovering, output is close to its pre-1998 peak, investment and exports are reaching record levels, financial markets are relatively stable, and unemployment and poverty indicators are gradually improving.
nice words, right...? makes things sound almost rosy, right...? well, take a good look at the graph below that lays out the percentage of argentina's population living in the imf's definition of "poverty" and "extreme poverty" during the period may 2001 through may 2004... let it sink in just exactly what these folks have been through... then, imagine if you will, something like this happening in the u.s... keep in mind, too, that argentina, by and large, has had the largest middle class of any latin american country... they have a well-established social infrastructure and a reasonably developed industrial and economic base...
some very good questions posed by the chicago sun-times (as opposed to the tin-foil hat crowd)... a good reminder about how very quickly we are programmed to leap to conclusions...
Here is the evidence: They bought return railway tickets. Their bombs were not strapped to their bodies but carried in knapsacks as if to be left behind on the trains. None of them was heard to shout the customary ''Allah Akhbar'' before the bombs exploded. Unusually for suicide bombers, they left identification on their bodies. And surveillance videotapes show them laughing and joking casually -- rather than grimly determined or prayerful -- as they caught the Underground train.
i truly wish stories like this were given more exposure in the u.s. which is ironic since the subjects of the article both live in nyc... guess i need to keep in mind who's really running the country, huh...
When Steven Parelli and José Ortiz were evangelical ministers, they tried desperately to ”cure” their homosexuality through religious support groups, which merely added to their feelings of guilt and depression.
Today they live together as a couple and devote their efforts to fighting back against those who claim that their sexual orientation is a sin.
In an interview with IPS during a recent visit to Mexico City, Parelli and Ortiz stressed that it is a myth that homosexuality can be cured, a belief promoted by the Catholic Church-affiliated organisation Courage and groups of ”reformed gays” connected to evangelical Protestant churches.
”Those who attempt to cure homosexuality are actually doing something very harmful,” said Ortiz.
”I lived through it and speak from my own experience. I suffered terrible sadness and depression, and was even driven to thoughts of suicide,” he added.
Parelli, who says he fought with all his might to change his sexual orientation, but ultimately in vain, laments the fact that religious organisations promote the firm conviction that homosexuality is ”bad”.
”When I married a woman, I believed that Jesus Christ would help me to overcome my homosexuality,” he said. "It did not happen. Now I know that the best thing to do is to acknowledge what I am, what God wants for me,” he added.
yes... absolutely... love is love... committment is committment... all of us eventually must look into our hearts, accept who we are, and make a decision to live and love as best we can...
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Chavez has always been outspoken in condemning what he calls "U.S. imperialism," mocking President Bush as "Mr. Danger" and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld as "Mr. War." But Venezuelan officials insist that his recent threats to sever ties with Washington -- thereby suspending the export of 1.5 million barrels of oil per day -- are more than the rhetoric of a populist rallying domestic support.
"When the president talks, it is not a joke," said Mary Pili Hernandez, a senior Foreign Ministry official. "The only country Venezuela has bad relations with is the United States; with all other countries we have good or very good relations. But with just one word, the U.S. could resolve all of the problems. That word is 'respect.' "
U.K. Muslim luminary's entry to U.S. rejected at JFK
[A] distinguished leader of the Islamic community in London was refused admittance into the United States at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. Zaki Badawi is an Egyptian-born scholar, the principal of the Muslim College in London, which trains imams and Islamic leaders, emphatically preparing them to build bridges with British culture. Holding a doctorate from the University of London, Badawi has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth, has served as an adviser to Tony Blair, and is co-editor of an interfaith magazine with an archbishop and a chief rabbi. He is in his 80s.
Badawi was en route to the Chautauqua Institution in western New York, where he was to give a major address on the compatibility of Islam and Western culture. But on Wednesday evening, US border officials at JFK detained the elderly scholar for six hours, then put him on a plane back to England. Rejected.
The incident is a telling one. If a Muslim of Zaki Badawi's stature can be treated so contemptuously, imagine what the legion of anonymous Muslims face at the burgeoning network of checkpoints, security barriers, and borders that now define daily life.
Q Does the President equate the word "leaking" to a crime, as best you know, in his mind? Just the use of the word "leaking," does he see that as a criminal standard? And is the only threshold for firing someone involved being charged with a crime?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we all serve at the pleasure of the President in this White House. The President -- you heard what he had to say on the matter. He was asked a specific question, and you heard his response.
Q Is leaking, in your judgment of his interpretation, a crime?
MR. McCLELLAN: I'll leave it at what the President said.
Q What is his problem? Two years, and he can't call Rove in and find out what the hell is going on? I mean, why is it so difficult to find out the facts? It costs thousands, millions of dollars, two years, it tied up how many lawyers? All he's got to do is call him in.
MR. McCLELLAN: You just heard from the President. He said he doesn't know all the facts. I don't know all the facts.
MR. McCLELLAN: We want to know what the facts are. Because --
Q Why doesn't he ask him?
MR. McCLELLAN: I'll tell you why, because there's an investigation that is continuing at this point, and the appropriate people to handle these issues are the ones who are overseeing that investigation. There is a special prosecutor that has been appointed. And it's important that we let all the facts come out. And then at that point, we'll be glad to talk about it, but we shouldn't be getting into --
Q You talked about it to reporters.
MR. McCLELLAN: We shouldn't be getting into prejudging the outcome.
Q Scott, we don't know all the facts, but we know some of the facts. For example, Matt Cooper says he did speak to Karl Rove and Lewis Libby about these issues. So given the fact that you have previously stood at that podium and said these men did not discuss Valerie Plame or a CIA agent's identity in any way, does the White House have a credibility problem?
Can the msm walk and chew gum at the same time...?
inquiring minds want to know...
I may be going out on a limb here. But, I think the press can cover two stories -- A Supreme Court nominee and the biggest national security scandal in years. Give it a try at least. The White House only succeeds in this distraction strategy if the media lets them. Remember, Rove thinks you're a bunch of patsies.
ok, it may already be nearly time to call it a day here on central european time but, joe, you've made my day... ~ear-to-ear grin~
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If you live in a wealthy suburb [ed. comment: it doesn't HAVE to be wealthy and it doesn't HAVE to be a suburb] and attend a nice affluent church every sunday [ed. comment: it doesn't HAVE to be affluent and you don't necessarily HAVE to attend a church at all] and you work in a sterile office where all your coworkers are well educated and affluent [ed. comment: they don't necessarily HAVE to be well educated and affluent], and then you go home and watch television shows that focus only on hyped-up superficial interpersonal politics (read reality-TV) or sporting events that maybe give you pride for your city but no real connection with anyone, how can you possibly expect to understand the plight of those not like you? How can you expect to help move society forward when your definition of forward includes no one outside your small realm of understanding?
while what the author says may be particularly true for the wealthy, well educated and affluent, the described mindset is by no means restricted to them... lots of folks from all socio-economic and ethnic groups do exactly the same thing - put as much psychological, emotional and, often, geographical distance as possible between themselves and those who are not "like" them...
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Late this month, Telesur--short for Television of the South--will begin broadcasting 24 hours a day across Latin America. While the network's goal is nothing short of changing the way Latin Americans view themselves and their news, critics say the station could become a propaganda tool for the region's re-emerging left.
"Why do we have to continue seeing ourselves through the eyes of others?" asked Aharonian [Aram Aharonian, the station's general director], a 59-year-old Uruguayan who has lived in Caracas since 1986. "Now we are going to begin seeing ourselves through our own eyes."
John Dinges, associate professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, said he did not expect Telesur to toe the middle line. But he said that did not mean the new network was without merit.
"Generally in Latin America, the fact that a station has a political point of view does not rule them out of the club of good journalism," Dinges said. "I would love to see a successful television channel with hard-hitting journalism about Latin America."
well, golllleeee... on july 7, i posted that condi, in an interview with the bbc, pooh-pooh'd the notion that iraq was pumping out terrorists...
BEALE: Do you think that Britain and America in Iraq are perhaps fighting the wrong war? They went to war to remove physical weapons of mass destruction but partly Saddam Hussein as well, but that hasn’t stopped the terrorist attacks in Western cities like Madrid, in London today. It seems to have fueled those attacks.
RICE: Oh, I don’t think that anything is being fueled here except the fact that the terrorists are finally being confronted.
now, on july 18, a respected u.k. think tank begs to differ (at least insofar as the u.k. is concerned)...
Britain's involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan contributed to the terrorist attacks in London, a respected independent thinktank on foreign affairs, the Chatham House organisation, says today.
In the most politically sensitive finding, Chatham House, which used to be known as the Royal Institute of International Affairs, concludes there is "no doubt" the invasion of Iraq has "given a boost to the al-Qaida network" in "propaganda, recruitment and fundraising", while providing an ideal targeting and training area for terrorists. "Riding pillion* with a powerful ally has proved costly in terms of British and US military lives, Iraqi lives, military expenditure and the damage caused to the counter-terrorism campaign."
*pil·lion Pronunciation: 'pil-y&n Function: noun Etymology: ScGaelic or Irish; Scottish Gaelic pillean, diminutive of peall covering, couch; Irish pillín, diminutive of peall covering, couch 1 a : a light saddle for women consisting chiefly of a cushion b : a pad or cushion put on behind a man's saddle chiefly for a woman to ride on 2 chiefly British : a motorcycle or bicycle saddle for a passenger
"The president is right that Iraq is a main front in the war on terrorism, but this is a front we created," said Peter Bergen, a terrorism specialist at the nonpartisan New America Foundation, a Washington think tank.
i like ips (inter press service)... you can count on them to give what appears, on the surface at least, a fairly unvarnished view of events and they very often toss in tantalizing bits and pieces of news not found elsewhere... (their slogan...? "the story underneath...") here's their take on the galloping events of the past week's news as seen from, oh, roughly, 30,000 feet...
It's always difficult to play defence and offence at the same time, but when the geo-political ground is shifting beneath one's feet and damaging leaks are spurting out of the White House and Downing Street plumbing like Fourth of July fireworks, it's more difficult than usual.
At least, that's the sense one gets after watching the frantic manoeuvrings this week of far-right and neo-conservative personalities who found themselves trying, on the one hand, to persuade their compatriots to prepare to take on new enemies in what they call ”World War IV,” while, on the other, mounting rear-guard actions against faint-hearted allies who want out of Iraq and Democrats who are calling for the head of President George W. Bush's ”brain,” Karl Rove.
While, by week's end, most of them, at least judging by their editorials, columns and Fox News television appearances, were focused on defending Rove from charges that he may have compromised national security by ”outing” a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer as the immediate priority, they were all over the map -- almost literally -- for most of the past seven days, dispensing a never-ending stream of geo-strategic advice for all and sundry.
The leak of a classified memo from the British defence minister to Prime Minister Tony Blair detailing ”emerging U.S. plans” to reduce by half the number of soldiers -- as well as reports that the Pentagon intended to substantially withdraw its forces from Afghanistan within two years -- drew very worried responses from Weekly Standard editor William Kristol who has long assailed Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for refusing to deploy enough troops to the two countries.
Worried as well about a steady stream of public opinion polls increasing pluralities of U.S. citizens who believe that Bush and his backers lied about the reasons for going to war in Iraq, Kristol also gave over half of this week's Weekly Standard to an article titled ”The Mother of All Connections,” in which the author, Stephen Hayes, presents what he calls ”new evidence” of an operational tie between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.
ohfercryinoutloud, bill, give it a friggin' rest... there ain't no goddam connection so stop wasting valuable column inches, ok...?
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[F]riends say that [Rove] was shaken by the speed with which the Wilson story moved—and in a direction he didn't expect. He's used to being in control. But now all Rove can do is mark time until someone else—Patrick Fitzgerald—says what comes next. After his re-election victory last November, Bush called Rove the "Architect." Now the hunter has to wait with everyone else to see if he has become the hunted.
For the gazillionth time - Rove is an evil man [UPDATE - oops]
Well, of course, Karl Rove did it. He may not have violated the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, with its high threshold of criminality for outing a covert agent, but there's no doubt he trashed Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame. We know this not only because of Matt Cooper's e-mail, but also because of Mr. Rove's own history. Trashing is in his nature, and bad things happen, usually through under-the-radar whispers, to decent people (and their wives) who get in his way.
trashing people is rove's m.o... his signature... his calling card... his career is littered with the bodies of those he's destroyed... no amount of spin will obscure the truth - rove is a dark force who does not deserve a position of public trust at any level...
oopsie... left out the money quote...
Seasoned audiences of presidential scandal know that there's only one certainty ahead: the timing of a Karl Rove resignation. As always in this genre, the knight takes the fall at exactly that moment when it's essential to protect the king.