The WP, following a Boston Globe scoop, fronts a piece that says that scientific studies have determined that the amount of nicotine in cigarettes increased an average of 10 percent between 1998 and 2004. The cigarette companies say they have no idea how it could have happened. A judge in a recent federal lawsuit determined that the companies have "designed their cigarettes to precisely control nicotine delivery levels." More nicotine makes cigarettes more addictive and harder to quit.Whaaaaa!
"Honestly, they would have loved to have funded it, but there were just so many priorities," says Jenny Manley, spokeswoman for the Senate Appropriations Committee. "They didn't have any flexibility in such a tight fiscal year."I'll bet Ted "all pork all the time" Stevens is really worrying about our boys.
Sergeant David Emme, a supply officer with a U.S. Army Stryker Brigade, was stationed at a submachine gun on a truck rolling through northern Iraq last November, in a convoy transporting Iraqi volunteers to Mosul for military training. As they entered the town of Talafar, Emme noticed that the streets were unusually quiet: no children were outdoors running toward the vehicles demanding sweets. Emme got on the radio and warned others in the convoy: "Something might happen. They might have some plan for us." Moments later, as they slowed at a traffic circle, an improvised explosive device (IED) went off right next to Emme's truck, knocking him out.And this guy was one of the "lighter" cases.
Emme's version of what happened next is patched together, from his own memories and what others told him later. "I remember waking up and wondering who the hell I was, where the hell I was, and why can't I see or hear? My soldier was screaming for me to get out of the truck and I told him no, because it hurt too much. So he literally threw me out of the truck and guided me to a Stryker," a lightweight armored vehicle.
The blast wave and fragments from the explosion had blown out Emme's left eardrum, fractured his skull, injured his left eye, and caused a severe contusion in the left frontotemporal area of his brain. His fellow soldiers rushed him to the nearby military base, where he partially regained his vision and tried to walk before again losing consciousness. He was medically evacuated, first to a combat support hospital in Balad and then to one in Baghdad. There, neurosurgeons performed a craniectomy, removing a large piece of skull from the left temporal region to give Emme's brain room to swell (see diagram). They implanted the bone under the subcutaneous tissue of his abdomen, hoping that it could be replaced later — if Emme survived. He remained unconscious and remembers nothing about his stops in these hospitals.
In 2002, Adam Curtis and the BBC released a four-part series called "The Century of the Self."
The series tracks how American elites have aggressively used the modern behavioral sciences to persuade, coerce and manipulate the American public into accepting the corporate-government world's version of events as their own.
This seven-minute video which I call "The Assassin of Democracy" focuses on one of the most skillful and amoral expert of all the experts in mass manipulation, Edward Bernays. Bernays got his first taste of the power of propaganda during World War I. He advised US presidents from Woodrow Wilson to Einsehower and served numerous corporations and business associations. One of his biggest fans was Hitler's propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels, a fact about which Bernays bragged proudly.
In this clip, we see a pattern that Bernays used over and over again: turn a harmless entity into a fearsome enemy through lies and manufactured news items. Then use the "threat" to justify attack. The subject of this video is Bernays campaign against the democratically elected government of Guatemala in 1953, but you'll have no trouble seeing that this very same method is being used today.
Republican operatives working out of Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch's office successfully hacked into the computers of and spied on several prominent Democrats, most notably Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy, for over a year from the Spring of 2002 through April of 2003. As The Boston Globe noted on January 22, 2004, the memos were then leaked at useful moments to The Washington Times, Bob Novak, and others.
For his latest trick, in a speech to the American Legion, Don Rumsfeld gives the full wingnut monte. America faces an undifferentiated fascist menace. Bush's critics are appeasers who don't understand the lessons of history who blame America first and hate freedom. The media is treasonous and a free press is a luxury we can ill-afford in this time of crisis. Etc.Digby takes Yglesias one step further:
This, I think we can assume, is the fall campaign. The idea is to psyche the Democrats out. To make them think they can't win an argument about foreign policy. To make them act like they can't win an argument about foreign policy. And to thereby demonstrate to the American people that even the Democrats themselves lack confidence in their own ability to handle these issues.
This is terribly important for everyone to understand. This is not a real critique. It's a psych-out designed purely to make the Democrats go wobbly and to get the media to portray them that way. It's about optics, heuristics and image. If the Democratic Party falls for it, it will be a crime. There is no substance to what they are saying and there is no reason for Dems to even flinch from such empty intimidation. Indeed, they should snarl right back in their faces.Exactly.
"Secretary Rumsfeld’s reckless comments show why America is not as safe as it can or should be five years after 9/11. The Bush White House is more interested in lashing out at its political enemies and distracting from its failures than it is in winning the War on Terror and in bringing an end to the war in Iraq. If there's one person who has failed to learn the lessons of history it's Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld ignored military experts when he rushed to war without enough troops, without sufficient body armor, and without a plan to succeed. Under this Administration's watch, terror attacks have increased, Iraq has fallen into civil war, and our military has been stretched thin. We have a choice to make today. Do we trust Secretary Rumsfeld to make the right decisions to keep us safe after he has been so consistently wrong since the start of the Iraq War? Or, do we change course in Iraq and put in place new leadership that will put the safety of the American people ahead of partisan games? For the sake of the safety of this country, it is time to make a change."Very nice Harry.
What if we could build a nuclear reactor that offered no possibility of a meltdown, generated its power inexpensively, created no weapons-grade by-products, and burnt up existing high-level waste as well as old nuclear weapon stockpiles? And what if the waste produced by such a reactor was radioactive for a mere few hundred years rather than tens of thousands? It may sound too good to be true, but such a reactor is indeed possible, and a number of teams around the world are now working to make it a reality. What makes this incredible reactor so different is its fuel source: thorium.Turns out thorium can be engineered to provide the heat (and energy) of a nuclear chain reaction without remaining radioactive for 10,000 years. Also, it looks like this type of reactor can "eat" the more dangerous uranium and plutonium.
At least 40 people, including 25 soldiers in the Iraqi Army, were killed in street battles that took place in the southern city of Diwaniyah, according to the LAT, which appears to have the latest casualty numbers. The NYT has the best explanation of what sparked the fighting. A week ago, at least two Iraqi soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb that the army believes was planted by Sadr's militia, the Mahdi Army. The army responded with arrests, after which militiamen took to the streets and skirmished with police. That led to military raids on three neighborhoods, which sparked yesterday's gunfights and shelling.I continue to hear most of the media describe Iraq as "on the brink" of civil war. Not sure what would have to be happening to become official.
"It was soon clear who had won," says the WP—Sadr's militia. Several papers mention that an Iraqi general said a group of soldiers who'd run out of ammunition were executed in front of residents in a public square. "Some Iraqi soldiers were captured and beheaded," says the WP.
"In "Iraq, we'll never be in civil war. What you see is an atmosphere of reconciliation."Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, citing the Baghdad public safety campaign, on CNN yesterday.
The LA Times reports that at least 80 Iraqis were killed in the country's low-intensity civil war on Sunday. This article says that killings are down substantially in Baghdad itself, what with thousands of US and Iraqi troops making security sweeps through the most dangerous neighborhoods. The first question is whether the decline in deaths in Baghdad (which is only relative) has been offset by violence in Mosul, Baqubah and elsewhere. The second question is whether the violence will remain lower when the sweeps end, as inevitably they will. Can the Iraqi troops take over at that point and continue to be effective against the guerrillas? My guess is, "no." In which case the US "Battle for Baghdad" is just a delaying tactic, putting off the day when the west of the capital falls altogether into the hands of the Sunni Arab guerrillas. If that happened, the Green Zone might not be far behind.
Prime Minister Maliki had the misfortune to come on US television noonish on Sunday and pronounce that violence is lessening in Iraq.
The LA Times reported 6 troops killed or announced dead on Sunday.
According to Kiplinger's, the Cheneys, who may be worth close to $100 million, have invested the vast majority of their wealth overseas, in markets that do not fluctuate based on the U.S. dollar
The female airport security guard held the small, black, squeezable rubber object she'd just plucked out of Mardin Amin's backpack, and eyed it suspiciously.The guy is standing trial for disorderly conduct and is facing up to three years in prison.
Standing next to his mother, an embarrassed Amin whispered out of one corner of his mouth that it was a "pump" -- as in a penis pump. The guard misunderstood the Iraqi man and thought she heard the word "bomb," Amin's attorney told a Cook County judge Wednesday.
"He told her it's a pump," attorney Eileen O'Neill-Burke said as a cluster of burly, snickering police officers watched the court proceedings. "He's standing with his mother. Of course he's not going to shout this out."
"Come on -- what do you think?" said Amin, who lives in Skokie and works for a janitorial service.
Amin may not want his mother to know he has a penis pump, but he said he doesn't consider it an unusual device to own.
"It's normal," he said. "Half of America they use it."
Amin is due back in court Sept. 13.
The unspoken subtext of this increasingly bitter debate between the Democratic Party establishment and the supporters of people like Ned Lamont and Hillary Clinton's antiwar challenger, Jonathan Tasini, is a referendum ordinary people have unexpectedly decided to hold on the kingmaker's role of the holy trinity of the American political establishment -- big business, the major political parties and the commercial media. The irony is that it's the political establishment itself that has involuntarily raised the consciousness of its disenfranchised voters.Damned straight.
The surge in support for Lamont initially came from people motivated by two simple things -- a desire to protest the war in Iraq, and physical revulsion before the wrinkled, vengeful persona of Joe Lieberman. But the party, in fighting back, attacked not on the issues but on the means of protest -- blogs, grassroots activism, Lamont's independent wealth. In doing so, it threw into relief the essential parameters of the problem, which is this: The Democratic Party has been operating for two decades without the active participation of its voters. [my emphasis]
"Believe me, I think staff thinks that two are plenty."Under a headline that says "White House Dismisses Talk of Third Term," Fox News quotes White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino.
There is a popular sentiment among the Washington elite that what went wrong in the run-up to the war in Iraq has been sufficiently examined, and that it's all water under the bridge anyway.I think his analysis is correct, and you can see it in action anytime you watch any debate about the Iraq war between neocons and everyone else. The argument by the "hold-em-accountable-camp" seems to center on not wanting history to repeat itself. But you'll play hell getting much play in the media with this stance as it's label "beating a dead horse".
It's popular in the White House and among Republicans for obvious reasons. But it's also remarkably popular among top Democrats and the establishment media, because they aren't all that eager to call any more attention to the fact that they were played for suckers.
"There is no rational reason left to oppose this research," one of the scientists involved told the NYT. But the White House said they'll be deciding what's rational, thank you. A Bush spokeswoman said the scientists had the right idea, but that in the end, "any use of human embryos for research purposes raises serious ethical questions. This technique does not resolve those concerns." The Catholic Church also was not won over, objecting as it does to in vitro fertilization in general as well as this particular diagnostic test.This scientist quoted above makes a fundamental mistake is thinking that "rationality" has anything to do with the entire issue. For the White House and conservative nutbars, it's politics and fantacism. The controversy over this issue will never be solved in the laboratory.
• Pope to inspect 'image of Christ on veil'
• Holy toast: Sandwich sells for £15,000
• Heavenly chocolate is the Virgin Mary
• Our Lady of the underpass
• The alligator's skin that spells God
"There must be consequences if people thumb their nose at the United Nations Security Council, and we will work with people in the Security Council to achieve that objective."Wonder if John Bolton got the word.
The Post notes that Iran, as a major oil producer, is in a good position to play hardball with the West: "Iran is feeling emboldened in the region and the Security Council is juggling a multitude of crises in the Middle East, including the Iraq war and recent fighting in southern Lebanon."In one corner, we have the U.S. and it's "allies" who don't want a nuclear Iran. In the other corner, we have Iran with who rightly fears a Bushian policy in the middle east and who has been well trained in the need for a nuclear weapon in order to avoid the U.S. bully. And please. Don't believe any nonsense about an agreement that preserves enrichment while keeping materials away from arms development. Iran has learned one of the most important lessons of diplomacy in the last six years: if you have a nuke, you're much much safer than if you don't. Any such agreement will inevitably be "broken" and exist merely as a stalling tactic.
The NYT suggests that Iran may be trying to work out an arrangement whereby it keeps the enrichment program but with safeguards to ensure no nuclear material goes to a weapons program, and that Tehran believes it could get China and Russia to support that compromise. But the Post says Iran may be willing to deal, and cites Iranian sources as saying Tehran would freeze the program if it got assurances that Washington was dealing in earnest and was not trying to engage in regime change on the sly.
Animal House in the West WingA real big thinker and a gasbag to boot.
He loves to cuss, gets a jolly when a mountain biker wipes out trying to keep up with him, and now we're learning that the first frat boy loves flatulence jokes. A top insider let that slip when explaining why President Bush is paranoid around women, always worried about his behavior. But he's still a funny, earthy guy who, for example, can't get enough of fart jokes. He's also known to cut a few for laughs, especially when greeting new young aides, but forget about getting people to gas about that.
But not this cycle. It's no mystery that things aren't looking good for the GOP this year. But I like looking at numbers in the individual races. And again and again, I'm seeing races that never quite become competitive tip on to the other side entirely.I think it's still a bit early to get the champagne chilled. But I do think the election is moving in the right direction. But then again, I've felt cautiously optimistic before only to be torpedoed. But hey, even a stopped watch is right twice per day.
One I noticed a few weeks ago was Rep. Chris ["the count"] Chocola in Indiana 2. First was a Democratic poll showing him a stunning ten points behind his Democratic opponent. Partisan polls are of course inherently suspect. But, as has happened again and again over the last six or seven weeks, that was followed by an independent poll which showed a smaller but still serious deficit. Chocola with 41% to his challengers 46%.
For an incumbent in July those are very bleak numbers.
And he's not the only one.
In this workshop, I’d learn how to create bogus community groups, false statistics, and links with “far-right-wing nutso activists”. I’d learn to conflate “activist” with “terrorist” and “security threat”.
We’d all gathered to hear a man who claims that proportional representation is “a bizarre thing” and that “corporate responsibility is a weakness. Corporate responsibility is letting someone else set the agenda.” We’d learn that sustainability is “an extremist position”, that science’s ‘precautionary principal’ is “extreme”, and that maintaining biodiversity “turns back the evolutionary clock millions of years and eliminates humans from the face of the Earth! That’s extreme!” Animal protection bodies, we’d learn, really want to “sever all contact between humans and animals!”
But this summer, a number of surveys show that American workers, who already take fewer vacations than people in nearly all industrial nations, have pruned back their leisure days even more.
The Conference Board, a private research group, found that at the start of the summer, 40 percent of consumers had no plans to take a vacation over the next six months — the lowest percentage recorded by the group in 28 years. A survey by the Gallup Organization in May based on telephone interviews with a national sample of 1,003 adults found that 43 percent of respondents had no summer vacation plans.
About 25 percent of American workers in the private sector do not get any paid vacation time, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Another 33 percent will take only a seven-day vacation, including a weekend.
“The idea of somebody going away for two weeks is really becoming a thing of the past,” said Mike Pina, a spokesman for AAA, which has nearly 50 million members in North America. “It’s kind of sad, really, that people can’t seem to leave their jobs anymore.” Full story here.
Herman [Cox news reporter] was sporting a brown seersucker-style suit that’s a bit brighter than the typical blues and grays of the briefing room. Bush, who’s a stickler about traditional dress with his own staff, called on another reporter for a question, but couldn’t resist adding an aside to Herman: “By the way, seersucker is coming back.”Worst. President. Ever.
Later Bush came back to the outfit again. In response to another reporter’s question about the Lieberman-Lamont race, Bush said he was “going to stay out of Connecticut.” Herman piped up that Bush had been born there. Bush jokingly accused Herman of doing research, and also of being mad that Bush had “dissed that just ridiculous-looking outfit.”
Finally Bush called on Herman for a question. “Go ahead,” Herman said slowly, bracing himself for yet another jab.
“I don’t need to now that you’ve stood up, and everybody can clearly see for themselves,” Bush responded, to laughter. Later inspection showed that the suit in question was a Haspel. Herman said it came out for the press conference because his wife reminded him he should wear his summer stuff again before it has to go to the cleaners.
Cautionary tales like this, movies such as Good Night and Good Luck and Syriana should grab more of the public's attention. If only they weren't so distracted with the faux JonBenet killer headlines. There really is nothing new under the sun.
Through a combination of factors-his easy bearing chief among them (along with massive cash donations from Big Business; disorganization in the liberal opposition; a stuffy, aloof opponent; and support from religious fanatics who feel they've been unfairly marginalized)-he wins the presidential election.
Once in, he appoints his friends and political advisers to high-level positions, stocks the Supreme Court with ''surprisingly unknown lawyers who called [him] by his first name,'' declaws Congress, allows Big Business to dictate policy, consolidates the media, and fills newspapers with ''syndicated gossip from Hollywood.'' Carping newspapermen worry that America is moving backward to a time when anti-German politicians renamed sauerkraut ''Liberty Cabbage'' and ''hick legislators...set up shop as scientific experts and made the world laugh itself sick by forbidding the teaching of evolution,'' but newspaper readers, wary of excessive negativity, pay no mind.
Given the nature of ''powerful and secret enemies'' of America-who are ''planning their last charge'' to take away our freedom-an indefinite state of crisis is declared, and that freedom is stowed away for safekeeping. When the threat passes, we can have it back, but in the meantime, citizens are asked to ''bear with'' the president.
On NBC’s Meet the Press this morning, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) called for immediately adding more U.S. soldiers on the ground in Iraq. Echoing the failed strategy behind the escalation during the Vietnam War, McCain suggested that putting more troops in the middle of Iraq’s civil war would help the U.S. to ultimately prevail.You'd think he, above all others, would know the difference.
Rumsfeld took office determined to transform the U.S. armed forces into a high-tech, computerized, lean, mean fighting machine that would be invincible.
Instead, the U.S. Army today remains becalmed in Iraq, stuck in the middle of a low intensity guerrilla war it has been unable to tame. And that war is now morphing into a no-holds-barred civil war. Meanwhile, U.S. military preparedness, retired generals and respected military analysts warn, is now lower than it was in the immediate aftermath of the Vietnam War -- when Rumsfeld was U.S. defense secretary for the first time.
CAMP ANACONDA, Iraq (AP) - Spc. Chris Carlson had been out of the U.S. Army for two years and was working at Costco in California when he received notice that he was being called back into service.
The 24-year-old is one of thousands of soldiers and Marines who have been deployed to Iraq under a policy that allows military leaders to recall troops who have left the service but still have time left on their contract.
"I thought it was crazy," said Carlson, who has found himself protecting convoys on Iraq's dangerous roads as part of a New Jersey National Guard unit. "Never in a million years did I think they would call me back."
You can check out any time you like but you can never leave.
The WP's Haditha piece is based on a leaked statement from Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Chessani, and the paper calls it the "first formal evidence to emerge in the case" involving U.S. forces allegedly killing civilians, including women and children, in the Iraqi village. Chessani, who declined a lawyer when he spoke to investigators despite being told he was suspected of dereliction of duty, did not order an investigation after the incident because he didn't consider what happened unusual, the paper reports. He considered it normal "combat action."Yeah, a little rape, a little murder in a village of civilians sounds like typical combat to me. The above quote goes right along with this golden oldie from 2005:
Lt. Gen. James Mattis, who commanded Marine expeditions in Afghanistan and Iraq, made the comments Tuesday during a panel discussion in San Diego, California.And of course there's the recently retired General Geoffrey "bamboo-under-the-nails" Miller's recently awarded Distinguished Service Medal", and the military leadership picture becomes understandable. This just goes to show the level of delusion the military has had to undergo in order to fulfill Bush's mission in Iraq.
"Actually it's quite fun to fight them, you know. It's a hell of a hoot," Mattis said, prompting laughter from some military members in the audience. "It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right up there with you. I like brawling.
"You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil," Mattis said. "You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."
Ford's production cut means it will reduce its output by about 168,000 vehicles. In accordance with union agreements, workers will still be paid while their factories temporarily go dark. The company named continued high gas prices as the main culprit, resulting in greatly reduced demand for SUVs and its popular F-150 truck line.This meme of consumer choices messing up the American automakers business is just plain bunk and frankly I'm sick of hearing it.
Turkey and Iran have dispatched tanks, artillery and thousands of troops to their frontiers with Iraq during the past few weeks in what appears to be a coordinated effort to disrupt the activities of Kurdish rebel bases.Just another example of unleashing the dogs of war.
Scores of Kurds have fled their homes in the northern frontier region after four days of shelling by the Iranian army. Local officials said Turkey had also fired a number of shells into Iraqi territory.
Some displaced families have pitched tents in the valleys behind Qandil Mountain, which straddles Iraq's rugged borders with Turkey and Iran. They told the Guardian yesterday that at least six villages had been abandoned and one person had died following a sustained artillery barrage by Iranian forces that appeared designed to flush out guerrillas linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), who have hideouts in Iraq.
Although fighting between Turkish security forces and PKK militants is nowhere near the scale of the 1980s and 90s - which accounted for the loss of more than 30,000 mostly Turkish Kurdish lives- at least 15 Turkish police officers have died in clashes. The PKK's sister party in Iran, the Kurdistan Free Life Party (Pejak), has stepped up activities against security targets in Kurdish regions. Yesterday, Kurdish media said eight Iranian troops were killed.
Frustrated by the reluctance of the US and the government in Baghdad to crack down on the PKK bases inside Iraq, Turkish generals have hinted they are considering a large-scale military operation across the border. They are said to be sharing intelligence about Kurdish rebel movements with their Iranian counterparts.
Iraq has doubled the money allocated for importing oil products in August and September to tackle the country’s worst fuel shortage since Saddam Hussein’s 2003 ouster, a senior Iraqi official said Thursday. Even though Iraq has the world’s third-largest proven oil reserves, it is forced to depend on imports because of an acute shortage of refined products such as gasoline, kerosene and cooking gas. Sabotage of pipelines by insurgents, corruption and aging refineries have been blamed.I've been reading a lot of stories about long gas lines in Baghdad. The lack of progress in restoring infrastructure to even Saddam levels is likely doing more than politics to cause civil disruptions and fighting.
"There are no hereditary kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution," declared the judge, who was appointed by President Carter. The NYT says the wiretap ruling "rejected almost every administration argument."Why am I not excited about this?
The son of an acquaintance married a Japanese woman. She's returned to Japan this week so that she can birth her child free of charge within the Japanese health care system. Neither she or her husband (a graduate student of all things) have sufficient coverage for that pretty basic phenomenon.
Geoffrey Millard is a sergeant in the Army National Guard and has no problem speaking publicly or supporting Lieutenant Watada. He spent eight years in the military, and was in Iraq between 2004 and 2005. He says GI resistance is a growing trend. "American GIs are beginning to respect the Nuremberg principles. They are resisting orders; they are going to jail, going to Canada, and going AWOL. And they're talking about why they're doing it."
The Post's off-lead notices that D.C. lobbyists—betting that the House and/or Senate will flip—are increasingly hiring Democrats. "We've seen a noticeable shift," said one headhunter for lobbyists.
NBC News reported last week that British counterterrorism officials thought the apparent plane plot was farther off than U.S. officials asserted—reportedly some of the men didn't even have passports. Now an Associated Press update on the investigation mentions in passing that "two top Pakistani intelligence agents" said the would-be bombers were too "inexperienced" to carry out the plot.Let's see.
The NYT fronts a government test program in which airport screeners have focused on passengers' reaction to questions (just as Israel famously does). Two experts who've helped develop the approach say they're happy the government is trying it out but say the implementation has been flawed.This type of lie detection is often based on neuro-linguistic programming, a psychological theory with a dubious history. The techniques used in lie detection are based on certain behavioral traits a person exhibits when lying. Know those behaviors, identify them in a subject, and you know they're lying.
It became nearly impossible for the Canton, Ohio, school board to ignore the unintended byproducts of its abstinence-only program when 13 percent [65 out of 490] of Timken High School's female student population became pregnant last year.Yes, they've finally integrated birth control education into the curriculum. I'm not quite sure why when that abstinence program was working so well!
For me, June marked the first month I don’t dare leave the house without a hijab, or headscarf. I don’t wear a hijab usually, but it’s no longer possible to drive around Baghdad without one. It’s just not a good idea. (Take note that when I say ‘drive’ I actually mean ‘sit in the back seat of the car’- I haven’t driven for the longest time.) Going around bare-headed in a car or in the street also puts the family members with you in danger. You risk hearing something you don’t want to hear and then the father or the brother or cousin or uncle can’t just sit by and let it happen. I haven’t driven for the longest time. If you’re a female, you risk being attacked.
I have the advantage of having had the very highest security clearances myself, having done a huge amount of professional intelligence analysis, and having been inside the spin machine.
In all of this, the one thing of which I am certain is that the timing is deeply political. This is more propaganda than plot. Of the over one thousand British Muslims arrested under anti-terrorist legislation, only twelve per cent are ever charged with anything. That is simply harrassment of Muslims on an appalling scale. Of those charged, 80% are acquitted. Most of the very few - just over two per cent of arrests - who are convicted, are not convicted of anything to do terrorism, but of some minor offence the Police happened upon while trawling through the wreck of the lives they had shattered.
Be sceptical. Be very, very sceptical.
Seeking to counter the White House's depiction of its Middle East policies as crucial to the prevention of terrorist attacks at home, 21 former generals, diplomats and national security officials will release an open letter tomorrow arguing that the administration's "hard line" has actually undermined U.S. security.
ATLANTA – Carl Garrett, a paper-mill technician in Leicester, N.C., is scheduled to travel Sept. 2 to New Delhi, where he will undergo two operations. Though American individuals have gone abroad for cheaper operations, Mr. Garrett is a pioneer of sorts.
He is a test case for his company, Blue Ridge Paper Products, Inc., in North Carolina, which is set to provide a health benefit plan that allows its employees and their dependents to obtain medical care overseas beginning in 2007.
Garrett's medical care alone may save the company $50,000. And instead of winding up $20,000 in debt to have the operations in the US, he may now get up to $10,000 back as a share of the savings. He'll also get to see the Taj Mahal as part of a two-day tour before the surgery.
His two operations could cost $100,000 in the US; they'll run about $20,000 in India.
I'm wondering what this will do to doctors and hospitals here and also how hard it will be for Americans to get back into the country after their surgeries—especially the Americans who happen to have brown skin or "foreign" surnames.
A. The Lebanon conflict substantiates pre-crisis intelligence that Iran has apparently provided sophisticated “strategic” rockets to Hizballah, such as the Fajr-5 (range: 75 km) and probably also the Zelzal (range: 150 km).While Close says that the long arm of American military is the only force capable of defanging Iran's missiles, I think he means that this is what the Cheney administration thinks. The wars in Iraq and Lebannon have directly shown the limitations of a vastly superior military power in winning over an assymetrical enemy.
Possession of the Zelzal (or even the Fajr-5) would effectively negate much of the strategic value of attempting to protect Israel’s northern regions from attack simply by making the area south of the Litani River into a buffer zone without fully disarming Hizballah and ensuring that it cannot be resupplied --- a goal almost certainly beyond the capabilities of forces presently available. Because the competence of the Lebanese Army is greatly in doubt, and the military and political mandate of a U.N. peacekeeping force is likely to be both tenuous and impermanent, the long-term value of the recent Israeli action against Hizballah is very much in question.
The only real defense against this new kind of threat available to Israel today is the total cessation of Iran's support for organizations like Hizballah and Hamas, and the denial to them of operational bases in Palestine, Lebanon or Syria. Only the long reach of American military power has any chance of achieving that objective on Israel's behalf. Undertaking that effort would be a strategic commitment that went very far beyond traditional American policy of sympathy and support. We are talking here about an historic new departure in American foreign and defense policy, the costs and risks of which the American people have not yet even begun to understand, much less aceept.
B. Hizballah’s successful use of the C-802/SACCADE anti-ship cruise missile against an Israeli corvette caught both the U.S. and Israel by surprise. The general consensus among defense intelligence analysts is that Iran’s small cadre of IRGC operatives attached to Hizballah (estimated to be about 100 men) helped arm this weapon and guide it to its target. Hizballah’s successful use of the C-802 also raises questions about the safety of U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf in the event of Iran’s closure of the Strait of Hormuz in reaction to U.S. military action against the Teheran regime. Iran reportedly has “hundreds” of these missiles (C-802s) lining its shore of the Strait.I can provide the quick shorthand commentary on what Close means here.
The Post watches Hezbollah's relief effort in action and hears from an "informed source" (as opposed to the other kind) that Hezbollah "planned to spend $150 million, already provided by Iran, in coming days." (In her WP op-ed, Rice notes that the U.S. has committed a whopping $50 million.)Like in Iraq, muscle flexing has again proven to be ineffective in fighting a citizen-backed movement. I know this isn't news to anyone reading this and many other blogs. But it continues to be astounding that many bright people, people in leadership positions, continue to believe that political problems need military solutions, and how effectively the western countries (the U.S. and Britain) are being outmaneuvered time and time again by groups such as al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah.
The NYT's rebuilding piece offers a wider picture and is today's must-read: Hezbollah men were canvassing neighborhoods, cataloging needs, and offering $10,000 straightaway to those who lost their homes. With the Lebanese government having ignored the Shiite south for decades, one Lebanese professor said, "Hezbollah's strength is the gross vacuum left by the state." Hezbollah, she said, isn't a state within a state, but rather "a state within a non-state." The upshot, concludes the Times, is that the "beneficiary of the destruction was most likely to be Hezbollah."
Why We All Went NutsAmen
From one of Josh Marshall's readers:When I found [Talking Points Memo] site, you had a similar sort of "New Democrat" approach. You talked a lot about ideas and while you were certainly a Democrat, but not in a partisan or overly ideological way. I think we would agree that ideas matter, both parties overreach, had problems with trial lawyers and unions, etc.I sympathize with all of that. I started out a moderate -- by temperament, if not totally by ideology. I liked believing the best about my opponents, approaching the debate as something to be valued and the ideas as good-faith efforts to be considered. But I was wrong again and again, and as my willingness to assume good-faith repeatedly proved an analytical weakness, I eventually abandoned the effort, and my predictions have been the better-informed for it. Now I write articles about how the West Wing weakened Democrats by wrapping them in a warm-but-false world of comity and spend my time looking for the catch in rightwing policies, not the hope. I'd love to see that change -- it's unnatural for me to be so cynical. But, as Josh's reader says, this is their choice, not ours. Because, in the end, this isn't a game, it's not low stakes. However much I might like to wrap myself in lofty values and enlightened opinions, this really isn't about me and my self-regard. Too many pundits (some even named Klein), I think, make that mistake, and the country is the worse off for it.
What I first loved about your site is gone, however, but I don't blame you. I blame Bush et al. And that's a shame. I feel like I lost a real part of me is gone, taken by Bush and the greater Republican movement. That all of our efforts must focus on opposing each and every assertion made by this group; detailing, chronicling and exposing every lie, fallacy, and evil act. Clearly, you too realize this is the only reasonable tactic for us to pursue.
The era of ideas, debate, and moderation is gone (for now), not by our choice, but by theirs. That is Lieberman's problem and an ever shrinking number of holdouts. I really am angry about the loss of a worldview and approach that I valued. Your site's transition is one small bit of evidence of that loss.
* December 7, 1941 through May 8, 1945 (VE-Day) = 1,248 days
* March 19, 2003 (U.S. invasion of Iraq) through Friday, August 18, 2006 = 1,248 days
Clinton said other Senate Democrats who had voted to give Bush the authority to go to war - including his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York - who may be weighing a 2008 presidential run, had hoped that the threat of war would force former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to comply with U.N. inspections.I've been reading statements from Hillary lately that sound an awful like movement from a hard-line pro-war position to a Ned Lamont-like stance. Maybe she was watching the primary election in Connecticut afterall, who knows. She certainly should be.
"They [Democrats] felt, frankly, let down that the U.N. inspectors were not permitted to finish [by Bush], and they were worried that we were devoting attention away from Afghanistan and the hunt for [Osama] bin Laden and al Qaeda, which was a huge, immediate threat to our security in the aftermath of 9/11, as we saw [with] this foiled British plot continues to be," Clinton said.
The drop in Car and Truck prices accounts for nearly the entire decline in the core PPI.Let's also not forget that the upcoming CPI (consumer price index) includes costs to rent as the component of "housing". Guess what rents have been doing lately with housing purchases falling?
Prices for oil and other materials continue to rise; WSJ noted that "Deeper in the production pipeline, prices increased. Prices of raw materials, also known as crude goods, rose by 3.1% in July after declining 1.7% in June. Intermediate goods prices increased 0.5% after climbing 0.7% in June."
Prices of metals and chemicals continued to rise. These price increases include a 4.8% rise in energy materials, and a 1.3% gain in prices of industrial materials.
In the 24 hours before the agreed cease-fire, the Israeli Air Force carried out more than 200 air strikes, including attacks on eight "gas stations serving Hezbollah."Mind you, this comes from an intelligence expert who is a fan of air power.
If Israel and Hezbollah are fighting again in six weeks or six months, it will be because of those gas stations.
What is clear is that the Israeli military proved unable to modify its own "conventional" military approach to respond (and fight) accordingly. In other words, Israel's "failure" on the ground is due to the same failure of conception and imagination in the use of airpower. These militaries -- Israeli and U.S. -- constantly say they are fighting a "new" enemy and yet just can't seem to get away from fighting them in old and counter-productive ways.He, correctly in my estimation, makes a clear case for an Israeli strategy that misuses air power in such a way that ultimately strengthens Hezbollah. The whole "hit an ant with a sledge hammer" thing becomes merely a propoganda tool for the recruitment of further insurgents in the war against Israel. Arkin complete's the circle with this:
So Israel is stuck, as is the United States, with the conundrum of modern military power. We accumulate statistical success not only to no political avail but to our future detriment. Hezbollah's strengthening in the face of the Israeli military -- and the celebrations rippling through the Arab world that Israel and the United States have been thwarted (just as in Iraq) -- comes from "conventional" defeat. "We" show no regard for civilians in our conduct, we even destroy their gas stations. Given that "they" don't have F-16s to attack us with, they are reduced to using rockets or airliners to strike back.The political strength of Republicans has consistently been that they are muscular on defense and international diplomacy. Yet, it's that very same muscularity that has led this country to ruin now in two wars in the last 50 years. The Democrats seem to have learned their lesson via Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam while the Republicans apparently have not. And unfortunately, the rest of the country pays the price for lessons un-learned.
Israel won, whoopee.
I'm a very lucky person with every allergy known to man but still happy to be enjoying a wonderful life living in the best place in the world!