Real Jessica Lynch Rescue Video April 28, 2007Posted by Dan in Main, Middle East, Must Read, News, Politics, Video, War.
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New video of PFC Jessica Lynch’s rescue from Iraqi hands over 4 years ago has risen to light. It is now clear just how different the reality of her extraction is from the White House reports at the time. I remember very clearly how the focus of American media shifted dramatically from the progress of the invasion, the failed hunt for Osama Bin Laden, the non-existant Weapons of Mass Destruction, and an ever elusive Saddam Hussein to this one missing Private. At the time, I was confounded… why was the media not reporting on the important things!? Why were we constantly forced to listen to an, as we now know, fabricated report of her capture, detainment, and rescue? It seemed ludicrous with all that was happening, to focus entirely on this one soldier.
Of course, I know now from my own conversations with reporters in Iraq at the time that the US Government simply was not providing information on anything other than Lynch. The reporters had to talk about her and her rescue because thats all the Government would talk about. Clearly, the White House wanted to distract the American public from the realities of a bungled war. If there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, we would’ve found some kind of evidence within the first few days of occupying Baghdad. When we didn’t, it became immediately apparent to the President, the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and anyone else “in the know” that the war was a massive mistake. By redirecting media focus to a “human story,” the capture and subsequent rescue of a cute, 19 year old girl seemed like just the thing to pull the wool over our eyes once again.
Now, we can see her rescue, as it really happened….
Technorati Tags: America, Captured, Diversion, George Bush, Iraq, Jessica Lynch, Middle East, Misdirection, News, Politics, President, Psychological Warfare, Public, Rescue, United States, Video, War, Weapons, White House
Bush Using Troops in Iraq as Hostages Against Congress April 23, 2007Posted by Dan in Main, Middle East, News, Politics, War.
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From The New York Times:
By Paul Krugman
There are two ways to describe the confrontation between Congress and the Bush administration over funding for the Iraq surge. You can pretend that it’s a normal political dispute. Or you can see it for what it really is: a hostage situation, in which a beleaguered President Bush, barricaded in the White House, is threatening dire consequences for innocent bystanders — the troops — if his demands aren’t met.
If this were a normal political dispute, Democrats in Congress would clearly hold the upper hand: by a huge margin, Americans say they want a timetable for withdrawal, and by a large margin they also say they trust Congress, not Mr. Bush, to do a better job handling the situation in Iraq.
But this isn’t a normal political dispute. Mr. Bush isn’t really trying to win the argument on the merits. He’s just betting that the people outside the barricade care more than he does about the fate of those innocent bystanders.
What’s at stake right now is the latest Iraq “supplemental.” Since the beginning, the administration has refused to put funding for the war in its regular budgets. Instead, it keeps saying, in effect: “Whoops! Whaddya know, we’re running out of money. Give us another $87 billion.”
At one level, this is like the behavior of an irresponsible adolescent who repeatedly runs through his allowance, each time calling his parents to tell them he’s broke and needs extra cash.
What I haven’t seen sufficiently emphasized, however, is the disdain this practice shows for the welfare of the troops, whom the administration puts in harm’s way without first ensuring that they’ll have the necessary resources.
As long as a G.O.P.-controlled Congress could be counted on to rubber-stamp the administration’s requests, you could say that this wasn’t a real problem, that the administration’s refusal to put Iraq funding in the regular budget was just part of its usual reliance on fiscal smoke and mirrors. But this time Mr. Bush decided to surge additional troops into Iraq after an election in which the public overwhelmingly rejected his war — and then dared Congress to deny him the necessary funds. As I said, it’s an act of hostage-taking.
Actually, it’s even worse than that. According to reports, the final version of the funding bill Congress will send won’t even set a hard deadline for withdrawal. It will include only an “advisory,” nonbinding date. Yet Mr. Bush plans to veto the bill all the same — and will then accuse Congress of failing to support the troops.
The whole situation brings to mind what Abraham Lincoln said, in his great Cooper Union speech in 1860, about secessionists who blamed the critics of slavery for the looming civil war: “A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, ‘Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!’ ”
So how should Congress respond to Mr. Bush’s threats?
Everyone talks about the political risks of confrontation, recalling the backlash when Newt Gingrich shut down the federal government in 1995. But there’s a big difference between trying to force a fairly popular president to accept deep cuts in Medicare — which is what the 1995 confrontation was about — and trying to get a deeply unpopular, distrusted president to set some limits on an immensely unpopular war.
Meanwhile, there are big political risks on the other side. If Congress responds to a presidential veto by offering an even weaker bill, voters may well react with disgust, concluding that the whole debate over the war was nothing but political theater.
Anyway, never mind the political calculations. Confronting Mr. Bush on Iraq has become a patriotic duty.
The fact is that Mr. Bush’s refusal to face up to the failure of his Iraq adventure, his apparent determination to spend the rest of his term in denial, has become a clear and present danger to national security. Thanks to the demands of the Iraq war, we’re already a superpower without a strategic reserve, unable to respond to crises that might erupt elsewhere in the world. And more and more military experts warn that repeated deployments in Iraq — now extended to 15 months — are breaking the back of our volunteer military.
If nothing is done to wind down this war during the 21 months — 21 months! — Mr. Bush has left, the damage may be irreparable.
Global Warming Threatens U.S. Security, Ex-Generals Report April 15, 2007Posted by Dan in Environment, Main, Must Read, Politics, Science.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Global warming poses a “serious threat to America’s national security” and the U.S. likely will be dragged into fights over water and other shortages, top retired military leaders warn in a new report.
The report says that in the next 30 to 40 years there will be wars over water, increased hunger instability from worsening disease and rising sea levels and global warming-induced refugees. “The chaos that results can be an incubator of civil strife, genocide and the growth of terrorism,” the 35-page report predicts.
“Climate change exacerbates already unstable situations,” former U.S. Army chief of staff Gordon Sullivan told Associated Press Radio. “Everybody needs to start paying attention to what’s going on. I don’t think this is a particularly hard sell in the Pentagon. … We’re paying attention to what those security implications are.”
Gen. Anthony “Tony” Zinni, President Bush’s former Middle East envoy, says in the report: “It’s not hard to make the connection between climate change and instability, or climate change and terrorism.”
The report was issued by the Alexandria, Virginia-based, national security think-tank The CNA Corporation and was written by six retired admirals and five retired generals. They warn of a future of rampant disease, water shortages and flooding that will make already dicey areas — such as the Middle East, Asia and Africa — even worse.
“Weakened and failing governments, with an already thin margin for survival, foster the conditions for internal conflicts, extremism and movement toward increased authoritarianism and radical ideologies,” the report says. “The U.S. will be drawn more frequently into these situations.”
Joining calls already made by scientists and environmental activists, the retired U.S. military leaders call on the U.S. government to make major cuts in emissions of gases that cause global warming.
The Bush administration has declined mandatory emission cuts in favor of voluntary methods. Other nations have committed to required reductions that kick in within a few years.
“We will pay for this one way or another,” writes Zinni, former commander of U.S. Central Command. “We will pay to reduce greenhouse gas emissions today, and we’ll have to take an economic hit of some kind. Or we will pay the price later in military terms. And that will involve human lives. There will be a human toll.”
Top climate scientists said the report makes sense and increased national security risk is a legitimate global warming side-effect.
The report is “pretty impressive,” but may be too alarmist because it may take longer than 30 years for some of these things to happen, said Stanford scientist Terry Root, a co-author of this month’s international scientific report on the effects of global warming on life on Earth.
But the instability will happen sometime, Root agreed.
“We’re going to have a war over water,” Root said. “There’s just not going to be enough water around for us to have for us to need to live with and to provide for the natural environment.”
University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver said the military officers were smart to highlight the issue of refugees who flee unstable areas because of global warming.
“There will be tens of millions of people migrating, where are we going to put them?” Weaver said.
Weaver said that over the past years, scientists, who by nature are cautious, have been attacked by conservative activists when warning about climate change. This shows that it’s not a liberal-conservative issue, Weaver said.
Abstinence Education Does Not Impact Sexual Behavior April 14, 2007Posted by Dan in Politics, Sex.
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Abstinence Education Does Not Impact Sexual Behavior:
By Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.,,
A recent study of four abstinence education programs finds that the programs had no effect on the sexual abstinence of youth. But it also finds that youth in these programs were no more likely to have unprotected sex, a concern that has been raised by some critics of these programs. The study found that youth in the four evaluated programs were no more likely than youth not in the programs to have abstained from sex in the four to six years after they began participating in the study. Youth in both groups who reported having had sex also had similar numbers of sexual partners and had initiated sex at the same average age.
“This is the first study of multi-year abstinence programs, and it is one of the few that has tracked its sample members for as long as six years,” notes Christopher Trenholm, the project director and a senior researcher at Mathematica. “The study finds that the sexual abstinence of students in four programs selected for the study was much the same as that of students who did not participate in these programs.”
“Some policymakers and health educators have criticized the Title V, Section 510 abstinence education programs, questioning whether the focus on abstinence puts teens at risk of having unprotected sex,” says Barbara Devaney, one of the study’s principal investigators and vice president and director of Human Services Research at Mathematica. “The evaluation findings suggest that this is not the case. Participants in the abstinence education programs and nonparticipating youth had similar rates of unprotected sex at first intercourse and over the past 12 months.”
The study findings highlight the challenges faced by programs aiming to reduce adolescent sexual activity. Two lessons are important for future programming in this area:
Targeting youth at young ages may not be sufficient. Most Title V, Section 510 abstinence education programs are implemented in upper elementary and middle schools and most are completed before youth enter high school. The findings from this study provide no evidence that abstinence programs implemented at these grades reduce sexual activity of youth during their high school years. However, the findings provide no information on the effects programs might have if they were implemented in high school or began at earlier ages but continued through high school.
Peer support for abstinence erodes during adolescence. Peer support for abstinence is a significant predictor of later sexual activity. Although the four abstinence programs had at most a small impact on this measure in the short term and no impact in the long term, this finding suggests that promoting support for abstinence among peer networks should be an important feature of future abstinence programs.
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Thousands of Iraqis have taken to the street to protest the American occupation. At least they’re doing something as a group! Perhaps thats the secret to unifying a foreign population. We’ve always known that an attack from an outside aggressor will coalesce even the oldest of enemies. It happened in World War 2 when Germany turned on Russia, forcing them to ally with us. Now, maybe it’s happening in Iraq… Sunnis and Shiites have a common enemy once again (it used to be Saddam, but now, unfortunately, we’ve begun to fill that role). Perhaps this is not a bad thing… Perhaps it is what the Iraqis need to form a true, unified government. The thirteen colonies would never have formed a federal union were it not for the threat of British aggression and the need to repel it. So maybe there is a silver lining to the seething hatred aimed at the United States… a lining of unification.
Video of Bill O’Reilly Losing His Mind April 6, 2007Posted by Dan in News, Politics, Video.
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He has finally gone way too far… Bill O’Reilly has really lost his mind. He explodes at Geraldo Rivera in this one on one…
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Feel free to read through the Constitution (its posted on this site), but you wont find any mention of “Executive Privilege;” the notion that communications between the President and his staff are confidential. In fact, in a democracy, one would expect the opposite, transparency of government, to be Constitutionally mandated. So where did this idea even come from?
The Supreme Court allows it under a weak argument for the principle of “Separation of Powers,” but historically courts have struck it down in cases involving criminal charges. The current controversy over the firing of Democratic U.S. Attorneys is not criminal.
However, traditionally Executive Privilege is used in matters of National Security, to protect United States interests. When members of the White House staff overstep the bounds of legality, and fire Government Employees not stationed in D.C., based on their political affiliations, without the consent or knowledge of the President, Executive Privilege amounts to Bull Shit.
What is a system of checks and balances if it can’t check and balance? The Executive Branch has authority over the Judicial Branch. This is the actual means by which the attorneys were fired. However, like any good game of rock-paper-scissor, Congress trumps the Executive Branch, and the Judicial Branch trumps Congress. So, when Congress subpoenas members of the White House staff, they’re exercising the exact same power that was used to fire the attorneys in the first place; merely their end of it.
In other words, to have the power to fire U.S. Attorneys requires that you submit to Congressional oversight of said activities. Don’t believe me? Read the Constitution again.
U.S. Attorneys do serve at the pleasure of the President, but the President serves at the pleasure of The People/Congress. I think ours has forgotten this, has drastically overstepped his bounds, and needs to be reeled back in again. Thats why I, like so many other prominent political voices, believe that if ever there was a time when impeachment was justified, now is that time. Congress must reassert its authority or risk loosing it forever.
Remember, Clinton was successfully impeached, but never removed from office. That required the Senate’s consent, and the votes just weren’t there. This is exactly what will happen to Bush. He wont be removed, but he does need to be publicly chastised for doing a horrible job as President of the United States of America. The World at large needs to see that the American People do not approve of this behavior, and as elected representatives of the people, it is the duty of Congress to perform this action.
Our future stake in the World Political Arena is in jeopardy. If our judicial system can’t protect itself against arbitrary firings, then what good is it as a system of justice, law, and reason? The White House can not simply remove one third of our government because they each disagree. Democracy is about compromise, its about the will of the majority while protecting the rights of the minority. You can’t simply ignore them!
Technorati Tags: America, Attorney, Bush, Congress, Court, Democracy, Election, Ethics, Executive, Government, History, Impeach, Judicial, Justice, Law, Legal, Politics, Privilege, Republic, Separation of Powers, United States, White House
Iran is Playing With Nuclear Fire March 23, 2007Posted by Dan in Middle East, Must Read, News, Politics, War.
Iranian naval vessels seized 15 British marines and sailors of the coast of Iraq, earlier today. Refusing to make a statement until recently, Iranian television is reporting that British personnel were arrested after crossing illegally into Iran’s territorial waters. The report did not say how many were taken, where they were being held, or what would happen next. The sailors were captured after a routine examination of a vessel believed to be in Iraqi waters. British military patrols have been given authority to board vessels in Iraqi waters under United Nations mandate and with the permission of the government in Baghdad.
Hopefully, Iran will do what it did when it 2004, when they stopped three British boats, seizing eight sailors and six marines. The men appeared on state television blindfolded, but were released without incident.
The difference is that tomorrow, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was scheduled to speak before the U.N. Security Council regarding their increased sanctions in light of Iran’s potentially military nuclear development program. The Council has already voted to sanction Iran, and is scheduled to vote again on further sanctions after a U.N. nuclear watchdog agency reported that they could no longer say for certain that Iran’s program is non-military in nature.
British naval vessels conduct these operations in Iraqi waters all the time. Why would Iran pick now to capture some of their soldiers? Whether they know it or not, Iran is playing with fire, and they’re going to get burned. What would appear to be a sign of strength for Iranian citizens (the capture of British forces) is more like a sign of war for the West.
The boiling pot is about to spill over…..
Al Gore Should Be President March 21, 2007Posted by Dan in Must Read, News, Politics, Video.
Calling for action in Congress, against the growing problem of Global Warming, Al Gore has managed to make the move from filmmaker back to politician. When watching his speech (video below) one can’t help but feel as if this man should run for President…. again.
Al Gore has the experience, the credibility, the intelligence, the character, the name, the image, the potential to be elected the next President of the United States. But he has maintained that he holds no such ambitions.
Once again, it is time for the people of this country to rise up and demand more than a politically popular candidate. Now, more than ever, we need a leader with vision… someone who can put our country back on the right track. I believe Al Gore is that man.
If you’d like to tell Al Gore to run for President in 2008, a petition has begun at: http://draftgore.com/
There are also the Al Gore Support Center forums at: http://s8.invisionfree.com/Al_Gore_Support/
If you’d like to contact him directly to tell him to run for President, write to:
Honorable Al Gore
2100 West End Avenue, Suite 620
Nashville, TN 37203
Best moment of his speech:
His opening remarks to Congress:
House Defies Bush, Votes for Subpoenas March 21, 2007Posted by Dan in Middle East, Must Read, News, Politics.
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There has been talk, recently, that the newly empowered Democratic Party is more-or-less impotent when it comes to getting things done. By getting things done, I mean: holding accountable those who’s mistakes screwed our entire country. Its like a major corporation…. even if the CEO had absolutely no idea that decisions had been made which drove his company into the ground, HE STILL GETS FIRED! We have yet to see Bush held to similar accountability.
The Mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah, recently gave a speech in which he proposed just that: the immediate impeachment of both Bush and Cheney. He said, “if ever there was a time when impeachment was justified, this is it.” I couldn’t agree more.
Republicans had absolutely no problem bringing impeachment proceedings to Clinton, when all he did was lie about sleeping with an intern. Bush lied about Iraq, and as such, has led us into a war who’s cost is measured in thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars. The only question is: did he know he was lying? Clinton certainly knew about his sexual involvement with Monica Lewinsky, but did Bush know there was no threat from Saddam?
I argue that it makes absolutely no difference. Bush was at the wheel when the ship crashed, whether he could see the iceberg or not. Its only appropriate that he go down with his ship.