Not Exactly the Office Football Pool

It's a sad commentary that, more than 24 hours after the passage of a resolution by the U.N. Security Council designed to create a cessation of violence - and this after more than four weeks of bloody horror - I wouldn't bet serious money that today (Sunday) or Monday will finally see an end to this bloodbath. Technically, Israel says the start of "the end" of this war (or is it just a single battle in a much broader military action?) begins at 5 AM Monday Israeli time.

In fact, Israel yet again increased its military operations within Lebanon. Israel - mostly in the form of Hezbollah attacks against Israel military forces - also saw one of its worst days of casualties thus far.

So... opinions? Do you believe we're at the precipice of a new day in the Middle East? Or do you see nothing but more war and death in Israel and Lebanon?

Here's The Times weighing in:

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Aug. 12 — Israel poured troops into southern Lebanon on Saturday, making its deepest push yet toward the Litani River and suffering its highest daily losses, including having a helicopter shot down by Hezbollah guerrillas for the first time in the fighting.

The fighting, including dozens of Israeli airstrikes, intensified a day after the United Nations Security Council approved a resolution for a truce. In a statement released Saturday night, Secretary General Kofi Annan said he had been in touch with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel and Prime Minister Fouad Siniora of Lebanon and that both had agreed that the end of fighting would take effect at 5 a.m. Monday, Greenwich Mean Time.

“Preferably, the fighting should stop now to respect the spirit and intent of the Council decision, the object of which was to save civilian lives, to spare the pain and suffering that the civilians on both sides are living through,” Mr. Annan said.

But the Israeli cabinet was still set to consider the resolution for formal approval at its regular meeting on Sunday, and it was still unclear when the major military thrust ordered by Mr. Olmert, apparently with American approval only hours after the Security Council vote, would end.

What Neocons Want, Americans Cannot Afford to Entertain

Eric Alterman in The Nation spells out what the neocons are demanding and why we need to tell them to take a long hike off a very short pier.

Here's another interesting piece on the Neocons (with an emphasis on CON) and terror mongers.


Ari Shavit in Ha'aretz: Olmert Cannot Remain in office in Israel

I mentioned this editorial in Ha'aretz by Shavit earlier, but I wanted to refer you to the actual piece which, as you'll see, amounts to strong, condemning words:

Ehud Olmert may decide to accept the French proposal for a cease-fire and unconditional surrender to Hezbollah. That is his privilege. Olmert is a prime minister whom journalists invented, journalists protected, and whose rule journalists preserved. Now the journalists are saying run away. That's legitimate. Unwise, but legitimate.

However, one thing should be clear: If Olmert runs away now from the war he initiated, he will not be able to remain prime minister for even one more day. Chutzpah has its limits. You cannot lead an entire nation to war promising victory, produce humiliating defeat and remain in power. You cannot bury 120 Israelis in cemeteries, keep a million Israelis in shelters for a month, wear down deterrent power, bring the next war very close, and then say - oops, I made a mistake. That was not the intention. Pass me a cigar, please.

There is no mistake Ehud Olmert did not make this past month. He went to war hastily, without properly gauging the outcome. He blindly followed the military without asking the necessary questions. He mistakenly gambled on air operations, was strangely late with the ground operation, and failed to implement the army's original plan, much more daring and sophisticated than that which was implemented. And after arrogantly and hastily bursting into war, Olmert managed it hesitantly, unfocused and limp. He neglected the home front and abandoned the residents of the north. He also failed shamefully on the diplomatic front.

Still, if Olmert had come to his senses as Golda Meir did during the Yom Kippur War, if he had become a leader, established a war cabinet and called the nation to a supreme effort that would change the face of the battle, a penetrating discussion of his failures could be postponed. But in blinking first over the past 24 hours, he has become an incorrigible political personality. Therefore, the day Nasrallah comes out of his bunker and declares victory to the whole world, Olmert must not be in the prime minister's office. Post-war battered and bleeding Israel needs a new start and a new leader. It needs a real prime minister.
I am surprised there is not more mention of the strange dance that Olmert and Bush have choreographed and engaged in.

Israeli Strikes Destory Tyre, Lebanon's Power Grid, Kills and Wounds Many

Israel just isn't going to stop.

They're bombarding the downtown neighborhoods in some of Lebanon's larger and/or more important cities and towns. This goes on even in areas where Hezbollah is not believed to be situated in any numbers. Jewish/Israeli authors convened a very rare press conference, however, to condemn the Israeli military's expanded combat operation against Lebanon (from Ha'aretz):

Acclaimed authors Amos Oz, A.B. Yehoshua, and David Grossman publicly stated their opposition yesterday to the cabinet's decision to expand ground operations in Lebanon, calling instead for a diplomatic solution to the crisis based on the proposal put forth by Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

This past Sunday, the literary giants published an advertisement in the press calling for a cease-fire and negotiations. Critics felt the demand to halt the fighting was late in coming, and that the advertisement was aimed both at justifying the war as well as distancing the authors from the war.

But to find a death toll for the Lebanese is pretty damned difficult, while the media reports on every hang nail Israel suffers.

Meanwhile, in chickenhawk land, the U.S. is reportedly "worried" over Syria's confidence.

Want to Hear Something Funny?

And it is - it's positively hilarious and side-splitting. And here it is (from the AssPress by way of Ha'aretz:

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice calls on Iran and Syria to respect
the sovereignty of the Lebanese nation.

Now, stop and think. Who's not respecting the sovereignty of Lebanon?

Is it Iran and Syria?

Or is it, far more aptly, the tiny little nations of the United States and Israel? I argue the latter is at least as true - if not far moreso - than the former. I mean, the people and nation of Lebanon were just pawns for Olmert, Bush, and the Neocons.

Blogger Jailed for Defying Court Orders

In the Bush years, just breathing is a treasonous, punishable offense:

A freelance journalist and blogger was jailed on Tuesday after refusing to turn over video he took at an anticapitalist protest here last summer and after refusing to testify before a grand jury looking into accusations that crimes were committed at the protest.

The freelancer, Josh Wolf, 24, was taken into custody just before noon after a hearing in front of Judge William Alsup of Federal District Court. Found in contempt, Mr. Wolf was later moved to a federal prison in Dublin, Calif., and could be imprisoned until next summer, when the grand jury term expires, said his lawyer, Jose Luis Fuentes.

Earlier this year, federal prosecutors subpoenaed Mr. Wolf to testify before a grand jury and turn over video from the demonstration, held in the Mission District on July 8, 2005. The protest, tied to a Group of 8 meeting of world economic leaders in Scotland, ended in a clash between demonstrators and the San Francisco police, with one officer sustaining a fractured skull.

Eugene Robinson: The War Bush Isn't Fighting

I liked Robinson's op/ed in the Washington Post today, with a snip-snip here:

President Bush said that the uncovered conspiracy is "a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation." If only the president would fight that war. If only he hadn't turned away from the hunt for bin Laden to chase his neocon advisers' delusions of spreading pro-American democracy at the point of a gun.

Let's check what else was in the news yesterday. In Iraq, a suicide bomber killed at least 35 people and injured more than 100 by blowing himself up near a famous shrine in the city of Najaf, which is holy to Shiite Muslims. Meanwhile, U.S. troops moved into the Dora neighborhood of Baghdad in an attempt to end a reign of lawlessness. All this violence is part of a sectarian civil war that was made possible by the U.S. invasion -- and that is growing in intensity under the open-ended U.S. occupation. Iraq, says Bush, is a vital theater in the war against terrorism.

In other news, Israeli forces continued their systematic destruction of Lebanon's infrastructure by targeting a historic lighthouse in the heart of Beirut, in an apparent attempt to knock Lebanese state television off the air. This comes after Israeli forces had already destroyed every bridge over the Litani River, all of Lebanon's major roads and much of the Beirut airport, all in the name of cutting off supplies to the Hezbollah militia -- and all with no complaint from U.S. officials. Lebanon, says Bush, is another vital theater in the war against terrorism.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaks of building a "new Middle East," but the Bush administration construction plan seems to begin with setting the old Middle East on fire. The bungled occupation of Iraq has drawn new recruits to the jihadist cause around the world, and now the disproportionate Israeli assault on Lebanon is doing the same thing. We are at war with an ideology, and pounding it frontally just disperses it. It's like trying to smash mercury with a hammer.

Why Are Evangelicals Keeping Quiet About The War in Lebanon?

WaPo explores the issue, including why Israelis want these evangelicals to speak up.

Gangrenous Newt Gingrich: He Won't Be Happy Until World War III Starts Just to Further His Political Agenda

Newt really, really, really wants to be president in 2008; this the "man" who said women can't fight in wars because they get "infections" in fox holes and the man who, two days after being re-elected to his seat in Georgia walked away from his constituents because if he couldn't be Numero Uno, he wasn't gonna serve.

But what is far more appalling is that Newt desperately wants to talk the U.S. into World War III (or World War IV if you buy James Woolsey's diatribe that the War in Iraq is World War Three) just so he can use the scared-shitless fear tactics to make you vote Republican (GOP = for Newt, Greedy Old Pig). He came out and said that WWIII would be a HUGE boon for this November's mid-term elections as well as the next presidential race in 2008.

So ol' Neocon Newt is writing op/eds like this one in today's WaPo, with the apt headline of "The Only Option Is to Win" (but his idea of winning is his furtherment, the lives of thousands or tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians be damned):

In fact an Iran armed with nuclear weapons is a mortal threat to American, Israeli and European cities. If a nonnuclear Iran is prepared to finance, arm and train Hezbollah, sustain a war against Israel from southern Lebanon and, in Holbrooke's own words, "support actions against U.S. forces in Iraq," then what would a nuclear Iran be likely to do? Remember, Iranian officials were present at North Korea's missile launches on our Fourth of July, and it is noteworthy that Venezuela's anti-American dictator, Hugo Chávez, has visited Iran five times.

It is because the Bush administration has failed to win this argument over the direct threat of Iranian and North Korean nuclear and biological weapons that Americans are divided and uncertain about our national security interests.

Nevertheless, Holbrooke has set the stage for an important national debate that goes well beyond such awful possibilities as Sept. 11-style airliner plots. It's a debate about whether we are in danger of losing one or more U.S. cities, whether the world faces the possibility of a second Holocaust should Iran use nuclear or biological weapons against Israel, and whether a nuclear Iran would dominate the Persian Gulf and the world's energy supplies. This is the most important debate of our time. It rivals both Winston Churchill's argument in the 1930s over the nature of Hitler and the Nazis and Harry Truman's argument in the 1940s about the emerging Soviet empire.

As If There Are No More Pressing Matters to Concern Ourselves About, Lieberman's Web Site Failure Investigated

As you may recall, on Tuesday (the Connecticut Democratic Primary day), Senator Joseph Lieberman's Web site went down for the count. Even as Ned Lamont's people rather graciously put up cached pages of Lieberman's site on his own campaign site, Joementum was already blaming bloggers for attacking his site. This issue is now under investigation.

However, as most people now know, Lieberman's campaign Web site was hosted on a bargain basement Web host server (a whole $9.95 to $15 a month deal). It's very likely it was just high traffic that took the site down. But Lieberman not only blamed bloggers, he more than simply insinuated that Lamont campaigners acted against him as well. Yes, indeedy, everyone was out to get more post-nasal drip (and my, what a Drip he is) Joementum.

Ironically, the night of the primary, the Connecticut Secretary of States's official Web site to show primary vote tabulations also went down for the count. Was this also rogue bloggers and al Qaeda-loving Dems? I think not!

If someone actually DID act to take down Lieberman's site, fine - throw the book at him (or her).

But Lieberman's actions and speech this past Tuesday told us how shallow a man he has become and how much his shallowness certainly DOES seem to mesh with today's GOP and the Bushies who have a strong and consistent pattern of taking no responsibility themselves while blaming everyone else. I am quite sure it will be found that no one really attacked Lieberman's site.

And I damn well demand an apology from Lieberman when this comes out. It will be a nice thing to have while we await Joe going down-down-down in November. We've all had more than enough of Joementum and we've also had more than enough of rigged voting machines, nasty tricky Diebold voting machine reprogramming, and the GOP under Karl Rove thinking it's cool for THEM to decide who the Democrats should run.

What Global Warming?

For something not "proven" to the satisfaction of those great scientific minds in the GOP (Greedy Overbearing Pigs)... here's this:

Greenland’s icecap “is melting faster than ever before on record, and the pace is speeding year by year,” new data shows. “The consequence is already evident in a small but ominous rise in sea levels around the world, a pace that is also accelerating.”
And to follow this up, after starting the week with hot and humid conditions here in North Central Vermont, it was rather chilly today and - still within the official "dog days of summer" and before the first half of August is spent - the weather forecast for tonight is mid-to-low 30s with the possibility of a four letter word (s-n-o-w) in the higher elevations (and we're in such elevations here).

Wow. Perhaps I can build a Labor Day snowman. ::choke::

The Draft of the U.N. Resolution Passed Tonight

On the war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

GOP Congress Cretin J.D. Hayworth Caught Red-Handed

Video here, with a nod to Buzzflash for the link.

As always, remember the new-age Republican Congressional creed:

The laws and rules we enact are there to screw you over but, as always, we don't have to follow them ourselves. We're rich and we're special and we're far, far better than you!

Even As the U.N. Resolution to Stop the Deaths in the Middle East, Israel Expands Its Offensive Again

Before I link you to The Times' piece detailing the expanded offensive, let me mention that the same article notes something I read about earlier today: my preferred Israeli newspaper, Ha'aretz called for Israeli Prime Minister Olmert's resignation today.

"You cannot lead an entire nation to war promising victory, produce humiliating defeat and remain in power,’’ wrote columnist Ari Shavit.
Well, oh yes, you can if your name is George W. Bush.

Offensive, indeed. Even as the U.N. Security Council prepared earlier this evening for its vote on the highly important cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon, Israel was ramping up its operations in Lebanon - and not just the controversial Southern Lebanon alleged Hezbollah hot spots either.

Naked Arrogance and Even Glee at the Fortuitous Alleged Terror Plot

This simply makes me violently ill that anyone - and especially the Bushies - could be so damned happy about the shit going on.

Weeks before September 11th, this is going to play big.’

A White House official shares his glee that the raid on suspected terrorists in London “would yield political gains.”
Meanwhile, however, President Bush's "approval" rating has fallen again to 33%, which truly is circling the bowl.

And then to the Bushies' absolute favoritist. luvvy smoochie-poo "Democrat", Joementum:
Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) once called using national security issues for political purposes “just unacceptable and in my opinion un-American.” Yesterday he said that a timeline for Iraq redeployment (backed by 57 percent of Americans) “will be taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in England. It will strengthen them and they will strike again.”

Josh Marshall in Time: "Toying With Terror Alerts"

Now seems as good a time as any to review Josh Marshall's (of Talking Points Memo fame) Time commentary on how the Bushies love to play with your fear level to score points for themselves and to keep you from asking pesky questions:

In these perilous days, we must be ready to think the unthinkable. No, I don't mean the possibility of a catastrophic terrorist attack. After 9/11, that's all too easy to imagine. No, I'm talking about a thought that even now seldom forces its way into respectable conversation: the quite reasonable suspicion that the Bush Administration orchestrates its terror alerts and arrests to goose the GOP's poll numbers.

Now, I'm a respectable columnist. I don't want to draw rolled eyes. But think about it.
The 18 months prior to the 2004 presidential election witnessed a barrage of those ridiculous color-coded terror alerts, quashed-plot headlines and breathless press conferences from Administration officials. Warnings of terror attacks over the Christmas 2003 holidays, warnings over summer terror attacks at the 2004 political conventions, then a whole slew of warnings of terror attacks to disrupt the election itself. Even the timing of the alerts seemed to fall with odd regularity right on the heels of major political events. One of Department of Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge's terror warnings came two days after John Kerry picked John Edwards as his running mate; another came three days after the end of the Democratic convention.

CNN: Just When You Think They Can't Get Much Worse...

Think Progress brings us this delightful little piece of crap from Chuck Roberts, one of CNN Headline News' anchors:

"Might Some Argue That...[Ned] Lamont is the Al Qaeda candidate?"

Well, Bush and Cheney and Rove and Mehlman would argue this, yes. But it's not like Ned Lamont has the many financial and business ties to Osama bin Laden and other Saudi-originating terror factions that the Bush family does and that Dick Cheney has profited from.

Don't just believe me. Go look at the Bush family ties to the bin Laden family that continued up to and beyond 9-11 (and are only missing on paper now). The Carlisle Group, for example.

This kind of bullshit: GOP talking points offered up as non-biased journalism is just beyond the pale.

Israel: Olmert's Popularity Tumbles While Israel Blows Up Key Bridge to Syria

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, practically massive mean hawk Ariel Sharon's hand-picked successor, has tumbled in popularity in the polls in Israel (as he should; he made Israel a LOT less safe for his military actions, much as Bush has done here).

Elsewhere, perhaps in a hint of things to come, Israel has destroyed a key bridge leading to and from Syria. The pitter patter of little Neocon feet?

If the Second Iraq War Was About Oil, Man Did We Ever Lose It

So says this article by Robert Bryce in the Energy Tribune.

Here's a snip but you may want to read yourself:

If the Second Iraq War was, in fact, about oil, then one thing is clear: we’ve lost. In 1991, America won its first oil war in the Persian Gulf. It kicked the Iraqi military out of Kuwait and reinstalled the emir of Kuwait as the ruler of the New Jersey-sized emirate. But on my visit to Kuwait in late June, during which I interviewed numerous people in the U.S. military, the U.S. State Department, and the private sector, it became obvious that a key reason why America has lost the Second Iraq War is this: it never got control of the oil.

For all of the talk about American soldiers not dying for oil, the hard truth of the Second Iraq War is that the U.S. has never had enough troops in Iraq to secure the country. And securing the country means protecting and controlling Iraq’s critical resources: the oil fields, pipelines, and refineries that provide nearly all of the country’s revenues. That didn’t happen. And it still hasn’t happened.

Insurgents began sabotaging key oil installations in early June of 2003. And they haven’t stopped. As of early July of this year, there have been more than 300 documented attacks on Iraqi oil personnel and infrastructure. (The actual number is almost certainly higher.) In addition, insurgents have created chaos within the oil ministry itself through kidnappings and violence. On July 17, the head of Iraq’s North Oil Company, Adel Qazaz, was kidnapped at his north Baghdad home by unidentified gunmen.

A Few Wrinkles in the Britain Liquid Bomb Transatlantic Terror Plot

As MissM noted sagely in comments yesterday, who knows when we'll be able to take a crappy cup of coffee on board an airplane after this supposed terror plot was revealed yesterday (and the timing of it remains just so terribly interesting).

But here's the absolutely ridiculous part of it.

For all the toe nail clippers and suntan lotion the airport screeners take away from you, when you board a plane, all the stuff you're sitting on top of - down in the deep dark recesses of the cargo hold - remains as absolutely unchecked today as it was on September 10th, 2001.

For all the crap we've gone through making 94-year-old women take off their shoes and getting patted down and x-rayed and profiled and pillaried, there is STILL NO screening of the cargo that goes on board a plane.

No wonder Bush screwed up his face yesterday and had trouble getting out the words, "America is safer than it was on September 11th."

We are NOT safer. As I've written, every action of the Bushies and neo-cons has made us substantially less safe. The billions the Bushies handed to their buddies for no-bid homeland "security" contracts were just that: money for the Bush friends.

Station Charon: Karl Rove's Tingler Is Called 9-11

Buzzflash points us to this piece at Station Charon that I think is pretty apt in its own way. Note, too, that Britain has already released at least one of the "big bad terrorists" they picked up in the liquid bomb plane plot yesterday. Now, I suspect a lot more of these folks are going to be released because if Britain could trump up charges successfully, nobody would be going home yet.

One of my all time favorite horror movies is William Castle’s 1959 classic The Tingler starring the great Vincent Price. The Tingler is a large, ugly centipede like creature that lives inside a victim’s body as a parasite and grows larger as it is fed by fear, attaching itself to the spinal cord. The Tingler literally becomes stronger as the fear level is ratcheted up...

Karl Rove has his own Tingler and it's name is 9/11, ready to be loosed upon the American subconscious at any time and on days like today with the breaking up of the latest and greatest alleged terrorist plot (and one day after the national release of Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center - what wonderful serendiptiy or was it just another convenient coincidence?)
this time ten planes departing from Britain to blow up while traveling to various U.S. destinations. Whether legitimate or another phony, overhyped conspiracy designed to invoke fear like the Miami ‘Cornrow Qaeda’ and their ridiculous plot to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago the timing of this media fed monstrosity is suspect to say the least. According to an article on the website of the London Guardian Bush’s 'poodle' Tony Blair had reportedly informed our hallowed king of the coming crackdown on the plotters as early as Sunday. “Yo Blair”…Thanks for the assist....again.

More Information on the Israel-Hezbollah-Lebanon Carnage a Trois

Let's start here:

Many Israelis appear to be growing pessimistic about the ongoing war with Hezbollah, with two newspaper polls showing support for the operations falling.
Israel has been losing this war, regardless of how many they have managed to kill. But trust me, I do not lose sight of how many civilians have died in Israel from Hizbollah rockets; but I also notice the death count in Lebanon is well more than 10:1 with a massive amount of the entire country's infrastructure just wiped the hell out.

This piece highlights the intense damage wrought in Northern Lebanon (despite Israel's claims not to really go beyond South Lebanon). Al Jazeera tells us about the last road from Beirut and the head of Lebanon brings his plea to "end this tragedy now."

I have not, however, seen a recent comprehensive death toll for Lebanon. I suspect there is no way to tell this accurately, although the figures for Israel are probably pretty accurate.

Did The Bushies and Neocons Want Israel to Strike Syria (If Not Also Iran)? The Answer is Yes.

[Ed. note: Update: From Think Progress, says a Fox military analyst on Syria: "We can talk to them when we line them up and kill them."...Hunt went on to argue that America should “absolutely, 100 percent” seek regime change in both Syria and Iran if they’re “not going to cooperate." Nice. Real nice. And this is exactly one of the big reasons why the U.S. isn't safe.]

From the Christian Science Monitor, and it's just awful. If it's true that Israel was the party to say "no way", then I applaud them for their reticence. However, considering Israel has often tried to bait the U.S. into military action which is not in this country's best interests, I find myself a little dubious. As you'll see, this piece references the Jerusalem Post piece from which we first got word that the Israel-Hezbollah-Lebanon mess was intended by many to be far bloodier.

Big snip:

The White House, and in particular White House advisors who belong to the neoconservative movement, allegedly encouraged Israel to attack Syria as an expansion of its action against Hizbullah, in Lebanon. The progressive opinion and news site ConsortiumNews.com reported Monday that Israeli sources say Israel's "leadership balked at the scheme."

One Israeli source said [US President George] Bush's interest in spreading the war to Syria was considered "nuts" by some senior Israeli officials, although Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has generally shared Bush's hard-line strategy against Islamic militants.

After rebuffing Bush's suggestion about attacking Syria, the Israeli government settled on a strategy of mounting a major assault in southern Lebanon aimed at rooting out Hizbullah guerrillas who have been firing Katyusha rockets into northern Israel.

In a July 30 story about Israel being prepared for a possible attack by Syria in response to its attacks in Lebanon, The Jerusalem Post noted the White House interest.

The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] was also concerned about a possible Syrian attack in response to the ongoing IDF operations in Lebanon. It was also known that Syria had increased its alert out of fear in Damascus that Israel might attack.

Defense officials told the Post last week that they were receiving indications from the US that America would be interested in seeing Israel attack Syria.

Neoconservatives, or 'neocons,' believe that the United States should not be ashamed to use its unrivaled military power to promote its values around the world. Several prominent neocon columnists have recently written about the need for Israel to take the current conflict beyond Lebanon to include the countries they consider to be Hizbullah's main backers – Iran and Syria.

U.N. to Vote in the Next Hour

[Ed. note: Update: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has supposedly given his agreement to the resolution, but it's conditional on a cabinet vote there that will not happen until Sunday. It is also not clear whether this resolution would end Israel's intense bombardment of Lebanon anywhere near immediately.]

Well, tonight's the night. France and the U.S., the primary forces behind a supposed complete cessation of violence between Israel and Hezbollah, hopefully to stop the deaths of civilians in Israel and Lebanon (which has seen more than 12 persons dead for every murdered Israeli), have come to some agreement. Around 7 PM ET, they (the U.N. Security Council) are supposed to vote on the agreement as a resolution. And yes, Condi came out from hiding behind the Bush to "help" with it.

However, what I have not seen or heard is definite language that spells out that Israel MUST remove its forces from Lebanon which really must be done. I do know that the resolution spells out a force combined of both the Lebanese Army and international peacekeeping officers in Southern Lebanon, and also requires a fairly large perimeter into Lebanon that must be kept free of Hezbollah (not real sure how that will go). But if Israel isn't forced out of Lebanon, I don't see how this agreement is going to mean anything.

As it is, Israel has been blowing the hell out of Beirut all day. I don't see how there can be much left.

What really pisses me off - well, one of many on this subject - is how John Bolton kept saying this afternoon, "keep your fingers crossed." Really, John "the bully" Bolton? Is crossing our fingers the only way that you can possibly succeed at your job?

Cheney's Ridiculous, Insulting, and Absolutely Loony Comments About Non-GOPers Supporting Al Qaeda

Cheney deserves something (far more than a good swift kick), but I swear that I cannot fathom a punishment adequately fitting. But then, I'm a masochist rather than a sadist.

But here is first the Bush story referenced in the immediately previous post from the Philadelphia Daily News.

Snip from Buzzflash on Cheney:

Cheney Held an Unusual Reporter News Conference on Tuesday Night Calling Ned Lamont Basically An Enabler of al-Qaeda. Then the Latest Round of Politically Timed Alleged Terrorist Arrests Yesterday.

If Terrorism Like This is Still Such a Threat, What Have the Busheviks Been Doing for Six Years? Why are We Wasting Our Time In Iraq? Liquid Bombs Were Known to be Contemplated by al-Qaeda Over Ten Years Ago. Why Do the Busheviks Make It Sound Like They and The Brits Just Discovered This Concept? Why Didn't They Try to Prevent Liquid Bombs Before if They are So on Top of Security?
As for Bush saying America is still at risk of an attack, hell yes! Bush himself has made us more of a target with each passing day and, while making his corporate defense buddies REAL rich off taxpayers' dollars, he's made us EVEN LESS safe than we were before 9-11-01.

"Bush and Cheney's Reign of Error"

WOW. The Philadelphia Daily News - Philly dot com for you novices - just blew me away with this oped (and thanks to Buzzflash for the link):

THESE PEOPLE have no shame. Their contempt for democracy is so great they will stop at nothing to undermine it. Their adherence to fundamentalist beliefs that blinds them to reality is frightening. They must be stopped.

And that's just the Republicans.

Let's start with Vice President Dick Cheney.

Yesterday, Cheney bashed those who voted for Democrat Ned Lamont in the Connecticut Senate primary, claiming that these votes would encourage "al Qaeda types" to think that "they can break the will of the American people."

The idea is that since 18-year incumbent Joe Lieberman lost based on his support for Iraq, Americans opposing the war are waving a white flag of surrender to terrorists.

This is stunningly ignorant logic, as well as annoyingly consistent with the Bush administration's fundamentalist myth that Iraq had ties to al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden - a claim by now well-discounted, most notably by a presidential commission.

And yet the presidential fog machine has continued to belch out its Iraq-al Qaeda-link fumes to the extent that a recent poll suggests that 64 percent of Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein had strong links to al Qaeda. More people than ever now believe, according to a new poll, that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

Ironically, the number who believe in the al Qaeda link is almost precisely the same number of Americans - 62 percent - who believe we are bogged down in Iraq.

For Cheney - and other Republicans like GOP National Chairman Ken Mehlman - to suggest that those Americans are encouraging terrorism is reprehensible.

Cheney's comments came out a day before British intelligence officials announced they had thwarted a major terrorist attack. Surely Cheney was aware of the plot and the work to thwart it, and was no doubt aware of the timing of yesterday's announcement.

To exploit a very real terror threat that could have led to major casualties, and to even indirectly implicate Americans who were exercising their democratic right by going to the polls and making a choice borders on the criminal, to say nothing of the insane.

Has Cheney completely lost it?

The latest terror scare is upsetting enough: It is bound to lead to havoc and chaos both domestically and internationally. It could damage the economy if fears on flying are sustained. It reopens the profound wounds of 9/11, a scab we should figure by now will never completely heal.

But the real terror is this: While our Vacationer- in-Chief and his vice president shut down dissent, and discourage questions about the way our government has directed our intelligence and military resources toward a single target in Iraq, we are no closer to understanding or dismantling the threat of al Qaeda.

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Many media outlets are claiming that the blogosphere (I'm more inclined toward Skippy's patented "Blogtopia" phrase myself) has the right to pat itself on the back for the removal of Joe Lieberman as the Dem Senatorial candidate from Connecticut. But I think blogs only account for some of the momentum - NOT Joementum - for Lieberman's defeat.

For example, we cannot help but recognize that the single biggest motivator to remove Lieberman is and was Lieberman himself. He was the one who put his goose in a big roasting pan and kept basting.

But a lot of people in Connecticut - probably the majority of which do NOT read blogs - deserve credit, too. They weighed the choices and decided that Lamont sounded a heluva lot better than Joementum. And they came out in big numbers for a primary. I must admit that the short time during which I was registered with a specific party, I never bothered to vote in a primary, only the November real deals.

Blogs did a heck of a lot of work, no doubt. But I'm inclined to keep some perspective.

Uh... In The "Sorry to Raise the Topic of Fox News' Favorite She-Male Annthrax Again But... Department

Here is a momentous occasion: I actually agree with Ann Coulter on ONE point.

Ann says Joe Lieberman fits well with the Republicans.

I believe this is EXACTLY the point the Democratic voters of the State of Connecticut made just Tuesday and in the many weeks and months leading up to the Dem primary. Perfect GOP matches for Joe include (but are by no means limited to):

  • he pledges allegiance to the ass of George Bush
  • he's far more concerned with himself than the people he supposedly represents
  • money and power mean a lot more to him than what is best for the people he represents
  • he blames everyone else for failings and disinformation that really only come from him
  • he wouldn't know what democracy and patriotism means if they bit him on the face

Want to Lose Weight FAST? Here's a Headline Just For You

This headline just made me chuck my Chinese take-out:

Yes, I know conventional wisdom has it that men will screw anything with a pulse and sometimes, they aren't even really fussy about the pulse part. But:
  1. I don't happen to believe that piece of conventional wisdom (applies to some, but certainly not the majority of men) and
  2. I think necrophilia and having a man's mother come on to him would rate as "more pleasant" experiences than even watching Ann Coulter.

Have You "Met" Disinformation?

Uh... no, I'm not referring to the information provided by the Bushies, the government, and mainstream media, although "disinformation" certain applies there, of course.

Nope, here I'm referring to the site: Disinformation. I haven't prowled around it much yet but happened to stumble over it (which seems to be how I lead my life ::cough::cough::) and thought I would mention it.

Your Comments

Afternoon, folks!

Sorry, I see that there are a bunch of great comments left in the last couple days, but I seem to pull a browser error every time I try to reply. I'll keep trying, perhaps later, because I do want to read and respond.

Protest of U.S. Israeli War to Encircle White House

Damned right it's a U.S.-Israel war against Lebanon. And if the Newt Gingriches and Karl Roves have their way, we'll be fighting Iran and Syria as well.

Meanwhile, Israel has asked the U.S. to expedite rockets they can use to blow more of the hell out of the good people of Lebanon. Personally, I'm growing a tad weary of the U.S. being Israel's personal Wal-Mart free gift card.


Speaking of the War Forgotten Today

And no, I am not referring to Iraq, which is in terrible, terrible shape indeed with a suicide bomber killing so many.

How many of you are aware that Israel launched the worst ecological disaster in modern history when it blew up a power plant in Lebanon? It's rather hard to do a massive cleanup operation there, too, what with Israel cluster bombing (and cluster fucking) everything in sight. And notice that the death toll in Lebanon among civilians is hiding more and more each day.

Today, Israel hit a huge tower and the U.N. isn't getting very far with an attempt to create a resolution to stop violence there because Bush and Company refuses to allow any resolution that makes Israel get its ass and American made - and provided free of charge to the Israelis, thank you, very much - fire power out of Lebanon.

Humanitarian crises abound there because Israel won't allow ANY aid to go into the country without threat of being treated as "Hezbollah" guerillas.

Someone Alert Lou Dobbs: Study Finds Immigrants Don't Hurt U.S. Jobs!

Another great lie of the far right exposed: American jobs aren't endangered by immigrants (no, as any fool could tell you, American jobs are endangered by Wal-Mart and outsourcing to other countries).

Damn, if only an illegal immigrant would take Lou Dobbs' job. Or Bill O'Reilly's.

Gee, What Kind of Job Could Ann Coulter Get...?

If her publisher and publications that run her "column" finally figure out that she's one big lie?

From Media Matters:

Congresswoman Maxine Waters had parachuted into Connecticut earlier in the week to campaign against [Senator Joe] Lieberman because he once expressed reservations about affirmative action, without which she would not have a job that didn't involve wearing a paper hat. Waters also considers Joe 'soft' on the issue of the CIA inventing crack cocaine and AIDS to kill all the black people in America
Remember, complaints from the right at her hate-schtick got her pulled in some places.

With Middle East Cease Fire Blown, Secretary of State Condi Rice Hides Behind a Bush

Well, she did.

And isn't it nice that this terror plot distracts us from the horror which is Lebanon?

WaPo: Making a Liquid Bomb Not Hard, Say Experts

OK, I'll buy this. But we're hearing that these terror plot geniuses had different people carrying different components.

You ever tried to share things on a plane? Even before 9-11? Try passing a bottle of soda to someone three rows back on the opposite side of the plane.

And among Pakistanis who tend to stand out?

The smell test on this terror plot is a bad one.

A Friendly Word of Caution to the Bushies

Before you go spouting the terror alert buzzwords like footprints of al Qaeda on the British plane plot, let me remind you of one point and inform you of another.

Reminder: You haven't caught the two top people of al Qaeda. And we only have YOUR word for the "truthiness" that the late, not-too-lamented al Zarqawi was al Qaeda's big man in Iraq.

Information Point: On this lovely terror day, the most frequent search phrase that brought people to this blog - and some others of the fellow bloggers I've consulted so far - amounts to:

why haven't we caught Osama bin Laden

Followed by the second major search phrase:

Bush vacation tracker

People are getting wise to you folks. It's taken them awhile, but... the Koolaid sugar rush is wearing off.

Joe Lieberman: He Won't Be Pushed Around By People Who Are So Far Out of The Mainstream...

Yes, just as Stephen Colbert noted just now on The Colbert Report, it's just a measly 86% of Democrats who oppose the Iraq war and Mr. Bush's efforts and the kind of votes Joementum delivered again and again for the Bushies ... hardly enough people to speak of.

If Dems Are "Myopic Doves", What is Charles Krauthammer?

I mean, besides someone who has done the field of psychiatry a great favor by not practicing anything more than poison purloined purple prose in the Washington Post?

I sure haven't seen "vision" on the part of the GOP, unless it's delusions of grandeur and autonomy, of making up "terror" alerts and bogeyman while paying NO attention to what we really should be concerned about. But that's slight of hand, isn't it?

Look over there, and not at what we're doing over here.

Another Type of Terrorist Known as Hot Tub Tom DeLay

From ThinkProgress:

Just now on Fox News, criminally indicted ex-Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) said that liberals “don’t want to fight this war on terrorism.” DeLay described the liberal world view as “Can’t we all get along?” and said that liberals’ reaction to a terrorist attack is, “You can’t go after these wonderful people that just killed a bunch of Americans.” Watch it:

This is a classic Rovian tactic. An overwhelming majority (84%) of national security experts — liberal and conservative — believe America is losing the war on terror under the guidance of the Bush administration. Instead of addressing the failure of their approach, Delay and other White House surrogates attack their opponents on the same issue.

It may or may not be a successful political strategy but it definitely doesn’t make the country safer.

Care to Talk About "Mass Murder on an Unimaginable Scale"?

If so, consider the 2,000 Iraqis who went to one morgue in Baghdad in July.

That's ONE morgue.

And it's the Bush team's doing. They threw Iraq into utter turmoil. And they're gonna get their own asses out of there as soon as they can't even pretend to contain it any longer.

America Safer?

Did you happen to notice today - in his brief foray from his vacation not to assure a terror-threatened public but instead to fundraise for the GOP - how Mr. Bush stumbled and stammered and didn't even seem to believe himself as he told us "America is safer than it was on 9-11"?

He damn well SHOULD stammer.

His every action has made America less safe with each act.

My partner insists that you just have to listen to Bush to get the truth. I'm starting to believe him (him as in my partner, not as in Bush).

Idiots of the World: Unite Around August 22nd Armageddon

Joe Scarborough, the Wal-Mart deep discount clearance sale version of Bill O'Reilly (and who still has never quite answered those pesky questions about the death of that female office worker around the time Joe suddenly left Congress), was pushing August 22nd as the date Iran would strike Israel and start the "end of the world".

It's something when it's Pat Buchanan who walks and talks the role of sanity, reminding us that Iran does not have anything finished yet while Israel has a MINIMUM of 200-300 atomic warheads (the best worst-kept secret in the world is Israel's nuclear arsenal that they are NOT supposed to have).

Say Hello to...

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Bloggers Against Torture
Brains and Eggs
Impeach for Peace
Torture Awareness
Worldwide Sawdust

Islamic Fascists

The New York Times on Bush's fascination with Islamic fascists.

Of course, America has a few fascists of its own. A few examples: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Michael Chertoff, Ken Mehlman....

Buzzflash Is Also Less Than Terrified With New Terror Plot

From the Buzzflash Crew who reminds us: "I Want Them to Know That They Need Us," Said the Tyrannical Orwellian Ruler in "V for Vendetta." Ditto for Cheney and Bush.

The pattern continues. A terrorist plot is uncovered just as the masses start to question national security strategy.

The day after Senate Democrats brought a vote to pull out of Iraq, we catch a few idiots in Miami who were supposedly trying to blow up the Sears Tower, despite the fact that they lacked the means and ability to do so. Then there were the guys busted for supposedly plotting to blow up a New York subway exactly a year after the London bus bombings. And don't forget the release of new Osama bin Laden tapes just before the 2004 election as well as the very day after the Supreme Court decision striking down the Guantanamo Bay military tribunals. And now today, a few men in England were arrested for a plan to blow up planes flying to America, just a day after Connecticut voters flatly rejected Joe Lieberman and the war in Iraq.

We certainly can't deny that there may have indeed been plans to commit these acts. But the timings of the arrest announcements are awfully suspicious. All three were still in the works and had been monitored for several months by very capable intelligence agencies. While the exact nature of today's arrests is still unclear, none of the plans seemed to have been immediate or imminent threats. The decision of when to intervene has been arbitrary, making the coincidental timings pretty convenient.

(And the question of whether some of them are "real threats," such as the Liberty City "Insane Clown Posse" remain to be seen. And, of course, as BuzzFlash pointed out in several commentaries, the alleged plot to bomb tunnels into Manhattan in order to "flood the financial district and ruin the Wall Street economy" had one fatal flaw. Water does not flow upwards, and since Manhattan is above sea level, the plan, as the Busheviks promoted it through the press, was impossible. It defied the laws of gravity.)

Today's Air Terror Plot? It Stinks of Bush-Blair Slight-of-Hand

Wow. A day after the fallout from Tuesday's Connecticut primary and the hype of Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center" release, the day BEFORE the one month anniversary of September 11th (and in the last few months, we had a similar "big terror plot" served up on a month-versary of 9-11).

And Bush's words? "We're at war with Islamic fascists who want to destroy us... for our freedom." Yeah? What freedom would that be? Bush and Cheney have taken it all away, with help from a hugely gullible American media and public.

Forgive me: haven't we determined that it is not simply Muslims who might dislike us? I mean, most of the rest of the world HATES us now. Bush is right back to "crusade" again ... interesting, considering that I've read that a lot of the American population believes Lebanon is a big Muslim state (when I believe Christians predominate) and that's why Israel fears them so.

I'm sorry. These people cry wolf anytime they don't like what the media talk about or how the American people are feeling - and a lot of them have BIG questions.

So color me pretty cynical about this nonsense.


Could Someone Explain

...why it's the ultra-moral red staters who always go for the salacious stuff on Web searches?

I've gotten more hits on the stupid Paris Hilton celibate shit than anything else today, and from very red parts of the country.

Oh wait.. that's right. It's the moralist red staters who go for the wife swapping shows and subscribe to porn channels. You know, sin all week, get redeemed on Sunday. But we blue staters who read, well... evil incarnate.

The Massive War Crime That Is the Military Action in Lebanon

As I've said before, I don't like what Hezbollah stands for and I believe the state of Israel has ever right to exist and to defend itself. But I have big questions about how the government of Israel behaves, much as I question much of how the Bush Administration behaves and allows the Pentagon to behave.

With all this said, I see what goes on in Lebanon as far more of a war crime (a massive one) than a defensive action by Israel. I notice again today we heard countless times of the number of Israeli soldiers dead. But if you heard a peep about how many Lebanese civilians died... well.. you weren't listening to TV news.

Here is a post by Juan Cole, an expert on the Middle East:

The Israeli air force hit civilians at Ghaziyah in the south on Monday, killing 14. When the victims' families and friends held a funeral procession on Tuesday, the Israelis hit them again, killing 6 more innocent civilians. (This terror tactic, where you kill people and then kill their funeral party later, as well, is commonly used by the Baathist insurgency in Iraq).

The Israelis killed another five innocents, these being fruit packers and truckers near the border with Syria.In the south, the Israeli invaders fought hard battles as they moved as much as 7 miles into Lebanon, losing two reservists in firefights with the formidable Hizbullah.

So the Israelis warned the southern Shiites that they should flee north, otherwise these ordinary civilians would be considered fair game. So thousands flee north to Beirut and go to schools and other shelters in Shiite districts like Shiyah. So then the Israelis bomb Shiyah. If they were going to be bombed anyway, they may as well have stayed home.

Israel has effectively cut South Lebanon off from the rest of the country, having destroyed roads and bridges, etc. Aid workers have been forced to leave the area. The Israelis have declared southern Lebanon a "no-drive" zone, promising to kill anyone who drives around a vehicle. This policy would make it difficult for aid workers to truck in grain and other foodstuffs and medicine. So, they have just left.The Israelis also bombed a Palestinian refugee camp.

The nascent Israeli military ethnically cleansed hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in 1948, expelling some 100,000 from their ancestral homeland north into southern Lebanon, where they were reduced to living penniless and in squalor in camps in someone else's country. They have grown to 400,000, though some demographers suspect that half that number has gone off to Europe, where they cannot get work visas and so spend their days visiting parks and riding the subway.

The Israelis seem to have a list of old scores to settle, and are taking advantage of the war to settle some vendettas. Had anyone charged that Israel was attacked from refugee camp in Lebanon? This is just opportunism (like the whole war).

The Iraq War Enablers

The Times' Bob Herbert has some very sage words in his latest column, "The Iraq War Enablers".

Is the U.S. Electorate... The Individual Voter Pissed?

You bet!

I am not exactly a Michael Moore devotee (although he's always personally replied to my email), but I would agree with some of what he said today: that John Kerry and Hillary Clinton are just some of the people who have to worry about their seats. People have rubber stamped the Bush agenda for too long.

We want the Republicans out, yes. But there are a lot of people on the fence who deserve to go, too.

San Francisco Votes for Impeachment

That is, San Francisco had added the impeachment of President George W. Bush to the fall ballot for November.

Good for you, Golden Gaters.

A Jewish Member of Bushies Called Israel

and asked, "Well, are you gonna FIGHT or what?"

This is being reported on Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC right now.

My God. We cooked another war. We cooked it for November 2006 and cooked it good for 2008.

When do we impeach ALL these people?

Stay the Course?

Oh, but we won't "stay the course" if we finally recognize the Bushies have driven the nation of Iraq into civil war. The Bushies have a "get out of Iraq free" card to play once they finally acknowledge what almost everyone else has.

See, I'm the strange animal who feels we OWE the people of Iraq BIG TIME. We destroyed their country. We saddled them with nincompoops of Bush friends like Halliburton to "rebuild" what we destroyed only we haven't.

But the Bushies will cut and run when they need to, but in the meantime, it's not like they're losing their young men and women. Is it?

Hey, Connecticut!

You done good! What you did yesterday made me for the first time miss my birth state.

The more I hear the Republicans embrace Joe Lieberman (our favorite in-the-gay-closet-while-hating-gays-most GOP chairman Ken Mehlman had nothing but nice words for Joe) and insist on the same old rhetoric ("stay the course") while now, they're even shafting Condoleeza Rice in her efforts to pull off a cessation of violence in Lebanon (supposedly, she's spitting fire that the Bushies hung her out to dry), the more I know that yesterday mattered.

I know a few of the folks who were out to take Lieberman down from the beginning. They know who they are and they know I love 'em for it.

More Ducks in a Barrel for Israel

In a repeat of yesterday, Israel took American made gunships into the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, supposedly looking for Hezbollah, and killed people there.

You've no doubt already learned that Israel has decided there is something - people? - left in Lebanon they haven't destroyed yet, so they're widening their "Hizbollah" operation, says the New York Times.


Has anyone else seen anything confirming the rumblings around that the Bushies and Israel's Olmert signed off on a Lebanon attack no less than two months ago, and then let soldiers "fall" to Hezbollah guerillas as the first convenient excuse?

I'm not saying this is true. I'm saying there is a lot of this stuff out on the Internet but I haven't been able to source it back to any reliable people.

Busy Busy Busy

If you find it tought to get in here, it's because traffic went crazy.

I wish it were my careful analysis of the political situation but - to be honest - most of the folks are here to read about Paris Hilton announcing she'll be celibate for a year. ::choke::gag::

However, I did get lots of new viewers from a link today at Bartcop, so I thank them kindly.


Israeli Troops Amassing on Lebanon Border

Israel's War Cabinet meets Wednesday (it's already past 6 AM there tomorrow) to determine whether to send this troop mass further and deeper into Lebanon in the search for Hezbollah. But many question whether Israel can wipe Hezbollah out without destroying every man, woman, and child in Lebanon.

Lieberman Concedes!

Joementum's doing it right now. Of course, he's still with us as an Indy, but...

Congrats Ned Lamont.

John Nichols blogs the Future of the Democrats at The Nation.

It's The Rapture, Baby!

Well, I don't think there's much coincidence that with the fight between Israel and Hezbollah taking place in Lebanon that more of the fruity nutcake Christians who always see Armageddon and the rapture with the End Times around every corner now predict we're finally at that time.

In a story in The Nation, Max Blumenthal writes that Rapture-ready Christian Zionists have hired their first full-time Washington lobbyist. He's experienced, connected to the White House--and, oy vey, he's Jewish.

Beware of the GOP Right's Calls For World War III (Three)

I notice rightwing talk show and now CNN Headline News (ha) host Glenn Beck is pitching the Israel-Lebanon-Hezbollah fight as World War III. Don't buy it.

This is just talking points to what Newt Gingrich put forth more than three weeks ago, saying the Republicans can win in November mid-term elections and possibly 2008 presidential votes by cooking the current Middle East crisis into World War Three.

You saw what they did in Iraq. Do you want these numbskulls in charge any longer?

Lamont Win in Democratic Primary in Connecticut?

Maybe... but we'll have to see: Lieberman may ask his pal, Bush, for some of those Diebold vote fixers. ::cough::

AssPress says it's 52% Lamont-48% Lieberman with almost 75% of precincts reporting.

Israel Attacks Largest Palestinian Refugee Camp in Lebanon

Talk about shooting fish in a captive barrel! Of course, they say they were after "Hezbollah".

WaPo: Israel Confronts New Kind of War (with Hizbollah in Lebanon)

Story here.

France Takes a Stand Against Standing Israeli Troops in Lebanon

Yes! I agree with France: no cease-fire should happen with Israeli forces occupying Lebanese territory. This was brought about by Arab nations talking with France.

But the United States is, of course, pitching a fit because - for some odd reason - we dance to Olmert's tune even though Israel gets most of its funding from the United States. I understand Israel's concerns, but what gives Israel the right to occupy another country's lands... something Israel has down time and again?

Only in Vermont (Well Not Really But We Are Damned Small)

Great news, at least to Vermont blogtopia (Skippy coined this, yes?)

On the heels of our announcement that two regular dKos bloggers will be participating in our state Democratic Party Platform Content Committee, we've got another cool announcement to make.

On Monday, August 28th at 12:00 noon, Green Mountain Daily will host Vermont's first online political candidate debate between the Democratic primary candidates for Lieutenant Governor, Representative John Patrick Tracy of Burlington and Senator Matt Dunne of Hartland. The debate will be held in a live chat room linked from the GMD front page, with comments from viewers in a parallel live-blogging thread.

odum's diary :: ::

Yours truly will be moderating, and GMD front pagers Jack McCullough and Vermonter will be on site with the candidates for the duration of the debate.

#&*@! Blogger

sAccording to Blogger, I have to type a word verification with every entry now because my blog corresponds to the features of a "spam blog". This will happen until "human eyes" have inspected my blog to be sure it does not actually have spam.

Have I mentioned how wonderful it is that Google took over a company that was operating fine without them?

BP, the Alaskan Pipeline, and Gas Prices

Why are only Democrats demanding an investigation into their dead Pipeline from Alaska? According to a report on NBC tonight, BP deliberately foiled the flow of crude.

Well, although we hear that prices will climb toward $4 over the next few weeks and mostly on the West Coast, I'll tell you they are already within a hair of $4 here in rural Vermont, about as far away from the West Coast as you can get.

Lowest price I saw today was $3.699 for regular unleaded and just a penny beneath $4 for premium.

Why Are People of Lebanon Moving Toward Support of Hezbollah?

Put quite simply: where else can they go for help against the attacks from Israel? Lebanese civilians have no one fighting to protect them except Hezbollah, they feel.

While Israel has destroyed the infrastructure and kept food and medical supplies and fuel from getting where they need to go, Hezbollah is providing them.

This is not to excuse Hezbollah. But where else would these people possibly go for help? I don't notice the United States there to help.

Israel: "Gloves Come Off"

Uh oh... yesterday, Israel threatened "the gloves will come off" in the fight against Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Now we see the ramifications of Israel replacing their top commander. Israel is about to launch a much broader, more vicious campaign, according to John Roberts on CNN (well, more extrapolated from his comments about how people in Israel are upset that the Israeli Defense Forces are not making more progress in routing Hezbollah).

Israel Replaces Top Commander?

The Washington Post is reporting Israel has just replaced its top commander overseeing the Hezbollah fight in Lebanon.

God Bless Doctors Without Borders

Did you see them yesterday? After Israel bombed the last bridge into Tyre, volunteers with Doctors Without Borders formed a human chain over a river to try to move desperately needed medical supplies to Lebanon.

Now these are the kind of rock stars I'll pay attention to.

Wonderful: Ketamine Injection May Relieve Depression Symptoms in Just Hours

Story here and it's wonderful. That ketamine is already a well researched drug helps a lot.

CNN's Candy Crowley Says Lieberman Has Pulled Out in Front in Connecticut

That Joe Lieberman has one iota of doubt he will win this primary today speaks volumes about how those who are not Republicans are tired of being pulled to the far right. Joe is all DLC (the centrist-to-the-right Democratic Leadership Council).

And where is Howard Dean in all this? I've seen little of him, although I have seen his brother, Jim, a bit. But the press forces the Republican's in-the-closet gay-who-hates-gays Ken Mehlman leader of the GOP down our throats nearly every day.

I Agree with James Zogby: Stop the Madness!

It is way, way, WAY past time that the bloodshed between Israeli Defense Forces and Lebanese civilians on one hand, and Hezbollah fighters and Israeli citizens (many Arab Israelis among the dead) on the other end.

More than 80 people died in reported incidents in Lebanon yesterday, and a funeral procession for yesterday's dead was bombed by Israel today.

Where is Bush? On vacation.

Who's "trying" to talk to world leaders? Condi Rice, whose only skills are in sucking up to Bush and making faces at Bush critics.

Where is the media? Mostly talking about Tom Cruise's baby, American Idol contestants, and whether "Talledega Nights" makes fun of Southern white Christian racing men. My God.

The Washington Post for most of the day had NO story about Lebanon-Israel on its front Web page.

Every Israeli death in this war is tragic. So too are the Lebanese death which happen at far more than a 10:1 ratio.

Any Predictions on the Winner of Today's Big Connecticut Democratic Primary?

I suspect it will be close, but I tend to think Lamont may win. This doesn't unseat Lieberman, since he's prepared to run as an Independent (who may also appear on the Republican entry on the ballots).


July a Very Deadly Month in Palestinian Territory

[Ed. note: Update: The Middle East Times says eight, not four, Palestinians were killed in the IDF air strikes over Rafah in the Gaza Strip.]

From the International Middle East Media Center:

Gaza's health and environment statistics are reaching record lows. The Palestinian Ministry of Health announced that Israeli forces killed 177 Palestinians in military operations during the month of July. This figure represents a 222 percent rise in the number of deaths in June. The number of injured in the attacks in July was 1,010, representing a 317 percent rise from the previous month.
Meanwhile, four Palestinians, including two teenage brothers, were killed over night in Israeli air strikes in Rafah.

Sunday's Middle East Death Count

Sunday's grim death toll in the Middle East: at least 28 Lebanese deaths and up to 15 Israelis, including soldiers. From the Middle East Times:

Israeli warplanes pounded areas north and south of Beirut August 4, killing at least 28 people, as Israel's biggest city Tel Aviv braced for a rain of retaliatory Hizbullah rocket fire.
Another time when I had to search (and search and search and... well, you get the idea) to find any information on Lebanese casualties while the Israeli victim count was always readily available.

Wow: if this is what a complete cessation of violence brings, thank goodness Hizbollah/Hezbollah and Israel aren't fighting anymore!

Lebanese Turn to the Internet to Get Their Message Out

Story in The Times.

Santorum and Dirty Tricks: His Staff Caught Pitching for Green Party Candidate

Should we believe Rick Santorum - who's doing pretty badly against his challenger as the incumbent junior senator from Pennsylvania - is just trying to help democracy by having his staff "aid" the Green Party candidate? Or is it possible that "Man on Dog" Wal-Mart Corporate Jet Ricky is trying to subvert democracy by screwing over his Democratic party rival?

My bet is on the latter.

Newsweek: "Inside Hezbollah"

While I have no idea how accurate it is, Newsweek offers a look at "inside Hezbollah" to give you a sense of how the organization operates and its overall structure.

Lebanon Begs United Nations to Include Israeli Force Withdrawal From Its Country

While the Bushies seem inclined to feel it's right for Israel to stay in place in Lebanon in their search and destruction of Hezbollah forces, I think it's only appropriate that Lebanon demand that Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) get out.

Israeli Prime Minister Tells Europe: Stop Preaching

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is getting very testy with Europe, where leaders and the public alike want to see an end to the violence mostly in Lebanon, where the target is supposedly Hezbollah.

Well, they said Olmert was cut from the same cloth as Ariel Sharon. Unfortunately, I think they may have been correct in that analysis.

Was This Baby Hamas or Hezbollah?

I doubt it. From the International Middle East Media Center, regarding an air strike by Israeli forces on Rafah:

Palestinian medical sources and eyewitnesses in Gaza reported that one child was killed after midnight Saturday night, east of Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

The Children of Lebanon Need Your Help

Save the Children is appealing to people who may be in a financial position to help the children whose entire way of life has disappeared in the face of the Israeli action against Hezbollah in Lebanon. This is not to say the only focus is on Lebanon, but children in Israel have not been affected (so far) anywhere near as badly as those across their northern border.

The Nation Asks, "Is Israel Good for the Jews?"

Norman Birnbaum presents a piece in The Nation that I found enlightening and thought-provoking, with this teaser:

An American Jewish identity that centers on unconditional defense of Israel is not healthy--for either American Jews or Israel.
You may want to follow up that piece with both Charley Reese's discussion of the incredible spin power of the Israeli lobby shown at AntiWar.com as well as one (in The Nation) by Ari Berman on AIPAC's Hold, or
"The Congressional reaction to Hezbollah's attack on Israel and Israel's bombing of Lebanon provide the latest example of the lobby's grip on US foreign policy."

The Case for Boycotting Israel

Levi at Jews Sans Frontieres presents the Virginia Tilley article of the same name as this post.

Levi also points us to a very important Christian Science Monitor piece I somehow missed., "What Peace Did Hezbollah Shatter?" Here's a snip but I encourage you to read it in full):

Since its withdrawal of occupation forces from southern Lebanon in May 2000, Israel has violated the United Nations-monitored "blue line" on an almost daily basis, according to UN reports. Hizbullah's military doctrine, articulated in the early 1990s, states that it will fire Katyusha rockets into Israel only in response to Israeli attacks on Lebanese civilians or Hizbullah's leadership; this indeed has been the pattern.In the process of its violations, Israel has terrorized the general population, destroyed private property, and killed numerous civilians.

This past February, for instance, 15-year-old shepherd Yusuf Rahil was killed by unprovoked Israeli cross-border fire as he tended his flock in southern Lebanon. Israel has assassinated its enemies in the streets of Lebanese cities and continues to occupy Lebanon's Shebaa Farms area, while refusing to hand over the maps of mine fields that continue to kill and cripple civilians in southern Lebanon more than six years after the war supposedly ended. What peace did Hizbullah shatter?

Hizbullah's capture of the soldiers took place in the context of this ongoing conflict, which in turn is fundamentally shaped by realities in the Palestinian territories. To the vexation of Israel and its allies, Hizbullah - easily the most popular political movement in the Middle East - unflinchingly stands with the Palestinians.

Since June 25, when Palestinian fighters captured one Israeli soldier and demanded a prisoner exchange, Israel has killed more than 140 Palestinians. Like the Lebanese situation, that flare-up was detached from its wider context and was said to be "manufactured" by the enemies of Israel; more nonsense proffered in order to distract from the apparently unthinkable reality that it is the manner in which Israel was created, and the ideological premises that have sustained it for almost 60 years, that are the core of the entire Arab-Israeli conflict.

Once the Arabs had rejected the UN's right to give away their land and to force them to pay the price for European pogroms and the Holocaust, the creation of Israel in 1948 was made possible only by ethnic cleansing and annexation. This is historical fact and has been documented by Israeli historians, such as Benny Morris. Yet Israel continues to contend that it had nothing to do with the Palestinian exodus, and consequently has no moral duty to offer redress.

For six decades the Palestinian refugees have been refused their right to return home because they are of the wrong race. "Israel must remain a Jewish state," is an almost sacral mantra across the Western political spectrum. It means, in practice, that Israel is accorded the right to be an ethnocracy at the expense of the refugees and their descendants, now close to 5 million.

Is it not understandable that Israel's ethnic preoccupation profoundly offends not only Palestinians, but many of their Arab brethren? Yet rather than demanding that Israel acknowledge its foundational wrongs as a first step toward equality and coexistence, the Western world blithely insists that each and all must recognize Israel's right to exist at the Palestinians' expense.

Here We Go Again: One Side's Death Focused Upon, The Others Go Unmentioned

On both CNN.com and MSNBC.com right now, you'll see headlines telling you how many Israelis have died from deadly Hezbollah rockets (current death toll there: 15). But we know there are many, many deaths in Lebanon only I can't seem to find either news site discussing those in headlines.

Again, civilian casualties on BOTH sides are tragic; why aren't the two treated as equals. Fifteen Lebanese deaths has never, to date, gotten the emphasis that sometimes as low as three civilian deaths in Israel has drawn. This is the spin of the U.S. media.

Tuesday's Connecticut Democratic Primary: "A Fight For The Party's Soul"

The Nation looks at the Lieberman-Lamont battle coming up on Tuesday.

Remember, if Joe Lieberman loses there, he's already got the mechanism in place to run as an independent. It's also expected that he will appear on the Republican ticket. Heh.

As Juan Cole Says, The Destruction of Lebanon Makes NO Sense

From Juan Cole at Informed Comment:

The wholesale destruction of all of Lebanon by Israel and the US Pentagon does not make any sense. Why bomb roads, roads, bridges, ports, fuel depots in Sunni and Christian areas that have nothing to do with Shiite Hizbullah in the deep south? And, why was Hizbullah's rocket capability so crucial that it provoked Israel to this orgy of destruction? Most of the rockets were small katyushas with limited range and were highly inaccurate. They were an annoyance in the Occupied Golan Heights, especially the Lebanese-owned Shebaa Farms area. Hizbullah had killed 6 Israeli civilians since 2000. For this you would destroy a whole country?

It doesn't make any sense.Moreover, the Lebanese government elected last year was pro-American!

Why risk causing it to fall by hitting the whole country so hard?

And, why was Condi Rice's reaction to the capture of two Israeli soldiers and Israel's wholesale destruction of little Lebanon that these were the "birth pangs" of the "New Middle East"? How did she know so early on that this war would be so wideranging? And, how could a little border dispute in the Levant signal such an elephantine baby's advent? Isn't it because she had, like Tony Blair, been briefed about the likelihood of a war by the Israelis, or maybe collaborated with them in the plans, and also conceived of it in much larger strategic terms?

Joe Lieberman's Odd Friends and Strange Bedfellows

As John Nichols suggests in The Nation's blog, Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), in a tough race to hold onto his seat against a hot and heavy challenger, Ned Lamont, happens to have some rather odd friends and even stranger bedfellows... especially for something of an Orthodox Jew.

Guess who's defending Lieberman against his critics? Try Hot Tub Tom DeLay (Mr. Corruption), Ann Coulter (Mr. Nasty, someone who would make Sid Vicious seem like a pre-Kindergarten teacher), and William Kristol (Knight Neocon).

A Summary of the Investigations Into Its Practices The Bush Administration Has Blocked and Thwarted

Mr. Natural at Left EdgeNorth points to this discussion of Bushie badass blocked investigations (also here) and... surprise, surprise... he doesn't seem to think Hillary Clinton would make a very good choice for president either. I tell you, it's mostly Republicans who want a Hillary in 08, but only so she can lose against their candidate.

Oh, I want to see a woman in the White House for a change as much as anyone. But at this point, just having a candidate who isn't evil incarnate would be a refreshing change. There are better women than Condi and Hillary for the job, many of whom are NOT politicians.

Americans Are Still Dying in Iraq

Jimmy Breslin, one of the refreshingly honest voices after 9-11, brings himself out of retirement to pen a column for Newsday entitled, "In Case We All Forgot, Americans Are Still Dying in Iraq."

Thanks to Buzzflash for the tip.

Syria "Welcomes" Regional War?

Is it true that Syria says it welcomes a regional war that could grow out of the Israel-Hezbollah-Lebanon carnage a trois or is this more hype perpetrated by the Bushies and neocons and some of their comrades in Israel who want very much to get some validation for a war against Iran and Syria?

More In The "No Shit, Sherlock! Department

Wow.. what a news release: the Bushies threw up obstacle after road block after goose chase to keep the 9-11 Commission investigating the government failures on September 11th, 2001 from finding out the truth about how George Bush, Dick Cheney and company performed so miserably that day (or performed quite well if their agenda was other than the security of the American people).

And, In a Similar Vein: Dope and Dopier

So Tour De France winner Landis' backup drug test came back positive for synthetic testosterone (and I still suspect Lance Armstrong used) while the far right AND Jackie Mason attack anyone who thinks badly of Mel Gibson for thinking badly of a whole race of people. Sheesh. This is followed up by Newsweek asking, "Can Mel Gibson redeem himself?"

Why should we care if Gibson can be redeemed? He's not worth the effort. After he asks all Jews to stop their lives to validate him and then he gets his publicist to say he can't be an anti-Semite becaue he has an Israeli bodyguard and a Jewish publicist", can there be any doubt that this man checked out of reality some time back?

Paris Hilton: Celibate

Gee, with all the shit going on in the world, I am so glad that I just received a News Alert stating that Paris Hilton says she'll be celibate for a year. Now I can die feeling the world has some sanity returning.

The Bushies, Through Senate, Want to Punish Government Workers Who "Tell" On Misdeeds

In The World According to George Bush and Dick Cheney, the worst possible sin is to let a government employee do his or her duty to serve the citizens of the United States by alerting the press or any other organization when the government does something wrong. And now they want it punishable by as much force as possible.

Whistleblowers are despised by the Bushies.

Bush Did Not Know Iraq Had Different "Flavors" of Muslims

Sadly, that Mr. Bush had no idea that there were different types of Muslims in Iraq surprises me not one bit. But I will admit it is very telling about his degree of comprehension of virtually every serious matter he acts upon.

Bush "Happy" With U.N. Resolution to "Stop the Violence" in the Middle East

Of course, George Bush is happy with the U.N. resolution, authored by the U.S. and France, supposedly to create a complete cessation of violence (cease fire) between Israel and Hezbollah/Hizbollah forces in Lebanon; he's happy because it isn't working to stop any violence which the president wants to advance the neocon scheme to go up against Iran and Syria.

Meanwhile media outlets like the Washington Post are happy to work Bush's magic behind the scenes with stories about how Iran wants to expand its nuclear activities.

The U.S. however is the LARGEST nuclear country and we're expanding ours dramatically all the freaking time. As I've asked so damn many times, why is it appropriate for the U.S. to do this (both for weaponry as well as domestic use), but it's pure evil for any country other than Israel (which isn't supposed to have nukes but DOES) to do so?

Far Right Talking Points: All Photos of Lebanese Civilian Deaths Are Staged

James Wolcott tackles what has me and so many others reeling with rage: how the far right and their media reps like Ann Coulter, Oliver North, Michelle Malkin, et al, insist that all the images of civilian deaths and devastation in Lebanon are nothing more than staged. Complete and utter bullshit!

How Can the U.S. Succeed in Diplomacy When the Bushies Refuse to Talk to So Many Key Players?

Diplomacy requires communication, some give and take. I listened to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice on the Sunday morning talking head shows like "Meet the Press" say that it's not necessary to talk to various countries because they "won't do anything we want" once they have talked (in other words, some countries won't tow the complete Bush line - how rude of them!). Bullying is NOT talk. Yet Washington in the Bush years also does NOT listen, which is also a necessary tool in diplomacy. The Washington Post has a decent piece discussing this today:

The Bush administration's policy of refusing to engage with nations and groups linked to terrorism, including Syria, Iran and Palestinian factions, has sharply limited U.S. maneuvering room during the war between Israel and Hezbollah, according to former administration officials and outside experts.

Iran is Hezbollah's prime sponsor, and Syria is the key conduit for the flow of missiles that have rained on Israeli territory -- facts that experts say make those countries essential to achieving a lasting solution. But after nearly six years in office, the administration has had increasingly limited contacts with those countries, if such contacts exist at all. Former officials charge that the administration has missed numerous opportunities to encourage Syria and Iran to cooperate more closely with U.S. interests.

"This has constrained U.S. foreign policy in many damaging ways," said Flynt Leverett, a White House official during President Bush's first term who said he argued unsuccessfully for deeper engagement with Syria. "The United States does not have effective diplomatic channels for managing the situation, much less resolving it."

Leverett's comments are echoed by other former administration officials, including former deputy secretary of state Richard L. Armitage, who made the last senior-level official visit to Damascus in January 2005. Armitage told National Public Radio last month that the administration needs to have dialogue with Syria. "We get a little lazy, I think, when we spend all our time as diplomats talking to our friends and not to our enemies," he said.

"The Nine-Elevening of Lebanon"

Daithi at The Gaelic Starover puts the reaction to comparisons between Beirut and New York City after 9-11-01 quite well:

Ironically, while neglecting the basic needs of New Yorkers, and remaining oblivious to the very existence of four out of five Boroughs, New York City Hall and local municipal and state politicians have a most pronounced foreign policy, addressing every global crisis from Tibet to Ireland, and from Cuba to Taiwan.

So, I wasn't too surprised when I heard one of these blowhards on the radio last night instructing us that “we stand with Israel, because we know what terrorism is.”I was at the World Trade Center at 8:46 am on September 11, 2001.

I don’t need a reminder from anyone and certainly don’t require instruction from this jackass.

Indeed, when I see the images coming from Beirut, I can still hear the sirens and even smell the jet fuel.What I see in those photographs doesn’t look any less like terrorism just because it was overtly perpetrated by the government of a nation-state.

Obviously, the current crisis is being cheapened and exploited by those in power, just as the atrocities perpetrated against Downtown Manhattan were.

Again, the same simplistic and puerile Manichean formula is offered, “Either you’re with us or with the terrorists”.

Today, I stand with the people of Lebanon, because unlike the elected buffoon in last night's radio broadcast, I really do know what terrorism is!

Despite Cease-Fire Arrangements, Death Continues

Hezbollah (Hizbollah) rockets have claimed 10 Israeli lives (and remember, a substantial number of Israeli Arabs and Muslims have been among the dead) while fighting in Lebanon in the last few hours have killed at least eight people. I've seen much higher numbers reported for fighting there over the last 24 hours, numbering anywhere from 17 to close to 100.

In Israel, IDF Cheerleading Is Slowly Replaced By Heavy Questions

With yet another tie-in to a post I made earlier today, the Washington Post discusses how many Israelis are beginning to question its leadership and military objectives, as well as the scope, the results, and the deaths inflicted by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) against purported Hezbollah (some use Hizbollah) targets in Lebanon where more than a thousand civilians have died. Here:

With much of Israel's northern population huddling in underground shelters and Hezbollah proving more resilient than Israeli leaders had publicly predicted, Israel's news media, intellectual elite and public are starting to question the judgment of the country's political and military leadership.

After an extraordinary national surge of unanimity during the first days of the conflict, public support is starting to fray, with some of the nation's most influential voices criticizing political leaders and Israel Defense Forces generals for military strategies they say have failed to protect Israeli citizens.

They blame Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz for trying to lull citizens into a false sense of security, fault generals for relying too heavily on air power to destroy Hezbollah rocket launchers, and worry that Israeli troops may not have been prepared to defeat a force far tougher than Palestinian fighters.

"The public should demand of the political echelon: Stop or reduce the Katyusha rocket fire," the popular daily newspaper Ma'ariv wrote Friday. "Do what you should have done two weeks ago. . . . Bang on the table in front of the white-faced IDF officers, and demand more proposals; think and think again. . . . The time for patience has passed. You have an army, use it, or go for a cease-fire."
One of the greatest strengths of Israel's people, I have always believed, is their ability to face tough questions head-on as well as the freedom of speech within their media outlets (Ha'aretz, as I've stated many times, is excellent but there are many more good publications/Web venues/broadcast media).