Eat At Joes

Just a regular Joe who is angry that the USA, the country he loves, is being corrupted and damaged from within and trying to tell his fellow Americans the other half of the story that they don’t get on the TV News.

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Friday, July 30, 2004

White House at it again

Earlier this month The New Republic reported that several officials in the Pakistan government said that the Bush Administration had been pressuring them to capture a High Value al-Qaeda Target (HVT) during the last week in July, that is during the Democratic National Convention. This would cause the news reports to focus on that story instead of John Kerry. Sure enough hours before Kerry gave his acceptance speech, Pakistan dutifully obeyed the White House and announced that they had captured Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian Al Qaeda operative, billed as a "top al-Qaeda man" and the "Most Wanted Qaeda Man" despite the fact that no one had ever mentioned this "Most Wanted Qaeda Man" before (isn't Osama bin Laden the "Most Wanted Qaeda Man"?) and every person who is said to be associated with al-Qaeda and is captured is announced as a "top al-Qaeda man" (there must be thousands of "top al-Qaeda men" based on all those that have been reported captured already). The Corporate News Outlets dutifully obeyed as well and reported this top al-Qaeda man's capture downplaying John Kerry's speech. Gee, what are the odds. Several Pakistani government officials say that the Bush Administration is pressuring them to capture a High Value al-Qaeda Target during the last week in July, and it just so happens to occur. Wow, what are the odds? Kerry picks his VP running mate and the same day, John Ashcroft announces a terrorist plot in Ohio that had been foiled a month earlier but not announced until that day. Again what are the odds? And every time Bush's popularity numbers dropped last year, they would announce another terrorist alert color change try to boost those numbers. Why isn't the media reporting these abuses as the political shenanigans and direct manipulation of the public they are? Because, dear readers, the Corporate owners of the networks, radio stations and newspapers benefit from Bush's presidency through FCC rule relaxations and other quid pro quo favors. When will the American people learn the truth?

Friday, July 23, 2004

Presidents and prosperity - Economy did best when Clinton was in office

Forbes Magazine Aticle Here
Presidents and prosperity
Economy did best when Clinton was in office
Clinton's two terms in office, from 1993 to 2001, were marked by strong numbers that put him first among the ten postwar presidents.
By Dan Ackman
Updated: 2:15 p.m. ET July 21, 2004
The death of Ronald Reagan and the popularity of Bill Clinton's book have sparked an unusually intense interest in presidents past.
During the week of his funeral, several commentators declared Reagan the best president of the 20th century, even better than Franklin D. Roosevelt, whom Reagan himself admired. A recent Gallup Organization poll indicates that Americans rank John F. Kennedy slightly ahead of FDR, and both of them ahead of Reagan. Clinton supporters, meanwhile, note that he turned large federal deficits into surpluses and presided over a booming economy.
It's the kind of argument that will never be settled, like who was a better ballplayer, Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle. But we took a look at the numbers, and for the money, among presidents since World War II, Clinton scores highest.

Presidents and prosperity
Bill Clinton
Lyndon B. Johnson
John F. Kennedy
Ronald Reagan
Gerald R. Ford
Jimmy Carter
Harry S. Truman
Richard M. Nixon
Dwight D. Eisenhower
George H. W. Bush

Clinton's two terms in office (1993-2001) were marked by strong numbers for gross domestic product (GDP) and employment growth and especially for deficit reduction. His overall ranking puts him first among the ten postwar presidents — ahead of Lyndon B. Johnson, Kennedy and Reagan, who were tightly grouped behind the 42nd president and recent autobiographer.
To create our rankings we looked at six measures of economic performance — GDP growth, per capita income growth, employment gains, unemployment rate reduction, inflation reduction and federal deficit reduction — for each of the ten postwar presidencies. For each measure we looked at whether the situation improved or got worse, and we ranked the presidents from 1 to 10. We then averaged the ranks to come up with a final score. (Click here for the complete underlying data.)To be sure, there is a sharp debate as to the ability of any president — or government — to control the economy. But that doesn't prevent the heads of Wall Street firms such as Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup from rooting for one candidate over another based on expectations of economic performance. Fairly or not, each president was judged by how much prosperity is delivered on his watch. Some presidents, it seems, have watched a lot more effectively than others. (We did not rank the current president, whose term is not yet over.)
Behind Clinton's successClinton campaigned on the economy and had remarkable success. GDP growth during his eight years averaged 3.5 percent per year, second only to the combined Kennedy/Johnson years and ahead of Jimmy Carter and Reagan. The economy also added jobs at a faster rate under Clinton than under any postwar president except Carter.
For Carter, however, job growth merely matched an increase in the size of the labor force, while Clinton had much better luck curbing the unemployment rate as well. The result: The public's confidence in the economy hit an all-time high in the summer of 2000, near the end of Clinton's second term, according to Gallup. In the summer of 1992, before he was elected, it was at an all-time low.The key to Clinton's success, says Alice Rivlin, a Brookings Institution scholar who served as his director of management and budget, was adhering to the "pay/go" agreement first forged by President George H. W. Bush and a Democratic Congress, whereby tax cuts or entitlement increases had to be funded on a current basis. She says Clinton raised taxes at just the right time — when incomes were starting to rise after years of stagnation — leading to a surge of receipts. The result was the smallest government in terms of its percentage of GDP since Johnson, and the first substantial budget surpluses since Harry S. Truman.
Johnson ranks second-bestJohnson (1963-1969) ranks second-best overall, slightly ahead of Kennedy, some of whose economic policies he shepherded through Congress. LBJ was first in terms of both GDP growth and personal income growth. He was also among the best in reducing unemployment, lowering the jobless rate from 5.3 percent to 3.4 percent. But his time in office was also marked by a surge in inflation and government spending, which got worse under his successor Richard M. Nixon, who instituted wage and price controls with little success."The Vietnam War had the biggest impact [of any single factor under Johnson] both for good and for ill," says Charles Schultze, an economist at the Brookings Institution who worked in the Johnson and Carter administrations. Schultze says the Kennedy/Johnson tax cut helped the economy continue to grow in 1965 and 1966. But the failure to finance the war led to a surge in inflation that continued under Nixon. Despite these problems, the JFK/LBJ era, viewed as a whole, was the best of times.Kennedy's presidency (1961-1963), truncated by his November 1963 assassination, ranks third behind LBJ's. Following the prosperous but slow-growth 1950s, Kennedy, like Clinton, campaigned on the idea of getting the company moving again. His most well-known economic legislative initiative, however, his 1964 tax cut, did not take effect until after he was dead.Without a clear supply- or demand-side explanation for the boom, Walter Schubert, a finance professor at LaSalle University, suggests that JFK's impact was largely exhortatory: "My sense of Kennedy is that he inspired a lot of people to try things." While many businessmen feared his election, they responded to his energy. In any event, GDP growth averaged nearly 5 percent during his term and he ranks first in reducing the unemployment rate.
Reagan strongest in second termReagan (1981-1989) ranks just after Kennedy, his success highlighted by his halving of the inflation rate. Veronique de Rugy, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, says the key to Reagan's record was urging spending cuts to finance tax cuts and an increase in defense spending. "This is the only instance where we see this type of behavior where we have a president who understands you can't have it all," she says. Reagan's first term, marred by a nasty recession, was not stellar, despite a sharp reduction in inflation caused by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker's dramatic shift in monetary policy, which started under Carter. Reagan's second term, though, was very strong.The Ford and Carter years (1974-1981) are widely recalled as a time of economic disaster. But by the numbers they were middling, not awful. Most surprising is that Carter ranks first in job creation as 10 million jobs were added during his four years in office, more on an annualized basis than Clinton or Reagan. But because the labor force was expanding at the same time, led by an increasing number of women working outside the home, the rate of unemployment barely budged. Gerald R. Ford ranks first for controlling inflation, cutting 3.4 percent off the rate during his brief two-and-a-half-year term.The situation got much worse under Carter, in large part because of the oil embargo imposed by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and resultant price shocks. But Carter appointed Volcker, whose monetary policies at the Fed eventually stemmed the inflationary tide.Of the ten postwar presidents, the first President Bush brings up the rear. He ranks dead last for both GDP growth and income growth and also ballooned the deficit at a rate faster than every president but Ford. His one modest success was continuing the dramatic drop in inflation that had started under Reagan. LaSalle's Schubert notes that Bush had "some bad luck," in that the post-Gulf War recovery was too late and too tepid to aid his reelection prospects. But Schubert faults Bush for a lack of perceptible economic policy of any kind, good or bad.
© 2004

GOP Seeks Catholic Parish Directories

article found here

Friday July 23, 2004 7:16 AM
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Republican National Committee has asked Bush-backing Roman Catholics to provide copies of their parish directories to help register Catholics to vote in the November election, a use of personal information not necessarily condoned by dioceses around the country.
In a story posted Thursday on its Web site, the National Catholic Reporter said a GOP official had urged people who attended a Catholic outreach event in January to provide parish directories and membership lists to the political party.
``Access to these directories is critical as it allows us to identify and contact those Catholics who are likely to be supportive of President Bush's compassionate conservative agenda,'' wrote Martin J. Gillespie, director of Catholic Outreach at the RNC. ``Please forward any directories you are able to collect to my attention.''
The RNC is using the information from parish directories only for its nonpartisan voter registration drive, RNC spokeswoman Christine Iverson told The Associated Press on Thursday. Those efforts target members of other faiths as well as people who belong to nonreligious organizations, she said.
Parish directories often contain personal information about church members, including names of family members, home addresses and phone numbers. Iverson said she did not know if the GOP had sought similar directories from other religious organizations or how many Catholic directories it received in response to Gillespie's request.
Susan Gibbs, the spokeswoman for the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., which oversees 140 parishes in Washington and Maryland, said parish directories publish information only for use among church members and not for use by outside organizations no matter what their purpose.
``Parish directories are for helping parishioners get to know each other better and are strictly for that purpose. They are not intended to be used for any outside commercial purpose, solicitations or anything else,'' Gibbs said. ``Parish directories or priest directories are not given to outside groups even if it's for a good cause.''
Catholic parishioners provided that personal information with an expectation of what it would be used for, said Rebecca Summers of the office of communications for the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., which has more than 90 parishes.
``I'm not certain under any scenario that we would encourage someone responding to that appeal - for any purpose, whether it would be an environmental cause or any purpose other than what the people volunteered the information for,'' Summers told the AP.
The Catholic Church has its own nonpartisan voter registration initiatives and candidate forums, Gibbs said.

Once again the GOP is trying to endanger a church's IRS tax-exempt status by getting the directories of the parishioners for recruitment in violation of existing laws. They don't care if they cause all of the conservative churches in America to lose their tax-exempt status if it gets their boys elected. Compassionate Conservatism MY ASS!!!!!

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Thank a Liberal & What Does Liberal Mean

"If your workplace is safe; if your children go to school rather than being forced into labor; if you are paid a living wage, including overtime; if you enjoy a 40-hour week and you are allowed to join a union to protect your rights -- you can thank liberals. If your food is not poisoned and your water is drinkable -- you can thank liberals. If your parents are eligible for Medicare and Social Security, so they can grow old in dignity without bankrupting your family -- you can thank liberals. If our rivers are getting cleaner and our air isn't black with pollution; if our wilderness is protected and our countryside is still green -- you can thank liberals. If people of all races can share the same public facilities; if everyone has the right to vote; if couples fall in love and marry regardless of race; if we have finally begun to transcend a segregated society -- you can thank liberals. Progressive innovations like those and so many others were achieved by long, difficult struggles against entrenched power. What defined conservatism, and conservatives, was their opposition to every one of those advances. The country we know and love today was built by those victories for liberalism -- with the support of the American people."
- Joe Conason: Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth -

Definition of Liberal from Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Main Entry: 1 lib·er·al
Pronunciation: 'li-b(&-)r&l
Function: adjectiveEtymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin liberalis suitable for a freeman, generous, from liber free; perhaps akin to Old English lEodan to grow, Greek eleutheros free
1 a : of, relating to, or based on the liberal arts b archaic : of or befitting a man of free birth
2 a : marked by generosity : OPENHANDED b : given or provided in a generous and openhanded way
3 obsolete : lacking moral restraint : LICENTIOUS
4 : not literal or strict : LOOSE
5 :
BROAD-MINDED; especially : not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms
6 a : of, favoring, or based upon the principles of liberalism b capitalized : of or constituting a political party advocating or associated with the principles of political liberalism; especially : of or constituting a political party in the United Kingdom associated with ideals of individual especially economic freedom, greater individual participation in government, and constitutional, political, and administrative reforms designed to secure these objectives
- lib·er·al·ly -b(&-)r&-lE/ adverb
- lib·er·al·ness noun
synonyms LIBERAL, GENEROUS, BOUNTIFUL, MUNIFICENT mean giving or given freely and unstintingly. LIBERAL suggests openhandedness in the giver and largeness in the thing or amount given .
GENEROUS stresses warmhearted readiness to give more than size or importance of the gift .
BOUNTIFUL suggests lavish, unremitting giving or providing . MUNIFICENT suggests a scale of giving appropriate to lords or princes .

Main Entry: 2 liberal
Function: noun
: a person who is liberal: as a : one who is open-minded or not strict in the observance of orthodox, traditional, or established forms or ways b capitalized : a member or supporter of a liberal political party c : an advocate or adherent of
liberalism especially in individual rights

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican

A TvNewsLIES Reader contribution.By John Gray Cincinnati, Ohio - - July - 2004
Printable version: Click here!
Joe gets up at 6:00am to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot full of good clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards. He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to insure their safety and work as advertised.
All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employers medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance, now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs this day. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.
Joe takes his morning shower reaching for his shampoo; His bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount of its contents because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.
Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medicals benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he’ll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some liberal didn’t think he should loose his home because of his temporary misfortune.
Its noon time, Joe needs to make a Bank Deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the depression.
Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten Mortgage and his below market federal student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his life-time.
Joe is home from work, he plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dads; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans. The house didn’t have electric until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification. (Those rural Republican’s would still be sitting in the dark)
He is happy to see his dad who is now retired. His dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to. After his visit with dad he gets back in his car for the ride home.He turns on a radio talk show, the host’s keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. (He doesn’t tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day)  Joe agrees, “We don’t need those big government liberals ruining our lives; after all, I’m a self made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have”.

Bush admin refuse to say how they spent money in Iraq

Henry Waxman is an awkward customer. For 30 years, this California congressman has probed, badgered and embarrassed US administrations of every hue. This month KPMG, the UN's contract accounting firm, determined that the Bush administration's Coalition Provisional Authority ignored procurement rules and resisted assisting the KPMG audit. With that in hand, Congressman Henry Waxman of California is off to the races. Just how did the Bush-appointed pro-consul, Paul Bremer, spend the billions in other people's money?


Disturbing news from this article by a Pulitzer Prize-winning national correspondent. It tells how Billions of Taxpayer Dollars are being spent in Iraq with no accounting oversight. The Bush Administration is refusing to produce documentation to the accounting firm KMPG's auditors or the United Nations  or the International Monetary Fund trying to determine how these Billions of Dollars are being spent. Very disturbing indeed. In addition more No-Bid contracts are being awarded to Bush Cronies for lucrative reconstruction contracts despite the furor over the many Haliburton scandals. Does this Administration have no Shame? The article is carried by one of the few remaining US Locally Owned Newspapers not controlled by Huge Media Corporations. The TV, radio, and newspapers controlled by Media Moguls are keeping mum about this and other rip-offs of the American people and the Iraqi people. It is utterly disgusting!

Friday, July 16, 2004

Pro-Life indeed?! Or should I say Only In Word!!!

Oklahoma Hopeful for GOP Senate Nomination (and a Former Congressman) Says, "I favor the death penalty for abortionists and other people who take life." Although, he admits that he performed two abortions to save the lives of mothers who had congenital heart disease. Interesting Pro-Life stance. Currently under the law doctors are permitted to perform abortions as Dr. Coburn himself did, but he wants them to be executed for this. Is this all that different from the Domestic Terrorists who blow up abortion clinics or kill doctors who perform abortions? I am Pro-Life, but unlike many who claim to be Pro-Life, I am truly Pro-Life. I don't support the death penalty or lying to the American people and the Congress in order to start a war in which tens of thousands of people are killed, and ten times that many severely wounded. In my own state of Illinois many death row inmates were found to be innocent of the crimes they were convicted of (the former Governor had to suspend the death penalty in Illinois because of this). This is true in many states. Is this not murder? How can someone be Pro-Murder and claim to be Pro-Life? It doesn't make any sense! I admire Dr. Coburn's stand on allowing lower cost Canadian drugs to enter the US and break the lock US Pharmaceutical Corporations have on the American market, but his desire to see abortion doctors killed for what he himself had done, and what the law currently allows boggles the mind.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Thrice wounded wheelchair bound Vietnam Vet responds to Bush Supporter who calls him an unpatriotic wimp for opposing the Iraq War

For years now Bush supporters have claimed that anyone who opposed or criticized the Bush Administration’s policy on Iraq were unpatriotic, un-American, and not supporting the troops. I have been critical of the Bush Administration’s Iraq policy since 2002 when it became obvious that they intended to invade despite the falseness of their reasoning. When the war began I began contributing blood to a blood bank that supplied blood to our troops throughout the world. I sent emails to every member of the military I could find to let them know that we, the American people, appreciate their sacrifice for us and support them even if we disagree with decisions that the President makes. I began writing letters to newspapers that many if not most of us who opposed the war in Iraq were eternally grateful to all service members who put themselves in harms way for our protection and freedom. Only one newspaper printed my letter to the editor, The Stars & Stripes, the official newspaper to the US Military. All other US newspapers I contacted refused to print my letter. Every one but Stars & Stripes. The other newspapers, TV and radio continued telling the lie that all those who opposed or criticized the Bush Administration’s policy on Iraq were unpatriotic, un-American, and not supporting the troops. The lie was told so often and without opposition that nearly everyone believed it.

One Bush supporter named Frances Shannon recently sent a letter to the editor of a paper calling those who criticize Bush or oppose the Iraq War as unpatriotic wimps. A Viet Nam veteran wounded three times during the Viet Nam war who opposed the Iraq war and criticized Bush responded with this great letter to the editor. This is a must read.

You Calling Me An Unpatriotic Wimp?

Date: Jul 11, 2004 - 08:25 PM
When Americans opposed to Bush are called unpatriotic wimps, a disabled veteran in a wheelchair goes on the attack.
By Jack Dalton

To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, right or wrong, is not only un-patriotic, but it is morally treasonable to the American people.
--President Theodore Roosevelt

In the small Texas town of Canyon Lake, a sea of Bush ideologues, there is a stong voice of reason: Doug Kirk, the much attacked publisher of the Canyon Lake Weekly. Recently, a letter to the editor from Frances Shannon went too far. Way too far.

“It is people like you who cry anti-war slogans, criticize our commander-in-chief for liberating Iraq and Afghanistan from barbarian rule that I was referring to as wimps,” she wrote. Besides Doug, she also included in the “wimps with no backbone that do not deserve to be called Americans” category, “wives, mothers, and others that complain.”

This rated more than a simple letter to the editor response.

For your information, Frances Shannon, when you were at home baking cookies, I and thousands of other “wimps with no backbone” were crawling around in Vietnam. While some at home were being “patriotic” and proudly waving the American flag with self-righteousness and vociferously supporting that un-mitigated disaster, as is being done today with Iraq, I and thousands of other Americans were getting shot to hell and back, as is happening in Iraq today.

Thirty-five years later, after all the pontificating about “never again” has faded from memory, that same flag of false and misguided patriotism once again “proudly” waves over America. It seems that never again is here again (if it ever went away).

The ease at which those of you who so blindly follow Bush can label fellow citizens as “wimps without backbone that do not deserve to be called Americans,” including those of us who are combat veterans, concerns me in some ways more than my serious concerns for George Bush. Having been decorated for counter-insurgency operations in 1966, having been three times wounded and living a life fighting the effects of Agent Orange, I am not a wimp.

By your statements, one can only conclude that you believe the only patriotic Americans are those that toot the horn for George Bush. I guess it makes no difference to you that the man you support has cut and is cutting funding for the Veterans Administration which to date has forced over 250,000 veterans out of the system due to a lack of funding. At the same time, this same man is creating more veterans and more disabled veterans.

If continuing my open opposition to the Bush cabal makes me a “wimp without backbone,” I guess I’ll be a wimp without backbone for whatever life I have remaining. For I will go to my grave in opposition to any and all who preach perpetual war for profit.

The thing that really stands out is that the vast majority of those who feel free to label their fellow citizens as un-patriotic, un-American, traitors, wimps, etc., especially those of us who actually wore the uniform and went to war, is that they themselves, for whatever reason, never wore this country’s uniform and never went to war. The arrogance of people to call anyone, let alone combat veterans, wimps and un-American is astounding!

My right to criticize was born in the thick of war. Your right to criticize was born in your front rooms from watching 30-second sound bites on Fox “news.” My right is carried by sacrifice, yours by privilege.

A Free Iraq?

As for the statement Iraq is liberated and the Iraqi people are now free, it would be laughable if it were not so very sad. Sure the Iraqi people are now free, free to be a part of the 60% unemployed and free to watch Halliburton import thousands of foreign laborers to “rebuild” Iraq. Free to watch the wholesale privatization of their nation’s resources, infrastructure, economy and everything in between by the same U.S. multinationals importing labor. But the Iraqi people have been liberated.

They are now free to see their fellow citizens subject to arrest, detention, torture, and murder in the same prisons that Saddam used for the very same purposes. But they have been liberated and they are now free. They are now free to watch their country turned into what it never was until the politically driven and ideology based invasion: ground zero for fools and fanatics. But Iraq has been liberated and the Iraqi people are now free.

They are free to wonder, with all the money Halliburton has been paid, when they will have potable water and electricity more than 8 hours a day; they are free to wonder about this and much more. They are free to wonder why Americans pay no attention to their own General Accounting Office reports that clearly state Iraq is worse off than before the invasion. (GAO report, 6/2004: “Iraq is Worse off Than Before the War Began”)

I could go on for a long time enumerating the theft of Iraq, but time and space prevent that. Be that as it may, one last thought on the “liberation” of Iraq: For those willing to use the brain’s memory cells, you will recall that in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, not one time was “liberating Iraq” part of the discussion. From the beginning, it was weapons of mass destruction, mushroom clouds over Manhattan, and the link between Saddam, bin Laden, and al Qaeda, all of which has proven to be false and deliberately so! It was when those “reasons” began to unravel that Bush’s adventure morphed in to a war of “liberation.” This was deliberate deception, just like with Vietnam.

I for one am really tired of Bush and company pissin’ on my boots while trying to convince me it’s raining. The crazy part is how many of you are reaching for umbrellas.
Jack Dalton is a disabled Vietnam veteran suffering from the effects of Agent Orange. He lives in Portland, Oregon. You can email Jack at

Bush and Ken Lay CEO of Enron hire same lawyer to defend them from their scandals

I read in Talking Points Memo that BeatBushBlog uncovered that the lawyer representing President Bush in the traitorous outing of Covert CIA Agent Valerie Plame case (AKA Treasongate) in order to punish her husband who blew the whistle on the forged documents Bush used to bolster his claim in his State of the Union Address to Congress and the nation, James E. Sharp, is also defending Ken Lay in the Enron Scandal. Keep in mind that Bush and Ken Lay are close personal friends despite the White House's claim that they are not. I wonder if Ken Lay will hold Bush's hand during the testimony they way Vice President Cheney held Bush's hand during their joint appearance before the September 11 Panel in which they refused to take an oath that what they said would be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help them, God.

Conservative newspaper reports Kerry votes along Catholic lines most of the time and more than other any senator

I am a Pro-Life Catholic, but the behavior of some leaders of the Catholic Church to focus only on the issue of abortion and ignore all other teachings of the Catholic Church in order to tilt the election toward the Republican Party is disgraceful! I learned that the Conservative Newspaper, The Washington Times, reported that a study showed that Kerry voted in support of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) positions on issues than other senators, and that Democratic Catholic senators voted in support of the USCCB positions more often than their Catholic Republican counterparts did. Read the article which I have included below:

Report says Kerry votes with Catholics
By Amy Fagan
Published June 3, 2004

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry votes more in line with Catholic teachings than his Catholic colleagues, says a survey of votes by one Democratic senator.
Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois released a report compiled by his office staff that found when issues other than the church's pro-life stance are taken into account, Catholic Democratic senators voted more in line with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) positions than their Catholic Republican counterparts did.
Mr. Durbin, a Catholic who has been criticized by a monsignor in his hometown for voting to support abortion rights, hopes his report will show that "there is more than one issue associated with Catholic teaching."
Mr. Kerry had an overall score of 60.9 percent when rated on domestic issues, international issues and pro-life issues. That was tops among the 24 Catholic senators. Overall, Mr. Durbin's report found Catholic Senate Democrats scored 54 percent, and their Catholic Republican colleagues scored 43 percent.
But Sen. Rick Santorum, a Pennsylvania Republican and a Catholic who scored 40.8 percent overall, said Mr. Durbin is "trying to put a political spin that all of these issues have moral equivalency, and that's simply not the case."
He said the Catholic Church places higher moral importance on pro-life issues than it does on other issues Mr. Durbin rated, so, "any attempt to give the two equal weight is just an attempt to confuse."
USCCB spokesman Bill Ryan referred voters to a document his group compiled on Catholics and political responsibility, but did not want to comment further.
On pro-life issues, Catholic Republicans matched the bishops' positions 72 percent of the time, compared with the Democrats' 12 percent. However, Democrats did better on domestic issues, such as favoring gun control and increasing the minimum wage, scoring 79 percent, while Republicans scored 34 percent.
Mr. Durbin's aides began by examining 101 issues laid out by the USCCB in its legislative report for the first session of the 108th Congress. They also combed the conference Web site to find other alerts and letters in which the conference staked out a position on an issue before Congress. The aides boiled that down to 24 issues, which most of the report was based on.
But on some topics, such as immigration and the death penalty, the report gave credit when senators' sponsored bills the conference had endorsed, even if those bills have not yet received a Senate vote.
Still, Mr. Durbin chose not to count senators' support for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex "marriage," which the conference endorsed last fall, but has not yet received a vote, or senators' support for school vouchers.
Monsignor Kevin Vann has said he would not serve Communion to Mr. Durbin because of his pro-choice voting record, the Illinois State-Journal Register reported in April.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Grand Old Hypocrisy Party

The White House has demanded that Kerry apologize for Whoopi Goldberg using filthy language in a stand-up routine that she wouldn't let Team Kerry in on prior to her act. Keep in mind that Vice President Cheney only last week told a Senator to go F*CK himself on the Senate Floor when that senator brought up the Haliburton no-bid contracts they got in Iraq. Cheney didn't apologize, and said that the senator had it coming to him on the Senate Floor no less.

This is typical of the Grand Old Hypocrisy Party that screamed bloody murder because a private citizen submitted an entry into’s contest for a 2 minute ad on Bush that contained a picture of Hitler. MoveOn received thousands of these entries, and it didn’t even include the Hitler ad in its finalists. The Bush/Cheney team is airing an anti-Kerry ad with – you guesed it – Hitler in the ad. This is the same people who in the 2002 election morphed a Viet Nam war hero who lost 3 limbs into Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Typical GOP BS! These sub-human scumbags disgust me. If the US News Media did its job of informing the people, the members of the Bush Administration would be run out of the country on a rail.

Read the news that ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox News won't tell you:

It is very tough to be a Republican in 2004

I saw this anonymous post on a forum regarding the news that Bush's National Guard records during the time in question were accidentally destroyed.

It is very tough to be a Republican in 2004, because somehow, you have to believe concurrently that:

1) Jesus loves you, but shares your deep hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton

2) The United Stated should get out of the United Nations, but our highest national priority is enforcing UN resolutions against Iraq.

3) Standing tall for America means firing all of your workers and moving their jobs to India.

4) A woman can not be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multinational corporations can make decisions affecting all of mankind.

5) Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you are a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for recovery.

6) The best way to improve military moral is to praise troops in speeches, while slashing veterans’ benefits and combat pay.

7) Group sex and drug use are degenerate sins, unless someday you run for Governor of California as a Republican.

8) If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents wont have sex.

9) A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle out long time allies and then demand their cooperation and money.

10) HMO's and insurance companies make huge profits and have the interest of the public at heart.

11) Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy. Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.

12) Global warming and tobacco’s link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

13) It's ok that the Bush family's Carlisle Group has done millions of$$ in business with the Bin Laden Family.

14) Saddam was a good guy when Regan armed him and Rumsfeld reassured him he was our buddy, but a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him, but then a bad guy again when Son of a Bush needed a prop for his reelection campaign as the war President.

15) A president lying about extramarital affairs is an impeachable offence. A president lying about WMD existence to enlist support for an unprovoked, undeclared war and occupation, in which thousand of soldiers and civilians die, is, somehow, solid defense policy in a War against Terrorism.

16) Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which should include banning Gay marriages and censoring the internet.

17) The public has a right to know about Hiller's cattle trades, but George Bush's Harkin Oil stock trade should be sealed in his daddy's library, and none of our business.

18) What Bill Clinton and John Kerry did in the 80's is of vital national interest, but what son of a bush did in the 80's is irrelevant.

19) Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to the spirit of international harmony.

20) Affirmative Action is wrong, but it is ok for you daddy and his friends (here and in Saudi Arabia) to get you to graduate from Yale without studding much, to bail out your companies (Harkin Oil and the Texas Rangers), and to get the Governorship of Texas.

21) You are a conservative, but it is OK to spend like there is no tomorrow and run up deficits that your grandchildren will have to repay, while at the same time refunding as much tax money as possible to the rich people who by their own admission do not need or want it.

Contemplating these illogical paradoxes can take a toll on a healthy mind. So if a friend of yours has been acting a bit dazed and confused lately, be nice; he or she may be a republican.

Author unknown

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Sept. 11 commission bitch slaps Cheney and Rice

Cheney Had No New Data on Saddam, Al Qaeda-Panel says Republican led panel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Sept. 11 commission, which reported no evidence of collaborative links between Iraq and al Qaeda, said on Tuesday that Vice President Dick Cheney had no more information than commission investigators to support his later assertions to the contrary.

The 10-member bipartisan panel investigating the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington said it reached its conclusion after reviewing available transcripts of Cheney's public remarks on the subject.

The vice president has asserted long-standing links between the former Iraqi president and Osama Bin Laden's Islamist militant network.

"The 9-11 Commission believes it has access to the same information the vice president has seen regarding contacts between al Qaeda and Iraq prior to the 9-11 attacks," the commission said in a statement.

Assertions that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and could be prepared to provide chemical or biological agents to al Qaeda for attacks on the United States were a main justification for Bush's decision to invade and occupy Iraq.

No such weapons have been found, and recent opinion polls have suggested growing public skepticism about the Bush administration's reasons for launching a war in which 870 U.S. soldiers have died and nearly 5,400 have been wounded in combat and over 11,000 in non-combat injuries.

The commission called White House claims about links between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda into question on June 11 with a staff report that found no evidence of a collaborative relationship between the Iraqi leader and al Qaeda before the day of the attacks.

But Bush and his top aides stood firm, with Cheney forcefully maintaining that evidence depicting an Iraqi role in the Sept. 11 attacks may yet emerge.

"The notion that there is no relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda just simply is not true," the vice president said in an interview with CNBC.

The New York Times later reported that Kean and Hamilton hoped to see any additional information Cheney had on the subject.

As part of the White House reaction to the Sept. 11 commission's report, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice who said she believed the panel was actually denying that Saddam had control over al Qaeda. Kean and Hamilton flatly rejected her interpretation.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Is Bush a Christian? Look at his fruit!

The Bush/Cheney Campaign has been urging Christian churches to campaign for their candidates using the churches to promote Bush for President. This is endangering those churches' tax exempt status because IRS law prohibits tax exempt organizations from actively participating in political campaigns. As a Christian I must think about what Jesus would say about all this. This is not only a violation of law, but also a violation of Christ's teachings:

When Jesus asked if it was right to pay taxes, he asked whose likeness was on the money. In that case it was Caesar's. Jesus responded "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, but render unto God what is God's." Whose likeness is on our money? Presidents of US and other famous US Government people like Franklin, Hamilton and Chase. That is true of the money that is in the hands of Christian churches as well. Shouldn't they follow Jesus' command to render unto the US Government what is the Us Government's, but render unto God what is God's (such as their time and efforts when they are in church)?
I am not saying that church members should give up being active members of our nation, and participating in political activities, but it sounds to me that Jesus wanted church time to be spent worshiping God, and not Bush. When Jesus found people engaging in non-religious activities in the Temple (those buying and selling animals for sacrifice), he overturned the tables, and threw them out. Damning them for turning the House of God into a Den of Thieves.

Some ask, "Who would Jesus vote for?" I would say that while in the House of God, Jesus wouldn't vote for or campaign for anyone. He would insist that time and energy spent in God's House be devoted solely to God, and God alone. Outside the church is another matter, but churches and congregations should not be used as campaign tools. If leaders of Christian churches can't understand that, then they don't seem to be following the commandments of Jesus, and isn't that what Christians are supposed to do?
Jesus also said that we will know someone by the fruit that they bear (meaning by their actions). A fig tree will bear figs. A thorn bush will not. "By their fruit you will know them," Jesus said. Look at the fruit of church leaders and members who while in the House of God, work not to praise God, but to re-elect a man, Bush. Look at the fruit of the man, Bush, who entices them to spend their time and efforts while in church to re-elect him rather than to give honor and glory to God. Look at these fruits, and follow Jesus' teachings to determine if these people are following Jesus. The answer will be obvious.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

An update on the Topic of Withholding Communion from Politicians Who Don’t Oppose Abortion

I am a Roman Catholic who attended Catholic school and learned from Dominican Sisters here in Illinois. So that is the basis of my claim to have some level of knowledge on this topic. As I understand it the whole rationale behind Roman Catholic Church leaders calling for withholding of Holy Communion from Catholic politicians who do not publicly oppose abortion or who support abortion rights in their duty as elected officials boils down to the fact that Catholics are not to receive communion when they are in a state of Mortal Sin. Being in a state of Venial Sin is okay. In fact communion will remove Venial Sin, but not Mortal Sin. So what is a Mortal Sin? A Mortal Sin is defined as a grievous offense which is committed after sufficient reflection and with full consent of the will. Three conditions. Abortion is according to the Catholic Church Murder. The politician him or herself is not the one performing the abortion, but rather offering support for laws which guarantee the right to have an abortion by other people. An argument can be made that offering support for laws guaranteeing the right to have an abortion is aiding and abetting a murder. So I will give the Church leaders that. We can argue that Politicians from the viewpoint of the Catholic Church have committed a grievous offense. So that condition is satisfied. Now can we or the clergy distributing communion determine if the politician in question has sufficiently reflected on what committing that offense has done to the politician’s relationship to God? Certainly not. Furthermore we cannot know if the politician felt compelled to offer support for these laws if the politician felt that he or she was representing a constituency who supported those laws. Also most elected officials take an oath of office (often on a Bible) that they will follow the laws of the land which currently includes that abortion is legal and women have the right to have an abortion. Even if a clergy member knew for a fact that a politician had sufficiently reflected on a grievous offense, and committed it with full consent of the will. That clergy member would not know if the politician had confessed the sin and made a good act of contrition thereby removing the sin from his or her soul. Therefore, a clergy member cannot know the State of Grace of a politician in order to determine whether to withhold Holy Communion. For decades it has been case that Roman Catholic clergy left to the conscience of the communicant the duty of examining his or her soul to determine whether they had a Mortal Sin on their soul. This recent decision is a departure from that, and a dangerous one at that. Who gave these Bishops and Cardinals the psychic ability to look into the souls of communicants to determine their State of Grace? No one. And the Bishops and Cardinals must know this since so few of them have called for the withholding of communion from politicians or as the mind reader in Colorado, Bishop Sheridan proposes withholding communion from lay people who have voted for a politician supportive of abortion rights. This combined with the
earlier point
that these Church leaders are ignoring a host of other teachings of the Catholic Church that other politicians violate is cherry picking and an obvious politicizing of the Sacrament of Holy Communion! The vast majority of Catholic Clergy have not called for refusing communion to certain politicians based on their political stances on this one issue. Those clergy who have are using their vaulted positions within the Catholic Church to further their political goals of electing certain politicians at the expense of others. This I believe is reprehensibly shameful. I as a Pro-Life Roman Catholic am mortified and ashamed that members of the Catholic Clergy would behave in such a contemptuous manner and bring such dishonor to the Catholic Church on the heels of the Sex Scandals which have already reduced called into question the honor of the clergy. Are these few Right-Wing Political Pundits in priestly cassocks TRYING to undermine the Catholic Church in the United States? It would almost appear so!

Parties Focus on Different Moralities

The Story Online
Last week in Illinois the Republican U.S. Senate candidate, Jack Ryan, withdrew from the race after his divorce records revealed that he had taken his now ex-wife to kinky sex clubs. He admitted that he had taken her to one such club in Paris, and that was enough to do him in. A few days later he exited the race.

The class-act story here is Barack Obama, Ryan's Democratic opponent. A rising star in the Democratic Party, Obama responded to news of his opponent's sexcapades by saying, "I don't really care about private morality, I'm more concerned with public morality."

In that statement lies the root of the great cultural divide between hard-core Democrats and religious Republicans.

Democrats are outraged over the public immorality of George W. Bush and his administration -- its justifications, denials and lies about everything from corporate complicity to the reasons for invading Iraq.

Republicans seem far more consumed by private morality -- gays who seek the "normalcy" of marriage, women who confront the difficult choice to end a pregnancy, and, paradoxically, the sex life of their own Jack Ryan.

Bringing both groups to a full boil are the side-by-side releases of Bill Clinton's autobiography, "My Life," and Michael Moore's contentious blockbuster film, "Fahrenheit 9/11."

With Bill Clinton making the chat-show rounds we once again visit the lapse in his personal morality that imploded his otherwise extraordinary presidency. Out of 957 pages about a complicated and brilliant man, the press has fixated on those dealing with Monica Lewinsky. "I did it because I could," says a barely penitent Clinton of his infamous dalliance, and half the nation gags while the other half stifles a yawn.

But it's George Bush's lack of public morality that's on display in "Fahrenheit 9/11." We see him profiting from his family's old and oily ties to the Bin Laden family and from his cozy cheek-to-cheek relationship with his father's corporate cronies. In one clip from the film Bush is seen at an elegant white-tie fundraiser smugly joking, "Some people call you the elite; I call you my base."

More disturbing is the footage which portrays him as a man lacking the gravitas to understand the cataclysmic consequences of his public actions. He rolls his eyes and mugs for the camera as the clock ticks down to his televised announcement that he has ordered the bombing of Iraq. He comes across not as a man wrestling with the morality of his decision, but as a man blowing up a foreign country, because he can.

Predictably the film has roiled the fair and balanced sensibilities of Bush's right-wing claque.

The conservative Citizens United, which played a leading role in pressuring CBS to pull its Reagan docudrama off the air last fall, has filed suit with the Federal Elections Commission alleging that ads for the film are political and should not be allowed to air on TV. Other pro-Bushies have called for boycotts of theaters which run the film and denounced Moore as an "America hater."

David Brooks, the New York Times columnist who writes with a well-crafted right-wing slant, excoriated not only Michael Moore, but American liberals for what he calls their adulation of Moore. "The standards of socially acceptable liberal opinion have shifted," he writes. "We're a long way from John Dewey." Well, yes, and a long way from Dewey's Republican contemporary, President Teddy Roosevelt, for that matter, who once said, "Public rights come first; public interest second."

Brooks et al. don't have a leg to stand on when the best-known media standard bearer of conservative opinion is Rush Limbaugh, no slacker himself in the private immorality sweepstakes, with a cadre of lying radio jackals yipping along behind him.

Bill Clinton's personal immorality distracted a nation and hurt him and his family terribly, but he presided over a bountiful eight years, eliminated the national debt and honed America's image abroad to a sparkling finish, at least in the eyes of all but the most rabid fundamentalists like the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. Back then, most people wanted to be like us.

George Bush may have a very tidy private life, but his public immorality has squandered billions of dollars as well as world opinion and prestige. It has saddled our children's futures with billowing debt, sold the nation's environment to the highest bidder and compromised its health to appease the religious right.

And it has resulted in the deaths of over 850 Americans and thousands of Iraqis, leaving broken and anguished families in both countries, with an unclear plan, at best, for the future. It is this anguish which Moore documents most wrenchingly.

Barack Obama wouldn't have put it this way, but given the stakes, I'm more concerned with the public fool than the private philanderer.

CIA Felt Pressure to Alter Iraq Data, CIA Terrorism Expert Says

Suprise, suprise, suprise! Agency analysts were repeatedly ordered to redo their studies of Al Qaeda ties to Hussein regime, a terrorism expert charges.

The Story
WASHINGTON — In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, CIA analysts were ordered repeatedly to redo intelligence assessments concluded that Al Qaeda had no operational ties to Iraq, according to a veteran CIA counter-terrorism official who has written a book that is sharply critical of the decision to go to war with Iraq.

Agency analysts never altered their conclusions, but saw the pressure to revisit their work as a clear indication that Bush administration officials were seeking a different answer regarding Iraq and Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the CIA officer said in an interview with The Times.

"We on the Bin Laden side [of the agency's analytic ranks] were required repeatedly to check, double-check and triple-check our files about a connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq," said the officer, who spoke on condition that he be identified only by his first name, Mike.

Asked whether he attributed the demands to an eagerness among officials at the White House or the Pentagon to find evidence of a link, he said: "You could not help but assume that was the case. They knew the answer [they wanted] before they asked the question."

The officer is the author of a forthcoming book titled, "Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror," published by Brassey's Inc. of Dulles, Va. He is listed as "Anonymous" on the book, which describes him as a "senior U.S. intelligence official with nearly two decades of experience in national security issues."

The author has held a number of high-ranking agency positions, including serving from 1996 to 1999 as head of a special unit tracking Bin Laden.

The book was approved for publication by the CIA after a four-month review — creating an unusual situation in which one of the secretive agency's senior officers was offering public criticism of administration policies and the prosecution of the war on terrorism.

CIA spokesman Bill Harlow emphasized that the opinions in the book were those of the author, not the agency. He acknowledged that the book's publication was awkward for an agency that sought to be apolitical, but that the CIA found no classified material in it, and therefore allowed its release.

Some have questioned the author's motives, noting that he was removed as head of the Bin Laden unit in 1999 over concerns about his performance. An intelligence official who has worked with the author at the CIA said that he might have been embittered by his removal, but that "people tend to think of him as a straight shooter."

Mike said he was removed from the post because agency leaders "thought I was too myopic, too intense, too aggressive." He declined to elaborate. But he insisted that he did not write the book to settle scores.

"The important thing to me is that we're missing the boat on this issue," he said.

The book has created a stir in intelligence and policymaking circles for its scathing critique of U.S. efforts after the Sept. 11 attacks. In the book, Mike writes that the war in Afghanistan was in many respects a failure because the United States waited nearly a month to launch the invasion — allowing Al Qaeda operatives to flee — and relied heavily on proxy Afghan forces that were not always loyal to the U.S. cause.

The book asserts that invading Iraq has inflamed anti-American sentiment to such a degree that it is minting a new generation of terrorists.

"We have waged two failed half-wars and, in doing so, left Afghanistan and Iraq seething with anti-U.S. sentiment, fertile grounds for the expansion of Al Qaeda and kindred groups," he writes.

In an interview this week, Mike, who has close-cropped hair and a beard, said Monday's transfer of authority to Iraq was likely to do little to curtail insurgent attacks.

"Iraq, with or without a transfer of power, will be a mujahedin magnet as long as whatever government is there is dependent on America's sword," he said, adding that he thought his view was widely shared among counter-terrorism officials at the CIA and other intelligence agencies.

The stealth manner in which sovereignty was transferred this week in Iraq — in a surprise ceremony two days ahead of schedule involving L. Paul Bremer III, the U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq, and the country's interim prime minister, Iyad Allawi — also sent a weak signal, he said.

"From Bin Laden's perspective, we were afraid they were going to attack us and we left like a thief in the night, with Bremer throwing the keys to Allawi," he said. "They can only see this as a victory."

Mike's criticism of the war in Iraq echoes that of other prominent counter-terrorism officials, including former White House aide Richard A. Clarke. But he is the first active CIA official to make the criticism publicly, albeit anonymously. Mike, however, faulted Clarke and others who served in the Clinton administration for failing to mount operations to capture or kill Bin Laden when the CIA had intelligence on his whereabouts.

He said he thought Bin Laden would have been extremely reluctant to enter a collaborative relationship with Hussein, in part because he saw Iraq's military and spying services as inferior, incapable of protecting the security of Al Qaeda plans and operations.

Mike said that because he did not work in the agency's Iraq section, he could not assess the accuracy of claims that analysts were pressured by the White House to tailor their assessments of Iraq's alleged illicit weapons programs to help make the case for war. Despite being forced to redo their work several times, he said, counter-terrorism analysts never altered their conclusion that Iraq was not working with Al Qaeda.

"There was pressure to perform. But to its credit, the intelligence community as a whole said there was nothing" to suggest a collaborative relationship, he said. "The director on down insisted we call it straight."

Mike still serves in the agency's counter-terrorism center, but acknowledges that he has been marginalized. "I get invited to speak" on counter-terrorism at the Defense Department, the FBI and the National Security Agency, he said, "but not within my own building."

He wrote an earlier book, also anonymously, on Bin Laden and Islamic terrorism that was titled, "Through Our Enemies' Eyes."

Israeli forces have shot dead a 9-year-old Palestinian boy playing football in a Gaza refugee camp

Reuters Story Online
RAFAH, Gaza Strip (Reuters) - Israeli forces have shot dead a 9-year-old Palestinian boy playing football in a Gaza refugee camp as tanks rolled in to search for tunnels used by militants, witnesses say.

"We were playing soccer when Israeli tanks ... started firing inside the camp and towards us," said Bashir Abu Jlidan, 18, a resident of Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip.

He said Omar Zara'an, 9, fell to the ground bleeding. Doctors at Rafah hospital pronounced the boy dead after trying to revive him on Thursday.

The Israeli army had no immediate comment on the child's death. It said Israeli forces were on a mission in Rafah, which borders Egypt, to root out tunnels militants use to smuggle in weapons or place explosives underneath army positions.

In Jerusalem, the High Court temporarily barred construction of Israel's West Bank barrier south of the city a day after ordering the state to re-route a 30-km (18-mile) section to the northwest to reduce hardship for local Palestinians.

That decision set a precedent for pending hearings on some 20 other Palestinian petitions against sectors of the zigzagging barrier they say cut them off from farms, markets, public services and West Bank cities.

Thursday's High Court injunction responded to a petition by Palestinian villagers trapped by a loop in the disputed barrier around a nearby Jewish settlement on occupied territory.

Israel says the barrier, due to extend over 600 km (370 miles), is meant to keep out suicide bombers. Palestinians call it a ruse to annex land they want for a state since it often dips well inside the West Bank to take in settlements.


Rafah residents said 15 Israeli tanks and other armoured vehicles backed by helicopters rumbled into Rafah's Brazil neighbourhood, firing machineguns.

The army besieged Rafah for six days in May, killing 42 Palestinians and leaving hundreds homeless after militants killed 13 soldiers in a string of ambushes.

In the West Bank, Israeli forces mounted a rare raid into the town of Jericho. The army said it detained 30 wanted Palestinians and found weaponry including rifles and grenades.

Witnesses in the ancient town, which has been largely untouched by nearly four years of Israeli-Palestinian violence, said troops pulled out after blowing up two flats and a house.

"This is a dangerous escalation by Israel," said Palestinian Negotiations Minister Saeb Erekat, a Jericho resident.

Residents of Nablus, also in the West Bank, said troops moved again into its casbah, or old town, closing its entrances and taking over a number of houses in a search for militants.

In northern Gaza, witnesses said Israeli forces moved further into the town of Beit Hanoun, seized on Tuesday a day after rockets fired from the area killed a 3-year-old boy and a man in Sderot in southern Israel.

They were the first in Israel to be killed by a rocket attack from Gaza since a Palestinian revolt began in 2000.

Army bulldozers, clearing areas that could provide cover for rocket squads, razed olive groves and orchards in Beit Hanoun. An Israeli military source said on Wednesday troops could remain there for months to stop militants launching rockets.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon plans to pull settlers and soldiers out of Gaza by the end of 2005 and vows "extensive action" before and after that to thwart further rocket strikes.

US military in Afghanistan is confronted with an embarrassing situation...

...following the realisation that the two men in its custody were Afghan government officials from Helmand province rather than top Taliban commanders as claimed by it earlier.

Interesting article

PESHAWAR: The US military in Afghanistan is confronted with an embarrassing situation following the realisation that the two men in its custody were Afghan government officials from Helmand province rather than top Taliban commanders as claimed by it earlier.

On Monday, the US military spokeswoman Master Sergeant Cindy Beam said American special forces captured top enemy commanders Hafiz Abdul Majeed and Mohammad Daud in southern Afghanistan in raids on their compounds pre-dawn Saturday. "We have evidence indicating that they were supplying arms to insurgents, conducting rocket attacks on the military, attacking non-governmental aid organisations helping Afghanistan build a national infrastructure, funding ambushes and trafficking opium," she said in a statement.

"During the mission, the enemy regional leaders surrendered as coalition SOF (Special Operations Forces) surprised the insurgents," she added. However, the US military claim is turning out to be untrue. Officials in Afghanistan’s interior ministry in Kabul were quoted as saying that the captured men weren’t the top Taliban commanders sought by the US and Afghan governments. Government officials in Helmand explained that one of the captured men, Hafiz Abdul Majeed, was the administrator for Naomesh district in the province, while the other man was his military bodyguard, Mohammad Daud. They said Majeed had been an anti-Taliban commander and three of his fighters were injured in a firefight with the Taliban fighters only 20 days ago.

The announcement of Majeed’s capture by the US military had created lot of excitement in the American intelligence and media circles. In fact, it had generated hopes that his arrest would enable the US military to track down the Taliban supreme leader Mulla Mohammad Omar. This wasn’t far-fetched because the real Hafiz Abdul Majeed was very close to Mulla Omar. He was the security chief for Kandahar when the Taliban were in power. After the Taliban’s ouster from power, he became one of the important resistance leaders in southern Afghanistan and was named by Mulla Omar as a member of the 10-member Taliban leadership council. His arrest would have been a huge setback for the Taliban.

The fact that the US military announced Hafiz Abdul Majeed’s capture without cross checking his identity isn’t the first time that the Americans have committed such blunders in Afghanistan. Certain other arrests of anti-US Afghans were also cases of mistaken identity.

Earlier, they printed wrong pictures of Mulla Omar on leaflets announcing monetary reward for his capture. Warplanes have frequently bombed the wrong targets, including wedding parties, passenger buses, graveyards, and convoys of pro-government tribal elders.

Taliban spokesman, Abdul Latif Hakimi, whose claims about battleground successes are often ridiculed by Afghan and US government officials, was vindicated on Tuesday following reports that Hafiz Abdul Majeed had not been captured by the American military. On Monday, he had denied the capture of Hafiz Abdul Majeed while talking to The News from an undisclosed location. He thought the US military could have captured someone else. As it turned it, the US military had apprehended Hafiz Abdul Majeed’s namesake.

Hakimi had said he was unable to place Mohammad Daud. The only Daud that he knew in the Taliban movement was Daud Haideri, who was deputy to Mulla Nasir, the Taliban military commander for Ghazni province. Daud Haideri, according to Hakimi, had not been captured. On both counts, Hakimi was proven right.

The US military spokeswoman had not mentioned the place where the two men were captured. She had vaguely said that they were detained in southern Afghanistan. Afghan sources later said the arrests were made in Girishk, a town sited in south-western Helmand province on the Kandahar-Herat road.

It remains to be seen how the US military is going to handle the situation now that it has emerged that the two men in its custody weren’t top Taliban commanders, Hafiz Abdul Majeed and Daud Haideri. Measures would surely be taken to do some damage control and avoid such an embarrassing situation in future. As for the men in its custody, the US military would have to release them because warlords whether small or big are needed to fight the Taliban and other anti-US forces in Afghanistan.