Thursday, August 16, 2007

When a U.S Soldier In Iraq Won't Soldier



Please read the following article from the Christian Science Monitor on what a soldier goes through when he doesn't agree with the war.

What does the Army do with a private who can't be persuaded to load his gun?
By Mary Wiltenburg | Correspondent of Christian Science Monitor

No one looked comfortable at the sentencing hearing. Not family and friends who packed the US military courtroom's straight-backed benches. Not the rookie Army prosecutor in stiff dress greens who flushed with every "Your Honor." Not Judge R. Peter Masterton, whose usually animated face was now grave.

And not the convicted deserter – Army medic Agustín Aguayo – on the stand in a US military court in central Germany last March, pleading for understanding.
"I'm sorry for the trouble my conscience has caused my unit," Private 1st Class Aguayo said, his voice thick with emotion. "I tried to obey the rules, but in the end the problem was at the very core of my being."

Colonel Masterton, a veteran military judge, stared down at his bench. The defense wanted him to free this man of conscience. The prosecution asked that he put the coward away for two years to show other soldiers that "they are not fools for fulfilling their obligation."

Aguayo craned to face the judge. "When I hear my sergeants talking about slashing people's throats," he said, crying openly, "if I'm not a conscientious objector, what am I when I'm feeling all this pain when people talk about violence?"
Next door in the press room, where reporters crowded to watch the proceedings on bleached, closed-circuit TVs, a soldier guarding the door wiped tears from his face.

Every war has its deserters, troops who abandon their posts. And every war has its converts to pacifism. The Defense Department reports that 5,361 active-duty service members deserted the US Armed Forces last year; nearly 37,000 since October 2001. In today's all-volunteer force, that means a desertion rate of less than half a percent – much lower than the Vietnam War draft era, when it reached a 1971 high of 7.4 percent. In the past six years, 325 Army soldiers have applied to be recognized as conscientious objectors (COs), soldiers who no longer believe in war; 58 percent were accepted.

Still, Aguayo's story is revealing of the mental battles of these thousands who change their minds during a bloody war – and, arguably, of many who don't.
Struggling to support a young family in the patriotic months after 9/11, Aguayo chose to serve a nation heading into a long fight. War made a man of the naive private – but not in the way his officers intended. While his struggle to believe in his mission probably resembled that of many young recruits, no one imagined how it would end.

Aguayo is a small, soft-spoken man, tentative but quick to smile. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, he immigrated legally to Los Angeles with his parents when he was 4. At 19, he became a citizen and married a girl he'd met at church, the daughter of Guatemalan immigrants. He worked a dead-end bank job; for his twin daughters' sake, he wanted more. So he got second and third jobs and enrolled in community college. At Home Depot, where he worked in the fall of 2002, the radio blared through his shift with Army Reserve ads promising he could stay with his family and get a four-year degree.

On the way to renew his driver's license, Aguayo saw a recruiting station and stopped in. "No, you don't want the Army Reserve," he recalls the recruiter saying, "have a seat." Two weeks later, Aguayo joined the active-duty Army. His wife didn't want him to – the Afghan war had subsided and the Iraq invasion was imminent. "But he was so excited and so sure that the future would hold great things," Helga Aguayo says, that she supported his decision. She recalls asking him what he'd do if he had to go to war. "He kind of laughed and said, 'They train you for that. I'll be a different person."

But in basic training at Fort Benning, Ga., Aguayo couldn't adjust like other recruits did. It pained him to march to "Left, right, kill!" and to chant "We are not men. We are beasts." He stumbled out of gas-mask training crying, and wrote to Helga that the sting of the gas made him think of Nazi gas chambers. "The point is for you to learn how to use the mask," he says, "but [the gas] hurts, and I'd never want to hurt anyone like that." He hoped his qualms were normal, that he'd master them.

In August 2003, five months after the US invaded Iraq, Aguayo's unit was sent to a base in Schweinfurt, Germany. There they received orders to deploy to Iraq in the new year. His roommate assured Aguayo that the war was over and they would be peacekeepers. Aguayo, who rarely followed the news, felt better.
Then their training changed. "It wasn't targets anymore. It wasn't about me getting a badge. It wasn't about me getting a pat on the back," he says, "It was about me getting ready to take someone down."

In February 2004, on the eve of his Iraq deployment, Aguayo confided to Helga, who had joined him in Germany with their 8-year-old daughters, that he wasn't willing to kill, even in self-defense. She was alarmed. She searched for help online, and found a story about a marine who had refused to serve in Iraq. They read it together; some of the words were new to them.

"I had never heard the term 'conscientious objector,' which is embarrassing," she says. They Googled it, and called the hot-line number that came up. Volunteers explained the application process, and Aguayo, deploying in two days, hurried one together.

In Iraq a week later, he woke to the sound of shouting. Near his Tikrit aid station, a US military truck with five passengers had hit a roadside bomb. Aguayo zipped two officers up in body bags. His horrified expression caught the attention of a physician's assistant who took him aside. "You have to understand, there is a bigger picture," Aguayo remembers him saying, "God has a bigger plan."

"I couldn't reason like that," Aguayo says. "I thought, 'How can God have anything to do with this?' To me it was ignorance: on our side and on the guys that put the bomb out there."

Aguayo never got used to the routine cruelties of war: The men in US uniform he heard speak lewdly to veiled women, the American squads that cut clotheslines on Fridays while families were at prayer. "When someone sees me on a corner, then sees this guy next to me," he says of these soldiers, "he thinks we're the same."
Despite his misgivings, Aguayo developed a reputation in his unit as a mature presence and a diligent worker. He was promoted to the rank of specialist and recommended for another promotion to noncommissioned officer status, which he refused. Friends who served with him say that although they didn't share his beliefs, they respected his growing pacifism.

For his 12-month tour, Aguayo refused to carry a loaded weapon. His medical duties didn't require one, but dangerous patrols in Saddam Hussein's hometown did. Out of consideration for his beliefs, superiors looked the other way as he hoisted an empty rifle. When he told Helga, she was appalled at the danger he was putting himself – and others – in. "I said: You can't do this. You have a family. You have to come back," she says.

In August 2004, Aguayo's CO application was denied. The decision was divided: Aguayo's company commander and investigating officer called him "absolutely sincere" and said he had a "legitimate concern with being a soldier." The next four levels of command recommended rejection; one called Aguayo's application "an attempt to remedy [the] anxiety all soldiers face during an extended deployment in a combat theater."
Aguayo knew there were other ways out: A friend used illegal drugs to get discharged; others went AWOL. But he hated the idea of breaking the law. So the Aguayos threw themselves into challenging the decision when he returned to Germany in February 2005. Superiors decided that whatever the result, he didn't belong in the Army. A sergeant took him aside and promised to "paper" him out: charge him with enough small defiances to disqualify him from service.

But with only one infraction on record – failing to raise his M-16 in a training exercise – and another pending, his unit got word. They were going back to Iraq.


Read the rest of this chilling story here:

When a Soldier Won't Soldier

177 comments:

  1. Larry it's much harder to walk the land with the echoes of war still in the air.

    In most places you can see the images of the people who used to be there defending their positions, and wonder what happened to them, and of course some you see so you don't have to wonder.

    Many people refuse to "see" it if they haven't witnessed it.

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  2. Sorry to post off topic folks, just a little side discussion and since we changed threads I wanted to make sure he gets it.

    Hey Anon, if you follow me from ThinkProgress, here is the post that the TP people didn't want you to read.

    ---

    If that is happening, then they’re doing the same to you; and overseas contractors working for the NSA may be collecting your information as well.


    Comment by Anal — August 16, 2007 @ 5:26 pm

    If you could read, or better yet, "comprehend" what you read, then you'd know I've been saying that very thing since day one.

    Of COURSE they're doing it to me. They're doing it to ALL of us. Don't you get it? They've basically SAID they're doing it to us all.

    Ponder this my little butt monkey.

    You are aware I assume, that if you say certain key word combos on the telephone, like "president, airplane, b0mb", etc, that computers at NSA "START" recording your call right?

    If you missed the CNN special "Inside the NSA" back in 2003 where they took us inside of NSA and told us that, then surely you heard it in the movie, "Enemy of the State", right?

    Ok. Assuming you are aware of that fact, then riddle me this.

    IF they can START recording your call when you say certain words, HOW did they KNOW you were saying them, in the first place?

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  3. This might also be the reason soldier suicides are at a 26 year high, essentially since the Vietnam War.

    And George W Bush just keeps sending them back for extended deployment after extended deployment. (Except for the gutless chicken hawks who are to scared to join up like certain trolls here and elsewhere on the tubes)...... they don't cut and run, they just RUN.

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  4. Thanks Clif I never thought about it that way, but it would be difficult.

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  5. I just finished reading the part of the story that you posted about this young soldier Lydia.

    Its incredible and a very moving story. I am clicking the link now to read the rest of it.

    This guy is amazing in his commitment to humanity.

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  6. Hey I clicked the link but it just takes me to the Christian Science Monitor and I don't see the story.

    Where is it?

    I want to read the rest of this one.

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  7. Scroll down half way to the title of the story and click on the title.

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  8. :|

    So you're telling me I'm stupid or blind? lol.


    I didn't see it but I'll look again Larry.

    It really is an engrossing story.

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  9. Bartlebee:

    Scroll down to Military and the story is listed under the heading military.

    ReplyDelete
  10. oK. I found it.


    Here is the link to the actual story. (LYDIA! Next time you might want to put the link directly to the story, it makes it easier).

    The Soldier who wouldn't kill

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0814/p20s01-usmi.html

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  11. I'm the one who did that Bartlebee

    ReplyDelete
  12. Pentagon Paid $999,798 to Ship Two 19-Cent Washers to Texas

    (Bloomberg) -- A small South Carolina parts supplier collected about $20.5 million over six years from the Pentagon for fraudulent shipping costs, including $998,798 for sending two 19-cent washers to a Texas base, U.S. officials said.

    The company also billed and was paid $455,009 to ship three machine screws costing $1.31 each to Marines in Habbaniyah, Iraq, and $293,451 to ship an 89-cent split washer to Patrick Air Force Base in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Pentagon records show.

    The owners of C&D Distributors in Lexington, South Carolina -- twin sisters -- exploited a flaw in an automated Defense Department purchasing system: bills for shipping to combat areas or U.S. bases that were labeled ``priority'' were usually paid automatically, said Cynthia Stroot, a Pentagon investigator.

    C&D's fraudulent billing started in 2000, Stroot, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service's chief agent in Raleigh, North Carolina, said in an interview. ``As time went on they got more aggressive in the amounts they put in.''

    The price the military paid for each item shipped rarely reached $100 and totaled just $68,000 over the six years in contrast to the $20.5 million paid for shipping, she said.

    ``The majority, if not all of these parts, were going to high-priority, conflict areas -- that's why they got paid,'' Stroot said. If the item was earmarked ``priority,'' destined for the military in Iraq, Afghanistan or certain other locations, ``there was no oversight.''

    Scheme Detected

    The scheme unraveled in September after a purchasing agent noticed a bill for shipping two more 19-cent washers: $969,000. That order was rejected and a review turned up the $998,798 payment earlier that month for shipping two 19-cent washers to Fort Bliss, Texas, Stroot said.

    The Pentagon Defense Logistics Agency orders millions of parts a year. Stroot said the agency and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, which pays contractors, have made major changes, including thorough evaluations of the priciest shipping charges.

    A review of paid shipping invoices showed that fraudulent billing is ``is not a widespread problem,'' she said.

    ``C&D was a rogue contractor,'' Stroot said. While other questionable billing has been uncovered, nothing came close to C&D's, she said. The next-highest contractor billed $2 million in questionable transport costs, she said.

    Guilty Pleas

    C&D and two of its officials were barred in December from receiving federal contracts. A federal judge in Columbia, South Carolina, today accepted the guilty plea of the company and one sister, Charlene Corley, to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to launder money, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin McDonald said.

    Corley, 46, faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years on each count and will be sentenced in the near future, McDonald said in a telephone interview from Columbia. Stroot said her sibling died last year.

    Corley didn't immediately return a phone message left on her answering machine at her office in Lexington. Her attorney, Gregory Harris, didn't immediately a phone call placed to his office in Columbia.

    Stroot said the Pentagon hopes to recoup most of the $20.5 million by auctioning homes, beach property, jewelry and ``high- end automobiles'' that the sisters spent the money on.

    ``They took a lot of vacations,'' she said.


    I wonder how much Charlene Corley and her now deceased sister donated to the reichwing including Georgie boy?

    I wonder of the federal goberment will try to get that stolen money back also?

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  13. 26 Iraq/Afghan US soldiers have committed suicide, ten of those in the field, already this year.

    Goodness knows how many more thought about it and even attempted it.

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  14. Aw, crap, my cat got to the keyboard again! Sorry.

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  15. And now there's a new collapse in that mine in Utah and they're sending in two medevac helicopters...

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  16. OK, I screwed up the figure anyway...it was 99 suicides last year. 30 were in country, 26 in Iraq alone.

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  17. Hey Larry, you ought to fuck with Disturbia's head and delete that comment too :-D

    Disturbia, perhaps its a simple semantic thing: The NSA starts *logging* your calls when you say the secret word, but otherwise they just move on.

    See, you're assuming that it's people doing the listening. It's not. It's computers. Haven't you noticed how far voice recognition technology has gotten? Your calls are digitized and run through software.

    If you don't say something dumb, the software moves on, deleting the call as it goes (probably). Once you trigger it, tho, it starts logging and identifying the call, "recording" it.

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  18. Jenna Bush, one of President Bush's twin daughters, is engaged to be married to her longtime boyfriend, Henry Hager, the White House announced Thursday.

    Can she stop partying long enough to marry this son of a neocon?

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  19. (Reuters) - People using CIA and FBI computers have edited entries in the online encyclopedia Wikipedia on topics including the Iraq war and the Guantanamo prison, according to a new tracing program.

    The changes may violate Wikipedia's conflict-of-interest guidelines, a spokeswoman for the site said on Thursday.

    More lies!

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  20. The White House demanded in 2004 that the Justice Department approve a secret national security program without allowing the ailing attorney general, "feeble, barely articulate, clearly stressed," to discuss the matter with top advisers, according to the FBI director's personal notes.

    The partially censored notes from FBI chief Robert S. Mueller, dated March 12, 2004, describe a distraught and feeble Attorney General John Ashcroft in his hospital room just moments after being visited by then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and Andy Card, the president's chief of staff at the time.

    Mueller's account backs up earlier descriptions of the dispute over whether to continue the program despite Justice Department concerns about its legality.

    Last month, Mueller told a House committee that the clash was about the government's warrantless wiretapping; Gonzales and the White House denied that and said it was about other intelligence activities.


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    "Saw AG," Mueller wrote in his timed log of the events on the evening of March 10, 2004. "Janet Ashcroft in the room. AG is feeble, barely articulate, clearly stressed." Ashcroft was in the hospital with pancreatitis.

    Before seeing Ashcroft, Mueller met with then-Deputy Attorney General Jim Comey at the hospital about 7:40 p.m., the notes indicate. Comey said Ashcroft told Card and Gonzales that he would not approve the classified terrorist surveillance program, which was set to expire the next day.

    Typical Bush move: get them while they are unconscious!

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  21. Senior congressional aides said yesterday that the White House has proposed limiting the much-anticipated appearance on Capitol Hill next month of Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker to a private congressional briefing, suggesting instead that the Bush administration's progress report on the Iraq war should be delivered to Congress by the secretaries of state and defense.

    Bush's latest lapdog must be a terrible liar, to need replacement liars!

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  22. Larry just possibly, just possibly, he refuses to lie like Myers and Pace do.....

    ReplyDelete
  23. From Reuters;

    Nine Utah mine rescuers injured in "mountain bump": hospital official

    No link yet

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  24. CNN is reporting at least 10 injured at about 6:30 Mountain time from a "bump" which is the mountain releasing the stress of the mining into the mountain.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Maybe your right Clif, I was cynical since he is one of the Bush brigade.

    ReplyDelete
  26. After the recent resignation of Karl Rove, media outlets speculated on what the rest of President Bush’s term will look like without “the Architect.” The President is “fighting lame duck status,” reported the AP. In response, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow shot back: “As the president has said many times, he’s going to sprint to the tape.”

    But even Tony Snow doesn’t want to be around for that sprint. In an interview with the conservative Hugh Hewitt show, Snow signaled that he will not stay until the end of the term. He also mentioned that there are “probably a couple” of other high-level resignations “coming up in the next month or so.”

    Another liar is leaving Bush!

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  27. Rep. Chip Pickering (R-Miss.) has decided not to run for re-election in 2008, a knowledgeable source confirmed Thursday afternoon.
    Pickering's office did not return requests for comment Thursday. But a second source said Thursday afternoon that Pickering was scheduled to meet with his staff in his Pearl, Miss., district office at 4 p.m. Central time, apparently to discuss his political future.

    Several viable candidates are expected to seek the GOP nomination to replace Pickering, including termed-out Mississippi Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck, a former Democrat who is scheduled to leave office at the end of this year.

    Another neocon down!

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  28. Carl said...
    Hey Larry, you ought to fuck with Disturbia's head and delete that comment too :-D

    Disturbia, perhaps its a simple semantic thing: The NSA starts *logging* your calls when you say the secret word, but otherwise they just move on.

    See, you're assuming that it's people doing the listening. It's not. It's computers. Haven't you noticed how far voice recognition technology has gotten? Your calls are digitized and run through software.

    If you don't say something dumb, the software moves on, deleting the call as it goes (probably). Once you trigger it, tho, it starts logging and identifying the call, "recording" it."


    Carl, no offense intended but i think your the one focusing on semantics here.......OF COURSE we know its computers and not little green elves listening for specific words..........the point is they are listening to EVERY SINGLE CALL to KNOW when those words are said and they shouldnt be.

    Who the hell cares whether it is computers or humans listening or what words trigger the recording..............the POINT is :

    1) They Lied saying they are ONLY listening to international calls with KNOWN terrorists.

    2) Big Brother SHOULD NOT be listening to ANY AMERICAN CITIZENS calls they dont have that right and giving those pieces of human shit that right is moving one step closer to a orwellian fascist police state.......and it sickens me.

    You say not to say "anything dumb".............let me ask you what would you categorize as dumb that would give the "DECIDER" the right to monitor us.......would it be atating you dont like him, stating you'd like to see him swing for treason, making a contribution to a democratic organization, speaking out against the war, posting on a liberal blog, going to a perace rally etc........i'm curious because in my book NOTHING, not a damn thing justifies that.

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  29. St Johnny the Delusional is on the Daily show, appropriate place for a delusional reichwinger, who thinks he can "win" in 2008

    ReplyDelete
  30. BTW, Carl, i'm not coming down on you.......I love ya man, its just it both enrages me and makes me sick to my stomach when I see our freedoms, liberties and privacy being destroyed by that piece of fascist shit that calls himself a president.

    I come down strongly on the side of freedom and will vehemently oppose a police state with my last dying breath.

    ReplyDelete
  31. McCaine is a joke.......even more so than molst repugs.

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  32. McCain was on Larry King claiming he gets death threats because he supports Bush's illegal immigration.

    Of course the hate of others for him has nothing to do with his tongue in Bush's war ear day and night!

    ReplyDelete
  33. clif said...
    St Johnny the Delusional is on the Daily show, appropriate place for a delusional reichwinger, who thinks he can "win" in 2008


    And Stewarts being a puss tonight.

    First, did you notice they didn't do ONE segment on the republicans?

    First it was Toys from China, then he lambasted the Democratic presidential candidates.

    He's also being kind of wimpy with McCain.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Bush's attack on americans and their Freedoms continues...

    Hot/Live

    Hot/Live that’s what the US customs officer at Detroit Metro Airport wrote on my customs declaration form as he asked me to follow the blue line.

    I’ve been getting on and off of planes since the tender age of 6 months, so I’ve had my fair share of travel stories. This trip actually went pretty smooth until I arrived in Detroit, and so as I was a few feet away from the exit, I was flagged by customs. I guess the phrase “I’m moving back from Lebanon” isn’t too popular.

    The customs officials at the end of the blue line checked my luggage after questioning me about the reason I was in Lebanon and other Middle Eastern countries that I had visited during my 4 year stay. They were actually very polite and I wasn’t really bothered until they pulled out my laptop. At first I thought they probably want me to just turn it on to make sure I wasn’t hiding a bomb in it. But then I was asked to put in my password and soon one of the customs officers was going through my personal files and photos. Something that really bothered me, I felt a complete invasion of privacy.

    I was questioned behind the reason I had a document saved from a Lebanese newspaper, I then explained my interest in middle east politics and that I used to write for Dose and I blog occasionally. This was followed by the question “Do you write anti American material”. I said I didn’t, that I mostly concentrated on Middle East politics but for some reason one of the officers said that sometimes even Americans wrote anti American material. I really wanted to say that those are probably the ones that are in jail. They then asked for the websites addresses that I blog on (So Matt, you might get a couple of extra fans)I just thought the wording was interesting, I mean asking if I criticized US politics is one thing but to ask about Anti-American material made me feel like they were insulting my intelligence. I mean even if someone was would they really admit it???

    And so while cruising through my photos, a water bottling plant layout came up and I had to clarify what it was and explain yet again that I am an environmental engineer after all. In all reality I doubt a person who is planning to commit any terrorist act would be dumb enough to just store the info on their personal laptop.

    Now on to the major reason I am writing this… Does anyone know what the phrase (Hot/Live) on the customs form means? At fist I thought hey I might be getting a date out of this whole ordeal but once they started with the questioning I knew it must be something else.

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  35. Course McCain just said something REALLY good.

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  36. St Johnny the Delusional talks a good game, too bad he has no follow thru,

    Or Testicles to tell Bush to go Cheney himself.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Carl said...

    See, you're assuming that it's people doing the listening. It's not.

    No I'm not. And I've written extensively on this subject.

    Of COURSE its not people. How could there be enough people in the country to listen to all the people in the country, unless everyone was employed at NSA and was listening to the guy next to him?

    Of COURSE its not people.

    Its mostly newer digital technology mixed with older analog technology in remote reqions.It involves advanced switching technology and whats called "digitized voice".

    Of COURSE its not people, and I never said anything of the sort.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Mike. Your 8:17 Post was RIGHT ON.

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  39. Anyone notice Bush and the repugs parroting over and over again that the market has to punish the stupid and everything will be fine once we purge the rotteness out of the system............what to know who else said those things and repeated very similar mantras........Herbert Hoover and Andrew Mellon at the start of the Great Depression.

    Now lets get one thing strait I thing the reckless fools should pay a price, particularly when they are mostly fatcat hedgefund managers...........BUT like jim Cramer said........we HAVE to look at the big picture and make sure we are not thrpwing the baby out with the bathwater............if the entire market collapses and we have massive forclosures and unemployment that bring on a 20 year DEpression thats not worth it just so a few idiots get what they have coming to them.

    The repugs LOVE to talk tough and thump their chest PRETENDING how tough they are but when the shit really hits the fan the freeze and just keep parroting their ignorant dishonest mantras and dont know what to do.

    I've been saying for the last 5 years Bush will be WORSE than the next Herbert Hoover and I think its starting NOW.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Construction of new homes in the United States fell in July to a 10-year low, a further sign of deterioration in the distressed housing market, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

    New home construction plunged 6.1 percent in July from June to an annualized 1.381 million units, the slowest pace since January 1997.

    The performance fell short of the forecast of most analysts of 1.405 million units and shows home builders are scaling back activity.

    Permits for new construction also dropped, by 2.8 percent to 1.373 million units, below Wall Street forecasts of 1.400 million. The number of permits last month was the lowest since October 1996.

    The grim data was expected to heighten the anxiety of investors worrying about the persistent slump in the US housing market and how far the crisis in the subprime mortgage sector extends into the broader economy.

    On a 12-month basis, new housing starts tumbled 20.9 percent in July and construction permits were down 22.6 percent.

    The Commerce Department slightly revised higher the numbers for June, to 1.470 million new housing starts, from an initial estimate of 1.467, and left construction permits unchanged at 1.413 million.


    More of the faltering Bush economy!

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  41. So Many crimes from these brownshirt thugs but I think this Orwellian spy program is one of the worst.

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  42. Bush and Bernanke remind me VERY much of Hoover and Mellon........if you just heard the words without who said them, it would be difficult to tell the difference.

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  43. Now the taxpayers are paying for the U.S spy satellite to watch us instead of the real enemy.

    What does that tell us?

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  44. WASHINGTON -- The FBI is investigating the National Science Foundation's award of $170 million in contracts to the oil field services company that oversaw renovations on U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens' home, McClatchy Newspapers has learned.

    The firm, Veco Corp., captured a lucrative five-year NSF contract in 1999 to provide logistics and support for polar research, although it had no previous experience in that field.

    More Republican corruption!

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  45. Check out Enigma's story on what he went through to vote.

    Sirens Chronicles

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  46. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  47. We all went thru a lot to vote.

    In fact, we haven't voted yet.

    What happened in 2000 and 2004 wasn't an election, and in 2006 even though we took the congress I don't think what we ended up with represented the actual tally. The country was much more fed up than that with the republicans and the exit polls were not matching results once again.

    President Bush won in 00 because his brother was the govenor of the deciding state, and the person overseeing the vote count was the chairman of his election comittee.

    As soon as he took office, he ordered his new electronic voting machines to be used for future presidential elections, and the exit polls haven't matched a tally since.

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  48. Check out the latest post by Alcia on Newt Gingrich:

    Last Left Before Hooterville

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  49. I read that Larry, I rtemember hearing Enigmas story months ago, its dispicable what these Neo Con fascists are doing.

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  50. Mike, Enigma has 2 books coming out at election time about what they have done to her.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Don Imus has reached a settlement with CBS over his multimillion-dollar contract and is negotiating with WABC radio to resume his broadcasting career there, according to CBS and a person familiar with the negotiations.

    Imus and CBS Radio reached a settlement that would pre-empt the dismissed radio personality's threatened $120 million breach-of-contract lawsuit, CBS spokesman Dana McClintock said Tuesday.

    That didn't take long!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Check out Jolly Rogers's last 2 posts:

    Reconstitution

    ReplyDelete
  53. Lydia that was a moving story about that soldier............its reprehensible what this war based on lies is doing to our soldiers..........I have many friends and co workers who are over there or are going to the Middle East soon and it boggles the mind all the death trajedy and evil that has resulted from this man stealing both elections..........think how differently the world would have been if Gore would have been our President.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Peace is the natural order of things.

    ReplyDelete
  55. America's allies are increasingly concerned about the Bush administration's plans to unilaterally escalate pressure on Iran, fearing that an evolving strategy may also set in motion a process that could lead to military action if Iran does not back down, according to diplomats and officials of foreign countries.

    Although they share deep concern about Iran's alleged nuclear ambitions, European and Arab governments are particularly alarmed about new U.S. moves, including plans to cite Iran's entire Revolutionary Guard Corps as a "specially designated global terrorist." The move would block the elite unit's assets and pressure foreign companies doing business with its vast commercial network.

    Allies are less concerned about that step than they are about the new momentum behind it, and the potential for spillover in a region reeling with multiple conflicts. "If the region is strewn with crises, then there's potential for real disaster. There's a fear that they will all merge into a super-emergency bigger than any one country can deal with," a leading Arab envoy said.

    George W Bush: Ignoring the voice of others to launch another war!

    ReplyDelete
  56. Angelo Cappelli, a prominent local Republican who lost a campaign to win a state House seat last year, was arrested Wednesday by St. Petersburg police and charged with first degree grand theft and perjury.

    The arrest stems from a two-month investigation into Cappelli’s dealings while employed as wealth and investment advisor at Suntrust Bank, 300 First Avenue S.

    Investigators said Cappelli stole more than $100,000 from the trust account of Mario E. Granata, a St. Petersburg resident who died in February. Police said Granata’s 1998 will left all of his assets at the time of his death to a local charity. Investigators say Cappelli delivered part of the money to the charity, but kept the rest for personal use to pay his credit cards and homeowners insurance premium.

    He just happens to be a family friend of the Bush family: Those Republican morals!

    ReplyDelete
  57. BAGHDAD:

    Iraq The women are too afraid and ashamed to show their faces or have their real names used. They have been driven to sell their bodies to put food on the table for their children -- for as little as $8 a day.

    Suha, 37, is a mother of three. She says her husband thinks she is cleaning houses when she leaves home.

    1 of 3 "People shouldn't criticize women, or talk badly about them," says 37-year-old Suha as she adjusts the light colored scarf she wears these days to avoid extremists who insist women cover themselves. "They all say we have lost our way, but they never ask why we had to take this path."

    A mother of three, she wears light makeup, a gold pendant of Iraq around her neck, and an unexpected air of elegance about her.

    "I don't have money to take my kid to the doctor. I have to do anything that I can to preserve my child, because I am a mother," she says, explaining why she prostitutes herself.

    This is what Bush has driven them to!

    ReplyDelete
  58. Bush has made preparations to handle YOU during Martial Law:

    Could martial law ever become a reality in America? Some fear any nuclear, biological or chemical attack on U.S. soil might trigger just that. KSLA News 12 has discovered that the clergy would help the government with potentially their biggest problem: Us.
    Charleton Heston's now-famous speech before the National Rifle Association at a convention back in 2000 will forever be remembered as a stirring moment for all 2nd Amendment advocates. At the end of his remarks, Heston held up his antique rifle and told the crowd in his Moses-like voice, "over my cold, dead hands."
    While Heston, then serving as the NRA President, made those remarks in response to calls for more gun control laws at the time, those words live on. Heston's declaration captured a truly American value: An over-arching desire to protect our freedoms.
    But gun confiscation is exactly what happened during the state of emergency following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, along with forced relocation. U.S. Troops also arrived, something far easier to do now, thanks to last year's elimination of the 1878 Posse Comitatus act, which had forbid regular U.S. Army troops from policing on American soil.
    If martial law were enacted here at home, like depicted in the movie "The Siege", easing public fears and quelling dissent would be critical. And that's exactly what the 'Clergy Response Team' helped accomplish in the wake of Katrina.
    Dr. Durell Tuberville serves as chaplain for the Shreveport Fire Department and the Caddo Sheriff's Office. Tuberville said of the clergy team's mission, "the primary thing that we say to anybody is, 'let's cooperate and get this thing over with and then we'll settle the differences once the crisis is over.'"
    Such clergy response teams would walk a tight-rope during martial law between the demands of the government on the one side, versus the wishes of the public on the other. "In a lot of cases, these clergy would already be known in the neighborhoods in which they're helping to diffuse that situation," assured Sandy Davis. He serves as the director of the Caddo-Bossier Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
    For the clergy team, one of the biggest tools that they will have in helping calm the public down or to obey the law is the bible itself, specifically Romans 13. Dr. Tuberville elaborated, "because the government's established by the Lord, you know. And, that's what we believe in the Christian faith. That's what's stated in the scripture."
    Civil rights advocates believe the amount of public cooperation during such a time of unrest may ultimately depend on how long they expect a suspension of rights might last.

    Now who doesn't think Bush is planning to install Martial Law?

    ReplyDelete
  59. Three U.S soldiers were killed today in Baghdad.

    Are you happy Bush!

    ReplyDelete
  60. WASHINGTON -- The Federal Reserve, declaring that increased economic uncertainty poses risks for U.S. business growth, announced Friday that it has approved a half-percentage point cut in its discount rate on loans to banks.

    The action was the most dramatic effort yet by the central bank to restore calm to global financial markets which have been roiled in the past week by a widening credit crisis.


    That's not nearly enough!

    ReplyDelete
  61. The Official George W. Bush
    "Days Left In Office"
    Countdown:

    521 DAYS
    15 Hrs 26 Min 19.2 Sec

    Will this day ever come?

    ReplyDelete
  62. Disturbia, I agree with you. What the NSA is doing is very disturbing!!

    ReplyDelete
  63. The Fed just cut the Discout Intertest rate...............What do you guys think about this.

    After just TALKING TOUGH about how tough of an inflation fighter they are and how the market NEEDS to punish the reckless speculators, then they cut interest rates......that tells me things are FAR worse than ANYONE thinks.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Lydia Cornell said...
    Disturbia, I agree with you. What the NSA is doing is very disturbing!!



    Hey I'll make the jokes around here lady....

    :D

    ReplyDelete
  65. Dont get me wrong, I dont think Bernanke made a mistake, i'd much rather have an Allan Greenspan than an Andrew Mellon as Fed Chief..........but after all the repug rhetoric and pretending to be a tough guy it makes him look hippocritical and less credible.

    ReplyDelete
  66. The rate of desertion (like the rate of injury) is vastly underreported. In many cases when a deserter is picked up, he's being given summary punishment and sent right back to Iraq. Summary punishment for deserters was unheard of until the monkey started his Oedipal adventure.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Larry notes,

    The Federal Reserve, declaring that increased economic uncertainty poses risks for U.S. business growth, announced Friday that it has approved a half-percentage point cut in its discount rate on loans to banks.

    The action was the most dramatic effort yet by the central bank to restore calm to global financial markets which have been roiled in the past week by a widening credit crisis.


    That's not nearly enough!


    Larry, it's like we discuss pretty frequently at Reconstitution these days-this isn't doing anything but thumbing a dike. The dike (homeowners in crisis) has got to be addressed, or there is still no reason to invest. Why is it our friends in the Federal Government don't understand this?

    Here in Ohio, Governor Strickland is taking action. If Fannie Mae would join him on a Federal level, we might start to see a turnaround. Ohio has dropped from 1st to 3rd in nationwide foreclosure rates since Strickland implemented his plan.

    Sometimes (in spite of conservotard rhetoric) Government can lend a helping hand in the right situation and make the picture better.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Now who doesn't think Bush is planning to install Martial Law?

    I'll miss being able to visit you guys. Ahnold is almost certainly going to take Cahleefornya out of the union if and when it happens.

    ReplyDelete
  69. OMG....this is so haunting...I will be sure to show my son too...heartbraking...

    ReplyDelete
  70. Please listen to the radio show we did today. It is only one hour, and it's one of the best we've done (no big guests today) but we discussed the suicide rate of our troops.. as well as Petraeus (some elightening thoughts on the upcoming White House Report... as well as a few of Turd Blossom's (Rove's) criminal activities in getting GW Bush elected.

    had a few interesting callers too.

    Listen to today's show by clicking on "Listen in Archives" at www.bashamandcornell.com

    thanks

    ReplyDelete
  71. And we had John Edwards on last Friday, as well as Senator Byron Dorgan this week. You can hear these shows in the archives too.

    We are getting Obama, HIlary and all the rest soon.

    ReplyDelete
  72. From what I've read, the Army doesn't just dump on you if you disagree with the war. If you're wounded or disabled, you're a pussy and the officers and noncoms treat you like a leper. I don't know this first hand but I've read lots of people's reports of this.

    Who Hijacked Our Country

    ReplyDelete
  73. Disturbia,

    Then how can you be amazed that when you mention the words you mentioned, suddenly the government pricks up their ears and listens

    Think of it this way: you're sitting in a cafe, minding your own business. You HEAR all the conversations that go on around you, but you're reading your book.

    Suddenly, you hear your name, the name of your ex-lover and the word "videotape".

    Suddenly, you pay attention.

    Good grief, how hard is this to get?

    ReplyDelete
  74. The Fed rate drop comes exactly two days after one of the governors gave a speech in which he said a rate cut would be admitting they were panicked about the economy, and that the Feds were not.

    Ummmmmmmmmmm, hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.........

    ReplyDelete
  75. Larry,

    Maybe Jenna needed another "appendectomy" (look it up) and so she had to get married?

    ReplyDelete
  76. A majority of Americans don't trust the upcoming report by the Army's top commander in Iraq on the progress of the war and even if they did, it wouldn't change their mind, according to a new poll.

    Nobody trusts the Bush lapdog!

    ReplyDelete
  77. A deep plunge by stocks in Tokyo led a continued slump by Asian markets today, as the recent turmoil brought on by the housing-loan crisis in the United States sparked a rush to cut losses among investor who have been borrowing yen to invest globally.

    It's only the Bush economy!

    ReplyDelete
  78. Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott Jr. says customers are "running out of money."

    Earlier this week, consumer juggernauts Home Depot and Wal-Mart reported softer than expected earnings.

    Penned the New York Times, "the sober forecasts reverberated across Wall Street, sending the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index down by nearly 2 percent, with the Dow dropping more than 200 points. Shares of both Wal-Mart and Home Depot fell around 5 percent.

    "Economists said the sluggish performance of the chains — Wal-Mart missed its profit forecast and Home Depot’s earnings dropped — could signal broader troubles in the economy."

    Buried in the article was a sobering remark indeed: “Many customers are running out of money at the end of the month,” said H. Lee Scott Jr., the chief executive of Wal-Mart.

    In Los Angeles, economic concerns hit close to home.

    Anxious customers of Countrywide Bank jammed its phone lines, branches and website after the nation's largest mortgage lender -- which owns the bank -- announced it was facing problems from a credit meltdown.

    "Countrywide Financial Corp., the biggest home-loan company in the nation, sought Thursday to assure depositors and the financial industry that both it and its bank were fiscally stable," wrote the LA Times Friday. "And federal regulators said they weren't alarmed by the volume of withdrawals from the bank."

    "The rush to withdraw money -- by depositors that included a former Los Angeles Kings star hockey player and an executive of a rival home-loan company -- came a day after fears arose that Countrywide Financial could file for bankruptcy protection because of a worsening credit crunch stemming from the sub-prime mortgage meltdown," the paper continued.

    "At Countrywide Bank offices, in a scene rare since the U.S. savings-and-loan crisis ended in the early '90s, so many people showed up to take out some or all of their money that in some cases they had to leave their names," the Times added. "Bill Ashmore drove his Porsche Cayenne to Countrywide's Laguna Niguel office and waited half an hour to cash out $500,000, which he then wired to an account at Bank of America."

    "It's because of the fear of the bankruptcy," Ashmore, president of Irvine's Impac Mortgage Holdings, which escaped bankruptcy itself recently by shutting down virtually all its lending and laying off hundreds of employees told the paper. "It's got my wife totally freaked out. I just don't want to deal with it. I don't care about losing 90 days' interest, I don't care if it's FDIC-insured -- I just want it out."

    Maybe Walmart shouldn't have funneled millions of dollars into Republican coiffures.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Larry, I'm a speed reader. I have to be. :-) This article was so compelling I read every word. Well done! Aguayo is a hero of conscience.

    ReplyDelete
  80. For You Carl:

    Jenna Bush Pregnant - Jenna Bush, one of President and Laura Bush's twin daughters, has become impregnated and engaged to long-time boyfriend Henry Hager.

    A shining example of a MORAL family!

    ReplyDelete
  81. Army Reports Brass, Not Bloggers, Breach Security

    For years, the military has been warning that soldiers' blogs could pose a security threat by leaking sensitive wartime information. But a series of online audits, conducted by the Army, suggests that official Defense Department websites post material far more potentially harmful than anything found on a individual's blog.

    The audits, performed by the Army Web Risk Assessment Cell between January 2006 and January 2007, found at least 1,813 violations of operational security policy on 878 official military websites. In contrast, the 10-man, Manassas, Virginia, unit discovered 28 breaches, at most, on 594 individual blogs during the same period.


    Another result of the Bush lead Dumsfeld directed US Military, it means the Brass are more dangerous to US national security then the bloggers are.

    ReplyDelete
  82. Jenna can't be pregnent because stupid reichwinger re-pubies don't have sex out side of marriage,(that would be hypocritical) and if they do they run off to France or Israel to have that remnant of their sinning removed from their temple of Jebus they call their bodies.(so they can deny they did anything immoral like that)

    I mean her daddy has lead a administration where abstinence was the only way to live, in fact if she was using a US Government pamphlet about safe sex, she would be doing that and nothing more.

    Might be the reason she knows nothing about those thingy's her significant other for the evening could use to stop his little Christian soldiers from invading her sacred territory or even knowing about those little pills which form a defense barrier in her sacred territory to defend her from the same thingy if her significant other for the evening forgets.(Or is too drunk)

    And of course if both were too clueless (or drunk)she could have used that little pill made in France(gasp) to retroactively defend her sacred territory from the little Christian soldiers of her drunk significant other for the evening.

    In other words since she is a good Christian republican she can't be preg...

    oh right, what are they gonna name the next Bush brat?

    ReplyDelete
  83. Carl said...


    Then how can you be amazed that when you mention the words you mentioned, suddenly the government pricks up their ears and listens


    I never said I was amazed.

    I am disturbed. Aren't you?

    Because we are stating that ALL PHONE CALLS in the US are essentially being eavesdropped on.

    They HAVE to be, in order for that technology to work.

    That means our constitutional rights to privacy are now removed, and the 1st ammendment has essentially been removed.

    I'm not amazed. I'm appalled.

    ReplyDelete
  84. But on an even more sick note, listen to this.

    A small Austin newspaper wrote an article about Bush's fashion sense, and here, in the middle of a war, with the economy tanking and Pakistan facing complete revolution, the White House had their Deputy Press secretary CALL the paper, and pressure them over the story!!!!

    Can you believe it? A FASHION STORY!!!

    While Americans are dying in the streets of Baghdad, this President is more worried about some small newspaper's fashion critique of him, than he is the war.

    It's BIZARRE!

    ReplyDelete
  85. You guys remember me writing endlessly on the Joint tactical war games performed by Russia and China a few years back in China?

    Remember me warning that this was the first time in history that the two countries have combined their militiaries?

    Well today, while Bush is vacationing in the dustbowl that is Crawdad, RUSSIA and CHINA are busy performing more joint tactical WAR GAMES!!!!

    Thats right.

    And this time, its on Russian soil!

    Do you see whats happening here?

    This is in direct response to Bush's threats of invading Iran.

    They are NOT going to let us invade Iran. They WILL strike back. Thats the message they are sending. And they might also be thinking of driving us out of Iraq if we won't get the hell out on our own.

    I predicted this 2 years ago when the first joint tactical war games were conducted by the two countries, and now I am starting to scare myself.

    ReplyDelete
  86. What really gets George W. Bush riled up? Calling him a fashion victim.

    Washington Post

    By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
    Friday, August 17, 2007; Page C01


    Last week, Marques Harper of the Austin American- Statesman wrote a short piece about the president's sartorial style on his Texas ranch, where Bush is spending a two-week vacation. The article was reprinted Tuesday in a Waco, Tex., paper, and the leader of the free world was not pleased.

    Harper received a phone call that morning from White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino, who, Harper told friends, said the president read the article and was unhappy about the way he was portrayed.

    "I was surprised," said the style writer, who declined to repeat the off-the-record conversation with Perino when we called.

    ReplyDelete
  87. The country's at war. Americans are dying in the streets of Baghdad. The economy is in a FREE FAll, and the housing market is in crisis. Pakistan is about to be overthrown by radical muslims turning nuclear weapons over to the terrorists who struck us on 911, the Taliban is resurging in Afghanistan, mines are collapsing in Utah, and the DOJ is investigating itself because of rampant corruption, and THIS PRESIDENT has the NERVE to use the pressure of the White House to strong arm a small town newspaper because they criticized Bush's fashion sense?????

    WHAT THE HELLS GOING ON????

    ReplyDelete
  88. Russia and China are taking steps in the face of US policies that both consider threatening. It appears that Russia is anticipating decreased US influence in the Middle East after apparent defeat in Iraq. They are positioned to reopen a permanent military base in Syria and assert a naval presence in the area. The blowback from US Administration decisions over the passed 6 years is becoming more and more apparent.

    Putin's power play

    The bottom line is that Russia is manoeuvring to profit from what it sees as an irresistible window of opportunity - the power shift that would follow a US defeat in Iraq, Mr Baev said. "In the envisaged no-holds-barred power play, Russia would not have any allies but could enjoy perfect freedom of manoeuvre and exploit the advantage of not being afraid of any oil crisis."

    "Declaring its adherence to pragmatism, Moscow is in fact increasingly adopting anti-Americanism as its guiding political idea." Toying with military bases in Syria was just part of a bigger, bolder bid to challenge US regional and global leadership.


    and China's move?

    Spheres of Influence in the Pacific?

    "The senior Air Force commander in the Pacific this week threw cold water on a Chinese military proposal to divide up the Pacific Ocean into U.S. and Chinese spheres of influence.

    Gen. Paul V. Hester was asked about China's recent plan to give the United States control of the eastern Pacific region, while China would control the western Pacific.

    "Our policy is not to cede space to anyone," Gen. Hester said in a telephone press conference from Hawaii." Gertz

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    The Chinese asked if we want to divide the Pacific with them? Which century are they operating in?

    It is a long standing principle of US maritime strategy and policy that we do not concede any body of water, anywhere to national control unless it is in the internationally recognized territorial waters of a particular state. We should insist on that principle.

    Where would one draw the line? West of Hawaii presumably? West of Guam? West of New Zealand? Would Australia lie in the Chinese "sphere of influence?

    If we accepted such a "deal" the inevitable result would be "creeping" Chinese attempts at restrictions of our activities west of the line.

    The very attempt to establish such a situation speaks volumes with regard to the future in the Pacific.

    Perhaps the 4th Generation Warfare enthusiasts should think some more about the path into which they are driving the future structure of the US Army. pl (Pat Lang)


    Looks like both the Russians and Chinese think Bush has so weakened the US and it's military they can make moves like this.

    ReplyDelete
  89. Bush HAS weakened the US military so much that they can make moves like this.

    I would not be surprised to see an "Iraqi liberation force" made up of joint Iranian, Chinese and Russian forces move into Iraq to drive us out.

    We could NOT repel such an advance at this point. We can barely deal with the insurgents.

    ReplyDelete
  90. Worfeus, we would do much better against the combined forces of Russia China and Iran then we do against the insurgents, it is the difference between 3rd generation war, IE WW@ Korea and Desert Storm and 4th generation war, IE Vietnam for both the French and US Algeria for the French Afghanistan for the soviets, and Iraq has been for the US post May 2003.

    Most reichwingers totally confuse these also and can't understand why our incredible army can't "win"in Iraq. (Like they couldn't "win" in Vietnam either.)

    ReplyDelete
  91. Bye-Bye Baghdad

    By Anonymous

    Editor’s Note: The author of this article is a contractor who has lived and worked in Baghdad. His identity is known to Truthdig’s editors, but he has written anonymously in order to offer an uncensored account.[Interesting in Bush's America the TRUTH has to be written anonymously]

    I have been living and working in Baghdad for the past 16 months and will be leaving next week for good. I am one of those overpaid Department of Defense contractors, or, as some would call me, a “war profiteer.” Yes, I have profited. I am out of debt and have money saved. But it has cost me. I am a changed man. I have become hardened. I almost feel like a zombie.

    Although I work in Baghdad, I have no idea what Baghdad looks like. I have been told by soldiers that it is “like one of those Mexican border towns.” I don’t live in the “heavily fortified” Green Zone, which, although heavily fortified, has been getting hit with mortars on a daily basis. No, I live on an Army base. I live in a trailer with four other men. We each have our own space and I am lucky to have quiet roommates. There is a common latrine and shower.

    I have had a lot of experiences over these 16 months, and the situation has not changed one bit. I feel like I am leaving a sinking ship. The only thing that has changed is that more trailers have had to be added for the “surge” of troops that have come in. Oh, and our laundry now takes 72 hours to get done.

    The majority of my co-workers are Iraqi, and every single one has been deeply affected by the war. Everyone knows someone who has been killed or kidnapped, whether a family member or a friend. It’s a daily occurrence, and they feel helpless, frustrated and, of course, very sad. Those that had the means have gone to either Jordan or Syria. The others are trapped. No country wants them.

    Every day, the Iraqis risk their lives to come to work because they have no choice. The average salary is $300 a month, and many of them are supporting large families. Some of the Iraqis I work with just live in the building we work in rather than risk going home every day. Also, the building usually has electricity, which means there is air conditioning. In Baghdad there is usually one hour of electricity a day and hardly any water. People pitch in and buy a generator and get just enough electricity out of it to have the ceiling fan and refrigerator run.

    Most Iraqis come to work by bus since there is a shortage of gasoline in Baghdad. People have to wait in line overnight in order to get gas for their cars. I wonder how we in America would react if we had even one hour without electricity or water and had to wait in a line to fuel our gas-guzzling SUVs. For us on the base, getting gas is a breeze. We just drive up to one of the many gas depots and fill our cars up. I can’t figure out how we have such easy access to gasoline and the Iraqis have none.

    I was recently on vacation in the States when the bridge collapsed in Minneapolis. Yes, it was a terrible tragedy, but to the Iraqis that is nothing. Our media spent hours talking about how the bridge collapsed and how people were coping with the grief. The authorities immediately brought in grief counselors. There aren’t enough grief counselors in the world to come to Baghdad and ask the Iraqis how they are coping. But coping they are, and every day is a crapshoot.

    Will I get killed or kidnapped or suffer some other horrible tragedy? Most Iraqis feel that they will indeed be killed, whether by the Sunni militia, the Shiite militia, the American Army or a car bomb. They live in constant fear. Could you imagine having to live like that? And why are they suffering so terribly? Because we are giving them freedom. Freedom is something that I fear the Iraqis will not have any time in the near future.

    It is with a heavy heart that I leave behind my Iraqi friends. Their lives are absolutely horrible, but they have to keep moving every day to survive. Every day, as they leave for home, I always wonder if it will be the last time I see them.

    We have made a mess of Iraq, and the Iraqis, who just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, are the ones that are paying the price.

    Our troops are losing morale. They know they are fighting a war that will never end, and I feel sorry for them. I feel that the ship will eventually sink and we will have caused the most terrible suffering for a people that just want a day when they can leave their house without the fear of being kidnapped or killed. For the Iraqis, freedom certainly isn’t free: They are paying a heavy price for it.

    ReplyDelete
  92. Bush says Buy Your Own Medal!

    Korean War veteran Nyles Reed, 75, opened an envelope last week to learn a Purple Heart had been approved for injuries he sustained as a Marine on June 22, 1952.

    But there was no medal. Just a certificate and a form stating that the medal was "out of stock."

    "I can imagine, of course, with what's going on in Iraq and Afghanistan, there's a big shortage," Reed said. "At least, I would imagine so."

    The form letter from the Navy Personnel Command told Reed he could wait 90 days and resubmit an application, or buy his own medal.

    After waiting 55 years, however, Reed decided to pay $42 for his own Purple Heart and accompanying ribbon — plus state sales taxes — at a military surplus store.

    ReplyDelete
  93. (CNN) -- Americans may need passports to board domestic flights or to picnic in a national park next year if they live in one of the states defying the federal Real ID Act.

    Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says there are no plans for a federal database of drivers' information.

    The act, signed in 2005 as part of an emergency military spending and tsunami relief bill, aims to weave driver's licenses and state ID cards into a sort of national identification system by May 2008. The law sets baseline criteria for how driver's licenses will be issued and what information they must contain.

    The Department of Homeland Security insists Real ID is an essential weapon in the war on terror, but privacy and civil liberties watchdogs are calling the initiative an overly intrusive measure that smacks of Big Brother.

    More than half the nation's state legislatures have passed or proposed legislation denouncing the plan, and some have penned bills expressly forbidding compliance.

    Big Brother Bush is closing in!

    ReplyDelete
  94. Interesting;

    The article exists in the Google cache right now;

    Conquering the Drawbacks of Democracy

    But if you search their website, the family security matters gives you this result;

    No search results found for Conquering the Drawbacks of Democracy .

    Might it be because the Author: Philip Atkinson from The Family Security Foundation, Inc. said this on August 3, 2007?

    The wisest course would have been for President Bush to use his nuclear weapons to slaughter Iraqis until they complied with his demands, or until they were all dead. Then there would be little risk or expense and no American army would be left exposed. But if he did this, his cowardly electorate would have instantly ended his term of office, if not his freedom or his life.

    and this;

    The simple truth that modern weapons now mean a nation must practice genocide or commit suicide. Israel provides the perfect example. If the Israelis do not raze Iran, the Iranians will fulfill their boast and wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Yet Israel is not popular, and so is denied permission to defend itself. In the same vein, President Bush cannot do what is necessary for the survival of Americans. He cannot use the nation's powerful weapons. All he can do is try and discover a result that will be popular with Americans.

    but worst of all this;

    If President Bush copied Julius Caesar by ordering his army to empty Iraq of Arabs and repopulate the country with Americans, he would achieve immediate results: popularity with his military; enrichment of America by converting an Arabian Iraq into an American Iraq (therefore turning it from a liability to an asset); and boost American prestiege while terrifying American enemies.



    He could then follow Caesar's example and use his newfound popularity with the military to wield military power to become the first permanent president of America, and end the civil chaos caused by the continually squabbling Congress and the out-of-control Supreme Court.



    President Bush can fail in his duty to himself, his country, and his God, by becoming “ex-president” Bush or he can become “President-for-Life” Bush: the conqueror of Iraq, who brings sense to the Congress and sanity to the Supreme Court. Then who would be able to stop Bush from emulating Augustus Caesar and becoming ruler of the world? For only an America united under one ruler has the power to save humanity from the threat of a new Dark Age wrought by terrorists armed with nuclear weapons.


    and they wonder why we call them reichwingers

    h/t to Carl......

    ReplyDelete
  95. In fact All his articles and references to Philip Atkinson have been removed, I wonder if they are embarrassed or just trying to HIDE their real feelings.....

    ReplyDelete
  96. You never know how you are going to react to war and its horrible realities until you are faced with them.
    I feel for him because when I was in I volunteered during Vietnam and was prepared to do my job.
    However when I was in the army reserves I joined to help me through College and starting a family and when we were faced with call up I prayed we weren't called up.
    Most who join the reserves or guard did not bank on the multiple and lengthened deployments and abuse by Bush.
    massachusetts just lost another Woman in Iraq. That in itself bothers me but she was on her 5th tour. That is a bit much by anyone's standard.
    However everyday I fear we are getting closer and closer to many more wars and a reality that will not be good for all of us not just the troops. What a nightmare Bush has created.

    ReplyDelete
  97. SHE DEVIL COULTER:

    We know these people. We know their game plan. They're going to attack us personally," Edwards said. "They attacked Elizabeth personally, because she stood up to that she-devil Ann Coulter.

    I should not have name-called. But the truth is -- forget the names --people like Ann Coulter, they engage in hateful language."

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  98. Ann C**tler has to engage in hatespeak. She's obviously too stupid to make a living at the profession she was trained for, and she's also too stupid to be regarded seriously as a columnist, and she's too damned ugly to head to the Mustang Ranch-so what else is there for her?

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  99. Does This Make You Safe:

    Troops training for and fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are firing more than 1 billion bullets a year, contributing to ammunition shortages hitting police departments nationwide and preventing some officers from training with the weapons they carry on patrol.

    An Associated Press review of dozens of police and sheriff's departments found that many are struggling with delays of as long as a year for both handgun and rifle ammunition.

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  100. There are 160,000 troops stationed in Iraq.

    There are 200,000 contractors serving various military functions there.

    Some of these contractors perform mundane tasks such as meal preparation and laundry. Halliburton’s infamous “commercials” showcased their involvement in these service tasks.

    But many - perhaps too many at this point - are involved in dangerous activities such as ferrying vehicles through insurgent controlled territories.

    And others, such as the notorious Blackwater and the (evidently) incompetent USIS, have access to high powered weaponry - which they have (allegedly) sold on the black market or used for target practice on Iraqi civilians.

    And how are these contractors controlled?

    They’re not:

    I think it’s extraordinarily dangerous when a nation begins to outsource its monopoly on the use of force and the use of violence in support of its foreign policy or national security objectives. - Former Ambassador Joe Wilson

    So what’s the motivation for having so many contractors doing dangerous paramilitary work - besides the obvious desire of the Bush administration to enrich its cronies?

    The increasing use of contractors, private forces or as some would say ‘mercenaries’ makes wars easier to begin and to fight - it just takes money and not the citizenry…. To the extent a population is called upon to go to war, there is resistance, a necessary resistance to prevent wars of self-aggrandizement, foolish wars and in the case of the United States, hegemonic imperialist wars.

    Private forces are almost a necessity for a United States bent on retaining its declining empire. Think about Rome and its increasing need for mercenaries. - Michael Ratner, Center for Constitutional Rights

    The advantages for the Bush administration are obvious. Contractors can operate in ways for which the military would be liable to prosecution. While dozens of US soldiers have been court-martialed for exceeding acceptable limits in their use of force, NO contractors have been charged for any such criminal activity - including the aforementioned contractors who used Iraqi civilians for target practice. While over 1,000 contractors have been killed in Iraq, their deaths do not have to be reported as casualties.

    In a sense, then, these contractors represent almost perfectly the weltenschauung of the Bush administration - especially of the war’s chief architects, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney:

    The most worrying aspect is that these forces are outside parliamentary control. They come from all over and they are answerable to no one except a very narrow group of people (emphasis mine) and they come from countries whose governments may not even know in detail that they have actually been contracted as a private army into a war zone…. - Hans von Sponeck, U.N. diplomat

    As Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater: The World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army reports:

    The Iraq war has ushered in a new system. Wealthy nations can recruit the world’s poor, from countries that have no direct stake in the conflict, and use them as cannon fodder to conquer weaker nations. This allows the conquering power to hold down domestic casualties — the single-greatest impediment to waging wars like the one in Iraq…. In many ways, it is the same corporate model of relying on cheap labor in destitute nations to staff their uber-profitable operations.

    The giant multinationals also argue they are helping the economy by hiring locals, even if it’s at starvation wages.

    And as Naomi Klein, author of the upcoming The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism observes, “Donald Rumsfeld’s masterstroke, and his most enduring legacy, was to bring the corporate branding revolution of the 1990s into the heart of the most powerful military in the world….”

    There are obvious long term effects that this shifting of the conduct of war from government run - and, therefore, answerable to citizens - armies to private armies of mercenaries disguised as contractors who answer only to a power elite who write their checks:

    It raises very important issues about state and about the very power of state. The one thing the people think of as being in the purview of the government — wholly run and owned by — is the use of military power….

    Suddenly you’ve got a for-profit corporation going around the world that is more powerful than states, can effect regime [change] possibly where they may want to go, that seems to have all the support that it needs from this administration that is also pretty adventurous around the world and operating under the cover of darkness.

    It raises questions about democracies, about states, about who influences policy around the globe, about relationships among some countries. Maybe it’s their goal to render state coalitions like NATO irrelevant in the future, that they’ll be the ones and open to the highest bidder.

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  101. Larry, that last post of your in connection with Clifs says it all.........we have a rogue government who hates democracy, welcomes dictatorship and supports genocide and mider and who are using rogue mercenaries that are loyal to the fascists to push their agenda.

    Coulter has stated she wants liberals and public officials murdered or imprisined in concentra=tion camps who oppose her. GWB has said he prefers dictatorship its easier. he has laid the ground work to seize peoples assets, imprison them or torture them, he has built the internment camps here in America to do so, and he commands an army of brownshirt mercenaries loyal to him.

    Did you see what Clif posted This treasonous jackass and fool, says democracy is superior to dictatorship then the very next moment while talking out of the other side of his mouth says who democracy doesnt work and we NEED to embrace dictatorship and genocide to make the world a better place.

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  102. Mike they are jackals talking from both sides of the trough.

    Bush claims he is bringing Democracy to Iraq, yet he is taking it away from his own country.

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  103. clif said...
    Worfeus, we would do much better against the combined forces of Russia China and Iran then we do against the insurgents,


    Thats right. Especially since they've got tanks and planes and radios and stuff.

    Unlike the insurgents who just have the rags and sandals and a few household chemicals in the right proportions.

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  104. Larry said...
    Bush says Buy Your Own Medal!



    Yea I read that Larry. Can you believe it? Thats the kind of thing that used to happen in Russia.

    :|

    Maybe Gonzales can melt down his Medal of Freedom to make a few extra?

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  105. These people are Orwellian thugs who WANT a fascist police state.

    To them

    War is peace
    subjugation is freedom
    democracy is dictatorship
    genocide and death is life
    debt is prosperity
    lies are truth
    deviance, perversion and criminality is morality
    spying is privacy
    deceit is trust
    courage is cowardice
    hippocrissy is honor and integrity
    equality is inequality
    injustice is justice
    freedom and justice for all is freedom and justice for the privliged few

    ReplyDelete
  106. Go to Robert's blog and vote in his annual blog awards.

    Lydia is nominated in several categories.


    Left of Centrist

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  107. Worf:

    Bush is saving all those medals to give to his corrupt cronies as they each one leave his administration.

    Rove will get one next.

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  108. Yea Larry, and he can pin it on his ass.

    :|

    Which is right above his shoulder blades.

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  109. Worf maybe he can stick it in the middle of his bloated forehead.

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  110. The real story here of course, is WHY we're out of Purple Hearts.

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  111. Larry said...
    Worf maybe he can stick it in the middle of his bloated forehead.


    :D

    Sure.

    But he'd have to unzip his trousers to show it to anyone.

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  112. Pretty sad when a veteran who was injured has to buy his own medal, while Tommy Franks and the other Bush losers, get them a dime a dozen.

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  113. Its also pretty sad that we have to give out so many that we run out in a war that should have never happened.

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  114. Meanwhile, while this wounded soldier lies in a hospital bed waiting for a medal that will never come, Bush vacations in Crawdad.

    You know what a REAL President would do. Even a warmongering one?

    He'd cut his vacation short, go buy a purple heart, and deliver it to the soldier personally.

    It wouldn't mean much, but it would buy him some good press.

    Bush isn't even smart enough, (or caring enough) to do that.

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  115. Bush is more concerned with the demon offspring that is about to be born, out of wedlock mind you, that carries his pathetic name, and his evil genes.

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  116. Actually they won't carry his name.

    Unless Jenna's makes a bitch out of the boy.

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  117. "The slightly more favored workers who we call "the proles" are only intermittently conscious of the war. When it is neccessary they can be prodded into frenzies of fear and hatred, but when left to themselves they are capable of forgetting the war is happening. It is in the ranks of the Party, and above all of the inner Party, that the true war enthusiasm is found.

    George Orwell

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  118. "This peculiar linking together of opposites-knowledge with ignorance, cynicism with fanaticism- is one of the chief distinguising marks of Oceananic society.The official ideology abounds with contradictions. It preaches a contempt for the working class, unexampled for centuries past, and it dresses its members in a uniformwhich was at the time peculiar to manual workers and was adopted for that reason. It systematically undermines the solidarity of the family, and calls its leader by a name which is a direct appeal to the sentiments of family loyalty. Even the names of the four Ministries by which we are governed exhibit a sort of impudence in their deliberate reversal of the facts. The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, The Ministry of Truth with lies, The Ministry of Love with torture, and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from normal hippocrissy: they are deliberate excercises in "DOUBLETHINK". For it is only by reconciling contradictions that power can be retained indefinately. In no other way could the ancient cycle be broken. If human equality is to be forever averted- if the High, as we have called them, are to keep their places permanently- then the prevailing mental condition must be controlled insanity."

    George Orwell

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  119. "Here we reach the central secret. ASs we have seen. the mystique of the Party, and above all the Inner Party, depends upon "DOUBLETHINK". But deeper than the lies the original motive, the never-questioned instinct that first led to the seizure of power and brought "DOUBLETHINK". the Thought Police, continuous warfare and all the other necessary paraphernalia into existence afterwards."

    George Orwell

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  120. What saddens me is that about 1 in 5 of us hate American standards of Justice and humanity as much as Chimpy and the Kowardly Kabal do.

    Why? What is so bad about wanting to give everybody a fair shake?

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  121. "all past oligarchies have fallen from power either because they ossified or grew soft either they failed to adjust themselves to changing circumstances and were overthrown, or they became liberal and cowardly, made concessions when they should have used force, and once again were overthrown. it is the achievement of the Party to have produced a system of thought in which both conditions can exist simultaneously. and upon no other intellectual basis could the dominion of the Party be made permanent. If one is to rule, and to continue ruling, one must be able to dislocate the sense of reality. For the secret of rulership is to combine a belief in ones own infallibility with the power to learn from past mistakes..

    It need hardly be said that subtlest practitioners of "DOUBLETHINK" are those who invented "DOUBLETHINK" and know that it is a vast system of mental cheating. In our society, those who have the best knowledge of what is happening are those who are furthest from seeing the world as it is. In general, the greater the understanding, the greater the delusion: the more intelligent, the less sane. One clear illustration of this is the fact that the war hysteria increases in intensity as one rises in the social scale."

    George Orwell

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  122. "At all times the Party is in possession of absolute truth, and clearly the absolute can never have been different from what it is now. It will be seen that control of the past depends above all on the training of memory. To make sure that all written records agree with the orthodoxy of the moment is merely a mechanical act. But it is also necessary to remember that events happened in the desired manner. And if it is necessary to rearrange one's memories or to tamper with written records, then it is necessary to forget that one has done so. The trick of doing this can be learned like any other mental technique. It is learned by the majority of Party members. In Oldspeak it is called quite frankly, "REALITY CONTROL" In Newspeak it is called "DOUBLETHINK", although "DOUBLESPEAK" comprises much else as well.

    "DOUBLETHINK" means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in ones mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. The Party intellectual knows in which direction his memories must be altered; he therefore knows he is playing tricks with reality; but by the exercise of "DOUBLETHINK" he also satisfies himself that reality is not violated.'

    George Orwell

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  123. BTW, Speaking of The Ministry of Truth.........isnt it "interesting" yet pathetic that after CLAIMING for MONTHS that Petraeus will write the September report and even agreeing to Congress's demand that Petraeus report on the progress in Iraq............The White House or should we say the "Ministry of Truth" is ACTUALLY the one writing this sham report.

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  124. Oh Yeah and one of the "Ministry of Truth's" employees just resigned..........Tony Snow who knew what the job payed when he accepted it just resignedc because it doesnt pay enough?

    Isnt it an "interesting" coincidence that Rove and Snow BOTH abandoned ship at essentially the same time.........wonder whats about to come out that they want to distance themselves from?

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  125. Bush bait and switch:

    WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 — The White House plans to use a report next month assessing progress in Iraq to outline a plan for gradual troop reductions beginning next year that would fall far short of the drawdown demanded by Congressional opponents of the war, according to administration and military officials.

    One administration official made it clear that the goal of the planned announcement was to counter public pressure for a more rapid reduction and to try to win support for a plan that could keep American involvement in Iraq on “a sustainable footing” at least through the end of the Bush presidency.

    The officials said the White House would portray its approach as a new strategy for Iraq, a message aimed primarily at the growing numbers of Congressional Republicans who have criticized President Bush’s handling of the war. Many Republicans have urged Mr. Bush to unveil a new strategy, and even to propose a gradual reduction of American troops to the levels before this year’s troop increase — about 130,000 — or even lower to head off Democratic-led efforts to force the withdrawal of all combat forces by early next year.

    Withdraw a couple hundred troops and people will shut up. The New Iraq Policy!

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  126. (Reuters) - A suicide car bomb attack outside a base of a U.S. security firm on Saturday killed 15 people in Afghanistan's southern province of Kandahar, witnesses and police said.

    I thought Bush claimed he already won this war!

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  127. (Reuters) - Sentinel Management Group Inc., a U.S. futures commission merchant whose decision to freeze client accounts on Tuesday helped roil global financial markets, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late on Friday.

    The cash management company, which managed about $1.6 billion of assets, said its board decided it was in "the best interests of the corporation, its creditors and other interested parties that a voluntary petition be filed ... in an effort to restructure the indebtedness of the corporation," according to a filing in the bankruptcy court for the Northern District of Illinois.

    It's the Bush economy!

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  128. (Reuters) - Wealth managers are urging millionaire clients to sell shares and build up cash until stock markets settle and low prices provide new buying opportunities.

    The market rout has unnerved some private investors, bankers said on Friday, even though the unfolding crisis seems largely contained to financial markets for now and looks unlikely to impact the still healthy broader economy.

    "There are always some clients that get nervous, but they are the exception. If you want to make money in equities in the long run, you have to accept some volatility," said Magne Orgland, a partner at Swiss bank Wegelin & Co.

    Wegelin has reduced equity exposure in managed portfolios twice within a time-span of two weeks, cutting allocation in a balanced portfolio to 40 percent from 50 percent on July 27, and down again to 30 percent last week.

    That's the same advice given before the Great Depression!

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  129. Two hours after American forces launched their "shock and awe" assault against Baghdad in March, Mike Malloy went on the air from a concrete office building outside Atlanta for his weekday syndicated talk show. "I don't know if you saw it, but I did," he said near the outset, his voice uncommonly subdued. "This is the United States attacking a truly defenseless Third World country."

    For the next five minutes and 19 seconds, Malloy wordlessly broadcast the noise of missiles shrieking, bombs exploding, antiaircraft fire rattling. He had taped the audio straight from CNN, but on radio the war was shorn of television's video game visuals, its safe distance from danger. This soundtrack thrust Malloy's listeners into a nocturnal Baghdad, reeling from concussions.

    When the battle tape ended, Malloy switched to a sound bite of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at a press conference lauding the "careful, measured beginning" of the war. Then Malloy returned to the air, saying, "This is a dark day, this is a filthy day, this is a day for shame." And finally, heading into a commercial break, he wove together more combat racket with a madrigal-like song by Pink Floyd, "Goodbye, Blue Sky."

    For nearly 20 years, Mike Malloy has been making talk radio like this: caustic, abrasive, inventive, confrontational and resolutely left of center. It has won him admirers and awards, and it has cost him jobs. At a time when the very genre of talk radio is widely seen as synonymous with strident conservatism, his career both ratifies and belies that premise.

    Malloy has hosted shows on major stations in major markets -- WSB in Atlanta and WLS in Chicago -- defying the conventional wisdom that liberal talk radio barely exists. Yet the fact that Malloy, at age 60 a proven success with a numerous honors and much critical praise, now reaches only a handful of affiliates on a network run by a labor union attests to the structural obstacles liberal talk radio faces. The vast majority of his listeners hear him not on the radio at all, but from his own Web site , which streams live audio of his daily show and also links to an archive of recent broadcasts. The site attracts "tens of thousands" of listeners each day, Malloy estimates.

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  130. Stalling for time:

    The White House on Friday asked a Senate panel for more time to produce subpoenaed information about the legal justification for President Bush's secretive eavesdropping program.

    Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy had set Monday as the deadline for administration officials already subpoenaed to provide documents and testimony about the National Security Agency's eavesdropping program.

    The White House already has been given one extension, said an aide to Leahy, D-Vt.

    "In requesting that last extension, the White House counsel suggested that the administration would be ready to respond by Aug. 1," Leahy spokeswoman Erica Chabot said Friday. "The new deadline is three weeks past the time the White House counsel had estimated was needed. The committee looks forward to the administration complying with the subpoenas."

    In a letter to Leahy, White House counsel Fred Fielding contended that the subpoenas sought production of "extraordinarily sensitive national security information" and that much of the information — if not all — could be subject to a claim of executive privilege.

    Fielding asked Leahy to suspend the deadline until after Labor Day.

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  131. They can't make Bush do that!

    In an unprecedented order, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ordered the Bush Administration to respond to a request it received last week by the American Civil Liberties Union for orders and legal papers discussing the scope of the government's authority to engage in the secret wiretapping of Americans, according to an ACLU press release late Friday.

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  132. I want my money back:

    Top Commerce and Treasury Departments officials appeared with Republican candidates and doled out millions in federal money in battleground congressional districts and states after receiving White House political briefings detailing GOP election strategy.

    Political appointees in the Treasury Department received at least 10 political briefings from July 2001 to August 2006, officials familiar with the meetings said. Their counterparts at the Commerce Department received at least four briefings — all in the election years of 2002, 2004 and 2006.

    The House Oversight Committee is investigating whether the White House's political briefings to at least 15 agencies, including to the Justice Department, the General Services Administration and the State Department, violated a ban on the use of government resources for campaign activities.

    Under the Hatch Act, Cabinet members are permitted to attend political briefings and appear with members of Congress. But Cabinet members and other political appointees aren't permitted to spend taxpayer money with the aim of benefiting candidates.

    During the briefings at Treasury and Commerce, then-Bush administration political director Ken Mehlman and other White House aides detailed competitive congressional districts, battleground election states and key media markets and outlined GOP strategy for getting out the vote.

    Commerce and Treasury political appointees later made numerous public appearances and grant announcements that often correlated with GOP interests, according to a review of the events by McClatchy Newspapers. The pattern raises the possibility that the events were arranged with the White House's political guidance in mind.

    The briefings are part of the legacy of White House political adviser Karl Rove, who announced this week that he's stepping down at the end of the month to spend more time with his family. Despite Rove's departure, investigations into the briefings are expected to continue.

    One congressional aide, who asked to remain anonymous, said the investigation was revealing "a number of remarkable coincidences" similar to how Treasury and Commerce events appeared to coincide with the strategy in the political briefings. However, it remains to be seen whether the subsequent department actions were intentional, said the aide, who asked not to be named because the investigation is ongoing.

    As part of the probe, committee investigators found that White House drug czar John Walters took 20 trips at taxpayers' expense in 2006 to appear with Republican congressional candidates.

    In a separate investigation, the independent Office of Special Counsel concluded that GSA Administrator Lurita Alexis Doan violated the Hatch Act, which limits the political activities of government employees. Witnesses told investigators that Doan asked at the end of one political briefing in January 2007 what her agency could do to help GOP candidates. Doan has said she doesn't recall that remark.

    Violations of the Hatch Act are treated as administrative, not criminal, matters, and punishment for violations ranges from suspension to termination. The administration has not taken any action against Doan.

    Even so, the Hatch Act "is an important statute and it needs to be enforced," said James Mitchell, spokesman for the Office of Special Counsel. "One of the effects we hope our investigations will have is to deter violations during the upcoming election cycle."

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  133. AP:

    The stock market is on a stomach-churning ride, the nation’s once high-flying housing market is sinking deeper into gloom, and credit, the lifeblood of the economy, is drying up.

    If consumers get nervous enough, many economists believe, all of these troubles could become the perfect storm that will plunge the country into a recession.

    And the odds seem to be increasing with every new turbulent day on Wall Street. Since setting a record close of 14,000.41 just a month ago, the Dow Jones industrial average has shed 1,154.63 points in a string of triple-digit losing days that have raised anxiety levels not just on Wall Street but on Main Street.

    I thought we were already in a major recession!

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  134. Lydia has been nominated in several categories of Robert's World Blog Awards.

    Please go and vote for Lydia and check out Robert's blog while you are there.

    Thank you!

    Left of Centrist

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  135. Great piece, Larry. It's a heart-breaking story. It shows what our government REALLY thinks of it's young citizens. May God have mercy on us.

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  136. Great piece, Larry. It's a heart-breaking story. It shows what our government REALLY thinks of it's young citizens. May God have mercy on us.

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  137. WORFEUS THE SEER said...

    clif said...
    Worfeus, we would do much better against the combined forces of Russia China and Iran then we do against the insurgents,


    Thats right. Especially since they've got tanks and planes and radios and stuff.

    Unlike the insurgents who just have the rags and sandals and a few household chemicals in the right proportions.


    You just proved you also don't know the difference between 3rd and 4th generation warfare, because we could defeat the Nazi's and Iraqi army (twice) but we couldn't defeat a rag tag army in Vietnam, nor are we able to defeat the rag tag armies in Iraq right now because the two different styles of warfare take different equipment tactics strategies and training for the personnel assigned to fight them.

    But don't worry quite a few "generals" inside and outside the pentagon don't seem to understand this difference also.

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  138. Look at what other Freedoms Bush has taken from us, with approval of the Democrats, so they could enjoy their vacation:

    WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 — Broad new surveillance powers approved by Congress this month could allow the Bush administration to conduct spy operations that go well beyond wiretapping to include — without court approval — certain types of physical searches of American citizens and the collection of their business records, Democratic Congressional officials and other experts said.

    Administration officials acknowledged that they had heard such concerns from Democrats in Congress recently, and that there was a continuing debate over the meaning of the legislative language. But they said the Democrats were simply raising theoretical questions based on a harsh interpretation of the legislation.

    They also emphasized that there would be strict rules in place to minimize the extent to which Americans would be caught up in the surveillance.

    The dispute illustrates how lawmakers, in a frenetic, end-of-session scramble, passed legislation they may not have fully understood and may have given the administration more surveillance powers than it sought. It also offers a case study in how changing a few words in a complex piece of legislation has the potential to fundamentally alter the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a landmark national security law. Two weeks after the legislation was signed into law, there is still heated debate over how much power Congress gave to the president.

    “This may give the administration even more authority than people thought,” said David Kris, a former senior Justice Department lawyer in the Bush and Clinton administrations and a co-author of “National Security Investigation and Prosecutions,” a new book on surveillance law.

    Several legal experts said that by redefining the meaning of “electronic surveillance,” the new law narrows the types of communications covered in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA, by indirectly giving the government the power to use intelligence collection methods far beyond wiretapping that previously required court approval if conducted inside the United States.

    These new powers include the collection of business records, physical searches and so-called “trap and trace” operations, analyzing specific calling patterns.

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  139. ONCE AGAIN this Administration is CLAIMING "Just Trust Us"...........when they have proven time and time again that they do not merit that trust.

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  140. Mike look at what all the last comment I made entails. They can search you, take your private records.

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  141. Credit fears have played havoc with Wall Street stock portfolios and US investors could suffer more bruises from fresh upheavals sweeping world markets in the week ahead, despite an emergency rate cut.

    Confidence was in short supply on Wall Street this past week as investors sold off stocks amid more glum housing news which has spoiled investors' appetite for mortgage-backed securities and some financial shares.

    The Federal Reserve's suprise action Friday, cutting the interest rate it charges commercial banks and making borrowing cheaper, fueled hopes the Fed will soon move to trim short term rates.

    "We expect more volatility in both the credit and stock market in coming days," warned Frederic Dickson, an equity analyst at the DA Davidson & Co. investment firm.

    The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average stock barometer slumped 1.22 percent to 13,079.08 in the week ended Friday after diving and rocketing over 300 points during the week.

    The index has lost over 900 points since closing at a record high just over 14,000 on July 19.

    The broad-market Standard & Poor's 500 fell a lesser 0.55 percent in the week to Friday to finish at 1,445.94 while the tech-rich Nasdaq composite tumbled 1.57 percent to 2,505.03.

    The Dow was badly pummeled in the week, but gained traction on Friday after the Fed slashed its discount lending rate by half a percentage point to 5.75 percent.

    Economists said this increased the odds the Fed will trim its short term federal funds rate, which has been pegged at 5.25 percent since June 2006, at a meeting set for September 18.

    "The Fed has substantially downgraded the priority level assigned to inflation concerns and is opening the door to a cut in the target federal funds rate to support growth," said Nigel Gault, a US economist at Global Insight.

    Concerns about the US credit market have roiled world markets.

    American banks have tightened lending standards in response to rising home foreclosures, especially on risky subprime mortgage loans granted to people with stretched finances.

    It's the Bush economy!

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  142. Larry, I CANT support ANYONE who doesnt value freedom.........we NEED to MAKE this an election issues so the spineless jellyfish who DONT support freedom and privacy realize THEY can get drummed out of Office just like the Neo Con fascists.

    You can bet i'll be contactacting MY Congress people and the cough cough "Congressional Leadership" ad nauseum about this.

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  143. Yeah. the Fed turned on a dime on this one...........i'm not critizing the action i'm critiizing their loss of credibility for being so out of touch that a mere few days prior they were saying the very opposite of what they are saying now..........better late than never though.

    They need to give the consumers who may lose their homes and start a depression a way out just like they gave the banks the otherday.

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  144. Mike:

    I didn't know they took all these freedoms from us when they first passed the bill.

    I thought it was only wiretapping.

    This is horrible.

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  145. Look at how Walmart is losing customers with their Chineese junk.

    People are hurting, and Bush doesn't want to look.

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  146. A surge of new money is in the pipeline to help Department of Veterans Affairs and Army hospitals and clinics treat the mental wounds of men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

    But the increased funding comes amid a surge in soldiers and veterans who may need help. About 38 percent of new veterans seeking VA care in April reported possible mental-health problems, according to testimony Friday at a U.S. Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing in Tacoma.

    As active duty and National Guard soldiers cycle in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan, the VA and military health-care system confront a complex set of problems. Those include post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, and trauma from sexual assaults and from marital discord that tears families apart.

    This week, the Army reported that 2006 saw the highest rate of suicides in 26 years, with 99 soldiers taking their own lives. About a third of the suicide victims were serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

    As thousands of soldiers return to Fort Lewis south of Tacoma from 15-month-long combat tours in Iraq, military and VA facilities in Puget Sound are expected to be at the forefront of dealing with the emotional fallout from these extended deployments.

    "It is clear that the fighting has taken a tremendous toll," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who organized the hearing. "We are facing serious challenges."

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  147. NEW YORK - U.S. consumer sentiment deteriorated in August to its weakest in a year as more expensive oil, declining home prices and turmoil in financial markets all hurt confidence.

    The Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers said its preliminary reading on consumer sentiment in August was 83.3, well below a median forecast of 88.0 and a sharp fall from the previous month's final reading of 90.4.

    The data came just hours after the Federal Reserve cut its primary discount rate, or the rate the central bank charges commercial banks to borrow directly from it, by half a percentage point. The Fed said the downside risks to economic growth had increased "appreciably."

    Results of the Bush economy!

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  148. Interesting to note that there has been 24/7 coverage of the miners that died, and the 6 missing -- and news about their grieving families, while 47 U.S. soldiers died this week and not one mention of their grieving families or of how they cope.

    It's a news blackout. We are not allowed to grieve with the war widows and children who have lost their parents in this "war" bush created, but we go to the end of the world to rescue and grieve on TV for others who are in catastrophes in America.

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  149. Excellent post Larry!

    :)

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  150. Larry said...

    Mike:

    I didn't know they took all these freedoms from us when they first passed the bill.

    I thought it was only wiretapping.

    This is horrible.

    12:51 PM
    --------------------
    Larry:

    Yes, it is absolutely outrageous!

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  151. Hi Lydia!

    Are things settling down for you now?

    I hope we can get caught up with one another next week.

    :)

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  152. Lydia two reasons the corporate owned whores on the MSM are ignoring the war inn Iraq right now. They have to try and sell either the reichwing neo-con candidates this time or the next best thing from the corporate owned whores position Hillary which is neo-con light.

    Second the reichwing is gearing up to push the War with Iran, and the body bags and wounded soldiers would be a drag on the polls to go to war with Iran.

    So they just ignore it like the corporate owned whores does with the 45 million uninsured people with NO health care, unemployed as they claim the economy is going gang busters, and the destruction of the middle class as the corporate owned media sells crap from china in it's ads.

    Not that amazing when you stop to think about it, they all work for the same corporate a-holes who have worked since Reagan to destroy the middle class and steal the wealth of this country from the people and future generations.

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  153. I WANT one of these;

    Hydrogen power gets up to speed


    Albert Gore III was clocked at more than 100 mph in a Toyota Prius. Perhaps police should be glad he didn't get his hands on a Ford Fusion Hydrogen 999.

    Ford Motor Co. said this week that it set a land-speed record for a production-based hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered car when its prototype racer ran 207.3 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Wendover, Utah.

    The 999, named after a record-setting 1902 race car owned by company founder Henry Ford, was the first of its kind to attempt a speed record, but the result was impressive nonetheless.

    Green car technology is cheered by environmentalists, but it has largely failed to rouse performance enthusiasts. Ford said the work it did to set the speed record would help it develop commercially viable hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

    The zero-emission engine, which uses hydrogen to power an electric motor, is one of several alternative-fuel technologies being explored by carmakers, along with ethanol, hybrid technology and plug-in electric power.


    200+MPH and fuel celled, I can be "Green" and "insane" at the same time, when to they do the motorcycle?

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  154. Not a good sign for the future of nuclear energy;

    Chernobyl 'not a wildlife haven'

    In April 1986, reactor number four at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded.

    After the accident, traces of radioactive deposits were found in nearly every country in the northern hemisphere.
    ...
    "Recent conclusions from the UN Chernobyl Forum and reports in the popular media concerning the effects of radiation from Chernobyl has left the impression that the exclusion zone is a thriving ecosystem, filled with an increasing number of rare species," they wrote.

    Instead, they added: "Species richness, abundance and population density of breeding birds decreased with increasing levels of radiation."

    The study, which recorded 1,570 birds from 57 species, found that the number of birds in the most contaminated areas declined by 66% compared with sites that had normal background radiation levels.

    It also reported a decline of more than 50% in the range of species as radiation levels increase.

    ...
    Professor Mousseau acknowledged Professor Baker's description: "It is true that the Chernobyl region gives the appearance of a thriving ecosystem because of its protection from other human activities.

    "However, when you do controlled ecological studies, what we see is a very clear signature of negative effects of contamination on diversity and abundance of organisms.


    It does look like nuclear reactor accidents do have LONG TERM consequences.

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  155. It's not my fault:

    Rove: My ‘Worst’ Mistake Was ‘Saying Something Unkind’ To A Colleague
    Today, Karl Rove gave a media interview at an IHOP in Waco, Texas. During that interview, he says that now is not the “time for regrets.” The one instance he concedes was a mistake was when he said “something unkind” to a co-worker:

    He was alternately emotional and nostalgic, clinical and unbowed, but rarely introspective, saying, “There will be time for regrets; there will be things that I didn’t do as well as I should have, there will be things that I’ve left undone.”

    He only described one regret in particular: “I remember having a conversation with a colleague — I want to say not only a colleague, but a very close friend — and responding out of frustration at the end of a seemingly long, continuing dialogue that turned into an argument, and saying something unkind, and it was the worst I ever felt at the White House. I later apologized to him for it.”

    Rove is lkke Bush and has made no mistakes in destroying America!

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  156. America's Moral First Daaughter:

    Jenna Bush Pregnant - Jenna Bush, one of President and Laura Bush's twin daughters, has become impregnated and engaged to long-time boyfriend Henry Hager.

    The pregnancy speculation began when these shocking photos of a muumuu-clad Jenna and puppet star "Elmo" appeared two months ago. No date or place has been set for the wedding.

    A White House statement reads: "President and Mrs. George W. Bush are happy to announce the engagement of their daughter, Jenna Bush, to Mr. Henry Hager, son of the Honourable and Mrs. John H. Hager of Richmond, Virginia.

    The Bush family morals are much better than the rest of America.

    Just ask their Pregnant, Unwed, Innocent, Virtuous Daughter Jenna!

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  157. Smile or the Bush Brigade will arrest you:

    It's a new level of absurdity for America. It was bound to happen. Now even a frown or grimace can get you into trouble with The Man.

    "Specially trained security personnel" will be watching passengers for "micro-expressions" that will reveal treacherous agendas and insidious intentions at airports around the country. These agents, who may literally hold your fate in their hands have been given a lofty, Orwellian name: "Behavior Detection Officers."

    Did anyone ever doubt that George Orwell's prophecies in "1984" would arrive? In that novel, he wrote, "You had to live-did live, from habit that became instinct-in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized."

    In the study of "micro-expressions"-yes, it is actually a field of study and there are some who are arrogant enough to call it a science- it has been decided that when people wish to conceal emotions, the truth of their feelings is revealed in facial flashes. These experts have determined that fear and disgust are the key things to look for because they can hint of deception.

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  158. I thought Bush had Baghdad under control:

    The Hurriyah neighborhood of northwest Baghdad, gripped by a spasm of deadly ethnic violence a year ago, has grown markedly calmer over the past eight months. It is now the kind of area that both U.S. and Iraqi officials point to when they cite progress at stabilizing Baghdad.

    But only Shiites are welcome - or safe - in Hurriyah these days. And neither Iraq's government nor U.S. or Iraqi security forces are truly in control.

    Instead, the Mahdi Army militia runs this area as it does others across Baghdad - manning checkpoints, collecting rental fees for apartments, licensing bus drivers, mediating family fights and even handing out gas for cooking.

    The U.S. Army still runs regular patrols, sometimes on foot, sometimes by Humvee. And Iraqi police, on the streets, are nominally in charge.

    But underneath the calm, an armed group hostile to the United States holds a firm grip on power. Some fear the Mahdi Army is simply biding its time - eager to grab outward control and run things its way whenever U.S. forces pull back.

    "They control people's lives," said one resident of Hurriyah, a Shiite government employee who would give his name only as Abu Mahdi, 36, because he feared Mahdi militia reprisals. Scornfully calling them uneducated, bullying teenagers, he said: "They are worse than the Baathists" - the party that held total authority under the rule of Saddam Hussein

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  159. Bush to the Constitution: 'Your services are no longer required.

    Craig Ostovitz

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  160. "It is not by great acts but by small failures that freedom dies. . . . Justice and liberty die quietly, because men first learn to ignore injustice and then no longer recognize it."

    Charles Morgan Jr.

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  161. Marking to myth
    Warren Buffett


    Chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway

    Many institutions that publicly report precise market values for their holdings or CDOs and CMOs are in truth reporting fiction. They are marking to model rather than marking to market. The recent meltdown in much of the debt market, moreover, has transformed this process into marking to myth.

    Because many of these institutions are highly leveraged, the difference between "model" and "market" could deliver a huge whack to shareholders' equity. Indeed, for a few institutions, the difference in valuations is the difference between what purports to be robust health and insolvency. For these institutions, pinning down market values would not be difficult: They should simply sell 5% of all the large positions they hold. That kind of sale would establish a true value, though one still higher, no doubt, than would be realized for 100% of an oversized and illiquid holding.

    In one way, I'm sympathetic to the institutional reluctance to face the music. I'd give a lot to mark my weight to "model" rather than to "market."

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  162. Market corrections are coming.

    Jim Rogers

    Founder of the Rogers Raw Materials Index

    We've had the worst bubble in credit we've ever had in American history. As the bubble got bigger and bigger, it spread to emerging markets and leveraged buyouts and all sorts of things. And it hasn't been cleaned out yet. I don't think you can have a bubble like this and clean it out in six months or even a year. It has always taken longer.

    Look at homebuilders, for instance. Historically, when an industry goes through a retrenchment like this, you have two or three big companies going bankrupt and most of the companies in the industry losing money for a year or two or three. Well, we haven't gotten anywhere near that in the homebuilding business, so I think that bottom is a long way off. As far as the credit bubble, we have another several months, if not more, of mortgages that are going to reset and people who are going to find themselves with even higher monthly payments. There are many, many more losses to come, most of which we won't know about for weeks or months.

    Normally you have markets go down 10% or so every couple of years. We haven't had a 10% correction in the stock market in nearly five years. I don't know if this is the beginning of it, but we've got a lot of corrections coming. It wouldn't surprise me to see a little bounce--say if a central bank cuts rates. But that will just lead to the markets falling further late this year or next year. It would be better for the market, it would be better for investors, and it would be better for the world if we went ahead and cleaned out the system. If they do cut rates in the U.S., it would be pure madness. Because the market's down 7% or 8% from an all-time high? My gosh, what's that going to say about the dollar? What's that going to say to foreign creditors? What's that going to say about inflation? The Federal Reserve was not founded to bail out Bear Stearns or a few hedge funds. It was founded to keep a stable currency and maintain its value.

    I have been and continue to be short the investment banks and the commercial banks. If they bounce up, I'll probably short more. I'm certainly not buying anything. The market's only down 8%. I don't consider that a buying opportunity. The things that I'm short, some people probably think are buying opportunities, but I don't. I've been short the banks for close to a year, and for a while it was not fun. But I added to my positions, and now it's a lot of fun.

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  163. We don't know how bad this gets.

    Jim Chanos

    President and founder of Kynikos Associates

    People keep pointing to the fact that capital spending is great. But they pointed to the same thing in 2000, when the market was tanking even as telecom was booming. We pointed out then that the telecommunications build-out was almost over--and was increasingly focused on projects that didn't make any sense. Today, whether it's the 48th planned community in Dubai or the marginal factory in rural China, you're going to find out that the capital projects in the works don't make a whole lot of sense either. But there's a huge lag effect on that. Financial firms are the canaries in the mineshaft, and the laggards are the capital-goods companies.

    We don't know how bad this gets. The problem is we don't know how bad the hole is. And by "the hole," I mean not only what the bad credit is but also the accounting of it. I think we're seeing that a lot of financial institutions probably weren't as profitable as we thought they were. That is, they showed big profits and everyone got big bonuses on the way up, and there are going to be big write-offs on the way down.

    At the individual level, what's happening right now is probably an argument for indexing and not taking the risk of individual stocks. Certainly anything that looks suspect because of its accounting is going to get broad-brush--and harsh--treatment from Wall Street. The areas of excess are going to get pulverized, and any overreactions will be areas for people to look for bargains ultimately. But I don't think we're anywhere close to that yet.

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  164. The failure of central banking

    Stephen S. Roach

    Chairman, Morgan Stanley Asia

    For the second time in seven years, the bursting of a major-asset bubble has inflicted great damage on world financial markets. In both cases--the equity bubble in 2000 and the credit bubble in 2007--central banks were asleep at the switch. The lack of monetary discipline has become a hallmark of unfettered globalization. Central banks have failed to provide a stable underpinning to world financial markets and to an increasingly asset-dependent global economy.

    The current post-bubble shakeout is hardly an isolated development. Basking in the warm glow of a successful battle against inflation, central banks decided that easy money was the world's just reward. That set in motion a chain of events that has allowed one bubble to beget another--from equities to housing to credit.

    When the bubble burst in early 2000, the optimists said not to worry. After all, Internet stocks accounted for only about 6% of total U.S. equity-market capitalization at the end of 1999. Unfortunately, the broad S&P 500 index tumbled some 49% over the ensuing 2 1/2 years, and an overextended corporate America led the U.S. and global economy into recession.

    Similarly, today's optimists are preaching the same gospel: Why worry, they say, if subprime is only about 10% of total U.S. securitized mortgage debt? Yet the unwinding of the far broader credit cycle gives good reason for concern--especially for overextended American consumers and a U.S.-centric global economy. Central banks have now been forced into making emergency liquidity injections, leaving little doubt of the mounting risks of another financial crisis. The jury is out on whether these efforts will succeed in stemming the rout in still overvalued credit markets. Is this any way to run a modern-day world economy? The answer is an unequivocal "no."

    It is high time for monetary authorities to adopt new procedures--namely, taking the state of asset markets into explicit consideration when framing policy options. As the increasing prevalence of bubbles indicates, a failure to recognize the interplay between the state of asset markets and the real economy is an egregious policy error.

    That doesn't mean central banks should target asset markets. It does mean, however, that they need to break their one-dimensional fixation on CPI-based inflation and also give careful consideration to the extremes of asset values. This is not that difficult a task. When housing markets go to excess, when subprime borrowers join the fray, or when corporate credit becomes freely available at ridiculously low "spreads," central banks should run tighter monetary policies than a narrow inflation target would dictate.

    The current financial crisis is a wake-up call for modern-day central banking. The world can't afford to lurch from one bubble to another. The cost of neglect is an ever-mounting systemic risk that could pose a grave threat to an increasingly integrated global economy. It could also spur the imprudent intervention of politicians, undermining the all-important political independence of central banks. The art and science of central banking is in desperate need of a major overhaul--before it's too late.

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  165. Recession is coming:

    Wall Street's woes are raising the risk that the U.S. economy could sink into recession late this year or early next year.

    Although few economic analysts put the odds of recession at better than 50 percent, most are now upping their probabilities.

    "We've lowered our 2008 growth forecast to 1.5 percent, down from 2.3 percent previously and 1.8 percent in 2007. We now expect a consumer recession, for the first time in 17 years," said a revised forecast issued Thursday by Merrill Lynch.

    Whether Wall Street’s turmoil brings a sharp slowdown or a full-blown recession depends on three inter-related variables: how quickly banks resume lending to businesses and home buyers; whether the recession in the housing sector bottoms out or deepens; and whether falling home prices and a lack of lending combine to hit the consumer’s ability to spend.

    “What we’re going through now is unlike anything we’ve seen before. All financial crises have their unique characteristic — this one is characterized by a seizing-up in the home-mortgage market,” said Lyle Gramley, a former governor of the Federal Reserve System in the 1980s who's now with the Stanford Group, a consulting firm.

    He puts the odds of recession at 50 percent.

    Gramley was referring to the spate of bankruptcies by companies that issued home loans to risky borrowers — and increasingly companies that gave loans to credit-worthy homeowners.

    The nation’s biggest mortgage lender, Countrywide Financials, tried to stave off bankruptcy Thursday by tapping an $11.5 billion line of credit. It was viewed as a last-ditch effort to stay solvent as investors flee anything with the word “mortgage” attached. That's making it hard for even creditworthy people to finance a home purchase.

    “The volatility in today’s market is making it extremely difficult to qualify borrowers for mortgage loans. And the news about Countrywide’s woes doesn’t make the picture any brighter,” said Dawn Holly, a mortgage broker in Columbia, Md. She said that lenders have basically stopped underwriting all but the safest of home loans.

    The credit crunch isn't confined to homebuyers. Banks, threatened by the risk that their loans are endangered by the spreading crisis, are withholding new loans even from sound businesses.

    Gramley’s concerned that there aren’t good measures right now of how much lenders are pulling back. “None of us knows for sure how much credit availability has declined, but to be sure it is substantial,” he said.

    If banks don’t extend credit, businesses can’t borrow to grow. Nor can they issue bonds to finance expansion, since investors are fleeing virtually all forms of risk. If businesses don’t grow, they don’t hire. If this trend goes on very long, eventually it will turn today’s strong job numbers — unemployment is only at 4.6 percent — much weaker.

    Another way that Wall Street's woes affect Main Street is that falling stock prices mean declining wealth. As Americans lose wealth in their investments and home prices continue to erode, they're likely to reduce spending, which drives the economy.

    “Consumer spending depends on wealth, because if wealth contracts or asset prices fall, it undermines the growth of retail sales and other consumption … and that’s two thirds of GDP (gross domestic product),” said Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers LLC, an economic forecasting firm in St. Louis, Mo.

    There's no question that stock prices are sliding; Thursday marked one of the wildest rides on Wall Street in years. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down by 343 points at one point before rallying near the close of trading to end down just 15.69 points, or 0.12 percent. Even so, the Dow's down almost 1,200 points since its peak on July 19 at 14,000. Everyone with a 401(k) is probably watching its value decline.

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  166. (Reuters) - Gunmen opened fire at vehicles in southeast Iran and took as many as 30 people hostage on Sunday, Iranian news agencies reported, in an incident one commander blamed on a group Tehran has previously linked to al Qaeda.

    Just a normal day in Baghdad!

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  167. (Reuters) - A mortar attack killed 10 people on Sunday in a Shi'ite district of eastern Baghdad where witnesses reported clashes between U.S. forces and Shi'ite militiamen.

    Just another normal day in Baghdad!

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  168. Larry said...

    "Bush is more concerned with the demon offspring that is about to be born, out of wedlock mind you, that carries his pathetic name, and his evil genes."

    8:10 PM



    So, what do all you True Christians™ think we should do? Kill it in the name of Jesus maybe?

    (Oh, and you don't have to call him "Jebus" Cliffy, unless of course it burns when you say Jesus...)

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  169. Thanks for posting this - it reminds us that not all who go into the military understand the depths to which they are expected to sink in their service to the country. The idea that this young man could go to jail for his beliefs is unconscionable.

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  170. The War as We Saw It

    Article Tools Sponsored By
    By BUDDHIKA JAYAMAHA, WESLEY D. SMITH, JEREMY ROEBUCK, OMAR MORA, EDWARD SANDMEIER, YANCE T. GRAY and JEREMY A. MURPHY
    Published: August 19, 2007

    Baghdad

    VIEWED from Iraq at the tail end of a 15-month deployment, the political debate in Washington is indeed surreal. Counterinsurgency is, by definition, a competition between insurgents and counterinsurgents for the control and support of a population. To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day. (Obviously, these are our personal views and should not be seen as official within our chain of command.)

    The claim that we are increasingly in control of the battlefields in Iraq is an assessment arrived at through a flawed, American-centered framework. Yes, we are militarily superior, but our successes are offset by failures elsewhere. What soldiers call the “battle space” remains the same, with changes only at the margins. It is crowded with actors who do not fit neatly into boxes: Sunni extremists, Al Qaeda terrorists, Shiite militiamen, criminals and armed tribes. This situation is made more complex by the questionable loyalties and Janus-faced role of the Iraqi police and Iraqi Army, which have been trained and armed at United States taxpayers’ expense.

    A few nights ago, for example, we witnessed the death of one American soldier and the critical wounding of two others when a lethal armor-piercing explosive was detonated between an Iraqi Army checkpoint and a police one. Local Iraqis readily testified to American investigators that Iraqi police and Army officers escorted the triggermen and helped plant the bomb. These civilians highlighted their own predicament: had they informed the Americans of the bomb before the incident, the Iraqi Army, the police or the local Shiite militia would have killed their families.

    As many grunts will tell you, this is a near-routine event. Reports that a majority of Iraqi Army commanders are now reliable partners can be considered only misleading rhetoric. The truth is that battalion commanders, even if well meaning, have little to no influence over the thousands of obstinate men under them, in an incoherent chain of command, who are really loyal only to their militias.

    Similarly, Sunnis, who have been underrepresented in the new Iraqi armed forces, now find themselves forming militias, sometimes with our tacit support. Sunnis recognize that the best guarantee they may have against Shiite militias and the Shiite-dominated government is to form their own armed bands. We arm them to aid in our fight against Al Qaeda.

    However, while creating proxies is essential in winning a counterinsurgency, it requires that the proxies are loyal to the center that we claim to support. Armed Sunni tribes have indeed become effective surrogates, but the enduring question is where their loyalties would lie in our absence. The Iraqi government finds itself working at cross purposes with us on this issue because it is justifiably fearful that Sunni militias will turn on it should the Americans leave.

    In short, we operate in a bewildering context of determined enemies and questionable allies, one where the balance of forces on the ground remains entirely unclear. (In the course of writing this article, this fact became all too clear: one of us, Staff Sergeant Murphy, an Army Ranger and reconnaissance team leader, was shot in the head during a “time-sensitive target acquisition mission” on Aug. 12; he is expected to survive and is being flown to a military hospital in the United States.) While we have the will and the resources to fight in this context, we are effectively hamstrung because realities on the ground require measures we will always refuse — namely, the widespread use of lethal and brutal force.

    Given the situation, it is important not to assess security from an American-centered perspective. The ability of, say, American observers to safely walk down the streets of formerly violent towns is not a resounding indicator of security. What matters is the experience of the local citizenry and the future of our counterinsurgency. When we take this view, we see that a vast majority of Iraqis feel increasingly insecure and view us as an occupation force that has failed to produce normalcy after four years and is increasingly unlikely to do so as we continue to arm each warring side.

    Coupling our military strategy to an insistence that the Iraqis meet political benchmarks for reconciliation is also unhelpful. The morass in the government has fueled impatience and confusion while providing no semblance of security to average Iraqis. Leaders are far from arriving at a lasting political settlement. This should not be surprising, since a lasting political solution will not be possible while the military situation remains in constant flux.

    The Iraqi government is run by the main coalition partners of the Shiite-dominated United Iraqi Alliance, with Kurds as minority members. The Shiite clerical establishment formed the alliance to make sure its people did not succumb to the same mistake as in 1920: rebelling against the occupying Western force (then the British) and losing what they believed was their inherent right to rule Iraq as the majority. The qualified and reluctant welcome we received from the Shiites since the invasion has to be seen in that historical context. They saw in us something useful for the moment.

    Now that moment is passing, as the Shiites have achieved what they believe is rightfully theirs. Their next task is to figure out how best to consolidate the gains, because reconciliation without consolidation risks losing it all. Washington’s insistence that the Iraqis correct the three gravest mistakes we made — de-Baathification, the dismantling of the Iraqi Army and the creation of a loose federalist system of government — places us at cross purposes with the government we have committed to support.

    Political reconciliation in Iraq will occur, but not at our insistence or in ways that meet our benchmarks. It will happen on Iraqi terms when the reality on the battlefield is congruent with that in the political sphere. There will be no magnanimous solutions that please every party the way we expect, and there will be winners and losers. The choice we have left is to decide which side we will take. Trying to please every party in the conflict — as we do now — will only ensure we are hated by all in the long run.

    At the same time, the most important front in the counterinsurgency, improving basic social and economic conditions, is the one on which we have failed most miserably. Two million Iraqis are in refugee camps in bordering countries. Close to two million more are internally displaced and now fill many urban slums. Cities lack regular electricity, telephone services and sanitation. “Lucky” Iraqis live in gated communities barricaded with concrete blast walls that provide them with a sense of communal claustrophobia rather than any sense of security we would consider normal.

    In a lawless environment where men with guns rule the streets, engaging in the banalities of life has become a death-defying act. Four years into our occupation, we have failed on every promise, while we have substituted Baath Party tyranny with a tyranny of Islamist, militia and criminal violence. When the primary preoccupation of average Iraqis is when and how they are likely to be killed, we can hardly feel smug as we hand out care packages. As an Iraqi man told us a few days ago with deep resignation, “We need security, not free food.”

    In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal.

    Until that happens, it would be prudent for us to increasingly let Iraqis take center stage in all matters, to come up with a nuanced policy in which we assist them from the margins but let them resolve their differences as they see fit. This suggestion is not meant to be defeatist, but rather to highlight our pursuit of incompatible policies to absurd ends without recognizing the incongruities.

    We need not talk about our morale. As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through.

    Buddhika Jayamaha is an Army specialist. Wesley D. Smith is a sergeant. Jeremy Roebuck is a sergeant. Omar Mora is a sergeant. Edward Sandmeier is a sergeant. Yance T. Gray is a staff sergeant. Jeremy A. Murphy is a staff sergeant.

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  171. Dolty boy when I say "jebus" son, it is a reference to the idiotic statements of fooles like YOU and the pathetic attempt to justify the actions of the people you push crap for with a version of Christianity JESUS denied son.

    See son, Jesus rules out much of what the idiots who must pray to "jebus" attempt to profess in his name.

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  172. Anonymous10:42 AM

    Is this guy Larry the only person in American who has'nt made any money during the past four years of booming economy?
    He's got to be happy his minimum wage has been raised.

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  173. Voltron said...So, what do all you True Christians™ think we should do? Kill it in the name of Jesus maybe?"

    No, thats YOUR schtick my genocidal friend!

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  174. That tells you something when the guard at the door is crying...enough said!

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  175. Larry, thank you for this post and the link to the additional story. The simple logic that we have a volunteer army so there are going to be those who are going to discover they are not meant to be soldiers especially in this war, seems to be missing. Unless of course you are talking to a recruiter who tries to fill your head with all kinds of promises. When my oldest daughter was being sought after by several branches of the military one Army recruiter went as far as to tell her that if she enlisted he would promise her that she'd never be sent to a combat zone. She did not believe him...

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  176. Lisa Renee,

    The military is promising $20,000 sign up bonus, and like your daughter discovered, they make more promises of staying in the states, job picks and education that never happens.

    No wonder they can't eet recruitment goals, coupled with the mess in Iraq.

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