Wednesday, June 02, 2004

A Vet Compares Pres. Candidates' Veterans' Websites

A Vet Compares Pres. Candidates' Veterans' Websites

From the Voice of a Veteran blog:

I wondered how each of the candidates was communicating with these and other veterans apart from the rhetoric and the ads. Both George Bush and John Kerry have veterans' links on their websites.

John Kerry's veterans' website talks about veterans and their needs, and includes his Compact With Veterans:

· Providing Mandatory funding of Veterans' Healthcare
· Grant Full Concurrent Receipt to Disabled Military Retirees
· Make the Veterans Administration Responsive
· Properly Compensate Soldiers and their Families for their Service
· Full Accounting for Missing POW/MIAs
· Combating Homelessness
· Supporting Members of the National Guard and Reservists
· Protecting Family members who lose a loved-one
· Don't Overstretch the Military

George Bush's veterans' website talks about himself and what he says he has done for veterans - almost nothing about what he will do for them in the future.

There's a clear difference. John Kerry talks about veterans. George Bush talks mostly about himself. Check it out for yourself. And then make the choice vets - who do really believe is thinking about you?
[LINK-Entry of June 2, 2004]


Years of Broken Commitments with More to Come (pdf)

Bush Compares Unnecessary War in Iraq to WWII

Bush Compares Unnecessary War in Iraq to WWII

Franklin D. Roosevelt must be spinning in his grave like chicken rotisserie.

The only D-Day many Americans may recall is DUPED-DAY in October, 2002 when we were misled toward unnecessary war upon Iraq, the White House press laid back like good little children, and our Congress pliantly acquiesed by passing the Iraq Resolution (despite the protesting cries of millions around the globe).

Saddam Hussein did not sneak-attack us on 9-11. There was no connection.

There were no WMDs to threaten us (save one shell containing Sarin--pitiful proof for bringing on Shock and Awe).

We were told to expect roses and candies. Instead, we got over 800 filled coffins (toll rising daily).

All we did was take a weakened nation and beat her down and drag her to her knees; then invite the violent scourge of civil society (with a "Bring 'em on") to cross her borders in order to make her the "central front for the war on terror". SHAMEFUL!

Bush--you are no FDR!


Zogby: The Story Behind Chalabi, Feith and Company

The Story Behind Chalabi, Feith and Company
by Dr. James J. Zogby

...Both men [Chalabi and Feith] were willing and eager accomplices of each other’s missions. Both wanted a US war to topple the hated dictator and would, apparently, go to any length to make that happen.

...One of [Chalabi's] nephews, Salem Chalabi, chose not to hold a government position. Instead, he established the Iraq International Law Group (IILG), which describes itself as “your professional gateway to the new Iraq.” Assisting Salem in setting up the IILG was a partner Marc Zell (the IILG’s website has been registered in Zell’s name). Here the plot thickens...

...Zell [now 'Chairman of Republicans Abroad'] had for many years been Feith’s partner in their Washington-Tel Aviv law firm, Feith and Zell (FANDZ). FANDZ had been set up when Feith left government to pursue the work of a “foreign agent” representing Turkey and some Israeli interests.Following the Baghdad opening of the IILG, Zell soon opened, in the US, an office for Zell, Goldberg & Co., which promises to assist “American companies in their relations with the US government in connection with Iraq’s reconstruction projects.” It is interesting to note that Zell, Goldberg & Co still uses the website FANDZ, the site of the old Feith and Zell firm. So when Zell boasts his connections to government, businesses know exactly what is meant. In the relatively short period of time since the fall of the Baath Party regime, IILG and Zell, Goldberg, & Co have facilitated contracts in the tens, possibly hundreds of millions of dollars.

...What is intriguing is that in all the recent US media coverage of the changing fortunes of both Feith and Chalabi, there is very little mention made of the questionable business dealings by those closely connected to them. Only a handful of reporters have actually dug deeply into this story.


Related article:

Ye of Little Feith

Why one of Doug Feith's underlings thinks he might go to jail.
By Laura Rozen


For months, news organizations have reported that the information from defectors provided by Chalabi to Feith and the U.S. government had turned out to be bogus. Then, earlier this month, a Newsweek article said U.S. intelligence had intercepted Chalabi passing sensitive U.S. information to Iran.

An article in Salon on May 3 then quoted Feith's own former law partner, L. Marc Zell, calling Chalabi a "treacherous, spineless turncoat." (In a follow-up letter to Salon on May 5, Zell denied consenting to the interview.) After the conference, Feith's deputy, Middle East expert Harold Rhode, furtively discussed Zell's reputed comments in a huddle in the corner. "What's up with Zell?" someone asked Rhode. "I have no idea," Rhode replied, shaking his head.

For his part, Feith said he hadn't seen the Salon article. Nevertheless, he may have taken a look after being told that the article, citing Iraqi Defense Minister (and Chalabi nephew) Ali Allawi, reported that he would be forced to resign his job at the Pentagon later this month.

When asked about this by a reporter after the conference, Feith let out a pained chuckle. "They are always saying that," he said, before being rescued by Pletka and ushered from the room.

Others, however, are less sanguine.

"He was very arrogant," Karen Kwiatkowski, Feith’s former deputy, says, describing what it was like to work with him. "He doesn't utilize a wide variety of inputs. He seeks information that confirms what he already thinks. And he may go to jail for leaking classified information to The Weekly Standard." (As she explains, an article appeared in The Weekly Standard that included a leaked memo written by Feith alleging ties between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.)


A final note:

New Iraqi President Allawi is a cousin of Salem Chalabi, Ahmed's son, who drafted much of the Transitional Administrative Law in Iraq, is involved in highly questionable deals with Doug Feith and Mark Zell, and will likely be running the prosecution of Saddam Hussein.

P.J. O'Rourke's New Melodrama

P.J. O'Rourke's New Melodrama

P.J. O'Rourke has his shorts in an uproar over fear about Israel's being "militarily attacked" should the U.S. change course in Iraq. Funny, last time I checked, Israel had something like 400 nuclear warheads to its list of defensive assets. The rest of his stubbornly ideological liberal-hating, U.N.-shunning worst-case scenarios are a melodramatic hoot.

Get real, O'Rourke. You sound like such a melodrama queen.

If you call that satire, I have to tell you: It reeks of flailing Bush-defense.

I can recognize a desperate display when I see one.

I see one.


The Road to Losing Hearts and Minds: "Iraq-On the Brink"

The Road to Losing Hearts and Minds:
"Iraq-On The Brink"


I'll begin with a news article from Yahoo News titled "Three US soldiers killed in Iraq", dated November 23, 2003, which included the following (limited) information:

"We want to present a new image of Iraq, different from that of the old regime. In years to come, Iraq will need the support of the United States."

--Hoshyar Zebari, Foreign Minister of interim gov't in Iraq

"I want to erase the image of the detestable past..."

--Mrs Rand Rahim Franki, who previously worked for the Iraq Foundation in Washington.

A US soldier was killed and two wounded when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device in Baqubah, north the capital, 4th Infantry Division spokesman Colonel Bill MacDonald said. Sunday's deadly Baqubah attack came a day after US troops seized a former lieutenant general in Saddam's army, Taha Hassan Abbas, in a raid in the town........"


Would we have understood the situation better if we'd been made fully aware of what had actually occurred the night before? Would we have had a different opinion on the entire Iraq situation if our media had been independent and far more objective?


In a Boston Phoenix feature titled "On-the-ground-reality TV", there's an interview by Jason Vest with seasoned independent journalist Ross Coulthart. Coulthart is the featured journalist in a yet-to-be-released documentary titled "Iraq-On The Brink" (produced by Nick Farrow) which explains how the "disconnect" of the Iraqi heart and mind occurred during and after the intended American "liberation" of Iraq. Coulthart shows how, because of improper media coverage and/or distribution, the American people don’t seem to realize the incalculable damage that has been done in Iraq. He refers to footage taken of the arrest of a suspected Ba'athist leader, Taha Hassan Abbas, taken from his home in the middle of the night.

Coulthart says: "You can see on the face of the young woman [a family member of the arrested leader] that her heart and mind are gone forever to the Americans. When we first saw this footage, the first reaction of our Iraqi fixers was absolute anger — I can only begin to guess what the reaction is to the scenes from Abu Ghraib."

Coulthart says he’s not sure what’s more troubling: that the arrest of a former Iraqi lieutenant general apparently merited no coverage; that footage showing an arrest almost completely at odds with the official account was not distributed in its entirety by Associated Press Television News; or that what was distributed wasn’t of interest to any APTN clients.

Coulthart also claims that, while a handful of journalists has provided a steady stream of exemplary reporting, there are some who feel that whatever good reporting has been done since the end of "major combat operations" has involved an even greater uphill battle for attention than usual. Why? Because the Bush administration’s practice of embedding journalists with the troops set the tenor of Iraq-war reporting. (The lack of independent reporting naturally lead to propagandizing rather than objectivity).

The New York Times recently presented its own mea culpa about their own angst about errant pre-war and 'combat-phase' reporting.

I think the whole of the American media needs to reflect and repent for the misleading reports from Iraq during that period of time.

Like Abu Ghraib, it was a collective sin..not just the actions of a few scapegoats. Judith Miller, although terribly negligent, wasn't the only reporter who failed to be dependent upon limited sources and/or properly objective.

As long as the media continues down this path, we will continue to have leaders like G.W. Bush who are allowed to lie and get away with waging unnecesary wars.

If we choose to stand back and let this happen in silence, we will deserve the consequences of the re-election of such a leader.

Excerpt from video by Ross Coulthart:

The soldiers don’t exactly approach with stealth. They kick open a gate to the house’s yard. What happens next..illustrates a perilous gap in American and Iraqi cultural understanding.

Coulthart voice-over on video:
"First, you have to understand that guns are ubiquitous in Iraq — most people have them, and it’s very common for them to shoot them in the air all the time for any number of reasons — from celebrations to anger to whatever. Burglary has become very common in the past year, and oftentimes, if people hear something outside their homes at night, they’ll fire a shot or two into the air to scare burglars away. Now, you could just go up to a house, like other soldiers do, and just knock on the door. But some treat these missions like full-fledged combat operations and start kicking things in with guns drawn, and then you get what happens next. The officer’s son — thinking the soldiers are thieves — goes to the roof of the house and fires into the air to scare them away." The response from US soldiers: "We’ve got a shooter on the roof!" followed by a hail of bullets loosed at the house.

The next shot — of film, that is — shows Abbas, a clearly unarmed, middle-aged, balding man in pajamas, hands above his head, trembling as he stands across from at least a half-dozen US soldiers whose M-16s are trained on him.


"Inside the house, the officer surrenders, but he doesn’t understand what the Americans are saying — and they don’t have a translator. Abbas repeats the only English he appears to know — "Welcome! Welcome!" — over and over again, keeping his hands far above his head as the Fourth Infantry Division soldiers handle the situation in a way almost exactly the opposite of how the Third Cav troops acted in similar circumstances. The Fourth Infantry soldiers’ manner foreshadows the images at Abu Ghraib that the world would see months later.."

(Photo credit: Journeyman Pictures

"Want me to shoot him in the leg?" one soldier yells. "I might shoot you!" another growls at Abbas. As Abbas stands motionless in the doorway between his kitchen and the next room, one soldier shouts, "He’s trying to draw us in there!" Another solider half mutters, half yells, "I don’t give a sh*t, I’m gonna shoot, I’m gonna shoot, I’m gonna shoot!" while another hollers, "I can shoot him in the leg!"

"Get the f*ck over here, get the f*ck over here," shouts another, while the previous soldier repeats his desire to shoot Abbas in the leg, adding that someone should also "shoot him in the foot."

Abbas steps away from the doorway and moves his back to the wall.


"The Iraqi officer, thinking he’s about to die, can now be heard praying. The American response is far from ecumenical, with one soldier yelling, "Who the f*ck are you talking to? Who the f*ck are you talking to? Shut the f*ck up! Shut the f*ck up!" The soldier then grabs the man’s pajama top and hurls him across the room into the hands of another soldier, who in turn hurls him into a chair that goes flying as the Iraqi sprawls onto the floor. One soldier begins to kick Abbas, who, though on his back, has his hands in the air again, repeating "Welcome! Welcome!" Three soldiers put their gun barrels in his face, with one solider yelling repeatedly, "Shoot him!" Another asks, "Who’s shooting?" when he hears gunfire from the roof, and then yells, "Bullsh*t" at the prone Abbas, who continues to repeat, "Welcome!"

The next sequence shows the capture of Abbas’s adult son, who had shot the gun off on the roof; as he’s being restrained, a soldier’s voice barks menacingly, "Take the camera off him." The film then resumes with a shot of two women — apparently Abbas’s wife and daughter — kneeling on the ground at gunpoint, their hands on their heads, their faces pictures of anger and humiliation.

The final shot shows the former general. Though fleeting, it is, perhaps, the most disturbing sequence of the film, given that in his previous appearance Abbas was terrified but physically unharmed. Now, his arms are restrained behind his back. His face is battered and bruised. His left eye is beginning to swell shut. The front of his shirt is stained with blood, and a stream of snot and blood dangles from his left nostril.."

Final voiceover:

"No one here was killed, But it’s raids like this that can only fuel the resentment against Coalition forces."

[LINK TO VIDEO TRAILER OF "Iraq-On the Brink"]

A quote from the documentary:

"What’s fuelling at least part of the antagonism towards Americans here in Iraq from ordinary Iraqis is the growing suspicion that the Americans aren’t being entirely honest about their long-term strategic intentions with this country. There’s talk of permanent American military bases here in Iraq and once you’ve seen this sprawling Al Asad airbase three hours west of Baghdad – another of Saddam Hussein’s follies – it’s not hard to see why if you were an American policymaker, you wouldn’t be leaving in a hurry. Israel’s just minutes flying time by jet in that direction. Syria, same thing in that direction. An unstable Saudi Arabia, about ten minutes by fighter in that direction. And Iran about the same time over there. Indeed, why would America be leaving in a hurry?"

What Force Is Your Soul?

What Force Is Your Soul?


You are guided by the earth itself. People like you are very rare. You are in tune with everything around you. While you try to bring peace to the world, you can sometimes create pain to those around you. You generally don't take risks.

What force is your soul?

"Fahrenheit 9/11" Gets U.S. Distributor

"Fahrenheit 9/11" Gets
U.S. Distributor

At Last!

"Fahrenheit 9/11" will hit American theaters this June 25th, thanks to Lions Gate Films, IFC Films and the Fellowship Adventure Group, which was formed by Harvey and Bob Weinstein.


CBS: Enron Was Devoid of Ethics

CBS: Enron Was Devoid of Ethics

CBS News has revealed their exclusive story on the totally unethical company known as Enron. You can hear audio-proof that they were no better than modern-day pirates who loved the fact that Bush was their Privateer-in-Chief.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has released two Enron memos describing company plans to inflate energy prices during California's energy crisis of 2000.
The practices were considered so outrageous, that an attorney with the California Public Utilities Commission dubbed them a "smoking gun memo."

Enron memo, Dec. 6, 2000 .pdf file

Enron memo, Dec. 8, 2000 .pdf file

Go here for video of Enron filthy-mouthed scammer-scums.



President Bush: Flip-Flopper-In-Chief

President Bush:

From the Center for American Progress-
A documentation of President Bush's serial flip-flopping, which raises serious questions about whether Congress and foreign leaders can rely on what he says.