U.S. report on 9/11 to be 'explosive'
A long-awaited final report on the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks will be released in the next two weeks, containing new information about U.S. government mistakes and Saudi financing of terrorists.
Former Rep. Tim Roemer, who served on the House Intelligence Committee and who has read the report, said it will be ''highly explosive'' when it becomes public.
The staff director for the congressional investigation that produced the 800-page report, Eleanor Hill, said Wednesday that several lengthy battles with the Bush administration over how much secret data to declassify have been resolved.
She expects the document to go to the Government Printing Office late this week and then be made public about a week later.
''It's compelling and galvanizing and will refocus the public's attention on Sept. 11,'' predicted Roemer, an Indiana Democrat. ``Certain mistakes, errors and gaps in the system will be made clear.''
thanks to Drudge Report
Throughout time, explorers have drawn readers to faraway places through stories and songs, maps and drawings, manuscripts and books. Their intriguing accounts of the new and unknown have brought the world closer to those left at home.
An Odyssey in Print invites you to see the universe through the eyes of these courageous travelers, to share the curiosity of scientists who pursue knowledge from the Earth below to the heavens above, and to enjoy the creative endeavors of artists, writers, and artisans. As you explore six centuries of rare books, manuscripts, art, and artifacts from the Smithsonian Institution, you'll learn how Smithsonian staff use these resources in their everyday work.
thanks to BookLab II
The number of jobless Americans receiving benefits hit its highest point in over 20 years last month, and new claims for jobless aid unexpectedly rose again last week, the government said on Thursday.
thanks to Drudge Report
pen plotter art
A L G O R I T H M I C A R T
thanks to dublog
If it weren't for our amazing field hospitals, the damage would've been far worse. As it is, the Pentagon admits to over 1,000 troops wounded in the Iraq war.
That is in addition to over 250 dead.
And about $4 billion a month. That doesn't including reconstruction costs, or the tens of billions already spent on the initial month of combat operations.
All for a war predicated on LIES.
What's really fun about the administration's sudden troubles is that it puts them in classic Catch-22. They can either 1) claim lied about its WMD claims, or 2) claim it was too incompetent to properly assess the intelligence. LIES or INCOMPETENCE. I'm down with either option. There's no way the administration can win unless the press loses interest and moves on to the latest JLo/Ben news.
Gen. Tommy R. Franks said today that violence and uncertainty in Iraq made it unlikely that troop levels would be reduced "for the foreseeable future," and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld nearly doubled the estimated military costs there to $3.9 billion a month.
A former US intelligence official who served under the Bush administration in the build-up to the Iraq war accused the White House yesterday of lying about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.
The claims came as the Bush administration was fighting to shore up its credibility among a series of anonymous government leaks over its distortion of US intelligence to manufacture a case against Saddam.
This was the first time an administration official has put his name to specific claims. The whistleblower, Gregory Thielmann, served as a director in the state department's bureau of intelligence until his retirement in September, and had access to the classified reports which formed the basis for the US case against Saddam, spelled out by President Bush and his aides.
There has been a lot of talk about the forged documents concerning Iraq, Niger, and uranium. I keep wondering about who did the forgeries and why they would do it,
As the Pentagon scours Iraq for weapons of mass destruction and Iraqi links to Al Qaeda, it's increasingly obvious that the Bush Administration either distorted or deliberately exaggerated the intelligence used to justify the war against Iraq. But an even bigger intelligence scandal is waiting in the wings: the fact that members of the Administration failed to produce an intelligence evaluation of what Iraq might look like after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Instead, they ignored fears expressed by analysts at the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the State Department who predicted that postwar Iraq would be chaotic, violent and ungovernable, and that Iraqis would greet the occupying armies with firearms, not flowers.
Not surprisingly, perhaps, it turns out that the same people are responsible for both. According to current and former US intelligence analysts and government officials, the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans funneled information, unchallenged, from Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress (INC) to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, who in turn passed it on to the White House, suggesting that Iraqis would welcome the American invaders. The Office of Special Plans is led by Abram Shulsky, a hawkish neoconservative ideologue who got his start in politics working alongside Elliott Abrams in Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson's office in the 1970s. It was set up in fall 2001 as a two-man shop, but it burgeoned into an eighteen-member nerve center of the Pentagon's effort to distort intelligence about Iraq's WMDs and terrorist connections. A great deal of the bad information produced by Shulsky's office, which found its way into speeches by Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, came from Chalabi's INC. Since the INC itself was sustained by its neocon allies in Washington, including the shadow "Central Command" at the American Enterprise Institute, it stands as perhaps the ultimate example of circular reasoning.
According to the former official, also feeding information to the Office of Special Plans was a secret, rump unit established last year in the office of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel. This unit, which paralleled Shulsky's--and which has not previously been reported--prepared intelligence reports on Iraq in English (not Hebrew) and forwarded them to the Office of Special Plans. It was created in Sharon's office, not inside Israel's Mossad intelligence service, because the Mossad--which prides itself on extreme professionalism--had views closer to the CIA's, not the Pentagon's, on Iraq. This secretive unit, and not the Mossad, may well have been the source of the forged documents purporting to show that Iraq tried to purchase yellowcake uranium for weapons from Niger in West Africa, according to the former official.
thanks to thoughts on the eve of the apocalypse
MOSAIC OF LIES
Who lied us into war?
The easy answer: George W. Bush. But that's too easy. It's highly unlikely the President of the United States got up there and knowingly fibbed about the existence of weapons that would surely not be found. No doubt he fully expected the evidence to turn up, verifying what he and other members of his administration had been saying all along: that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction capable of posing a regional threat. When no such evidence was forthcoming, however, the President's partisan critics in Congress – most of whom supported the war, and voted for the authorization to use force – were quick to jump on this administration's growing credibility gap.
It turns out that the only smoking gun is the one left in the hands of the President after he shot off his mouth and propounded what the White House now acknowledges was inaccurate information. But who supplied the ammunition? What was the source of the intelligence that convinced White House speechwriters to include the reference to uranium?
Anyone with elementary computer skills and a few minutes to spare could have debunked the Niger uranium story: yet the White House was bamboozled. Bush-haters of a partisan hue are inclined to believe the forgery was concocted by the President's men, but the Washington Post report on the official investigation took a different and far more interesting tack:
"The FBI is looking into the forgery of a key piece of evidence linking Iraq to a nuclear weapons program, including the possibility that a foreign government is using a deception campaign to foster support for military action against Iraq."
The author of the Post piece was silent on the question of which foreign government. However, CNN was quick to cite government officials who said:
"They got the documents from the intelligence service of another country, which was not Britain and was not Israel, which they will not name."
That was another lie.
thanks to thoughts on the eve of the apocalypse
While U.S. warplanes were pounding Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks, roving peaceniks affixed small placards to lampposts around Ground Zero in New York. On one of the black-and-white fliers, a weary World War II soldier stared from his foxhole.
"I'm digging my grave now," said the headline. "But soon it will be your turn. War: Get used to it."
This grim bit of agitprop caught the eye of Greg Ruggiero, senior editor at Seven Stories Press, a TriBeCa publisher that specializes in what he calls "socially conscious" books. He tracked down the poster maker's Web site, www.micahwright.com, which included a batch of Office of War Information artwork from the 1940s. But in a bold postmodern stroke, these posters -- which promoted War Bonds, scrap metal drives and home front security measures -- had been transformed into antiwar broadsides.
thanks to reenhead
Micah has put up a number of new posters since I last linked to this.
Afghan Poppies Proliferate
The village mullah and his superior are smeared with fresh opium sap. It is harvest time, and the holy men are laboring in their poppy field, breaking the laws of Islam and Afghanistan to ease their poverty.
As the day wanes, they wait, fingers aching, for the ubiquitous young men who cross the countryside on shiny new motorbikes, buying up the deadly harvest reaped by local farmers.
"Of course it bothers me," said Mohammad Sarwar, 49, the mawlawi, or authority on Islamic teachings, at the mosque in this tiny northeastern village. "But we have to cultivate it in the current situation where we've had to borrow money, sell household items and don't have enough to eat. This is an emergency."
The drug trade in Afghanistan is growing more pervasive, powerful and organized, its corrupting reach extending to all aspects of society, according to dozens of interviews with international and Afghan anti-narcotics workers, police, poppy farmers, government officials and their critics.
thanks to dublog
some things don't change
WITH ATTACKS continuing to claim the lives of US soldiers, a reporter last week asked President Bush what the White House was doing to get France, Germany, and Russia to join the American occupation of Iraq. Bush did not discuss France, Germany, or Russia. He chose to brag that he was the fastest gun in Western civilization.
Such arrogance harkens back to Vietnam and the observation of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1967 that Americans were ''strange liberators.'' We say we are there to liberate the people, but then we turn around and try and taunt Saddam's remnants out of the saloon so they can all show off in high noon showdowns - wild firefights that are sure to result in yet more civilian deaths. We bragged ourselves literally to death four decades ago. According to King in his speech ''A Time to Break Silence'':
'It should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over....
Just substitute "Iraq" for "Vietnam". Hard to tell the difference.
tour de france
Stage Five: Troyes - Nevers - 196km
No change in the top positions today. It was a long and flat stage. Flat is a relative term on the Tour. Compare the above profile to the upcoming mountain profiles at the bottom of yesterday's Tour post. There were the usual breakaways that got swallowed up by the peleton and the usual sprints while the big boys stayed in the peleton. Tomorrow will be more of the same and the big boys will come out and play in the mountain stages Saturday and Sunday. The mountains will tell us who the players are.
Alessandro Petacchi continued his brilliant form with a thrilling win on stage five of the Tour de France.
Monsanto Corp.'s decision to sue Oakhurst Dairy this week highlights an emerging battle over the widespread use of genetically altered food.
So far, consumers seem to be moving to the side that favors "food that has not been modified by somebody going in and monkeying about with the genes," said Kevin Coupe, a retail analyst who produces the Web site morningnewsbeat.com.
"One of the biggest (food) categories right now is natural and organic foods," Coupe said. "There's a reason why it's growing."
Monsanto, one of the country's largest biotechnology firms, announced this week that it is suing Oakhurst Dairy of Portland because the dairy markets the fact that its milk comes from farmers who pledge not to give artificial growth hormones to their cows.
Monsanto said the hormones, which it manufactures, don't produce milk any different from milk produced by cows that aren't fed the hormones. Oakhurst's marketing pitch, Monsanto claims, suggests otherwise and deceives consumers.
What a crock of shit. Oh yeah — and Monsanto would never deceive the consumer. When did Monsanto start caring about the consumer?
arachnoidal altered states of consciousness
Scientists at the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have turned their attention from the mysteries of the cosmos to a more esoteric area of research: what happens when you get a spider stoned.
Their experiments have shown that common house spiders spin their webs in different ways according to the psychotropic drug they have been given. Spiders on marijuana made a reasonable stab at spinning webs but appeared to lose concentration about half-way through. Those on Benzedrine - "speed" - spin their webs "with great gusto, but apparently without much planning leaving large holes", according to New Scientist magazine.
Caffeine, one of the most common drugs consumed by Britons in soft drinks, tea and coffee, makes spiders incapable of spinning anything better than a few threads strung together at random. On chloral hydrat, an ingredient of sleeping pills, spiders "drop off before they even get started".
Nasa scientists believe the research demonstrates that web-spinning spiders can be used to test drugs because the more toxic the chemical, the more deformed was the web.
The normal web of a spider.
Web created exposed to Caffine.
thanks to Geisha asobi blog
Ten years after Bill Clinton proclaimed a centrist "New Democrat" revolution, the left is once again a driving force in the party.
They do not call themselves "liberals" anymore; the preferred term today is "progressives." But in other ways, they are much the same slice of the electorate that dominated the Democratic Party from 1972 to the late 1980s: antiwar, pro-environment, suspicious of corporations and supportive of federal social services.
In recent weeks, the progressive left has: lifted a one-time dark-horse presidential candidate, former Vermont governor Howard Dean, into near-front-runner status; dominated the first serious Internet "primary"; and convened the largest gathering of liberal activists in decades.
This set of fanciful etchings is dedicated to William Hamilton, an envoy to the court of Naples. Morghen's exuberant rococo style, with ornamental passages of chinoiserie, makes for a curious and playful description of a voyage to the moon. There were many seventeenth-century treatises dealing with the possibility of a voyage to the moon. Morghen, perhaps through Hamilton, apparently knew that Philippe de la Hire (whose name appears in the title) did not believe the moon was inhabited. A later edition of the series substitued the figure of Bishop John Wilkins for that of Wild Scull (de la Hire's travelling companion). Wilkins had published The Discovery of a World in the Moone in 1638.
thanks to dublog
the patron saint of political blogs
Sidney Hook, the Marxist philosopher-turned-neoconservative who once mistakenly listed I.F. Stone among those who had defended the Moscow purge trials, wrote a book called The Hero in History. In it he distinguished between eventful men (like the Dutch boy who put his finger in the dike), people who happened to be in the right place at the right time--and event-making men, the ones who make things happen.
To me, I.F. Stone, né Isadore Feinstein, known to his friends as Izzy, was an event-making man. He was event-making not because Izzy and his little newsletter, I.F. Stone's Weekly (later biweekly), were right about McCarthyism, right about the war in Vietnam (he was one of the first to raise questions about the authenticity of the Gulf of Tonkin incident), right about the Democrats' repeated failure to live up to their own principles, right about what he called, long before the US invasion of Iraq, the "Pax Americana." Writing in The Nation (which he served as Washington editor in the 1940s), he was prophetic about the Holocaust, which in 1942 he called "a murder of a people" "so appalling...that men would shudder at its horrors for centuries to come." He was even, by the way, prescient about the meltdown of the Soviet Union. In 1984, seven years before it happened, he told Andrew Patner, the young Chicago journalist who had the wit to debrief Izzy on tape, that "all these dictatorships look so goddamned powerful. [But I think] one day they [will] just collapse. They're rigid, and rigid structures crack."
It's the way he was right, the way he lived his life, the way he did his journalism that magnified his influence, made him something of a role model for the most idealistic of the next generation. This college dropout who couldn't see without his Coke-bottle glasses, and who couldn't hear without his hearing aid (which he turned on and off strategically), was something of a pariah among his peers in 1953, the nadir of McCarthyism, when he founded I.F. Stone's Weekly. His name was on a Senate Internal Security Subcommittee list of the eighty-two "most active and typical sponsors of Communist-front organizations" (which in Izzy's case meant mainly popular front, antifascist organizations or civil liberties groups upholding the Bill of Rights against those who would undermine it in the name of combating a phantom domestic Red Menace).
After he died, some latter-day cold warriors tried unsuccessfully and preposterously to frame him--based on some newly released cables from Soviet spymasters to their American confederates--as a Soviet agent. The charges were quickly discredited. But the long-run answer to such nonsense may be found in his Who's Who entry. Others take the occasion to list their worldly accomplishments. Izzy chose to print his credo: "To write the truth as I see it; to defend the weak against the strong; to fight for justice; and to seek, as best I can, to bring healing perspectives to bear on the terrible hates and fears of mankind, in the hope of someday bringing about one world, in which men will enjoy the differences of the human garden instead of killing each other over them."
thanks to Magpie
whole wheat radio
I've finally achieved something with my life...
You can get wheat berries and become Yang King and have god-like music request powers at Whole Wheat Radio. Go there. Listen to some great Indie music. Try to figure out what the hell is going on.
Ric Frazier productions
thanks to The J-Walk Weblog
The End Of The Deep End
So it's not exactly the end of the divine luminous world and it's not exactly as bitterly dire as BushCo smirkingly reaming this nation and gutting schools and the economy and the environment and sex and joy, all slathered with his bald-faced lies about war. No, it's not quite as bad as that.
And sure it might be only a small tragic shift, but if you're anywhere over 20 and grew up in just about any worthy suburban American town and endured anything resembling a worthy American childhood, the deep end of the swimming pool probably meant something to you, as a kid.
Something mysterious. Something scary. Something foreboding and scary and magnificent, because when you were about six years old the deep end very much represented that sudden slap of terrifying summertime anxiety -- particularly if you were new to swimming, new to the pool's otherworldly challenges, its beckoning aura of happy splish-splash impending doom.
It was powerful. It was magic and dark and transformative and the deep end was that area of the pool you ventured into extremely tentatively, excitedly, all about that rush of delicious fear and desire and quiet panic and determination. You know, just like life.
Autobiographie en creux, le creux coïncidant avec le vide d’un réfrigérateur. 184 chroniques arrachées au néant réfrigéré depuis le vendredi 12 janvier 2001.
thanks to Geisha asobi blog
britain — the u.s. bitch
Our fake patriots
The prediction was not hard to make. If Britain kept supporting the US government as it trampled the sovereignty of other nations, before long it would come to threaten our own. But few guessed that this would happen so soon.
Long ago, Britain informally surrendered much of its determination of foreign policy to the United States. We have sent our soldiers to die for that country in two recent wars, and our politicians to lie for it. But now the British government is going much further. It is ceding control to the US over two of the principal instruments of national self-determination: judicial authority and military policy. The mystery is not that this is happening. The mystery is that those who have sought to persuade us that they are the guardians of national sovereignty are either failing to respond or demanding only that Britain becomes the doormat on which the US government can wipe its bloodstained boots.
A month ago we discovered that our home secretary had secretly concluded an extradition treaty with the US that permits the superpower to extract British nationals without presenting evidence before a court. Britain acquires no such rights in the US. The response from the rightwing press was a thunderous silence. Last week, we learnt that two British citizens held in the prison camp in Guantanamo Bay will be denied a fair trial, that they may stay in prison even if they are found innocent, and that they will not be returned to Britain to serve their sentences. There were a couple of muted squeaks in the patriotic papers, offset by an article in the Sunday Telegraph which sought to justify the US action on the grounds that one of the men had been arrested before. The story was spoilt somewhat by the fact that he had been released without charge.
But by far the most significant event passed without comment. Two weeks ago, the defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, told the Royal United Services Institute that he intends to restructure the British armed forces. As "it is highly unlikely that the United Kingdom would be engaged in large-scale combat operations without the United States", the armed forces must now be "structured and equipped" to meet the demands of the wars fought by our ally. Our military, in other words, will become functionally subordinate to that of another nation. The only published response from the right that I can find came from Bernard Jenkin, the Conservative defence spokesman. "The real question he must answer," Jenkin rumbled, "is how he can deliver more with underlying defence spending running behind the total inherited from the previous Conservative government." For the party of national sovereignty, there is no question of whether; simply of how.
NAMIBIA'S world-famous actor, Gcao Coma, who starred in 'The Gods Must Be Crazy', died in the Tsumkwe area last week.
The cause of his death will be determined in the next few days after an autopsy is completed.
The diminutive film star, also known as N!xau or G!kau, died on Wednesday while walking alone near his village.
Coma was found lying in the path to his home with his bow, arrows, and a bag strapped across his shoulder, Police spokesman Warrant Officer Christopher Munyika said yesterday.
thanks to follow me here...
Psychoanalytic theory holds that homophobia -- the fear, anxiety, anger, discomfort and aversion that some ostensibly heterosexual people hold for gay individuals -- is the result of repressed homosexual urges that the person is either unaware of or denies. A study appearing in the August 1996 issue of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association (APA), provides new empirical evidence that is consistent with that theory.
Researchers at the University of Georgia conducted an experiment involving 35 homophobic men and 29 nonhomophobic men as measured by the Index of Homophobia scale. All the participants selected for the study described themselves as exclusively heterosexual both in terms of sexual arousal and experience.
Each participant was exposed to sexually explicit erotic stimuli consisting of heterosexual, male homosexual and lesbian videotapes (but not necessarily in that order). Their degree of sexual arousal was measured by penile plethysmography, which precisely measures and records male tumescence.
thanks to Hullabaloo
photography or torture — you decide
Briefly, some years ago I had a delivery job in Southampton, England (I won't say what I was delivering or for whom). It was very boring and badly paid but I soon found a way of livening it up. I discovered that the van I had to drive could very easily be persuaded to produce very loud, frightening backfires as and when I wanted it to (I'm not telling you how, find out for yourselves) and as I've always been keen on photography, I tried an experiment.
thanks to boingboing
If he were an angler, Alastair Campbell, former communications chief for British Prime Minister Tony Blair, could claim the gold cup for landing the largest red herring in the history of fishing.
He has single-handedly convinced half the media that the Foreign Affairs Select Committee inquiry was into the origins of his war with the BBC. He has traded ruthlessly on his knowledge that there is nothing the press loves more than news stories about itself, and brilliantly exploited it to divert attention from the government's woes over Iraq. Personally, I should be happy to leave Campbell and BBC correspondent Andrew Gilligan to slug it out between themselves on a desert island, so long as the rest of us can get back to the real issue of how Britain ended up at war on a false premise.
At yesterday's news conference of the Foreign Affairs Committee, John Stanley made an observation that went to the heart of the government's embarrassment. All other modern wars stemmed from real world events -- Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, Slobodan Milosevic's ethnic cleansing of Kosovo or the Taliban's complicity in 9/11. As the invasion of Iraq was intended as a pre-emptive strike, by definition it could not be a response to a real event, but depended for its justification on intelligence of "a real and present danger." That put colossal weight on the intelligence providing a cast-iron basis for war.
Unfortunately, the intelligence served up by the government in its September dossier is now buckling under the strain of that responsibility.
Ok, let's go through this simply:
No units have found any stores of shells, rockets or any production facilities that could be used to convert them into chemical weapons. Despite months of scouring Iraq during and after the war, despite special operators running around Iraq, not one chemical shell has been found. Not one chemical rocket has been found.
Now in a report from Capital Hill Blue, if true, shows exactly how George Bush made his decisions on Iraq:
An intelligence consultant who was present at two White House briefings where the uranium report was discussed confirmed that the President was told the intelligence was questionable and that his national security advisors urged him not to include the claim in his State of the Union address.
"The report had already been discredited," said Terrance J. Wilkinson, a CIA advisor present at two White House briefings. "This point was clearly made when the President was in the room during at least two of the briefings."
Bush's response was anger, Wilkinson said.
"He said that if the current operatives working for the CIA couldn't prove the story was true, then the agency had better find some who could," Wilkinson said. "He said he knew the story was true and so would the world after American troops secured the country."
He didn't want to hear the truth, he knew Saddam was guilty, regardless of the facts, which were murky at best.
And now an increasingly pressed Tony Blair is admitting as such:
He went on: "I have absolutely no doubt at all that we will find evidence of weapons of mass destruction programmes."
Excuse me, but I was under the clear impression that Saddam had weapons poised to launch at our allies within 45 minutes of an order being given. That their arsenals were poised to be launched at the US and that the use of chemical weapons were part of their doctrine.
There was a time when conservatives fought passionately to preserve America as a limited constitutional republic. That was, in fact, the essence of conservatism. It's one reason Franklin Roosevelt's vast expansion of government through the New Deal aroused such bitter opposition on the right.
But many conservative activists seem to have lost that philosophical commitment. They now advocate autocratic executive rule, largely unconstrained by constitutional procedures or popular opinions.
thanks to DANGEROUSMETA!
tour de france
Lance and US Postal have put themselves in a dominant position with a 30 second win in the team time trial.
Lance Armstrong's US Postal team won the team time trial on stage four of the Tour de France, clocking a time of one hour 18 minutes and 27 seconds.
US Postal has the top 8 positions. Two of the riders that are threats, Beloki and Ullrich, are 32 seconds and 38 seconds down on Lance and they haven't even hit the mountains yet. Any other riders that may have been a threat are more than a minute down and are essentially out of the race for the Yellow Jersey. Not ony does Lance have a significant lead, at this point, but his team is incredibly strong, which will be very important in keeping Lance fresh for the mountains.
The next two stages are very long and flat. This will mean lots of breakaways and US Postal will be working to control the race and to keep Lance on top of the standings. Then there will be Saturday and Sunday which could cement the lead for Lance.
Tour de France | Stage 7
The overall leaders will be bidding to stake their claim in the race on the first mountain stage, with a string of harsh climbs set to finish off the stragglers in the latter stages.
The route has several category 2 and 3 climbs with the category 1 climb at Cote de la Ramez. Lance, Beloki, and Ullrich should start putting time on everyone but it will be Stage 8 that will be the big test.
Tour de France | Stage 8
Any stage with the Col du Telegraphe, Col du Galibier and Alpe d'Huez in it is torture personified. This day could be more important than any for deciding whether Lance Armstrong can win a fifth Tour.
Col du Telegraphe is a category two climb and Col du Galibier and Alpe d'Huez are beyond category. Only two riders have won at Alpe d'Huez and the Tour in the same year: Coppi and Armstrong. Sunday will be the day to watch!
Yesterday I posted links to a couple of stories about how easy it is to rig elections on the new electronic voting machines. Check out the post at Eschaton and be sure to read the comments. Lots of comments from database programmers about the inadvisability of using Microsoft Access for voting and how easy it is to hack the voting system. This is scary shit. You want more scary? Go to Scoops feature AMERICAN COUP. Bev Harris has been in the forefront of this issue and her site is Black Box Voting. Read it and weep.
tour de france
News Flash US Postal Service just won the team time trial by 30 seconds! Pena (US Postal) has the yellow jersey and Lance is 1 second back. US Postal just made a *big* statement. I need to finish my coffee. More later.
electronic voting fraud
In This Edition: Bigger Than Watergate! - How To Rig An Election In The United States - Fantasy vs Reality - How We Discovered The Backdoor - Evidence Of Motive - Evidence Of Opportunity - Evidence Of Method - Evidence Of Prior Conduct - Consistent Unexplained Circumstantial Evidence
both thanks to Politics in the Zeros
There's been some laughable spin out of Iraq, but none more so than Bremer's assertion that the Iraqi resistance is "desperate" -- as indicated by their increasingly bold and deadly attacks.
Nah, the resistance roams the country at will, doing what it pleases with the US presence and its Iraqi lackeys. Not a sign of desperation, but a sign of confidence. Not good for our servicemembers.
And then Bush, playing his desperado bit, egged on the opposition, "Bring them on" (a taunt now repeated by Gen. Tommy Franks from the safety of his Tampa headquarters). And they've come.
Three more Americans were killed in the last 12 hours. The first was the soldier guarding Baghdad University (though some reports indicate he was engaged in some sort of "community outreach" program). This killing, similar to many recent attacks, give lie to the notion that the Iraqi resistance is "desperate" -- the assailant merely walked up to his target in broad daylight, shot him in public at close range, and casually strolled away as onlookers looked to other way.
Sunni insurgents have begun launching mortars attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq for the first time since President George Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1.
U.S. officials said Sunni insurgents began using mortars in attacks last week. They said the mortar attacks have caused greater damage and casualties than automatic fire or rocket-propelled grenade strikes.
thanks to Drudge Report
Say It: This Is a Quagmire
On the day U.S. soldiers occupied Baghdad, draped the American flag over Saddam Hussein's statue and pulled it down, 103 GIs had died in the Iraq war. The number killed since that supposedly triumphal moment on April 9 may double in this coming week, in a war that an American general now admits is ongoing.
Iraq: the human toll (part two)
The hospital in which Salima Hashem died, where the childless Kassim and his wife lie, and from which Jessica Lynch was rescued, is one of two in Nasiriyah. At the other, the General Surgical Hospital, six o'clock in the evening in the wards on the North Wing would usually have been a quiet time, says Dr Karim Azurgan, an orthopaedic surgeon. 'We would have finished our rounds, with patients getting ready for their evening meal.' But on the night of 24 March, the ward was anything but tranquil. That was the hospital's turn to become the target of two war crimes: one by the Iraqis, with a retort from the Americans. The wing is now a rubble of twisted metal and masonry blown akimbo, with beds and medicine cabinets strewn around.
They were not war patients in here, they were in hospital for normal reasons you would come to hospital for,' says Dr Azurgan. 'But then, of course, those who survived the bombing became war patients.'
29th June Tuesday
thanks to Iconomy
Therein lies the answer to the questions that are being asked now: Will the Hudna last? Will it continue after the initial three-month period? Will Arafat and Abu-Mazen succeed in
The answers depend completely on the mood of the Palestinian population. If it wants the Hudna, the Hudna will last. If it detests the Hudna, it will collapse. Hamas does not want to lose public sympathy by breaking a popular Hudna. On the contrary, it wants to play a major role in the future Palestinian state. But if the population comes to the conclusion that the Hudna has borne no fruit, Hamas will be the first to break it.
On what will this depend? If the Hudna delivers a major political achievement to the nation and a marked improvement in the quality of life to individuals, it will be popular and take root.
The Game Boy Camera
Color snapshots are fruitless, since they are inevitably compared to the thousands of commercial photographs we see each day. Stuck in a foreign city, without a darkroom for making Black and White prints, we tried learning to see with the Game Boy Camera.
thanks to Iconomy
liars using forged documents
Josh Marshall, at Talking Points Memo, has comments and links on the liars trying to cover up.
Some military jets are equipped with the ability to toss off a cluster of flares in mid-flight to throw off heat-seeking missiles. I think that's what Ari Fleischer and the White House were doing yesterday when they admitted that the president's State of the Union claims about Iraq buying uranium in Africa were wrong.
Yesterday, I posted portions of Fleischer's remarks from Monday morning's press gaggle in which he got awkwardly tripped up in questioning about the Niger-uranium issue and promised a definitive answer later in the day.
That statement went out in dribs and drabs over night and the Times and the Post have stories on it on their websites today.
But let's look at what the White House is saying. In essence, they're saying that the Niger documents were forgeries. But then, we already knew that. Indeed, the White House has conceded this for months. Sometimes publicly; sometimes privately. Here's what they're saying now, according to the Post: "Knowing all that we know now the reference to Iraq's attempt to acquire uranium from Africa should not have been included in the State of the Union speech."
But, of course, the real issue is that there is at least very strong circumstantial evidence that knowing what they knew then, the Uranium hocum never should have been put into the speech either. This is a classic case of trying to jump out ahead of a story by conceding a point that no one is actually disputing in the first place.
thanks to Iconomy
Well, it's finally compiled and available in PDF:
Rush, Newspeak and Fascism
I'm asking for a $5 donation (button at the upper left of the home page) with each download, because my bandwidth requirements are undoubtedly going to come back and bite me on this one. Besides, I've always been loath to hand out the tin cup and ask for donations -- I prefer to have something to offer in exchange. So the donation (and donors should feel free to make it more than $5 if they like!) is also an opportunity for Orcinus readers to support independent journalism.
The completed essay is about 40,000 words and 87 pages long. It contains large chunks of new material, and as you'll see, it's been rearranged and edited significantly. I think you'll find it's both more cohesive and more coherent, a little livelier, a little more detailed. Read it onscreen or print it out and share it with your friends. E-mail it around if you like. I'm frankly more interested in having it read than in the donations; I'm mostly just hoping to cover my expenses.
I tussled with what to do with the 'Rush' essay for quite awhile. It's long enough to form a short book. But frankly, I remain extremely doubtful about its chances of being published through traditional venues -- a portion of it, after all, began life as a feature for Salon (that would be those sections dealing with Clinton-hate as a venue for coalescing the extremist and mainstream right) that never ran in the magazine; and if Salon wouldn't run it, I can't imagine who would. Let's face it: The material I'm writing about here is considered very explosive, and very sensitive, by mainstream publishers, and very few of them would be willing to back these kinds of ideas.
I've been linking to this excellent series and this is the final version. Send in your $5 and download it. I did. The links go to the archive page on blogspot that doesn't seem to be working right now so you might check the home page for Orcinus.
DEBE HALE | NO ONE'S HOME
I have always been fascinated with the places and things that are left behind. For the past seven years I have been documenting these places in hopes to discover what is the underlying spirit and vitality of the vernacular architecture. My work for a majority of the images was in black and white, seemingly a "natural" for the rural imagery. It was during the month of July 2000 that my project changed when I stumbled upon the Glencoe Mill in Alamance County.
thanks to Solipsistic
on being an arab
“Why are Arabs always angry?” a reader recently asked me, in a message filled with sarcasm and thoughtlessness. I refrained from replying right a way, because he seemed little interested in listening. I couldn’t help but wonder how he might feel if he himself was an Arab. So, I am writing back ..
Imagine for a moment that you are an Arab.
For years you watch Palestinians being slaughtered, their land invaded and reinvaded, and for years witnessing the United States government block any attempt to punish those who aggressed upon the people whom you call “my people”.
Not only have the United States’ vetoes at the United Nations Security Council suffocated any initiative to deploy even unarmed observers to provide badly needed protection for Palestinians, but, thanks to billions of annual US funds, Israel manages to expand illegal settlements and provide its army with the greatest killing machines of all time.
Your human rights are never brought up unless an outside power is using the subject to inflict political pressure on your ruler. You’re worth a press release by a human rights group once every blue moon, a release that no one bothers to read. You simply matter to no one.
thanks to thoughts on the eve of the apocalypse
tour de france
Alessandro Petacchi won a bunch sprint to take the third stage of the Tour de France on Tuesday.
Stage 3 was a race for field sprinters. Tomorrow will be something else — the team time trial. Lance is 19 seconds down in 12th place. This will probably change. US Postal Service has some very good time trialers. But anything can happen. That's why they run the races. I also think the French know how to enjoy sporting events in style. We could learn some things from them.
1. Jean-Patrick Nazon FRA Jean Delatour 12:25:59
just what is the real story?
AMERICA'S top spy catcher, Paul Redmond, has suddenly resigned in the middle of his secret investigation into how Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden allegedly obtained US computer software, the SUNDAY EXPRESS claimed this weekend.
The software is said to enable the two most wanted men in the world to avoid capture because it can pinpoint every move in the global manhunt.
Redmond's departure last week was accepted "without discussion" by President Bush, the man who had brought the spy catcher out of retirement to conduct the investigation.
Hours after Redmond had cleared his desk, Bush ordered a GBP 25million bounty on Saddam's head. He wants Saddam "dead or alive" and the same goes for bin Laden. Already Bush has agreed to either man forgoing a trial and being shot after interrogation. The official reason given for Redmond's abrupt departure was "health reasons." But stunned colleagues in the Homeland Security department in Washington, where Redmond had his office, insist the former Associate Director of the CIA was in perfect health. His departure has led to intense speculation that he may have begun to uncover embarrassing details of how the software came into the hands of Saddam and bin Laden.
Documents obtained by the respected International Currency Review, a London-based newsletter for the financial community, allege that the software was provided for Saddam on the authority of President Bush's father when he was in the White House - a time when relations between Iraq and Washington were close during Baghdad's war with Iran. The Review's publisher, Christopher Story, a former financial adviser to Lady Thatcher, said: "The documents are extremely sensitive and raise some very serious questions."
thanks to BookNotes
So Bush wants Saddam and Osama dead so they can't reveal any secrets that might be uncomfortable for the Bush adiministration. Just interrogate and shoot in the finest Soviet tradition. This is America? Even Nazi war criminals got a trial. I wonder how long the Bushs are going to be able to keep a lid on their dealings?
Three American soldiers were killed in separate attacks in Iraq in the last 24 hours amid signs that many Iraqis approve of the killing of the occupying soldiers.
U.S. falling into bin Laden's trap
Here in Canada's "make love, not war" capital, I am reminded of a French reader who asked me last week, "Why was Bill Clinton impeached for making love, while George Bush goes unpunished for making a war over fake weapons?"
Excellent question, monsieur.
Asked on TV this week about steadily mounting attacks on U.S. occupation forces in Iraq, President Bush narrowed his eyes, and hunched forward aggressively - thrilling his ardent fans from Biloxi to Paducah - and growled, "Bring 'em on!" - a call to battle worthy of the famously dimwitted American general, George Armstrong Custer who, like Bush, knew what he knew and didn't need advice.
Listening to such adolescent boasting from a man who never heard a shot fired in anger outside of downtown Washington, D.C. made me gag. Bush, let's recall, dodged real military service during the Vietnam war by making occasional appearances at the Texas Air National Guard. Watching him play John Wayne at Iwo Jima for the benefit of his adoring core voters, some of whom believe Elvis is still alive, made me realize how much American politics has been debased by the double whammy of catch-me-if-you can Bill Clinton and truth-deprived George Bush.
What goes unsaid in the wider media, but is clearly apparent, is that the follow on force we so desperately need in Iraq is nothing like the force that is there now. It's pretty obvious that no one is talking about the reason US troops are vunerable to daily attacks.
We are fighting an enemy which fights in small groups and merges in and out of the background of the population.
A 2003 US Armored division is perhaps the most powerful fighting force on earth. There are few enemies which can withstand it's combined arms force for long. Against a conventional force, the US is likely to dominate. But with our current force in Iraq, we cannot win and we cannot control the country.
The resistance is sending a message: we will kill collaborators and leave their American masters alone.
A scary, effective message when combined with daytime assassinations at close range.
The US Army and Marines spends millions to train and develop snipers, because killing someone at arm's length is intensely bold and extremely dangerous. You either have to be young, stupid or very brave to do such a thing. It is much better and safer to shoot them from far away, at least for the shooter.
Viceroy Jerry calls them "desperate men", but I'd call them fearless. Which is a bad, bad thing.
What we're watching is the begining of a war resembling the Algerian War
The look on Donald Rumsfeld's face lately has not been a happy one. As the Bush Administration and its defenders try to pretend that the war in Iraq is not going badly, the reality is that things are getting worse with little hope for a solution in the near future.
Viceroy Jerry has asked for 50,000 troops to maintain his rule. There's one small problem with that. There aren't 50K to give. The US military is nearly at the end of it's deployable strength and needs to withdraw the 3ID as soon as possible.
The Rat in the Grain
Iraq: the human toll
Grounding Planes the Wrong Way
Poland seeks Iraqi oil stake
This site has many photos and drawings but the computer images,with the glass removed, illustrate what daring designs the gothic cathedrals are, with their minimalist structure. Breathtaking!
thanks to plep
Israeli Settlers Rebuilding Even as Outposts Are Razed
There isn't much to look at — a water tower, the charcoal ghosts of old campfires, a handful of trailers clinging to the earth against hot winds. This scraped-out hilltop isn't on the map, but it's been under construction for months, and it's growing daily — new foundations, new trailers and even a new baby. They named him Amitzur, which means "my people are like a rock."
On paper, Haroe is slated for oblivion. A U.S.-backed peace plan calls on Israel to immediately tear down all such Jewish settlement outposts erected since March 2001 in the Palestinian territories.
But a tour through miles of golden hills and olive groves reveals that the West Bank is gaining rather than losing outposts. Israel's scattered efforts to raze renegade homesteads have only succeeded in inspiring a contrary construction spurt.
Israeli officials are expressing growing confidence that after 33 months they have defeated the Palestinian uprising, or intifada.
The Israeli chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon, told Israeli reporters on Wednesday that the developments this week might eventually be seen "as the end" of the conflict. "It is certainly a victory" for Israel, he was quoted as saying.
Some Israeli analysts criticized that conclusion as premature, if not hubristic. Yet for now, the American-brokered talks between the adversaries are being held on what appear to be largely Israeli terms.
The Israeli's may be a little premature in declaring victory.
japanese culture jamming
Canada: Hippie Nation?
Canadians can't quite believe it: Suddenly, we're interesting.
After months of making the news only with our various communicable diseases--SARS, mad cow and West Nile--we're now getting world famous for our cutting-edge laws on gay marriage and legalized drugs. The Bush conservatives are repulsed by our depravity. My friends in New York and San Francisco have been quietly inquiring about applying for citizenship.
And Canadians have been eating it up, filling the newspapers with giddy articles about our independence. "You're not the boss of us, George," Jim Coyle wrote in the Toronto Star. "So much for nice; we're getting interesting," wrote conservative columnist William Thorsell in the Globe and Mail. Polls are showing that it's not just that Canadians are becoming more forward-looking and groovier, it's also that the United States is lurching backward, retrenching into more conservative values. According to Canada's summer bestseller, Fire and Ice: The United States, Canada and the Myth of Converging Values, by pollster Michael Adams, Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 are twice as likely to worry about crime, "moral decline" and ethnic conflict as their Canadian counterparts.
thanks to Solipsistic
The street lights may still be twinkling on Sunset Boulevard and the sun may still come up every morning over the Mojave desert, but California could soon be plunged into fiscal darkness.
The state with an economy the equivalent of the world's fifth largest nation is bust, and a crisis which could lead to mass lay-offs and collapse of the public education system is in the offing.
This must be Bush's idea of compasionate concervatism.
Most states faced a crisis on budget
California's budget may be the biggest and messiest fiscal imbroglio of all 50 states, but it's far from the only one.
All manner of ugly gimmicks, tax increases and spending cuts have been used by dozens of other states, whether ruled by Republicans or Democrats, to close budget deficits brought on chiefly by a sharp downturn in tax revenue as the economic boom ended.
State after state has seen political deadlocks and last-minute budget deals. The fights have been so intense that in some places they have pitted members of the same party against each other, transcending the party battle that has gridlocked California.
thanks to Solipsistic
Here are the effects of our lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-key culture.
Listening to Oakland
Fated to live in the sunset shadows of San Francisco, Oakland has often been called an underdog town, but it's an underdog with a growl. People with money live in its hills, but Oakland, at heart, is a tough waterfront place, an unflinching antihero of a city that has earned its scars and the right to be suspicious.
Maybe this put-upon feeling is a black thing. Thirty-five percent of Oakland's residents, a slight plurality, are African American, and the political stew boils. It's not for nothing that Oakland, in its struggle for social justice, gave birth to the Black Panther Party in the mid-1960s and created the Ebonics language mess in 1996. The struggle continues now amid failing, bankrupt schools, a bustling crack trade and trouble with rogue cops. Yet today, those problems have been compounded by a newer misery—the troubled and troublesome class of Oakland citizens who, largely because of the get-tough laws that state and federal lawmakers adopted in the 1980s, are chronically cycled through jails and prisons and dumped back on the streets.
State law requires the return of parolees to the county of their last residence. Given $200 and a one-way bus pass, they gravitate toward familiar surroundings. They have made Oakland the ex-con capital of California.
One of every 14 adult males in Oakland today is on active parole or probation, with an estimated total of 11,400 parolees and probationers in the city. Those numbers rose quietly through the 1990s, then burst into public view last year as officials searched for reasons the city's homicide rate, after years of decline, jumped abruptly, to 113 from 87 in 2001. If current trends hold, just as many murders will occur this year. Many are linked to drug disputes or old grudges. Parolees or probationers, or others with felony records, were involved in most of the killings, either as murderers or victims, police say.
thanks to Solipsistic
J-Walk lists his finds of independent music webcasts. It's a good list even if I say so myself (disclosure: my TestingTesting is on the list). Check them out. Music by people who care.
In addition to focusing on independent music, these five Web sites all have one other thing in common:
These webcasts are a welcome change from traditional corporate media. The trite expression, "labor of love," rings true in the world of independent music.
RIAA? Who needs 'em?
thanks to Solipsistic
tour de france
It's July and time for the Tour. While Lance Armstrong may be the favorite, anything can happen and it almost did on Stage 1 where there was a mass crash right before the finish line. Lance went down but was unhurt. Others were not so lucky and have had to pull out of the tour or are riding injured. Tyler Hamilton (USA) rode Stage 2 with a broken collar bone. These early stages are not indicative of who the real leaders will be. Wednesday is the Team Time Trial which will start separating the men from the boys. It won't be until the mountain stages that Lance will make his move. Until then it's his team's job to keep him close to the front and to keep him safe. If the Prologue time trial is any indication, Lance's team, US Postal Service, is in good shape. Only one team had more than one rider in the top ten. US Postal Service had three in the top ten. But, as Lance says, anything can happen. Let the games begin.
Here is a good site for following the Tour: VeloNews presents Tour de France '03
Update: jaypea, of dumbmonkey, just sent me a site to the BBC Tour coverage. It seems to be better. I really like how the list of stages clearly shows the mountain stages. The all important mountain stages. They seem to have timlier results too.
Cooke clinches stage two
Australian Baden Cooke produced a stunning sprint finish to win the second stage of the Tour de France.
Defending champion Lance Armstrong finished in the main bunch and recorded the same time as Cooke.
Armstrong's French Rule
At the start of this year's centennial Tour de France race on Saturday, America's four-time winner and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong, at 31, remains the overwhelming favorite to score a fifth straight victory, which would tie Miguel Indurain's record for consecutive wins and cement Armstrong's place among the pantheon of cycling greats.
But this year, unlike the past Tours he has singularly dominated, Armstrong will have to fend off a series of challengers. There are some longtime rivals, a onetime teammate and a host of younger riders, some of them Spanish climbers, all of them in their twenties, who are already jockeying for position in what many believe will soon be the post-Armstrong era.
Armstrong comes off a strong win in last month's weeklong Dauphine Libere race, but that win also gave opponents a glimpse of a potentially vulnerable champion; for the first time in memory, he crashed in a race. Armstrong was back on a new bike in seconds and suffered only stitches in his elbow, but later conceded he was aching in the saddle. The crash, his age, his willingness to admit to feeling the pain, all have potential rivals circling in the belief that Armstrong's long dominance of the Tour may be coming to an end.
During the 1920s, the Chicago Rapid Transit Company commissioned the city's finest graphic artists to produce advertising posters that encouraged Chicagoans to use rapid transit for more than commuting to work. The images produced beckoned Chicagoans to the city's parks, museums and other urban spots, as well as to more bucolic destinations beyond the city limits. Curiously, almost none of the posters actually featured the "L"TM itself, only scenic views of the destinations.
thanks to amberglow
back to reality land
It was a lovely weekend on Whidbey Island. Early July is often cloudy and rainy in the Great Northwet but this weekend was a sunny and hot one here at Honeymoon Lake. Now it's time to get back to work — but first the links...