Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Iranian Nuclear Program

Gordon Prather sheds some light on what has, and has not, transpired in the Iranian Nuclear program. In particular, he describes Iran's duties under the NPT and whether their actions did or did not violate those duties.

[A] couple of years ago, the Iranians allowed inspectors for the International Atomic Energy Agency to take a few swipes off some gas centrifuges they were assembling.

Under their existing safeguards agreement, the Iranians had not been obliged to inform the IAEA about anything they planned to do, were doing, or had done that did not involve the impending chemical or physical transformation of "source or special nuclear materials."

In particular, until the Iranians signed an additional protocol to their existing safeguards agreement and immediately began to adhere to it, they had been under no obligation whatsoever to inform the IAEA that they had imported or were constructing thousands of gas centrifuges, or that they had under construction a uranium enrichment pilot plant and a partially underground industrial-scale bunker capable of housing tens of thousands of gas centrifuges.

So those screaming about violations of the NPT are trying to create a problem where none exists. We have seen that before.

Prather goes on give us details about uranium enrichment that may prove useful in desecting future claims by the usual crowd.

But it turned out that one of the swipes showed traces of 36 percent HEU (highly enriched uranium). That is, there were traces of uranium on the Iranian equipment whose U-235 isotopic concentration had been enriched more than two orders of magnitude.

Now by that time, the neo-crazy media sycophants had managed to get even honest journalists to report that any uranium enrichment capability was bad because even uranium enriched just enough to make reactor fuel could easily and undetectably be further enriched to make nuclear-weapons fuel.

That's not true, of course. Enriching uranium on an industrial scale is no slam-dunk exercise.

Most commercial nuclear power plants – like the one the Russians have almost finished constructing at Bushehr – are fueled with low-enriched uranium (LEU), whose U-235 isotopic concentration is 3 to 5 percent.

Uranium whose U-235 isotopic concentration is greater than 20 percent is classified as highly enriched uranium.

In order to be classified as "weapons grade," the U-235 isotopic concentration has to be 90 percent or more.

So how did neo-crazy media sycophants universally report traces of 36 percent HEU being found on centrifuge parts the Iranians claimed to have imported? That the Iranians had been caught secretly making weapons-grade uranium.

They continued making that claim even after the IAEA concluded about a year ago that the Iranians were probably telling the truth. That the Iranians had not yet begun producing – in any quantity – even 3 percent LEU, much less 36 percent HEU. [Which is still not even close to weapons grade] That the 36 percent HEU probably was a contaminant, already present on the used parts they had purchased from a third party.

The Pakistanis finally admitted that they had been the original producers of the equipment the Iranians had bought, and although not a signatory to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the Pakistanis voluntarily provided the IAEA samples of the 36 percent HEU they had produced with that equipment.

Why would anyone produce 36 percent HEU?

Well, there are more than 130 operating research reactors in more than 40 countries around the world that use HEU fuel. Some use weapons-grade HEU. Several – including one in Bulgaria – use 36 percent HEU.

Of course, this also brings up the question why are we focusing on Iran when North Korea is much further along in developing nuclear weapons and much closer in proximity to the US, but that is another (important) discussion.

There is more here.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Who Would You Rather See in that Chair

Who would I rather see in that chair?

I can think of many who should be sitting there if there was any justice in this world.

The Instapundit, a National Review writer or any member of the Office of Special Plans. GWB.

And those are just the ones that come to mind right away.

I know we shouldn't hate, but during times like this it is difficult.


Slip of the Tongue

Paul Craig Roberts thinks Bush has tipped his hand as to why we are in Iraq:

Perhaps Bush supplied the answer in his reference in his weekly radio address to "our efforts in . . .the broader Middle East."

What are our efforts "in the broader Middle East"?

The only American efforts "in the broader Middle East" that have been defined are in the policy writings of Bush's neoconservative advisers who cooked up the invasion of Iraq. For the neocons, our efforts are in behalf of Israel's security.

The neocons' belief that Israel is made more secure by US military aggression in the Middle East is delusional. How is Israel made secure by an invasion that turns the Muslim world against America as all polls show and Iraq into a training ground for al Qaeda, as the CIA says has happened?

Now, there may have been other reasons for going into Iraq - oil, money, politics, personal vendettas, etc., but the most vocal, active and dishonest influence was that of the neocons.


Saturday, August 27, 2005

Alan Bock on Getting Out of Iraq.

Alan Bock tell us that:

When David Frum is dismayed, as he clearly is in a posting on National Review online this week, then we – the growing coalition of people who oppose this war and want it ended as quickly as possible [...] should be heartened.


Read what Alan has to say about getting out of Iraq here.

Also, read Kevin Zeese on the incredible shrinking president.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Rush to Error

The Washington Post tells us that we have been lied to again:

Traces of bomb-grade uranium found two years ago in Iran came from contaminated Pakistani equipment and are not evidence of a clandestine nuclear weapons program, a group of U.S. government experts and other international scientists has determined.

"The biggest smoking gun that everyone was waving is now eliminated with these conclusions," said a senior official who discussed the still-confidential findings on the condition of anonymity.

This is an incredible turn of events. For almost two years we have been badgering Iran about their nuclear program and saber rattling at home, and it was all based on a "mistake".

The Bush administration has a habit of acting too swiftly and too forcefully on information that ultimately turn out to be completely wrong. Many lives and dollars are lost in the process.

We need to be more patient and determine the reliability of information before we act. We need to seek confirmation of the information we have from multiple sources. Finally we need people in the administration who will asses the information they receive objectively, without bias or preconceived plans of action.

That really isn't too much to ask for.

Washington Post

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Sticky Situation

With polls showing that approval of the Iraq war is less than forty percent, one would think a slow but steady path to exit is assured. It will not be that easy.

Even Juan Cole, the prolific critic of the Iraq war and the Bush Administration, can't see a clear path from the current situation to complete withdrawal. He writes here that:

Personally, I think "US out now" as a simple mantra neglects to consider the full range of possible disasters that could ensue. For one thing, there would be an Iraq civil war. Iraq wasn't having a civil war in 2002. And although you could argue that what is going on now is a subterranean, unconventional civil war, it is not characterized by set piece battles and hundreds of people killed in a single battle, as was true in Lebanon in 1975-76, e.g. People often allege that the US military isn't doing any good in Iraq and there is already a civil war. These people have never actually seen a civil war and do not appreciate the lid the US military is keeping on what could be a volcano.

We have a problem if Juan Cole is hesitant to call for a complete withdrawal.

Some don't agree with Juan, however, including Andrew Bacevich who writes in the Washington Post that we should get out as soon as possible. Also, Juan himself posts a letter from a reader disagreeing with his own position.

This indicates Juan is probably open to reconsidering his stance.

Still, deciding how we get out of Iraq will be as difficult the decision to get out in the first place. I imagine that those who got us into this situation were counting on this.

Don't let them get away with it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Sibel Edmonds

Vanity Fair recently had an article on (the attractive) Sibel Edmonds.

Her story is an interesting one. She was hired by the FBI to do translation work. While at the FBI she uncovered criminal activity by certain Turkish business groups and, more interestingly, another translator within the FBI who was covering up the incriminating translations. When she attempted to expose the activity she was fired. The translator she exposed left the country shortly thereafter never to return.

What makes the story particularly interesting is that a) she claims some of the translations are related to 9/11 and b) some high level government officials are involved in the criminal activities.

In a recent interview with Scott Horton she discusses the Vanity Fair article and her attempt to get a gag order removed so she can discuss the details of her case. Xymphora discusses the interview here.

During the interview Sibel gives and interesting "example" of the type of corruption she thinks she uncovered.

These people who call themselves Americans and these people are using their position, their official position within these agencies – some of them in the Department of Defense, some of them in the Department of State – and yet, what they are doing with their position, with their influence is against the United States' national security, it's against the best interests of its people, and that is treason. Be it giving information to those that are either quasi-allies – and I would underline quasi, who one day will be another al-Qaeda – and who are already are engaged in activities that are damaging to our country, its security and its interests – and that is treason. So that's what I was referring to. And what would you call someone who, let's say if they were to go after Douglas Feith, and if they were to establish that Douglas Feith with his access to information, willingly, intentionally used the information he had and gave it to those that would one day use it or maybe right now are using that information against the United States. Would you call that treason?

It would certainly be nice to hear what she has to say.

NYT Quotes Chalabi Again

The NYT continues to use Ahmad Chalabi as a news source. Arianna Huffington rips them a new one for it here.

It's hard to believe, but the New York Times is back on Chalabi. Not unlike Courtney Love, the paper of record swears it's going to go straight, stop using, be responsible, really change this time, and then it happens again. For whatever reason, the paper falls off the wagon.

Indeed. (Does the instaidiot have a trademark on that?)

Monday, August 22, 2005

Jews Sans Frontieres

The Jews Sans Frontieres blog has had a string of good posts over the last week. You should go check them out.

Jews Sans Frontieres

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Pluralism not an Israeli Value

I don't want to make this a blog about Israel, however, others often mention the US has "shared values" with Israel, which forces one to actually look whether Israel does share values with the US. A lot of what I read says no, but I am not an expert.

Nehamia Stasler gives us another data point to consider. He (she?) tells us in Haaretz that Ariel (the "bulldozer") Sharon has disclosed what no prime minister before has dared to say:

For the first time, we heard the reason for the shift in his position: demography. It is demography that forced the evacuation of Gaza on anyone wishing to live in a state with a Jewish majority and who is not prepared to rely on the messiah. The approximately 1.3 million Arabs now living in the Gaza Strip are what changed Sharon's mind. "We will not be able to hold onto Gaza forever. Over a million Palestinians live there, and they are doubling in number every generation."

Indeed, on the eve of the disengagement, Jews became a minority between the Mediterranean and the Jordan. [I guess this is something very bad in the eyes of Sharon] The percentage of Jews living in territories controlled by Israel is now 49 percent; after the withdrawal from Gaza, they will once again be in the majority.

A pluralistic society is something Israel is working very hard to avoid.


What was the Point?

The last fig leaf of justification for the Iraq war has now been lost.

THE careful negotiations over the Iraqi constitution appeared last night to be leaning further towards making Islamic law the main source of law for the country rather than a source after US diplomats apparently gave way to the concerns of Iraqi officials.
Sunni Arab negotiator Saleh al-Mutlak said a deal was struck which would mean parliament could pass no legislation that “contradicted Islamic principles”.

Yesterday Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish negotiators, meeting with Iraqi president Jalal Talabani and US ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, all said there was accord on a bigger role for Islamic law than Iraq had before.

One secular Kurdish politician said: “We understand the Americans have sided with the Shi’ites. It’s shocking. It doesn’t fit American values. They have spent so much blood and money here, only to back the creation of an Islamist state. I can’t believe that’s what the Americans really want or what the American people want.”

So, tell me again how are we spreading freedom and western princples around the world? Tell me again how will Iraq will become a less hospitable place for terrorists?

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Village Voice on Feith

Juan Cole pulls out a great quote regarding Douglas Feith from the Village Voice:

US foreign policy supports the withdrawal of Israeli colonizers from the Palestinian Gaza Strip. But the outgoing number 3 man at the Pentagon, the son of a founder of the proto-fascist Likud Party, has his own foreign policy and fanatically favors the aggressive expansion of Israel and further expropriation of Palestinian property. It is shameful that he is only now resigning, since he has all along opposed the roadmap to peace of the Bush administration. And while others might have had complex motives for taking out Saddam, the reams of disinformation that issued from Feith's "Office of Special Plans" are easily explained. He saw the Baath regime as a brake on his hopes for a "Greater Israel." As number 3 in the US Department of Defense, moroever, it is hard to see how he could have been insulated from the decisions that led to the torture of Arab prisoners.

If France appointed Jean-Marie LePen as its number 3 in the Ministry of Defense, there would be howls of outrage from the international community. But Feith's commitment to colonizing Palestinians is just as racist a project as any of LePen's programs. If any other American bureaucrat had dared to maintain that it is perfectly all right for one country to colonize another, he would have been considered poison in Washington. But the Likudniks have made themselves respectable in ways that are mysterious to those of us outside the beltway.

Will they call the Village Voice anti-Semitic now?

Village Voice

Friday, August 19, 2005

Iraq and Presidential Politics

Russ Feingold is testing the waters by calling for complete troop withdrawal by the end of 2006. This a bold move that is aimed at Hillary Clinton.

While Hillary Clinton is the odds on favorite to the 2008 Democratic Presidential Nominee, she has some vulnerabilities. The Democratic base hates the war, but as a senator from NY there is concentrated pressure on her to tone down the antiwar rhetoric. It will be very difficult for Hillary to call for complete removal of the troops from Iraq.

The war has always been hated by the Democratic base, and now is unpopular overall. Yet the Democrats have held back on calling for bringing home the troops. It is a delicate balancing act, but the Democrat who can take the proper tone and demonstrate the proper timing will do quite well.

Hillary will be forced to drag her feet on Iraq and this represents an opening for a lesser known candidate.


Thursday, August 18, 2005

David Horowitz

From The Nation, the subscription rate of which is increasing dramatically, reports that:

Horowitz, the former left-wing zealot who is now a right-wing zealot, described the woman who has camped out near Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch as "hateful," accused her of dishonoring the memory of her son and promised that if Sheehan and other anti-war activists succeed in bringing an end to the occupation of Iraq then "rivers of blood" will flow in the streets of America. It was a remarkable performance, so much so that even Horowitz admitted that he was "emotional" about the subject.

It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.


Why is the NYT Standing Behind Judith Miller?

As I have metioned before, Arianna Huffington is doing a spectacular job covering the New York Times' Judith Miller and her inaccurate reporting on WMD in Iraq as well as her illegal leak in the Plame affair. Ms. Huffington is establishing her web site as a "must read" news source.

In today's article she notes a contradiction New York Times policy with regard to anonymous sources.

“When I was chief of the bureau in Washington,” he [Bill Kovach, the former Times Washington bureau chief] told Sidney Blumenthal, “we laid down a rule to the reporters that when they wanted to establish anonymity they had to lay out ground rules that if anything the source said was damaging, false or damaged the credibility of the newspaper we would identify them. If a man damages your credibility, why not lay the blame where it belongs? Whoever was leaking that information to Novak, Cooper or Judy Miller was doing it with malice aforethought, trying to set up a deceptive circumstance. That would invalidate any promise of confidentiality. You wouldn't protect a source for telling lies or using you to mislead your audience. That changes everything. Any reporter that puts themselves or a news organization in that position is making a big mistake.”

This doesn't seem like a complicated point to me. At best, Judth Miller was manipulated by an anonymous source. Therefore, under standard NYT policy that source should be exposed. Why won't Mr. Sulzberger follow the policy of his own paper?

You should read the entire article here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Neocon is code for ... idiot.

There are people on both sides of the debate who receive some benefit from claiming that "neocon" is a codeword for Jew, although right now it is mostly the neocons themselves trying to make that claim.

As we see, only an idiot would think that claim would hold up under scrutiny.

Sheehan's Crawford encampment has swollen in the past week, as other antiwar protesters have flocked to Texas. Members of CodePink, a women's antiwar organization, have pitched their tent near Sheehan's.

TrueMajority, an antiwar group founded by Ben Cohen -- one of the creators of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream -- hired Fenton Communications, a Washington public relations firm that has worked intermittently with Sheehan over the past year to coordinate media coverage.

There are more examples of this than can be counted, but for some reason this one caught my eye.


Israel as South Africa

While it may be an exaggeration to say that Israel is like South Africa during Apartheid, there certainly seem to be practices in Israel that are offensive to American (and Western) sensibilities.

For example, Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs are treated quite differently by the criminal justice system of Israel:
Security prisoners who are Israeli Arabs are subject to discrimination, on three levels, compared with Israeli Jews who have harmed Arabs: In the severity of the punishment meted out by Israeli judges; in their chances for early parole (as a result of amnesty or time off for good behavior after serving two thirds of their sentence); and their conditions of incarceration.

In 1993, Yoram Skolnik murdered an Arab who was bound hand and foot, and was given a life sentence. President Ezer Weizman twice reduced his sentence: first to 15 years, and then to 11 years and three months. He was ultimately released seven years after his arrest.

Skolnik is part of a list of Jews who murdered Arabs and were released by the judicial system. In contrast, Arab prisoners are sentenced to life or lengthy prison terms, even if they were not convicted of murder. For example, Mukhles Burghal and Mohammad Ziade were given life sentences 18 years ago. They were convicted of tossing a grenade at a bus carrying soldiers. The grenade failed to explode. Burghal, who threw the grenade, had his sentence reduced to 40 years. The sentence imposed on Ziade, who had signaled him when the bus approached, remained unchanged: life in prison.

In another example we see a housing development that is not available for Palestinians:
Nof Zion, due to open in 2007, is not your average suburb. Built amid 10,000 Palestinian residents of the East Jerusalem village Jabel Mukhaber, the 395 new housing units of Nof Zion will comprise a Jewish settlement in the heart of the area that every internationally recognized peace plan considers the future capital of a Palestinian state.

Backed by discriminatory housing laws and demographic-manipulation policies that favor new Jewish residents over Palestinians with centuries of direct heritage there, Nof Zion’s developers and future residents will be the beneficiaries of the Israeli push to lay permanent claim to as much of the West Bank as possible.

I would like to think that my tax dollars are not supporting activities such as these.



Running for Cover

Justin Raimondo hits a home run this morning when discussing the War Party's attempts to smear the war protesting mom Cindy Sheehan.

What is particularly loathsome about Hitchens is that his "argument" consists entirely of epithets: to speak of "neocons," he avers, is to speak of a "Jewish cabal." But why is that? Most American Jews are vastly unsympathetic to George W. Bush, his party, and his war. Aside from that, however, is neoconservatism suddenly and inexplicably disappeared, even as one of its leading exponents triumphantly brays that the "neoconservative movement" has succeeded? Sheehan never once used the word "Jew" to describe anyone or anything for the simple reason that "neocon" is not a synonym for a person of the Jewish faith. Hitchens himself is a living example of why this is true. There are others: Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Michael Novak, Victor Davis Hanson, and Bill Bennett, not to mention former Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin, indicted spy for Israel and devout Catholic.

Of course. People use the word neocon becuase they want to be sure NOT to implicate anyone other than neocons. The neocons desparately want to expand the meaning of neocon to "Jews" so that they may hide under the cover of claims of anti-semitism. We will have none of it.

Justin sums it up well:

The neocons did bring us this war: they manufactured the lies, they promoted the phony "intelligence," they went on television predicting that the Iraqis would shower us with flowers and hosannas. They aren't scapegoats: they're the culprits, and they deserve what's coming to them – although not nearly enough are going to be called upon to account for their actions.



Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Bolton Meets with Judith Miller in Jail

The NYT is holds itself out as the nations newspaper, and many find that it has a liberal bias, but when it came to covering Iraq during the pre-invasion period it was essentially a Bush administration mouthpeice.

We now are starting to understand why:

[John] Bolton apparently has a warm spot in his heart for at least one journalist: none other than Judy Miller.

According to a trusted Judy File source, Bolton recently took time out of his busy schedule to pay a jailhouse visit to Judy.

No word on what they talked about.

Incredible. I think that tells you all you need to know about Judith Miller's motivations and biases while reporting for the New York Times. We can only hope she spends a lot of time in jail and ulitimately exposes the source of her information.

This information comes from Arianna Huffington who, hands down, is providing the best coverage of the Plame Affiar.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

More Speculation on Iran

The problem with the neocons is that stuff like this is completely plausible.

August 10, 2005 -- U.S. prepared to grab Iran's southwestern majority Arab and oil-rich province after saturation bombing of Iranian nuclear, chemical, and command, control, communications & intelligence (C3I) targets. According to sources within the German Federal Intelligence Service (Bundesnachrichtendienst - BND), the Bush administration has drawn up plans to hit Iran's nuclear, other WMD, and military sites with heavy saturation bombing using bunker buster bombs and tactical nuclear weapons. The attack will be coordinated with urban and rural critical infrastructure sabotage carried out by elements of the People's Mujaheddin (MEK), Pentagon Special Operations units, and other Iranian dissident groups.

Well, if it actually happens you read it here first.

Wayne Madsen Report
Some good commentary on the "AIPAC" spy scandal from Robert Dreyfuss here.

But the network tied to the "Franklin case"-which ought to be called the "AIPAC case," since it was AIPAC that was really under investigation by the FBI- provides an important window into a shadowy world. It is clear that by probing the details of the case, the FBI has got hold of a dangerous loose end of much larger story. By pulling on that string hard enough, the FBI and the Justice Department might just unravel that larger story, which is beginning to look more and more like it involves the same nexus of Pentagon civilians, White House functionaries, and American Enterprise Institute officials who thumped the drums for war in Iraq in 2001-2003 and who are now trying to whip up an anti-Iranian frenzy as well.

Even if the FBI is not able to convict some or all of these people, it is clear that the interests of another nation weighed heavily on the minds of these people during the entire pre-invasion Iraq intellegence gathering process. This very likely led to the bad decision making that took place there, the results of which we are now living with everyday.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Free from Terror

The Lebanese Political Journal asks:

If al Qaeda truly wanted to make the world a better place for Muslims, the US would not be the first country they would attack. Muslims live incredibly free and profitable lives in the United States. And Muslims can be seen thriving in all areas of employment and life as shopkeepers, doctors, artists, and professors.

But in China, this is not the case. Muslims are horribly oppressed by the Chinese government.
The Chinese government is officially atheist and has no problem toppling every pillar of Islam. Chinese cuisine is packed with pork, and alcohol is a popular commodity (okay, that's not really a kep point). The Chinese government indirectly supports the genocide of Muslims in Darfur (albeit by other Muslims).

Could it be the US' blind support of Israel?


Mick Jagger uses "Neocon" in a Song.

The fact that Mick Jagger wrote a song about the war is somewhat interesting, but the fact that he used the term "neocon" is a very interesting.



"You call yourself a Christian, I call you a hypocrite/ You call yourself a patriot. Well, I think your are full of sh*t!... How come you're so wrong, my sweet neo-con."

Ready to drop in the coming weeks, a new Bush-bashing tune from the ROLLING STONES: "Sweet Neo Con."

"It is direct," Mick Jagger says with a laugh to fresh editions of NEWSWEEK.

"Keith [Richards] said, 'It's not really metaphorical.' I think he's a bit worried because he lives in the U.S." Jagger explains. "But I don't."

The full lyric also mocks National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.

News about the song surfaced a few weeks ago with many expecting that it would not make the finally cut on the new CD, A BIGGER BANG.

Jagger once vowed not to comment on the political process in the United States.

"I feel very much at home in America. I've spent half my adult life here. I have many personal feelings. But I'm from the school that considers it impolite to comment on other people's elections. Now if I had the vote - and I should have, as I pay so much in taxes - I would have a lot to say."

Now with the elections long over, the tongue is unleashed!

The band kicks off its world tour in Boston on Aug. 21.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Understanding the Past and Future

The Bush administration continues to attempt to stir up a fight with Iran and MSNBC seems inclined to help out. MSNBC reports here that:

U.S. military and intelligence officials tell NBC News that American soldiers intercepted a large shipment of high explosives, smuggled into northeastern Iraq from Iran only last week.

The officials say the shipment contained dozens of "shaped charges" manufactured recently. Shaped charges are especially lethal because they’re designed to concentrate and direct a more powerful blast into a small area.

However, a British General is not so convinced, as reported in this article:

"We don't know exactly where that came from," he said. "We are keen to find out and investigations are ongoing. There have been suggestions that they could have come from Iran, but I certainly can't prove that."

And they wonder why less that 50% of the people now this Bush is honest.

MSNBC shows particularly poor judgment by quoting Michael Leeden, who states:

"They are desperate to get us out of Iraq” says Michael Ledeen, author of "The War Against the Terror Masters" and resident scholar in the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute. “If we succeed in Iraq they will be surrounded by elected governments.”

I think they only desperate ones are the neocons, who are desperate for us to bomb Iran.

It is always worth pointing out that Ledeen was denied tenure at Washington University because the staff found he had committed plagiary. Why he is accorded any stature whatsoever, by MSNBC or anyone else, is completely beyond me.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Iraq Approval Down to Thirty-Eight Percent

Iraq is starting to be a lead weight for Bush, and probably the rest of the Republicans.

Approval of Bush's handling of Iraq, which had been hovering in the low- to mid-40s most of the year, dipped to 38 percent. Midwesterners and young women and men with a high school education or less were most likely to disapprove of Bush on his handling of Iraq in the past six months.

Thirty-eight percent is dismal. Almost two-to-one against the handling of the war. The neocons have led them down the path of disaster.

Also, and in some ways more significantly, the number of people who think Bush is honest has fallen below fifty percent.

The portion of respondents who consider Bush honest has dropped slightly from January, when 53 percent described him that way while 45 percent did not. Now, people are just about evenly split on that issue -- with 48 percent saying he is honest and 50 percent saying he is not.

Some people are starting to understand we were duped into this war by people with a different agenda.

Finally, an Ohio special election sends a waring to the GOP, which won a usually safe seat by a thin margin.

Democrat Paul Hackett, an Iraq war veteran and vocal critic of President Bush's Iraq policy, came within 4,000 votes of upsetting Republican Jean Schmidt in the solidly GOP 2nd Congressional District in southwestern Ohio.

Republicans should consider getting off this sinking ship as soon as possible.

Thursday, August 04, 2005


We will just have to wait and see...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors plan to announce additional charges Thursday against a Defense Department analyst accused of illegally disclosing classified defense information, and to charge two former officials of a pro-Israel lobbying group, government sources said.

The additional charges involve Lawrence Franklin, a Pentagon analyst already accused of giving the information to two former employees of the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the two sources said.

They said prosectors planned to announce charges against Steve Rosen, formerly AIPAC's policy director, and Keith Weissman, formerly its senior analyst.

In Alexandria, Virginia, where the case has been pending, U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty scheduled a news conference at 2 p.m./1800 GMT) for an announcement "related to a major national security prosecution."

Not Anti-Semitism

Some might try to label this act anti-Semitic, but it is not. It is a rational (albeit somewhat broad) response to certain actions. It has nothing to do with who these people are, but rather what they are doing (which is a bit shocking, actually).

Israeli IP? You're banned

Increasing amount of internet storage sites placing blanket regional bans on all Israeli users; says huge amount of Israeli surfers violate their terms of use

Banning Israeli web surfers - A number of internet storage sites have begun banning Israeli surfers from accessing their services, saying that "unsuitable" behavior has forced them to block IP addresses from Israel.

The websites say Israeli surfers have used the site to upload and share pornographic material in large numbers, "forcing" them to place a blanket ban on Israeli web users.

100WebSpace, a storage site, has blocked all IP addresses originating from Israel, following what it says were “repeated attempts to exploit the service from Israel.”

Other foreign sites have followed suit, saying they too would ban Israeli web surfers, citing similar reasons.

One such website,, is a free storage provider for images and video files.

An attempt to reach the site from Israel results in an error message which reads, “Due to prolonged attempts to abuse the service we are sorry to announce that you cannot upload files from your area at this time.”

"Gordon," of, insists that the blanket regional ban on Israeli users was the correct course of action.

“This is not a small amount of users, but a large number, that have ruined the enjoyment for everyone else,” he says.

Terms of use’s terms of use forbid the use of pornographic images, but Gordon says that out of 22,157 file uploads from Israel, 15,741 contained sexually explicit material.

Over 3,500 uploads contained graphic scenes of violence, such as murder and accidents, while 27 file uploads infringed copyright laws. Gordon says 87 percent of Israeli users broke the site’s term of use.

“We try to provide a free service to everyone,” he says. “But the violations of our terms of use are bogging down our services. Pornographic content ties up a lot of space and content that violates copyright law creates legal complications.

"This buildup damages the quality of our service for legitimate users. We are planning a free registration for all users in the short term future, and we hope this step will allow us to provide our service to all users,” Gordon says., another site providing free web storage, has also begun blocking potential users from Israel.

Ynet was told that the ban was taken following “the especially high level of attempted fraudulent use from your area.”


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

EU Should Cut Trade With Israel

A letter in the Independant calls for the EU to cut trade ties with Israel based on Israel's repeated violation of international law, which implicates their trade treaty withthe EU.

EU should cut trade ties with Israel

Sir: It is now more than a year since the advisory ruling of the International Court of Justice that the construction by Israel of the separation wall in the occupied West Bank is illegal in international law and should cease forthwith. It ruled that those portions of the wall built on Palestinian land should be torn down and reparations made by Israel to those whose lives had been harmed by it. It also stated that all States party to the Geneva Convention are under an obligation to ensure compliance by Israel. On 20 July 2004, the UN General Assembly in emergency session passed a resolution by 150 votes to six accepting the advisory ruling. Those voting for the resolution included the UK and other European states.

I note that Israel has ignored the ruling and the UN vote, continues to build the wall and expand its settlements in the West Bank, also declared illegal by the ICJ in the same ruling, and that no attempts appear to have been made by the UK or other European governments to ensure Israel's compliance. Israel enjoys substantial trading advantages with Europe under the EU-Israel Association Agreement, an essential condition of which is that Israel maintains "respect for human rights". This condition is clearly being violated, and I believe that Europe should now suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement.



He make a good case.

HAT TIP: Jews sans frontieres.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Juan Cole History Lesson

Juan Cole has a nice summary of the events leading up to 9-11 including pictures.

You can check it out here

When Regan was in office the cold war was still going on, so you need to understand the context in which he acted. Bush, on the other hand, has no excuse.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Nine and Counting

Hello everyone. My vacation was excellent and I am ready to start blogging again.

Kevin Zeese notes that the number of Republicans in favor of bringing the troops home has increased to nine.

First it was Walter Jones (R-NC) who began to speak out in favor of an exit strategy for Iraq. Now there are nine. This is still a trickle - but it is a growing one. And as the support for the war decreases, evidence of the failure of the occupation and the increased risk the occupation poses to security at home becomes more apparent, this trickle could develop into a pounding river.

Zeese goes on to describe the different motives that have led these congressmen to the same conclusion - that Iraq was a bad decision which should be reversed as soon as possible.

The article is worth reading with an eye to detail and specifics. Understanding how these powerful people became opposed to a war that is supported by their own party will assist you in explaining to others (and in particular Republicans) why they should oppose the war as well.