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A Call to Lament and Repent

From Sojourners:

The following statement is being issued by over a dozen Christian leaders
to mark the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war. We invite you to join us in adding
your name as a gesture of lamentation and repentance.

This season of Lent, we are truly living "in darkness and in the shadow
of death" as we mark, on March 19, 2008, the fifth anniversary of the war
with Iraq. It is a war that is being waged by our country, financed by our taxes,
and fought by our sisters and brothers. As U.S. Christians, we issue a call
to the American church to lament and repent of the sin of this war.

We lament the suffering and violence in Iraq. …

We lament the effects of this war on our country. …

We repent of our failure to fully live the teaching of Jesus to be peacemakers.

We believe repentance means more than just being sorry. …

We dedicate ourselves to the biblical vision of a world in which nations
do not attempt to resolve international problems by waging war on other nations.

here to see the full statement and signers

The mission of Sojourners is to articulate the biblical call to social
justice, inspiring hope and building a movement to transform individuals, communities,
the church, and the world.

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Cheney: How Many Additional Dead Americans Was Saddam Worth?

How Many Additional Dead Americans Was Saddam Worth?

This morning, on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, ABC’s Good Morning America aired an interview with Vice President Cheney on the war. During the segment, Cheney flatly told White House correspondent Martha Raddatz that he doesn’t care about the American public’s views on the war:

CHENEY: On the security front, I think there’s a general consensus that we’ve made major progress, that the surge has worked. That’s been a major success.

RADDATZ: Two-third of Americans say it’s not worth fighting.


RADDATZ: So? You don’t care what the American people think?

CHENEY: No. I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls.

Watch it at Think Progress.

Cheney Calls Iraq War a Success

This opposition to the war is not a “fluctuation” in public opinion. The American public has steadily turned against the war since the 2003 invasion. According to a new CNN poll, just 36 percent of the American public believes that “the situation in Iraq was worth going to war over — down from 68 percent in March 2003, when the war began.”

Even though he doesn’t care what the American public wants, Cheney still thinks he is able — and entitled — to speak for the American public. Last month, Cheney declared, “The American people will not support a policy of retreat.” If Cheney were actually listening to the “American people,” he would know that 61 percent actually supports the redeployment of U.S. troops.

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An Election Without Meaning

By Peter Phillips
March 20, 2008

Will November 2008 bring a meaningful change to America? Will getting rid of George
W. Bush and Richard Cheney without impeachment or indictment really make a difference?
Will a 600 billion dollar war/defense budget be cut in half and used for desperately
needed domestic spending? Will the ninety-three billion dollars profits in the
private health insurance companies­­—those parasitic intermediates
between you and your doctor—be used instead for full health care coverage
for all? Will Habeas Corpus and Posse Comitatus be restored to the people? Will
torture stop? Will all students in public universities be able to enroll for free?
Will the US national security agencies stop mass spying on our personal communications?
Will the neo-conservative agenda of total military domination of the world be

The answer to these questions in the context of the current billion dollar presidential
campaign is an absolute no. Instead we have a campaign of personalities and platitudes.
There is a race candidate, a gender candidate and a tortured veteran candidate,
each talking about change in America, national security, freedom, and the American
way. The candidates are running with support of political parties so deeply embedded
with the military industrial complex, the health insurance companies, Wall Street,
and corporate media that it is undeterminable where the board rooms separate from
the state rooms.

The 2008 presidential race is a media entertainment spectacle with props, gossip,
accusations, and public relations. It is impression management from a candidates’
perspective. How can… Continue reading

Secret Schemes and Undeclared Agendas

Inside the Shell Game

By Paul Craig Roberts
March 24, 2008

The investigative journalist Edward Jay Epstein has taken up the Litvinenko case.

The media used the Litvinenko case as sensational propaganda against Russian President Putin and then tossed it aside. For those whose memories of the case have faded, Alexander Litvinenko was a former KGB officer living in England who died in 2006, apparently from the radioactive isotope Polonium-210.

The British government encouraged the tale that Russian President Putin had sent Andrei Lugovoi to poison Litvinenko’s tea at a meeting on November 1, 2006. The story appealed to people brought up on James Bond thrillers, but the story never made any sense. Polonium 2-10 is a rare and tightly controlled substance as likely to contaminate the assassin as the victim. There are far easier and more effective ways of killing someone.

Moreover, there is no evidence to connect Russia to Litvinenko’s death. But this didn’t stop the British government from grandstanding, sending an extradition request for Lugovoi in July 2007. The British government sent the request despite the facts that there is no extradition treaty between Britain and Russia and the Russian constitution prohibits the extradition of Russian citizens. Epstein suggests that the purpose of the extradition request was to block the Russian government from investigating Litvinenko’s death in London. Litvinenko had a false passport provided by the British government. A real investigtion might have opened up the shadowy world of security consultants in which Litvinenko rubbed shoulders… Continue reading

Gap in Life Expectancy Widens for the Nation

March 23, 2008
By Robert Pear

WASHINGTON — New government research has found “large and growing”
disparities in life expectancy for richer and poorer Americans, paralleling
the growth of income inequality in the last two decades.

Life expectancy for the nation as a whole has increased, the researchers said,
but affluent people have experienced greater gains, and this, in turn, has caused
a widening gap.

One of the researchers, Gopal K. Singh, a demographer at the Department of
Health and Human Services, said “the growing inequalities in life expectancy”
mirrored trends in infant mortality and in death from heart disease and certain

The gaps have been increasing despite efforts by the federal government to
reduce them. One of the top goals of “Healthy People 2010,” an official
statement of national health objectives issued in 2000, is to “eliminate
health disparities among different segments of the population,” including
higher- and lower-income groups and people of different racial and ethnic background.

Dr. Singh said last week that federal officials had found “widening socioeconomic
inequalities in life expectancy” at birth and at every age level.

He and another researcher, Mohammad Siahpush, a professor at the University
of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, developed an index to measure social and
economic conditions in every county, using census data on education, income,
poverty, housing and other factors. Counties were then classified into 10 groups
of equal population size.

In 1980-82, Dr. Singh said, people in the most affluent group could expect
to live 2.8 years longer than people in the most deprived group (75.8 versus
73 years).…

Continue reading

Debunking Popular Mechanics?

PM Book Alleges FAA Source For Statistical Data; FAA Concedes No Such Data Records Exist.

Aidan Monaghan

Beginning on page 22 of a Popular Mechanics 2006 book entitled Debunking 9/11
Myths, containing a forward comment by Republican presidential candidate John
McCain, an attempt is made to clarify the role played by potential military
aircraft intercepts during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Citing unnamed sources, part of this section reads as follows:

When contacted by Popular Mechanics, spokesmen for NORAD and the FAA clarified
their remarks by noting that scrambles were routine, but intercepts were not
– especially over the continental United States.

However, according to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Freedom of Information
Act response dated March 3, 2008, the FAA concedes that records for the information
alleged in part by Popular Mechanics’ unnamed FAA source, do not exist.


Your illusions are safe

Sources: Air marshals missing from almost all flights

By Drew Griffin, Kathleen Johnston and Todd Schwarzschild
March 26, 2008

(CNN) — Of the 28,000 commercial airline flights that take to the skies on
an average day in the United States, fewer than 1 percent are protected by on-board,
armed federal air marshals, a nationwide CNN investigation has found.

That means a terrorist or other criminal bent on taking over an aircraft would
be confronted by a trained air marshal on as few as 280 daily flights, according
to more than a dozen federal air marshals and pilots interviewed by CNN.

The Transportation Security Administration flatly denied those reports.

Greg Alter, assistant special agent in charge of the federal air marshal program,
said the 280 number "grossly understates coverage by an order of magnitude"
and that the number is "four digits," but he would not elaborate.

In a post on its Web site responding to the CNN story, the TSA said it would
not disclose the number of air marshals flying each day so as not to "tip
our hand to terrorists." However, it said, "The actual number of flights
that air marshals cover is thousands per day." Read the full response

The investigation found low numbers even as the TSA in recent months has conducted
tests in which it has been able to smuggle guns and bomb-making materials past
airport security screeners.

The air marshal program began in 1970, after a rash of airline hijackings,
and it was expanded significantly after the terrorist attacks of September 11,

Continue reading

A Third American War in the Making?

March 31, 2008
By Paul Craig Roberts

The US Congress, the US media, the American people, and the United Nations,
are looking the other way as Cheney prepares his attack on Iran.

If only America had an independent media and an opposition party. If there
were a shred of integrity left in American political life, perhaps a third act
of naked aggression–a third war crime under the Nuremberg standard–by the
Bush Regime could be prevented.

On March 30, the Russian News & Information Agency, Novosti, cited “a
high-ranking security source: “The latest military intelligence data point
to heightened US military preparations for both an air and ground operation
against Iran.”

According to Novosti, Russian Colonel General Leonid Ivashov said “that
the Pentagon is planning to deliver a massive air strike on Iran’s military
infrastructure in the near future.”

The chief of Russia’s general staff, Yuri Baluyevsky, said last November that
Russia was beefing up its military in response to US aggression, but that the
Russian military is not “obliged to defend the world from the evil Americans.”

On March 29, OpEdNews cited a report by the Saudi Arabian newspaper Okaz, which
was picked up by the German news service, DPA. The Saudi newspaper reported
on March 22, the day following Cheney’s visit with the kingdom’s rulers, that
the Saudi Shura Council is preparing “national plans to deal with any sudden
nuclear and radioactive hazards that may affect the kingdom following experts’
warnings of possible attacks on Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactors.”… Continue reading

Delusionary, Dancing Bush

By Ray McGovern
April 1, 2008

Events of the last week offer a metaphorical
glimpse at the delusion pervading President George W. Bush’s White House and
other enclaves of Iraq supporters in Washington. Bush and the First Lady spent
last Monday clowning with the Easter Bunny (White House counsel Fred Fielding
having donned the costume).

At the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), war cheerleaders, dressed as academicians,
were delivering a panegyric on how peaceful and stable the situation in Iraq
had become. The "surge," they announced, had nipped a civil war in
the bud.

"The civil war is over," AEI’s Fred Kagan, co-author of the surge,
declared proudly. Brookings twins Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack led the
cheering section.

Meanwhile, back in the southern Iraq city of Basra and elsewhere, full-blown
civil war seemed about to explode. And in Baghdad, formerly protected folks
were getting killed by mortar and rocket fire in what is customarily referred
to as "the highly fortified Green Zone," which has sequestered U.S.
embassy and military officials as well as those of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s

Two American officials and two Iraqi guards of Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi
died in the Green Zone attacks, which are continuing.

At ABC in New York, Good Morning America’s Diane Sawyer was trying hard Thursday
to understand it all. Shaking her head in disbelief after four straight days
of attacks on the Green Zone, she asked how a round "can actually get inside
the embassy; how fortified is that?"… Continue reading

Countdown: Mukasey

Posted at Crooks and Liars 4/1/08
By Logan Murphy

We brought you Attorney General, Michael Mukasey’s tearful remarks about 9/11 and the ongoing FISA battle in Congress last week and on Tuesday’s Countdown, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow dig deeper into what was either a series of lies from the AG or an admission of gross negligence on the part of the Bush Administration leading up to that tragic day.


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Mukasey claimed that the U.S. received a phone call from a terrorist safe house in Afghanistan prior to 9/11, but couldn’t trace the call because the FISA laws were too restrictive — which is, of course, a lie. Mukasey was a Federal Judge, he knows that. Olbermann says that someone in the House or Senate needs to haul the Attorney General in and question him and find out whether he was lying to make a political point, or if the Bush administration really did receive such a call and chose not to act on it, leaving the country vulnerable to attack.

Maddow: “…Oh please, just let him have just been lying, because if he was telling the truth here, if there really was a call from a known al Qaeda safe house in Afghanistan to the United States before 9/11 which the Bush Administration did not tap and trace? That is huge news and we ought to get some answers about why we were left so unprotected and surprised on 9/11. Let’s… Continue reading

(The Late) M.L. King Still Silenced

April 4, 2008
by Jeff Cohen

Soon after Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday became a federal holiday in
1986, I began prodding mainstream media to cover the dramatic story of King’s
last year
as he campaigned militantly against U.S. foreign and economic policy.

Most of his last speeches were recorded. But year after year, corporate networks
have refused to air the tapes.

Last night, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams enthused over new color
footage of King that adorned its coverage of the 40th anniversary of the assassination.
The report focused on the last phase of King’s life. But the same old
blinders were in place.

NBC showed young working-class whites in Chicago taunting King. But there was
no mention of how elite media had taunted King in his last year. In 1967 and
‘68, mainstream media saw Rev. King a bit like they now see Rev. Jeremiah

Back then they denounced King’s critical comments; today they simply
silence them.

While noting in passing that King spoke out against the Vietnam War, mainstream
reports today rarely acknowledge that he went way beyond Vietnam to decry U.S.
militarism in general.

“I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed
in the ghettos,” said King in 1967 speeches on foreign policy, “without
having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world
today – my own government."

In response to these speeches, Newsweek said King was “over his head”
and wanted a “race-conscious… Continue reading

Evidence is Growing: Continuity of Government Plan is Currently in Effect

Friday, April 11, 2008

In two previous posts (here and here), I showed that Continuity of Government
(COG) plans were implemented on September 11th, and I argued that it is possible
that they have never been suspended.

Now, one of the top investigative journalists in the country, Larisa Alexandrovna
(the lead journalist at Raw Story), says:

"it seems to me that this
administration has justified its crimes by NOT suspending the state of emergency
that went up on September 11, 2001. They are using emergency powers if you
look at the whole of the spying, military actions inside the US, etc. I would
wager that if asked, this administration will admit that we have been in a
state of emergency for their tenure in office

Remember that Continuity of Government plans — that is, the measures that
go into effect in case of emergency — suspend the Constitutional form of government,
cut elected officials out of the loop, and may even allow the government to
tell the media what it can and cannot report

Remember also that the entire Homeland Security Committee of the U.S. Congress
has been denied access to the government’s Continuity of Government Plans
though it has clearance to view such plans (video; or here is the transcript).
Indeed, a member of that Committee has said "Maybe the people who think
there’s a conspiracy out there are right”

If we are in a state of emergency and COG plans… Continue reading

U.S. presidential election can be hacked

By Robert McMillan, IDG News Service

This year, the U.S. will pick a new president using electronic voting machines
that can be hacked, security experts said Thursday at the RSA Conference in
San Francisco.

As the November election approaches, the question before officials is not how
to fix known bugs in their e-voting systems, but rather, how best to check them
for fraud, said David Wagner, an associate professor with the University of
California, Berkeley’s computer science department.

Wagner was part of the team that audited California’s voting systems during
the state’s review of electronic voting, and the problems his team found affect
counties across the U.S. "The three systems we looked at are three of the
most widely used around the nation," he said during an e-voting panel discussion
at the show. "They’re going to be using them in the 2008 elections; they’re
still going to have the same vulnerabilities we found."

With images of Florida’s laborious 2000 presidential recount in their minds,
county officials have spent billions over the past eight years on electronic
voting systems. These systems are supposed to take the guesswork out of vote-counting.
The problem is that they are insecure, and now states are being forced to make
do with buggy equipment, panel members agreed. "We have spent billions
of dollars on equipment," Wagner said. "We don’t have another several
billion dollars."

The California audit examined systems from Diebold Elections Systems, Hart
InterCivic and Sequoia Voting Systems, ultimately permitting their use in… Continue reading

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