[T]he Dean campaign began running [an ad] in Texas this week, taking direct aim at the president on his home turf.
Mr Dean has spent about $800,000 on the commercials so far. They are simple in format - just Mr Dean speaking into the camera for 30 seconds.
"Has anyone really stood up against George Bush and his policies?" he asks in the Texas commercial, which ran in the Austin television market. "Don't you think it's time somebody did?"
Aides to Mr Bush, who is at his Texas ranch this month, noted dismissively that the Crawford ranch "gets stations from Waco, not Austin".
[C]lose to eight in 10 Americans view the federal budget deficit as either a crisis (20%) or major problem (57%).
President Bush has argued that the recently passed tax cuts will ultimately have a positive effect on the deficit, but Americans appear unsure about that. When asked if the cuts would result in an increase or decrease of the deficit, Americans choose "increase" by a 20-point margin -- 54% to 34%.
A little over a year ago, Americans were also about evenly divided as to which party in Congress would do a better job with the deficit. But in the latest poll, Americans favor the Democrats over the Republicans by a 13-point margin, 50% to 37%.
Falujans don't consider their resistance of the US occupation terrorism, but a legal resistance.
The surprise to someone unfamiliar with the town is that the resistance is not only armed. The peaceful civil resistance in Falujah has focused the attention of all Falujans that the situation must eventually take the shape of general public opinion, facing the occupation with all means. At the center of the united national movement in Falujah is (the group of Sheikh Ahmed Al-Qubeisi). Ahmed Al-Esawy and Belal Al-Ani told of their movement in Falujah in spite of the fame of Al-Qubeisi as a Religious Islamic leader.
They describe their movement as a nationalist movement and not only contains Sunni, as it is rumored, but some Shia also. It includes Arabs and Kurds, and all other nationalities. We, they said, will welcome our brothers, the Christians, if they desire to join our movement. Our only condition is that the person who wants to belong to this movement should be Iraqi and believe in the uniting of our country and all its sects.
The movement assures delivery of civil services to the people of Falujah. These include cleaning campaigns, achieving clean drinking water, getting aid from humanitarian societies to distribute them to the poor people, to build hospitals and athletic clubs and to set up local newspapers etc.
Washington now has military forces in about 130 countries, fighting in some of them, peacekeeping and training foreign military units in others. You can hear George Washington turning in his grave.
Using official statistics, the editors at Global Security report there are 155 combat battalions in the US army. Before October 2001, only 17 of those were deployed on active combat service, in Kosovo and a few other hotspots (garrison deployment in Germany and Japan is not regarded as "active combat" service). Today, that figure stands at 98 combat battalions deployed in active areas.
Even a non-military expert can see this is an impossibly high number to sustain over the longer term, which is why, in addition to the 255,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guard forces deployed in combat and peacekeeping missions abroad, the US has sent another 136,000 troops from the National Guard and Reserves.
Most of the US carrier fleet are now back in their bases, being refitted after the defeat of Saddam Hussein, but Washington still has 40,000 sailors afloat and on mission. Meanwhile, the US generals are asking for more troop deployments in Iraq, and the Pentagon has just diverted three warships to the coast of Liberia.
Is this the US future -- to have its troops stationed for an undefined time on the Northwest Frontier or in a disease-ridden port in West Africa or some other outpost?
Washington frantically denies it has imperial ambitions, and I believe those denials to be sincere. But if the US increasingly looks like an empire, walks like an empire and quacks like an empire, perhaps it is becoming one just the same.
[T]he United States is an imperial power with a vested interest in maintaining a certain level of stability in the international political system, and that stability maintenance requires, as it has of every other imperial power, occasional military intervention along the imperial periphery. The uniqueness of the American empire as a voluntary association of market democracies does not alter the imperial obligations of the United States as the center of that empire. Imperial states meddle in small wars for reasons ranging from deterrence of escalation to protection of friends and allies.
FY1999 - 2,687
FY2000 - 2,857 (+6.3%)
FY2001 - 3,206 (+12.2%)
FY2002 - 3,366 (+4.9%)
FY2003 - 3,497 (+3.9%)
FY2004 - 3,607 (+3.1%)
Government agencies that Republicans were calling to be abolished less than 10 years ago, such as education and labor, have enjoyed jaw-dropping spending increases under Bush of 70 percent and 65 percent respectively.
Clinton had overseen a total spending increase of only 3.5 percent at the same point in his administration. More importantly, after his first three years in office, non-defense discretionary spending actually went down by 0.7 percent. This is contrasted by Bush's three-year total spending increase of 15.6 percent and a 20.8 percent explosion in non-defense discretionary spending.
I would begin the process of going to the United Nations, getting a resolution to bring foreign troops in, preferably including some troops from Arabic-speaking nations and some Muslim troops so that we can make this truly an international occupation. I do believe it's a worthwhile goal to rebuild Iraq into a democracy. I think that's unlikely to happen with this president, given his track record in Afghanistan.
I support the president's invasion of Afghanistan because I thought that was an issue for national security of the United States. But I think what s happened since then has been a very bad harbinger of what the president may do in Iraq.
We're under -- we have probably a fifth of the number of troops that we need to have in Iraq -- excuse me, in Afghanistan. The president is making deals with the warlords, who are certainly not Democratic forces. i think things look bad in Afghanistan. We need the U.N. and NATO to come in and help us there. And the problem is the president has managed to alienate and humiliate all the very countries that we now need to help us maintain the peace both in Afghanistan and in Iraq.
The United States needs to expand the numbers of foreign Arab and Muslim troops involved with the management of postwar Iraq. Their presence in Iraq for postwar security duties could also be very valuable in convincing Iraqis that the United States is not interested in severing them from the larger Arab World.Such a deployment would have to be coordinated with responsible Iraqi leaders. Moreover, many Arab and Muslim countries would probably be willing to contribute to a postwar stabilization force if it was authorized by the United Nations.While the United States may have to help finance such a force, it would be worth the expense to reduce the danger of U.S.confrontations with the population and assuage Iraqi fears of U.S.domination.
Larry, I am in the center. I balanced budget. The president hasn't done so. I believe that states have the right to make their own gun laws, after enforcing the federal laws vigorously. I believe that we ought to have health insurance for every single American. Harry Truman put that in the Democratic Party platform in 1948. There's nothing that's not centrist about me. I just think that the party and the electorate, the Republican Party and even my own party has simply moved too far to the right.
German police have arrested a man for firing potatoes at passers-by with a home-made bazooka, authorities in the western city of Essen said on Friday.
"It was like a bazooka that fired potatoes," a spokesman for police in Essen said. "Jolly dangerous from close range."
Police said the weapon consisted of about five feet of drainpipe attached to an aerosol can which the man ignited to propel the root vegetables toward their targets.
"He was plastered and probably thought it was fun," the spokesman said.
The 33-year-old man is now under investigation for attempting to cause bodily harm and violating gun laws.
I want my country back. I want America represented by a leader who doesn't stand up for whoever can write the biggest check, or who uses lies and deception to justify sending our troops into harm's way. I want a president who will do and say what's right for our country rather than what benefits the powerful few. I want a president who doesn't just pay lip service to encouraging employment, economic growth and health care - but really does things to help. We should have a president that holds America up as a leader to the world but doesn't act like a spoiled, petulant bully. America deserves a president that makes us proud to be Americans.
That man is Howard Dean.
72,134 Meetup volunteers for Meetup ths Wednesday! Over 1,000 new people joined Dean Meetups in the past 5 hours! This people-powered Howard campaign is incredible.
Grinding its teeth, the IDF is slowly getting used to the cease-fire and is adjusting itself to its own limitations. The hudna (temporary cease-fire), for the time being at least, is the only game in town. All parties - the U.S., Israel, the Palestinian Authority and, to a certain extent Hamas too - have an interest in preserving it.
In the IDF intelligence and planning division, they are even willing to stick their necks out and say the hudna will probably last beyond its original expiry date - September 29 - which, coincidentally, marks the third anniversary of the intifada.
the truth, as sources in the General Staff admit, is that "the quiet is intoxicating and misleading." As long as there is quiet, therefore, and no local incidents get out of control, it is in no one's interest for the hudna to be broken.
If the hudna goes on, Israel will continue to provide a steady dribble of "good will measures" and both sides will wait - at least until after the American presidential elections of 2004.
Verizon Communications Inc. employees reported to work as usual on Monday, after unions agreed to negotiate past a weekend deadline...
The nation's largest telephone company and two unions representing about 80,000 employees, or about a third of the company's work force, were set to resume contract negotiations after making "substantial progress" over the weekend...
Over the weekend, we made real progress in our negotiations with Verizon. We are continuing talks today on some key issues that remain to be worked out and our subcommittees are continuing to do their work.
Our solidarity actions are an important support for bargaining. We have a carefully developed plan that supports bargaining, and right now, that plan does not include any actions that affect the business of the company.
Other actions may be necessary down the road, but right now, it's important that we stay together, follow our plan and focus on our bargaining strategy.
Actions we should all be doing include pre-work rallies, wearing red, after-work tailgates and other activities that mobilize our members, spread our message and build public support.
We can win a fair contract in bargaining if we stay strong and stick with our strategy. That means not falling for management traps, not getting provoked on the job and not planning or discussing options that affect Verizon's business.
Our plan is working -- let's stick to it.
For a second straight day, the US military reported no fatal attacks yesterday on American soldiers in Iraq. In a series of raids, troops detained two dozen people they said were participating in the violent resistance to the US occupation, including a ''targeted leader.''
The US Central Command said yesterday's raids by the Third Armored Cavalry in the so-called Sunni Triangle west and north of the capital netted ''24 regime loyalists, including a targeted leader.'' It provided no details on the identities of the captives.
A 75 -year-old Iraqi farmer was shot dead and his son wounded Sunday, August 3, after being turned back at a coalition checkpoint west of Fallujah, as U.S. soldiers came under a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) attack in northeast Iraq on the road between Baquba and Baghdad, wounding two of the troops.
As U.S. occupation troops trawled Iraq for ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein Sunday, the two Iraqis were caught in the lethal crossfire of the U.S.-led forces war on Iraqi resistance fighters.
U.S. forces arrested Sunday, August 3 the spiritual leader of the Kurdish Islamic Movement - the Kurds' oldest Islamic group Ali Abdul Aziz, and 14 other people in the northern town of Halabja as U.S. troops in the war-ravaged country still take resistance fire.
"Some 2 ,000 U.S. soldiers, supported by two helicopters, laid siege to Abdul Aziz's house in Halabja at 5 : 30pm (1330GMT) on Saturday (August 2) before taking him and 14 other people away," Agence France-Presse quoted the official as saying.
Mullah Omar, brother of Abdul Aziz, and bodyguards of the spiritual leader were among those arrested, he said, adding that the group was taken to an "unknown destination."
"The group is surprised that the Americans can arrest its spiritual guide who has long since declared war on the Baath party and the former regime in Iraq," the official said, accusing U.S. forces of now attacking "supporters of freedom and enemies of Saddam Hussein's regime."
Meanwhile, a U.S. soldier and two Iraqi civilians were wounded near Baquba, 60 kilometers (37 miles) north of Baghdad, Lieutenant Colonel Bill MacDonald of the Fourth Infantry Division (4ID) said Monday, August4.
The removal of Saddam's regime created problems and opportunities for Iraqi ethnic and religious communities. Arab Shi'ites, who comprise the majority of the population, saw new opportunities for political leadership, perhaps with a powerful but fragmented clergy leading the way. Sunni Arabs correspondingly worried about a new distribution of power, and many began to view de-Baathification as a process that further threatens their community. Kurds remain interested in de facto, but not formal, independence from Iraq, and the danger of an Arab backlash to Kurdish aspirations is correspondingly serious. Tribal identities further complicate the situation.
Some attacks against U.S. forces have occurred following the war with most of the violence associated with residual Saddam loyalists from among the Sunni Arab community. Many Shi'ites are more reluctant to engage in such activity so long as it appears that they can take power by political means. Nevertheless, strong anti-U.S. views are present in the pro-Iranian Shi'ite organizations, and these views may spread among other Shi'ites over time. The possibility of confrontations between U.S. troops and hostile crowds is particularly worrisome as is the availability of massive quantities of weapons to the Iraqi population.
Iraqi nationalism is currently in the process of redefining itself for a post-Saddam world. The chances of this nationalism being anti-Western and anti-U.S.seem serious.
[T]he United States has a reputation in the Arab World of favoring democracy so long as the democratic process produces leaders acceptable to Western interests. Advocating democracy and dictating who can be elected are two different concepts. One of the clearest ways the United States can avoid a nationalist backlash is to recognize that ousting Saddam Hussein has not earned for us the privilege of dominating Iraq for the indefinite future. If U.S. leaders believe that it does, then the United States has truly become a colonial power that will inevitably face colonial wars.
By now...it should be obvious that no significant population group in Iraq wants the democracy that the Bush administration is striving so hard to establish.
It would be an astonishing achievement of cultural transformation if a functioning Iraqi democracy could be established in a mere 30 years, or indeed 60. But the Bush administration cannot contemplate decades of colonial government, and is therefore pushing for the formation of some kind of elected government in two or three years, after a constitution is written and approved by referendum, so that elections can be held.
But the immediate problem is that even that perilously accelerated time-table is much too slow for many Iraqis - and for the US Army, which is heading for a veritable collapse in re-enlistments among the troops serving in Iraq.
It is thus not just the successive delays in rotating forces home that are ruining morale, but the mission impossible of turning Iraqis into democrats in short order. Now that hopes of recruiting large numbers of peacekeepers from other countries have faded, the time has come to prepare the next-best exit strategy. If equipped with an adequate security force, there is no reason why the new Iraqi Governing Council cannot be left to rule on its own - and such a force could be formed quickly out of existing Kurdish and Shi'ite militias rounded off with police forces raised in Sunni areas as well. The continued survival of Saddam Hussein is no obstacle to a rapid hand-over of power. He has no loyal followers in Iraq but for the Sunni tribals, who can longer impose their will on most Iraqis.
The perils of a rapid exit are many, but the only alternative is a prolonged occupation that offers no greater guarantees of success, at far greater cost.
The new governor faced a roomful of fellow Democrats in 1992, liberal warriors eager after two years of Republican rule to right every perceived wrong in Vermont. But Howard Dean issued no call to arms.
All of your progressive ideas, Dean told his party caucus, won't amount to anything if Vermonters don't trust you with their money -- and they don't. We're seen as tax-happy liberals who spend money unwisely.
"He made us very disciplined about spending, even if we didn't really like it," said former state Senate president Dick McCormack, who sat in that caucus room in 1992. "I was a liberal Democrat, and I fought him a lot, but he made the Democrats very hard to beat."
"I find him very, very refreshing," says Joe Mathews, 53, who owns a travel agency in Manchester, Vt., and, as a Republican, has always voted against Dean "out of habit." But Mathews says he will vote for Dean for president because he admires the fiscal conservatism Dean displayed in 11 years as governor. "What the rest of the country is starting to find out," he says, "is Dean is not particularly left wing. And as far as checkbook issues, he is to the right of George Bush, because if it isn't in the bank, Dean doesn't spend it."
Early this morning, shortly after midnight, talks between the Communications Workers of America, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Verizon recessed and were scheduled to resume at 10 a.m.
FMCS Director Peter Hurtgen called for the recess and asked the parties to return to meet with him later this morning.
Shortly before the midnight contract expiration, the unions said members would remain on the job until further notice while the talks are underway. Union leaders determined that enough progress had been made at the bargaining table to continue working toward a contract settlement, however key issues remain unresolved.
[S]ome progress has been made and therefore until further notice all members should report to work if scheduled. Negotiations will continue possibly through the night...
American Indians and Alaska Natives born today have a life expectancy that is almost 6 years less than the U.S. all races population (70.6 years to 76.5 years, respectively; 1996-98 rates). American Indian and Alaska Native infants die at a rate of 8.9 per every 1,000 live births, as compared to 7.2 per 1,000 for the U.S. all races population (1996-98 rates).
American Indians and Alaska Natives die at higher rates than other Americans from alcoholism (770%), tuberculosis (750%), diabetes (420%), accidents (280%), suicide (190%), and homicide (210%).
Safe and adequate water supply and waste disposal facilities are lacking in approximately 7.5% of American Indian and Alaska Native homes, compared to 1% of the homes for the U.S. general population.
[Indian Health Service] appropriated funding provides only 59% of the necessary federal funding for providing mainstream personal health care services to American Indians and Alaska Natives...
Sometimes I played a game in the woods called Girl Planet. In it, I was an astronaut who had crashed on an uninhabited world. There was a large fallen tree I used as the crashed-and-destroyed- rocket. The thing was, though, that anybody who breathed the air on this planet turned into a girl. There was nothing you could do about it, it just happened. My clothes turned into a girls' clothes too, which should give an indication of exactly how powerful the atmosphere was. It changed your clothes! Once female, I walked through the cobblestone woods, past the abandoned houses, until I arrived at Governor Earles' mansion, which I started to try to fix up. It took years, but eventually I had a nice little place put together. By the time astronauts from Earth came to rescue me, I had grown into a mature woman, a college professor, occasionally playing piano in blues bands, kissing my children goodnight as they lay asleep in their beds. My rescuers would say, "We're looking for James Finney Boylan, the novelist. We found his rocket all smashed up back there in the woods. Do you know where he is, ma'am?"
"I'm sorry," I said. "He's gone now."
I can not really say it was very wise to go to Tikrit with foreigners two days after the death of Uday and Qusay was confirmed. They are not very friendly up there in Saddam's home town at the best of times, and now they border on the hostile. I am now Salam "the spy" Pax in Aujah.
Saddam is still on the walls despite Mullah Bremer's fatwa concerning the images and propaganda of the old regime. Back in Baghdad, military personnel were standing in long queues waiting for their pay cheque while Saddam's new tape was being aired on al-Jazeera. Saddam is calling for his army to reform while they are waiting for hours to get paid by "the infidel invader".
So, now, disgruntled military personnel can be struck off the list of possible resistance members. That leaves Ba'athists and Islamic extremists. While dealing with these two groups, the Americans will manage to piss off the rest of the population. Take for example the Task Force 20 raid a couple of days ago in Mansur. They got some "intelligence" and surrounded an area that they had bombed with bunker-busting bombs just four months ago. They were not even being shot at or anything. These are people who were driving in their cars through their neighbourhood streets. And got the sheikh of the biggest tribe in Iraq angry in the process. Great job.
The contentious debate as to whether the networks will use GSM or CDMA seems to have swung towards the GSM camp with the requirement that any operator must "provide full national and international roaming service to their customers through agreements with other Iraqi licensees and with a wide range of operators in trading partner countries". The networks will also be required to provide roaming between the three regions that the licenses will be offered. The spectrum bands being made also favour GSM over CDMA.
Currently, there is limited land-line service in Iraq, Wells said. Telecommunications switches were damaged in the war, but they are under repair. There are 3,000 kilometers of fiber-optic cables in the country, but they have been targets of sabotage.
U.S. air war commanders carried out a comprehensive plan to disrupt Iraq's military command and control system before the Iraq war, according to an internal briefing on the conflict by the senior allied air war commander.
Known as Southern Focus, the plan called for attacks on the network of fiber-optic cable that Saddam Hussein's government used to transmit military communications...
[I]ndustry observers say that unless a strike drags on, disruptions may be limited because the sluggish economy has held down business expansion and the widespread use of cell phones has reduced reliance on land lines.
Neither side was voicing optimism yesterday, with the unions saying that 78,000 workers would walk out at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow if no new contract was reached by then.
The strike would involve workers in states from Virginia to Maine. It is not expected to affect regular phone service, but might cause delays in installing new phone lines.
With only hours now until the expiration of our contract we are still where we started, which is to say that we have not accepted a single concessionary demand. With so little time left, we are on course for what we've always known; this contract will be won in the fight,
In a few more hours this battle will be completely in the hands of our members, and our contract and our Unions could not be in better hands.
Special Instructions to MOBILIZERS - NORTH: "Shock and Awe"
COLOR US UNITED
Friday, August 01, 2003
RED ON THURSDAY, BLACK ON FRIDAY
08-02 AT MIDNIGHT WILL BE OUR DAY!
SOLIDARITY WILL BE STRONG,
WE'LL STAND TOGETHER ALL DAY LONG.
"THANK YOU FOR CALLING VERIZON"
THEY WILL SAY, WHILE OUTSIDE WE
STILL MARCH AWAY! "HOW MAY I HELP
YOU?" THEY WILL ASK, BUT STILL OUTSIDE
WE SHALL LAST.
DAY AFTER DAY, NIGHT AFTER NIGHT.
WE WILL NOT GIVE UP THE FIGHT!
WHILE THEY SLEEP WELL IN THEIR BEDS
THE LOSS OF BENEFITS ROLL THROUGH
CWA WE MUST STAND TALL,
AND IN THE END THEY WILL FALL!!!
"NO GIVEBACKS" WE WILL SHOUT
AND RAVE---JUST STAND TOGETHER
AND BE BRAVE!!!!!!
Officials from Verizon and its two unions are trying to work out a deal before with federal mediators before a deadline set for Sunday. And though industry observers are expecting another strike like the one that hit the nation's largest phone company in 2000, the impact of a strike this time around is likely to be different. Why? When management and labor sat down at the negotiating table 3 years ago, the fight was over how to split up the bounty of a brand-new company. Now, in this post-boom telecom industry, they’re said to be fighting over who loses the least. Since Verizon’s only ace in the hole may be wireless, its local phone workers may not have a strong hand to play at the bargaining table.
Verizon has trained its white-collar workers to handle union tasks such as installing telephones, climbing telephone poles to repair lines, and fielding customer service calls.
If I got to you last year, you know what this is about, if not, you may be able to guess. In either case, you can pledge [online] and get it all over with quickly (BTW, you don't need to make a username and password, just ignore those fields). If you want to know more before commiting some dough to the cause, I've put up some information about why I'm doing this, what MS is all about, and why you should help. Please consider reading it.
How can you know if you’re closer
until you catch him, you can’t know, you get
all these leads and
all these suggestions and
somebody says I think this or
maybe he’s there and so you
work it out and eventually if everything
works out you catch him.
And in this case we have not caught him, therefore
we are obviously not close or
we are close but
we don’t know because we haven’t caught him.
We’ll only know when he’s caught
how close we were.
The DHS/ Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection (IAIP) National Cyber Security Division (NCSD) is issuing this advisory in consultation with the Microsoft Corporation to heighten awareness of potential Internet disruptions resulting from the possible spread of malicious software exploiting a vulnerability in popular Microsoft Windows operating systems.
DHS expects that exploits are being developed for malicious use...SEVERAL WORKING EXPLOITS ARE NOW IN WIDESPREAD DISTRIBUTION ON THE INTERNET. THESE EXPLOITS PROVIDE FULL REMOTE SYSTEM LEVEL ACCESS TO VULNERABLE COMPUTERS...AN INTERNET-WIDE INCREASE IN SCANNING FOR VULNERABLE COMPUTERS OVER THE PAST SEVERAL DAYS REINFORCES THE URGENCY FOR UPDATING AFFECTED SYSTEMS.
1) Excellent fit with the picture.
2) Not quite a match for the picture, but inspired enough such that the entry does a good job channeling/parodying what Rummy might say.
3) Just wicked funny.
"You know what this is? It's the world's smallest violin and it's playing just for the Iraqi people." - Bill Simmon
"Do I believe that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it means that Saddam caused the 9/11 attacks? Gosh! Absolutely!" - Lilith
"Damn! I dropped my spliff!" - Nurse Ratched
"Hey Powell, get over here. Massa needs a manicure." - spine
"I'm crushing your heads! mwahhhh!" - Amy T
Four theses on a campaign that could use opportunities created by the invasion and occupation of Iraq in a creative way: a campaign to turn the administration of Iraq over to the United Nations:
1. A United Nations administration would be more likely to bring peace and stability to Iraq.
2. Turning over control of Iraq to the UN would be in the best interests of Americans.
3. The United Nations could succeed in such an effort.
4. Such a campaign is winnable.
The U.S. is trying to convince the U.N. and its allied countries to send international forces to Iraq. This is obviously due to the Americans’ inability to face the Iraqi popular resistance forces alone. What is the ruling on fighting the international forces that enter Iraq?
Scholars agree that it is an individual obligation to use all possible means to defend the homeland against invasion. This means that not only men have to fight, but also excused people, such as women and the old, must participate.
In addition, any external forces that go to Iraq to support the U.S. invasion inside Iraq are considered invaders as well. Hence, they are to be treated in the same manner as the U.S.-led forces; the invaded people must resist them by all possible means.
If international forces are sent to Iraq by U.N. resolution to maintain peace and security in the country, without extending any support to the invaders, then the popular resistance forces in Iraq must not fight them. If, on the other hand, they have gone there to support the invaders and add legality to their occupation of the land, then they are in the same position of the invaders and should be resisted by all available defense mechanisms.
Sending international forces to Iraq has two possible interpretations:
First, they are support to occupation. In other words, the international forces would be placed as shields for the U.S. and the British forces in Iraq. In this case, it is permissible to fight them.
Second, they are sent to evacuate U.S. and British forces from Iraq and giving the reins of power there to the Iraqis themselves. In this case they are not to be fought. Rather, the way should be paved for them to carry out the mission they are assigned with.
But if they stay for a long time with the presence of the U.S.-led forces in Iraq, then they must be fought and dismissed.
In the simmering guerrilla war fought along the Tigris, U.S. officials say they have received a deluge of tips from informants, the intelligence growing since U.S. forces killed former president Saddam Hussein's two sons last week.
But a shadowy response has followed, a less-publicized but no less deadly theater of violence in the U.S. occupation. U.S. officials and residents say informers have been killed, shot and attacked with grenades. U.S. officials say they have no numbers on deaths, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the campaign is widespread in a region long a source of support for Hussein's government. The U.S. officials declined to discuss specifics about individual informers...
Lists of informers have circulated in at least two northern cities, and remnants of the Saddam's Fedayeen militia have vowed in videotaped warnings broadcast on Arab satellite networks that they will fight informers "before we fight the Americans."
In the eyes of Shari`ah, assisting or cooperating with the oppressor is basically rejected in Islam, regardless of whoever happens to be the victim of oppression. This is because Almighty Allah warns us against any sort of cooperation that will lead to spreading evil and mischief on earth. He says, “…help ye one another unto righteousness and pious duty. Help not one another unto sin and transgression…” (Al-Ma’idah: 2) Thus, assisting and cooperating with the oppressive forces in killing and capturing innocent people is absolutely haram (forbidden), as it is a grave crime and heinous sin.
L. Paul Bremer, touring the Iraqi Foreign Ministry with some of the council's 25 members, told reporters that organizing elections by this time next year was "not unrealistic." Bremer previously had stated that elections would be held at the end of 2004 to replace the council...
Waleed Ouda fell off his house in the vicinity of Nablus 10 days ago, to be rushed to a nearby hospital - where modest medical capabilities were not enough to save his life.
The 11 -year-old boy was then referred to Schneider Children's Hospital in the Israeli city of Petah Tikva, where death had the final say on Tuesday, July29 .
Waleed's heart and lungs was transplanted to a13 -year-old girl suffering from cystic fibrosis.
The functioning heart of the girl - an Arab Israeli named Kawthar Zughbi - was then transplanted to another11 -year-old girl from Um Al-Fahm.
One of Waleed's kidneys and his liver were given to an Israeli child, while the other kidney was to lease life into another.
Each evening, I watch the clouds flying
and curling. My heart's so sad.
Each evening, a loon calls to the evening.
Sad about a friend, I hurt inside.
Each evening I find myself thinking
of someone in white, red scarf on his shoulder.
The most likely case still seems to be mixed success in nation building that puts Iraq on a better political and economic path, but does so in a climate of continuing low-level security threats and serious Iraqi ethnic and sectarian tensions. This would be a case where the US and other nation-builders muddle through to the point where Iraq is making progress, and they can declare victory and leave. Scarcely the "shining city on a hill" that would transform the entire Middle East, but still a kind of victory and better for the Iraqis than Saddam and Company.
The problem in terms of lessons learned is...that, after a great military victory, the US and its allies were not able to take the right course of action from the start. They were unprepared to win the peace, focused on the wrong objectives, and lacked meaningful coordination and central guidance and direction. Unless this situation changes in Iraq, the US may end up fighting a third Gulf War against the Iraqi people. If it does, this war will be primarily political, economic, ethnic, and sectarian; and this is a kind of asymmetric war that US should never have to fight and cannot win.
This should be the last war in which there is a policy-level, military, and intelligence failure to come to grips with conflict termination and the transition to nation-building. The United States and its allies should address the issues involved before, during, and after the conflict. They should be prepared to commit the proper resources, and they should see political and psychological warfare in grand strategic terms. A war is over only when violence is ended, military forces are no longer needed to provide security, and nation-building can safely take place without military protection. It does not end with the defeat of the main forces of the enemy on the battlefield.
An Iraqi citizen, Abdel-Sattar Al-Essawy, interviewed by IOL correspondent relayed a rather more dazzling story.
He said that U.S. forces who raided a house of Amer el-Hadethi, a former secretary of Uday, in Baghdad on Tuesday, July29 , said they rather searching for Uday himself.
Essawy, whose family owns a house next to Hadethi’s, said "after U.S. soldiers completed the three-hour search of the house, my brother asked them through a translator what they are seeking for, to be answered 'Uday'."
"You mean the same Uday you released his pictures in deathbed," asked the dumbfounded brother, to be rebuffed with "Non of your damn business".
The Knesset plenum approved Thursday the second and third readings of a bill to prevent Palestinians who marry Israeli citizens from receiving citizenship or permanent residency status.
The bill, which has been denounced by its opponents as 'racist' and 'inhumane,' passed by a majority of 53 votes to 25, with one abstention.
Bill supporters noted that Palestinians who received Israeli citizenship by marriage were playing a growing role in terror attacks, a phenomenon that the director the Shin Bet security service Avi Dichter described in a closed session Tuesday.
Most of those who will be affected by the amendment are Israeli Arabs who marry Palestinians from the West Bank or Gaza, who will now be unable to live together in Israel.
Local and international human rights groups have decried the bill as racist, saying it creates an impossible situation in which couples will either have to separate or move abroad.
QUESTION: Thank you, sir. Mr. President, many of your supporters believe that homosexuality is immoral. They believe that it's been given too much acceptance in policy terms and culturally. As someone who's spoken out in strongly moral terms, what's your view on homosexuality?
BUSH: Yes, I am mindful that we're all sinners. And I caution those who may try to take the speck out of the neighbor's eye when they've got a log in their own.
I think it's very important for our society to respect each individual, to welcome those with good hearts, to be a welcoming country.
On the other hand, that does not mean that somebody like me needs to compromise on an issue such as marriage. And that's really where the issue is headed here in Washington, and that is the definition of marriage. I believe in the sanctity of marriage. I believe a marriage is between a man and a woman. And I think we ought to codify that one way or the other. And we've got lawyers looking at the best way to do that.
Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law.
Nonetheless, according to the teaching of the Church, men and women with homosexual tendencies "must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided". They are called, like other Christians, to live the virtue of chastity. The homosexual inclination is however "objectively disordered" and homosexual practices are "sins gravely contrary to chastity".
The scope of the civil law is certainly more limited than that of the moral law, but civil law cannot contradict right reason without losing its binding force on conscience. Every humanly-created law is legitimate insofar as it is consistent with the natural moral law, recognized by right reason, and insofar as it respects the inalienable rights of every person. Laws in favour of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason because they confer legal guarantees, analogous to those granted to marriage, to unions between persons of the same sex.
It might be asked how a law can be contrary to the common good if it does not impose any particular kind of behaviour, but simply gives legal recognition to a de facto reality which does not seem to cause injustice to anyone. In this area, one needs first to reflect on the difference between homosexual behaviour as a private phenomenon and the same behaviour as a relationship in society, foreseen and approved by the law, to the point where it becomes one of the institutions in the legal structure. This second phenomenon is not only more serious, but also assumes a more wide-reaching and profound influence, and would result in changes to the entire organization of society, contrary to the common good.
Americans' acceptance of the concept that "homosexual relations between consenting adults" should be legal had -- up until this month -- slowly increased, from a low point of 32% recorded in 1986 to the high point of 60% this May. But two separate Gallup polls conducted this month show a dramatic reversal of this trend. A July 18-20 poll found 50% of Americans saying that homosexual relations should be legal, and a just completed July 25-27 poll confirms the substantial drop in support, with just 48% of those interviewed saying such relations should be legal.
Why has support for gay rights dropped so significantly in the space of just two months? There is no way of ascertaining the answer to this question directly, but it is clear that the major intervening gay rights issue occurring between the May poll and the current one was the June 26 Supreme Court decision that struck down an anti-sodomy law in Texas that had banned sex between two consenting adults of the same gender. Thus, it is reasonable to hypothesize that the court decision, coupled with highly publicized discussions of the ruling's potential impact, may have been a major factor in the shift in the public's attitudes.
[T]he new polling data suggest a backlash. The discussion that followed the Supreme Court decision focused in part on whether it would increase the possibility of legalized gay marriage and other, more formal, reductions of the distinction between heterosexual and homosexual relations in society.
[I]t may be that Americans -- formerly willing to accept the concept of gay rights -- have been pushed to more conservative positions by the intense focus on the potential for dramatic future change in American society. Or it could be that the intense and vocal opposition to the liberalization of gay rights that surfaced after the decision has activated what had been more dormant conservative attitudes within the American population.
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Pass the doobie, pass the...
I want...a toke.
I want to take a hit.
And I think you know that I need
the doobie to do that.
Doobie to do that, doobie do,
Yabba dabba doobie.
Man, that's some righteous weed.
Meyers! Don't Bogart the doobie...
Take a toke, then let's bomb Syria.
Crescent moon hangs low
A sliver of light at dusk
Summer sun waning
More than two-thirds (69%) of the Democratic and Independent likely primary voters surveyed said it is likely that President George W. Bush will be re-elected, regardless of how they plan to vote.
Three Democratic presidential hopefuls share the lead in nationwide polling of likely voters in a primary election, according to results released by Zogby International. Missouri Congressman Richard Gephardt, former Vermont Governor Dr. Howard Dean, and Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman each polled 12% of the 504 likely voters surveyed July 16-17.
In similar nationwide polling by Zogby in March, Lieberman lead the pack with 18%, followed by Gephardt at 11% and Kerry at 9%. Kerry maintained his 9% in the new poll, slipping from 3rd to 4th. Dean jumps in the new poll from a 4th place tie to a 1st place tie. The margin of error for both polls is +/- 4.4%. Error margins are higher for sub-groups.
Best New Blog finalist - 2003 Koufax Awards
A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.
Lo alecha ha-m'lacha ligmor, v'lo atah ben chorin l'hibateyl mimenah.