Thursday, March 31, 2005

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: I Spy a Screw-Up

The New York T


March 31, 2005
I Spy a Screw-Up


Like the new Woody Allen movie, "Melinda and Melinda," it is possible to view today's big story on the tremendous intelligence failures before the Iraq war as either comedy or tragedy, depending on how you look at it.

For instance, on the comic side, The Times reported yesterday that administration officials were relieved that the new report by a presidential commission had "found no evidence that political pressure from the White House or Pentagon contributed to the mistaken intelligence."

That's hilarious.

As necessity is the mother of invention, political pressure was the father of conveniently botched intelligence.

Dick Cheney and the neocons at the Pentagon started with the conclusion they wanted, then massaged and manipulated the intelligence to back up their wishful thinking.

As The New Republic reported, Mr. Cheney lurked at the C.I.A. in the summer of 2002, an intimidating presence for young analysts. And Douglas Feith set up the Office of Special Plans at the Pentagon as a shadow intelligence agency to manufacture propaganda bolstering the administration's case.

The Office of Special Plans turned to the con man Ahmad Chalabi to come up with the evidence they needed. The Iraqi National Congress obliged with information that has now been debunked as exaggerated or fabricated. One gem was the hard-drinking relative of a Chalabi aide, a secret source code-named Curveball, who claimed to verify the mobile weapons labs.

Mr. Cheney and his "Gestapo office," as Colin Powell called it, then shoehorned all their meshugas about Saddam's aluminum tubes, weapons labs, drones and Al Qaeda links into Mr. Powell's U.N. speech.

The former secretary of state spent four days and three nights at the C.I.A. before making the presentation, trying to vet the material, because he knew that Mr. Cheney, who had an idée fixe about Saddam, was trying to tap into his credibility and use him as a battering ram.

He told Germany's Stern magazine that he was "furious and angry" that he had been given bum information about Iraq's arsenal: "Some of the information was wrong. I did not know this at the time."

The vice president and the neocons were in a fever to bypass the C.I.A. and conjure up a case to attack Saddam, even though George Tenet was panting to be of service. When Mr. Tenet put out the new National Intelligence Estimate on Oct. 2, 2002, nine days before the Senate vote on the war resolution and after our troops and aircraft carriers were getting into position for battle, there was one key change: suddenly the agency agreed with Mr. Cheney that Iraq was pursuing the atomic bomb.

Charles Robb, the former senator and governor of Virginia, and Laurence Silberman, a hard-core conservative appeals court judge, headed the commission. Unlike Tom Kean, Judge Silberman held secret meetings; he made sure the unpleasantness wouldn't come up until Mr. Bush had won re-election.

It is laughable that the report offers its most scorching criticism of the C.I.A. when the C.I.A. was simply doing what the White House and Pentagon wanted. Isn't that why Mr. Tenet was given the Medal of Freedom? (Freedom from facts.)

The hawks don't want to learn any lessons here. If they had to do it again, they'd do it the same way. The imaginary weapons and Osama link were just a marketing tool and shiny distraction, something to keep the public from crying while they went to war for reasons unrelated to any nuclear threat.

The 9/11 attacks gave the neocons an opening for their dreams of remaking the Middle East, and they drove the Third Infantry Division through it.

The president planned to announce today that he would put into place many of the commission's recommendations, including an interagency center on proliferation designed to play down turf battles among intelligence agencies.

As Michael Isikoff and Dan Klaidman reported in Newsweek, in the three and a half years since 9/11, the intelligence agencies still haven't learned how to share what they know. At the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, the Homeland Security guy complained he was frozen out by the F.B.I. and C.I.A.

Like "Melinda and Melinda," the other side of this wacky saga is deadly serious. There are, after all, more than 1,500 dead American soldiers, Al Qaeda terrorists on the loose and real nuclear-bomb programs in Iran and North Korea that we know nothing about. No laughs there.


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imes > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: I Spy a Screw-Up

Rescue Worker Drops New 9/11 Revelations

Rescue Worker Drops New 9/11 Revelations

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Geneva Trap :: from :: news from occupied Iraq - ch

The Geneva Trap :: from :: news from occupied Iraq - ch: "The Geneva Trap
Sonia Cardenas, Project Against the Present Danger"

The Geneva Trap :: from :: news from occupied Iraq - ch

The Geneva Trap :: from :: news from occupied Iraq - ch: "The Geneva Trap
Sonia Cardenas, Project Against the Present Danger"

'Iraqi and US intelligence agents forced Syrians to make confession' :: from :: news from occupied Iraq - ch

'Iraqi and US intelligence agents forced Syrians to make confession' :: from :: news from occupied Iraq - ch

Saddams lawyers: �We dont know where he is� :: from :: news from occupied Iraq - ch

Saddams lawyers: �We dont know where he is� :: from :: news from occupied Iraq - ch:

City Pages - The Undoing of America

City Pages - The Undoing of America: "The Undoing of America
Gore Vidal on war for oil, politics-free elections, and the late, great U.S. Constitution"

Scoop: Inside The ABC News UFO Documentary Hoax

Scoop: Inside The ABC News UFO Documentary Hoax: "Inside The ABC News UFO Documentary Hoax
Tuesday, 29 March 2005, 11:25 am
Opinion: Guest Opinion "

Asia Times Online :: South Asia news, business and economy from India and Pakistan

Asia Times Online :: South Asia news, business and economy from India and Pakistan: "The scandal behind Pakistan's raging bull run"

Nervous about ethics, firms are fast to fire: printer friendly version

Nervous about ethics, firms are fast to fire: printer friendly version: "

Nervous about ethics, firms are fast to fire
By Landon Thomas Jr. The New York Times
Wednesday, March 30, 2005

NEW YORK Two senior investment bankers at Bank of America were summoned to a meeting where their boss, visibly uncomfortable and flanked by bank lawyers, read them a statement. They were both dismissed and asked to leave the building immediately. The decision was final.

Stunned, the bankers asked if they had broken any regulations. No, they were told. Nor had they traded on any inside information. Within the hour, they had turned in their BlackBerrys and laptops and were on their way home to the suburbs.

This example illustrates one effect of heightened regulatory scrutiny in the United States after the collapse of Enron and other companies. Corporations and their boards are adopting zero-tolerance policies and increasingly holding their employees to lofty standards of business and personal behavior.

The result is a wave of abrupt firings as corporations move to stop perceived breaches of ethics by their employees that could result in law enforcement action, or public relations disasters.

In the ruthlessly competitive world of investment banking, the two investment bankers at Bank of America had been doing what presumably was their job. Acting on a tip from a rival banker, they had called a company preparing to merge with another and asked to get in on the deal.

In a different era, such a ploy might well have been seen as an example of what hungry bankers do to secure an inside edge with a client and maybe even a better bonus - not an inappropriate use of confidential information and cause for termination.

'We are in a regulatory fren"

In but not of this world, Southern Seminary hires gay-friendly firm

In but not of this world, Southern Seminary hires gay-friendly firm: "In but not of this world, Southern Seminary hires gay-friendly firm "

Monday, March 28, 2005

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Is No One Accountable?

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Is No One Accountable?: "

March 28, 2005
Is No One Accountable?

he Bush administration is desperately trying to keep the full story from emerging. But there is no longer any doubt that prisoners seized by the U.S. in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere have been killed, tortured, sexually humiliated and otherwise grotesquely abused.
These atrocities have been carried out in an atmosphere in which administration officials have routinely behaved as though they were above the law, and thus accountable to no one. People have been rounded up, stripped, shackled, beaten, incarcerated and in some cases killed, without being offered even the semblance of due process. No charges. No lawyers. No appeals.
Arkan Mohammed Ali is a 26-year-old Iraqi who was detained by the U.S. military for nearly a year at various locations, including the infamous Abu Ghraib prison. According to a lawsuit filed against Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Mr. Ali was at times beaten into unconsciousness during interrogations. He was stabbed, shocked with an electrical device, urinated on and kept locked - hooded and naked - in a wooden, coffinlike box. He said he was told by his captors that soldiers could kill detainees with impunity.
(This was not a boast from the blue. On Saturday, for example, The Times reported that the Army would not prosecute 17 American soldiers implicated in the deaths of three prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan.)
Mr. Ali's story is depressingly similar to other accounts pouring in from detainees, human rights groups, intelligence sources and U.S. government investigators. If you pay close attention to what is already known about the sadistic and barbaric treatmen"

9/11 is an Expression of a Deep and Abiding Crisis in the Capitalist World Order:

9/11 is an Expression of a Deep and Abiding Crisis in the Capitalist World Order:: "9/11 is an Expression of
a Deep and Abiding Crisis in the Capitalist World Order: "

Sycophancy 101: While funding falls, U of L fawns over architect of decline

Sycophancy 101: While funding falls, U of L fawns over architect of decline Hawpe redeems himself....


Digby gives us the latest version of "bluggers suck" and "journalists r000l" from the LA Times's David Shaw

The New York Times > Week in Review > The Public Editor: A Few Points Along the Line Between News and Opinion

The New York Times > Week in Review > The Public Editor: A Few Points Along the Line Between News and Opinion
Silly Straw Man Argument


March 27, 2005
A Few Points Along the Line Between News and Opinion

NE of the more persistent criticisms of The Times comes from those who believe the news pages are the designated disseminator of views passed down from the Olympus that is the editorial page. If there's anyone among the 1,200 newsroom employees of The Times who believes this to be true, I've failed as a reporter: in 16 months, I haven't found a soul here who has ever experienced any pressure, or even endured a suggestion, to conform to the opinions expressed on the editorial page.

Hold your hoots. There may be perfectly sensible reasons why some readers believe that the news pages take direction from the editorial page, some of which I've discussed before, particularly the apparently normative, basically liberal worldview of much of the news staff on various social issues and the generally oppositional position toward those in power that typifies modern journalists. There's also the sheer forcefulness of the editorial page's voice, which in recent years has been so assertively left, and which some people unfamiliar with The Times's operations want to believe is the source of the news staff's daily marching orders.

For the record, it just isn't so - not at The Times, not at The Wall Street Journal, not at The Washington Post or at any other American paper that takes its mission seriously. Executive editor Bill Keller and editorial page editor Gail Collins run operations entirely separate from each other. They consciously, even self-consciously, avoid discussing politics or public issues. "We never ever talk about news or the editorials, under any circumstances," Collins told me in an e-mail message. Their weekly meeting with publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. and Times president Scott H. Heekin-Canedy is devoted strictly to company issues. If you don't want to believe this, feel free to be wrong. Or check out the different ways the two departments have treated Condoleezza Rice, or Alan Greenspan, or Judge Charles W. Pickering Sr. (If the Pickering nomination had taken place during my tenure as public editor, I could have flogged the diverging coverage for months.)

But there is, in fact, a permeable membrane not quite separating fact from opinion at The Times, and it resides wholly within Keller's domain. It's the ragged line that careens like a wind-up toy through the news sections, zigging past the work of columnists, zagging by the views of critics and doing triple axels around several hybrid forms bearing names like Washington Memo, On Education, Personal Health, Sports of The Times, NYC, Public Lives, Reporter's Notebook and Frank Rich.

These hybrid forms are licenses: in some cases to explain, in some cases to render a reporter's subtle impressions, in some cases to analyze and opine. They all look different from news stories, yes, but also from one another. Presentation varies widely from section to section. Some columnists (Clyde Haberman, Peter Steinfels) have their names up in the equivalent of lights, large and shiny at the very top of a piece; others (Jane E. Brody, Edward Rothstein) get bylines typographically identical to those on straitjacketed news pieces. Typefaces used for "overlines" - identifying words like Personal Health or Public Lives - seem wildly inconsistent. If each style is meant to denote a specific definition - opinion piece, analysis piece, cute-but-unimportant piece - it's escaped me.

Most writers who have at least some freedom to mouth off are distinguished by the typesetting convention of what's called ragged-right formatting (you're looking at it right now), as if this were the international symbol for point-of-view. ("Hey, honey, ragged-right! Let's see what his opinion is!") But the ragged-right brigade also includes the weekly White House Letter, which is not meant to be opinion but, as correspondent Elisabeth Bumiller describes it, "a reported column that attempts to bring to life the people and behind-the-scenes events at the White House"; the election-season Political Points, which was largely meant to be amusing; and the basically-but-not-entirely news pieces like the one tagged West Orange Journal that popped up on B4 two days ago.

In the culture department, where readers are prepared to encounter the strong opinions of critics, most of the identifying overlines couldn't be clearer: Theater Review, Movie Review and the like. Critic's Notebook is only a slightly more opaque way of saying "opinion located here," but for many readers clouds descend in the vicinity of The TV Watch, and I suspect that visibility drops near zero around Connections. Starting tomorrow, an italic line attached to Rothstein's biweekly sort-of-column will declare that it's "a critic's perspective on arts and ideas": in other words, a place for judgment. It's a welcome elaboration, but only the tiniest of starts.

Many readers who object to the incomprehensibility of the labeling also object to this much opinion (or commentary, or untethered illumination, or whatever you wish to call it) ricocheting around pages that years ago presented the news in the sonorous and noncommittal drone of a public address system. Judging by their frequent invocation of the number of years they've been reading The Times, most of these people are even older than I am.

I sympathize with them; the tone and tenor of a newspaper you've been reading all your life can grow to be as familiar, and as comforting, as your mother's voice. But all this columnizing represents an inevitable, perhaps monumental, transformation in American newspapering.

Max Frankel, who was executive editor of The Times from 1986 to 1994, once convinced me that journalistic innovation usually begins on the sports pages, and I think we're now in the middle of one of those moments when innovation is about to morph into standard practice. More and more often, the lead article in the sports section is a Sports of The Times column; just last Wednesday, Selena Roberts's take on Barry Bonds ("We Won't Have That Surly Superstar to Kick Around Anymore") dominated the section's front page.

The key word in that sentence is "take." What won Roberts's piece its prominent position, sports editor Tom Jolly told me, was the wish to provide "distinctive coverage of a widely covered event." Most readers would already have learned about Bonds's explosive meeting with the press from broadcast or Internet news sources, or even from the guy in the next seat on the subway. What Roberts could bring to the issue were her intelligence and her knowledge of the issues, the milieu and the characters; she could explain the event not just usefully but distinctively. NBC and ESPN, and WFAN, The Post and The Daily News all had the details of Bonds's Tuesday pronouncements, but only The Times had Selena Roberts.

This reliance on columnists to report and explain (as the best columnists do) has spread elsewhere in the paper, but rules vary. Business editor Lawrence Ingrassia tells me that when his columnists (notably Gretchen Morgenson and Floyd Norris) write the occasional news story, special care is taken by both the writers and their editors "to make sure that the reporter's opinions aren't injected into the story." Jolly's version of special care is more confining: "We've drawn a strong line between our Sports of The Times and On Baseball columnists and our reporters. Our columnists only write columns. Our reporters only report the news."

I think Jolly's tougher policy is wise, especially in the transitional period before the newspaper of the future finally arrives; I'd like to see Morgenson and Norris continue to report these stories, but to present what they discover in the clear voices they've already established in their columns. The sports and business sections are both riding a wave toward that future, where writers' authority of voice and distinctiveness of thought will distinguish great newspapers from the rat-a-tat of more conventionally iterative (and instant) forms of journalism. On the way to that very different day, The Times needs to be careful to label opinion and its many variants. The simple addition of a slug of type reading "commentary" (not unlike "news analysis," a Times staple for nearly half a century) would be a productive step, when appropriate; so would the introduction of consistent design signals across the various sections.

After that, it's easy. You just have to make certain that your writers, and the editors who manage their work, are every bit as intellectually diverse as the readership you hope to attract.

Speaking of labels, analysis and opinion: starting April 10, this column, to date congenially accommodated by what is supposed to be the analysis-rich but opinion-free Week in Review section, will be following Frank Rich to the more appropriate turf of the Sunday Op-Ed pages. There, the public editor will be entitled to be wrongheaded on a biweekly basis.

The public editor serves as the readers' representative. His opinions and conclusions are his own. His column appears at least twice monthly in this section.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company | Home | Privacy Policy | Search | Corrections | RSS | Help | Back to Top | Down with the judicial tyrants who are killing Terri Schiavo! | Down with the judicial tyrants who are killing Terri Schiavo!: "

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Down with the judicial tyrants who are killing Terri Schiavo!
Oops -- most of them are Republican. Never mind.
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By Joe Conason

March 25, 2005 | If Terri Schiavo finally perishes over the Easter weekend, the roar of fundamentalist rage will sound like the dawn of Armageddon.
Televised preachers will blame her demise on the Democratic politicians who did almost nothing to oppose the political intervention in her case. Right-wing pundits will denounce the tyranny of 'judicial activists,' an 'elitist judicial oligarchy' or just plain 'liberal judges.' Republican politicians will urge that she be avenged by sweeping away the constitutional protection of the filibuster, so that the president can pack the federal courts with extremists and theocrats.
In a Weekly Standard essay titled 'Runaway Judiciary,' Hugh Hewitt promoted that opportunistic theme. Hewitt predicted confidently that public fury over the Schiavo case will increase support for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's plan 'to break the Democratic filibusters of judicial nominees and ... a backlash against any Republican who sides with the Democrats on the coming rules change vote.'
While exploiting Schiavo's tragedy for maximum impact, these opportunists probably won't dwell on the most salient political fact about those awful judges who have ruled so consistently in favor of Schiavo's husband and against her parents. Most of those tyrannical jurists happen to be Republicans, too.

When the Supreme Court issued what should be the final decision in the Schiavo matter on Thursday, its nine members again unanimously rejected the parents' plea for another review. The court's decision, issued through Justice Anthony Kennedy, scarcely went beyond the succinctly negative "denied." None of the court's self-styled "originalist" thinkers issued a peep of dissent, although this was their fifth opportunity to do so.

Antonin Scalia, who has come closest to articulating an openly theocratic approach to jurisprudence, indicated no objection to the majority position. Neither did Clarence Thomas, whose views closely mirror those of Scalia. Their silence suggests the radicalism of the congressional departure from constitutional norms that was embodied in the "Schiavo law" passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president. By turning away the Schindlers' appeal, the Republican justices were simply endorsing the findings of their colleagues in the lower courts.

On cable television and on the Internet much has been made of the fact that U.S. District Judge James Whittemore -- who issued last week's initial federal ruling in favor of Michael Schiavo -- is a "Clinton appointee." By emphasizing that connection, as if the former president himself were deciding Terri Schiavo's fate, the cable loudmouths were pandering to the old Satanic caricatures of the Clintons that still excite the ultra-right.

When the Schindlers appealed Whittemore's decision to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, a three-judge panel rejected their plea for a stay. Of the two judges who ruled against the Schindlers, Ed Carnes is a conservative Republican appointed by former President George H.W. Bush, and Frank Hull is a moderate Democrat appointed by Clinton. The dissenting judge, who supported the Schindlers' plea, was Charles Wilson -- another Clinton appointee.

That nonpartisan pattern became even clearer when the full 11th Circuit upheld that panel's ruling. Of the appeals court's 12 active judges, only two dissented. One was the aforementioned Wilson; the other was Judge Gerald Tjofelt, a Republican appointed in 1975 by President Ford. The remainder, who evidently concurred with that Clintonite elitist Whittemore, included six Republicans: Reagan appointee and Chief Judge J.L. Edmondson; George H.W. Bush appointees Carnes, Stanley Birch, Joel Dubina, Susan Black; and, most ironically, William Pryor Jr., who was given a recess appointment by George W. Bush two years ago in the midst of controversy and filibuster by Democratic senators.

Pryor is the perfect example of the kind of appointee whose extreme views provoke the strongest liberal and Democratic opposition -- and whom the Republicans are determined to elevate by breaking the filibuster. He is a vehement opponent of abortion, an advocate of criminalizing homosexuality and a consistent supporter of theocratic efforts to breach the wall separating church and state. Although the competition is fierce, he is probably the most right-wing nominee chosen by President Bush.

Whatever Pryor may believe about the Schiavo case, he affirmed the silence of his fellow Republicans with his own. Like the views of Scalia and Thomas and most of Pryor's Republican colleagues on the 11th Circuit, his opinion remains unexpressed.

Despite all the apocalyptic posturing of the far right on the cable channels, weblogs and editorial pages, the Schiavo case is a matter of individual conscience and adherence to law. Although the weight of scientific evidence supports Michael Schiavo's position, Democrats and Republicans alike have acknowledged how troubling and difficult they find this issue.

Meanwhile, national polls show that the public disdains the hysterical posturing of the Republican leadership in Congress and the White House. Ultimately the Schiavo case may well change the debate over the filibuster, though not as imagined by the likes of Hugh Hewitt, if only because Senate Democrats finally muster the courage and determination to defend the Constitution and an independent judiciary.

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About the writer
Joe Conason writes a twice weekly column for Salon. He also writes a weekly column for the New York Observer. His new book, "Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth," is now News | "Welcome to Red Lake" News | "Welcome to Red Lake": "

'Welcome to Red Lake'
A muckraking Chippewa journalist says tribal press constraints keep details of the recent school shooting murky -- and hide systemic problems on the reservation where he grew up.
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By Emily Schmall

March 26, 2005 | With many details of the school shooting on the Red Lake Indian Reservation still emerging, journalists from around the country have trekked en masse to the remote tribal region of northern Minnesota. But they've learned that freedom of the press abruptly ends on the edges of Minnesota 1, the highway that cuts through the reservation, where Chippewa tribal customs prevail.
Local police threaten legal consequences if journalists breach the reservation's boundaries and have sent many journalists on their way, with their only recourse being an appeal to the tribal court. Some family members of Red Lake shooting victims have stepped forward and criticized the tribal officials for their stringent restrictions on the press. On Thursday, tribal police pulled over a Knight-Ridder vehicle, confiscated camera equipment, and broke up an interview with the father of one of the victims.
To muckraking Chippewa journalist Bill Lawrence, the press constraints in Red Lake come as no surprise. He lived there as a child and returned after law school. In 1970 and 1978, he ran losi"

Studio 360 - Commentary: The Dumb and the Bland

Studio 360 - Commentary: The Dumb and the Bland

Sunday, March 27, 2005

ZNet |Repression | Railroading Moussaoui

ZNet |Repression | Railroading Moussaoui: "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense. 6th Amendment "

World War Three Newsfeeds

World War Three Newsfeeds: "Honestly, I�ve had this particular message waiting to be sent for almost 4 months now. "

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall: March 20, 2005 - March 26, 2005 Archives

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall: March 20, 2005 - March 26, 2005 Archives

One of the many interesting things about writing a blog, and the rapid feedback it provides, is writing a post with a particular viewpoint and then having a reader write back, disagreeing, who then goes on to make the same point you thought you just made.

The New York Times > Washington > New Details on F.B.I. Aid for Saudis After 9/11

The New York Times > Washington > New Details on F.B.I. Aid for Saudis After 9/11: "New Details on F.B.I. Aid for Saudis After 9/11"


March 27, 2005
New Details on F.B.I. Aid for Saudis After 9/11

ASHINGTON, March 26 - The episode has been retold so many times in the last three and a half years that it has become the stuff of political legend: in the frenzied days after Sept. 11, 2001, when some flights were still grounded, dozens of well-connected Saudis, including relatives of Osama bin Laden, managed to leave the United States on specially chartered flights.

Now, newly released government records show previously undisclosed flights from Las Vegas and elsewhere and point to a more active role by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in aiding some of the Saudis in their departure.

The F.B.I. gave personal airport escorts to two prominent Saudi families who fled the United States, and several other Saudis were allowed to leave the country without first being interviewed, the documents show.

The Saudi families, in Los Angeles and Orlando, requested the F.B.I. escorts because they said they were concerned for their safety in the wake of the attacks, and the F.B.I. - which was then beginning the biggest criminal investigation in its history - arranged to have agents escort them to their local airports, the documents show.

But F.B.I. officials reacted angrily, both internally and publicly, to the suggestion that any Saudis had received preferential treatment in leaving the country.

"I say baloney to any inference we red-carpeted any of this entourage," an F.B.I. official said in a 2003 internal note. Another F.B.I. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said this week regarding the airport escorts that "we'd do that for anybody if they felt they were threatened - we wouldn't characterize that as special treatment."

The documents were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Justice Department by Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group, which provided copies to The New York Times.

The material sheds new light on the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, and it provides details about the F.B.I.'s interaction with at least 160 Saudis who were living in or visiting the United States and were allowed to leave the country. Some of the departing Saudis were related to Osama bin Laden.

The Saudis' chartered flights, arranged in the days after the attacks when many flights in the United States were still grounded, have proved frequent fodder for critics of the Bush administration who accuse it of coddling the Saudis. The debate was heightened by the filmmaker Michael Moore, who scrutinized the issue in "Fahrenheit 9/11," but White House officials have adamantly denied any special treatment for the Saudis, calling such charges irresponsible and politically motivated.

The Sept. 11 commission examined the Saudi flights in its final report last year, and it found that no Saudis had been allowed to leave before national airspace was reopened on Sept. 13, 2001; that there was no evidence of "political intervention" by the White House; and that the F.B.I. had done a "satisfactory screening" of the departing Saudis to ensure they did not have information relevant to the attacks.

The documents obtained by Judicial Watch, with major passages heavily deleted, do not appear to contradict directly any of those central findings, but they raise some new questions about the episode.

The F.B.I. records show, for instance, that prominent Saudi citizens left the United States on several flights that had not been previously disclosed in public accounts, including a chartered flight from Providence, R.I., on Sept. 14, 2001, that included at least one member of the Saudi royal family, and three flights from Las Vegas between Sept. 19 and Sept. 24, also carrying members of the Saudi royal family. The government began reopening airspace on Sept. 13, but many flights remained grounded for days afterward.

The three Las Vegas flights, with a total of more than 100 passengers, ferried members of the Saudi royal family and staff members who had been staying at Caesar's Palace and the Four Seasons hotels. The group had tried unsuccessfully to charter flights back to Saudi Arabia between Sept. 13 and Sept. 17 because they said they feared for their safety as a result of the Sept. 11 attacks, the F.B.I. documents say.

Once the group managed to arrange chartered flights out of the country, an unidentified prince in the Las Vegas group "thanked the F.B.I. for their assistance," according to one internal report. The F.B.I. had interviewed many members of the group and searched their planes before allowing them to leave, but it nonetheless went back to the Las Vegas hotels with subpoenas five days after the initial flight had departed to collect further information on the Saudi royal guests, the documents show.

In several other cases, Saudi travelers were not interviewed before departing the country, and F.B.I. officials sought to determine how what seemed to be lapses had occurred, the documents show.

The F.B.I. documents left open the possibility that some departing Saudis had information relevant to the Sept. 11 investigation.

"Although the F.B.I. took all possible steps to prevent any individuals who were involved in or had knowledge of the 9/11/2001 attacks from leaving the U.S. before they could be interviewed," a 2003 memo said, "it is not possible to state conclusively that no such individuals left the U.S. without F.B.I. knowledge."

The documents also show that F.B.I. officials were clearly riled by public speculation stirred by news media accounts of the Saudi flights. They were particularly bothered by a lengthy article in the October 2003 issue of Vanity Fair, which included charges that the bureau considered unfair and led to an internal F.B.I. investigation that the agency named "Vanitybom." Internal F.B.I. correspondence during the review was addressed to "fellow Vanitybom victims."

Critics said the newly released documents left them with more questions than answers.

"From these documents, these look like they were courtesy chats, without the time that would have been needed for thorough debriefings," said Christopher J. Farrell, who is director of investigations for Judicial Watch and a former counterintelligence interrogator for the Army. "It seems as if the F.B.I. was more interested in achieving diplomatic success than investigative success."

Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, called for further investigation.

"This lends credence to the theory that the administration was not coming fully clean about their involvement with the Saudis," he said, "and we still haven't gotten to the bottom of this whole affair."

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company | Home | Privacy Policy | Search | Corrections | RSS | Help | Back to Top

BlondeSense: Science was just a bunch of theory anyway. Right?

BlondeSense: Science was just a bunch of theory anyway. Right?

The New York Times > Washington > Pentagon Will Not Try 17 G.I.'s Implicated in Prisoners' Deaths

The New York Times > Washington > Pentagon Will Not Try 17 G.I.'s Implicated in Prisoners' Deaths

Better in the Long Run

Better in the Long Run: "Social scientists suspect that a sense of meaning fosters health and longevity. Yet, as sociologist Linda George tells us, not all of our sources of meaning do us good. "

Whitley Strieber's Unknown Country

Whitley Strieber's Unknown Country

The First Fake? Bin Laden Video News Article 11/11/2001

Rice slams Israeli plan for expansion / She warns against steps that could damage peace talks

(condy) Rice slams Israeli plan for expansion / She warns against steps that could damage peace talks

Protesters call for end to death penalty North County Times - North San Diego and Southwest Riverside County News

Protesters call for end to death penalty North County Times - North San Diego and Southwest Riverside County News: "Protesters call for end to death penalty"

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Morality and Reality

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Morality and Reality

Mr. Brooks gets it wrong again.
Morality and Reality

Published: March 26, 2005

The core belief that social conservatives bring to cases like Terri Schiavo's is that the value of each individual life is intrinsic. The value of a life doesn't depend upon what a person can physically do, experience or achieve. The life of a comatose person or a fetus has the same dignity and worth as the life of a fully functioning adult.

Social conservatives go on to say that if we make distinctions about the value of different lives, if we downgrade those who are physically alive but mentally incapacitated, if we say that some people can be more easily moved toward death than others, then the strong will prey upon the helpless, and the dignity of all our lives will be diminished.

The true bright line is not between lives, they say, but between life and death. The proper rule, as Robert P. George of Princeton puts it, should be, "Always to care, never to kill."

The weakness of the social conservative case is that for most of us, especially in these days of advanced medical technology, it is hard to ignore distinctions between different modes of living. In some hospital rooms, there are people living forms of existence that upon direct contact do seem even worse than death.

Moreover, most of us believe in transcendence, in life beyond this one. Therefore why is it so necessary to cling ferociously to this life? Why not allow the soul to ascend to whatever is in store for it?

The core belief that social liberals bring to cases like Ms. Schiavo's is that the quality of life is a fundamental human value. They don't emphasize the bright line between life and death; they describe a continuum between a fully lived life and a life that, by the sort of incapacity Terri Schiavo has suffered, is mere existence.

On one end of that continuum are those fortunate enough to be able to live fully - to decide and act, to experience the world and be free. On the other end are those who, tragically, can do none of these things, and who are merely existing.

Social liberals warn against vitalism, the elevation of physical existence over other values. They say it is up to each individual or family to draw their own line to define when life passes to mere existence.

The central weakness of the liberal case is that it is morally thin. Once you say that it is up to individuals or families to draw their own lines separating life from existence, and reasonable people will differ, then you are taking a fundamental issue out of the realm of morality and into the realm of relativism and mere taste.

You are saying, as liberals do say, that society should be neutral and allow people to make their own choices. You are saying, as liberals do say, that we should be tolerant and nonjudgmental toward people who make different choices.

What begins as an appealing notion - that life and death are joined by a continuum - becomes vapid mush, because we are all invited to punt when it comes time to do the hard job of standing up for common principles, arguing right and wrong, and judging those who make bad decisions.

You end up exactly where many liberals ended up this week, trying to shift arguments away from morality and on to process.

If you surveyed the avalanche of TV and print commentary that descended upon us this week, you found social conservatives would start the discussion with a moral argument about the sanctity of life, and then social liberals would immediately start talking about jurisdictions, legalisms, politics and procedures. They were more comfortable talking about at what level the decision should be taken than what the decision should be.

Then, if social conservatives tried to push their moral claims, you'd find liberals accusing them of turning this country into a theocracy - which is an effort to cast all moral arguments beyond the realm of polite conversation.

Once moral argument is abandoned, there are no ethical checks, no universal standards, and everything is left to the convenience and sentiments of the individual survivors.

What I'm describing here is the clash of two serious but flawed arguments. The socially conservative argument has tremendous moral force, but doesn't accord with the reality we see when we walk through a hospice. The socially liberal argument is pragmatic, but lacks moral force.

No wonder many of us feel agonized this week, betwixt and between, as that poor woman slowly dehydrates.

E-mail: dabrooks@nytimes



Saturday, March 26, 2005



The magic plane theory :: from :: news from occupied Iraq

The magic plane theory :: from :: news from occupied Iraq

First Draft - The Strange Silence at

First Draft - The Strange Silence at

Where in Washington, D.C. is Sun Myung Moon?: Preacher clamps down on leaks after Moon threatens sale of Times

Where in Washington, D.C. is Sun Myung Moon?: Preacher clamps down on leaks after Moon threatens sale of Times

orkut media - article

orkut media - articleHis Own Private Abu Ghraib

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: The Era of Exploitation

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: The Era of Exploitation

Feds to Probe Maggie Gallagher's HHS Contract

Feds to Probe Maggie Gallagher's HHS Contract

The New Yorker: Online Only: Content, Scalia

The New Yorker: Online Only: Content

MSNBC - Report: TSA misled public on passenger data

MSNBC - Report: TSA misled public on passenger data

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall: March 20, 2005 - March 26, 2005 Archives

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall: March 20, 2005 - March 26, 2005 Archives

LiberalOasis: Archives For The Week Of March 20, 2005

LiberalOasis: Archives For The Week Of March 20, 2005

Democracy Now! | Naomi Klein Reveals New Details About U.S. Military Shooting of Italian War Correspondent in Iraq

Democracy Now! | Naomi Klein Reveals New Details About U.S. Military Shooting of Italian War Correspondent in Iraq

The Truth Seeker - An �Invisable Army� Fights the Media Lies About 9/11

The Truth Seeker - An Invisable Army Fights the Media Lies About 9/11

Friday, March 25, 2005

Daily Howler: Bob Novak describes a swish dinner party, the kind ''liberal spokesmen'' just luvv to attend

Daily Howler: Bob Novak describes a swish dinner party, the kind ''liberal spokesmen'' just luvv to attend: "GARDEN PARTY! Bob Novak describes a swish dinner party, the kind liberal spokesmen just luvv to attend" - Court prevents release of most September 11 emergency calls - Mar 24, 2005 - Court prevents release of most September 11 emergency calls - Mar 24, 2005

San Francisco Bay Guardian News

San Francisco Bay Guardian News
Sure, the people with the 9/11 conspiracy theories are a little odd. But not everything they're saying is entirely crazy.

'The clues were all there' / School shooter depicted as deeply disturbed, ignored teen

'The clues were all there' / School shooter depicted as deeply disturbed, ignored teen: "He was taking the antidepressant Prozac and at least once was hospitalized for suicidal tendencies, "

FPI 2005: Court Rules NYC Fire Department Must Release 9-11 Tapes

FPI 2005: Court Rules NYC Fire Department Must Release 9-11 Tapes

Thursday, March 24, 2005

I listened to the editor of my local hometown Gannett Newspaper (Louisville Courier Journal) on an hour long npr station interview program last week. I found him on the whole worthless. His latest comments show how in tune he is with worldly concerns and crises of our times.


Politics: Article from the New Yorker

For Israel, September 11 was a Hanukkah miracle

The 9/11 WTC Collapses:
An Audio-Video Analysis

Most of these same Americans also happen to be religious.
It's not a coincidence

Special Reports
Frontline Photos

March 23, 2005

U.S. bars Italians from examining victim’s car

Music Video. Joseph Arthur: All of Our Hands

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

An open letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta

William Bowles reviews
'Caliban And The Witch'

"Within the pages of this book lie the reasons that explain why men and women now inhabit different worlds, for the reasons are not biologically determined but most definately ideological in origin but because their roots are buried in the hidden history of the rise of capitalism some five hundred years ago, the reality of today appears as something natural."

Today, the AP brings us another picture of Bush rubbing or slapping the head of a bald man

Fun Pic

U.S. attorney’s office admitted misconduct by prosecutors

Santorum rethinks death penalty stance

Mr. Bush complained last week that " 'privatization' is a trick word," intended to "scare people." Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, interrupted a news conference to correct a reporter who asked about "personal" accounts.

"It's 'privatization,' " Mr. Reid said, adding that "personal accounts" was "the Republican term."

How to Turn Your Red State Blue

Sharpton and Coulter speak at Vanderbilt

Burnt Orange Blog: I Was Wrong About Schiavo

An essay concerning the origins, nature, extent and morality of this destructive force in free market economies.

Pics for Fun

Schiavo: Letter to St. Petersburg Times alledging foul play.

It's Schiavo Tuesday: Crystal Clear Look at the Loving & Murderous Michael Schiavo

Schiavo: I have no information from independent sources. None of this information is represented as confirmed truth.

Schiavo Stuff

Do ads still work?

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Diagnosis: State-Sanctioned Murder

DiLorenzo Is Right About Lincoln
by Walter E. Williams

Pics for Fun

March 22, 2005 EDITORIAL A Blow to the Rule of Law

If you are in a "persistent vegetative state" and there is a dispute about whether to keep you alive, your case will probably go no further than state court - unless you are Terri Schiavo. President Bush signed legislation yesterday giving Ms. Schiavo's parents a personal right to sue in federal court. The new law tramples on the principle that this is "a nation of laws, not of men," and it guts the power of the states. When the commotion over this one tragic woman is over, Congress and the president will have done real damage to the founders' careful plan for American democracy. Ms. Schiavo's case presents heart-wrenching human issues, and difficult legal ones. But the Florida courts, after careful deliberation, ruled that she would not want to be kept alive by artificial means in her current state, and ordered her feeding tube removed. Ms. Schiavo's parents, who wanted the tube to remain, hoped to get the Florida Legislature to intervene, but it did not do so. That should have settled the matter. But supporters of Ms. Schiavo's parents, particularly members of the religious right, leaned heavily on Congress and the White House to step in. They did so yesterday with the new law, which gives "any parent of Theresa Marie Schiavo" standing to sue in federal court to keep her alive. This narrow focus is offensive. The founders believed in a nation in which, as Justice Robert Jackson once wrote, we would "submit ourselves to rulers only if under rules." There is no place in such a system for a special law creating rights for only one family. The White House insists that the law will not be a precedent. But that means that the right to bring such claims in federal court is reserved for people with enough political pull to get a law passed that names them in the text. The Bush administration and the current Congressional leadership like to wax eloquent about states' rights. But they dropped those principles in their rush to stampede over the Florida courts and Legislature. The new law doesn't miss a chance to trample on the state's autonomy and dignity. There are a variety of technical legal doctrines the federal courts use to show deference to state courts, like "abstention" and "exhaustion of remedies." The new law decrees that in Ms. Schiavo's case, these well-established doctrines simply will not apply. Republicans have traditionally championed respect for the delicate balance the founders created. But in the Schiavo case, and in the battle to stop the Democratic filibusters of judicial nominations, President Bush and his Congressional allies have begun to enunciate a new principle: the rules of government are worth respecting only if they produce the result we want. It may be a formula for short-term political success, but it is no way to preserve and protect a great republic. Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company | Home | Privacy Policy | Search | Corrections | RSS | Help | Back to Top

We have agreed that [al-Qaeda] is not a group but a notion.”

Moussaoui: Basic Background info. It's too early in the morning for much comment.

Did David Brooks just write what I think he did?

Pic for Easter for Fun

Karl Schwarz Replies
To Bell's Attack
Chertoff, Popular Mechanics Article
From Karl W. B. Schwarz

The complete Feynman Lectures on Physics, both in PDF and MP3 formats

Monday, March 21, 2005

Video from Democracy Now #1
Video from Democracy Now #2


From: Bernie Ellis
Date: 03/21/05 10:48:00
To: undisclosed-recipients:,
Subject: Peeling back the mandate: Keeping the spotlight on a fraudulent election (& what you can do) 7

THE NATIONAL ELECTION REFORM CONFERENCE IS HAPPENING IN NASHVILLE ON APRIL 8-10. THIS GRASSROOTS EVENT WILL BE HISTORIC. YOU NEED TO REGISTER AND COME!!IF YOU CAN HELP US WITH CONFERENCE PLANNNG/EXECUTION, WE'LL BE MEETING EVERY WEDNESDAY AT BONGO JAVA AT 6:00 PM. FROM NOW UNTIL APRIL 6. COME HELP US MAKE THIS A SUCCESSFUL GATHERING. Greetings to everyone on my email list: Over the past six months, our paths have crossed as we all learned about the 2004 election fraud and communicated with each other -- virtually or face-to-face -- about our concerns. Since our first public rally (our first Gathering To Save Our Democracy) in Nashville on December 12 (on the steps of the State Capital), we have held 24 similar Gatherings in middle Tennessee. The second Gathering, on December 19, was back on the State Capital steps, but this time we were bundled against the high teens sub-arctic wind and cold like concerned Ukrainians. Since then, we've held Gatherings with civic and political groups and with groups of concerned citizens, of all political persuasions and life circumstances. Our January 2 Gathering at Benton Chapel on Vanderbilt University's campus drew over 125 people for three hours of speeches and discussion. In just the past two weeks, we've met with three different county Democratic organizations (from the largest counties to the smallest) to devote over two hours to review and discuss the evidence for malfeasance in the 2004 election and the need for immediate election reform and election justice. And while we've continued to discuss our concerns here in Tennessee and on the internet, there has been a steady drumbeat of concern that has continued to build inside and outside the mainstream media. These four links are recent examples (all of them call the 2004 election results in question): 1)Christopher Hitchens, Vanity Fair, "Ohio's Odd Numbers" Steven Freeman and Josh Mitteldorf (In These Times): A Corrupted Election: Despite what you may have heard, the exit polls were right -- In The Northwest: Teresa Heinz Kerry hasn't lost her outspoken way (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) Robert C. Koehler (Chicago Tribune columnist) Peeling Back the Mandate: Voting rights are once more at the forefront of the civil rights movement wanted to review briefly where we are and what we've been able to accomplish so far as a way to announce to all of you that our most ambitious Tennessee Gathering to date -- a national conference on the 2004 election and the need for election reform -- is going to happen. Our small grassroots group of election reform volunteers here in Tennessee has pulled together a phenomenal two day conference (April 8-10), with the encouragement, help and active involvement of many of the country's most prominent names in the fight to protect and defend our democratic franchise. I want to invite you, and everyone you know, to come join us for some or all of this historic event.The web-link to the conference registration is at You can go on-line and read more about the conference and you can also register to attend and donate to help us cover conference expenses. Don't be deterred by the $30 registration fee. We view that registration fee as a suggested donation only, and we welcome serious election reformers of any and all means. You can register and come to the conference free if need be and certainly without having to pay anything that you cannot afford. We want you there, and everyone you know who remains seriously concerned about these issues. (Some of you have already registered, and we are looking forward to seeing many of you in early April.) I hope this long memo has whetted all of your appetites for what we are working to accomplish here in middle Tennessee in less than three weeks. If you are interested in coming, the main sessions are at the Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church (2708 Jefferson Street) from 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm on Friday night, April 8; and from 8:00 am - 6:00 pm on Saturday, April 9. (The pre- and post-conference discussion groups will occur at Tennessee State, Vanderbilt and Fisk.) I have attached a one page flyer on the conference and the tentative conference agenda that I would encourage you to send on to your like-minded friends. I have also attached a list of the supporting individuals and organizations, as of yesterday. But I want to show you below the people who have agreed to come to Nashville and speak (in rough order of first appearance): Civil rights leaders, Tennessee: Tex Thomas, Sonnye Dixon, Charles KimbroughMichael Grant, TN NAACP Statewide coordinator, Voting Rights Act celebrationsCliff Arnebeck, Ohio, Moss v. Bush Bob Fitrakis, Ohio, Moss v. Bush, Leatrice Tolls, Ohio recount volunteerR.H. Phillips, Ohio election fraud researcher Joanne Roush, Wisconsin, Ohio recount volunteer Bernard Windham, Florida, Data Analyst, national election data sets (including EIRS) Judith Alter, New MexicoPaul Lehto, Washington stateJohn Gideon, Washington state, votersunite.orgAndrew Silver, North Carolina Kathy Dopp, Utah, USCountVotesJonathan Simon, Massachusetts, exit poll researcherRobert Koehler, Illinois, syndicated columnist, Chicago TribuneBrad Friedman, California, BradBlog/Velvet RevolutionR. Lee Wrights, North Carolina, Vice-Chairman, Libertarian National Committee David Cobb, California, 2004 Green Party Presidential candidate Barbara Burt, Maine, Common Cause Lara Shaffer, California, Open Voting Consortium (OVC)Phil Fry, Ohio, Citizens’ Alliance for Secure Elections-Ohio Larry Quick, Illinois, National Ballot Integrity Project Teresa Hommel, New York, Where’s The Paper/OVCLarry English, Tennessee, Information Impact International Lowell Finley, California, Help America RecountDavid Lytel, Washington, DC, Honest Elections CampaignSusan Truitt, Ohio, Citizens’ Alliance for Secure Elections (CASE)-AmericaClinton Curtis, Florida, Whistle-Blower(and others to come) So far, we have people coming from 24 states. As mentioned earlier, the plenary sessions for the conference in Nashville will be from 5:30 pm Friday, April 8 until 6:00 pm, Saturday, April 9. However, we are also scheduling pre-conference (Friday afternoon, 1-4 pm) and post-conference (Sunday morning, April 10, 9-noon) discussion groups on topics of interest to the election reform and election justice movement, to give us even more time with these national experts. Topics will include: 1. Worthy (or emerging) state-level election reform models 2. Conducting an election audit: what is required? 3. Be the media: Strategies for increasing public awareness of election reform 4. A status report on Tennessee’s election reform legislation5. Essential elements of a free, fair and verifiable election 6. Thinking & Acting for the Country: National Election Reform Strategies & Movements 7. Election Statistics 301 – An even more detailed review of the “data” 8. Electronic voting – the good, the bad and the really bad (and what to do about it) 9. Legal strategies for election justice (Sunday only) ------------So folks, here's your chance to be part of an historic event, right here in the mid-South in the early spring. Come join with the other Tennessee election reform activists and others from throughout the country on April 8-10 as we update ourselves, the media and the world about our urgent need for election reform and election justice here in the United States. Come listen to the people leading this fight, people who have much to say. Please join with us in promoting, attending and supporting this national Gathering in Nashville on April 8-10. Reminder: If you live in middle Tennessee: we will be meeting each Wednesday from now to the conference to make all the arrangements for a successful national Gathering. If you live in Nashville or the surrounding area and you can help at all with conference logistics, please come to Bongo Java (across from the International Market) at 6:00 pm on Wednesdays and pitch in. We could really use your help. Thanks. Once again, you can go on-line for more information and to register/donate at Once you register, if you live outside middle Tennessee, we'll send you a list of hotels, the updated program and other stuff. We hope to see you in Nashville in early April (if not at Bongo Java beforehand). If we don't see you soon, let's all keep spreading the word and working for free, fair and verifiable elections. If we do, we might just take our country back. Bernie Ellis

I'm tempted to say something glib, but it is, of course, a man's life that we are reading about here

....By now most people who read liberal blogs are aware that George W. Bush signed a law in Texas that expressly gave hospitals the right to remove life support if the patient could not pay and there was no hope of revival, regardless of the patient's family's wishes.

Second 911 ST Airliner
Remote Control
Antenna Verified

Maureen Dowd: A wink and a fraud

Hill Senate Now

Hill Senate Now
All proceeds will go to television and print advertisements which will direct the public's attention from the lies and the cover-up to the facts, the physics and the truth of the betrayal of America on 9/11.

Pentagon Hides Halliburton Fraud; Fall Guy Chosen :: from :: news from occupied Iraq

Pentagon Hides Halliburton Fraud; Fall Guy Chosen :: from :: news from occupied Iraq

World Affairs - The Journal of International Issues

World Affairs - The Journal of International Issues

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Jude Wanniski: Wolfowitz at the World Bank

Jude Wanniski: Wolfowitz at the World Bank: "A Perfect Fit
Wolfowitz at the World Bank

Yahoo! News - Democrats for Wolfowitz (Biden is not worthy.... my comment)

Yahoo! News - Democrats for Wolfowitz

How Sgrena forced Italy's withdrawal from Iraq :: from :: news from occupied Iraq

How Sgrena forced Italy's withdrawal from Iraq :: from :: news from occupied Iraq

A Warning From Auschwitz
How Do You Shoot Babies? :: from :: news from occupied Iraq

A Warning From Auschwitz
How Do You Shoot Babies? :: from :: news from occupied Iraq

The Hidden Hand Of The CIA, 911 And Popular Mechanics

The Hidden Hand Of The CIA, 911 And Popular Mechanics

Reputed Terrorist Al-Zarqawi Still Shrouded in U.S.-Fed Myth, Mystery :: from :: news from occupied Iraq

Reputed Terrorist Al-Zarqawi Still Shrouded in U.S.-Fed Myth, Mystery :: from :: news from occupied Iraq

"We Weren't in Any Hurry to Call the Medics"
Bush's Herds: Ready to Kick Anyone in the Face :: from :: news from occupied Iraq

"We Weren't in Any Hurry to Call the Medics"
Bush's Herds: Ready to Kick Anyone in the Face :: from :: news from occupied Iraq

Tom Reeves: Exposing the Coming Draft

Tom Reeves: Exposing the Coming Draft: "A Draft By Any Other Name...Is Still Wrong
Exposing the Coming Draft"

Yahoo! News - Gov. Blasts Plan to Cut Vets' Benefits

Yahoo! News - Gov. Blasts Plan to Cut Vets' Benefits

Yahoo! News - Federal bureaus reject stun guns

Yahoo! News - Federal bureaus reject stun guns

Yahoo! News - Mom Tries to Rationalize Prodigy's Death

Yahoo! News - Mom Tries to Rationalize Prodigy's Death

Scary US Immigration Behavior

Don't say "blogger" to U.S. Immigration -- or else

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Don't say 'blogger' to US Immigration
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 2005 04:48:03 -0600 (CST)
From: William Knowles
Organization: -
To: Declan McCullagh

17 March 2005
Don't say 'blogger' to US Immigration

This sounds like an unbelievable story, but it happened to Canadian
blogger Jeremy Wright last week.

As already reported on quite a few blogs, Jeremy was detained and
interrogated by US Immigration when he arrived in New York last week
for a meeting with McGraw-Hill to discuss a great business opportunity
for Jeremy in the area of blogging.

It appears that the immigration people simply did not believe that
Jeremy could make a living as a blogger. And they gave him the third
degree - including an humiliating strip search - as a result for some
hours. And banned him from entering the US.

Incredible. Jeremy wrote detailed commentary on his blog about his
experience, but he's now pulled those posts (this post explains why).

While the details aren't yet clear on exactly why Jeremy had such an
awful experience at the hands of the guardians of freedom and liberty
(hard to get true irony here), this appears to be disgraceful
behaviour on their part.

I met Jeremy in the US in January. Shel and I interviewed him for a
podcast. You couldn't meet a nicer and more honourable bloke!

Hang in there, Jeremy. I bet McGraw-Hill will find a way to have that
meeting with you.

Update 17 Mar: Jeremy has posted The End of The Story.

Throwing Junkballs to the Snake Oil Salesman

Throwing Junkballs to the Snake Oil Salesman

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall: March 13, 2005 - March 19, 2005 Archives

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall: March 13, 2005 - March 19, 2005 Archives

More annoying tripe from David Brooks


March 19, 2005
The Do-Nothing Conspiracy

f you want an image that captures what American politics will be like over the next few decades, imagine two waves crashing down upon us simultaneously, each magnifying the damage caused by the other.

The first wave is the exploding cost of the entitlement programs. The second wave is the ever-increasing polarization of the political class. The polarization will make it impossible to reach an agreement on how to fix the entitlements problem. Meanwhile the vicious choices forced on us by entitlement costs will make the polarization even worse.

The realities of the first wave - the looming fiscal crisis - are pretty well known. According to the Congressional Budget Office, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will consume 14 percent of national output in 2030 and 21 percent in 2075 - up from about 8 percent today. Partly as a result, the federal government will have to come up with an extra $50 trillion just to pay for the promises it's made as of today.

To cover these costs, federal officials will have several options, all of them horrible. If they acted immediately, according to the economists Kent Smetters and Jagadeesh Gokhale, they could increase federal income taxes by 78 percent; they could double payroll taxes; they could cut Social Security and Medicare in half; or they could do some combination.

Tax increases on that scale would decimate the economy. Benefit cuts would cause pain. Doing nothing would lead to enormous deficits, an immobilized government and stratospheric interest rates. It would mean the end of the United States as a great economic power.

The realities of the second destructive wave - polarization - are also widely recognized. They can be measured by the increase in party-line voting in Congress, the bitter political atmosphere in Washington, the political segmentation of media outlets and the emergence of rigid donor and activist bases in each party that use their power to inflict Stalinist party-line orthodoxy on potentially independent leaders.

We're seeing polarization in action in the Social Security debate. It's a straightforward problem compared with Medicare, but Congress is deadlocked. We see polarization in action in the looming fight over judges, which is producing talk about nuclear options and threats to shut down the Senate. A political class that can't make a deal on a few judges is not going to be able to cooperate when it comes to filling a $50 trillion hole.

Over the next several years, the parties will differ violently over what to do about the entitlement problem while doing very little to actually address it. This past Thursday the Senate even rejected a proposal that would have made a sliver of a trim in the growth of Medicaid.

But over time, the entitlements crisis will begin to transform politics. The parties will grow less cohesive. The Democrats are held together by the common goal of passing domestic programs that address national needs - like covering the uninsured. But with all the money going to cover entitlements, there will be no way to afford new proposals. Republicans, meanwhile, owe their recent victories to the popularity of tax cuts. But those will be impossible, too. Both parties will lose a core reason for being.

At the same time, Americans will grow even more disenchanted with the political status quo. Not only will there be a general distaste for the hyperpartisan style, but people will also begin to see how partisan brawling threatens the nation's prosperity. They'll read more books like "The Coming Generational Storm" by Laurence Kotlikoff and Scott Burns and "Running on Empty" by Peter Peterson. They will be more aware of the looming disaster. As the situation gets worse, the prospects of change get better, because Americans will not slide noiselessly into oblivion.

The party alignments have been pretty stable over the past few generations, but there's no reason to think they will be in the future. The Whig Party died. The Progressive movement arose because the parties seemed stagnant a century ago. I wouldn't be surprised if some anti-politician emerged - of the Schwarzenegger or Perot varieties - to crash through the current alignments and bust heads.

I wouldn't be surprised if many of today's politicians decided to reorient their careers. I meet too many who are quietly alarmed by the looming fiscal catastrophe and who know that if their party doesn't tackle this problem, it simply won't be relevant to the issue that will dominate politics for years to come.


Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company | Home | Privacy Policy | Search | Corrections | RSS | Help | Back to Top

Friday, March 18, 2005

It seems such a shame that polygamy isn't allowed in CA.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Why David Horowitz Is an Infant, Part 1:

No Arabs on Flight 77:
Part II -The Passengers
By Thomas R Olmsted, M.D.

Reply to Popular Mechanics re 9/11

Technorati Tags: sept11 wtc sept11commission sept11disinfo

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The former Ukrainian interior minister, scheduled to meet in just a few hours with prosecutors to give testimony in a high-profile case of political murder, aimed a gun at his chin and fired, sending a bullet ripping through his cheek and out his upper jaw. Then he aimed it at his temple and fired again.

The Mystery Of The Second Sgrena Video

On CNN just now, anchor Carol Lin claimed that "officials say Al Qaeda is targeting soft targets for an attack."

Monday, March 14, 2005

Homeland Security / Harvard / Dora Maria Tellez

Giuliana Sgrena: Who were the hostage takers?

The rich are getting richer while the poor remain poor. If you doubt it, ponder these numbers from the US, a country widely considered meritocratic