Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Super-Huronia Family Tour: Penetanguishene


The Washington Post's War-mongering Scribe

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Bloglines - NBC's Mitchell Blames Talk Radio & Bloggers for Hate & Lack of 'Reasoned Discussions'

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NBC's Mitchell Blames Talk Radio & Bloggers for Hate & Lack of 'Reasoned Discussions'

In Washington Week

On Friday's Washington Week on PBS, taped at the Aspen Ideas Festival (“Inspired Thinking in an Idyllic Setting”), when asked by host Gwen Ifill about hateful speech in politics and directed at journalists -- “Is that polarization real or is it just people blogging?" -- NBC News reporter Andrea Mitchell charged that “the kind of hateful speech that we have a lot of the blogosphere...goes back, in my own experience, to 1989 when the talk radio shows went crazy about the congressional pay raise.” She then reasoned: “The anti-Washington, anti-bureaucrat bias that was built into that debate was then taken up by cable talk hosts as well and that became the kind of really combative conversation that displaced reasoned discussions about controversial issues."

PBS picked six members of the Colorado conference audience to pose questions to the panel. None came from the right and four were clearly from the left, starting with a woman who wondered: “How can we keep religion out of government and politics?" A man complained: “What's the responsibility of government and the press regarding poor people and why do we hear so little about housing crisis, minimum wage, homeless people and low-wage workers?" That pleased James Bennet, a former New York Times White House reporter who is now Editor of The Atlantic magazine: "It's a great question. I've been wondering what happened to the issue of homelessness in America.” (Partial transcripts follow)

Incredibly Sad Details about Mary Winkler, the "Preacher's Wife" who (allegedly) killed her Husband

Authorities say had Mary Winkler deposited $17,500 in checks from unidentified foreign sources in family bank accounts over several months prior to the killing, and a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agent accused her at a bond hearing last week of "check kiting."Defense lawyers say the Winklers were victims of an overseas check scam and had received at least three checks from Canada and Nigeria. They also contend Matthew Winkler knew about the checks and the deposits. - Bond set at $750K for preacher's wife - Jul 7, 2006

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Bloglines - Israelis Denounce Attack on Gaza


Israelis Denounce Attack on Gaza

JULY 7, 2006
12:15 PM

CONTACT: Institute For Public Accuracy
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020
David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

WASHINGTON - July 7 - Though rarely featured in recent news coverage, Israeli critics of the Gaza attacks are speaking out loudly.

Professor emeritus at Tel Aviv University, Reinhart is author of the forthcoming book "The Road Map to Nowhere: Israel/Palestine Since 2003."

She said today: "The present Israeli 'operation' is not about releasing the captured Israeli soldier -- one need not be a military analyst to realize he cannot be released this way. The Israeli army has been planning this operation for quite a while, awaiting the appropriate trigger that will create the appropriate international conditions.

"The major goal of the Israeli government is toppling the Hamas government by force. In Israel's view, the Palestinian election results are a disaster, because for the first time they have a leadership that insists on representing Palestinian interests rather than just collaborating with Israel's demands.

"A second local goal is to turn the north of the Gaza Strip into a 'no man's land.' This plan has been openly discussed in Israeli media since the disengagement last summer." Reinhart is a columnist for the Israeli paper Yediot Aharonot and author of the book "Israel/Palestine: How to End the War of 1948."

Avnery is founder of Gush-Shalom, the Israeli "Peace Bloc." He said today: "The offensive on land, from the sea and from the air does not put an end to the launching of Qassam rockets. It is leading to their increase. The sowing of destruction in the Gaza Strip does not bring Gilad Shalit home. It is endangering his life." Avnery has been a member of the Knesset and as a youth was a member of the Irgun, a rightwing Zionist paramilitary.

Menuchin is a spokesman for the Israeli peace group Yesh Gvul, which educates soldiers and the public about Israeli violations of international law. Yesh Gvul activists were among the hundreds of protesters in front of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's house on July 1. Menuchin said: "We call for our government to stop targeting Palestinian civilians -- the targeting of civilians is a war crime -- and start negotiating with the elected Palestinian leaders, not to arrest them." Yesh Gvul will be releasing the book "Occupation and Refusal" this month.


Bloglines - Juan Cole: Israel's failed-state strategy


Juan Cole: Israel's failed-state strategy

Olmert's smashing of Gaza reveals his greatest fear: A viable Palestinian government he'd have to negotiate with.
By Juan Cole

Jul. 07, 2006 | On Thursday, Israeli tanks and troops invaded northern Gaza, encountering fierce small-arms fire and some rocket attacks from armed Gazans. Twenty-one Palestinians, mostly militants, and an Israeli soldier were killed. It was the largest Israeli troop presence in the territory since the unilateral Israeli withdrawal of August 2005. Late Thursday, Palestinian Interior Minister Said Siam called on Gazans to "prepare to repel the Israeli attack" -- the first time a Palestinian governmental official has called Palestinians to arms since the crisis erupted.

The day's battles continued the cycle of violence between the Israelis and the Palestinians that has simmered for months but exploded during the past two weeks. Israel's grossly disproportionate response to a tit-for-tat Palestinian guerrilla raid during which two Israeli soldiers were killed and a third abducted has pushed the impoverished Gaza Strip to the edge of a humanitarian crisis, smashed the barely functioning Palestinian Authority, and threatened the Middle East's fragile peace. The actions of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert seem intended to create a failed state in Gaza and the West Bank, thus rendering the Israeli claim that "we have no one to talk to" a self-fulfilling prophecy and allowing Israel to continue with its unilateral, annexationist policies, free of the need to even pretend to negotiate.

This shortsighted "strategy," which both the United States and, to a slightly lesser degree, the strangely docile Europeans have signed off on, is a recipe for continued hatred, extremism, bloodshed, injustice and festering grievances. Unless Israel and its patron summon the wisdom to take the long view and hammer out an agreement that will give the Palestinians a viable state, rather than simply trying to smash them into submission, the world's most dangerous conflict will continue to rage, with dangerous consequences for all.

It would be one thing if Olmert, head of Israel's governing Kadima Party, ordered the Israeli Army (the IDF) to conduct simple, targeted search-and-destroy missions, the logical response to the kidnapping by Palestinian guerrillas of an Israeli soldier or the firing of small homemade rockets from Gaza into nearby Israeli towns. Instead, he has launched a wide-ranging attack on the Gaza Strip, sending tanks and troops over the border, destroying Gaza's only electricity plant, and firing missiles at militants without regard for innocent civilians in the area. He even ordered Israeli jets to create terrifying sonic booms throughout the night, as if 1.4 million persons, many of them children, were being subjected to the sleep deprivation techniques applied by U.S. interrogators at Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib. As Patrick O'Connor has pointed out, Olmert told his cabinet last Sunday that he wanted "no one to be able to sleep tonight in Gaza."

The destruction of the electricity plant has produced a humanitarian crisis of significant proportions. Hundreds of thousands of people have been plunged into darkness at night. It is impossible to operate hospitals and emergency rooms, refrigerate food, pump or purify water, or handle sewage in the cascading heat of midsummer.

Then, this past Wednesday, the Israelis struck at the offices of the Palestinian Ministry of the Interior in Gaza for the second time, wounding three persons. Why? The strike on the Interior Ministry building offers eloquent testimony to Kadima's goals, since that organization oversees police and security. At a time when Israeli spokesmen decry lawlessness in the Palestinian territories, which they say threatens Israel itself, they are actually destroying the only infrastructure -- Palestinian policing -- that has any hope of establishing law and order there.

As usual with outbursts of violence between Palestinians and Israelis, tracing the logic of attack and counterattack is like chasing the paradox of the chicken and the egg. The Israelis justify the invasion of Gaza as a response to the kidnapping of Cpl. Shalit, and as needed to stop the ramshackle homemade Qassam rockets (frankly, of the sort a teenager might construct with a science kit) fired from the Gaza Strip by Palestinian guerrillas of the Ezzedin Qassam Brigades at the nearby small Israeli town of Sderot. The rockets seldom do any real damage, though a few have harmed Israeli civilians. The Palestinians, for their part, counter that the Israelis have replied to the mostly ineffective Qassam attacks with hundreds of artillery strikes, which killed 30 Palestinian civilians in the weeks prior to the present crisis.

But as Jonathan Cook of Media Lens points out, the larger context for this violence is Palestinian grievances over Israeli attempts to isolate Gaza and cut its Hamas government off from monetary resources, moves that have harmed Gazan society and hurt healthcare and even nutrition. (Some 17 percent of children in Gaza suffer from malnutrition.)

The Israelis, along with the Americans and Europeans, have refused to have any dealings with Hamas, arguing that it is a terrorist organization. Hamas has declined to recognize Israel, and its military wing has carried out many terror attacks inside Israel on Israeli civilians. The Israelis and the Americans immediately cut the Hamas government off from monetary aid and even attempted to sidestep it in delivering the tax monies that run ministries and hospitals. Inevitably, and despite Israeli assurances to the contrary, the boycott of the Hamas government has harmed the quality of life of ordinary Palestinians, adding to the miseries of poor healthcare and unemployment, with many government employees suffering long arrears in the payment of their salaries. Government is among the biggest employment sectors in Gaza.

But from a Palestinian point of view, the fundamentalist Hamas Party is a legitimately elected government that had made a truce with the Israelis during the previous 18 months, and largely adhered to it. Some small guerrilla groups, such as the Qassam Brigades, as well as guerrillas loyal to Hamas' military leader in exile, Khalid al-Mashaal, did not share the civilian Hamas Party's commitment to the truce. They have been responsible for provocations, including the rocket attacks on Sderot.

In any case, Israel is itself largely responsible for the rise of Hamas. The Israelis withdrew from Gaza unilaterally, making no arrangements with any Palestinian negotiating party for security in the aftermath. Israel's then- Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had insisted that he had no one to talk to, despite the long-standing commitment of the Palestinian Authority, led primarily by the secular Fatah Party, to a negotiated peace. Fatah is weak in Gaza, however, where most Palestinians support the Islamist Hamas Party. Sharon had undermined Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, helping derail the Oslo peace accords, continuing to expand Israeli colonies on the West Bank, and attacking and weakening the P.A. security infrastructure. P.A. officials also behaved locally in a corrupt and arrogant manner, turning many voters against them.

It should not have been so surprising, then, that the Palestinian population, seeing the Israelis usurp Palestinian land on a grand scale and suffering from Israeli checkpoints and the carving up of the West Bank into small cantons, swung against the secular Fatah in this year's elections.

Sharon and Olmert's refusal to allow the development of a genuine Palestinian state, while desperately trying to avoid ruling as colonial masters over millions of Palestinians, has produced a dead end for Israeli policy. By unilaterally withdrawing from Gaza and unilaterally building a wall on Palestinian territory that usurped more Palestinian land, the Israelis during the past year have created a failed state all around them. The Hamas victory was as unacceptable to many Fatah supporters as it was to the Israelis, and there have been riots and gun battles between the two. The place is beginning to look like Somalia. While Israel may reap a temporary tactical advantage from the split between Palestinian factions, in the long run chaos and armed anarchy next door is not in its best interest.

If the Israelis had negotiated with the Palestinian Authority and built up its security capabilities -- and, above all, charted a clear path toward a viable future state -- they might have been entitled to expect it to police the territories and deal with groups such as the Qassam Brigades. As the Israeli analyst Aluf Benn recently pointed out in Haaretz, strong leaders and states with return addresses -- Hezbollah's Nasrallah, Syria's Assad -- have a much better track record of controlling militants than weak leaders. But as it is, the resentful Palestinians have neither the motivation nor the capability to provide security.

The paradoxes of Kadima policy created a powder keg, and it was set off on June 9 when an Israeli artillery barrage, replying to the Qassam rocket attacks, went astray and hit a Palestinian family picnicking on the beach. The image of the survivor, little Huda Galia, orphaned and weeping hysterically at the sight of her relatives' bloody remains, touched the entire world. (The Israeli military, as usual, denied responsibility, saying that the Palestinians themselves had mined their own beach, but Human Rights Watch and most European newspapers who looked into it did not find the Israeli denials plausible.) The Israeli newspaper Maariv buried the story. But it was front page news for weeks in the Arab press.

What happens in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank has consequences in the rest of the region and the world. On June 22, Al-Jazeera reported that an Iraqi guerrilla group attacked a U.S. Humvee in the name of Huda Galia. As the situation in Gaza becomes more explosive, the possibility for it to exacerbate tensions in Iraq and elsewhere only grows. On last Friday, 3,000 Egyptians demonstrated at al-Azhar square in Cairo after Friday prayers against the Israeli actions.

After the beach horror, passions ran high in Gaza and the West Bank. On June 25, a coalition of tiny guerrilla groups launched an attack on an Israeli military outpost on the Gaza-Israel border, killing two Israeli soldiers and capturing a third. There is no reason to think that the Hamas government was involved; its cabinet members were nearing an accord with President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah on a formula that would involve de facto recognition of Israel. One of the three guerrilla groups behind the attack was a splinter group from Hamas, but it is probably loyal to militant Hamas dissident Khalid al-Mashaal, in exile in Damascus, who rejects the civilian Hamas Party's willingness to adopt Abbas' formula for negotiating with Israel.

On Tuesday, June 27, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas announced his acceptance of the negotiating platform proposed by Abbas. The same day, another Palestinian guerrilla group kidnapped, and later killed, an Israeli colonist on the West Bank. On Wednesday last week, the Israelis made their first incursion into Gaza and destroyed the electricity plant. They have since struck at remaining generators. On Thursday they detained dozens of Palestinian lawmakers, cabinet members and activists. The lawmakers had been freely elected at the polls, and there is no obvious legal basis for Israel to detain them, nor is it likely that they were directly involved in any of the guerrilla actions. They were in essence kidnapped and held for ransom.

The only logical explanation for Olmert's actions, aside from tough-guy posturing, is that he wants to continue to degrade the Palestinian government and radicalize the population. The Israelis cannot get law and order in the territories this way, of course. Nor is there any reason to believe that these massive and disproportionate acts of violence against the Gazans will increase the chance that their captured soldier will be returned.

But Olmert clearly has something else on his mind. His actions indicate that his ultimate goal is to ensure that no Palestinian state emerges any time soon that can challenge Israeli plans to annex more of the West Bank and keep its stateless residents divided and weak, prone to outbursts of ineffectual violence and easy to label as "terrorists." If the elected Hamas government falls over the crisis, all the better. But the Israelis had a PLO government until this year and would not negotiate with it, either. The point is not to negotiate. The larger issue, that such a policy will prevent this terrible conflict from being solved, and will inevitably create blowback against Israel and the United States, does not seem to concern Olmert, the U.S. government or the U.S. media.


Bloglines - N.Y. Times TV Critic Says Bush Went On Larry King To Boost 'Ever-Sliding' Polls

Audio Link Above to today's commentary from - Exposing Liberal Media Bias

N.Y. Times TV Critic Says Bush Went On Larry King To Boost 'Ever-Sliding' Polls

In Polling

New York Times TV writer Alessandra Stanley reviewed George and Laura Bush's Thursday night interview on CNN's "Larry King Live" as a desperately needed chance for a softball interview. "The standoff with North Korea over its missile tests, the war in Iraq and ever-sliding ratings in the polls have given the president little reason to celebrate. Mr. King gave the president a chance to defend his policies without risk of interruption or follow-up."

This adjective, "ever-sliding," may be what Miss Stanley wishes and hopes for, but it could not be described as accurate. Bush fans would look silly to describe Bush's poll ratings as good. But they have been creeping upward since the killing of Iraqi al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The summary shows that several polls have him up a bit since a low point in early May:

Keeping It Quiet: Israeli Lobby

Bloglines - Phone Jamming Update

Crooks and Liars
John Amato's Virtual Online Magazine

Phone Jamming Update

By John Amato on corruption


The fourth man indicted in a New Hampshire phone-jamming scheme — in which Republican operatives jammed the phone lines of Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts in a 2002 Senate race — will argue at trial that the Bush Administration and the national Republican Party gave their approval to the plan, according to a motion filed by his attorney Thursday…read on

(I’ll be going on The Young Turks at 4:30 PST. You can watch it via live streaming)


Bloglines - Judge orders government to not disclose Padilla's defense motions


Judge orders government to not disclose Padilla's defense motions

Posted on Wed, Jul. 05, 2006
Associated Press
U.S. government officials who know of sealed defense motions in the Jose Padilla terror case face court punishment if they disclose their contents to the prosecution trial team, a judge has ruled.

District Judge Marcia G. Cooke issued the order after Padilla's defense attorneys expressed concern over a sealed motion they filed requesting evidence and assistance from Egypt's government as part of their case.

Defense attorneys claimed they received a call from a U.S. government representative who said that if the government is ordered to respond to a defense motion and the defense does not withdraw the motion, the government would disclose the motion's contents to the prosecution trial team.

"It is well established that the prosecution does not have the right to be kept abreast of the investigative efforts of defense counsel," the June 22 defense filing said.

Cooke ordered Friday that no representative of the U.S. Attorney's Office or the Department of Justice should disclose any of Padilla's pending defense motions to prosecutors without a court order.

Padilla and two co-defendants charges of conspiracy to kill, injure or kidnap people overseas as part of a global Islamic terrorist network. They have pleaded not guilty, with trial scheduled for this fall.

U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Matt Dates would not comment on the matter. Defense attorney Andrew Patel didn't return a call seeking comment.

Padilla was designated an "enemy combatant" and held for 3 1/2 years without charge by the Bush administration shortly after his May 2002 arrest at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. He was accused then of plotting to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in a major U.S. city.

Padilla was added as a defendant in the Miami terror support cell case last year amid a legal struggle over President Bush's authority to hold him indefinitely. The Miami indictment does not mention the "dirty bomb" allegations.


Bloglines - Accused Phone Jammer To Argue Bush Admin. Approved Illegal Tactic...

The Huffington Post | Raw Feed
The Huffington Post Raw Feed

Accused Phone Jammer To Argue Bush Admin. Approved Illegal Tactic...

By The Huffington Post on George W. Bush

The fourth man indicted in a New Hampshire phone-jamming scheme -- in which Republican operatives jammed the phone lines of Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts in a 2002 Senate race -- will argue at trial that the Bush Administration and the national Republican Party gave their approval to the plan, according to a motion filed by his attorney Thursday.

Shaun Hansen, the former owner of the company that placed hang-up calls to jam Democratic phone lines, was indicted in March for conspiring to commit and aiding and abetting the commission of interstate telephone harassment relating to a scheme to thwart get out the vote efforts on Election Day, 2002.


Fisherman and the Sea

Fisherman and the Sea, originally uploaded by bokchoyboy.

Police Suspended Over MySpace Comments

Hooey! How did they coerce or bribe her? AP United States

CAMDEN, N.C. (AP) -- A former Blackwater USA employee said Friday an addiction to prescription pain killers led her to try to extort $1 million from the security company by threatening to leak information about the killings of four contractors in Iraq.

Laura Holdren-Nowacki, 35, of Moyock, made the admission in a statement released after she pleaded not guilty to one count of extortion.

District Attorney Frank Parrish said outside of court that, at Blackwater's request, he will ask Monday for the charge to be dropped.

Holdren-Nowacki said she suffered from "significant depression and severe migraine headaches" and had taken significantly larger doses of prescription medicine because of her pain.

"My addiction has literally destroyed my life and brought me to where I am today," Holdren-Nowacki said. "The allegations and statements that I made regarding Blackwater were the product of my addiction. I regret any harm or damage that they may have caused."

Holdren-Nowacki had said she had information related to the deaths of four security guards working under contract with Blackwater who were killed in Fallujah, Iraq, in March 2004. The men's bodies were mutilated and the charred remains were strung up on a bridge. Their families have sued Blackwater, alleging that the contractors weren't properly equipped or trained for their mission.

Camden County Sheriff Tony Perry said Holdren-Nowacki, a former fleet vehicle manager for Blackwater, threatened to release documents about the contractors' deaths to the media, members of Congress and family members of the dead men.

In the last of several threatening e-mails she sent to the company, Holdren-Nowacki demanded $1 million in cash and a 2006 Chevrolet Suburban in exchange for her silence, according to a search warrant affidavit.

The search didn't turn up any damaging documents about Blackwater, Perry said. Two computers taken from her home may be turned over to the State Bureau of Investigation, he said.

Holdren-Nowacki was fired in April and given a severance package, according to the affidavit. Blackwater provides security for State Department officials in Iraq, trains military units from around the world, and works for corporate clients.

Company lawyer Andy Howell said Friday the company intends to help Holdren-Nowacki get treatment for her addiction.

"We look out for our own even in tough times like these," he said in a statement.

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Opening of Silk Road weaves India closer to China


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