Recent Entries in Politics

Televangelist [windbag] Pat Robertson's call for the assassination of leftist [and democratically elected] Venezuelan President Hugo Ch�vez provoked a storm of criticism yesterday, triggering condemnation from fellow religious leaders and international outrage, while the Bush administration said he was a "private citizen" whose remarks were "inappropriate."

Robertson remained publicly silent, but was criticized across the political and religious spectrum in the United States.

A pioneer of the nation's evangelical political movement, Robertson is the founder of the Christian Coalition of America and was a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 1988. Hundreds of thousands of his conservative Christian fans tune in to his "700 Club" television show daily.

The Seattle Times: Nation & World: Call for assassination fuels outrage

Like the Japanese soldier marooned on an island for years after V-J Day, President Bush may be the last person in the country to learn that for Americans, if not Iraqis, the war in Iraq is over. "We will stay the course," he insistently tells us from his Texas ranch. What do you mean we, white man?

A president can't stay the course when his own citizens (let alone his own allies) won't stay with him. The approval rate for Mr. Bush's handling of Iraq plunged to 34 percent in last weekend's Newsweek poll - a match for the 32 percent that approved L.B.J.'s handling of Vietnam in early March 1968. (The two presidents' overall approval ratings have also converged: 41 percent for Johnson then, 42 percent for Bush now.) On March 31, 1968, as L.B.J.'s ratings plummeted further, he announced he wouldn't seek re-election, commencing our long extrication from that quagmire.

Someone Tell the President the War Is Over - New York Times

Famed entertainer and political activist Harry Belafonte told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday that he was retracting his recent statement that Jews had served "high up" in the Third Reich, a comment which angered several Jewish organizations. He continued, however, to maintain that Jews had contributed to Hitler's cause and that the Bush administration resembled the period leading up to the Nazi regime.

Earlier this week, in an interview with Cybercast News Service, Belafonte used a Nazi analogy to attack black officials in the Bush administration. "Hitler had a lot of Jews high up in the hierarchy of the Third Reich," he said.

"I do regret the sentence was not structured more accurately," Belafonte told the 'Post' in a telephone interview from the United States. "I, too, agree that Jews weren't 'high up'."

He added, however, that "Jews did have a role, some did, in the demise and brutal treatment of the Jewish people." He pointed to the book Hitler's Jewish Soldiers as just one example supporting his statement. The book, recently profiled in the 'Post', tells of part-Jewish soldiers who fought for the Wehrmacht.

Jerusalem Post | Breaking News from Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World

Infants have been stopped from boarding planes at airports throughout the U.S. because their names are the same as or similar to those of possible terrorists on the government's "no-fly list."

It sounds like a joke, but it's not funny to parents who miss flights while scrambling to have babies' passports and other documents faxed.

Ingrid Sanden's 1-year-old daughter was stopped in Phoenix before boarding a flight home to Washington at Thanksgiving.

"I completely understand the war on terrorism, and I completely understand people wanting to be safe when they fly," Sanden said. "But focusing the target a little bit is probably a better use of resources."

The government's lists of people who are either barred from flying or require extra scrutiny before being allowed to board airplanes grew markedly since the Sept. 11 attacks. Critics including the American Civil Liberties Union say the government doesn't provide enough information about the people on the lists, so innocent passengers can be caught up in the security sweep if they happen to have the same name as someone on the lists.

My Way News

One day a nurse came in to ask Rodgers if he wanted to meet President Bush, who was visiting the hospital. Rodgers declined.

"I don't want anything to do with him," he explains. "My belief is that his ego is getting people killed and mutilated for no reason -- just his ego and his reputation. If we really wanted to, we could pull out of Iraq. Maybe not completely, but enough that we wouldn't be losing people -- at least not at this rate. So I think he himself is responsible for quite a few American deaths."

Bill Swisher, a spokesman for Walter Reed, says it's "fairly common" for patients to decline to see visitors. "We've had visitors from Sheryl Crow to Hulk Hogan," he says, but he has no idea how many have refused to see Bush, who has visited the hospital eight times.

Rodgers says he also declined to meet Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice. This wounded soldier has lost faith in his leaders, and he no longer believes their repeated assurances of victory.

Soldier wounded in Iraq feels cynical

Via Atrios, we see that Rick Santorum "differed Thursday with President Bush's support for teaching an alternative to the theory of evolution known as 'intelligent design'":

I think I would probably tailor that a little more than what the president has suggested. ... I'm not comfortable with intelligent design being taught in the science classroom.

[website]Santorum Exposed points out that the senator authored an op-ed in 2002 arguing that "intelligent design is a legitimate scientific theory that should be taught in science classes." But Santorum didn't stop there. Not by a long shot.

Also in 2002, he "tried to attach an amendment to the No Child Left Behind Act that would encourage the teaching of intelligent design." (The amendment failed, but the statement was adopted as part of the law's Conference Report.)

Think Progress � Santorum's Even Bigger Flip-Flop on Intelligent Design

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will install radio frequency technology at five border posts with Canada and Mexico to track foreigners driving in and out of North America.

In its ongoing efforts to tighten border security and monitor possible terrorist and criminal activity, Bob Mocny of the Department of Homeland Security said the wireless chips for vehicles would become mandatory at designated border crossings in Canada and Mexico as of next Thursday.

"This is a major transformation of how we are going to be gathering information about entries and exits along the border," Mocny said at a Wednesday news conference in Toronto. "The fundamental obligation of our government is to protect our citizens."

After a foreigner entering the U.S. has passed a thorough security check once, they will be given a document containing the chip. This document will need to be renewed every six months.

InformationWeek > Security > Homeland Security To Launch RFID Systems At Border Crossings > July 28, 2005

A leading Republican senator allied with the religious right differed on Thursday with President Bush's support for teaching an alternative to the theory of evolution known as "intelligent design."

Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, a possible 2008 presidential contender who faces a tough re-election fight next year in Pennsylvania, said intelligent design, which is backed by many religious conservatives, lacked scientific credibility and should not be taught in science classes.

Bush told reporters from Texas on Monday that "both sides" in the debate over intelligent design and evolution should be taught in schools "so people can understand what the debate is about."

"I think I would probably tailor that a little more than what the president has suggested," Santorum, the third-ranking Republican member of the U.S. Senate, told National Public Radio. "I'm not comfortable with intelligent design being taught in the science classroom."

Top News Article | Reuters.com

She said she decided to come to Crawford a few days ago after Bush said that fallen U.S. troops had died for a noble cause and that the mission must be completed.

�I want to ask the president, `Why did you kill my son? What did my son die for?� she said, her voice cracking with emotion. �Last week, you said my son died for a noble cause and I want to ask him what that noble cause is?�

CBS News | Angry Mom Protests President | August 6, 2005 21:30:52

IRAN signalled a confrontation with the West yesterday by rejecting a European Union offer to help it to build a nuclear energy programme in return for scrapping operations that could lead to the production of nuclear weapons.

In a terse address to parliament Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's conservative new president, said that such constraints would constitute a breach of his country's rights. "We respect international norms but we will not agree to outside diktats that are illegal and violate the rights of Iran," he said.

"Some governments have been trying to deprive our nation of its inalienable rights and that produces resistance in our people . . . I don't know why some countries cannot understand that the Iranian people will not succumb to force."

Iran

The Irish Republican Army said today it was ending its armed campaign and ordered its members to dump their arms and pursue their political goals by "exclusively peaceful means".

Unionist leaders were predictably sceptical, but Tony Blair hailed the long-awaited IRA statement as "a step of unparalleled magnitude in the recent history of Northern Ireland" and looked forward to the day when power-sharing government returns to the province.

"This may be the day when finally, after all the false dawns and dashed hopes, peace replaced war, politics replaces terror on the island of Ireland," the Prime Minister said.

Britain, UK news from The Times and The Sunday Times - Times Online

  SAY SAYONARA TO ABORTION

Now is a superb time to get that abortion you've been putting off.

Officially, Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' opinion of Roe v. Wade is "opaque," "mysterious," or -- my favorite -- just "unknown." But if I'm no genius, it doesn't take one to suss out how Roberts will vote when the next big abortion case hits his docket.

Three facts indicate that Roberts' confirmation spells the end of Roe v. Wade, the decision guaranteeing American women the right to an abortion.

First: Despite repeated denials, it's clear that Sandra Day O'Connor's shoo-in replacement is an active member of the Federalist Society, the far-right cadre of scary college kids who worship Ayn Rand, dress like Tucker Carlson and care deeply about your sex life. "Many key policymakers in the Bush administration are acknowledged current or former members," reports the Washington Post. "In conservative circles, membership in or association with the society has become a badge of ideological and political reliability." The group takes a hard line against abortion, comparing Roe v. Wade to the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision defining slaves as property.

SAY SAYONARA TO ABORTION - Yahoo! News

SAY SAYONARA TO ABORTION

In both statements, the military quoted an Iraqi calling the attackers "enemies of humanity" and vowing to "take the fight to the terrorists," the latter an expression President Bush frequently has used in speeches.

After the media contacted officials Sunday on the similarities, the military reissued the latest release without the quote.

Although not referring to the quote in Sunday's release, it said there was "a draft press release which, due to an administrative error, was mistakenly issued on behalf of the 3rd Infantry Division."

CNN.com - U.S. military admits error in news releases - Jul 25, 2005

The House voted Thursday to make permanent most of the key provisions of the USA Patriot Act, the sweeping law passed in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that expanded law-enforcement powers to investigate suspected terrorists.

Hours after the London subway system was bombed for the second time in two weeks, House members opened a daylong debate on the Patriot Act.

Supporters of the law said the London attacks underscored the importance of the act. Critics had said Congress should more thoroughly review and amend a law that they contended was passed in haste and could allow government abuses of privacy and civil liberties.

Chicago Tribune | Patriot Act provisions get House boost

"I know for an absolute fact that we have not been involved in anything related to promoting terrorism and yet the government has collected almost 1,200 pages on our activities," Romero said. "Why is the ACLU now the subject of scrutiny from the FBI?"

John Passacantando, Greenpeace's U.S. executive director, said his group is a forceful, but peaceful, critic of the Bush administration's war and environmental policies.

"This administration has a history of using its powers against its peaceful critics. If, in fact, the FBI has been deployed to help in that effort, that would be quite shocking," Passacantando said.

FBI Says It Has Files on Rights Groups

A Chinese general said Beijing might respond with nuclear weapons if the United States attacked China in a conflict over Taiwan, news reports said Friday.

The State Department rejected the warning as "highly irresponsible."

The exchange could add to tensions with Washington at a time of U.S. worries about China's military buildup and the proposed takeover of the oil company Unocal Corp. by a Chinese state-run company.

"If the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition into the target zone on China's territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons," Maj. Gen. Zhu Chenghu, a dean at China's National Defense University, told visiting Hong Kong-based reporters. His remarks were reported by The Asian Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times.

Zhu stressed he was expressing a personal view, not official policy, and was confident that China and the United States would not go to war, the reports said. While Zhu is a serving officer, he isn't involved in policymaking.

China threatens nuclear attack on U.S. over Taiwan conflict - billingsgazette.com

As the scandal over the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity has continued to unfold, there is a renewed focus on Karl Rove -- the White House deputy chief of staff whom President Bush calls his political "architect."

Newsweek has reported that Matt Cooper, in an e-mail to his bureau chief at Time magazine, wrote that he had spoken "to Rove on double super-secret background for about two min[ute]s before he went on vacation ..." In that conversation, Rove gave Cooper "big warning" that Time should not "get too far out on Wilson."

Rove was referring, of course, to former Ambassador Joe Wilson's acknowledgment of his trip to Africa, where he discovered that Niger had not, in fact, provided uranium to Iraq that might be part of a weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program.

CNN.com - It doesn't look good for Karl Rove - Jul 15, 2005

It's treason, I say! Send him to Gitmo!

US News Article | Reuters.com

The White House faced fierce questioning on Monday over top political aide Karl Rove's involvement in a CIA leak scandal and Democratic calls mounted for President Bush to sideline the adviser.

One Democratic lawmaker said the intentional disclosure of a covert agent's identity amounted to an "act of treason." Others urged Bush to sideline Rove by suspending his access to classified information and said the aide should "clear the air" by answering questions from Congress.

After publicly defending Rove two years ago, the White House responded to a barrage of pointed questions on Monday by saying that it would not comment at the request of the prosecutors investigating who leaked the identify of the CIA agent, Valerie Plame.

Top White House aide Karl Rove discussed a former US ambassador and his CIA agent wife with a Time magazine reporter, according to a report.

The Newsweek weekly quoted Rove lawyer Robert Luskin as confirming that Rove was the source who gave information to Time reporter Matt Cooper under a pledge of confidentiality, and last week released him to testify about that conversation to a grand jury.

Cooper had been ordered by a US federal judge to testify before the grand jury investigating whether the agent's identity was illegally leaked.

Rove's lawyer acknowledges he was Time reporter's source - Yahoo! News

Tony Blair will on Monday reject Conservative demands for a government inquiry into last week's London bomb attacks, insisting such a move would distract from the task of catching the perpetrators.

As police and security services on Sunday continued searching for the bombers - thought to be Islamist terrorists - Downing Street said the prime minister believed an inquiry now into the outrage which killed at least 49 people would be a "ludicrous diversion."

Instead, in a statement to the Commons on Monday following last week's Group of Eight summit, Mr Blair is expected to focus on the direction the government must take to ensure future terrorism is defeated.

In particular, the prime minister believes there must be far greater co-operation among European Union governments in the fight against terrorism - a view Charles Clarke, the home secretary, is expected to drive home at an emergency meeting of EU interior ministers this week.

FT.com / Terror / London blasts - Blair rejects calls for probe into bombings


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