TGIF/Weekend Edition - July 14-16, 2006



Cost of Iraq War $291 Billion So Far
Los Angeles Times, CA -7-14-06
WASHINGTON - The war in Iraq has cost $291 billion so far and would total almost half a trillion dollars even if all US troops were withdrawn by the end of 2009, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis released Thursday.


Bush criticizes Russia's record
Indianapolis Star -7-14-06
... Germany -- Raising one of the most sensitive issues in the United States' relations with Russia on the eve of a four-day visit, President Bush said Thursday ...

Plame Says Government Betrayed Her Trust
Guardian Unlimited, UK -7-14-06
Former CIA officer Valerie Plame and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, said Friday they ... .


Gee, if George Bush had paid attention to Joseph Wilson we would have saved thousands of lives and $291 billion in Iraq war costs.



Really good news: the Iraqi government has taken total control over a library. -- Grant Gerver






The-World-Is-A-Safer-Place-Without-Saddam News



"You're asking yourself where's President Bush? I'll tell you where he is. He's in Europe preparing for the G8 Summit and he's very excited. He thinks it's a conference on vegetable juice" --David Letterman



Tom Delay: Valerie Plame was not a CIA agent VIDEO



Subject: Valerie Plame


It drives me nuts listening to people who say Valerie Plame wasn't an undercover cia agent that I want to scream. They say she was just a secretary or had a desk job or EVERYBODY knew she was CIA. What has this dumbass country come to?




I hear ya Annie! It was three years ago today that Robert Novak "outed" her in his column. FYI: Joseph Wilson wrote his column denouncing Bush's state of the union speech on George Bush's 57th birthday.


I wonder if George Tenet will be subpoenaed in her lawsuit?  As I remember, it was George Tenet who went to the US Justice department to report one of his covert CIA operatives was "outed". Maybe he'll take his oath on the Medal of Freedom George Bush gave him.


Here is a quote from the Washington Post biography of Valerie Plame Wilson


She became expert at firing an AK-47. She learned to blow up cars and drive under fire -- all to see if she could handle the rigors of being an undercover case officer in the CIA's Directorate of Operations, or DO. Fellow graduates recall that off-hours included a trip to the movies to watch the Dan Aykroyd parody "Spies Like Us."

Plame also learned how to recruit foreign nationals to serve as spies, and how to hunt others and evade those who would hunt her --
some who might look as harmless as she herself does now as a mom with a model's poise and shoulder-length blond hair.

Sounds as though Valerie is more
experienced than Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld rolled into one.





The mayor of Bogota, New Jersey says people there should boycott the local McDonald's because they've refused to take down their Spanish-language billboard. You know, the mayor might have a point -- if the name of his town wasn't 'Bogota'! -- Jay Leno






Photo of Collateral Damage


Disturbing News



FoxNews Crew Shot At By Israelis - Video at Raw Story





A rock that fell out of George Bush's head.



"No poor bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making other bastards die for their country." George Smith Patton



The Laying of Hands



Lawson likened Lay to James Byrd, a black man who was dragged to death in a racially motivated murder near Jasper eight years ago.

"Ken Lay was neither black nor poor, as James Byrd was, but I'm angry because Ken was the victim of a lynching," said Lawson, who predicted that history will vindicate Lay.


Lawson also compared Ken Lay to Jesus here.





"President Bush had a phone conversation with the astronauts aboard the space shuttle. The odd thing is President Bush was the only one wearing a space helmet." --Conan O'Brien



Republican Shenanigans





"The internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it's going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material." --Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Steven (R-AK), explaining the workings of the Internet during a debate on net neutrality




Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) Techno Remix: "A Series of Tubes"


Excellent video!






"Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent." Napoleon Bonaparte



Joe Scarborough and Katherine Harris


Katherine Harris' floundering U.S. Senate campaign lost its high-level staff again this week and is groping for a message -- which doesn't surprise Republican insiders who trace the seeds of her trouble to the story of ``Joe's dead intern.''

This wasn't any old Joe.

It was Joe Scarborough, host of the prime-time MSNBC show Scarborough Country and a former Pensacola Republican congressman who was courted last summer by national Republicans to run against Harris. But before he could announce he wouldn't, Harris called major donors and suggested Scarborough would have to answer questions about the strange death of a former staff member in 2001...''That was the first clue that something wasn't right with Katherine Harris,'' Scarborough told The Miami Herald in a recent interview






Rock-The-Voter News



Lessons from the Un-Gore of Mexico
July 14, 2006
By Greg Palast

[Watch "Florida con Salsa," Palast's 15-minute investigative report from Mexico City for Democracy Now!]

The Exit polls said he won, but the "official" tally took his victory away. His supporters found they were scrubbed off voter rolls. Violence and intimidation kept even more of his voters away from the polls. Hundreds of thousands of ballots supposedly showed no choice for president -- like ballots with hanging chads.

And the officials in charge of this suspect election refused to re-count those votes in public. Everyone knew full well a fair count would certainly change the outcome.

You've heard this story before: Gore 2000. Kerry 2004.

But Lopez Obrador 2006 is made out of very different stuff than the scarecrow candidates who, oddly, call themselves "Democrats."

For six years now, I've had this crazy fantasy in my head. In it, an election is stolen and the guy who's declared the loser stands up in front of the White House and says three magic words: "Count the votes."

This past Saturday, my dream came true. Unfortunately, it was in Spanish -- but I'll take what I can get. There was Andreas Manuel Lopez Obrador, presidential challenger, standing in the "Zocalo" -- the square in front of Mexico's White House, telling the ruling clique inside, "Count the votes!"

Most important, his simple demand was echoed by half a million pissed-off, activated voters chanting with him, "Vota por vota!" -- vote by vote.

And you know what? I think they are going to have to listen. I suspect that the rulers of Mexico, a vicious, puffed-up, arrogant elite, may well have to count those votes. But, for that to happen, someone had to ask them to do it -- in no uncertain terms.

Traveling the USA, I'm asked again and again 'Why don't Democrats stand up when their elections are stolen?'

The answer: for the same reason jellyfish don't stand up... they're invertebrates.

I'm beginning to find that answer a bit too glib (though darn funny). Because it's not about electoral cojones; it's about a devotion to democracy deep in the bone. Yet weirdly, candidates that call themselves "Democrats" seem kind of, well, indifferent to democracy.

Why? Elections are the radical tool of the working class -- the great leveler of the powerless against the too-powerful. But the candidates themselves, both Republican and Democrat, tend to come from the privileged and pampered class. Votes are just the surfboards on which their ambitions ride.

Right now in Mexico's capitol, nearly a million ballots sit in tied bundles uncounted. That's four times the "official" margin of victory of the ruling party over Lopez Obrador. Supposedly, they're "votos nulos" -- null votes, unreadable. But, not surprisingly, when a few packets were opened, the majority of these supposedly unreadable votes were Lopez Obrador's.

If you think that's a Mexican game, think again. Because that's exactly what happened in Florida and Ohio.

In Florida, 179,855 ballots supposedly showed no vote for President. A closer look by the US Civil Rights Commission statisticians showed that 54% of those Florida "votos nulos" were cast by African-Americans. Did Black folk forget to vote for President, couldn't make up their minds or, as one TV network implied, were too dumb to figure out the ballot? Not at all. Machines can't count some ballots. But people can. For example, several voters wrote in, "Al Gore," which the machines rejected as his name was already printed on the ballot. The write-in could fool a machine but a human has no problem figuring out that voter's intent.

The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago reviewed all 179,855 "uncountable" votes and found the majority attempted to choose Gore. And they would have been counted -- but Florida's Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, ordered a halt.

So Bush was elected not by counting the votes but by preventing their count. And he was reelected the same way in 2004 when a quarter million votes were nullified in Ohio.

But why fixate on Florida and Ohio? Here's a nasty little fact about voting in the Land of the Free not reported in your newspapers: 3,600,380 ballots were cast in the November 2004 presidential election that were never counted. In 2000, the uncounted ballots totaled just under two million.

And where were the Democrats? In 2004, behind the huge jump in uncounted votes was a mass challenge campaign aimed at poor, Black and Hispanic voters by the Republican Party -- pushing these voters, mostly Democrats, to "provisional ballots." They could have been counted, if someone had fought for it. Hundreds of lawyers were on stand-by but the head of the biggest legal team told me in confidence -- and in frustration -- that the Kerry campaign told them to stand down.

Recently, Al Gore was asked if the election of 2000 was stolen. "There may come a time when I speak on that, but it's not now," said the beta dog. (I suspect that if Al Gore were found bleeding in an alley, he'd answer the question, Who shot you? with "There may come a time when I speak on that...").

Lopez Obrador is of a different breed. At the rally last Saturday in Mexico City, he played video and audio tapes of the evidence of fraud on a screen eighty feet tall. Imagine if Gore had projected the "scrub sheets" of purged Black voters on a ten-story-high screen in front of the White House.

Lopez Obrador put political force behind his legal demands by calling on voters from every state in Mexico to march to the capital. Two million are expected to arrive this Sunday. The result: the word among the political classes is that the election may be annulled. Even the conservative Financial Times has warned Mexico's elite not to "fool itself" by ignoring the demand for a full vote count.

North-of-the-Border Democrats just don't get it. The Republican Party is pushing "provisional" ballots, pushing voter ID requirements, compiling secret challenge lists, scrubbing voter registries and selling us vote-nullifying ballot boxes: they get it completely. The GOP knows the key to their electoral domination is not in winning over their opponents' votes, but in not counting them.

The un-Gore of Mexico City has a lesson for the Blue-party gringos. Either the Democrats demand that all votes count, or the Democrats will count for nothing.


"President Bush left for the G8 Summit today in Russia. The White House says he's going to try and convince other world leaders to develop nuclear power. Apparently, it's working, because so far, Bush has convinced Iran and North Korea." --Conan O'Brien




Scheisskopf - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia





"Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build bridges even when there are no rivers." -- Nikita Khruschev




Biz-Tech News



Religion Separating From Government



By all accounts, the group of nine was a religious powerhouse: Their ranks included rabbis, imams and ministers, including the man hailed by some as the next Billy Graham. But as of Thursday, seven of the nine religious leaders serving on a committee created by the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund to disburse money to churches destroyed by Hurricane Katrina had quit their posts, claiming their advice was ignored.






"President Bush went to Germany today. Did not go well. When he landed, he kept asking to see the Berlin Wall." --Jay Leno






Bush-Prison-Torture News



“Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed.” Mao Tse-Tung



Voters Separating From Republicans


Republicans are in jeopardy of losing their grip on Congress in November. With less than four months to the midterm elections, the latest Associated Press-Ipsos poll found that Americans by an almost 3-to-1 margin hold the GOP-controlled Congress in low regard and profess a desire to see Democrats wrest control after a dozen years of Republican rule.




Go-F*ck-Yourself News


“A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.” Edward Abbey


Odd News



Members of the public look at a hanging installation titled 'Expressions' by artist Sophie Caves at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, Scotland July 11, 2006. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum reopened on Tuesday after being closed for a three-year refurbishment. Photo/Kelvingrove Art Gallery