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Democracy has been taken for granted at a time when it is most endangered. Neo-Conservatives are organized to replace it with oligarchy, to replace consent for the rule of law with fascistic allegiance to the executive branch disguised as "patriotism." As a team made up of a political philosopher and a writer, we consider otherwise repressed information from a critical perspective in the hope of elevating the quality of our political dialogue so that it is worthy of a truly democratic society.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Setting the Record Straight:
There Was No Misinterpreting Iraqi Players' Anger at Bush's Campaign

From SportsIllustrated.com
By Grant Wahl

"ATHENS, Greece -- I had a feeling SI.com might ruffle some feathers in Washington with my story last week about Iraqi soccer players' displeasure with President Bush after he used the Iraqi Olympic team in his latest re-election campaign ad.

"But I can't say I expected former Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) officials to publicly question the accuracy of the story, so let's set the record straight.

"When asked about the SI.com piece on Monday's ESPN2 broadcast of Cold Pizza, former senior CPA official Don Eberly reiterated a quote from a Reuters interview of Mark Clark, a British consultant for the Iraqi Olympic Committee and himself a former CPA official.

"Clark's statement, which was passed along by Eberly, was this: 'It seems the story was engineered.'

"I don't know about you, but I take 'engineered' to mean anything from 'not on the level' (at best) to 'fabricated' (at worst). Curious about Mark Clark's definition of the word, I called him on Monday.

"Clark told me two interesting things: 1) When he commented on the SI.com story to Reuters he hadn't yet read it, and 2) he 'didn't recall' using the word 'engineered' in the Reuters interview. When I asked Reuters reporter Alastair Himmer, who quoted Clark, Himmer said, 'He [Clark] told me straight up, mate. I'm not in the business of making up quotes.'

"If Clark did use the term engineered, then he's simply wrong. The two Iraqi players I interviewed, Salih Sadir and Ahmed Manajid, were asked simple questions. (The interview is on audio tape.) One of them was: 'President Bush has included the Iraqi Olympic team in his latest campaign advertisements. How do you feel about that?'

"The players answered the question -- no more, no less.

"Clark also told Reuters, 'it is possible something was lost in translation' in the SI.com story.

"Well, no it isn't. On Tuesday, I played the tape of my original interviews (and the accompanying translations) for Chawki Rayess, an Arabic/English interpreter working for Olympic organizers in Athens. Rayess, a member of the respected International Association of Conference Interpreters, confirmed as accurate the following:

"From Sadir: 'Iraq as a team does not want Mr. Bush to use us for the presidential campaign. He can find another way to advertise himself.'

"And from Manajid: 'How will [Bush] meet his god having slaughtered so many men and women? He has committed so many crimes.'

"Then again, I already knew that the original translations were made in precise language, hardly a sign of confusion. If Clark and Eberly wish, I would be happy to provide them a copy of the tape. Until then, let's keep following the Iraqi soccer team's march to a possible bronze medal -- in my mind the best story of these Olympics."

Story available here.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Quotes from Iraqi Olympic Soccer Team Spur Bush Flunkies to Call Sports Illustrated Writer a Liar

Okay, now I am angry. The Bush administration is using their Iraqi team spokesman (who is hired by the Iraqi coalition) to say Sports Illustrated writer, Grant Wahl, "engineered" and fabricated the story. Folks, I have known Grant Wahl personally for years, and I know he would never in a trillion years fabricate a story even if his life depended on it.

Every time I think I can't hate the Bush regime any more than I already do I get surprised . . .

This story ain't over, I can promise you that.

Friday, August 20, 2004

From Sports Illustrated.com:

Unwilling participants:
Iraqi soccer players angered by Bush campaign ads

By Grant Wahl

"PATRAS, Greece -- Iraqi midfielder Salih Sadir scored a goal here on Wednesday night, setting off a rousing celebration among the 1,500 Iraqi soccer supporters at Pampeloponnisiako Stadium. Though Iraq -- the surprise team of the Olympics -- would lose to Morocco 2-1, it hardly mattered as the Iraqis won Group D with a 2-1 record and now face Australia in the quarterfinals on Sunday.

"Afterward, Sadir had a message for U.S. president George W. Bush, who is using the Iraqi Olympic team in his latest re-election campaign advertisements.

"In those spots, the flags of Iraq and Afghanistan appear as a narrator says, 'At this Olympics there will be two more free nations -- and two fewer terrorist regimes.'

"'Iraq as a team does not want Mr. Bush to use us for the presidential campaign,' Sadir told SI.com through a translator, speaking calmly and directly. 'He can find another way to advertise himself.'"

[...]

"Sadir, Wednesday's goal-scorer, used to be the star player for the professional soccer team in Najaf. In the city in which 20,000 fans used to fill the stadium and chant Sadir's name, U.S. and Iraqi forces have battled loyalists to rebel cleric Moktada al-Sadr for the past two weeks. Najaf lies in ruins.

"'I want the violence and the war to go away from the city,' says Sadir, 21. 'We don't wish for the presence of Americans in our country. We want them to go away.'

"Manajid, 22, who nearly scored his own goal with a driven header on Wednesday, hails from the city of Fallujah. He says coalition forces killed Manajid's cousin, Omar Jabbar al-Aziz, who was fighting as an insurgent, and several of his friends. In fact, Manajid says, if he were not playing soccer he would 'for sure' be fighting as part of the resistance.

"'I want to defend my home. If a stranger invades America and the people resist, does that mean they are terrorists?' Manajid says. 'Everyone [in Fallujah] has been labeled a terrorist. These are all lies. Fallujah people are some of the best people in Iraq.'

"Everyone agrees that Iraq's soccer team is one of the Olympics' most remarkable stories. If the Iraqis beat Australia on Saturday -- which is entirely possible, given their performance so far -- they would reach the semifinals. Three of the four semifinalists will earn medals, a prospect that seemed unthinkable for Iraq before this tournament.

"When the Games are over, though, Coach Hamad says, they will have to return home to a place where they fear walking the streets. 'The war is not secure,' says Hamad, 43. 'Many people hate America now. The Americans have lost many people around the world--and that is what is happening in America also.'"

Check out the entire essay here.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Suppress the Vote?

From today's New York Times

[I know it's not surpressed information as such, but so few people read anymore as it is, and this story is scary because: 1.) It is fair to say it is of earthshaking importance, 2.) It is representative of the kinds of things happening daily under the GWB regime, and 3.) It is also the sort of thing that goes unreported on network television.--Stourley K]

By BOB HERBERT
Published: August 16, 2004

"The big story out of Florida over the weekend was the tragic devastation caused by Hurricane Charley. But there's another story from Florida that deserves our attention.

"State police officers have gone into the homes of elderly black voters in Orlando and interrogated them as part of an odd 'investigation' that has frightened many voters, intimidated elderly volunteers and thrown a chill over efforts to get out the black vote in November.

"The officers, from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which reports to Gov. Jeb Bush, say they are investigating allegations of voter fraud that came up during the Orlando mayoral election in March.

"Officials refused to discuss details of the investigation, other than to say that absentee ballots are involved. They said they had no idea when the investigation might end, and acknowledged that it may continue right through the presidential election.

"'We did a preliminary inquiry into those allegations and then we concluded that there was enough evidence to follow through with a full criminal investigation,' said Geo Morales, a spokesman for the Department of Law Enforcement.

"The state police officers, armed and in plain clothes, have questioned dozens of voters in their homes. Some of those questioned have been volunteers in get-out-the-vote campaigns.
I asked Mr. Morales in a telephone conversation to tell me what criminal activity had taken place.

"'I can't talk about that,' he said.

"I asked if all the people interrogated were black.

"'Well, mainly it was a black neighborhood we were looking at - yes,'' he said.

"He also said, 'Most of them were elderly.'

"When I asked why, he said, 'That's just the people we selected out of a random sample to interview.'

"Back in the bad old days, some decades ago, when Southern whites used every imaginable form of chicanery to prevent blacks from voting, blacks often fought back by creating voters leagues, which were organizations that helped to register, educate and encourage black voters. It became a tradition that continues in many places, including Florida, today." [...]

Read the entire article here. (Requires a free, one-time registration)

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Oh My God! The Governor of New Jersey's Homosexuality "Has Ruined His Family and Career!"

This is, I'm certain, what the Xian nutters across the country will be screeching tomorrow.
Michael Moore Quotes Goss on Lack of CIA Credentials

http://tinyurl.com/6qoyf

Wed Aug 11, 2004 06:40 PM ET By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Congressman Porter Goss, President Bush's nominee for CIA director, could be his own worst enemy when it comes to making the case that he deserves to lead the U.S. intelligence agency.

"I couldn't get a job with the CIA today. I am not qualified," the Florida Republican told documentary-maker Michael Moore's production company during the filming of the anti-Bush movie "Fahrenheit 9/11."

A day after Bush picked Goss for the top U.S. spy job, Moore on Wednesday released an excerpt from a March 3 interview in which the 65-year-old former House of Representatives intelligence chief recounts his lack of qualifications for employment as a modern CIA staffer.
"I don't have the language skills. I, you know, my language skills were romance languages and stuff. We're looking for Arabists today. I don't have the cultural background probably," Goss is quoted in an interview transcript.

"And I certainly don't have the technical skills, uh, as my children remind me every day: 'Dad you got to get better on your computer.' Uh, so, the things that you need to have, I don't have."

Goss, who served with the CIA clandestine services in Latin America and Europe in the 1960s, was not immediately available for comment.

He appears in Moore's film, the most financially successful documentary in history, during a segment devoted to the USA Patriot Act, an anti-terrorism measure.Moore told Reuters that Goss, who until Tuesday was chairman of the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, granted an interview to two of his producers without first checking to see who they worked for.

"You'd think the person who was the head of the intelligence committee would ask a few more questions," said Moore.

"The reality is that Porter Goss was in charge of the oversight of the CIA during a time when the CIA didn't do its job, which in part resulted in the loss of lives of 3,000 people," he said via telephone from New York.

A White House spokesman declined to comment specifically on the Goss interview but described the lawmaker as "the most qualified man for the job."

Goss is expected to appear at confirmation hearings before the Senate intelligence committee next month.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Journalist and Novelist Gloria Emerson: 1929-2004

More than anything, for me, she exists as a brusque voice on the telephone and a charmingly watchful glance over my brother in a photograph. That I was never fortunate enough to meet her face-to-face is regretable but not so bad: read her works and you shall meet her.

The stories of Vietnam in wartime are what marked the rest of her life indelibly, yet she was moved by more than this--Gaza, Algeria, The United States--and one writer whose influence was so great on her, Graham Greene.

She referred to me as "John," for reasons never entirely clear (at first a mistake and then, I think, just to be funny), and, indeed, it was "To John" that she wrote a lovely inscription in my copy of her novel, Loving Graham Greene. By that time everyone was in on the joke. My brother reports to me that she called me by my given name the last time he spoke with her. I love a good curmudgeon.

Most importantly, though, Gloria Emerson was mentor to my brother, a gifted writer in his own right. When the effects of Parkinson's disease crippled her ability to use her beloved typewriter, Gloria made the decision that would end her life. Call it what you like, but such a decision is intensely personal, and I will be ever-grateful for her place in my brother's life.

So cheers to you, Gloria. We should all be so lucky as to live so richly in experience as you have done.

Here is a link to her New York Times obituary:

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/05/obituaries/05emerson.html
(Requires a free, one-time registration).
Bush Misspeak Cites U.S. Readiness to Harm U.S.

1 hour, 54 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush told a roomful of top Pentagon brass on Thursday that his administration would never stop looking for ways to harm the United States.

The latest installment of misspeak from a president long known for his malapropisms came during a signing ceremony for a new $417 billion defense appropriations bill that includes $25 billion in emergency funding for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan."Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we," Bush said.

The Republican incumbent, who is in a tight race for reelection against Democrat John Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran, used the 11-minute presentation to underscore his commitment to U.S. troops.On hand for the ceremony were Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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