Sunday, July 30, 2006



Azzaman, Iraq

What the American Flag Symbolizes for Iraqis
By Fatih Abdulsalam

July 26, 2006
Azzaman - Iraq- Original Article (English)

Some 230 years have passed since the United States declaration of independence. But as Americans celebrated their national day this year, theycertainly had the terrible experience of their Iraqi adventure in the backof their minds.

The grey years that the Americans have spent in Iraq will haunt the UnitedStates for decades to come, even though their presence in the country isostensibly under the U.N. banner.

Almost everywhere in the world, the American flag indicates the values of acivilized society, and one that has transformed the face of the globe overthe past 70 years. But that is unfortunately not the case in Iraq, where theU.S. flag carries entirely different connotations.


Beyond Lebanon
This Is the Time for a U.S.-Led Comprehensive Settlement

By Brent Scowcroft
Sunday, July 30, 2006; B07

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has stated that a simple cease-fire inLebanon is not the solution to the current violence. She says it isnecessary to deal with the roots of the problem. She is right on bothcounts. But Hezbollah is not the source of the problem; it is a derivative
of the cause, which is the tragic conflict over Palestine that began in1948.

The eastern shore of the Mediterranean is in turmoil from end to end, arepetition of continuing conflicts in one part or another since the abortiveattempts of the United Nations to create separate Israeli and Palestinianstates in 1948. The current conflagration has energized the world. Now,perhaps more than ever, we have an opportunity to harness that concern and
energy to achieve a comprehensive resolution of the entire 58-year-old tragedy. Only the United States can lead the effort required to seize this opportunity.


The New York Times

July 30, 2006

Op-Ed Contributors
The Insanity Defense Goes Back on Trial

IN June, the Supreme Court upheld a narrow Arizona test for legal insanity, which asked simply whether mental disorder prevented the defendant from knowing right from wrong. Last week, a Texas jury used a similarly narrow test to decide that Andrea Yates was legally insane when she drowned her five children in a bathtub, allegedly to save them from being tormented forever in hell.

Many scientists and legal scholars have complained that tests like these, used by the law to determine criminal responsibility, are unscientific. Given recent advances in our understanding of human behavior and of the brain, these critics argue, the legal test for insanity is a quaint relic of a bygone era.

These criticisms misunderstand the nature of criminal responsibility, which is moral, not scientific. On the other hand, legislation that has eliminated or unduly constrained the insanity defense, often in response to unpopular verdicts of not guilty by reason of insanity, is likewise off the mark. Between these two attacks, the concept of the morally responsible individual seems to be disappearing.


July 30, 2006

The Nation
Case Won on Appeal (to Public)

IN some ways, it was a modest decision. A year ago, the United StatesSupreme Court ruled that a city in Connecticut could use the power ofeminent domain to make room for private development. The decision simplyapplied existing law and deferred to the judgments of local officials.

But the outcome was a revolt.

The decision provoked outrage from Democrats and Republicans, liberals andlibertarians, and everyone betwixt and between.

Dozens of state legislatures considered bills to protect private propertyfrom government seizure, and many passed new legislation; Justice John PaulStevens, the author of the decision, issued something like an apology; a campaign was started to use eminent domain to seize the home of anotherjustice, David H. Souter; and, on Wednesday, a ruling from the Ohio Supreme
Court adopted the analysis of the dissenters in last year's decision to reject an effort to oust the residents of a Cincinnati suburb.


Lieberman's Eroding Base

Many Democratic Faithful Support a Political Newcomer Rather Than the
Senator Who Has Not Toed Party Line

By Shailagh Murray
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 30, 2006; A04

Irving Stolberg is not just another Connecticut Democrat who wants Joe Lieberman out of office.

The former speaker of the Connecticut House is one of Lieberman's oldestallies in state politics. The two met as antiwar activists in the late 1960sand won seats to the legislature together in 1970, and Stolberg remained anadmirer when Lieberman drifted to the political center, while Stolberg stuckto his liberal roots.

But this year, as Lieberman battles for a fourth term in the Senate,Stolberg has reluctantly endorsed his ally's Democratic primary opponent,multimillionaire businessman and political neophyte Ned Lamont. "It's been awrenching decision. I've supported him every step," Stolberg said of Lieberman. "But the issues and the principles trump 40 years of friendship."


The New York Times

July 25, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist

In Lebanon, Echoes of Iraq?

The U.S. position on the fighting in the Middle East is essentially: "Stop the killing. But not yet."

Washington is resisting an immediate cease-fire so as to give Israeli forces more of a chance to destroy Hezbollah. But more time isn't likely to accomplish much militarily, while every day of grisly photos on Arab television strengthens hard-liners - and Iranian and Shiite influence -
throughout the region.

The Israeli offensive and the American support for it seem to reflect the same misguided thinking that led to our Iraq war. It's a utopian notion that every outrage must have a solution, and that armed intervention is a useful way to reshuffle the Arab political stage.

Israelis are brimming with moral clarity, as we Americans were after 9/11. And they're right: the Hezbollah attacks on Israel were particularly contemptible because they followed Israeli withdrawals from both Lebanon and Gaza. Israel should have been rewarded for those withdrawals, not subjected to rocket attacks and cross-border incursions.


Probe Of Mysteriously Low HIV Rates In African Tribe
by Newscenter Staff
July 28, 2006 - 9:00 pm ET

(Toronto, Ontario) A Canadian anthropologist is trying to determine howmembers of an African tribe have extremely low instances of HIV despiteliving in Sub-Saharan Africa which has the world's highest rests of infection.

Prof Richard Lee of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto calls the low HIV rate of the San people "mysterious".

The San live in Botswana and Namibia, two countries known for their extremely high AIDS mortality statistics.

Formerly hunters and gatherers, the San live in remote areas of the two nations and yet, unlike other tribes living under the same conditions and in similar locations, the San are not succumbing to AIDS at the same rates as other tribal populations, Lee said on Friday.


From: Congressman John Conyers:

Dear Activist,

Two years ago, a tireless band of organizers launched the Progressive Democrats of America in Roxbury-and I was there with them at their launch. Against all the odds, PDA decided that it could move the Democratic Party, change American politics for the better, and help make this a more peaceful, more just world.

That same fall, when irregularities emerged after the 2004 elections in Ohio, PDA and I again worked together to challenge the results, to hold voting rights hearings in Columbus, and to investigate the results. Most people, and even many progressive groups, avoided the Ohio controversy at the time-but PDA showed up to fight back against the fraud.

When the Downing Street Memo was leaked in the spring of 2005, most of the mainstream media and the pundits mocked its value. Together with PDA and the newly-launched activist internet group (whose founding members were all active PDAers, including Tim Carpenter), I held packed hearings in Washington, D.C., with testimony from Cindy Sheehan, Joseph Wilson, Ray McGovern, and John Bonifaz.

And our close working relationship continues to the present, as PDA keeps pushing, day after day, for accountability at long last by the Bush Administration.

Plus, PDA understands that to move forward with those investigations, with an increase in the minimum wage, with health care for all, with the Apollo initiative for renewable energy, with developing a plan to end the occupation and real election protections, we must first take back the House in November-and PDA staff and volunteers are spending countless hours this year helping progressive underdog candidates grow stronger.

So Happy Birthday, Progressive Democrats of America.


The New York Times

July 30, 2006

A Senate Race in Connecticut

Earlier this year, Senator Joseph Lieberman's seat seemed so secure that - legend has it - some people at the Republican nominating convention in Connecticut started making bleating noises when the party picked a presumed sacrificial lamb to run against the three-term senator, who has been a fixture in Connecticut politics for more than 35 years.

But Mr. Lieberman is now in a tough Democratic primary against a little-known challenger, Ned Lamont. The race has taken on a national character. Mr. Lieberman's friends see it as an attempt by hysterical antiwar bloggers to oust a giant of the Senate for the crime of bipartisanship. Lamont backers - most of whom seem more passionate about being Lieberman opponents - say that as one of the staunchest supporters of the Iraq war, Mr. Lieberman has betrayed his party by cozying up to President Bush.

This primary would never have happened absent Iraq. It's true that Mr. Lieberman has fallen in love with his image as the nation's moral compass. But if pomposity were a disqualification, the Senate would never be able to call a quorum. He has voted with his party in opposing the destructive Bush tax cuts, and despite some unappealing rhetoric in the Terri Schiavo case,
he has strongly supported a woman's right to choose. He has been one of the Senate's most creative thinkers about the environment and energy conservation.


The New York Times

July 30, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist

Another Small Step for Earth

The best argument for ignoring global warming has been that there are better ways to spend money: instead of devoting billions to curb carbon emissions and reduce the impact on sea levels in 2050, we could spend the resources developing a vaccine for AIDS or providing universal health care to all Americans.

In essence, the dangers of climate change appeared distant and uncertain, while the costs of curbing greenhouse gases were immediate and appeared substantial.

But all across the country, states and local governments have chipped away at those arguments for delay - actually, pretty much demolished them - by showing that there are myriad small steps we can take that significantly curb carbon emissions and that are easily affordable.


The New York Times

July 30, 2006

Still the Wrong Man for the U.N.

When President Bush nominated John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations last year, we argued that this convinced unilateralist and lifelong disparager of the United Nations should not be confirmed. The Senate agreed. Mr. Bush sent him to New York anyway, using the constitutional end run of a recess appointment. That appointment expires in January.

Now the Senate is being asked to confirm Mr. Bolton again. With one of last year's critics, George Voinovich, Republican of Ohio, having recently changed sides, confirmation seems more likely. But after a year of watching Mr. Bolton at work, we still believe the Senate should reject his

As ambassador, Mr. Bolton's performance has been more restrained than many of his opponents feared. He has, as far as we know, faithfully carried out any instructions he was given. And on some issues, like this spring's botched reform of the United Nations' human-rights monitoring body, Mr. Bolton was right not to accept a bad result.

But over all, American interests at the U.N. have suffered from Mr. Bolton's time there, and will suffer more if the Senate confirms him in the job. At a time when a militarily and diplomatically overstretched Washington needs as much international cooperation as it can get - on Iraq, on Iran, on North Korea and now on the latest fighting between Israel and Lebanon - Mr. Bolton
is a liability, not an asset at the United Nations.


Bush Submits New Terror Detainee Bill
By Anne Plummer Flaherty
The Associated Press
Friday 28 July 2006

Washington -U.S. citizens suspected of terror ties might be detained indefinitely and barred from access to civilian courts under legislationproposed by the Bush administration, say legal experts reviewing an earlyversion of the bill.

A 32-page draft measure is intended to authorize the Pentagon's tribunalsystem, established shortly after the 2001 terrorist attacks to detain andprosecute detainees captured in the war on terror. The tribunal system wasthrown out last month by the Supreme Court.

Administration officials, who declined to comment on the draft, said theproposal was still under discussion and no final decisions had been made.

Senior officials are expected to discuss a final proposal before theSenate Armed Services Committee next Wednesday.


The New York Times

July 30, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist

The Peculiar Disappearance of the War in Iraq

AS America fell into the quagmire of Vietnam, the comedian Milton Berle joked that the fastest way to end the war would be to put it on the last-place network, ABC, where it was certain to be canceled. Berle's gallows humor lives on in the quagmire in Iraq. Americans want this war
canceled too, and first- and last-place networks alike are more than happy to oblige.

CNN will surely remind us today that it is Day 19 of the Israel-Hezbollah war - now branded as Crisis in the Middle East - but you won't catch anyone saying it's Day 1,229 of the war in Iraq. On the Big Three networks' evening newscasts, the time devoted to Iraq has fallen 60 percent between 2003 and this spring, as clocked by the television monitor, the Tyndall Report. On
Thursday, Brian Williams of NBC read aloud a "shame on you" e-mail complaint from the parents of two military sons anguished that his broadcast had so little news about the war.

This is happening even as the casualties in Iraq, averaging more than 100 a day, easily surpass those in Israel and Lebanon combined. When Nouri al-Maliki, the latest Iraqi prime minister, visited Washington last week to address Congress, he too got short TV shrift - a mere five sentences about the speech on ABC's "World News."


The New York Times

July 30, 2006

Audit Finds U.S. Hid Cost of Iraq Projects

BAGHDAD, Iraq, July 29 - The State Department agency in charge of $1.4 billion in reconstruction money in Iraq used an accounting shell game to hide ballooning cost overruns on its projects there and knowingly withheld information on schedule delays from Congress, a federal audit released late Friday has found.

The agency hid construction overruns by listing them as overhead or administrative costs, according to the audit, written by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, an independent office that reports to Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department.

Called the United States Agency for International Development, or A.I.D., the agency administers foreign aid projects around the world. It has been working in Iraq on reconstruction since shortly after the 2003 invasion.

The report by the inspector general's office does not give a full accounting of all projects financed by the agency's $1.4 billion budget, but cites
several examples.


The New York Times

July 30, 2006

Minimum Wage Fight Heads to the Senate

WASHINGTON, July 29 - A bitter fight over legislative tactics and the minimum wage shifted to the Senate after the House early on Saturday approved a $2.10 increase in the wage scale but tied it to a reduction in the estate tax and a package of tax breaks.In an early-morning decision that Republican leaders said they hoped would provide political benefits to lawmakers headed home for five weeks of campaigning, the House voted 230 to 180 to increase the federally required pay rate to $7.25 over three years - the first increase in nearly a decade.

"This bill actually stands a chance of being signed into law," said Representative Frank A. LoBiondo, Republican of New Jersey. "If we really want to give relief to working men and women who deserve this change, this is the opportunity."

But Democrats criticized the decision as a cynical charade intended to give Republicans the appearance of supporting an increase in the minimum wage through a bill that would not clear the Senate because of opposition to an estate tax change aimed at extremely affluent Americans.