Saturday, September 02, 2006

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST September 2, 2006


The real fascists who threaten our security
September 1, 2006 05:26 AM
Enemies of the State

President George W. Bush and his minions tell the truth when they say the world faces a new and continued threat from fascism.

What he doesn't admit is that the fascist leaders who so threatens worldpeace and safety is he, his administration and any members of Congress -Republican and Democrat - who support his dangerous policies.

Under Bush's watch, the American Democratic Republic has disappeared into apolice state where the American government spies at will on its owncitizens, detains citizens without basic Constitutional protections andignores the Bill of Rights as a matter of course.

Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington Universitysays President Bush is guilty of high crimes against the Constitution:

The president is dead wrong. It's not a close question. Federal law isclear. When the president admits that he violated federal law that raisesserious constitutional questions of high crimes and misdemeanors.


Editorial: Caught in the act

Bloggers crack a Senate mystery

Published 12:01 am PDT Friday, September 1, 2006

A week or so ago, we were grumbling about the arcane practice that allows asingle member of the U.S. Senate to sidetrack legislation he or she doesn'tlike. At the time, there was a mystery about who was holding up a bill tomake government more transparent. Now it has been solved, courtesy of theblogosphere.

By contacting the offices of every senator, bloggers across the politicalspectrum narrowed the suspect list to two: Republican Ted Stevens of Alaskaand Democrat Robert Byrd of West Virginia. Stevens has admitted putting ahold on the bill to create a database from which taxpayers could find outhow and on what the government is spending their money -- including
"earmarks," which most people call pork. Byrd's office is still playingcat-and-mouse with the bloggers. Stevens' office said he wanted to be surethe bill wouldn't create a new bureaucracy before allowing it to move ahead. That's ironic coming from a man who is sponsoring a bill to spend $223 million on a bridge to an island with 50 inhabitants.


Deseret Morning News, Thursday, August 31, 2006

Text of Mayor Anderson's speech

Address by Salt Lake Mayor Ross C. "Rocky" Anderson

Washington Square
Salt Lake City, Utah
August 30, 2006

A patriot is a person who loves his or her country.

Who among you loves your country so much that you have come here today toraise your voice out of deep concern for our nation - and our world?

And who among you loves your country so much that you insist that ournation's leaders tell us the truth?

So let's hear it: Give us the truth!" Because if we had had the truth, wewouldn't be here today.

Let no one deny we are patriots. We support our nation's troops. Let's hearit for our nation's troops! We have so many veterans here today. Let's hereit for the veterans! We are grateful to our veterans who have sacrificed somuch for our freedoms. We love our country, we hold dear the values uponwhich our nation was founded, and we are distressed at what our President,
our administration, and our Congress are doing to, and in the name of, ournation.


September 2, 2006

The Lowdown on the Slowdown

Hiring was tepid in August, bringing average job creation in the privatesector to 102,000 jobs a month since April. That is nowhere near the levelof labor demand that's needed to give employees the clout to bargain forraises. Accordingly, hourly wages weakened in August, up only one-tenth of apercent, all of which is most likely to be eaten up by inflation. (In 26 ofthe last 28 months, annual hourly wage growth has failed to outpaceinflation.)

Sounds depressing - if you rely on your job to get by. But it was good newsfor investors. Their biggest hope these days is that the economy will slowjust enough to curb inflation, but not enough to provoke recession. Theytook August's jobs report, released yesterday by the Labor Department, asevidence that their wish was coming true.

The work force always suffers in a slowdown. But this one could hitemployees especially hard because they will experience the lows - in termsof insecurity, stagnating wages and job loss - without ever havingparticipated fully in the highs. As a share of the economy, wages and
salaries have been driven to generational lows during the expansion thatbegan in 2001. At the same time, the ability to borrow against one's home iswaning, and a slowing job market may make it harder to keep up with existingdebts, a combination that could prove very difficult for many people.


William M. Arkin on National and Homeland Security Through Our Enemies' Eyes

Is the war on terror "a battle for the future of civilization?"

These are the words Vice President Cheney used earlier this week whenspeaking in Salt Lake City.

Yesterday, President Bush told the American Legion that the Iraq war was"the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century."

Today's terrorists, he said, are "successors to fascists, to Nazis, toCommunists and other totalitarians of the 20th century."

As I said previously, it is possible that Bush and company are opening avital debate, that in fact we are witnessing the beginning of a monumentalclash and that we need to face up to that reality before we make decisionsabout the future.

Alas, the Bush administration's actions don't actually support theirrhetoric.


Mexican Lawmakers Block Fox's Speech
Foes in Congress Seize Chamber

By Manuel Roig-Franzia
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, September 2, 2006; A01

MEXICO CITY, Sept. 1 -- In a historic rebuke, opposition lawmakers seizedcontrol of Mexico's congressional chamber Friday and blocked PresidentVicente Fox from delivering his final State of the Nation address.

Fox, who was adorned in Mexico's green, red and white presidential sash,stood awkwardly in the chamber's foyer for nearly 10 minutes beforeconceding that he had no chance of entering. Surrounded by bodyguards, Foxwas handed a microphone. He quickly said that he would leave and gave a copy of his speech to a legislative official.

The lawmakers who commandeered Mexico's congressional building are aligned with the Democratic Revolutionary Party, or PRD, and its candidate, Andr├ęsManuel L├│pez Obrador, who is demanding a full recount of the July 2presidential election results.


FBI Role in Terror Probe Questioned
Lawyers Point to Fine Line Between Sting and Entrapment

By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 2, 2006; A01

Standing in an empty Miami warehouse on May 24 with a man he believed had ties to Osama bin Laden, a dejected Narseal Batiste talked of the setbacksto their terrorist plot and then uttered the words that helped put him in a federal prison cell.

"I want to fight some jihad," he allegedly said. "That's all I live for."

What Batiste did not know was that the bin Laden representative was really an FBI informant. The warehouse in which they were meeting had been rented and wired for sound and video by bureau agents, who were monitoring his every word.

Within a month, Batiste, 32, and six of his compatriots were arrested andcharged with conspiracy to aid a terrorist organization and bomb a federalbuilding. On June 23, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales held a news conference to announce the destruction of a terrorist cell inside the UnitedStates, hailing "our commitment to preventing terrorism through energetic
law enforcement efforts aimed at detecting and thwarting terrorist acts."


September 2, 2006
Mr. Bush's Nuclear Legacy

Unless something changes soon, by the end of President Bush's second termNorth Korea will have produced enough plutonium for 10 or more nuclearweapons while Iran's scientists will be close to mastering the skills neededto build their own.

That's quite a legacy for a president sworn to keep the world's mostdangerous weapons out of the hands of the world's most dangerous regimes.

Even if the United States were not tied down in Iraq, military action wouldbe a disaster. Besides, American analysts don't know where North Korea hasstashed its plutonium nor what technology Iran might have hidden. Its hugecentrifuge plant at Natanz is still nearly empty, and the more threatenedIran feels, the more reason it has to hide its program.

If Mr. Bush has any hope of avoiding this legacy, he will have to give uphis dreams of regime change, persuade his battling inner circle he means itand direct Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to do some real diplomatichorse trading - starting with a clear pledge that the United States will nottry to overthrow their governments as long as they give up their nuclearambitions.


September 2, 2006

Back to school. Back to reading, writing, arithmetic and religion.


If learning about evolution is essential for understanding contemporaryscience, if learning about sex is essential for adolescent health, islearning about religion any less essential for understanding a world of powerful and often literally explosive religious allegiances?

After a quarter-century of complaints about the eclipse of religion inhistory textbooks and others used in the public schools, a kind of consensushas emerged. As Charles Haynes of the First Amendment Center operated by theFreedom Forum puts it,"Knowledge of the world's religions is essential for comprehending much ofhistory, literature, art and contemporary events" - and conveying thatknowledge in public schools is constitutional.

That doesn't mean it is easy. Parents, school boards, administrators andteachers are justifiably nervous about bias, proselytizing and communitydivision. Reports of proposed Bible courses that are theologically loaded donothing to calm these fears. Alongside those who worry that teaching aboutdifferent religions will turn into preaching on behalf of one are those equally worried that such teaching will convey the relativistic message thatreligious differences are inconsequential.


Put My Son on Trial -- or Free Him

By Khalid Al-Odah
Saturday, September 2, 2006; A29

KUWAIT CITY -- The United States recently responded to pressure from the German government and released detainee Murat Kurnaz from Guantanamo Bay.Although he spent four years in the U.S. prison there, Kurnaz was nevercharged with a crime, and there are no indications that he was involved inany terrorist-related activity. Had he been afforded his constitutionalright to due process upon detention, it is highly likely that this innocent man would not have wasted four years of his life in prison.

Two years ago the Supreme Court mandated due process for men held at Guantanamo. More recently, in the case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld , the courtdeclared that military tribunals are not an appropriate method for thesetrials. Even so, the Bush administration maintains that the Hamdan ruling directly applies only to the 10 detainees who have been formally labeled
"enemy combatants." What happens to the other 450 or so detainees who have not been charged with any crimes and who, like Murat Kurnaz, are likely to be innocent?


September 2, 2006
News Analysis
Bush's Shift of Tone on Iraq: The Grim Cost of Losing

WASHINGTON, Sept. 1 - President Bush's newest effort to rebuild eroding support for the war in Iraq features a distinct shift in approach: Ratherthan stressing the benefits of eventual victory, he and his top aides arebeginning to lay out the grim consequences of failure.

It is a striking change of tone for a president who prides himself onoptimism and has usually maintained that demeanor, at least in public, whilehis aides cast critics as defeatists.

But in his speech on Thursday in Salt Lake City - the first in a series tocommemorate the Sept. 11 anniversary - he picked up on an approach that Gen.John P. Abizaid, Vice President Dick Cheney and others have refined in thepast few months: a warning that defeat in Iraq will only move the battleelsewhere, threatening allies in the Middle East and eventually, Mr. Bush
insisted, Americans "in the streets of our own cities."


The death knell of newspapers sounds premature

Jack Fuller, a former editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune

September 1, 2006

The other day during a visit to one of Chicago's leading civic institutions,the conversation turned to the press.

Everyone in the room was a member of the 50- or 60-something generation anddeeply engaged in the life of the city. So naturally they viewed with alarmthe toll the Internet has taken on newspapers.

One of the organization's leaders reported direly that a young staffmember--who is very civically engaged--said she gets absolutely none of hernews from the papers.

It wasn't the first time I had heard this. But it was entirely inaccurate.Not that the staff member was lying. She just didn't realize where news actually comes from.

Nobody gets all his news from media other than newspapers, simply because
newspapers originate most of the information that finds its way into all


Activists Want Ohio Election Chief Out

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Aug. 31, 2006

(AP) Activists filed a civil-rights lawsuit Thursday claiming Secretary of State Ken Blackwell deprived people of their voting rights during the 2004presidential election and seeking to have him removed from overseeing the general election in November.

The plaintiffs, who range from the Ohio Voter Rights Alliance for Democracy to the head of a Columbus neighborhood association, accuse Blackwell of distributing fewer voting machines per person in black neighborhoods, purging voter registrations and disproportionately assigning provisional ballots to blacks. Those provisional ballots then were disqualified at higher rates than in nearby precincts that were mostly white, the plaintiffs allege.

"The court should appoint someone that everyone will say is honest andcompetent and will ensure that the appropriate security measures are inplace and we don't have this kind of vulnerability in the next election,"said attorney Cliff Arnebeck, who represents the plaintiffs.


Republicans tense as voter disillusionment sets in

Updated 8/31/2006 11:39 PM ET
By Jill Lawrence and Susan Page, USA TODAY

EMMAUS, Pa. - The buzzing of 150 friends and neighbors quieted as KathleenMiller told them about her older son, a Marine who was injured in Iraq, andher younger son, who is in the Army and has orders to go there in October.

"I am afraid," Miller said. "That's why we need Bob Casey, so he can join aDemocratic Congress and help find a solution to this war."

Miller, a Democratic activist, delivered her stark message in awood-and-brick barn decked with balloons, sparkly white lights and Caseyhimself. The state treasurer, son of the late governor Bob Casey, had adouble-digit lead over two-term Republican Sen. Rick Santorum in a USA
TODAY/Gallup Poll last week.


Vets Exposed to Radiation Lose Ruling
Knight Ridder | August 29, 2006

WASHINGTON - Radiation exposure took Alice Broudy's husband a generation ago.

This week, a court ruling sliced away at her bid for redress.

In a quiet ruling that nonetheless resonates nationwide, a federal appellatecourt rejected efforts by Broudy and others seeking claims on behalf of"atomic veterans." The same court simultaneously rejected bids by otherveterans exposed to biological and chemical agents.

Taken together, the dual rulings by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals willlikely impede many veterans hoping for compensation. At the very least, itwill complicate future claims.

"It's a significant ruling," Washington-based attorney David Cynamon, whorepresented veterans in both cases, said Friday. "Unfortunately, it's a significantly bad ruling."


Can Recast Clinton Play to Nation?

In the senator's role as a champion of locals, she has won over onetimefoes. But that may not translate to a bigger -- say, presidential -- stage.

By Mark Z. Barabak, Times Staff Writer

GLENS FALLS, N.Y. - Six years ago, when Hillary Rodham Clinton first ran forthe U.S. Senate, Republican Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds derided her as acarpetbagger who brought nothing to New York but overweening ambition.

Today, he raves about their relationship. "I've found her always willing tolisten and to roll up her sleeves and go to work with me," the Buffalo-arealawmaker said in a phone call between recent campaign stops.

Reynolds is no partisan slouch. He has close ties to the Bush administrationand heads the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. He has the mostconservative voting record of anyone in New York's 29-member Housedelegation.

But like many New Yorkers who were skeptical, if not downright hostile, whenClinton planted herself in affluent Westchester County and startedcampaigning in 1999, his views of the former first lady have changed considerably. The turnabout helps explain why Clinton is romping to
reelection in November - and may offer clues about how she plans to run for president, if she chooses to take that plunge.