Thursday, August 30, 2007


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Raw Story
Study: US preparing 'massive' military attack against Iran
08/28/2007 @ 11:04 am
Filed by Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane

The United States has the capacity for and may be prepared to launch withoutwarning a massive assault on Iranian uranium enrichment facilities, as wellas government buildings and infrastructure, using long-range bombers andmissiles, according to a new analysis.

The paper, "Considering a war with Iran: A discussion paper on WMD in theMiddle East" - written by well-respected British scholar and arms expert Dr.Dan Plesch, Director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacyof the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University ofLondon, and Martin Butcher, a former Director of the British AmericanSecurity Information Council (BASIC) and former adviser to the ForeignAffairs Committee of the European Parliament - was exclusively provided toRAW STORY late Friday under embargo.

"We wrote the report partly as we were surprised that this sort of quiteelementary analysis had not been produced by the many well resourcedInstitutes in the United States," wrote Plesch in an email to Raw Story onTuesday.

Plesch and Butcher examine "what the military option might involve if itwere picked up off the table and put into action" and conclude that based onopen source analysis and their own assessments, the US has prepared itsmilitary for a "massive" attack against Iran, requiring little contingencyplanning and without a ground invasion.



South Florida
Do you want him voting on big issues?
South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board

August 30, 2007

This guy shouldn't be making big decisions

People in every state have good reason to be concerned about the judgment ofIdaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig.

What the longtime conservative, family values-type lawmaker did or didn't dowith an undercover cop in a Minnesota airport men's room has yet to bedetermined. The fact he pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct chargestemming from the June incident, and now says he made a mistake with hisplea, raises the question of how suitable he is to be one of 100 senatorswho decides on war, immigration and a host of other critical issues. Ofcourse, he is blaming the media for the problems that are of his making.

As a press conference Tuesday, Craig came out and said, "I am not gay."Whether or not he is gay is not the issue. His judgment, honesty,forthrightness and ability to be an effective U.S. senator are the issues.

Supposedly, he is considering whether to announce for re-election. Heshouldn't bother.



Florida fundraiser cancels event to protest threat over presidential primary
By Tamara Lytle
Washington Bureau

August 30, 2007

WASHINGTON -- One of Florida's top Democratic fundraisers has angrilysnapped shut his checkbook because the Democratic National Committee haspledged to penalize Florida for holding an early presidential primary.

Jacksonville trial lawyer Wayne Hogan called DNC Chairman Howard Dean onTuesday to cancel an event that Hogan had planned to host to raise money forthe national party.

"It's a big mistake what they've done to Florida, and I'm not going toassist them," Hogan said.

It is the latest move in a deepening rift between the state and nationalDemocratic parties that has left many political activists mad and nationalparty officials saying that Florida thinks it is above the rules. Florida'sscheduled Jan. 29 presidential primary - a date set by theRepublican-controlled Legislature - is earlier than the Feb. 5 date bothparties have set as the earliest most states can begin voting.


The New York Times

Abu Ghraib Swept Under the Carpet

We would have been hard pressed to think of a more sadly suitable coda tothe Bush administration's mishandling of the Abu Ghraib nightmare thanTuesday's verdict in the court-martial of the only officer to be tried forthe abuse, sexual assault and torture of prisoners that occurred there in2003.

The verdict was a remix of the denial of reality and avoidance ofaccountability that the government has used all along to avoid the bittertruth behind Abu Ghraib: The abuses grew out of President Bush's decision toignore the Geneva Conventions and American law in handling prisoners afterSept. 11, 2001.

The man on trial, Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan, was not a career officer. Hewas one of a multitude of reservists pressed into Iraq duty, many of themfor jobs beyond their experience or abilities. A military jury of ninecolonels and a brigadier general decided that he was not to blame for thefailure to train or supervise the Abu Ghraib jailers and acquitted him onall charges related to the abuse. He was convicted only of disobeying anorder to keep silent about Abu Ghraib. Even that drew only a reprimand, froman organization that Colonel Jordan presumably has no further interest inserving.

Our purpose is not to second-guess the verdict. Rather, we fear that thisand the other Abu Ghraib trials have served no larger purpose than punishing11 low-ranking soldiers who committed despicable acts. Not one officer hasbeen punished beyond a reprimand, and there has been even less
accountability at higher levels.

President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, former Defense Secretary DonaldRumsfeld and other top officials have long claimed that the abuses at AbuGhraib were the disconnected acts of a small number of sociopaths. It'sclear that is not true.


The New York Times

August 30, 2007
No Time for Threats

French President Nicolas Sarkozy made the wrong gesture at the wrong time bybrandishing the possible use of force against Iran's nuclear weapons programin his first major foreign policy address. The United States and its alliesneed to be stepping up their efforts to resolve the serious dangers posed byIran through comprehensive negotiations and increased international economicpressure, not by talking about military action.

Mr. Sarkozy, who has previously said that France would not join Washingtonin military action against Iran, did not exactly endorse an attack on Iran'snuclear facilities in Monday's speech. He asserted that a nuclear-armed Iranwould be "unacceptable" and reaffirmed support for the ongoing diplomaticinitiative by the United States, France and other world powers. Thatinitiative involves the imposition of U.N.-mandated sanctions against Iranwhile offering significant political and economic benefits if Iran stopsenriching uranium. It is a deal Tehran so far has refused.

What's scary is that his comments may reflect his understanding of whereAmerican policy is headed. Far closer to Washington than his predecessor,Mr. Sarkozy just spent time with President Bush on vacation in Maine. Hisremarks, reflecting his blunt, no-nuance style, will be read as a warning toTehran and to countries reluctant to increase the penalties for Iran'snuclear ambitions. The message: If the diplomatic initiative fails, Iranwill have nuclear weapons or there will be military action to prevent it.Mr. Bush added to the bullying yesterday by suggesting the nuclear threatfrom Iran was a justification for keeping American troops in Iraq.


The New York Times

August 30, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
A Return to the Mother of Conflicts

The sources of global frustration with the Bush administration have beenmany and varied, but its refusal over several years to get serious about theIsrael-Palestine conflict has ranked high. To dream some path led fromBaghdad to Jerusalem was always upside-down foolishness.

So President George W. Bush's discovery last month that "Iraq is not theonly pivotal matter in the Middle East" was encouraging, as was his tacitrelegation of the "road map" to nowhere. The Bush endgame, like Clinton's,is going to see a push for a resolution of the mother of all conflicts.

R. Nicholas Burns, the under secretary of state for political affairs, toldme a "supreme effort to help Israelis and Palestinians define a frameworkfor Palestinian statehood" is to be made. "We don't rule out Palestinianstatehood, certainly not, within the term of this presidency," he said.

The convocation of a conference in the United States in November ups theante and demonstrates that the incremental has been supplanted by a thrustfor the finish line.


The New York Times

August 30, 2007
Not the Killer, but Still Facing a Date With the Executioner

HOUSTON, Aug. 29 - Kenneth Foster has a date on Thursday with theexecutioner's needle. Not for killing anyone himself, but for what he wasdoing - and might have been thinking - the night in 1996 when he was 19 anda sidekick gunned down a San Antonio law student.

Ensnared in a Texas law that makes accomplices subject to the death penalty,Mr. Foster, 30, is to become the third death row inmate this week, and the403rd since capital punishment resumed in Texas in 1982, to give his lifefor a life taken.

But unlike most others condemned to death in this state, Mr. Foster, aformer gang member and aspiring musician and now a prison poet from SanAntonio, is not a murderer in the usual sense. He was convicted andsentenced to die for abetting a killing - 80 feet away - that he might, ormight not, have had reason to anticipate.

The gunman is dead, executed last year. Two accomplices are serving lifeterms.


The Washington Post

Terrorism Policies Split Democrats
Anger Mounts Within Party Over Inaction on Bush Tactics
By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 30, 2007; A01

A growing clamor among rank-and-file Democrats to halt President Bush's mostcontroversial tactics in the fight against terrorism has exposed deepdivisions within the party, with many Democrats angry that they cannotdefeat even a weakened president on issues that they believe should be frontand center.

The Democrats' failure to rein in wiretapping without warrants, close thedetention facility at Guantanamo Bay or restore basic legal rights such ashabeas corpus for terrorism suspects has opened the party's leaders tofierce criticism from some of their staunchest allies -- on Capitol Hill,among liberal bloggers and at interest groups.

At the Democratic-leaning Center for American Progress yesterday, panelistsdiscussing the balance between security and freedom lashed out at Democraticleaders for not standing up to the White House. "These are matters ofprinciple," said Mark Agrast, a senior fellow at the center. "You don'ttemporize."


The Washington Post

A Rigged Report on U.S. Voting?
By Tova Andrea Wang
Thursday, August 30, 2007; A21

After the 2000 Florida election debacle, Congress established a body calledthe Election Assistance Commission to improve voting and democracy in thiscountry. Two years ago, the commission approached me about doing a projectthat would take a preliminary look at voter fraud and intimidation and makerecommendations for further research on the issues.

Because my approach to election issues tends to be more closely aligned withDemocrats, I was paired with a Republican co-author. To further remove anytaint of partisanship, my co-author and I convened a bipartisan workinggroup to help us. We spent a year doing research and consulting with leadersin the field to produce a draft report. What happened next seemsinexplicable. After submitting the draft in July 2006, we were barred by thecommission's staff from having anything more to do with it.

What was the problem? In all the time we were doing our research anddrafting the report, neither the staff nor the commissioners, who werecontinually advised of our activities and the substance of our work, raisedany concerns about the direction we were going or the research findings.

Yet, after sitting on the draft for six months, the EAC publicly released areport -- citing it as based on work by me and my co-author -- thatcompletely stood our own work on its head.

Consider the title. Whereas the commission is mandated by law to study voterfraud and intimidation, this new report was titled simply "Election Crimes"and excluded a wide range of serious offenses that harm the system andsuppress voting but are not currently crimes under the U.S. criminal code.


The Washington Post

Mr. Craig's Secret
The senator's handling of his arrest has only compounded the damage to hiscareer.
Thursday, August 30, 2007; Page A20

"I AM NOT GAY. I have never been gay," said conservative Idaho RepublicanSen. Larry Craig on Tuesday as he tried to explain the stunning revelationof his June arrest on charges of soliciting sex from an undercover policeofficer in a men's room at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. But,as he is quickly realizing, Mr. Craig finds himself in a world of troublenot because he may or may not be gay. His 27-year congressional career hangsin the balance because he was arrested, pleaded guilty, paid a fine, agreedto a year of probation and didn't tell anyone -- not his family, lawyer,Senate colleagues or his constituents.

Rumors about Mr. Craig's sexual orientation have swirled around him since1982. That's when he publicly denied being involved in a congressional pagesex scandal and declared that he was heterosexual. It was a curious move,since his name had not been a part of the story. He married two years later.Mr. Craig's alleged fondness for the restrooms at Union Station in theDistrict was detailed in blog postings last October by local activist MikeRogers, who published the account of a man who claimed to have had sex withMr. Craig there.


The Washington Post

Posted on Thu, Aug. 30, 2007
Sharpen line between church and state

The number of charter schools that serve both general education and nichemarkets is quickly growing. Market is the operative word: Privatecharter-school owners and operators look to profit by running schools usingstate tax dollars.

For these and other reasons, charter schools need more oversight than theynow receive. In particular, the niche schools' performance in theirspecialty areas needs a rating system. Like public schools, charter schoolsadminister the FCAT and are graded on students' test scores. But theirspecialized instructions aren't tested.

School's mission

This is one of the concerns with Ben Gamla, the newly minted Hebrew-Englishcharter school in Hollywood. Right now, the school can't fulfill its primarymission to about 400 enrolled students: Teach Hebrew. The school has hadthree Hebrew curriculums rejected by the Broward County School Board asbeing too connected with religion to be taught in a publicly funded school.Ben Gamla officials must present a new curriculum to the board Sept. 12. Yeteven if a secular curriculum is found, there is no way to determine if theschool is teaching the language to a correct standard.

Ben Gamla also poses concerns that it may cross the line separating churchand state. This issue may affect more than just one school. School founder,former Democratic congressman Peter Deutsch, plans to open a Hebrew-Englishcharter school in Miami-Dade County and hopes to expand into Palm BeachCounty. The church/state separation needs to be made clear. So far, ithasn't been.

Ben Gamla will teach a language class and one other subject in Hebrew, withreferences to Jewish culture. Other classes will be taught in English. YetMr. Deutsch seems not to have done as much planning as was needed, nor tohave determined how to keep Ben Gamla secular.


Palm Beach Post

Alzheimer's patients to get ID microchips
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 29, 2007

WEST PALM BEACH - VeriChip Corp. is embedding up to 200 Alzheimer's patientsin Palm Beach County with a free microchip that will identify them todoctors at several area hospitals, the company said Tuesday.

The arrangement was made through Alzheimer's Community Care, a nonprofitagency in West Palm Beach that help patients find in-home care and otherservices. The program will take two years to complete.

"VeriChip is always with you. It speaks for you," said company ChiefExecutive Scott Silverman, who spoke to 35 to 40 Alzheimer patients andtheir caregivers Tuesday at the Alzheimer's Community Care Center.

VeriChip (Nasdaq: CHIP, $5.88) implants a chip with a 16-digit number in theright arm of the patient.

The number can be read by a small handheld device and corresponds to asecure, online medical record that an emergency-room doctor can view tolearn patient information.


Richard A. Jewell; Wrongly Linked to Olympic Bombing
By Adam Bernstein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 30, 2007; B07

Richard A. Jewell, 44, a security guard portrayed as a hero, suspect andmedia victim of Atlanta's fatal Centennial Olympic Park bombing in 1996, wasfound dead Aug. 29 at his home in Woodbury, Ga.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation reportedly planned further tests todetermine the cause of death. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted theMeriwether County coroner as saying that Mr. Jewell had diabetes and "hadbeen going downhill."

In 1998, federal authorities charged anti-government extremist Eric Rudolphwith the Atlanta park bombings.

After a five-year manhunt, Rudolph was captured. He pleaded guilty in 2005to the Olympic Park attack in addition to bombings of women's clinics and agay nightclub, receiving a life sentence.

Before Rudolph emerged as the chief suspect, Mr. Jewell was the target ofmedia speculation and law enforcement investigations into the Atlanta parkbombing. To many, he became a symbol of a life damaged by FBI leaks and newscoverage laced with innuendo.


GOP Leaders Strip Craig Of Committee Assignments

By Karl Vick and Paul Kane
Washington Post Staff Writer and Staff Writer
Thursday, August 30, 2007; A01

BOISE, Idaho, Aug. 29 -- Sen. Larry Craig went on vacation with his wifeWednesday, according to aides, as calls for his resignation intensified,Republican leaders stripped him of his committee assignments, and support inhis home state appeared to be eroding.

On the day after Craig dismissed having pleaded guilty to a charge ofdisorderly conduct in an airport restroom as an overreaction to a mistakenarrest, and insisted that he is not gay, even longtime supporters expresseddisappointment.

"I voted for him before, but I wouldn't vote for him again, because I don'tbelieve him," said beautician Linda Anderson, 45.

In Washington, two Republican senators said their colleague should resign."My opinion is that when you plead guilty to a crime, you shouldn't serve,"Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) told CNN. Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) agreed andannounced that he will give to a charity $2,500 in campaign funds his officehad received from Craig.

Senate GOP leaders said that Craig "agreed to comply" with their requestthat he step down as the ranking Republican on the Veterans' AffairsCommittee and two subcommittees while the ethics committee assesses hiscase. The move, they said, was for "the good of the Senate."


August 30, 2007
Obama offers hard truths to supporters and major interest groups

Democrat Barack Obama has a habit of telling interest groups what they don'twant to hear, even at the risk of alienating audiences critical to theprospects of a presidential candidate.

Not to be undone by his rivals, the Illinois U.S. senator has made remarksbefitting the myriad of forums and debates he's attended: praising the workof unions, upholding Israel to Jewish groups, and decrying President Bush'sspending on education.

But he's also uttered words not often heard, especially when Democraticconstituencies gather. For example:

-Obama told the National Education Association that performance-based meritpay ought to be considered in public schools.

-Cuban exiles are considered one of the keys to winning Florida, but hedisagreed with leaders who want a full embargo against Fidel Castro'sgovernment and instead called for allowing travel and money to the island.



GOP Lawmakers Seek Craig's Resignation
Associated Press Writer
7:50 AM EDT, August 30, 2007


Idaho Sen. Larry Craig is finding himself increasingly isolated from hispolitical allies as more Republicans call for him to resign over his arrestin an airport men's room.

A spokesman for Craig denied widespread speculation in Washington that thethree-term senator -- up for re-election next year -- was preparing to quit.Sidney Smith said Wednesday he had heard no such discussion.

Republican Senate leaders pushed Craig from senior committee positions. AWhite House spokesman expressed disappointment in the 62-year-old lawmaker,who pleaded guilty earlier this month to a charge stemming from anundercover police operation last June in a Minneapolis airport bathroom.

Others in the GOP were more harsh. "Senator Craig pled guilty to a crimeinvolving conduct unbecoming a senator," said Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn. "Heshould resign."

Craig "represents the Republican Party," said Rep. Pete Hoekstra ofMichigan, who called the behavior unacceptable and was the first in asteadily lengthening list of GOP members of Congress calling on Craig toquit.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., also urged Craig to step down, as did a handfulof Republican House members, including Jeff Miller and Ginny Brown-Waite ofFlorida, Mark Souder of Indiana, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Ron Lewis ofKentucky.

One GOP senator who did not call for Craig to resign -- Missouri's KitBond -- said he was praying for Craig and his family but still calledCraig's conduct intolerable.

"It is unacceptable for a member of Congress to be soliciting sex in publicrestrooms," Bond said.


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