.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

 

WaPo: Ben Domenech Resigns

By Jim Brady, Executive Editor, washingtonpost.com

In the past 24 hours, we learned of allegations that Ben Domenech plagiarized material that appeared under his byline in various publications prior to washingtonpost.com contracting with him to write a blog that launched Tuesday.

An investigation into these allegations was ongoing, and in the interim, Domenech has resigned, effective immediately.

When we hired Domenech, we were not aware of any allegations that he had plagiarized any of his past writings. In any cases where allegations such as these are made, we will continue to investigate those charges thoroughly in order to maintain our journalistic integrity.

Plagiarism is perhaps the most serious offense that a writer can commit or be accused of. Washingtonpost.com will do everything in its power to verify that its news and opinion content is sourced completely and accurately at all times.

We appreciate the speed and thoroughness with which our readers and media outlets surfaced these allegations. Despite the turn this has taken, we believe this event, among other things, testifies to the positive and powerful role that the Internet can play in the the practice of journalism.

We also remain committed to representing a broad spectrum of ideas and ideologies in our Opinions area.

Jim Brady
Executive Editor, washingtonpost.com


Backstory, by John Pettit:

The Post, in response to complaints from many NeoCons that their own journalist, Dan Froomkin, was an evil liberal shill for the Democratic Party, hired someone to do a right-wing blog for them. It was titled Red America, and they contracted with 24 yr old Ben Domenech to do their wingnut blog to 'balance' Froomkin. Liberal bloggers uncovered more than 30 examples of Ben's plagiarism in a day's time. Bye, Ben.

WaPo failed to do any background, much less due diligence, further damaging their already tattered credibility on this issue.

One can only hope this episode will end their pathetic efforts at sucking up to the wingnuts. The NeoCons will never be appeased by 'balance', but only by completely silencing ALL criticism and dissent.


Friday, March 24, 2006

 

Spier: Nothing New with Mama Bush

by Bill Spier

You must have heard that Mama Bush made a donation to support Katrina relief with the stipulation that the moolah be used to buy son Neil's education software for Houston schools. Never mind that Houston was not directly impacted by the storm. That hideous crone passed her sadistic genes on to son George and larcenous ones to son Neil. So don't be surprised the good son Neil's educational software company investors read like the bin Laden roledex. (Reminder. Son Neil: he is the jerk who sat on the board of a Colorado-based savings-and-loan that went belly up in the late 80's and cost us $4 or so billions. Kevin Phillips in his book on the Bush dynasty does a good rundown on that scam Daddy got Neil out of.) All of Mama Bush's spawns lack empathy, and, of course, one is a sadist.

Josh Marshall in Talking Poinst Memo runs down a list of most investors in Bush's software company: Ignite. They are either middle east asshole friends of Daddy Bush or the usual right wing contributors to Bush political ambitions. Link over. But beware. The danger of seeing all these names on one page is the stuff of nightmares. Here are two examples: Michael Milken and Mohammed Al Saddah (of the Ultra Horizon Co. in Kuwait).

There are 30 million or so voters who admire the Bushes as good Christians or actually think that the Bush American dream could be theirs. Sure; when pigs fly. The Bush family just ain't into the rapture thing; for there is no earthly gratification therein. Nor do they buy lottery tickets. The game has to be rigged for the Bushes to step in.


Other links:

Media Matters for America.

Common Dreams * Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community.

Buzzflash News.

Latest post to DemLog.


 

AP: Bush objects to stolen election elsewhere - March 24

Associated Press -- Friday, 11 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - The United States joined European nations Friday in imposing sanctions on Belarus in retaliation for a crackdown on political protesters after an election that the White House said was fraudulent.

An opposition supporter presents carnation flowers to police officers in Oktyabrskaya Square in Minsk, Belarus, Saturday, March 24, 2006, as some Belarusians come to commemorate a protest tent-camp that was broken-up before dawn Friday morning by police who arrested some hundreds of people. Demonstrators at the camp had maintained a round-the-clock vigil as part of protests against the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko in a disputed vote.(AP Photo/Sergei Grits)An opposition supporter presents carnation flowers to police officers in Oktyabrskaya Square in Minsk, Belarus, right, today, as some Belarusians come to commemorate a protest tent-camp that was broken-up before dawn Friday morning by police who arrested some hundreds of people. Demonstrators at the camp had maintained a round-the-clock vigil as part of protests against the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko in a disputed vote.  (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Washington would act in unison with the European Union in applying targeted travel restrictions and financial sanctions against President Alexander Lukashenko and others.

"We urge all members of the international community to demand that authorities in Belarus respect the rights of their own citizens to express themselves peacefully and to condemn any and all abuses," McClellan said.

He said the United States strongly condemned actions by Belarus' security forces who seized and detained citizens demonstrating against the results of the presidential election.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.  D.H.: What about stolen elections in your own country, Mr. President?

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
new email:
LawMed@Haigler.Clearwire.net
or old: Dave@Haigler.Info
lawfirm webpage: www.haigler.info
 
If those links don't work, try our political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

 

Pettit: Dixie Chicks Strike Back

by John Pettit
The Dixie Chicks have a new song out, "Not Ready To make Nice". It is clearly a direct response to the abuse they received over the comment at a London concert that they were ashamed that Duh-bya is from Texas. You GO girls!
I'd like to nominate this as the new 'fight song' of the Democratic Party.

BTW, could we move the July 4th picnic to Shotwell Stadium and get the Chicks to play it?

Here are the lyrics, and you can hear the full song at their
website:

Not Ready To Make Nice

Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I’m not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I’m still waiting
I’m through with doubt
There’s nothing left for me to figure out
I’ve paid a price
And I’ll keep paying
I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should
I know you said
Can’t you just get over it
It turned my whole world around
And I kind of like it
I made my bed and I sleep like a baby
With no regrets and I don’t mind sayin’
It’s a sad sad story when a mother will teach her
Daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger
And how in the world can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they’d write me a letter
Sayin’ that I better shut up and sing
Or my life will be over
I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should
I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should
Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I’m not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I’m still waiting

 

Dowd: Fly Into a Building? Who Could Imagine?

by Maureen Dowd -- The New York Times
WASHINGTON

Three little words: Still employed there.

Of all the through-the-looking-glass moments in the last few days, the strangest is this: The F.B.I officer who arrested and questioned Zacarias Moussaoui told a jury that he had alerted his superiors about 70 times that Mr. Moussaoui was a radical Islamic fundamentalist who hated America and might be plotting to hijack an airplane.

Seventy? That makes one time for every virgin waiting for Mr. Moussaoui in heaven. Judging by how disastrously the prosecution is doing, the virgins will have to wait.

We could have cracked the 9/11 plot if the F.B.I. wasn’t run by dunces. Mr. Moussaoui’s lawyers got a break because according to the testimony of the officer, Harry Samit, a better-run bureau could have broken the case even without the terrorist’s confession -- maybe F.B.I. officers should have shot him with some paintballs.

On Sept. 10, 2001, Mr. Samit confided to a colleague that he was “desperate to get into Moussaoui’s computer.” He never heard back from the F.B.I.’s bin Laden unit before 9/11 -- what did the unit have to do that was more pressing than catching bin Laden? And he was obstructed by officials in F.B.I. headquarters here, whom he labeled “criminally negligent.”

He named two of the officials who did not want to endanger their careers with any excess aggression toward radical fundamentalists: David Frasca and Michael Maltbie, then working on the Radical Fundamentalist Unit.
Even though Condi Rice told the 9/11 commission that “no one could have imagined” terrorists’ slamming a plane into the World Trade Center, an F.B.I. officer did. Officer Samit testified that a colleague, Greg Jones, tried to light a fire under Mr. Maltbie by urging him to “prevent Zacarias Moussaoui from flying a plane into the World Trade Center.”

Later, Mr. Jones told Mr. Samit that it had just been “a lucky guess.”

Kenneth Williams, a Phoenix agent, also sent a warning memo to the phlegmatic Mr. Frasca in July 2001, after sniffing out a scheme by Osama to dispatch Middle East extremists to America to get flight training.
Neil Lewis wrote in The Times yesterday that “William Carter, an F.B.I. spokesman, said that neither the bureau nor Mr. Maltbie nor Mr. Frasca, who are still employed there, would have any comment.”

Still employed there? How can Mr. Maltbie and Mr. Frasca still be employed at the F.B.I.? How can Michael Chertoff still be employed at Homeland Security? How can Donald Rumsfeld still be employed at the Pentagon?
Missing 9/11, missing Katrina, mangling Iraq, racking up a $9 trillion debt -- those things don’t cause officials to lose their jobs. Only saying something honest -- as prescient Gen. Eric Shinseki did -- can get you a one-way ticket to Palookaville.

Rummy told reporters last week that the military was preparing for a civil war in Iraq, but he did not consider it a civil war yet -- even though he acknowledged it was hard to tell exactly when chaos tipped into civil war.
“I don’t think it’ll look like the United States’ Civil War,” he added sanguinely. Yeah. At Fort Sumter, Lincoln let the enemy fire first. So the defense secretary believes if the body count stays below the Civil War era’s 600,000, Iraq will achieve a healthy blue-state, red-state democracy?

One administration official says that Rummy does not hold the same sway in meetings anymore, that he’s treated as an eccentric old uncle who pops off and is ignored. But why can’t W. just quit him? Instead, the president praised him for doing “a fine job” on two wars and transforming the military, when Rummy actually bullied the military to go along with his foolish schemes in Iraq and has sapped the once-feared fighting machine.

At his impromptu press conference yesterday, the president presented himself as a nice guy doing a difficult job, relentlessly joshing with reporters. He chided the press for playing into terrorists’ goals by showing bad news from Iraq -- “they’re capable of blowing up innocent life so it ends up on your TV show” -- even as reports surfaced about insurgents outside Baghdad storming a jail, slaughtering 18 police officers and letting the prisoners out, following fast upon an insurgent raid on Iraqi Army headquarters in Kirkuk. Does the president think TV will instead report on an increase in melon sales at the market?

When the Bushies harp on training Iraqi security forces so America can hand the country over to them, it has a hollow ring. Back in 2003, the U.S. de-Baathified Iraq and put its faith in its friends, the Shiites. Now, given the suspected Shiite death squads and militias, the U.S. wants to bring the Sunnis back into the system. So whom do we trust? And for how long?

Asked if he could envision a day when there would be no more U.S. forces in Iraq, the president said, “That, of course, is an objective.” But he added that it would be decided by future Iraqi governments and future American presidents.

Once W. is not still employed there.

JP Comments:


 

Wallis: Religious Right is losing control

by Jim Wallis, left, of Sojourners Magazine

For more than a decade, a series of environmental initiatives have been coming from an unexpected source - a new generation of young evangelical activists. Mostly under the public radar screen, they were covered in places such as Sojourners and Prism, the magazine of Evangelicals for Social Action.

Recently, more establishment evangelical groups, especially the National Association of Evangelicals, also began to speak up on the issue of creation care. Leading the way was Rich Cizik, NAE Vice President for Governmental Affairs, who, on issues like environmental concern and global poverty reduction, began to sound like the biblical prophet Amos. Cizik and NAE President Ted Haggard, a megachurch pastor in Colorado Springs, were attending critical seminars on the environment and climate change in particular and describing their experiences of "epiphany" and "conversion" on the issue. Cizik was quoted by The New York Times as saying, "I don't think God is going to ask us how he created the earth, but he will ask us what we did with what he created." In 2004, the NAE adopted a new policy statement, "For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility," which included a principle titled "We labor to protect God's creation."

In January, the Religious Right reared its head. In a letter addressed to the NAE - signed by 22 of the Right's prominent leaders, including James Dobson, Charles Colson, Richard Land, and Louis Sheldon - they said, "We have appreciated the bold stance that the National Association of Evangelicals has taken on controversial issues like embracing a culture of life, protecting traditional marriage and family." They then went on to say, "We respectfully request, however, that the NAE not adopt any official position on the issue of global climate change. Global warming is not a consensus issue." It was a clear effort to prevent the NAE from taking a stand on environmental issues and even to veto the whole effort. Stick to our core issues, they implied - meaning abortion and gay marriage. Five years ago, so powerful a group of conservative Christian leaders probably could have tamped down this new evangelical effort that served to broaden the range of moral values and issues of biblical concern. But not this time.

A month later, on Feb. 9, a full page ad appeared in The New York Times with the headline: "Our commitment to Jesus Christ compels us to solve the global warming crisis." The striking ad announced the Evangelical Climate Initiative, and was signed by 86 prominent evangelical leaders, including the presidents of 39 Christian colleges. I was speaking at one of those schools shortly after the ad came out and talked to their president who was one of the signers. "I'm tired of those old white guys telling us what to think and do," he said. He is a younger white man who decided to take a stand, even if it was against the old guard of the Religious Right.

The Evangelical Climate Initiative is of enormous importance and could be a tipping point in the climate change debate, according to one secular environmental leader I talked to. But of even wider importance, these events signal a sea change in evangelical Christian politics: The Religious Right is losing control. They have now lost control on the environmental issue - caring for God's creation is now a mainstream evangelical issue, especially for a new generation of evangelicals. But now so is sex trafficking, the genocide in Darfur, the pandemic of HIV/AIDS and, of course, global and domestic poverty. The call to overcome extreme poverty abroad and at home, in the world's richest nation, is becoming a new altar call around the world - a principal way Christians are deciding to put their faith into practice.

In places such as the U.K., Christians are rallying around the call to "Make Poverty History." Many are comparing that call to the cry of British Parliamentarian William Wilberforce and an earlier generation of evangelical revivalists in the 18th and 19th centuries who changed history in England and America by their steadfast commitment to end slavery. For many, poverty is the new slavery. Again, this is especially true for a new generation of Christians. The connection between poverty and all the other key issues - the environment, HIV/AIDS, and violent conflicts around the world are increasingly clear for many people of faith.

The sacredness of life and family values are deeply important to these Christians as well - yet too important to be used as partisan wedge issues that call for single issue voting patterns that ignore other critical biblical matters. The Religious Right has been able to win when they have been able to maintain and control a monologue on the relationship between faith and politics. But when a dialogue begins about the extent of moral values issues and what biblically-faithful Christians should care about, the Religious Right begins to lose. The best news of all for the American church and society is this: The monologue of the Religious Right is over, and a new dialogue has just begun.

Full Sojourners article.

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage: www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

 

AP: Iraq insurgent jail attack thwarted - March 23

By VANESSA ARRINGTON, Associated Press Writer -- Thursday, 1 minute ago

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Emboldened a day after a successful jailbreak, insurgents laid siege to another prison Wednesday. This time, U.S. troops and a special Iraqi unit thwarted the pre-dawn attack south of Baghdad, overwhelming the gunmen and capturing 50 of them, police said.

An Iraqi policeman  guards as a British soldier inspects the site an IED explosion, in Basra, 550 kilometers (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, March 22, 2006. An IED exploded Wednesday as British soldiers were foot patrolling,  killing their translator and wounding two soldiers, police said. (AP Photo/ Nabil Al-Juarni)An Iraqi policeman  guards as a British soldier inspects the site an IED explosion, right, in Basra, southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday. An IED exploded Wednesday as British soldiers were foot patrolling,  killing their translator and wounding two soldiers, police said. (AP Photo/ Nabil Al-Juarni)

Although the jail raid failed, the insurgents' ability to put together such large and well-armed bands of fighters underlined concerns about the ability of Iraqi police and military to take over the fight from U.S. troops. Sixty militants participated in the assault, which attempted to free more jailed Sunni insurgents, police said.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage:
www.haigler.info
 
If those links don't work, try our political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

 

MMfA: USA Today lets Bush distort his lies about linking Saddam to 9-11

In a March 21 USA Today article, staff writer David Jackson reported uncritically President Bush's denial during a March 20 appearance in Cleveland, Ohio that his administration had ever claimed a direct connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9-11 terrorist attacks in making the case for war with Iraq. In addition, the article neglected to report that, in his response to an audience member's question, Bush created a straw-man argument by misrepresenting the substance of the question, saying, "I was careful never to say that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack on America."

Full article in Media Matters for America.

D.H.: I've seen video collections of Bush Administration officials including Bush & Cheney repeatedly linking Saddam to 9-11, whereas the evidence clearly shows no link whatsoever. It would take hours to document all these false claims. This story shows clearly that the Bush Administration is making a calculated bet that a working majority of the public is either so ignorant or forgetful that we will not remember the lies they have told.


 

MMfA: WaPo writer says Thomas confrontation shows liberal press bias

In his March 22 Media Notes column, Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz wrote about an exchange President Bush had with Helen Thomas, a syndicated columnist with Hearst Newspapers, during Bush's March 21 White House news conference, in which he claimed that by calling on Thomas "for the first time in three years," Bush found "a useful foil" that allowed him "not only to punch back but to show the country that he's up against a left-wing press corps."

Full story: Media Matters for America.

D.H.: DemLog blogged the story here this morning of veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas confronting President Bush about his lies in getting us into Iraq. Was it liberal to confront Clinton on his lies about Lewinsky? What the Thomas story shows is not that the press is liberal, but that the president is still -- three years later -- unable or unwilling to differentiate between Afghanistan and Iraq in terms of harboring terrorists and involvement with the attacks of 9/11.


 

AFP: Gitmo to ban tortured admissions

Hum V at Camp Delta, GitmoFile picture shows a US Army Humvee driving past the maximum security prison Camp Delta at Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba, left.

In a ruling expected this week, the White House will ban statements made under torture from its military courts at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, reversing a July 2005 decision, The Wall Street Journal said. (AFP/Pool/File/Mark Wilson)

D.H.: But, wait a minute; I thought we didn't do torture?

 

AP: Taliban fighters killed in Afghanistan

By NOOR KHAN, Associated Press Writer -- Wednesday, 3:13 AM ET

Afghan troopsKANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Afghan security forces, right, attacked a group of suspected Taliban rebels after they crossed the border from neighboring Pakistan, killing at least 15 of them, an army commander said Wednesday.

Among the dead was a midlevel Taliban commander, Mullah Shien, who for months has allegedly led several cross-border raids from secret bases on the Pakistani side of the border, said Abdul Razak, the frontier security commander. Shien's followers would regularly attack foreign and Afghan troops and bomb trucks hauling gasoline for the U.S.-led coalition, he said.

"We got a tip-off about them coming across the border. We went down there and fought them," Razak said. "We now have all the dead bodies."

Four insurgents fled back across the Pakistani border after the two-hour gunbattle late Tuesday near the border town of Spin Boldak in Kandahar province, Razak said.

The fighting was the deadliest in weeks in Afghanistan and may further inflame a dispute between Kabul and Islamabad about militants sneaking back and forth across the two countries' 1,470-mile border, most of which is unmarked and unguarded.

Pakistan's Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed denied that Taliban militants had crossed the border from Pakistan. "It's nonsense, just another allegation. We have our security forces there who are guarding the border," he said.

Afghanistan has long demanded that Pakistan do more to crack down on militants based on its side. Islamabad has repeatedly said it's doing all it can, pointing to the 80,000 Pakistani troops in the region.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage:
www.haigler.info
 
If those links don't work, try our political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com.

 

TPM: Thomas confronts Bush about false justification for Iraq invasion

Published by Talking Points Memo, by Josh Marshall
 
Veteran White House reporter Helen ThomasVETERAN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER HELEN THOMAS, LEFT: I'd like to ask you, Mr. President, your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is, why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, from your Cabinet -- your Cabinet officers, intelligence people, and so forth -- what was your real reason? You have said it wasn't oil -- quest for oil, it hasn't been Israel, or anything else. What was it?

THE PRESIDENT: I think your premise -- in all due respect to your question and to you as a lifelong journalist -- is that -- I didn't want war. To assume I wanted war is just flat wrong, Helen, in all due respect --

HELEN THOMAS: Everything --

THE PRESIDENT: Hold on for a second, please.

HELEN THOMAS: -- everything I've heard --

THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me, excuse me. No President wants war. Everything you may have heard is that, but it's just simply not true. My attitude about the defense of this country changed on September the 11th. We -- when we got attacked, I vowed then and there to use every asset at my disposal to protect the American people. Our foreign policy changed on that day, Helen. You know, we used to think we were secure because of oceans and previous diplomacy. But we realized on September the 11th, 2001, that killers could destroy innocent life. And I'm never going to forget it. And I'm never going to forget the vow I made to the American people that we will do everything in our power to protect our people.

Part of that meant to make sure that we didn't allow people to provide safe haven to an enemy. And that's why I went into Iraq -- hold on for a second --

HELEN THOMAS: They didn't do anything to you, or to our country.

THE PRESIDENT: Look -- excuse me for a second, please. Excuse me for a second. They did. The Taliban provided safe haven for al Qaeda. That's where al Qaeda trained --

HELEN THOMAS: I'm talking about Iraq --

THE PRESIDENT: Helen, excuse me. That's where -- Afghanistan provided safe haven for al Qaeda. That's where they trained. That's where they plotted. That's where they planned the attacks that killed thousands of innocent Americans.

I also saw a threat in Iraq. I was hoping to solve this problem diplomatically. That's why I went to the Security Council; that's why it was important to pass 1441, which was unanimously passed. And the world said, disarm, disclose, or face serious consequences --

HELEN THOMAS: -- go to war --

THE PRESIDENT: -- and therefore, we worked with the world, we worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world. And when he chose to deny inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did, and the world is safer for it.

Source:  Talking Points Memo.

Josh Marshall's comments, from the same source linked above, on this exchange are:

The president just won't stop lying about the immediate exigencies of his decision to go to war.

Of course, [his explanation is] not what happened. We were there. We remember. It wasn't a century ago. We got the resolution passed. Saddam called our bluff and allowed the inspectors in. President Bush pressed ahead with the invasion.

His lies are so blatant that I must constantly check myself so as not to assume that he is simply delusional or has blocked out whole chains of events from the past.

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage:
www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com


 

AP: Iran ruling cleric approves talks with U.S. on Iraq

By NASSER KARIMI, Associated Press Writer -- Tuesday, 11:01 PM ET

In front of a picture of Iran's late revolutionary founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers his speech in the city of Mashhad 537 miles (895 kilometers) east of the capital Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, March 21, 2006. Khamenei said Tuesday that he approves of talks between U.S. and Iranian officials on Iraq, but warned that the United States must not try to 'bully' Iran. (AP Photo/ISNA, Alireza Sot Akbar)TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, right [in front of a picture of Iran's late revolutionary founder, Ayatollah Khomeini (AP Photo/ISNA, Alireza Sot Akbar)] said Tuesday that he approves of proposed talks between U.S. and Iranian officials on Iraq, but warned that the United States must not try to "bully" Iran.

It was the first confirmation that Khamenei, who holds final say on all state matters in Iran, supports the talks. His comments appeared aimed at calming criticism by hard-liners over a major shift in policy by the regime, which long shunned high-level contacts with a country Tehran brands "the Great Satan."

President Bush said Tuesday he favors the talks and that American officials would show Iran "what's right or wrong in their activities inside of Iraq."

Khamenei said that "if the Iranian officials can make the U.S. understand some issues about Iraq, there is no problem with the negotiations."

"But if the talks mean opening a venue for bullying and imposition by the deceitful party (the Americans), then it will be forbidden," he said in a nationally televised speech in the holy Shiite city of Mashhad in northeastern Iran.

Both the United States and Iran have said the talks will focus solely on stabilizing Iraq and not deal with the heated issue of Iran's nuclear program. No time or place has yet been set for talks.

Khamenei appeared to be weighing in to end hard-line criticism, while insisting Iran would not bow to the United States in any talks. He said some U.S. officials had depicted the talks as if the United States were "summoning Iranian officials."

"I say here that the U.S. government has no right to summon Iranian officials," Khamenei said.

Khamenei is considered the leader of hard-liners in Iran who largely prevented reformists from opening greater contacts with the United States. Still, under his rule, Iran has held lower-level talks with American officials, particularly in multilateral gatherings for efforts to stabilize Afghanistan and counter narcotics, for instance.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Friday that the talks could help Iraq form a government, while Ali Larijani, the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, said Iran hopes the meetings will help lead to U.S. troop withdrawal.

Iran has considerable influence with Shiite political parties who dominate Iraq's parliament, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said U.S.-Iranian talks on Iraq could be "useful."

Full AP-Yahoo News story.

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage:
www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

 

Spier: If you want to know why Hillary is out raising millions

...the answer is probably: Al Gore, right.

by Bill Spier

While all you Democrats navel gaze and read drivel like the NYT Magazine article on Mark Warner, Al Gore has been running the table. Although he has not exhibited any interest in 2008, and has no campaign apparatus doing advance work, he could make the decision later and raise tens of millions of dollars in a spit second. How?

The American Prospect has been watching the new Al and writes about it in this issue: Reborn to Run: The New Al Gore. Take it in.

Gore, probably one of the smartest Harvard graduates ever, delivered that blistering anti-war speech in 2003. Rememer the one where he scolded Bush for dragging the good name of the United States into the mud or gutter. Now he is attacking the corporate media and blasted them as “dysfunctional,” and now “fails to inform the people.”

If you are a Moveon.org member like I am, Gore's brilliant and principaled attacks on Bush, the Iraq incursion, the media, and corporate contributions to global warming -- are piped right though in real time. Gore -- geek, nerd, and early promoter of the Internet -- endorsed Howard Dean in 2004. Now if Gore runs in 2008, the entire liberal (big numbers) Internet community will slide in right behind him and grease the campaign with big bucks from small donors.

I blogged previously that Dems should watch Wes Clark in 2008. It is not totally crazy to think that he might run as second man to a Gore resurgence. After all, Gore showed that he could win the popular vote even with the biased Republican ass-kissing media bashing his "style".

That is why Hillary is playing D Party banker. If Al Gore steps up, she will need all the anemic congressional pals she can muster to parry a very strong and eloquent Gore. Liberals know that Bill Clinton was about as good a Republican president as we have had since Teddy R.

Hillary is a good NY Republican senator, but not as liberal as Jacob Javits was, so she's vulnerable to a real Democrat.

Spier: I have been silent for some time, but busy writing a piece on that stupid moniker: conservatism.

Other links to monitor:

Unclaimed Territory
Anti-war.com (especially Jason Raimondo


 

AP: Saddam tried to show no WMD

By CHARLES J. HANLEY, AP Special Correspondent -- Tuesday, 21 minutes ago

Saddam Hussein, arguing with the judge last weekBAGHDAD, Iraq - Exasperated, besieged by global pressure, Saddam Hussein, seen at left arguing with the judge last week, and top aides searched for ways in the 1990s to prove to the world they'd given up banned weapons.

"We don't have anything hidden!" the frustrated Iraqi president interjected at one meeting, transcripts show.

At another, in 1996, Saddam wondered whether U.N. inspectors would "roam Iraq for 50 years" in a pointless hunt for weapons of mass destruction. "When is this going to end?" he asked.

It ended in 2004, when U.S. experts, after an exhaustive investigation, confirmed what the men in those meetings were saying: that Iraq had eliminated its weapons of mass destruction long ago, a finding that discredited the Bush administration's stated rationale for invading Iraq in 2003 — to locate WMD.

The newly released documents are among U.S. government translations of audiotapes or Arabic-language transcripts from top-level Iraqi meetings — dating from about 1996-97 back to the period soon after the 1991 Gulf War, when the U.N. Security Council sent inspectors to disarm Iraq.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage:
www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

 

AFP: Protestors demand to see Rumsfeld

Protestors demand to see RumsfeldWashington (AFP) -- Hundreds of protesters cross a footbridge, right, on their way to the Pentagon to seek an audience with US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld during a protest in Washington, DC marking the third anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq. US President George W. Bush took aim at critics who say his upbeat forecasts for that country are out of touch with the bloody reality.  (AFP/Getty Images/Win McNamee)
 
Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage:
www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

 

AP: 17 Sunni policemen killed, prisoners freed by insurgents, sectarian violence spreads in Iraq

By VANESSA ARRINGTON, Associated Press Writer -- Tuesday, 47 minutes ago

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgents stormed a jail about dawn Tuesday in the Sunni Muslim heartland north of Baghdad, killing at least 17 policemen and a courthouse guard. Authorities said all 33 prisoners in the lockup were freed and 10 attackers were killed in the battle.

As many as 100 insurgent fighters -- armed with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades -- stormed the judicial compound in Muqdadiyah, about 60 miles northeast of the capital. The assault began after the attackers fired a mortar round into the police and court complex, said police Brig. Ali al-Jabouri.

After torching the police station, the insurgents detonated a string of roadside bombs as they fled, taking the bodies of many of their dead comrades with them, police said. At least 13 policemen and civilians and 15 gunmen were wounded in the attack.

Five other police were wounded in two separate roadside bomb attacks targeting patrols in northern and southern Baghdad early Tuesday, police said.

Tuesday's assaults came a day after 39 people were reported killed by insurgents and shadowy sectarian gangs in Iraq, continuing the wave of violence that has left more than 1,000 Iraqis dead since the bombing last month of a Shiite Muslim shrine.

Police found the bodies of at least 15 more people -- including that of a 13-year-old girl -- dumped in and near Baghdad. The discoveries marked the latest in a string of execution-style killings that have become an almost daily occurrence as Sunni and Shiite extremists settle scores.

As night fell on Monday, a bomb struck a coffee shop in northern Baghdad, killing at least three civilians and injuring 23 others. The bomb was left in a plastic bag inside the shop in a market area of the Azamiyah neighborhood, police Maj. Falah al-Mohammadewi said.

At about the same time, gunmen killed two oil engineers leaving work at the Beiji refinery north of Baghdad. An electrical engineer and technician were gunned down at the nearby power station, Beiji police Lt. Khalaf Ayed Al-Janabi said.

Separately, the owner of a small grocery in downtown Baghdad was shot and killed.

In southeast Baghdad, also toward evening, a roadside bomb blew apart a minibus, killing four pilgrims returning from the holy city of Karbala, where millions of Shiite faithful gathered to mark the 40th and final day of the annual mourning period for Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. Five pilgrims on their way to Karbala were wounded in a drive-by shooting earlier in the day, police said.

Otherwise, the commemoration passed largely without incident and absent the violent bomb attacks that have hit pilgrims there over the past two years.

Other violence in Iraq Monday targeted more policemen.

Roadside bombs -- one just a few hundred yards from an Interior Ministry lockup in central Baghdad and one in a farming area near the so-called Triangle of Death south of Baghdad -- killed at least seven police and one prisoner.

A policeman in a joint American-Iraqi patrol was killed in Baghdad during fighting with insurgents, and a car bomb targeting a police checkpoint exploded in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, killing another policeman, authorities said.

The international airport in Baghdad remained closed Tuesday after authorities shut it down citing the need to protect the Karbala commemoration, apparently from any attackers who might try to fly into the country.

And Jordanian authorities closed their border with Iraq until further notice to "prevent those without valid travel documents from entering the country," said Maj. Bashir al-Da'ajah, spokesman of Jordan's Public Security Department. The New York Times reported the border was closed because a large number of Palestinians living in Iraq were trying to cross into Jordan without proper documents.

Source: AP-Yahoo News. D.H.: But never you fear -- we're making the world safer for democracy; just trust our president. The emperor's new clothes are gorgeous, by the way.

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage:
www.haigler.info

If those links don't work, try our political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com.

 

Newsweek: GOP fears minority status

Is Anyone Listening?

For six years, Bush has kept his troops in line. But suddenly, the GOP is looking rebellious, disorganized -- in short, a lot like the Democrats.

By Richard Wolffe and Holly Bailey -- Newsweek

Bush, GOPMarch 27, 2006 issue - The banner hanging over President George W. Bush, left, read united to victory. But as Republicans listened to Bush slog through his familiar pep talk at a $2,500-a-head fund-raiser last Thursday night, the party faithful knew they were anything but united. Over the last year, they ejected a majority leader, squabbled over ethics and spending, and openly criticized the president on Iraq, port security and a Supreme Court pick.

  • If the Republican guests were hoping for a spiritual revival, they left disappointed. Bush's speech met with tepid applause, and GOP officials shuffled to the cash bar feeling deflated. "It just wasn't as celebratory as it has been," said one House aide who declined to be named when talking about a private event.
  • For five years nobody needed to blare the word "united" at Republicans; it was their biggest strength. The president handed his agenda to Congress and the party leaders delivered the votes. They twisted the arms of small-government conservatives to pass education reforms and Medicare drug benefits. They held their ranks together even as the Iraq occupation spiraled downward in 2004. And they picked up seats in two election cycles. But now that strategy has fallen apart. Members of Congress, tired of being taken for granted by an overbearing White House, have lost faith in the president's political touch. Social Security, Katrina, Harriet Miers, ports and, of course, Iraq have destroyed the aura of invincibility that once gave Team Bush its swagger.

The stress is starting to show. Republicans are beginning to look and sound like their own caricature of the Democrats: disorganized, off message and unsure of their identity. Fearful of defeat in November, GOP candidates are uncertain how to pull themselves together in the eight months left before the elections. The toughest question: whether to run, as they have in the past, as W Republicans, or to airbrush the president out of their campaigns. "What I've tried to tell people is that a political tsunami is gathering, and if we don't do something to stop it, we'll be in the minority a year from now," says Rep. Ray LaHood from Illinois. "But some people still don't get it."

Page two of this story.


Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage: www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

 

AP: Diplomats fail to cut deal on Iran nukes

By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press Writer -- Tuesday, 3:42 AM ET

Nicholas Burns, US Undersecretary of State speaks to reporters after a meeting held in New York by senior diplomats from six key nations to discuss how to persuade Iran to stop enriching uranium, the radioactive material that can be used to make a nuclear weapon, Monday, March  20,  2006.  (AP Photo/David Karp)UNITED NATIONS - Nicholas Burns, US Under-secretary of State, right, speaks to reporters after a meeting held in New York by senior diplomats from six key nations to discuss how to persuade Iran to stop enriching uranium, the radioactive material that can be used to make a nuclear weapon, Monday, March 20, 2006. (AP Photo/David Karp)

Britain's strategy for getting Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions would be to try to get Russia and China, key Tehran allies, to impose sanctions that could be enforced militarily if diplomacy fails, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press.

But Britain and its Western allies -- the United States, France and Germany -- face an uphill struggle in getting Moscow and Beijing even to agree on a U.N. Security Council statement calling on Iran to comply with demands by the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to suspend uranium enrichment.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage:
www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

 

AP: Anti-war artists give benefit concert - March 21

By PAUL BURKHARDT, Associated Press Writer -- Tuesday, 2:27 AM ET

NEW YORK - Michael Stipe, Susan Sarandon, Cindy Sheehan and others marked the third anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq with a concert to benefit groups campaigning against the war.

Musician Casey Spooner of Fischerspooner performs at the  'Bring 'Em Home Now!'  concert in New York,  Monday, March 20, 2006. The concert was organized to mark the third anniversary of the Iraq War on March 20th and give voice to the Americans who support the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.   (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams)Musician Casey Spooner of Fischerspooner, left, performs at the 'Bring 'Em Home Now!' concert in New York, Monday. The concert was organized to give voice to the Americans who support the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams)

Organizers of Monday night's "Bring 'Em Home Now!" concert said 3,000 tickets were sold.

"I was raised by peace activists," Moby announced to the crowd at Hammerstein Ballroom from a stage flanked by two oversized peace symbols. He then accompanied Laura Dawn in a rendition of Buffalo Springfield's Vietnam-era song, "For What It's Worth."

Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, gained international attention last summer with her monthlong protest outside President Bush's Texas ranch. "It's awesome to me because there are more and more kids getting involved," Sheehan said before the concert.

Sarandon said artists were playing their part in the anti-war effort by attending the concert and through the movies Hollywood is producing. "Look at `Syriana,' look at `Good Night, and Good Luck,'" Sarandon said of two recent films that deal with issues of war and censorship. The actress, who said she was in talks to portray Sheehan in a film, said the activist "gave a face to all that was going on."

Profits from the ticket sales will go to anti-war groups including Gold Star Families for Peace, which counts Sheehan among its founding members, and Veterans Against the War.

Source: AP-Yahoo News.

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage:
www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

Sunday, March 19, 2006

 

KRN: Iraqi police report details civilians' deaths at hands of U.S. troops

BY MATTHEW SCHOFIELD -- Knight Ridder Newspapers

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqi police have accused American troops of executing 11 people, including a 75-year-old woman and a 6-month-old infant, in the aftermath of a raid last Wednesday on a house about 60 miles north of Baghdad.

The villagers were killed after American troops herded them into a single room of the house, according to a police document obtained by Knight Ridder Newspapers. The soldiers also burned three vehicles, killed the villagers' animals and blew up the house, the document said.

A U.S. military spokesman, Major Tim Keefe, said that the U.S. military has no information to support the allegations and that he had not heard of them before a reporter brought them to his attention Sunday.

"We're concerned to hear accusations like that, but it's also highly unlikely that they're true," he said. He added that U.S. forces "take every precaution to keep civilians out of harms' way. The loss of innocent life, especially children, is regrettable."

Accusations that U.S. troops have killed civilians are commonplace in Iraq, though most are judged later to be unfounded or exaggerated. Navy investigators announced last week that they were looking into whether Marines intentionally killed 15 Iraqi civilians - four of them women and five of them children - during fighting last November.

But the report of the killings in the Abu Sifa area of Ishaqi, eight miles north of the city of Balad, is unusual because it originated with Iraqi police and because Iraqi police were willing to attach their names to it.

The report, which also contained brief descriptions of other events in the area, was compiled by the Joint Coordination Center in Tikrit, a regional security center set up with United States military assistance. An Iraqi police colonel signed the report, which was based on communications from local police.

Brig. Gen. Issa al-Juboori, who heads the center, said that his office assembled the report on Thursday and that it accurately reflects the direction of the current police investigation into the incident.

He also said he knows the officer heading the investigation. "He's a dedicated policeman, and a good cop," he said when reached by phone in Tikrit from Baghdad. "I trust him."

The case involves a U.S. raid conducted, according to the official U.S. account, in response to a tip that a member of al-Qaida in Iraq was at the house.

Neighbors, interviewed by a special correspondent for Knight Ridder, agreed that the al-Qaida member was at the house. They said he was visiting the home's owner, a relative. The neighbors said the homeowner was a schoolteacher.

According to police, military and eyewitness accounts, U.S. forces approached the house at around 2:30 a.m. and a firefight ensued. By all accounts, in addition to exchanging gunfire with someone inside the house, U.S. troops were supported by helicopter gunships, which fired on the house.

But the accounts differ on what took place after the firefight.

According to the U.S. account, the house collapsed because of the heavy fire. When U.S. forces searched the rubble they found one man, the al-Qaida suspect, alive. He was arrested. They also found a dead man they believed to be connected to al-Qaida, two dead women and a dead child.

But the report filed by the Joint Coordination Center, which was based on a report filed by local police, said U.S. forces entered the house while it was still standing.

"The American forces gathered the family members in one room and executed 11 persons, including five children, four women and two men," the report said. "Then they bombed the house, burned three vehicles and killed their animals."


Full story, Knight Ridder Newspapers -- The Wichita Eagle.

 

MWN: Durbin equivocates on FOX over censuring Bush for wiretaps

WASHINGTON (AP) - A top Senate Democrat said Sunday that President Bush should be held responsible if he violated the law in authorizing the domestic spy program.

Durbin, left, with Reid, R, & Feingold, CBut Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, left (with Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., center, & Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, right), said it is too early to tell if either censure or impeachment of Bush would be appropriate.

"I can't rule anything out until the investigation is complete. I don't want to prejudge it," said Durbin, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat. "But if this president or any president violates the law, he has to be held accountable."

Durbin's colleague, Russ Feingold, last week introduced censure legislation, saying Bush violated the law in not fully informing Congress or getting approval from a secretive court to conduct the eavesdropping program. A censure resolution, if adopted, would amount to Congress scolding the president.

Since then, few Democrats have embraced the proposal, while some Republicans have sought to the cast the move as a shameless political ploy over a vital national security issue. Feingold is considered a presidential contender for 2008.

Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Durbin said he so far has not heard a valid legal justification for the spy program that was put in place after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. But he said considering the stronger sanction of impeachment was not a "valuable discussion at this point."

Full story, My Way News.

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage:
www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

 

AP: Bush puts positive spin on increased Iraq violence

By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer -- Sunday, 8:33 AM ET

BushWASHINGTON - President Bush, right, on Saturday braced Americans for more bloodshed in Iraq but said recent civil strife has motivated warring political factions to move quickly to set up a representative government.

"Our ambassador to Iraq, Zal Khalilzad, reports that the violence has created a new sense of urgency among these leaders to form a national unity government as quickly as possible," Bush said in his weekly radio address.

"I urge them to continue their work to put aside their differences, to reach out across political, religious and sectarian lines, and to form a government that can confront the terrorist threat and earn the trust and confidence of all Iraqis."

Bush's broadcast came in advance of a speech he plans to deliver in Cleveland on Monday, the second in a series of talks marking Sunday's three-year anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. In the speech, Bush will discuss how the United States is working with various sectors of Iraqi society to defeat terrorists, restore calm and help rebuild homes and communities.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.  D.H.:  Yeah, right, Mr. President.  Like you said on the aircraft carrier, "Mission Accomplished."

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage:
www.haigler.info
 
If those links don't work, try our political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com.

 

AP: Gen. Casey says 2 more years in Iraq

WASHINGTON (AP) - The top U.S. commander in Iraq says he expects "a couple more years of" the American military operations in Iraq, with a gradual decline in troop numbers.

Gen. George Casey

General George Casey, left, tells NBC U.S. and allied troops will gradually hand over more of their work to Iraqi forces.

Casey says Iraq's religious divisions and violence make it "fragile." But he disputes a top Iraqi politician's characterization of the violence as a civil war. Former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi tells the BBC Iraq is losing 50 to 60 people a day. He adds if that's "not civil war, then God knows what civil war is."

Casey says he hasn't spoken with Allawi recently. But the general says he doesn't see a civil war erupting "any time soon."

Congressional war critic John Murtha tells NBC "We're caught in a civil war." The congressman says America must tell Iraqis, "This is up to you now to settle this thing."

Photo Copyright Getty Images.  Source:  AP-WOAI News.

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage:
www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

 

AP: Foreign ownership in U.S. growing

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer -- Sunday, 1:29 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The furor over efforts by an Arab company to buy U.S. port operations has focused attention on a little noticed economic fact of life: America increasingly is foreign-owned.

From the ritzy Essex House hotel in Manhattan, owned by the Dubai Investment Group, to the nationwide chains of Caribou Coffee and Church's Chicken, owned by another company serving Arab investors, foreigners are buying bigger and bigger chunks of the country.

The U.S. must borrow more than $2 billion per day from foreigners to finance its huge trade deficits. In 2005, for example, there was a record deficit of $805 billion in the current account, the broadest measure of trade.

Foreigners sell their televisions, cars and oil to Americans and hold dollars in return. Those dollars are invested in stocks, bonds and other assets, including real estate and factories.

Foreigners already own half of the U.S. government's publicly traded debt. As of January, some $2.19 trillion in Treasury securities were in the hands of central banks, including China and Japan, and private investors abroad.

At the end of 2004, the total foreign direct investment in this country — actual factories, office buildings and other tangible assets as opposed to stocks and bonds — came to $1.53 trillion, 8.2 percent more than in 2003.

That investment shows up in all of the 50 states.

In Oakland, Maine, it's a customer service center for T-Mobile USA Inc., which is a subsidiary of German-based Deutsche Telekom. In Glendale, Calif., it's the U.S. headquarters for Nestle, the Swiss-based food and beverage company.

Arab investment has gotten the most scrutiny of late because of the now-withdrawn bid by a Dubai-based company to buy operations at six major U.S. ports. But statistics show that Arab investments represent only a a fraction of the total direct investment in the U.S. by foreigners.

European nations accounted for $977 billion, or two-thirds, of the $1.53 trillion of foreign direct investment, according to figures compiled by the

Commerce Department.

By contrast, Arab countries in the Middle East accounted for $9.3 billion, led by $4.7 billion in investment from Saudi Arabia. The United Arab Emirates was second among Middle East Arab countries with $1.8 billion in investments, according to the data.

DP World of Dubai said last week it intends to sell its U.S. operations to an American-owned company. But that has not stopped some members of Congress from seeking to overhaul the way such deals are reviewed by a secretive government panel.

A bill by the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter (news, bio, voting record) of California, would bar foreign ownership of U.S. infrastructure deemed critical to the national security.

"To those who say this is protectionism, I say — America is worth protecting," Hunter said.

Opponents say his proposal would mean the fire sale of billions of dollars of assets now in foreign hands and end up hurting the U.S. economy.

Consider that for more than a decade, French tire maker Michelin has been the exclusive supplier of tires for

NASA's space shuttles. DSM, a Dutch company, makes body armor for U.S. troops, while French-owned Sodexho provides meals for the troops at a number of military installations.

Nearly one in five U.S. oil refineries is owned by foreign companies. Foreign companies also have a sizable presence in running power plants, chemical factories and water treatment facilities in the United States.

"People don't understand how integrated the U.S. economy has become with the global economy, how dependent we have become on other nations," said Clyde Prestowitz, president of the Economic Strategy Institute, a Washington think tank.

Some analysts believe such realities are getting lost as politicians try to respond to growing anxiety about the trade deficits, the loss of nearly 3 million manufacturing jobs since mid-2000, immigration problems and the threat of more terrorist attacks.

"We have to be very careful that we don't overreact in the legislative process and enact economic policy masquerading as national security policy," said Todd Malan, head of the Organization for International Investment. The Washington group represents foreign companies that do business in the United States.

To the puzzlement of some economists, the current debate centers on direct foreign investment, the most stable type of investment. Yet the far larger share of foreign investment is in Treasury securities, corporate bonds and stocks.

If foreigners suddenly decided to reduce their holdings of these assets, the dollar could plunge in value, interest rates could soar and stock prices could suffer a big blow.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage:
www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Donate to DemLog, a project of Marcus Comton (click on box below to go to PayPal and donate). Thank you very much: