Wednesday, October 31, 2007

All American Wal-Mart


Israel Escalates Threats To Invade Gaza

Israel has escalated threats to invade the Gaza Strip over Palestinian rocket fire after planned economic sanctions drew objections from legal experts and foreign powers.
Since occupation forces withdrew from Gaza in 2005, Israel has mounted regular raids and air strikes on the territory, but has failed to stop rocket fire over the border.

And Hamas's de facto rule of the strip since June, following infighting with rival Fatah, has only stoked calls in the Jewish state for a big military sweep.

Late on Tuesday, Israeli aircraft bombed a police station in southern Gaza, killing at least four Hamas policemen, hospital officials said.

The Israeli military confirmed its forces carried out the shelling in Abasan village, near the city of Khan Younis. An earlier air attack on the Jabalya refugee camp wounded six civilians, according to hospital sources.
Speaking to reporters earlier, Ehud Barak, Israel's defence minister, said: "Every passing day brings us closer to a broad operation in Gaza.
We are not looking forward to it [and] we would be happy if circumstances prevented it."

'Collective punishment'
Israel, which controls official Gazan border crossings, began reducing the amount of fuel pumped to Gaza this week. It also wants to reduce power supplies, but has put that on hold.
The sanctions, which were put together by Barak, prompted UN and EU delegates to urge Israel not to impose "collective punishment", illegal under international law, on Gaza's 1.5 million residents.
Israel's attorney-general also opposes cutting electricity supplies to Gaza on humanitarian grounds.
Britain said on Tuesday it was "deeply concerned" by reports that Israel had reduced Gaza's fuel supply and was considering electricity cuts, and had spoken to the Israeli government about the matter.
Makeshift Palestinian rockets have killed two Israelis this year.

Hamas has not claimed recent attacks, but Israel's military says Hamas is carrying out an arms build-up that will make it a serious fighting force.
Weighed against an invasion of Gaza is a US-organised peace conference in November between Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, and Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, who affectively only rules the occupied West Bank.
While Olmert may want calm, he is also under pressure from right-wing coalition partners to hit Hamas hard.
Haim Ramon, Israel's vice prime minister, when asked about a possible Gaza invasion, said: "The present situation will not last."
"I prefer that we use sanctions. I believe that the implementation of sanctions will be effective. But we have our doubts about it."
In the interview with Reuters news agency, he added: "If they stop sending rockets over, our need for the weapons of sanctions, or other weapons, will not be an issue."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

David Horowitz: It’s All About Him

On college campuses across America this week, conservatives are gathering together to listen to right-wing luminaries such as Ann Coulter and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) as part of David Horowitz's Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. A project of the David Horowitz Freedom Center and the Terrorism Awareness Project, Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week organizers claim that they are only seeking "to educate students and other Americans about the 'cadre of Islamic terrorists' who 'have declared Holy War on the U.S.'" But their efforts have come under fire from critics, who say they will spread "racism and religious hatred" through the use of a loaded political phrase like Islamo-fascism. "Labeling an entire religion as fascist is offensive, inaccurate and inappropriate since it conveys a faulty image of more than a...billion Muslims around the world," wrote the Penn State University Muslim Student Association in a statement. Horowitz's response to the concerns of students who worry that the events will needlessly inflame tensions on campus has been to accuse them of "tak[ing] it upon themselves to conduct a hate campaign" against him and his supporters. Though Horowitz is claiming that it will be "the biggest conservative campus protest ever" and "a wake-up call for Americans on 200 university and college campuses" about "the enemy," many of the schools purported to be participating have actually denied any association with Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, despite their schools being listed on Horowitz's website. There are, however, still many schools that will still be spreading Horowitz's divisive message this week.

Since 9/11, the use of the phrase Islamo-fascism has increasingly become more in vogue on the right. President Bush has used variations of the term on multiple occasions. But despite Bush's embrace of the term, many experts see it as "meaningless" and nothing more than an "epithet." "There is no sense in which jihadists embrace fascist ideology as it was developed by Mussolini or anyone else who was associated with the term," says Daniel Benjamin of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "This is an epithet, a way of arousing strong emotion and tarnishing one's opponent." Though supporters, such as former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), say that moderate Muslims should "embrace" the term, the use of labels like "Islamo-fascism" and "Islamic extremism" are counterproductive toward working with moderates to address the terrorism and extremism among a small minority of Muslims. In a speech last month, former CentCom Commander Gen. John Abizaid described how "even adding the word Islamic" makes it "very, very difficult" to "work together" with mainline regional leaders to keep extremism "from becoming mainstream." Considering the tactics encouraged by Horowitz, stirring that sort of divisiveness may be the real underlying agenda of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.

In the Student's Guide to Hosting Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week provided on the Terrorism Awareness Project's website, Horowitz's team suggests that students distribute a petition that "forces students and faculty to declare their allegiances." The guide then suggests that the petition be brought "to those groups who might be least likely to sign it" such as the "Muslim Students' Association." As the Atlantic's Matthew Yglesias notes, the petition is "deliberately designed to be unlikely for Muslim groups to sign and then to use Muslim groups' failure to sign the petition as evidence that they're on the side of 'our terrorist adversaries.'" Horowitz's entire campaign is rife with such "with us or against us" rhetoric. In an online chat on Sunday at, he claimed that if Muslims found his work "offensive," they would be supporting "terror, the stoning of women, clitorectomies." Additionally, the very choice of speakers for Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is a who's who of controversial speakers, some of whom have a history of anti-Muslim rhetoric, such as Ann Coulter. At the 2006 Conservative Political Action Conference, Coulter declared to "boisterous ovation" that "our motto should be post-9-11, 'raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences.'"

As the Muslim blogger Ali Eteraz notes, "this 'awareness' week is not about awareness at all, but using anti-Muslim animus to achieve political ends" by attacking Horowitz's true "enemy": "the political left." On the Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week homepage, Horowitz explicitly lays out his prime motivation for the project. "The purpose of this protest is as simple as it is crucial: to confront the two Big Lies of the political left," says a statement on the website.
Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week will allow conservatives to target "tenured leftist professors teaching anti-American curriculum," a University of Rhode Island College Republican told a local radio station. During her Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week speech at the University of California at Berkeley, Nonie Darwish, the founder of Arabs for Israel, repeatedly challenged "the American left" to "support" Horowitz's far right cause. A former Marxist-turned-conservative ideologue, Horowitz is on a perpetual and paranoid campaign against what he deems the Left. On his website, Discover the Networks, he claims that the left consists of everyone from movie critic Roger Ebert to Osama bin Laden.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fox & Friends' Doocy reported Obama's "patriotism problems"

During the October 23 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, while previewing a discussion of a clip of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) in which Obama did not place his hand over his heart during the playing of the national anthem at a campaign event in Indianola, Iowa, co-host Steve Doocy asserted, "First he kicked his American flag pin to the curb. Now Barack Obama has a new round of patriotism problems," echoing an assertion made by the conservative blog NewsBusters. As Media Matters for America documented, during an October 3 interview with ABC-affiliate KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Obama was asked why he was not wearing an American flag pin on his lapel. Obama responded, "[R]ight after 9-11, I had a pin," adding: "Shortly after 9-11, particularly because as we're talking about the Iraq war, that became a substitute for, I think, true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security." NewsBusters noted in an October 20 post that Time magazine had photographed Obama without his hand over his heart during the national anthem, writing, "Turns out that not wearing a flag lapel pin isn't the only way Barack Obama chooses to show he's a different kind of Democrat."

During the segment that Doocy had previewed, co-host Gretchen Carlson asked, "[D]id you know that there is United States Code ... that talks about what your stance and hand-over-heart action should be ... when the national anthem is playing?" Doocy responded that, according to United States Code, Title 36, Chapter 10 , Sec. 171, "During the singing of the national anthem, you've got to have your hand over your heart." Contrary to Doocy's assertion, however, 36 U.S.C. § 301(b)(1) (the current section of the U.S. Code dealing with conduct during the national anthem) does not compel the placement of the right hand over the heart during the performance of the national anthem (a requirement that would presumably be unconstitutional). Indeed, according to the code, "During a rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart" (emphasis added). Subsection (b)(2) provides: "When the flag is not displayed, those present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed there" (emphasis added). According to the website, 36 U.S.C. § 171 contained the same provisions.

This is not the first time that Doocy has attacked Obama. During the January 19 edition of Fox & Friends First, Doocy asked of Obama, "Why didn't anybody ever mention that that man right there was raised -- spent the first decade of his life, raised by his Muslim father -- as a Muslim and was educated in a madrassa?" as the blog Think Progress noted. As Media Matters for America documented, during the January 22 edition of Fox & Friends First, Doocy issued a clarification: "We want to clarify something: On Friday of last week, we did the story from the Insight magazine where we talked about how they were quoting that Barack Obama, when he was a child growing up in Indonesia, had attended a madrassa. Well, Mr. Obama's people called and they said that that is absolutely false. They said the idea that Barack Obama went to a radical Muslim school is completely ridiculous. In his book it does say that he went to a mostly Muslim school but not to a madrassa."

Sunday, October 21, 2007

RNC is Hunting Hillary Clinton

In an October 18 fundraising solicitation, Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman Robert M. "Mike" Duncan cited an October 16 article in The Hill to claim: "If you needed further proof that Hillary Clinton will do anything to win, a Capitol Hill newspaper is now reporting that she eavesdropped on Bill's political opponents during his time as Governor of Arkansas." In fact, The Hill did not "now" report that Hillary Clinton "eavesdropped" on her husband's political opponents. Rather, in the Hill article, headlined "GOP targeting Clinton on phone-call snooping," Alexander Bolton reported that "Republicans are focusing on an allegation in a recent book by two Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters, which suggests Clinton listened to a secretly recorded conversation between political opponents." The allegation -- which was sourced to an "[a]uthor interview with former campaign aide present at the tape playing in 2006" -- was first made by co-authors Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr. in their book Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton (Little, Brown, & Co.), published in June. Contrary to the RNC's claim, the allegation was not made "now" and it was not made by The Hill, which simply reported that Her Way alleges this and did not provide any independent confirmation that the eavesdropping allegation is true. As Media Matters for America has noted, Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson said on October 16, "This story is categorically untrue."

Politico reporter Ben Smith noted the RNC fundraising solicitation in an October 18 blog post. Quoting the RNC's claim that "a Capitol Hill newspaper is now reporting that she [Hillary Clinton] eavesdropped on Bill's political opponents during his time as Governor of Arkansas," Smith wrote, "Well, not really." He also wrote, "The allegation was reported in passing, and without a named source, in Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta's recent Hillary bio. I'm not sure about other reporters; it caught my eye, and I tried and failed to confirm it with veterans of that campaign. Anyway, it's not really sourced in a way that it could stand on its own, and got scant coverage when the book came out this summer."

As Media Matters for America documented, on October 16, the RNC and state Republicanorganizations highlighted the Hill article, and the Arkansas Republican Party issued a press release that "called on State Attorney General Dustin McDaniel to investigate the fact that New York Senator Hillary Clinton may have eavesdropped and recorded political opponents' telephone conversations while her husband was Governor of Arkansas."

As Media Matters noted, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported (subscription required) on October 17 legal impediments to the Arkansas Republican Party's effort to have McDaniel investigate Clinton's purported eavesdropping. According to the Democrat-Gazette, "There were at least two problems with the complaint, however. The law that [Arkansas] GOP Chairman Dennis Milligan said that now-U.S. Sen. Clinton of New York may have violated [during her husband's 1992 presidential campaign] wasn't on the books until 1993. And the complaint was filed 14 years too late."

Verizon's $5.4 Million Hang Up

Over the past two years, the city of Greenfield, Mass., has helped Verizon hire 60 new employees, acquired a state grant so the company could build a parking lot and even paid the lease on that parking lot. Verizon also does not pay taxes to the city.

So how does Verizon pay the city back for its largesse? By packing up and moving out, a decision that could cost the area as much as $5.4 million a year in lost personal income, according to a recent report.

Verizon announced in August it plans to move its call center and 85 employees to Gardner—37.5 miles away—by early next year. The service center will remain in Greenfield.

Mayor Christine Forgey told the Greenfield Recorder that Verizon made a commitment to stay in Greenfield when it designated its building there a future ”megacenter.” Much of what the town did for Verizon was based on its promise to stay, she said.

A study by the economic development consulant ICA Group for the Electrical Workers concludes the move also could result in a loss of 181 jobs, taking into account all jobs lost in Greenfield and the surrounding communities if employees and their families decide to leave the area.

John Rowley, business agent for IBEW Local 2324, which represents the call center workers, says in a statement:

The research shows that the cost of Verizon’s callous decision to relocate these jobs goes far beyond our membership.

Verizon has benefited from a great workforce in Greenfield and from financial support from the town. It should not be allowed to just walk away without facing the consequences of its actions.

Last month, more than 100 Verizon employees and union members and their families and friends marched through downtown Greenfield, protesting the move.

Verizon workers—members of the IBEW and the Communications Workers of America (CWA)—are fighting to keep the company from abandoning communities across New England. The two unions and members of the U.S. House of Representatives from Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont all have asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to put the brakes on Verizon’s proposed sale of its land lines in those states.

Verizon workers across the country are trying to form a union with CWA and IBEW—despite a vicious anti-union campaign by the company. In September, two National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional directors charged Verizon Business with “interfering with, restraining and coercing employees in the exercise of the rights” to join a union that are protected by federal labor law.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Q3 Filings Reveal State Of Presidential Campaigns

The dog days of summer didn't stop donors from opening their checkbooks, and the candidates for president didn't stop spending. The presidential field is still on track toward raising more than $1 billion, based on reports the candidates filed with the Federal Election Commission earlier this week.
Check out's analysis of the data, which will continue this week and next.

*Candidate-by-candidate profiles:
*State, metro area and ZIP code profiles:
*Contributions to each candidate from high-profile industries:
*Donations by size:
*Donations by contributor's gender:
*Search for individual donors by name, employer, state and ZIP code:

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friendly As The Avocado Wal-Mart

In 1998 Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was accused of illegally transporting hundred of cartons of Mexican avocados to states that did not have federal approval to sell them. USDA alleges that from late 1997 to early 1998, WalMart moved 668 cartons of avocados from selected states to unapproved states such as Iowa, Tennessee and Missouri. "These are very serious charges," said Craig A. Reed, administrator for USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. "Shipping imported Mexican avocados against regulations could spread plant pests and jeopardize U.S. agriculture." [Associated Press via Washington Dateline, 10/21/07

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Victory Against Christian Radicals

A controversial provision that would have steered $100,000 in federal funds to a creationist group in Louisiana will be removed from a federal appropriations bill.

U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) inserted the earmark into the Appropriations Committee’s report on a bill allocating money for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education. Vitter wanted to designate the funds to a Religious Right group called the Louisiana Family Forum (LFF) “to develop a plan to promote better science education.”

Critics decried the measure, saying the move was a backdoor effort to bring creationism into Louisiana’s schools and. Yesterday Vitter acquiesced.

“This is great news for the children of Louisiana,” said Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. “The federal courts have repeatedly held that teaching creationism in public schools is unconstitutional.”

Americans United worked extensively to educate senators about the problems with the earmark. Lynn said the move by Vitter avoids a legal battle.

More than 30 educational, scientific and religious groups joined forces to oppose the earmark. On Oct. 10, they sent a joint letter to every member of the Senate, asking that the provision be removed.

Yesterday, Vitter requested that the earmark be removed. On the floor of the Senate, the Louisiana Republican insisted that the money was not designed to promote creationism and blamed the controversy on groups promoting “hysterics.”

“The project, which would develop a plan to promote better science-based education in Ouachita Parish by Louisiana Family Forum, has raised concerns among some that its intention was to mandate and push creationism within the public schools,” Vitter said. “That is clearly not and never was the intent of the project, nor would it have been its effect. However, to avoid more hysterics, I would like to move the $100,000 recommended for this project by the subcommittee when the bill goes to conference committee to another Louisiana priority project funded in this bill.”

Americans United and its allies pointed out, however, that the LFF has a long history of promoting creationism and that it is clearly a sectarian group.

“If Sen. Vitter’s aim was to improve science education in Louisiana, I have to wonder why he did not direct these funds to a scientific group or a museum,” said Lynn. “Boosting science education is an odd task for a religious group.”

Monday, October 15, 2007

Wal-Mart Always The Lowest Wage

A Wal-Mart internal audit of one week's time-clock records for roughly 25,000 employees found 1,371 instances in which minors apparently worked too late at night, worked during school hours or worked too many hours in a day. It also found 60,767 apparent instances of workers not taking breaks, and 156,705 apparent instances of employees working through meal times. [New York Times, 1/13/04]



  • China Loses Congressional Republicans Over Tainted-Toy Trade [Bloomberg News]
    Product recalls alarmed Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor enough that he was willing to sponsor measures opposed by his state's biggest corporate resident and the world's largest retailer, Bentonville-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

  • Recall rebound [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette]
    Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer and top toy seller, says it has stepped up toy inspections and is rechecking documentation of previous inspections.

  • Wal-Mart Loves Chinese Imports [24/7 Wall Street]
    Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott had a special message for his investors and customers. Chinese stuff may break or be dangerous. But, it is cheap.

  • LTE: Wal-Mart imports China's problems [Modesto (Calif.) Bee]
    Why aren't more parents and pet owners screaming about Wal-Mart's lack of concern for our kids' and pets' safety? Wal-Mart's connection to the products made in China is now our problem. Wal-Mart's use of inferior materials in baby bibs and lead paint toys in inexcusable. Finding traces of melamine (an industrial chemical used in making plastics) in pet treats is scary. How does melamine get into pet treats?


  • Wal-Mart Tottering? Don't Bet On It [Wall Street Journal]
    Your article glosses over the consequences to American society caused by the influence Wal-Mart has exercised over the economy. Unmentioned is the disastrous rush toward the bottom in wages, with Americans settling for appalling salaries in the service sector, yet still remaining uncompetitive with both new immigrants and overseas labor forces.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Sad Case Of Debbie Schlussel

In an October 11 post on her website titled "Nice Try, Media Matters Nazis, But Ann Coulter is No Anti-Semite," right-wing pundit Debbie Schlussel claimed that Media Matters for America is "anti-American, anti-Israel, and funded by [philanthropist] George Soros, a Jew who proudly worked for the Nazis rounding up Jews and sending them to their deaths." She also described Soros as "the billionaire atheist Jew who's lived his entire life like a Nazi."

To support her claim, Schlussel linked to an April 18 post in which she smeared Soros (a Hungarian-born Jew who survived the Holocaust) as "a fake Holocaust survivor, who -- instead of 'surviving' the Holocaust -- helped the Nazis perpetrate it." In the same post, Schlussel falsely claimed that Soros has funded Media Matters. In a May 1 blog post, she referred to Media MattersNazi-funded," linking to the same April 18 post. as "

In her April 18 post, she cited David Horowitz and Richard Poe's book, The Shadow Party: How George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and Sixties Radicals Seized Control of the Democratic PartyMedia Matters has noted, during the December 20, 1998, edition of 60 Minutes, interviewer Steve Kroft stated: "My understanding is that you went out with this protector of yours who swore that you were his adopted godson." Kroft added, "Went out, in fact, and helped in the confiscation of property from the Jews." Soros responded, "Yes, that's right, yes." He did not "brag[] ... of helping his adopted father round up Jews to send them to their deaths." (Nelson Current, 2006) to claim that Soros is a "war criminal and proud Jewish Nazi." Like Horowitz and Poe, Schlussel pointed to Soros' experience as a 14-year-old boy in Nazi-controlled Hungary to suggest that he collaborated with the Nazis. In that post, she claimed that "Horowitz details how Soros bragged on CBS' '60 Minutes' of helping his adopted father round up Jews to send them to their deaths at the camps and confiscate their property." Taking the smear further, she claimed in her October 11 post that Soros personally "round[ed] up Jews and sen[t] them to their deaths." As

Michael T. Kaufman wrote in a biography of Soros, Soros: The Life and Times of a Messianic Billionaire (Knopf, 2002), that Soros' father attempted to protect his family from Nazi persecution by paying an employee of Hungary's Ministry of Agriculture named Baumbach to take in Soros, "ostensibly as his godson." Soros accompanied his "godfather" as he went to oversee the confiscation of property from Hungarian Jews, as Media Matters has noted.

In the October 11 post, Schlussel was responding to controversy over right-wing pundit Ann Coulter's October 8 interview with CNBC host Donnie Deutsch in which she asserted that "we" Christians "just want Jews to be perfected," as Media Matters documented. Schlussel said of the October 8 edition of Deutsch's show, The Big Idea, that "one of the two viewers watching this incredibly boring show was a Media Matters monkey trained to tape Ann's every word and think of ways to twist it."

Schlussel also wrote in her post, "I believe Donny Deutch [sic] was lying about his own religious status" in the interview, and that she "doubt[s] that" he is a "practicing Jew," because "his show is on live during the Jewish Sabbath, and keeping the Jewish Sabbath is the most important commandment for a religious Jew to keep." During the interview, Coulter said to Deutsch: "Well, you could be a practicing Jew, but you're not." Deutsch responded: "I actually am. That's not true. I really am."

Additionally, Schlussel claimed, "True religious Jews are not offended by Ann's comments," and added, "It's only the Jewish libs, like Deutch [sic], who are feigning this shock and outrage. That's because she's a threat to their real religion: liberalism."

Time Time Time See Whats Become Of Me

And before you know it is October when the last time you looked it was July...Sometimes the world spins faster than Bill O'Reilly defending his masters, the Republican Noise Machine.
Al Gore, since having his presidency stolen, due to some uncounted votes- continues to serve his country with honor, and has been awarded a Nobel Prize. And the Corporate Interest Noise Machine came out against him with a Passion unseen since that Mel Gibson movie...
And on the subjects of zealots...InfoCision is raking in the money for Rod Parsley and their second favorite viewing channel, after Fox News, The Inspiration Network.
Rod seems to be sharpening his rhetorical skills for the Election Season...preparing his followers to dial the InfoCision phone lines to give him their almighty dollar, to fight against those that threaten America. Or maybe Rod just wants a new private jet to vacation on or just some work done on one of mansions.

InfoCision did lose a part of its past with the death of Rex Humbard. Rex Humbard Ministries gave birth to InfoCision Management Corporation. It was interesting that the great faith healer Benny Hinn was at the services. If only Benny used his powers to heal Rex...Maybe Rex did not have enough faith for the Benny Hinn power to work...Maybe Rex did not give enough money to Hinn for the Healing Miracle to work. More likely the InfoCision employee taking Rex's call for Benny Hinn Ministries typed Rex's name and address wrong and the Miracle Healing went to someone else...
Another InfoCision client, James Dobson and his group, Focus On The Family has been in up in arms over the Republican Parties candidates for president. James lost his religion over the current group republican of candidates running for president, threatening to form a Third Party challenge with a candidate that practices a Dobson approved brand of Christianity. One could draw the conclusion Erik Prince would be his ideal of a president, considering the long close ties the two have...The truth will come out of the closet in due time.

With all the political religious battles going here- the religious battles raging in the Middle East go almost unnoticed. Israel performed a air strike against Syria. At the same time it is stealing the land of the Palestinians, all in the name of preserving a "Jewish" state. It has been said what the Palestinians need is a Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton to make the rounds on the talk shows decrying how racist it is to have state only for one race of people.
But Jesse and Al are busy defending the Jena 6. 6 criminals, who happened to be black who nearly killed a innocent man, who happened to be white, and nearly forgotten. In the blur and noise of the lights and cameras of the talk shows passing for news...and before we know it, the calendar will read 2008....

Jim Angle And His False Claims

On the October 10 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, Fox News chief Washington correspondent Jim Angle falsely claimed that proposed revisions to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which the House Judiciary Committee passed on October 10, would, for the first time, require the federal government to obtain a court order to intercept the communications of terrorism suspects abroad when they call the United States. Angle asserted that "even requiring warrants for terrorists calling the U.S. from abroad is a major departure, something the law has never required since it was passed some 30 years ago." In fact, with few exceptions, FISA, as originally enacted in 1978, required the government to obtain a court order to conduct "electronic surveillance," which FISA defines in part as "the acquisition by an electronic, mechanical, or other surveillance device of the contents of any wire communication to or from a person in the United States, without the consent of any party thereto, if such acquisition occurs in the United States." It was only in August that Congress passed the Protect America Act (PAA), which categorically excludes from FISA's definition of "electronic surveillance" any "surveillance directed at a person reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States." The PAA is set to expire in February of 2008.

David Kris, an associate deputy attorney general from 2001-2003 whose "portfolio include[d] national security policy and FISA," noted in a May 2007 letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee that the interception of a landline telephone call between a person abroad and a person in the United States, regardless of whether either of them was the target of the surveillance, would be "electronic surveillance" under FISA if the interception occurred in the United States and would therefore require a court order in most circumstances. Discussing the application of FISA's "electronic surveillance" definition to a hypothetical landline call between two people, A and B, Kris wrote that "[i]t is ... 'electronic surveillance' under [then-]current Subsection (2) [of FISA's definition of "electronic surveillance"] if the contents of the call are acquired from a wire (not a radio signal), whether or not the government is targeting either A or B (or anyone else), as long as at least one of them is in the United States, the acquisition of the content occurs in the United States, and neither A nor B consents."

Angle also asserted that under the proposed FISA revisions, the government would need to obtain a separate court order to eavesdrop on each overseas terrorism suspect because they could call someone inside the United States. Angle reported that "Democrats want to replace the current law with one that would require the NSA to obtain warrants on foreign terrorists if they call someone in the U.S., which Republicans on the Intelligence Committee say is impossible." He then aired a clip of Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) saying: "If I'm targeting you, I don't know who you're going to call next. Are you are going to call an American next? Are you going to call someone in the U.K. next? And I need a warrant for everybody because I don't know who you're going to call next." Angle then asserted that this "[m]ean[s] thousands of court orders would be needed for almost everyone the U.S. wants to intercept, even if they're all foreigners, on the chance some would call the U.S."

During the Special Report "All-Star Panel" segment, Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes similarly asserted that the bill "would require for the first time terrorists making calls or sending emails or working on the Internet from overseas, that you would need a warrant if they contacted an American. Well, the problem is, as Heather Wilson, the congresswoman from New Mexico said, 'You don't know when they're going to call Americans or not.' " Host Brit Hume then said, "So, yeah, if you're eavesdropping on somebody and they pick up the phone, you don't know who they're going to call." Barnes replied, "Sure. So you'd have to have a warrant on them -- on these terrorists from overseas, period, because you wouldn't know when they're going to call an American."

In fact, Section 105B of the bill approved by the House Judiciary Committee would allow the government to apply for a single "blanket warrant" that would authorize the government for one year to "acquire the communications" of any person the government reasonably believed to be a non-"U.S. person" (citizens and permanent residents) outside the United States. From the bill:

''SEC. 105B. (a) IN GENERAL.--Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General may jointly apply to a judge of the court established under section 103(a) for an ex parte order, or the extension of an order, authorizing for a period of up to one year the acquisition of communications of persons that are reasonably believed to be located outside the United States and not United States persons for the purpose of collecting foreign intelligence information (as defined in paragraph (1) or (2)(A) of section 101(e) [of FISA]) by targeting those persons.

On October 10, the committee amended the bill to also require that government submit to the FISA court "a description of ... the guidelines" it will use to "ensure" that the government applies for an individualized court order "when a significant purpose of an acquisition [under the "blanket warrant"] is to acquire the communications of a specific person reasonably believed to be located in the United States." The author of that amendment, Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), explained in a statement to the committee:

I hasten to add, Mr. Chairman, that neither the bill nor our amendment requires the Government to obtain a FISA order for every overseas target on the off chance that they might pick up a call into or from the United States. Rather, the bill requires, as our amendment makes clear, a FISA order only where there is a particular, known person in the United States at the other end of the foreign target's calls in whom the Government has a significant interest such that a significant purpose of the surveillance has become to acquire that person's communications.

While Angle noted that the bill "would allow blanket warrants that last a year," he did not describe what they would authorize or attempt to reconcile that fact with Wilson's assertion that "[i]f I'm targeting you, I don't know who you're going to call next. Are you are going to call an American next? Are you going to call someone in the U.K. next? And I need a warrant for everybody because I don't know who you're going to call next."

Friday, October 12, 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Letter From Rod Parsley

Dear Alex,

The most pivotal national election in our lifetimes is a little more than a year away, and I know you want to be prepared to do whatever you can for Christ's sake to influence the people around you. I'm planning the Center for Moral Clarity's 2007 Ohio Pastors' and Christian Leaders' Forum to help you prepare for the Church to raise its voice for justice and righteousness in the year ahead.

Because you've been to at least one of our forums before, you know how inspirational and motivational they are. I'm humbled at how God has used them to change the political climate of Ohio, and the 2007 event will no exception! It is scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Oct. 30, at World Harvest Church (click here for a map). We've hosted some of the premier moral leaders of the public-affairs world at these events, including former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, former U.S. Sen. Zell Miller, radio talk-show host and author Janet Parshall and basketball star A.C. Green.

For Oct. 30, our special guests are two of the premier moral leaders in the nation today - Gary Bauer, president of American Values, and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

We are developing free materials for your use that will help you register voters in your church and community throughout 2008, and to become informed on the issues that voters will face in Ohio and across the nation. I'll also be speaking from my latest book, "Culturally Incorrect," which appeared on The New York Times' best-seller list when it was released in June. Because of people like you, our CMC forums have become one of the premier gatherings for Ohio's Christian activists, and I know you will benefit from the information we have to share Oct. 30!

I am praying that you will be able to attend, and to bring at least two guests, including a pastor, with you! Click here to register at your earliest convenience, but no later than Friday, Oct. 19.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Recalling Wal-Mart

A China Labor Watch report detailing 15 Wal-Mart suppliers found that some pay as little as half the minimum daily wage, require mandatory overtime or provide no health insurance. It said one company provides a single bathroom for 2,000 employees. [International Herald Tribune, 12/8/06]



Friday, October 5, 2007

Reports on Blackwater hearing didn't note Erik Prince's contributions to Republicans

In October 3 articles on Blackwater USA chairman Erik Prince's congressional testimony about his security contracting company's performance in Iraq, USA Today reported that "Republicans defended the use of security contractors" and the Los Angeles Times reported that "[a]mong lawmakers, the defense of Blackwater broke along partisan lines, with almost all Republicans on the panel praising the company's behavior." Both newspapers noted that Republicans on the committee came to Blackwater's defense, but neither reported, as other media outlets have, that Prince has made more than $226,000 in political contributions to Republican causes and candidates, according to

A memo written by the majority staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee -- which was posted on the Los Angeles Times website -- in anticipation of Prince's testimony said that Prince "is a frequent political contributor, having made over $225,000 in political contributions, including more than $160,000 to the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee." From the October 1 memo:

Blackwater is owned by Erik Prince. Mr. Prince is a former Navy SEAL who owns the company through a holding company, The Prince Group, LLC. In the late 1980s, Mr. Prince served as a White House intern under President George H.W. Bush. Mr. Prince's father was a prominent Michigan businessman and contributor to conservative causes. Mr. Prince's sister, Betsy DeVos, is a former chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party who earned the title of Bush-Cheney "Pioneer" by arranging at least $100,000 in donations for the 2004 George W. Bush presidential campaign. Her husband, Richard DeVos Jr., is a former Amway CEO and was the 2006 Republican nominee for Governor of Michigan. Mr. Prince himself is a frequent political contributor, having made over $225,000 in political contributions, including more than $160,000 to the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Other media outlets have noted Prince's financial support of the Republican Party. A September 25 article on National Public Radio's website reported that Prince "has been a steady contributor to the Republican National Committee, giving more than $200,000 since 1998" and that he "has supported various conservative candidates, including President Bush, Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Rick Santorum (R-PA), Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), and indicted former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX)." In an October 3 "Washington Sketch" column about the hearing, The Washington Post's Dana Milbank wrote that Prince "has given $236,000 to GOP candidates and conservative causes -- typical of a defense contracting industry that, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, gave nearly $1 million to members of the oversight committee since 2003 -- 83 percent of it to Republicans."

OpenSecrets lists an Erik Prince as an employee of Blackwater USA who gave $1,000 to Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) on March 31, 2005. Prince's address is listed in McLean, Virginia, in the 22102 ZIP code. An Erik Prince living in the same ZIP code and listed as working for Prince Household LLC or the Prince Group, which is located in McLean, Virginia, and is the parent company of Blackwater USA, has given $57,150 to Republican lawmakers and Republican organizations, including the Republican National Committee. That total includes a $5,000 donation to the Green Party of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. According to an August 1, 2006, Philadelphia Inquirer article, supporters of then-Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) "gave $40,000 to fund a petition drive that has allowed [Green Party candidate] Carl Romanelli to collect about 100,000 voter signatures to qualify for the Senate race." The list also includes an Erik Prince living in Cody, Wyoming, and working for the Prince Group who gave $23,950 to Republicans. An Erik Prince in Cody, Wyoming, also gave $68,000 to the Republican National State Elections Committee, but his employer was not listed. OpenSecrets has other donations from people named Erik Prince, all of which went to Republican politicians or organizations such as the Susan B. Anthony List, a group that opposes abortion rights, which received $6,000 from Prince. All told, OpenSecrets shows that Erik Prince has given $226,750 in political contributions to Republican causes and candidates.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Fast Thinking

Though Christian Radical and Blackwater USA CEO Erik Prince told a congressional committee yesterday that the company's guards opened fire on only 195 occasions in Iraq since 2005, "two former Blackwater security guards" stated they believe "employees fired more often than the company has disclosed. "The underreporting of shooting incidents was routine in Iraq," said one guard.

The Bush administration has made "seemingly inconsistent decisions" when releasing prisoners they deem "among America's most-hardened criminals" from Guantanamo Bay, according to Pentagon documents. "Human rights groups contend that the documents show" that the military panels are often "overridden by political expediency."

The State Department launched its own blog last week, called "Dipnote." People have already complained "that the white print on a black background makes it hard to read" Finally, "unbiased news directly from the federal government, a news source long noted for truthful, unbiased reporting," the Washington Post's Al Kamen mockingly writes.

The Army has met its stated recruiting goal of 80,000 new active-duty soldiers for FY2007. But to achieve this goal, "the Army rushed enlistees into its ranks more quickly than usual, depleting the number in the pipeline for next year to less than 7,000 -- the smallest in more than a decade."

The Polish ambassador to Iraq was wounded and a civilian was killed in a car bomb that went off in downtown Baghdad today. Approximately 900 Polish troops are currently stationed south of Baghdad training Iraqi personnel.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Wal-Mart Always The Lowest

Wal-Mart: A Snap Inspection [BusinessWeek] The retailer's customer service scores low on our three-store visit. Says one worker: "If Wal-Mart doesn't care for me, why should I care?"

Anything For A Vote

From Anything for a Vote by Joseph Cummins, the top five "dirtiest" presidential campaigns of all time:

5. 1972: Richard Nixon vs. George McGovern -- The Republican incumbent Nixon brought out all the heavy guns here -- dirty tricks to sow divisiveness among Democratic incumbents in the primaries, race-baiting, IRS intimidation of Democratic big wigs, the Enemies List, press manipulation, and, of course, the Watergate burglary by the Special Investigations Unit, aka "the Plumbers."

4. 1800: Thomas Jefferson vs. John Adams -- Wayback in only the third election ever held in this country, Thomas Jefferson of the Republicans and John Adams of the Federalists went at it tooth and nail, with Republicans hiring hack writers to attack the incumbent Adams as a "hideous hermaphroditical character." whatever that means, and Federalsts claiming that Jefferson slept with slaves. The close election was thrown into the House of Representatives, where Jefferson almost certainly made a secret deal to win it all.

3. 2000: George W. Bush vs. Al Gore -- Surprisingly, not the low-down dirtiest election on record, but pretty bad, with Republicans acting in a truly narrow, partisan fashion at every stage to subvert the democratic process and hand victory to George W. Bush.

2. 1964: Lyndon Johnson vs. Barry Goldwater -- Not as well know as Nixon's 1972 dirty tricks election, Johnson's 1964 win over Goldwater featured the cynical manufacturing of anti-Goldwater stories planted with gullible reporters; children's coloring books portraying Goldwater as a Klansman; CIA invasion of Goldwater's campaign; and FBI bugging of Goldwater's campaign plane.

1. 1876: Rutherford Hayes vs. Samuel Tilden -- This is the granddaddy of them all: a truly stolen election in which Republicans turned defeat into victory for Rutherford Hayes by counting Democratic votes as their own in three Southern states. Both parties used violence to intimidate former black slaves for their votes. And not to mention that Republicans extorted 2% of the salaries of Federal employees to aid in their campaign efforts, or that Democrats accused Hayes of shooting his mother and robbing the dead, or that Republicans claimed that Samuel Tilden suffered from venereal disease.

Quote of the Day

"Fifteen years ago, I might have had a very different vision for a night like this -- that I would be the former first lady, perhaps introducing Bill Clinton as he ran for Congress."

-- Niki Tsongas (D), quoted by the Boston Globe, introducing Bill Clinton at a rally for her congressional race last night.